The name of this church is “Grace Community Church [Baptist].”
The Scriptures shall be our final court of appeal in all matters of church governance. It is understood that the Scriptures supersede the constitution and give definition where the constitution is silent or not\ exhaustive. Simply put, the constitution is subject to the application of Scriptures, not vice versa.
The government of this church is vested in its membership (see Article VII), executed through the church leadership.
This church is a non-profit organization, incorporated under the laws of the State of Michigan; the term of this corporation shall be perpetual.
[Renewed May 3, 1965]
a.) Said organization is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and/or scientific purposes under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
b.) No part of the net earning of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the organization shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the purpose clause hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of
c.) statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of this document, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
d.) Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by the Court of Common Pleas of the county in which the principal office of the organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
We exist to declare the liberating power of the gospel and demonstrate it in our worship, relationships, and service (Luke 4:18).
[See Confession of Faith and Doctrinal Statement]
SECTION 1: Qualifications
Persons to be received into membership of the church must be in agreement with and willingly submit to the church’s doctrinal statement. They must accept the Bible as the Word of God, verbally inspired, infallible, and of full and final authority in all spiritual matters, and give
satisfactory evidence of having been born again of the Spirit of God, and be consistent followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and who have received the ordinance of water baptism by immersion.
SECTION 2: Procedure and Acceptance
Candidates for membership must be recommended by the elders and accepted by vote of the church, before whom they will publicly assent to its covenant. The church’s policy manual shall set forth specific procedures for membership, which shall be incorporated herein by reference (see Article XVI).
SECTION 3: Rights
Active members, eighteen years of age or over, may vote in all transactions of the church.
Male members, twenty-five years of age or over, having faithfully attended public services of the church for two years, and being a member of the church for one of those years, may be elected as elders or deacons.
SECTION 4: Termination
Members may be removed from the membership upon written request by the member, after a period of significant inactivity with the church, or as the result of corrective church discipline.
Marriage serves as a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church. Because of our allegiance to our Lord Jesus Christ and to the inspired Word of God, the Bible, we believe and teach that marriage is a sacred covenant and commitment reserved for one woman and one man. We believe marriage is for Christians and non-Christians alike, but a Christian is only allowed to marry another Christian. Marriage serves a variety of God-ordained purposes including the provision of companionship, procreation, and the provision of a legitimate expression of sexuality.
We believe that any sexual relationship practiced outside of the clear boundaries of biblical teaching is contrary to God’s ways, including fornication, adultery, pornography, homosexual practice, bestiality, and incest. We believe that God disapproves of, and forbids, any attempt to surgically alter one’s gender. We will seek to love and help anyone who differs with this conviction, but will reserve membership or service at Grace Community Church only for those who conform to the biblical standards of sexual relations.
We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. Our policy is to honor, officiate, or allow building usage for only Scriptural marriages.
We want both truth and love to guide all that we do as a church.
(2 Tim. 3:16, Gen. 1:26-27, Gen. 2:18-25, Lev. 18:1-3, Matt. 19:4-6, Rom. 1:24-27, 1 Cor. 6:9, Eph. 4:15, Eph. 5:22-23, 1 Thes. 4:1-8)
Church discipline is one of the primary means God uses to correct and restore His children when they fall into sin. It is also one way in which He maintains the unity, purity, integrity and reputation of the church. Church discipline shall be administered in love according to the principles set forth in Matthew 18. The booklet Restoring Those Who Fall by Jim Elliff will serve as a guideline for the purpose of restoration.
Officers, Church Leadership and Committees
SECTION 1: Church Officers
The officers of the church shall be the Church Treasurer, the Chairman of the Elder Board, and the Executive Pastor.
SECTION 2: Church Leadership
The leadership of the church shall be the elders.
SECTION 3: Elections
[A] Nominating Committee: This committee will be comprised of elders, deacons and two members at large selected by the elders. They will prepare a list of qualified candidates for approval by the elders and ratification by the congregation. The elders will select the appropriate number of men to fill the necessary positions.
[B] Selection: All elders and deacons shall be ratified by ballot at a congregational meeting by a three-fourths majority vote of members present.
[C] Absentee Ballots: Requests for absentee ballots for members not able to be present are subject to elder approval. Guidelines are outlined in Article XI, Section H.
SECTION 4: Vocational Elders
Vocational Elders have the same responsibility as elders, but serve as first among equals in their area of training and giftedness. A three-fourths majority vote by ballot of all voting members present shall be required to call a vocational elder. Duties will be assigned at the time of hiring and will be reviewed on an annual basis. If at any time his job performance, personal belief, preaching, teaching, or manner of life shall not be in full accord with the Scriptures and/or the doctrinal statement or expectations of this church, he will be confronted according to biblical process and his service as vocational elder may be terminated by the elders.
SECTION 5: Elders
The elders are responsible for the oversight of the flock. The focus of their ministry is to pray for, represent, feed and administrate within the flock [Acts 6:4; 20:17; 1 Timothy 3:4; 5:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:2-3]. The function of the office is primarily pastoral [Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2], educational [1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17], officiative [James 5:13ff], representative [Acts 20:17], and administrative [1 Timothy 5:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:2-3]. With this biblical mandate, the elders are responsible for the initiation and administration of policy pertaining to the ministry of the church.
The elders shall be responsible for filling the pulpit and oversight of all other teaching responsibilities within the church. Only members or those biblically qualified to teach shall be permitted to serve in a teaching capacity within the church.
They shall assist in administering the ordinances of the church.
They shall endeavor by God’s grace to live and serve in full conformity with the standards set forth in this constitution for their particular office, and the qualifications as outlined in the Word of God [1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9].
The lay elders shall be men chosen for a term of five years after which a one year sabbatical is mandatory for personal and spiritual renewal. Following the sabbatical, the elder may be requested to serve again following the nominating and congregational approval process.
SECTION 6: Deacons
The deacons shall be men chosen to serve up to a five-year term before a required one-year sabbatical. Following the sabbatical, the deacon may be requested to serve again following the nominating and congregational approval process.
The Greek word for deacon is “diakonos,” which translated means “servant.” Deacons are first introduced into the church in Acts 6 as the elders appointed deacons to come alongside to help with the physical needs of the body. Paul gives a thorough list of qualifications for deacons in I Timothy 3:8-13.
The deacons are to carry out the directives of the elders in the areas of service to the needs of the flock [Acts 6:2-4].
They shall make the necessary preparation for the ordinances of the church, manage and maintain the facility, and administer the benevolence fund. The deacons are responsible for collecting and counting tithes and offerings
They shall endeavor by God’s grace, to live and serve in full conformity with the standards set forth in this constitution for their particular office, and the qualifications as outlined in the Word of God [1 Timothy 3:8-13].
SECTION 7: Clerk
The clerk shall be appointed by the elders. He/she shall keep a faithful record of the proceedings of the church and of all leadership meetings. He/she shall also keep a register of the members of the church, with date of their reception and removal as well as keep a record of attendance, baptisms, marriages and deaths.
SECTION 8: Treasurer
The treasurer shall be a member of Grace Community Church [Baptist]. He/she shall be appointed by and be directly responsible to the elders. The treasurer shall be responsible for keeping systematic accounts of all monies received and disbursed for the support, benevolent interests, and organizations of the church. Monthly financial reports shall be given to the elders and deacons. Financial reports will be presented at the quarterly congregational meetings. The church Treasurer is a voluntary position for the oversight of all church financial matters.
SECTION 9: Committees
Committees serve the ministries of the church under the oversight of the Elders. The committees of the church are:
A. The missions committee will be chaired by an elder and served by members at large.
B. The Finance Committee shall be appointed by the elders and will be comprised of elders, deacons, the church treasurer, financial secretary and two members at large. The finance committee shall prepare the yearly church budget with input from various committees and ministry staff for approval by the elders and presentation to the congregation for approval at the annual meeting. They will appoint an auditor a minimum of once every three years to examine the church’s financial records and provide a written report of the auditor’s finds to the congregation. The elders may expend up to 3% of the church budget for non-budgeted items and may allocate excess funds for the purpose of church operations and ministries.
C. Personnel Committee shall be comprised of the lay elders for the purpose of vocational elders job reviews, wages and benefits and problem resolution.
D. Others as deemed necessary to serve the needs of the church.
All organizations and ministry groups are regarded as integral parts of the church and shall be under the general oversight of the church leadership, and, specifically, under the oversight of those elders administrating the Ministry of Edification.
A. Public services shall ordinarily be held each week on Sunday.
B. The Lord’s supper shall be observed ordinarily on the first Sunday of the month.
C. Special congregational meetings of the church may be called by a majority vote of the eldership. Notice of the meeting will ordinarily be published at least two Sundays preceding the day scheduled for the meeting.
D. An annual meeting shall be held in October to approve the upcoming budget.
E. Quarterly business meetings shall be held to hear all treasurer’s reports, and to transact any business which may be necessary.
F. The elders shall ordinarily hold monthly meetings, and deacon committees will meet as required. A quorum shall consist of the majority of the members.
G. A quorum at any meeting of the church shall consist of at least twenty-five percent of eligible voting members of the church.
H. A majority vote of the members present shall ordinarily be decisive. Absentee ballots will be subject to elder approval. For approved requests, absentee ballots will be made available during the week prior to the meeting requiring a vote. A numbered ballot must be signed out with the church secretary and returned to the office before the meeting in order to be counted. A quorum of the membership is required for any vote to be taken and become record. A quorum cannot be established with the inclusion of absentee ballots.
I. Robert’s Rules of Order shall ordinarily govern the conduct of a business meeting.
When the services of paid personnel, other than vocational elders, are needed in the operation of the church, the church shall hear the recommendation of the elders, and authorize the creation of the position. The elders shall then select the person to be employed in the position created.
All church staff shall be members of Grace Community Church [Baptist] and be directly responsible to the executive pastor in the performance of their duties as stated in the Staff Handbook. Loyalty to the church and its leadership will be expected and each staff member shall understand that continuance of his or her ministry shall be subject to the elders.
The employment or dismissal of a staff member is not subject to church action. The church votes only on the creation of the position and not the person.
The right to any property that may be acquired by this church shall be and remain vested in that body of believers who shall remain faithful to the standards of faith and doctrine contained in this constitution as adopted.
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at any quarterly meeting of the church or at a meeting especially called for that purpose, the proposed amendment being inserted in the call.
All by-laws or parts thereof heretofore passed, not included in these by-laws are hereby repealed.
These by-laws shall become effective immediately upon adoption by the church, except, that all present officers shall complete the terms to which they have been elected.
A church policy manual will be maintained by the leadership to govern policy, procedures, and operations within the structure of the church. These documents are subject to the elders’ approval, amendment and oversight.