Shiloh church constitution

 

Adopted October 8, 2017

Preamble

Since it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to call certain of His servants to unite here under the name Shiloh Church for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and He has sustained and prospered this work to the present day; and   

Whereas we, the members of Shiloh Church, having searched the Scriptures under the guidance of His Spirit, have recognized the need to reconstitute ourselves to more closely conform to His will for the Church in this age and prepare ourselves for greater efforts in His name;   

Now therefore we, the members of Shiloh Church, do hereby 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 standards set forth in our Statement of Faith (which is the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith) and Covenant of this church.

 

Article I. Name

 

The name of this church is Shiloh Church.

 

Article II. Purpose

 

This church exists by the grace of God, for the glory of God, which shall be the ultimate purpose in all its activities. This church glorifies God by loving Him and obeying His commands through:

  1. Worshipping Him;

  2. Equipping the saints through Bible instruction and study;

  3. Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching and personal evangelism, and any other means consistent with the teachings of Holy Scripture;

  4. Encouraging, supporting, and participating in missions work, local, domestic, and international;

  5. Administering biblical fellowship among believers; and

  6. Serving other individuals, families, and churches by providing for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

Article III. Membership

 

Section A. Qualifications

   

To qualify for membership in this church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been baptized in obedience to Christ following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. Each member must agree to submit to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and must promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Church Covenant. The elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on  person’s profession of faith, or such other evidence as the elders deem appropriate.

 

Section B. Admission of Members

 

To be admitted into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission and accepted by a ⅔ majority vote of a quorum of 50% of active voting members at any regular or special meeting of the members where the congregation has been notified one week in advance of any such meeting, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches.

 

Section C. Duties and Privileges of Membership

 

In accord with the 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 shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church who are members of this congregation; 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. 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.

 

Section D. Voting Members

 

A voting member shall be at least 18 years of age.

 

Section E. On Church Discipline

 

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, then, should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed. Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, deposition from office, and excommunication (see Matthew 18:15-17; II Thessalonians 3:14-15; I Timothy 5:19-20; I Corinthians 5:4-5).

 

The purpose of such discipline should be:

  1. For the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined (see Proverbs 15:5, 17:10, 25:12, 27:5, 29:15; II Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 6:4; I Timothy 3:4-5; Hebrews 12:1-11; Psalm 119:115, 141:5; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Matthew 7:26-27, 18:15-17; Luke 17:3; Acts 2:40; I Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:1-5; II Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; I Timothy 1:20; Titus 1:13-14; James 1:22);

  2. For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them (see Proverbs 13:20; Romans 15:14; I Corinthians 5:11, 15:33; Colossians 3:16; I Thessalonians 5:14 [note this is written to the whole church, not just to leaders]; I Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:11; Hebrews 10:24-31, 25);

  3. For the purity of the church as a whole (see I Corinthians 5:6-7; II Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 5:27; II John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21:2);

  4. For the good of our corporate witness to non-Christians (see Proverbs 28:7; Matthew 5:13-16; John 13:35; Acts 5:1-14; Ephesians 5:11; I Timothy 3:7; II Peter 2:2; I John 3:10); and

  5. Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (see Deuteronomy 5:11; I Kings 11:2; II Chronicles 19:2; Ezra 6:21; Nehemiah 9:2; Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 36:21; Matthew 5:16; John 15:8, 18:17, 25; Romans 2:24, 15:5-6; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Ephesians 1:4, 5:27; I Peter 2:12).

 

Section F. Termination of Membership

 

The church shall recognize the termination of a person’s membership following his or her death, and may do so after he or she has voluntarily resigned or joined with another church. Membership may also be terminated as an act of church discipline (ordinarily, but not necessarily, at the recommendation of the elders) by a ⅔ majority vote of a quorum of 50% of active voting members present at any regular or special meeting of the members. The church shall have authority to refuse a member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either for the purpose of proceeding with a process of church discipline, or for any other biblical reason.

 

Article IV. Meetings

 

Section A. Worship Meetings

 

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. There shall be a regular members’ meeting at least every other month, at some time apart from a public worship service agreed upon by the membership. An elder designated by the elders shall preside as moderator at all members’ meetings of the church. The elders shall see that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held and that required reports are submitted to the church by the responsible members.

 

Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met, a quorum shall be understood to be met by those members present. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast by members present.

 

A budget shall be approved by the membership at a members’ meeting no more than three months after the start of the fiscal year. Prior to this approval and subject to the elders’ discretion, expenditures may continue at the prior year’s level.

 

At any regular or special members’ meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.

 

Article V. Officers

 

Section A. Summary

 

The biblical offices in the church are elders and deacons. 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 B. Elders

 

The elders shall be comprised of ideally not less than two men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. No elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.

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 I 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 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.

 

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 I Timothy 5:17-21. Any of the elders may be dismissed by  a ⅔ majority vote of a quorum of 50% of active voting members present at any regular or special meeting of the members.

 

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.

 

Each year the elders, after consulting with the deacons and the membership shall present to the church an itemized budget. The budget shall be presented for discussion at a specially-called budget meeting and called up for a vote at the following members’ meeting. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders.

 

Section C. The Senior Pastor

 

The senior pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section B, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the ministry of preaching and teaching. He shall peach 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 D. Deacons

 

The office of deacon is described in I 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.

 

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.

 

Section E. Clerk

 

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.

 

The clerk shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation. In the absence or incapacity of the clerk the elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church clerk.

 

Section F. Treasurer

 

The treasurer, who shall not be a 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 as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church.

The treasurer shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation.

 

Article VI. Elections

 

Section A. Principles

 

The process for church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:

  1. Substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, should be an integral part of the election process;

  2. Nominations should proceed with the support of the elders;

  3. All candidates for church office should be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow members;

  4. 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 B. Selection of Officers

 

The election of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church. Names of nominees to serve as elders, deacons, clerk, or treasurer shall be presented by the elders at the previous members’ meeting (providing that previous meeting occurred at least eight weeks prior), and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.

 

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 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 church members’ meeting,

 

The moderator shall declare elected all men receiving  a ¾  majority vote of a quorum of 50% of active voting members 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. The persons elected shall assume their respective offices upon election, unless another date has been specifically designated.

 

Section C. Calling the Senior Pastor

 

In the calling of any man to this position, the same basic process of calling an elder must be followed. In addition, however, the church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching gifts of any potential senior 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 (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 VII. 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, I Corinthians 6:1-8), the church shall require 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 to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or pagan and whether individuals or corporate entities.

 

Article VIII. Amendments

 

The Statement of Faith and Church Covenant may be amended by a ¾  majority vote of a quorum of 50% of active voting members present 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.

 

This constitution may be amended by a ⅔  majority vote of a quorum of 50% of active voting members present 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. The revised version of this constitution shall be made available to all church members by the church clerk.