Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Hey Fletch … Can you describe to me how a church amends its constitution?

DRF—The first place to look for amending a church constitution is in the document itself. There should be a clause in the constitution that mentions how it can be changed. It may look something like this: “Amendments to this constitution may be made at any meeting of the congregation by two-thirds of the votes cast. The proposed changes must have been shared with the congregation for three months before the vote.” 

Some constitutions allow for the governing board to amend the constitution. The governing board may be elders, deacons or trustees. Most constitutions require the congregation to vote on any change. Your church may vote by ballot, show of hands or verbally. If it is a close vote, then a verbal vote will have to be modified into a show of hands—and those hands will need to be counted. Record the results of the vote in the minutes of your church.

The process of making an amendment is important. Sharing information with the congregation is vital. Share why the changes are being proposed. Illustrate current challenges and how the amendments solve those issues. Allow time for discussion and good consideration. This generally takes several months.

A change to your church’s constitution should not be hasty. Outside of the Bible, it is the core governing document of your church. I suggest that you review your constitution every two or three years. Make it a regular process to review and suggest changes. It is easier to make “bite-sized” changes rather than large ones.