Living Waters Christian Fellowship Constitution and Bylaws

CONSTITUTION

 

Article I:  Name and Incorporation

 

  1. The name of this congregation shall be Living Waters Christian Fellowship, but shall be referred to as “this congregation” in this constitution and bylaws.

     

  2. This congregation shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota.

     

  3. This congregation shall hold its chief worship services in the town of Waverly. 

     

Article II:  Purpose and Affiliation

 

Living Waters Christian Fellowship exists to guide people in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, whereby they will experience freedom and fulfillment of the destiny God has given them through Christ. The ministries of this congregation are meant to impart spiritual and emotional growth which will assist people in achieving God’s purposes for them in his kingdom.  This congregation will also partner with others who are carrying out this mission in other places, whether globally or nationally.  Fellowship with other congregations shall include membership in ARC, the Alliance of Renewal Churches.

 

Article III:  Statement of Faith

 

God is One, revealed in the Scriptures as three persons: the Father, the source and creator of all; the Son, our Savior and Lord; and the Spirit, who calls us to faith and empowers us for effective service.

 

Jesus Christ, true God and true man, through his virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death on our behalf, and resurrection from the dead, offers eternal life to all who believe in him.  We are justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and the same grace that saves also empowers for victorious living.

 

The whole human race has fallen and cannot be rescued from bondage to sin and to Satan without Christ.

 

The Bible is the word of God and can be trusted without reservation.  We accept all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as divinely inspired and joyfully submit to this scripture as final authority in all matters of faith and life.

 

The Church is composed of those who have been born of the Spirit by believing in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Church is the Body of Christ, with Jesus Christ as the head.  We purpose to submit to Christ’s headship in all things.

 

Baptism unites us with Christ’s death and resurrection and the Lord’s Supper gives us fellowship with the living Christ in his true body and blood.

 

The local congregation consists of true believers, submitted to Christ and carrying out his ministry and mandates in the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.  Pastors help equip the members to do the ministry.  The Holy Spirit gives gifts to all members of the Church who have received him.  Those gifts enable Christ’s followers to do the ministry of Christ even in supernatural ways until he returns.  Christ will return for his bride, the Church, and true believers will live forever with Christ.

 

We accept the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds as true declarations of the faith we affirm.

 

How we live affirms or denies what we profess.  We do not want to deny the Gospel by wrong living.  We adorn our creed with our conduct.

 

Right relationships are as necessary as right theology.  We will not invalidate sound doctrine by unsound attitudes and actions toward others.

 

Article IV:  Government

 

  1. The government of this congregation shall be vested in a board consisting of elders and deacons.  For organizational purposes, the head elder shall be appointed by the pastor (who will be considered an elder for purposes of the board’s function).  The pastor and head elder shall appoint a second elder.  Those three shall unanimously choose others to serve as deacons (and elders, should growth of this congregation require more persons in leadership roles.)

     

  2. The board is responsible to elect others to perform organizational duties.  Those offices include a secretary to keep records of all business meetings, a treasurer to disburse congregational funds for approved purposes and keep the books, a financial secretary to keep records of contributions and provide proof-of-same to contributors.

     

  3. Terms of office are found in the bylaws of this congregation.

     

  4. The board shall meet on a monthly basis.  Special meetings of the board can be called by the pastor, head elder, or three other members of the board on a week’s notice to all board members.

     

  5. The quorum to transact business shall require more than 50% of those rostered as elders and deacons. Other office holders have voice at meetings, but are not counted for a quorum.

     

  6. A vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, or otherwise, shall be filled by the board by consensus.

     

Article V:  Membership

 

  1. Qualifications.  Any person professing faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior is a candidate for membership in this congregation.  Children born to member parents and who have received infant baptism shall be considered members.

  2. Membership opportunities:

    1. Maintain fellowship with this congregation

    2.  Pursue a Christian life in accordance with the word of God

    3.  Be faithful in giving

    4. Support the work of the congregation through contributions of their time and abilities

    5. Submit to the leadership of the congregation

    6. Endeavor to preserve the unity of this congregation

  3. Membership Termination.  Membership in this congregation shall be terminated by any of the following:

    1. Death

    2. Resignation

    3. Transfer or release

    4. Disciplinary action by the board

    5. Removal from the roll due to inactivity.  Inactivity is defined as not having attended worship or made financial contribution of record for one year.

  4. Rights.  Members do not have any voting or property rights, and upon termination of membership shall not be entitled to any interest or assets.

  5. Grievances.  In all cases of grievances between members, the individuals involved shall seek reconciliation in accordance with the scriptural pattern described in Matthew 18: 15-17.

  6. Restoration.  A former member of this congregation whose membership was terminated because of disciplinary action by the board may be restored into membership by providing satisfactory testimony and assurance to the board that they have renewed their fellowship with the Lord and this congregation.

 

Article VI:  The Pastor

 

  1. The pastor shall be called by Living Waters to the office.  When there is a vacancy, the board shall have a written succession plan and will serve as a search committee.  Election of a pastor shall be by consensus of the board.

     

  2. The pastor shall be the teacher-shepherd of the church.  He or she shall give considerable time to the study of the word.  He or she shall aim to feed the flock, equip the saints for ministry, and guard the church against the attack of the enemy.

     

  3. The pastor shall be ordained by a church body whose goals and practices are consistent with Living Waters’ goals and practices.

  4. Since the original pastor shall start the process of choosing the board, he shall not be elected by them.

     

  5. Compensation of the pastor shall be specified at the time of his/her calling.  The church shall provide, as the means are available, salary, housing allowance, expense account, retirement account, conference funds, vacation time, continuing education time, and health insurance.  These will be annually reviewed by the board.

     

  6. For the purpose of potential termination of the pastor, a special meeting of the board may be called as outlined above.  Should ¾ of a full strength quorum concur that the pastor should terminate his or her pastorship of this congregation, the approved motion, without change, shall be brought before a second such meeting no less than 30 days after the first.  A ¾ majority of votes in favor of termination at the second meeting will terminate the pastor as specified by the motion.  In event of termination, all financial obligations to the pastor must be met by the congregation.

     

Article VII:  Bylaws

 

The Board of Elders and Deacons may adopt and ratify bylaws and no bylaw may conflict with this constitution.  Changes to the bylaws may be proposed by an Elder or Deacon by submitting the change or addition in writing at least fourteen days prior to a regularly scheduled meeting of the board.

 

Article VIII:  Amendments

 

  1. The Board of Elders and Deacons may adopt and ratify amendments to this constitution.  Changes may be proposed by an Elder or Deacon by submitting them in writing at least fourteen days before a regularly scheduled meeting of the board.

     

  2. A proposed amendment to this constitution shall:

    1. Be adopted and ratified with or without change at a properly called meeting of the board by a 75% vote of those present and voting.

    2. Have the effective date included in the resolution.

       

       

 

BYLAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION

 

Preamble

 

We believe God has called this congregation to equip people to grow in God’s love and to be salt and light in our communities.  We desire to be an assembly of saints who love the Lord of Life, Jesus Christ, and who are daily being filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

Therefore we are committed to deepening our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we share his love, disciple others, glorify God our Father, and walk in the Spirit.  This church is grounded in and guided by the living word of God.  As committed followers of Jesus, we seek through prayer and scripture study to live our lives in obedience to God.  We read and study the Bible to build our faith, pray for one another as Christ has taught us, and worship and praise God.  Our ministries spring from our love for God and our desire to obey and please God.

 

Section I:  Fiscal Year

 

The fiscal year shall be January 1 through December 31.

 

Section II:  Annual Congregational Meeting

 

  1. The annual congregational meeting shall be held on a Sunday in February.

     

  2. The purpose of the annual meeting, which shall be led by the Head Elder or a person designated by the Head Elder, is to report on the ministry of this congregation and the vision for its future, and to review the finances of the past year.  For that purpose, an independent audit must have been completed in time to print an approved summation of the year’s finances.

     

Section III:  Elders

 

  1. Functions and responsibilities.  The Elders shall

    1. Pray for this congregation’s ministry, mission, personnel and members in need.

    2. Partner with and advance this congregation’s mission, vision, and purpose.

    3. Together with the Deacons, select a pastor in the event that position is vacant.

    4. Support the pastor.

    5. Exercise congregational discipline in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and its bylaws.

    6. With the pastor, give spiritual care and oversight to the congregation.

    7. Continually seek the Father’s heart for his dream for this congregation and its ministries.

    8. Form the budget for the new fiscal year.

    9. Assess the board’s performance and organize it to operate efficiently.

    10. Select and mentor new elders.

    11. With the Deacons, approve changes to church bylaws and constitution.

    12. Normally meet once a month.  An elder who is absent from four consecutive regular meetings shall be consulted by the pastor; in the absence of a valid excuse the elder shall be asked to step down. 

  2. Qualifications for Ministry as an Elder.

    1. Fulfill the scriptural requirements described in 1 Timothy 3: 1-6 and Titus 1: 6-9.

    2. Give regularly, faithfully, and generously.

    3. Attend worship regularly, participating in this congregation’s ministries as appropriate.

    4. Men and women are eligible to serve as elders.

  3. Selection of  Elders

    1. The elders shall have at least three members

      • One member will be the pastor

      • In the event that the group number drops below three, the group may continue to function regularly for 90 days, after which the elder group must appoint a member/members (temporary or permanent) to maintain the minimum number of three.

    2. Following original organization of the elders, subsequent elders are selected unanimously by the elders.

    3. An elder may step down by informing the pastor in writing.

    4. An elder may be removed anytime during his/her tenure by recommendation of the pastor with unanimous approval of the board.

    5. Elders’ terms are for a year, with an annual review with the pastor.  With approval of the pastor and board, elders shall be eligible to serve an unlimited number of terms.

 

Section IV:  Deacons

 

  1. Functions and Responsibilities.  The Deacons shall:

    1. Oversee and direct ministries and functions of this congregation

    2. Encourage members in their use of personal spiritual gifts and talents and recruit leaders needed for this congregation’s ministries.

    3. With the Elders, select a pastor in the event that office becomes vacant.

    4. With the Elders, approve changes to this constitution or bylaws.

    5. Normally meet once a month.  Any Deacon who is absent from four consecutive regular meetings shall be consulted by the pastor; in the absence of valid excuse, that Deacon shall be asked to step down.

  2. Qualifications

    1. Live life fulfilling the descriptions outlined in I Timothy 3: 1-6 and Acts 6: 1-3.

    2. Demonstrate maturity of faith in producing the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22-23.

    3. Give regularly, faithfully, and generously.

    4. Attend worship regularly, participating in this congregation’s ministries as appropriate.

    5. Men and women are eligible to serve as deacons.

  3. Selection of Deacons

    1. A minimum of two deacons shall be in office.  If congregation size and program warrant, as many as five may be in office.

    2. Deacons will be invited into office by consensus of the board of elders and deacons.

    3. A deacon may step down by informing the Pastor in writing.

    4. A deacon may be removed anytime during his/her tenure by recommendation of the pastor with unanimous approval of the board.

    5. Deacons’ terms are for a year.  An annual review with the pastor is required.  With approval of the pastor and board, deacons shall be eligible to serve an unlimited number of terms.

 

Section V:  Membership

 

Charter members.  When this constitution has been officially adopted by the combined board, a charter document shall be established.  Any adult, baptized follower of Christ who agrees with our statement of faith and wishes to become an official member may sign the charter.  Signees’ family members who participate with this congregation may also be put on the charter list.  Following the charter period (to be set by the board) other candidates for membership shall make application to be received.

 

Applicants who desire baptism to become members shall complete a course of study and guidance in preparation for that sacrament.

 

Already-baptized candidates for membership shall meet with the pastor to give testimony of their faith in Christ.  Upon recommendation by the pastor, the candidate’s membership shall be confirmed by a vote at the next combined board meeting.

 

New members will be welcomed into this congregation by introduction to the congregation during a worship service.

 

This congregation shall keep records of membership.

 

Section VI:  Discipline

 

Denial of the Christian faith, conduct grossly unbecoming the Body of Christ, or persistent troublemaking in this congregation are sufficient cause for discipline of an individual.  Prior to disciplinary action, reconciliation will be attempted in accordance with Matthew 18: 15-17, proceeding through these successive steps:  (a) admonition by a pastor, (b) admonition by a pastor in the presence of two or three witnesses, and (c) request to appear before the Board.

 

  1. An individual charged with the offense shall appear before the Board after having received a written notice, at least ten days prior to the meeting, specifying the exact charges that have been made against the individual.

     

  2. Should the allegations be sustained by the Board and renewed admonition prove ineffectual, or if the individual does not appear, the Board shall impose one of the following disciplinary actions:

    1. Censure before the congregation.

    2. Suspension from membership for a definite period of time.

    3. Exclusion from membership in this congregation.

    4. Disciplinary actions 2.b and 2.c. shall be delivered to the individual in writing.

       

  3. Disciplinary actions may be reconsidered and revoked by the Board upon receipt of:

    1. evidence that injustice has been done or

    2. evidence of repentance and change.

 

 

Published:  February 21st, 2016

Living Waters Christian Fellowship

312 Pacific Avenue (Hwy 12).

PO Box 526

Waverly, MN  55390

email:  info@livingwaterswaverly.org

Phone:  (320) 420-2226