BY-LAWS OF NEW COMMUNITY CHURCH
Amended & Restated 1/17/16
The following bylaws shall govern the organization of New Community Church. The work of the Church shall be under the direction of a Board of Elders as provided herein. The corporation shall be under the direction of the Board of Directors as provided herein.
Article I. Name
The name of the corporation shall be “New Community Church,” a nonprofit corporation formed under the laws of the state of Missouri.
Article II. Purpose
The purposes of the New Community Church are:
To Glorify God
Our primary purpose in all we do is to bring glory to God. We will, by the enabling grace of God, seek to elevate the character of our Lord so as to promote honor, praise and singular devotion to Him. Eph. 3:21; 1 Pet. 4:11
To Make Disciples
Jesus clearly expressed the primary way to bring glory to God after He rose from the grave and gave His followers the simple command, "Go into all the world and make disciples." God's primary assignment for His church is succinctly stated in what many refer to as "The Great Commission." Matt. 28:19-20
This is accomplished through two primary tasks:
Evangelizing the Lost
The task of disciple-making involves evangelism. We are to faithfully proclaim the gospel to the nations, trusting in the sovereignty of the Lord and the power of His gospel for the conversion of souls. 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Cor. 2:1-5
Equipping the Saints
Our goal is to see believers develop a workable knowledge of the Word of God that will enhance their effectiveness in serving the Lord and protecting them from false doctrine. It is our desire to see all who are a part of our community to become fully passionate followers of Christ. Eph. 4:10-16; Col. 1:28-29
To Share God's Love
We are committed to becoming a headquarter of love in our community. As His disciples, our mutual exchange of love will serve as the best evidence of being true followers of Jesus. John 13:34-35; John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10
Article III. Statement of Doctrine
The Bible is the word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts. Written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it has supreme and only authority in all matters of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
There is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, and these are equal in every divine perfection and they execute providence and redemption (Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:10,11; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
God the Father
God the Father is an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in Holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:11, 6:9, 5:45, 11:25, 1 Peter 1:17; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:10).
God the Son
Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teaching. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal visible return to earth (Matthew 1:18-25, 3:17; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:3, 5:5-10; 1 John 4:3; Revelation 1:5).
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who came forth from the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide (John 14:16, Romans 8:13, 26).
All of mankind are sinners by imputation, nature and by choice and are therefore under condemnation. Those who repent of their sins and trust only in Jesus Christ as their Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We believe that salvation with its forgiveness of sins, its imparting of the new nature, and its hope of eternal life is only by God’s grace and that we cannot earn it or contribute to it by moral living, acts of self-sacrifice, church membership, communion, baptism or any other good work (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8; Ephesians 2:3-10).
We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are its members. We firmly believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ baptized on a credible profession of faith and associated in worship, service and fellowship. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of building up the body of Christ through the dual activities of evangelism and the edifying of those evangelized toward maturity in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Timothy 3:15; Acts 2:41-47; Ephesians 4:11-16; Matthew 28:19-20).
The Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is by the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Triune God. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. It is our belief that these ordinances should be observed until the Lord returns (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:37-39, 41; Mark 16:15-16; Romans 6:3, 4; Galatians 3:17; The Lord’s supper: 1 Corinthians 11:22-26; Luke 22:14-23; Mark 14:22-25).
We believe in the personal visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His Kingdom. We believe in the eternal blessedness of the righteous and the endless suffering of the wicked (Acts 1:11; John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; James 5:8; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 51-53).
Sanctity of Life
We believe that each person is a unique creation of God, and in upholding that sanctity of life, do oppose the destruction of human life because it is unwanted, imperfect or merely inconvenient, as an atrocity against all of mankind and against God. We oppose the wholesale destruction of life by abortion on demand, the direct or indirect infanticide of newborn children for reasons of mental or physical defects and the impending threat of legalized euthanasia directed toward the elderly portion of our society. Senility, infirmity, retardation, insanity and incontinence are not to be recognized as reasons for extermination and the consideration, teaching and support of these practices are inconsistent with God’s divine purpose (Jeremiah 1:4-5; Psalm 139:13-16; Exodus 23:7; Luke 1:15; Galatians1:15-16; Psalm 127:3; Genesis 9:6).
Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) 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.) 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. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10).
Article IV. Elders
1. Elder Governance
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the Church. He is the true source of all the Church is and does, and His glory is to be the objective of every act, function and motive of the body, both individually and corporately. (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:23-23)
The New Testament pattern of leadership in the Church is the mediation of the authority of the Lord through godly men called Elders. (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:1-3)
It is our belief that just as believers individually should seek to govern their lives by guidelines given in Scripture, Church bodies should follow scriptural instructions and precedents in governing themselves. The Elder form of government, as set forth in the New Testament is, we believe, not only potentially the most satisfactory form of church government; but is also that form of government which most closely follows scriptural example. (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Acts 20:17-32; Philippians 1:1)
All the activities and affairs of the Church shall be under the direction of the Board of Elders. Above all else, the Board of Elders shall be responsible for the shepherding and the oversight of the flock. Decisions by the Board shall be reached after prayerful consideration by unanimous vote in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding one another before himself. All decisions of the Board of Elders shall be final.
The Board shall be responsible to conduct, manage and control the activities and affairs of the Church. The responsibilities of the Board of Elders include the selection and removal of all officers and members of the Church, and the establishment of policies and practices consistent with the purposes of the Church. The legal affairs of the Corporation shall be carried out by Directors and Officers as provided in Articles VIII and IX, but the Directors and Officers shall be subject to the authority of the Board of Elders.
3. Selection of Elders
As the Holy Spirit is involved in granting gifts for leadership, edification and encouragement within the Church (1 Corinthians 12:1-11), He is also directly involved in filling leadership positions in particular church bodies. It is the Holy Spirit who raises up the Elders in the church (Acts 20:28).
Scripture gives evidence of the first elders being appointed by the founders of the church (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). By this example, the existing Board of Elders of the church will be responsible for the process of selection of Elders. It is the responsibility of the congregation to affirm the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The process will be done with great sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit, the direction of the Word and the unanimity of the existing Elders (1 Timothy 5:22).
4. The Term of Elders
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for Elders, no specific term of office is fixed.
5. The Number of Elders
The Board of Elders will consist of those who have been raised up by the Holy Spirit and recognized by the church as possessing those qualifications as stated in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. No certain number is to be maintained.
6. Officers of the Board of Elders
In order to minister effectively and orderly in a God honoring fashion, the Board of Elders will have the following officers:
- The Chairman of the Board of Elders: The Chairman shall preside at all Board meetings, which are to be conducted according to Scriptural principles such as set forth in Philippians 2:2-8.
- The Vice-Chairman: The Vice-Chairman shall assume all of the responsibilities of the Chairman in his absence.
- The Secretary: The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the Board of Elders and shall deliver said minutes in official correspondence to the Board.
- The Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be responsible for all monies collected by the church, and he shall make financial reports each month to the Board. Proper records and books concerning incoming and outgoing funds shall be kept.
7. The Biblical Role of Elders
- To shepherd the flock. (Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:1-3)
- To lead through example. (I Peter 5:3)
- To teach skillfully (I Timothy 3:2).
- To refute those who contradict Biblical truth (Titus 1:9). The implication of this role is that an Elder possesses a workable knowledge of the Word of God.
- To manage the Church of God. (I Timothy 3:5-7)
- To humbly serve the church (Matthew 20:25-28; I Peter 5:3). Elders are admonished not to lord their position as church leaders over the congregation. They are not to inflict their will on others. Such an attitude would disqualify them from this position. Instead they are to guide and direct the flock of God to obedience to the will of God.
- To pray for the sick. (James 5:14)
8. Regular Meetings of the Board
Regular meetings of the Board shall be held on such schedule as the Board may determine, but not less frequently than quarterly.
9. Special Meetings of the Board
Special meetings of the Board of Elders may be called at any time by order of the Chairman, or a quorum of the Board of Elders. A simple majority of the Elders currently serving shall constitute a quorum.
10. Rights of Inspection
Every Elder shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records and documents of every kind.
11. Removal of Elders
Any Elder may be removed from office if:
- He no longer fully affirms the statement of doctrine in Article III.
- He no longer meets the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
- He is not able to perform the role as detailed in Article IV, section 7.
Removal requires the unanimous vote of the remaining elders.
Any Elder may voluntarily withdraw from his position by written notice to the Board of Elders.
12. Additional Boards and Advisory Committees
To enable efficient handling of all matters pertaining to the ministry of the Church, the Board of Elders may appoint various boards and committees from the Deacons and from within the membership of the Church at large. These boards and advisory committees shall perform tasks solely in accordance with the duties specifically delegated by the Board of Elders, and shall carry out the will and direction of the Board of Elders.
The general functions of these additional boards and advisory committees are:
- To bring considered recommendations to the Board of Elders concerning the ministry of the Church.
- To provide a wider base of counsel to the Board of Elders having the oversight of specific ministries (Proverbs 11:14).
Article V. Deacons
The Greek word for Deacon conveys the idea of a servant. Deacons are to serve under the direction of the Elders, undertaking those areas of service necessary for the Church’s functioning that would otherwise prohibit the Elders and other leaders from performing their biblical responsibilities. No specific, on-going roles are mentioned in Scripture, probably because service needs change, and so the role of the Deacons should be flexible. The qualifications for Deacons are stated in I Timothy 3:8-13. It should be noted that the character is the issue in this passage but there are no statements about specific duties. No certain number of Deacons are to be maintained. The Deacons shall be selected by the Board of Elders.
Article VI. Pastor-Teacher
1. Election and Termination
The Pastor-Teacher shall be selected and confirmed by the Board of Elders at its sole discretion. He shall remain in office an indefinite period of time subject to the following reservations: the Elders reserve the right to dismiss the Pastor-Teacher.
The Pastor-Teacher may be removed from office if:
- He no longer fully affirms the statement of doctrine in Article III.
- He no longer meets the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
- He is not able to perform the role as detailed in Article VI, section 2.
Removal requires the unanimous vote of the remaining elders.
The Pastor-Teacher must give one month’s notice if he intends to resign.
The Pastor-Teacher shall be a member of the Board of Elders and he shall be responsible to the Board of Elders. The Pastor-Teacher shall meet the same qualifications and perform the same role as any elder. The Pastor-Teacher shall also arrange for all public and regular services of the Church, regularly teach the entire congregation on Sunday mornings, and shall be responsible for general oversight of the spiritual welfare of the Church (II Timothy 4:1-2).
Article VII. Associate Pastors, Assistant Pastors, Youth Pastors, OR FAMILY PASTORS
An Associate Pastor, Assistant Pastor, Youth Pastor, or Family Pastor shall perform such duties as may be outlined by the Pastor-Teacher and the Board of Elders. He will be responsible to the Pastor-Teacher and the Board of Elders concerning his ministry and its results. He is subject to the qualifications of an elder. An Associate Pastor, Assistant Pastor, Youth Pastor, or Family Pastor shall be subject to the same election procedure and requirements under Article VI, Section 1.
Article VIII. Board of Directors
The Board of Elders shall select from their number four (4) persons who shall serve as directors of the Corporation, who shall be responsible for all actions required of the Board of Directors of a corporation formed pursuant to the non-profit corporation laws of the state of Missouri. The Board of Directors shall be subject to the authority of the Board of Elders and shall carry out the will and direction of the Board of Elders.
Article IX. Officers of the Corporation
The officers of the Corporation shall be as follows:
- President: Chairman of the Board of Elders
- Vice President: Vice-Chairman of the Board of Elders
- Secretary: Secretary of the Board of Elders
- Treasurer: Treasurer of the Board of Elders
The officers of the Corporation shall be responsible for all actions required of officers of a corporation formed pursuant to the laws of the state of Missouri.
Article X. Church Membership
EXPECTATIONS OF MEMBERS
New Community Church’s expectations of members go beyond simple faith in Christ. Just as God calls His children to a life of good works subsequent to salvation, we expect that our members would pursue a life of good works within the context of this congregation. These good works are stated below:
- It is expected that members of New Community Church desire to serve this body and would be actively engaged in doing so.
- It is also expected that members of New Community Church would be sacrificial in meeting the needs of the body at large as well as individual needs within the body. This will require sacrifice of personal time and comfort, as well as finances.
- It is expected that members of New Community Church desire to place themselves in submission to the leadership of this congregation. The leadership of a local congregation has been given the responsibility by God to protect and direct that congregation toward greater intimacy with Christ.
- It is expected that members of New Community Church be doctrinally unified with the positions of the church. If at any point one finds disagreement with our positions, we expect that our members would neither promote nor become divisive in favor of their position. However, questions and discussion over varying points of doctrine are always welcomed by the elders.
BECOMING A MEMBER OF NEW COMMUNITY CHURCH
The process for becoming a member of New Community Church is as follows:
1. Complete the membership class.
2. Fill out a membership application and return it to the church office.
3. After receiving the application, an appointment will be set up for an interview with two elders. The purpose of this meeting is to hear the story of the applicant’s conversion to Christ and to answer any questions he/she may have.
4. If there are no further concerns, the elders will approve and welcome the applicant as a member of the church.
5. The church will formally welcome new members on the third Sunday of each month.
The church has the right to refuse membership if the individual presented:
- Does not confess Christ as Savior and Lord.
- Does not concur with the Doctrinal Statement set forth in Article III.
- Has not been baptized as a believer.
- Currently exhibits an ungodly, unrepentant lifestyle.
Church discipline is the divinely prescribed method of dealing with moral and doctrinal infractions of professed believers within a local church through a four step approach given to the church in Scripture. The final step of church discipline involves the involuntary disassociation of an unrepentant professing believer from the fellowship of the church.
Professing believers are subject to church discipline not simply because they have sinned or are mistaken about doctrinal issues. They are subject to discipline because they refuse to repent of their sin(s) (with evidence of the fruit of repentance); they refuse to cease from promoting false doctrine, they are being divisive, or they are living in continued, unrepentant sin.
PURPOSE OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE
- To restore a sinful saint (Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11)
- To deter sin in the church (1 Timothy 5:17-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13)
- To purify the church morally and doctrinally (1 Corinthians 5:1-8; 1 Timothy 1:20)
WHAT PROVOKES CHURCH DISCIPLINE?
- Doctrinal Deviation (1 Timothy 1:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:15-18; Galatians 1:6-8; Acts 20:28-30)
- Divisiveness (Romans 16:17-18; Titus 3:9-11)
- Depravity (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
- Idleness (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
PROCESS OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE
- Step one – private confrontation (Matthew 18:15)
- Step two – semi-private confrontation (Matthew 18:16)
- Step three – public confrontation (Matthews 18:17a)
- Step four – public excommunication (Matthews 18:17b)
A regular annual meeting of the Church members shall be held.
Special meetings of the members may be called at any time by order of the Board of Elders.
Notice of regular meetings shall be given from the pulpit for two successive Sundays prior to the meeting. Notice of special meetings shall be given from the pulpit at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting.
Article XI. MARRIAGE POLICY
Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself, New Community Church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the Elders and staff of New Community Church shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of New Community Church shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.
Article XII. FACILITY USE
The church desires that its facilities be used for the fellowship of the Body of Christ and to bring God glory. Although the facilities are not generally open to the public, we make our facilities available to approved non-members as a witness to our faith, in a spirit of Christian charity, and as a means of demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in practice.
But facility use will not be permitted to persons or groups holding, advancing, or advocating beliefs or practices that conflict with the church’s faith or moral teachings, which are summarized in, among other places, Article III of the Bylaws. Nor may church facilities be used for activities that contradict, or are deemed inconsistent with, the church’s faith or moral teachings. The Board of Elders is the final decision-maker concerning use of church facilities.
This restricted facility use policy is necessary for two important reasons. First, the church may not in good conscience materially cooperate in activities or beliefs that are contrary to its faith. Allowing its facilities to be used for purposes that contradict the church’s beliefs would be material cooperation with that activity, and would be a grave violation of the church’s faith and religious practice. (2 Cor 6:14; 1 Thes 5:22.)
Second, it is very important that the church present a consistent message to the community, and that the church staff, elders, and members conscientiously maintain that message as part of their witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Allowing facilities to be used by groups or persons who express beliefs or engage in practices contrary to the church’s faith would have a severe, negative impact on the message that the church strives to promote. It could also cause confusion and scandal to church members and the community because they may reasonably perceive that by allowing use of our facilities, the church agrees with the beliefs or practices of the persons or groups using its facilities.
Therefore, in no event shall persons or groups who hold, advance, or advocate beliefs, or advance, advocate, or engage in practices that contradict the church’s faith use any church facility. Nor may church facilities be used in any way that contradicts the church’s faith. This policy applies to all church facilities, regardless of whether the facilities are connected to the church’s worship center.
Article XIII. Amendments
This document shall be reviewed at least once every 5 years by the Elders. Any amendments, modifications, or changes must receive unanimous approval of the Board of Elders. Any changes must be publicly posted for a period of three weeks for the purpose of communication to the church body.