The Constitution and By-Laws
November 1, 2015
This church shall be known as
MARANATHA BIBLE CHURCH
The purpose of this church shall be:
- To maintain regular public worship to God.
- To build up its congregation in the faith.
- To promote systematic study and teaching of the Bible.
- To strengthen the bond of Christian fellowship.
- To participate in the evangelization of the lost, both locally and throughout the world.
STATEMENT OF FAITH
- THE HOLY SCRIPTURES: We believe both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible to be the only verbally inspired Word of God, authoritative, infallible, and inerrant in the original writings (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12-13).
- GOD: We believe that there is only one true and living God, in Whom are three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; yet one in essence, co-equal and co-existent. We believe that God is Spirit; the He is holy, just, righteous, loving, unchanging, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent ( Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6; Matthew 29:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 4:24; John 3:16; James 1:17; Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 4:13; Ephesians 1:19-21; Psalm 139:7-10).
- GOD THE FATHER: We believe in God the Father Who is distinguished as such because of His eternal peculiar relationship to Jesus Christ His Son. We believe that God is the Father of regenerated man (John 20:17; 1 Corinthians 15:24,28; Romans 8:14-17,23; 1 John 3:1).
- GOD THE SON: We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal second Person of the Trinity and the eternal Son of God the Father, was begotten of Mary, a virgin, by the Holy Spirit, and was born man. He was in every respect as we are, but without sin. We believe that He accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice. We believe that our redemption is made sure to us by His literal physical resurrection from the dead. We believe that He ascended into heaven and thus becomes the only Mediator between God and men (John 1:1-3,14-18; Luke 1:35-35; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Timothy 2:5).
- GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe that the divine Person of the Holy Spirit has been active in the world from the beginning. It is He Who shows men their sin and leads them to Jesus Christ for forgiveness. He initiates the new birth and is actively present in believers, building, correcting, and empowering their growth toward the stature of Christ (2 Peter 1:21; John 16:7-8; John 15:26; John 3:3-5; John 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4:13).
- CREATION: We believe that God created all things from nothing, and that it was good (Genesis 1-2; Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).
- FALL AND DEPRAVITY OF MAN: We believe that man was created in innocence subject to God’s commands but by willful disobedience fell from his sinless and happy state. In consequence all men are now sinners, not only by nature but also by choice. Therefore, all are under just condemnation without defense or excuse and for this reason need the new birth (Genesis 3; Romans 3:10-19; John 3:3-7).
- SALVATION: We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to us by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Whose precious blood was shed for the forgiveness of sins. Saving faith works in the believer to manifest a new life and relationship to God. Repentance is involved in the salvation experience: one feels sorrow for sin, and a sincere willingness to turn from sin, and a sincere willingness to turn to God (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:8-10; Acts 20:21; Acts 26:20; John 1:12; Romans 2:4). We believe that all TRUE BELIEVERS, once saved, are kept secure forever and can never be lost (Romans 8:38-39; John 10:27-30; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30).
- ATONEMENT: We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly by grace. The Son of God, Who was Himself completely without sin, voluntarily took upon Himself our sin in obedience to the will of the Father. By His death in the sinner’s place, the just for the unjust, He made a full and complete atonement. In raising Christ from the dead on the third day, God the Father bore witness to the completion of His atoning work (Ephesians 2:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 10:17-18; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:26-27; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4,17; Romans 4:24-25).
- CHRISTIAN MATURITY: We believe that it is the will of God that all believers continue to mature toward the stature of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As the believer willingly accepts the direction of the Spirit, his inner life is sanctified and brought into more perfect obedience to God’s will. Moreover, within the fellowship of Christians and in the world, the Spirit directs the believer toward the likeness of Christ so that by his active love he bears witness to God’s presence and power within him and glorifies God before men (Romans 8:14; Ephesians 4:13, 22-24; John 13:34-35; 1Thessalonians 4:1-3; Matthew 5:16; 1 John 3:16-17).
- THE CHURCH: We believe that the Church is the body of those who have received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Membership in the local assembly does not necessarily constitute membership in the body of Christ. The Church is intended to worship, to observe the ordinances and to strengthen believers in the faith. It is entrusted with God’s message of salvation and is commissioned by Christ to proclaim the gospel everywhere (Revelation 2:18-20; Ephesians 1:22-23; John 4:23; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:41-42; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20; Matthew 29:18-20).
- ORDINANCES: We believe that Christ set forth two ordinances: Water Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 19:5; Matthew 29:19-20; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
- SATAN: We believe in the personality of Satan, who is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Job 1:6-7; Matthew 4:2-11; Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekial 28:11-19) and whose destiny is everlasting punishment (Revelation 20:10).
- SEPARATION: We believe that all believers should seek to walk in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Lord and Savior, and that separation from worldly pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (Leviticus 19:2; Romans 12:1-2; Romans 14:13; 2 Corinthians 6:14; 2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 John 2:15-17).
- THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST: We believe in the personal imminent coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His own and His subsequent return to earth to set up His kingdom ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 20:6).
- Each person desiring to unite with this church shall meet with the pastor or an elder to give evidence of having experienced personal salvation and possession of a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
- Each applicant shall attend an instructional class to be taught by the pastor, or in his absence, a qualified elder. The class shall include :
Conduct expected of all members. A partial list is provided in Galatians 5, Ephesians 4:17-32, Ephesians 5 +6 and Philippians 4.
Sinful Conduct to be avoided by all members. A partial list is provided in 1 Corinthians 5+ 6, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5.
- At the conclusion of the instructional class, those seeking membership will sign and submit the vows of membership to the Pastor or Elder teaching the instructional class.
- The vows of membership letter will clearly state each person desiring to join in membership to Maranatha Bible Church agrees with the church constitution and beliefs of Maranatha Bible Church.
- Upon approval of the Pastor or Elder, Each vow of membership letter will be submitted to the Elders board for approval.
- Upon membership approval by the Elders Board, new Members shall publicly respond to the vows of membership at a regular worship service.
- Believer’s baptism shall be required of all candidates for membership.
- There shall be two classifications of membership:
- Voting Member: One who supports the church regularly with his/her attendance, labors, and finances, and who renews his/her membership vows annually.
- Non-voting Member: Active members under the age of 18 years and those members who are unable to attend regularly, such as missionaries and students.
- The vows of membership shall be:
Do you believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and that therein only is revealed the way of salvation, and do you take this Word to be your rule of faith and conduct? “I do.”
Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, and do you now confess Him? “I have so received Him and do now confess Him.”
Will you promise, in the strength of the Lord, to renounce ungodliness, to follow Christ, to be obedient to His will, and to sincerely seek the advancement of the Church? “Yes, by the help of God.”
Will you faithfully endeavor to know your privileges and responsibility as a Christian and as a member of this Church? Will you be loyal to the Church, sustain it with your regular attendance and uphold it with your earnest prayers? “Yes, I will do so.”
Will you prayerfully study to know your duty as a Christian steward, and will you contribute of your means to the support of the Gospel and the various enterprises of this Church as God prospers you, and will you render Christian service according to your ability and the needs of the church? “Yes, I will do so.”
TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership is terminated when one or more of the following apply:
- When a member dies.
- A member joins another church.
- A member is removed from the church roles for disciplinary reasons.
- A member absents himself and /or fails to support the church for a period of one year or in other ways does not uphold his membership vows. (During this time, an elder will meet with him to attempt reconciliation and gain his active interest and support.)
- In 1ST Corinthians, Paul provides a list of conduct which causes disruptive influences within a church body.
- The identity of each Christian Believer is provided in 1Corinthians 6:
- 1 Cor 6:19b You are not your own!
- 1 Cor 6:19a Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit
- 1 Cor 6:20 You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
- The members of Maranatha Bible Church must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the above Scripture. Glorifying God with our body and spirit is only accomplished through our obedience to His Word. John 14:15, 21, and 23-24.
- Thus, it behooves all members of Maranatha Bible Church to avoid even the appearance of conduct which would bring shame to our Lord’s Holy Name.
- Guidance is provided throughout the New Testament regarding acceptable conduct fitting for saints. Sinful conduct is also described. A partial list of Sinful Conduct - which shames our Master’s name and leads to confusion for those unbelievers to whom we are to be lights and guides – is listed in 1 Corinthians 5+ 6, Galatians 5, and Ephesians 5.
- Members of Maranatha Bible Church found guilty of conduct listed in the above paragraph will be subject to Church discipline. Unlike all other requirements which the church Elders must deal with requiring a unanimous vote for acceptance, church discipline will require only a majority vote by the Elders.
- Discipline of Repentant Church Members.
- The discipline of Church Members will be done by the Elders and in accordance with God’s Word as found in the New Testament:
- When sinful conduct is revealed and repented of by the member, he or she shall be forgiven, and the member shall remain in good standing within the Church body, with one exception:
- Depending upon the sinful conduct, a period of observation – determined by the Board of Elders - shall be required before the member is allowed to teach or assist in teaching in any capacity.
- Matthew 18:15+16
- Luke 17:3+4
- Galatians 6:1
- 2 Cor 2:1-11
- Discipline of Unrepentant Church Members
- When sinful conduct is revealed and is not repented of, the Elders shall conduct themselves in accordance with guidance found in the following scripture:
- Matthew 18:15-17
- 1 Cor 5:11-13 (note Colossians 3:5 for idolatry)
PASTOR - CALL AND DUTIES
- The pastor of the church shall be chosen by the congregation upon recommendation of the pastoral search committee and unanimous approval of the elders after prayerful investigation and examination.
- The selection and call of a pastor shall require at least a 2/3 favorable vote of members present at a duly called congregational meeting.
- After his selection and call by the congregation, the pastor-elect shall be ordained, if necessary, and installed by a minister chosen by the board of elders and the pastor-elect.
- The pastor shall have the full-time responsibility for the general oversight of the spiritual life, regular services and administering of the ordinances of the church, member visitation, and ordination and installation of officers. He shall be ex-officio member of all boards and committees connected with the church or any of its organizations. He shall be accountable to the board of elders, who shall annually review his work. Specific details of the pastor’s duties shall be decided by the board of elders.
TERMINATION OF PASTORAL RELATIONSHIP
- Notice of resignation shall be delivered in writing to the board of elders at least two months in advance of the effective termination date of the pastor.
- In the event that the relationship between the pastor and the congregation deteriorates to the point of being detrimental to the welfare of the church, the relationship of the pastor of the church shall be terminated. Recommendation for such termination can be activated by a duly called congregational meeting, at which time a secret ballot shall be taken. A majority of votes cast shall be necessary for dismissal. The termination shall be effective immediately, upon payment of two months’ salary.
ADDITONAL CHURCH STAFF -- CALL AND DUTIES
- All ministerial and other church staff shall be chosen by the approval of the elders after prayerful investigation and examination.
- All permanent full-time ministerial staff shall be elected by the congregation upon prior approval of the board of elders, and shall require at least a 2/3 favorable vote of members present at a duly called congregational meeting. He shall be an ex-officio member of the elder board.
- All staff shall have duties as directed by the pastor with the approval of the board of elders.
- A search committee shall be activated for all permanent full-time ministerial staff as specified in Article IX.
- Termination of permanent full-time ministerial staff shall be in accord with Article VII. All other termination’s shall be handled through the board of elders.
PASTORAL SEARCH COMMITTEE
- A pastoral search committee shall be activated within one month of notification of the departure of the pastor.
- The pastoral search committee shall be composed of three members of the board of elders, elected by the elders, and three members chosen from the voting members of the church and elected at a duly called congregational meeting.
- The pastoral search committee shall elect its own officers.
- The pastoral search committee shall give a monthly report of its activity and progress to the congregation.
- A congregational meeting may be called at any time by the board of elders, the pastor acting through the board of elders, or 10 percent of the members. The agenda of all congregational meetings shall be published and posted in the church when the called meeting is announced. No additional business may be conducted at the called meeting unless it appears on the published agenda one week prior to such a meeting.
- One half of the voting members of the congregation shall constitute a quorum.
- The chairman of the board of elders or an elder appointed by him shall moderate a congregational meeting.
CHURCH OFFICERS – ELDERS
- The church shall have, at the most, twelve (12) elders elected from the church membership who shall be men of high Christian character, favorably evaluated by Scriptural qualifications ( 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- Elders shall be elected on the first Sunday of November each year. To be elected he must receive at least fifty (50) percent of the votes of the members present at a duly called congregational meeting. Any positions not filled will remain vacant for the next three years. Those elected shall serve terms of three (3) years with expiration of the terms staggered so that a third of the elders shall be elected each year. Those elected shall assume office on January 1 of the following year.
- An elder may not serve two consecutive terms: he must wait at least one year between terms.
- A special election shall be held to fill any vacancy on the board, provided one (1) year or more shall remain in the term to be filled. To be elected he must receive at least fifty (50) percent of the votes of the members present at a duly called congregational meeting. If fifty (50) percent is not received, then the position shall remain vacant.
- Elders shall elect their officers.
- Meetings of the elders shall be held at least monthly. Special meetings of the elders may be called by the chairman, the pastor, or by any two elders.
The duties of the elders shall be:
- A quorum, consisting of a majority, shall be necessary to conduct business.
- At least semi-annually, to keep the membership lists current by contacting inactive members, evaluating membership status, and determining membership classifications.
- To exercise general supervision over all financial matters of the church, including holding title to the church property and acting as the legal to exercise general supervision over all matters pertaining to the spiritual welfare of the church, including cooperating with and assisting the pastor as needed, enforcing suitable Christian discipline, and supervising the Good Samaritan Fund.
- To consider application for church membership as set forth in Article IV and representatives of the church in compliance with requirements of the law of the State of North Carolina. The board shall neither sell nor encumber the real estate or other properties of the church unless authorized to do so by the congregation at a duly called meeting.
- To maintain in good repair all church property and to carry proper types and amounts of insurance on the church property at all times.
- To prepare an annual budget, this shall be approved by the congregation and have general supervision over the collection and disbursing of church funds. The board shall not proceed with any non-budgeted matters involving the expenditure of more than $2,500 without the consent of the congregation. The board shall also see that periodic reports showing the financial statement of monies received and disbursed are prepared.
- To engage all salaried employees and to determine the salaries of all church employees. The board shall also interview and recommend to the congregation any individual to be added to the ministerial staff.
- The board shall be expected to delegate responsibilities to other boards, committees, staff personnel, or church workers as required for the efficient functioning of the church. These workers shall be approved or appointed by the elders, shall be accountable to them, and shall be given clear direction from the board of elders in their designated tasks. These workers shall be in submission to God, to the church constitution, and accountable to the church leaders acting under the authority of God’s word.
- If, at any time, any elder finds himself out of accord with this constitution, he shall submit his resignation in writing to the chairman of the board of elders.
CHURCH CORPORATE OFFICIERS
- The church shall have the following officers of the corporation:
- Chairman - the Chairman of the board of elders, elected by the board of elders.
- Vice-Chairman - the Vice-Chairman of the board of elders, elected by the board of elders.
- Secretary/Clerk - the Secretary of the board of elders, elected by the board of elders.
- The church shall have additional officers of the corporation approved annually from the membership by the congregation, upon recommendations from the board of elders. The following officers shall not serve in more than one corporate office.
- A Receiving Treasurer - to receive and record all tithes, gifts, and free-will offerings.
- A Disbursing Treasurer - to dispense and record all expenditures.
- Church Auditors - three persons chosen to audit all finances of the church at least annually.
- At least six weeks prior to election of officers, a nominating committee shall be formed composed of three elders and three members from the congregation, nominated by the board of elders and elected by the congregation.
- At least three weeks prior to election, the nominating committee shall submit to the congregation a list of nominees at least two more than the number of officers to be elected. Further nominations may be made to the chairman of the board of elders at least two weeks prior to the time of election. All candidates shall be publicly announced to the congregation at least one week before the election.
- All nominees shall be interviewed prior to the public announcement of their nomination by the officers of the board of elders and the pastor for the purpose ofdetermining their spiritual qualifications.
FINANCES AND FUNDS
- This church shall be supported exclusively by tithes, gifts and free-will offerings, and every member shall be expected to contribute regularly to share in meeting the expenses of the church as God enables.
- No profit shall ever accrue to the benefit of any person from the assets, holdings, or other transactions in which this Church may become involved, except for services rendered.
- In the event of dissolution of this church, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied. None of its assets or holdings shall be divided among its members, but shall be dedicated irrevocably by the board of elders to such other non-profit organizations as are in agreement with the spirit of this church’s Statement of Faith, and in conformity with the requirements of the United States Internal Revenue Service Code of 1954 (Section 501-C-3) or any subsequent amendments thereto.
- Borrowing of funds, purchasing of property, and mortgaging must be by majority approval of voting members at a duly called congregational meeting.
This constitution is subject to amendment by the following method:
- The proposed amendment may be submitted to the chairman of the board of elders by the board of elders or 10 percent of the voting members of the congregation.
- The proposed amendment shall be placed on the agenda of the board of elders at the earliest of either the February or August meeting and shall be examined by the board.
- Within six months of being placed on the agenda of the board of elders, the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the congregation at a duly called meeting. Approval of the amendment shall require the vote of two thirds of the members present.
ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be used and followed at all meeting for the transaction of business or for any matter not addressed by this constitution.
ULTIMATE AUTHORITY OF MEMBERS
Any matter not covered by this constitution shall be resolved by a majority of the voting members at a duly called congregational meeting.
Church facilities shall be available for members only. However, upon approval by the Elders Board, or should they determine it necessary, by congregational approval as described in ARTICLE XVII, permission to use the facilities may be granted upon the followings conditions below:
- For a Christian Religious Service and
- To those groups or individuals who agree with the church constitution and beliefs.