Our Constitution and By-Laws


Constitution
Preamble
———Article I: Name
———Article II: Purpose
—-———Section 1: Mission Statement
———Article III: Statement of Basic Beliefs
———Article IV: Church Government and Leadership
—-———Section 1: The Priesthood of all Believers and the Leaders of a Local Church
—-———Section 2: Church Leadership (Pastors/Elders)

By-Laws
———Article I: Church Membership
—-———Section 1: Basis for Church Membership
—-———Section 2: Church Discipline
—-———Section 3: Restoration to Fellowship
———Article II: General Church Officers
—-———Section 1: Church Officers
—-———Section 2: Church Leadership (Pastors/Elders)
—-———Section 3: Deacons
—-———Section 4: Trustees
—-———Section 5: Treasurer
———Article III: Church Regulations
———Article IV: Property Rights
———Article V: Statement on Marriage and Sexuality
—-———Section 1: Marriage Policy
———Article VI: General
—-———Section 2: Volunteers for Youth & Children’s Ministry


Preamble

It is to be remembered that the real charter and constitution of this church is God’s Holy Word. However, the following by-laws are for the orderly function of the church. These by-laws are always subject to reconsideration as to their full and indisputable agreement with God’s Word. As such, the elders of Christ’s Church do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we, the members of Christ’s Church, voluntarily submit ourselves.

Article I: Name

This body shall be established and known as Christ’s Church.


Article II: Purpose

Section 1: Mission Statement

Christ’s Church exists to bring glory to God by growing a biblically healthy spiritual family of fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.


Article III: Statement of Basic Beliefs

We believe these statements to be truths which God has revealed to mankind so that man may know God:

1. The Scriptures:

We believe the Scriptures to be the pure Word of God (Ps. 12:6),wholly true (John 17:17), from which nothing can be subtracted and to which nothing can be added. We believe the Scriptures are infallible and without error in their original manuscripts (II Peter1:20-21; II Timothy 3:16-17). They are authoritative in revealing God’s character, His salvation for mankind, the principles by which God directs men to live, and any subject which they address.

2. Sovereign God:

We believe in one God (Gen.1:1; Deut. 6:4; Isa.45:5-6; 46:9). He is the Creator of the entire universe and is personal, spiritual, infinitely holy, absolute and exists in three persons: God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit. All three persons are eternal and equal in power and glory, having the same attributes, yet separate, but without divisions of nature or essence (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:18-20; John 10:30; 15:26; II Cor.13:14; James 2:19).

3. Man and Salvation:

We believe that each individual is born in sin, and therefore fails to do all that God desires. No effort by man can produce righteousness before God the Father (Rom.3:9-18; 5:12); so each individual must therefore receive the death of Jesus Christ and shedding of His blood on the cross as for himself (John 1:12; Rom.3:21-26; 4:16-25; 5:1-2), and in repentance must ask God’s forgiveness for his sins (Matt.3:2; Mark 1:5; Acts 2:38); 17:30; 26:20).

Salvation manifests itself in Justification, Sanctification and Glorification. Justification occurs at the time one receives Christ as personal Savior, and the Holy Spirit causes spiritual rebirth (John 1:12; 3:4-5; Rom. 10:9-10,13) and permanently indwells the believer. Sanctification is the process in which the believer grows in grace toward conformity with Jesus Christ (Rom.6:4; Eph.2:1-10). Glorification is the final redemptive experience occurring when the believer comes into the presence of God in Heaven (Rom.6:5; 1 Cor.15; Phil.1:6).

4. Further Statements: (see official Statement of Faith)

These statements are not exhaustive; they are given in order to emphasize the foundations of our faith. In addition to these statements, we affirm the truths found in our Statement of Faith.


Article IV: Church Government and Leadership

Section 1: The Priesthood of all Believers and the Leaders of a Local Church

The Priesthood of believers is an indubitably established fact in the New Testament (I Peter 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). The church is made up of both the leaders and the individual believers. The local church, made up of all believers, accepts these leaders as representatives appointed by God [not to represent them before God but to lead among them with God’s blessing, having been endowed with special gifts (Eph. 4:7-16)]. All Christians, however, are priests alike before God and have direct access to God, through Jesus Christ, without intermediaries (I Tim. 2:5).


Section 2: Church Leadership (Pastor/Elders)

General Statement:
Christ is the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). He is the true source of all the church is and does, and His glory is to be the object of every act, function and motive of the body, both individually and corporately.

The New Testament reveals that Christ calls Pastors / Elders / Overseers to lead and equip His church. These three terms describe different aspects of their function, but all three are used interchangeably in the New Testament to refer to the same church office (I Peter 5:1-2; Acts 20:17-18, 28). These shall be men in whom the working of the Holy Spirit is evident, who have given a worthy witness of the authority of Christ in their lives and who have met the qualifications given in the Scriptures.

The Eldership shall serve as the board of directors. They shall be responsible for the overall vision, direction, focus and shall fully oversee, govern and operate the affairs of the church.

Qualifications of Leadership: The qualifications of Pastor/Elders are spelled out in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

Primary Pastoral Leadership: Although Christ’s Church is led by a plurality of Elders, primary leadership shall rest in the Lead Pastor who serves as the point person in the ministry. The Lead Pastor is a part of the Eldership and serves as the “mantle leader” of his fellow shepherds. Yet, he is in submission to the Eldership. He walks with the eldership in “policy/major mission” decision making. Yet, he is trusted by the Eldership to make day-to-day administrative/implementation decisions––thus, walking out the “redemptive tension” of leading and being in submission to the Eldership.

Responsibilities of the Lead Pastor

1. Teaching Ministry - A fellow elder who directs the affairs of the church through his life’s work of feeding the flock by preaching and teaching the Word of God (I Timothy 5:17).

2. Leading Ministry - A fellow elder who lives an exemplary Christian life in relationship with Christ and other leaders, with integrity, commitment and love. A visionary leader who seeks the counsel of Scripture and the Holy Spirit for mission direction. An equipping leader who shares his life and time with others for the purpose of training and raising up other leaders.

3. Managing Ministry - A fellow elder who supervises and manages staff in the day-to-day implementation of ministry; delegates responsibility and channels needs to servants who can meet them; makes decisions, implementing the policy and plans of the Eldership.

Responsibilities of Elders

1. Leading Ministry - A fellow elder who:
  • lives an exemplary Christian life in relationship with Christ and other leaders, with integrity, commitment and love
  • with the pastor, seeks the Lord’s will for the overall mission of the congregation
  • wrestles with proposed ministry needs and directions, discerning the mind and word of Christ, making policy decisions. In decision making, the Pastor and Elders personally speak the truth in love, as they understand it, express their personal convictions, seek to discern the mind of Christ for a given question, then walk with the majority opinion of the Eldership, guarding the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3)
  • leads the body by personal example in personal chosen ministry areas
  • supports the lead pastor’s mantle of leadership and holds the lead pastor accountable to ministry responsibilities
  • prays regularly for his fellow elders.

2. Shepherding Ministry - A fellow elder who disciples other leaders, and shepherds a given part of the congregation by overseeing and supervising small groups, providing biblical counsel, calling on and ministering to the idle, timid, and weak disciples (I Thess. 5:14).


By-Laws

Article I: Church Membership

While all followers of Christ are members of the universal Body of Christ, they should also be committed to a local congregation. The New Testament describes it as being a member of God’s household (Eph. 2:19) called to function, participate and minister in a particular place within the body of Christ (Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 4:11-16; I Cor. 12:12-27).

If people are going to come into a covenant relationship that is genuine and meaningful there must be a strong foundation upon which that relationship is built. Membership is a public declaration of that covenant relationship based on shared vision, beliefs, practices and trust.


Section 1: Basis For Membership

Membership in our fellowship is open to all baptized believers in Christ who have gone through our Discovering Church Membership Class, signed our Life Together Covenant, and are faithfully participating in the life and ministry of the church.


Section 2: Church Discipline

Every disciple (learner, follower, disciplined one) of the Lord Jesus Christ is to walk under the discipline of the Lord Jesus and His Word (His instruction, direction, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, II Tim. 3:16-17). Mutual accountability is a part of that discipline. Along with that, God has called the church to submission (I Peter 5:5) and obedience (Hebrews 13:17) to the Elders He has placed over His church. This formative discipline is part of the holy walk He has commanded for each believer and for the church as a whole.

When a member errs in doctrine or conduct it may be necessary for the Elders to apply corrective discipline as instructed by God in His Word. The Elders shall, in consultation determine whether a matter is to be brought before the body for the action of declaring fellowship withdrawn.

Members in the early churches were subject to confrontation for reasons such as:

1. Unwillingness to become reconciled to an offended brother (Matthew 18:15-17).

2. Unwillingness to engage in work (II Thessalonians 3:6-15).

3. Divisiveness in the church (Romans 16:17-18; Titus 3:9-10).

4. Sexual immorality or habitual covetousness, idolatry, slandering, drunkenness, or swindling (I Corinthians 5:1-13).

6. General unrepentant sinful conduct (Galatians 6:1).


Section 3: Restoration to Fellowship

The goal of all discipline is a holy walk under the leadership of Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word (Galatians 6:1; Hebrews. 13:5-11). The responsibility to exclude persons or withdraw fellowship is in harmony with the teachings of the Word of God (Matt. 18:15-17; I Cor. 4; I Cor. 5; II Thess. 3:6) and is balanced by the call to restore such persons who have given satisfactory evidence of repentance (II Cor. 2:6-8). When a person gives such evidence, the Elders shall recommend that the person be restored to full fellowship in the church body.


Article II: General Church Officers

Section 1: Church Officers

In addition to the Eldership, other officers of this church shall be the deacons, trustees, treasurer, and other officers that are necessary to maintain the administration and ministry of the church. All potential officers shall be approved by the Eldership.


Section 2: Church Leadership (Pastor/Elders)

The Pastors and Elders shall exercise a general superintendence over the Church, the flock of God (Acts 20:28; John 21:15-17; I Peter 5:1-4). Elders shall be called by God, qualified by Scripture (I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9) and willing to fulfill this shepherding responsibility.

Titus 1:5 records that Titus was to appoint elders to lead in the overseeing of the local church: “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.” In keeping with that directive, the Elders and Pastors will be appointed to office by the Eldership upon congregational evaluation through prayer.

Any pastor or elder may be removed from office if he becomes physically incapacitated, spiritually unqualified (I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9), or his inability to serve is established by the remainder of the Eldership.


Section 3: Deacons

The word deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos, which literally means servant or minister. Deacons, therefore, are the servant-ministers of the church. They are biblically qualified servant-officers who are called by God and led by elders. They are not a deliberative body (i.e. a ‘board’), but those set apart to coordinate specifically needed ministries within our church family.

The deacons will be appointed to office by the Eldership upon congregational evaluation through prayer, in accordance with the need in the body. Each deacon must possess the qualifications described in I Timothy 3:8-13.


Section 4: Trustees

The Trustees are officers required by the Commonwealth of Virginia for legal matters. They shall be appointed by the Eldership to act as the legal agents in all business matters required by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Trustees hold legal title to all congregational property. The Trustees will not have, either individually or collectively, authority to create obligations, make contracts, incur debts, mortgages, or leases, dispose of property in any way or manner, or disperse funds for the church except as directed by the Eldership.


Section 5: Treasurer

The Treasurer shall be appointed by the Eldership to receive and disburse all funds of the congregation, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and reimbursements. Part or all of these tasks may be delegated to paid bookkeeping personnel approved by the Eldership. Each month the treasurer will render to the church an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements of the preceding time period.


Article III: Church Regulations

The purpose for which Christ’s Church is organized is exclusively religious and educational within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law.

Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, this organization shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by an organization exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law.

In the event of liquidation or dissolution of the Christ’s Church, howsoever caused, the residual assets of the church (after the satisfaction of all the church’s debts and liabilities) shall be distributed to one or more non-profit organizations which is of like faith as the Christ’s Church. This administration is to be done by the Trustees with the Eldership’s approval.


Article IV: Property Rights

No member of the Eldership, or Trustees, or any other church member, has any individual right to any part of the property of the church. On the other hand, no member of the church or any administrative position may be held responsible for the corporate obligations of the church.


Article V: Statement on Marriage and Sexuality

In keeping with the clear teaching of Scripture, we believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 1:27; 2:18-25; Matt. 19:4-6). It is repugnant to the principles of the church, and beliefs and behaviors expected of our members and employees, to conduct, recognize, encourage or support any purported “marriage” that does not comply with the accepted definition of “marriage” set forth in this statement.

We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman (Hebrews 13:4).

We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God (Lev. 18; Ex. 22:19; Matt. 5:27-32; Rom. 1:24-27; 13:13; I Cor. 6:9-20; Eph. 5:3; I Thess. 4:3; Heb. 13:4).

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church.


Section 1: Marriage Policy

Marriage is a union ordained by God. It was first instituted by God in the early chapters of Genesis, codified in the Levitical law, the Old Testament prophets compared it to a relationship between God and His people, examples of it are in the historical narratives, and the wisdom literature discusses the unique unity of this relationship between a man and woman.

Jesus explained the original intention and core elements of marriage, and several New Testament Epistles give explicit instructions on this union. Marriage is a typology of Christ and the Church. As such, the Church views marriage as a profound spiritual institution established by God. Due to the importance of marriage in the biblical witness, this church adopts the following policy.


Clergy:
  1. Only duly ordained clergy shall officiate at marriage ceremonies conducted on church property.
  2. Clergy employed by the church shall be subject to dismissal and/or loss of ordination for officiating a same gender marriage ceremony.

Applicants:
  1. Applicants wishing to have a ceremony performed by a member of the clergy employed by the church, or to use the church facilities, shall affirm their agreement with the Articles of Faith and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.

Use of Premises:
  1. Any marriage performed on church premises shall be officiated by a member of the clergy.
  2. Clergy officiating marriage ceremonies on church premises, whether or not employed by the church, shall affirm their agreement with the Articles of Faith and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
  3. Ceremonies of marriage or “blessings of unions” pertaining to same sex relationships are strictly prohibited on the premises.
  4. The clergy assigned by the Eldership to implement the procedures contained in this Marriage Policy may, in his discretion, decline to make church facilities available for, and/or decline to officiate at, a ceremony, when, in his judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the applicants may not be qualified to enter into the sacred bond of marriage for theological, doctrinal, moral, or legal reasons.


Article VI: General

Section 1: Volunteers for Youth & Children’s Ministries

It shall be the goal of Christ’s Church to provide a safe environment for the physical and emotional well being of all children participating in church activities. Being thankful to God for each and every member or staff member who serves in every area of ministry, we here establish that:
  • The term “child” or “children” shall include all persons under the age of eighteen (18) years.
  • All volunteers who work with children must first be members of Christ’s Church. Under special circumstances, any of the elders may authorize an exception to this rule for a specific planned event.
  • All primary volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. Young persons may assist adults, but may not take the place of adult volunteers. The church may employ responsible teens (under the age of 18) only in positions with and under the direct supervision of an approved adult volunteer or staff member.
  • A criminal background check shall be required for all children’s ministry workers, both employee and volunteer workers, at the expense of the church. This shall apply to current workers and new workers. Any person who is unwilling to submit to a criminal background check shall not be able to serve in the Children’s/Youth Ministry.
  • The Virginia State Police Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry shall be regularly monitored in order to proactively provide the safest environment possible for all children participating in church activities.

Amendments: The Eldership shall draft and amend such by-laws as are necessary for the implementation of this Constitution. No by-law in violation of the Scriptures or the terms of this Constitution shall be valid.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have hereunto set our hands and seals this the 1st day of February, 2015.

DONALD J. BREDAMUS
Elder

T. CUMBERLAND
Elder

JOHN MARK HEADEN
Elder

TIM BREDAMUS
Elder
FRED R. ‘BOB’ FORD
Elder

BRIAN R. PACE
Elder

JASON DOVE
Elder

ROBERT W. WARDLE
Elder
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Christ's Church is a non-denominational church centered around four things: Jesus, Scripture, community and mission.

CHRIST'S CHURCH | PO BOX 3764 | MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA 24115 | 276.638.3479