Since it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to call certain of His servants to unite here under the name LifeWay Church of Billings, for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we, the Members of LifeWay Church do hereby organize ourselves and adopt this Constitution as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of and bring glory to Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the Statement of Faith and Covenant of this church.
Article I: Name
This body shall be known as LifeWay Church of Billings, MT, Inc., and is incorporated under the laws of the state of Montana as a religious nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.
Article II: Purpose
Section 1. Foundation of the Church
The foundation of this church is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20), and He guides His church in all affairs through the Holy Scriptures (Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Therefore the purpose of this church is to glorify God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 43:7; Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14).
Section 2. Ministerial Priorities of the Church
The priorities of ministry of this church flow from the vision of God’s glory revealed in Jesus Christ. We exist to:
- Savor this vision in worship (John 4:23);
- Strengthen this vision in nurture (1 Corinthians 14:26; 2 Peter 3:18); and
- Spread this vision in evangelism, missions, and loving deeds (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 3:15).
Section 3. Vital Practices of the Church
In order to remain true to our Lord and His word, this church must be marked by preaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27; 2 Timothy 4:1-2), administering baptism (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:1-4) and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34), loving one another (John 13:34-35; John 3:11-24; John 4:7-12), and practicing formative (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:15) and corrective discipline (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5).
Article III: Statement of Faith
Since it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to call us into this church body, we joyfully confess our common faith together with one mind and one heart:
I. The Scriptures
We believe that the Bible is the written Word of God; that it was written by men divinely inspired and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and that it is the true center of Christian fellowship and the only sufficient and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
II. God is Triune
We believe in one God eternally existing in three persons as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who being equal in every divine perfection, execute distinct offices in the work of creation, providence, and redemption.
III. God the Father
We believe in God the Father, maker and ruler of heaven and earth, who in His grace established His purpose of election before the foundation of the world and gave His Son Jesus Christ for our redemption; He hears and answers prayer, and saves all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
IV. Jesus Christ
We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God who, being fully God and fully man, fulfilled the law and died on the cross to atone for the sins of all who will trust in Him alone for salvation.
We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who, after his death and burial, rose bodily again the third day that we might be made alive together with him and raised up as He was by the power of God.
We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, the only Mediator for man, and the Sovereign of the universe who will return to justly judge the world.
V. The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit who, in bringing glory to the Father and the Son, convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment and who regenerates, indwells, sanctifies and empowers every believer in Jesus Christ.
We believe that man was created in the image of God, has fallen into sin in Adam, and that now all human beings are born with a sinful nature and are sinners by choice, under condemnation and helpless to merit salvation.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the gospel, having through His death provided a substitutionary sacrifice to God for our sins to satisfy the demands of God’s perfect justice and to appease His holy wrath.
We believe that salvation is the free gift of God, provided by grace through faith in Christ alone for the glory of God.
We believe that those who turn from sin in repentance and trust in Jesus Christ alone as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and justified by God.
We believe that all whom God has regenerated, though they may fall into sin, shall certainly persevere to the end, being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
VIII. The Church
We believe that the Lord Jesus is the head of the church, which is composed of all His true disciples.
We believe in the local church, consisting of a fellowship of believers, baptized upon a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work, and fellowship for the glory of God.
We believe that God has laid upon the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.
We believe in the baptism of believers by immersion in the name of the triune God as a sign of fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving ourselves up to God to live and walk in newness of life.
X. The Lord’s Supper
We believe in the Lord’s Supper as a commemoration of the death of Jesus Christ by believers until He returns; that it is to be observed by the eating of bread and the drinking of the cup; and that it is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His atoning work, confirm the faith of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge, and renewal of their communion with Him and of their church fellowship.
XI. Church Cooperation
We believe that, while autonomous, our local church can best promote the cause of Jesus Christ by voluntarily cooperating with other churches.
XII. The Judgment
We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead at the glorious coming of Jesus Christ, and His just judgment of the wicked into everlasting punishment and of the righteous into eternal life.
XIII. Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality – Amendment Adopted by the Membership on July 15, 2015
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person in His own image as male or female (Job 31:15; Ps. 139:13-14). These two distinct yet complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27, 5:1-2; Matt. 19:4). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25; Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; 1 Cor. 7:2; Eph. 5:22-32). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman (Prov. 5; Song 8:4).
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including sexual assault, sexual abuse, adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 5:27-28, 15:18-20; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:5; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8, 22:15).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38, 3:19-21; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Titus 3:3-7).
We believe that every person, as bearers of the image of God, must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 19:19, 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31, 10:27-28; Rom. 13:9-10; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8-9). Unloving, hateful, and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are sinful, to be repudiated, and not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of LifeWay Church of Billings.
We believe that, in order to preserve the function and integrity of LifeWay Church of Billings as the local Body of Christ and to provide a biblical role model to the members of LifeWay Church of Billings and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by LifeWay Church of Billings in any capacity, any who serve as volunteers, and all members of LifeWay Church of Billings agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matt. 5:14-16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22).
(The above statement serves to instruct and unify the members of LifeWay Church in our common faith. We deem this statement to be consistent with the Baptist Faith & Message adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on June 14, 2000.)
Article IV: Church Covenant
Having, as we trust, been brought by God’s grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give ourselves up to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, so we do now solemnly and joyfully covenant with each other, that God enabling us:
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will walk together in brotherly love. We will exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully warn, rebuke, and admonish one another as occasion may require.
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
We will rejoice at each other’s happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by God’s aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.
We will work together for the support of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel to all peoples.
We will address any conflicts among ourselves in truth, kindness, and forgiveness, resolving not to sue this church or any of its members as we are members of the same body and under a common authority.
We will endeavor by example and effort to seek the salvation of others.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
We will seek to live to the glory of Him who has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Article V: Cooperative Affiliations
Section 1. Autonomy
LifeWay Church is completely autonomous in all of its religious practices. Consequently, this church maintains any cooperative relationships with others on a voluntary basis.
Section 2. Cooperation
LifeWay Church is in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention. Insofar as its membership deems practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Yellowstone Southern Baptist Association, the Montana Southern Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. This church further recognizes that there is mutual helpfulness in association with other denominations and churches as long as there is such agreement in faith and practice as to encourage the spirit of fellowship and good will.
Section 3. Division of Membership
In the event of a division of membership, from which may God in His mercy spare us:
- The title to and possession of all properties and assets owned by this congregation shall remain with those who, even if a minority, choose to remain a Southern Baptist church
- Parties of the outgoing group, even if a majority, in custody of physical properties, shall immediately relinquish the same to proper church officers and/or trustees, who choose to remain a Southern Baptist church; and
- All offices and positions held by an outgoing group, even if a majority, shall automatically be declared vacated.
Article VI: Membership
Section 1. Qualifications
The Elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, the Elders may rely on a person’s profession of faith, completion of a New Member’s Class, and/or such other evidence as the Elders deem appropriate. To qualify for membership in this church, a person must:
- Be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration,
- Have been baptized in obedience to Christ following his or her regeneration,
- Wholeheartedly believe in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible,
- Agree to submit to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith, and
- Promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Church Covenant.
Section 2. Admission of Members
An Applicant shall be received as a Member of the church upon the recommendation of the Elders and the subsequent agreement of at least three-quarters of the Members present and voting on the question at any Members’ Meeting, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches.
Section 3. Duties and Privileges of Membership
(a) In accord with duties enumerated in the Church Covenant, each Member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Only those who are Members of this congregation shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church; non-members may serve on an ad-hoc basis with the approval of the Elders. Notwithstanding, non-members may serve the church for purposes of administration and professional consultation.
(b) Under Christ this congregation is governed by its Members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of Members to attend all Members’ Meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding Membership status, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote.
(c) Every Member of the church at least eighteen (18) years old is entitled to one vote on all matters requiring congregational approval, provided the Member is present. Younger Members are deemed to be represented by the rest of the voting Membership.
Section 4. On Church Discipline
(a) Any Member consistently neglectful of his or her duties or guilty of conduct by which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be dishonored, and so opposing the welfare of the church, shall be subject to the admonition of the Elders and the discipline of the church according to the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 and the example of Scripture. Church discipline should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed.
(b) Church discipline can include admonition by the Elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period of time, deposition from office, and excommunication (see Matthew 18:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5).
(c) The purpose of church discipline should be for:
- The repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined (see Hebrews 12:1-11; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:1);
- The instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them (see 1 Corinthians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:20; Hebrews 10:24-25);
- The purity of the church as a whole (1 Corinthians 5:6-7; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 21:2);
- The good of our corporate witness to non-Christians (Matthew 5:13-16; John 13:35; Acts 5:10-14); and
- Supremely, the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (Deuteronomy 5:11; John 15:8; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:12).
(d) Persons who have been excommunicated may be restored as Members by submitting to an examination by the Elders and, upon the recommendation of the Elders, being received by agreement of three-quarters of the Members present and voting at any Members’ Meeting.
(e) It is desirable in the case of public sin that confession be made before the church in a specially called meeting so that the church can freely extend forgiveness. Such public confession is especially necessary in the case of Elders/Pastors (1 Timothy 5:19-20; Galatians 2:11-14).
Section 5. Termination of Membership
Termination of Membership shall be recognized by the church following the death, transfer of Membership to another congregation, or voluntary resignation of any church Member. Membership may be terminated as an act of church discipline at the recommendation of the Elders and with the agreement of three-quarters of the Members present and voting at any Members’ Meeting.
Article VII: Meetings
Section 1. Worship Meetings
Worship services shall be held each Lord’s Day, and may be held throughout the week as the church determines.
Section 2. Members’ Meetings
(a) In every meeting together, Members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Members’ Meetings shall be run according to Robert’s Rules of Order insofar as they are in accord with this document. Proxy voting and/or absentee voting is prohibited. A simple majority vote shall decide all issues unless otherwise specified in this document or the congregation deems it prudent to establish a higher percentage for the matter being decided.
(b) A Regular Members’ Meeting shall be held on the Wednesday after the second Sunday of each month. The Elders shall see that the stated meetings are regularly held and that required reports such as minutes and financial statements are submitted to the church by the responsible Members.
(c) A Special Members’ Meeting may be called by the Elders or at the written request, submitted to the Elders, of five percent of the voting Membership. In the event of a written request from the Members, the Elders shall call the meeting within one month of their receipt of the request. Notice of the subject, date, place, and time of the meeting shall be posted in the church bulletin at least one full week prior to the meeting.
(d) There shall be an Annual Meeting held at the regular monthly Members’ Meeting in August. The fiscal year of the church shall begin on September 1 and end on August 31. The Annual Meeting will serve as the forum for which normally officers are elected, positions filled, and a budget approved by the Membership.
(e) The Moderator presiding at all Members’ Meetings shall be one of the Elders. In the absence of an Elder, the Clerk shall call the church to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
(f) A Quorum shall be understood to be met by those Members present, provided that it is a regular meeting or one that has been properly called.
Article VIII: Officers
Section 1. SummaryJesus Christ is the Lord and head of this church and we discern his rule primarily through the Scriptures. The biblical offices in the church are Elders (Pastors) and Deacons, but final earthly authority is vested in the assembled congregation. In addition, our church recognizes the administrative positions under this constitution of Clerk and Treasurer. All officers must be Members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.
Section 2. Elders
(a) Ideally, the Elders (Pastors) shall be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office (see 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9) with a majority of the active Eldership composed of church Members not in the regular pay of the church. (We do, however, recognize that there may be seasons in the life of this church where such an ideal is impractical, either due to the process of implementing a plurality of Elders or the inability to recognize qualified men for the office. Regardless of their number, the Elders (Pastors) must fulfill the biblical and administrative functions laid out below and, in their absence, the congregation has authority to delegate their responsibilities to one or more Members.) Those Elders (Pastors) not receiving compensation from the church will be called “Lay Elders” for the purpose of this constitution, although biblically and functionally there is no difference among the Elders (Pastors). No Elder (Pastor) shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure. A paid staff position does not constitute an Elder’s position.
(b) Subject to the will of the congregation, the Elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Peter 5:1-4, the Elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock. The Elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective Members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the Deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the Membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world missions. The Elders are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.
(c) The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as Elders. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the church triennially. After an Elder, other than the Senior or Associate Pastors, has served two consecutive three-year terms, he may only be elected to the office of Elder after at least one year.
(d) An Elder’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two Members with reason to believe that an Elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the Elders and, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Timothy 5:17-21. Any of the Elders may be dismissed by a two-thirds agreement of the Members at any Members’ Meeting.
(e) The Elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities.
(g) The Elders shall elect a chairman of Elders’ Meetings and shall also elect one of their number to serve as moderator of Members’ Meetings. For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws of the State of Montana, the Elders shall elect one of their number to serve as the president of the corporation.
Section 3. Senior Pastor
(a) The Senior Pastor shall be an Elder. He shall perform the duties of an Elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
(b) His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article VIII, Section 2(c) for Elders. His call shall be defined as per Article IX, Section 3.
(c) He shall preach on the Lord’s Day, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the constitution. In the absence or incapacity of the Senior Pastor the Elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.
Section 4. Associate Pastors
(a) The church may call additional pastors whose relationship to the Senior Pastor is that of associate. An Associate Pastor shall be an Elder. He shall perform the duties of an Elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
(b) His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article VII, Section 2(c) for Elders. His call shall be defined as per Article IX, Section 3.
(c) He shall assist the Senior Pastor in the performance of his regular duties and shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of Pastor, or as set forth in the constitution, or which may be specifically assigned to him by the congregation. In the absence or incapacity of the Senior Pastor for defined periods of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the Associate Pastors shall assume the responsibility for his duties under the oversight of the Elders.
Section 5. Deacons
(a) The office of deacon is described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-7. The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, men who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service. These Members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as Deacons. They shall be elected to one term lasting for a maximum of three years and may only be elected to another term after one year.
(b) Deacons shall care for the temporal needs of Members, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration.
(c) The Deacons, with the agreement of the Elders, may establish unpaid administrative positions or committees of Members to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the church.
Section 6. Clerk
(a) It shall be the duty of the Clerk to record the minutes of all Regular and Special Members’ Meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the Membership, and to render reports as requested by the Pastor, the Elders, the Deacons, or the church.
(b) The Clerk shall be nominated by the Elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term of one year.
(c) In the absence or incapacity of the Clerk the Elders shall appoint a Member to perform the duties of the church Clerk.
(d) For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws of the State of Montana, the Clerk shall serve as the secretary of the corporation.
(e) The church Clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of this constitution shall be available for all church Members.
Section 7. Treasurer
(a) The Treasurer, who shall not be an active Elder, deacon, or paid church staff Member, shall ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues and expenses of the church at each Members’ Meeting. The responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the Elders. The Treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The Treasurer shall render to the Elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions made by the Treasurer and of the financial condition of the church.
(b) The Treasurer shall be nominated by the Elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term of one year.
Article IX: Elections
Section 1. Principles
The process for church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:
- Substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, should be an integral part of the election process;
- Nominations should proceed with the support of the Elders;
- All candidates for church office should be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow Members; and
- The election process shall express that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration that is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Section 2. Selection of Officers
(a) The election of officers shall be held at a Members’ Meeting of the church.
(b) We recognize that it is God who sets a man apart for the ministry of an elder (Ephesians 4:11) and that, therefore, it is the responsibility of the existing elder(s) and the congregation to discern and affirm that calling. The election of Elders shall proceed as follows. First, only the Elders will officially and publicly nominate a man as an Elder Candidate. The Elders should, however, seek recommendations from the general membership. Second, the Members shall be allowed a two to three month assessment period to enable them to pray about and personally follow up with the Elder Candidate. Third, the Elders will hold a church wide meeting of evaluation where the Members can hear the Elder Candidate’s testimony of faith and ask appropriate questions about his life and doctrine. Fourth, the Elders will hold a church wide vote two to three months after the meeting of evaluation to determine if the Members recognize the Candidate as having the ministry of an Elder in this church.
(c) The election to the other offices of Deacon, Clerk, and Treasurer shall be presented by the Elders at the previous Members’ Meeting, and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.
(d) The Elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership in the nomination process. Any Member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern and its biblical basis to the Elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the Elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant Members’ Meeting.
(e) The moderator shall declare elected all men receiving a 90% majority of all votes cast for the office of Elder. For all other offices, the moderator shall declare elected all persons receiving a simple majority of all votes cast; abstentions will not be considered as votes cast.
(f) The persons elected shall assume their respective offices upon election, unless another date has been specifically designated.
Section 3. Calling of Paid Elders (Pastors)
In the calling of any man to this position, the same basic process of calling an Elder must be followed, though the time for the election process may be shortened or lengthened as the Elders and Members see fit. In addition, however, the church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching gifts of any potential Senior Pastor or Associate Pastor and, before being asked to express its judgment, must receive assurance from the Elders that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith and Church Covenant. Notice of the nomination of a man to be elected to membership and called as Senior Pastor or Associate Pastor (which shall include, if necessary, election to membership of his wife if he is married) must be given at two Sunday morning services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a Members’ Meeting.
Article X: Indemnification
Section 1. Mandatory Indemnification
If a legal claim or a criminal allegation is made against a person because he or she is or was an officer, employee, or agent of the church, the church shall provide indemnification against liability and costs incurred in defending against the claim if the church determines that the person acted (a) in good faith, (b) with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a similar position would exercise under similar circumstances, and (c) in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the church, and the person had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful.
Section 2. Permissive Indemnification
At its discretion, the church also may indemnify any person who acted in good faith and reasonably believed that his or her conduct was in the best interest of the church and not unlawful.
Article XI: Dispute Resolution
Believing that the Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian church (see, e.g., Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8), the church shall urge its Members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically based principles, without reliance on the secular courts. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles and the avoidance of suits of law to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or non-Christian and whether individualspolicies and procedures to effect these aspirations.
Article XII: Amendments
Section 1. Of the Statement of Faith & Church Covenant
The Statement of Faith or the Church Covenant may be amended by a three-quarters vote of the Members present and voting at a Members’ Meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous Members’ Meeting and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.
Section 2. Of the Constitution
This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the Members present and voting at a Members’ Meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous Members’ Meeting and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.
(Adopted by the Membership on July 18, 2007)