GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
We, the local body of Jesus Christ, declare and establish this constitution to maintain unity and to promote the principles of our faith, and to enjoy the blessings of God upon us, our families, our communities, and our nation through faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word. This constitution will provide for the governing of this body in an orderly manner, preserving the scriptural liberties of each individual member and the autonomy of this body. We recognize the Bible as the final authority in faith and practice and will constantly evaluate this constitution and our lives in light of the Word of God.
NAME AND INCORPORATION
Section 1 – NAME
The name of this congregation shall be Grace Bible Church in Rockwell, North Carolina. For the purpose of this constitution the Grace Bible Church congregation is also designated as “congregation,” “church,” and “body.”
Section 2 – INCORPORATION
This congregation may be incorporated under the laws of the State of North Carolina, but exists under the authority of Jesus Christ regardless of state incorporation. This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for religious, educational, and charitable, purposes within the meaning of Section 501 © (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law), including but not limited to, such purposes as the establishing and maintaining of religious worship; the building, maintaining, and/or operating of churches, parsonages, camps, vehicles, and cemeteries; distribution of literature; supporting mission efforts; and any other ministries that the Church may be led of God to establish.
STATEMENT OF FAITH AND AUTHORITY
Section 1 – STATEMENT OF AUTHORITY
The doctrine of this congregation is the Biblical Christian Faith wherein God alone is sovereign and His inspired Word, the Bible, is the final authority for all aspects of individual life, family life, church life, community life, and governmental affairs.
Section 2 – STATEMENT OF FAITH
(A) The Holy Scriptures
We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Word of God in the original languages. We are confident that the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God preserved for us today. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed, and therefore are the final standard for faith and conduct. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical contextual meaning. (II Tim 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21)
We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations which define man's responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are various ways by which God has managed His people. For example, three of these dispensations – the age of law, the age of grace (church age), and the age of the kingdom – are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture.
(Gen. 1:28; I Cor. 9:17; II Cor. 3:9-18; Gal 3:13-25; Eph 1:10, 3:2-10; Col 1:24-25, 27; Rev 20:2-6)
We believe in the one Triune God (all-knowing, all-powerful, and present everywhere), eternally existing in three persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, identical in nature, equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfection. All three persons of the trinity possess intellect, emotion and will. (Deut 6:4; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; John 1:1-4, 14, 14:10-11, 26; Hebrews 1:1-14)
(1)The Person and Work of the Father
(a)We believe in the fatherhood of God over creation. (Luke 3:38, Acts 17:29)
(b)We believe in the fatherhood of God over our Lord Jesus Christ. (John 5:17-47;
John 6:37-46; John 8:18-59; 10:25-38; 12:44-50; John chapters 13-17)
(c)We believe in the Fatherhood of God over believers. (John 5:17-47; Jn 10:25-30;
(d)We believe in the fatherhood of God over Israel as a nation. (Ex. 4:22; Mal. 2:10)
(2)The Person and Work of Christ
(a)We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without
ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, in
in order that He might reveal God and give his life as a ransom for all in order to
redeem sinful men. (Isa 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 11-14; II Cor. 5:19-21;
Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8; I Tim. 2:6)
(b)We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death
on the cross as our representative, substitutionary sacrifice, fulfilling the law on our
behalf; and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection
from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25, 4:24-25; Eph. 1:7; I Pet. 1:3-5, 18-19,
2:24; Heb. 4:15-16)
(c)We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, and is now exalted at the
right hand of God, where as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of
Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. He also is the head of the Church and
rules through His Word and the Holy Spirit. (John 16:7, 13-16; Acts 1:9-10;
Hebrews 9:24; 7:25; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 5:23; I John 2:1-2)
(3)The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
(a)We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of
righteousness and of judgment; and that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration baptizing all believers at salvation into the body of Christ, indwelling them and
sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Romans 8:9;
I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20; 12:12-14; II Corinthians 3:1-6; Ephesians 1:13-14)
(b)We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Divine Teacher who guides believers in under-
standing and applying the scriptures in their lives. Each believer is called upon to
yield to His control. (Ephesians 1:17-18; 5:18; I John 2:20, 27; Romans 6:13, 16;
(c)We believe that the Holy Spirit sovereignly gives gifts to every believer for the
edification and unity of the body. (Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:4-11, 28;
(d)We believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy (in
terms of additional revelation), and the gift of healing (individual healer), were
temporary, and for sign purposes only, and are not the result of a “second blessing.”
It is not always God's will to heal the body of sickness or pain, though God
may choose to do so in answer to prayer by believers. (I Corinthians 1:22,
13:8, 14:21-22; James 5:14-16)
(D)The Total Depravity of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam's sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; that man is totally depraved, and utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:10, 22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19)
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from the penalty, power (authority), and ultimately the very presence of sin. (John 1:12; Romans 10:9-10, 13-14; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; I Peter 1:18-19; Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20)
(F)The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers
(1)We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power and are thus
secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40; Romans 8:1; I Corinthians 1:4-8; I Peter 1:4-5;
(2)We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the security of their
salvation through the assurance of God's Word. (Titus 2:11-15; Hebrews 10:22;
I John 5:11-12)
(1)We believe that the Universal Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of
Christ, is solely made up of believers in Jesus Christ, born again by the Spirit of God.
(John 3:3, 7; I Corinthians 12:12-14; II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; I Peter 1:23)
(2)We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught
in the New Testament. (Acts 14:27, 20:17, 28-32; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
(3)We believe in the autonomy of the local church, which is free of any external human
authority or control. Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; I Corinthians 5:4-7; I Peter 5:1-4)
(4)We recognize water baptism by immersion, and the Lord's Supper to be scriptural
ordinances, not sacraments, (I.e. they demonstrate the grace that has been received, they
do not impart grace) for the Church in this age. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:8;
I Corinthians 11:23-26)
(H)Separation (or Sanctification)
We believe that God has made us holy in Christ Jesus and desires our lives to reflect who we are in Christ as His children. Although we live in His grace, we should not indulge the flesh or allow ourselves to be involved in anything that does not glorify our Father or edify others, but rather, yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives, who enables the saint to trust, live, and obey. We are who we are because of who He is. (Romans 12:1-2, 13:11-14, 14:13; I Corinthians 9:24-27; II Corinthians 6:14-17, 7:1; Galatians 5:13; I Thessalonians 4:3-9; I Peter 1:15-16; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11; Galatians 2:20; John 13:34-35; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 15:1-8)
(I)The Second Advent of Christ
We believe in that “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent, return in the air of Christ, who will rapture His Church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return to the earth with His saints to sit upon the throne of David in Jerusalem and to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom, which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Psalms 89:3-4; Daniel 2:31-45; Zechariah 14:4-11; I Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6)
(J)The Eternal State
(1)We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life and judgment for rewards, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:41-46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 20:11-15)
(2)We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and
present with the Lord, where they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body
are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8; Philemon 1:23,
3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6; Romans 8:28-30)
(3)We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious punishment
and torment until the second resurrection, when with spirit, soul and body reunite, they shall appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of
Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting punishment and torment, forever
separated from God. (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26, II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6,7; Revelation 20:11-15)
(K)The Personality of Angels
We believe that the Bible teaches that angels are beings created by God to serve Him and
man. An angel is a messenger. They are called “ministering spirits.” They are generally
invisible to us, but at times God has allowed them to be seen in various forms, usually in
the form of men. They are innumerable. (Luke 1; Hebrews 1:5-7, 13:2, 14; Matthew
18:10; Daniel 9:20-23, 10:13; Numbers 22:22-35; II Kings 6:15-18; Ezekiel 1:5-28;
The angel Lucifer was the “son of the morning,” “the anointed cherub that covereth,”
“the angel of light,” created by God. His sin was pride, which caused him to try to usurp
the throne of God and consequently, he was cast out of Heaven, as his permanent abode,
after which he infiltrated earth. He has many names in the Bible after his fall: “Satan,”
“the Devil,” “Deceiver,” “Dragon,” “that Old Serpent,” “the Accuser of Our Brethren”
and “the Father of Lies.” He is the author of sin and instigator of the fall of man, and he
is the open and declared enemy of God and man. Though powerful, he is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. He has as innumerable host of other fallen angels (one third of the original angels), called “demons,” to do his bidding. Although, according to God's sovereignty, he is presently the god of this world system, his power is limited and he knows his time is short. Through Christ he is a defeated foe, and ultimately, he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. We believe that demons may indwell (possess) unbelievers, but are limited to oppressing (afflicting, influencing) believers. (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Isaiah 14:12-17; Job 1:6-7, 14:12-17; Zechariah 3:1-4; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; Mark 5:2-16, 8:33; Luke 10:18; Revelation 20:10; Jude 9; Colossians 2:11-15; John 8:44; II Corinthians 4:4, 11:14; I John 5:19; Revelation 12:1-11)
We believe that God created the universe in six, literal, 24-hour days. On the seventh day, God rested from all His work, indicating completion. We totally reject any other theories of origination, which include evolution and/or theistic evolution, (e.g. the ‘gap theory’ or ‘day-age theory’) as unscriptural. (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11; John 1; Hebrews 1:2, 10-11; Psalms 19:1-6, 136:5-9; Colossians 1:16; Psalms 89:9-11; c.f. Hebrews)
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1)the Home 2)the Church and 3)the State. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific biblical responsibilities, though there is mutual accountability in all three realms (c.f. to Article 4, Section 4 for example). (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 2:13-14: Acts 4:18-20)
We believe that sex, only in the context of marriage, is a gift to mankind, and that God has commanded that no sexual activity should be engaged in outside of marriage. Biblical marriage occurs only between a natural man and a natural woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, polygamy and pornography are sinful perversions of God's gift of sex. (Genesis 2:24, 19:5, 13, 26:8-11; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4; Proverbs 5; Song of Solomon)
We believe that marriage is a covenant that can only be entered into by a natural man and a natural woman, as ordained by God. We believe that God hates divorce (not divorcees) and has ordained marriage to last until one spouse dies. Divorce violates Christ's command that “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” Marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church. Since Christ will never leave us nor forsake us regardless of our transgressions against Him, but forgives us, even so we should forgive one another. We acknowledge that this is a painfully prevalent issue in our culture and are committed to minister grace to those wounded through failed relationships. (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 5:32, 19:3-12; Mark 10:9-12; Romans 7:1-3; I Corinthians 6:7, 7:1-40; Ephesians 4:31-32, 5:21-33; I Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6; I Peter 3:1-7)
We believe that human life begins at conception, and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of an unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well being of the mother are acceptable. As with any other sin, confession of an abortion, as sin, is necessary to enjoy forgiveness and healing by Christ and the Church. (Job 3:16; Psalms 139:4-16; Isaiah 44:24, 49:1; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44; I John 1:9)
We believe that God has given to the church (expressed through local churches), a Great Commission to proclaim the gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ, we must use every available means to reach our homes, communities, and foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Corinthians 5:20)
(R)Lawsuits between Believers
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the local church possess all resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek just compensation for injuries and/or loss from another Christian's insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (I Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32)
We believe that every Christian is a steward, not owner, of God's resources, and is blessed in order to support his local church with his time, talent, and treasure. We believe that all we have belongs to God and has been entrusted to us to be used for His glory. Both Old and New Testaments teach about “freewill offerings.” Specific New Testament teaching for the church involves cheerful, sacrificial giving that is proportional, planned and at times spontaneous. These gifts are to provide for both spiritual and physical needs. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of their offering once the gift has been made. Suggestions for its use will be honored to the best of our ability. (See the Article on Designation of Contributions). (Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Corinthians 6:19-20, 16:2; II Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6; Ephesians 4:28; Philemon 4:10-19; I Timothy 6:17-19; I John 3:17)
Section 3 – AUTHORITY OF STATEMENT OF FAITH
This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible, and as members, we adhere to this statement of faith.
Nature and Purpose of this Constitution
Section 1 – NATURE
This congregation is a people created and redeemed by God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear witness to God's salvation and life in Christ. All authority in the Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ, its head. All actions of this congregation are to be carried out under His rule and authority. This congregation is a local fellowship of believers in Jesus Christ which gathers to exalt God, thereby encouraging believers, and enhancing desire to know Him. This involves prayer, teaching the Word of God, edification, ministry and accountability. (Acts 2:42)
Section 2 – Statement of Purpose
This congregation seeks to glorify God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and to carry out His Great Commission as given in Matthew 28:19-20. Having been commissioned by God, this congregation recognizes its privilege and responsibility toward God, individuals, families, community, and government, and purposes to seek to fulfill those responsibilities in the following ways:
(A)Attitude and Responsibility of Individuals toward God
(1)To place our faith (trust/confidence) in the Lord Jesus Christ; and to love God because He
first loved us. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
(2)To seek to know God through His Word and prayer, and to yield to the Holy Spirit. (Matthew
6:33; Romans 6-8)
(3)To gather as individuals and families to worship Him in spirit and in truth by praise, thanks-
giving, the ministry or the Word and prayer, in order to be equipped to witness and to serve.
(Hebrews 10:19-25; Ephesians 4:11-32)
(4)To publicly identify ourselves with Him through believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper.
(I Corinthians 11:23-34; Matthew 28:18-20)
(5)To use the gifts of the Spirit that God has given us as individuals to build and strengthen this
local body and the extended Church. (I Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:11-32; Romans 12)
(B)Attitude and Responsibility toward Individuals (Ephesians 4:11-32, 5:21; Philemon 2:3-4; I Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12; I Corinthians 12-14)
(1)To guide individuals to place their full confidence (faith) in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to
walk by faith, not by sight.
(2)To teach and nurture them through the Word, encouraging them in their faith and service in
(3)To guide individuals to understand their spiritual gifts and encourage them to yield to the
Holy Spirit so that He might use those gifts through the church for His glory.
(C)Attitude and Responsibility to Families (Ephesians 5-6; I Peter 3; Malachi 4:6; Titus 2; Romans 15; James 1:26-27: I Timothy 5)
(1)To teach each man to delight in and meet the needs of his wife with the same love that
Christ gave to the Church when He sacrificed Himself for Her.
(2)To turn the hearts of fathers toward their sons and daughters in order that the father may
teach his children Scriptural principles on how to be godly persons, spouses, and parents.
(3)To teach every wife to love her husband and children; to be discreet, pure in mind and spirit;
to manage the home; to respect her own husband in such a way that the Christian faith cannot
be spoken against.
(4)To provide counseling to families needing reconciliation or for any other family problem that
(5)To teach parents their responsibility to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of
(6)To assist parents in their responsibility to provide a godly education for their children.
(7)To teach families their responsibility in caring for their elderly family members in a
dignified way; to teach families their responsibilities in sharing to meet other families' needs.
(8)To provide assistance to the aged who have no family to provide for them and to visit the
sick and fatherless.
(D)Attitude and Responsibility to our Community (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16)
(1)Proclaim the saving gospel of justification by grace through faith according to God's Word.
(2)Carry out Christ's Great Commission by reaching out to all people regardless of race or
national origin in order to lead them to Christ.
(E)Attitude and Responsibility to our Governmental Authorities (I Timothy 2:1-8; Romans 13:1-10)
(1)To be involved in all levels of decision making by prayer, by encouraging them to make godly decisions, by holding leaders accountable, and by voting for wise, godly men and women.
(2)To train individuals to be responsible citizens by teaching the principles of responsible
Section 4 –FULFILLMENT OF PURPOSE
To fulfill these responsibilities, this congregation shall:
(A)Provide weekly Sunday services at which the Word of God is preached, and weekday gatherings, as needed, for prayer, discipleship, and fellowship. (Acts 2:38-42; Hebrews 10:19-24)
(B)Provide pastoral care. (I Peter 5; Titus 1; I Timothy 3)
(C)Challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their high calling of God in Christ Jesus and to use their spiritual gifts in their daily lives, families, congregation, and community. (Ephesians 4:11-34; Romans 12; I Corinthians 12-14)
(D)Provide for discipleship opportunities in which the Word of God is taught. (II Timothy 3:16-17;
II Peter 1:20-21)
(E)Witness to God's gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, reaching out to all people. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8)
(F)Respond biblically to spiritual and physical needs. (James 1:27; I John 3:17; Ephesians 4:32;
I Corinthians 12-14)
(G)To provide a library of resource material for growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 3:18)
(H)This congregation shall affirm its mission (purpose) statement, set forth by the elders, to provide specific direction for its programs. (Proverbs 29:18; I Peter 5:1-4)
(I)Administer the Lord's Supper at least quarterly, at the discretion of the elders. (I Corinthians 11)
(J)Provide baptismal services as needed. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Section 1 – QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall extend to all whom:
(A) Believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and ultimate authority over all, and
(B) Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting Him as their personal Savior, and
(C) Have a willingness to arrange themselves under the teaching of the elders in agreement with the preceding statement of faith.
Section 2 – MY ROLE AS PART OF THE BODY
On becoming a member of this church, each one aspires to love, honor, and esteem the leaders; to pray for them and to recognize their authority in the spiritual affairs of this church; to have brotherly love for all members of this church; to support the church in prayer, offerings, and with other financial support as the Lord enables; to use the gifts of the Spirit in ministering within and to the church; to have a testimony that honors and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ; to be faithful in worship attendance; to encourage personal time with the Lord and to encourage that in the family; to remember each other in prayer; to seek reconciliation when there is broken fellowship; and in accordance with God's Word to affirm the beliefs and practices of the church. (I Peter 5; Romans 12-16; Ephesians 4:32; I Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12; Ephesians 4:11-34; Hebrews 10:19-25; Galatians 6:1-2; Matthew 18)
Section 3 – PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP
This congregation functions as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the elders (See Article 5 for details). Membership in this church does not afford those individuals with any property, contract, or civil rights. The internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church's own rules and procedures, in accordance with Scripture. The elders shall oversee all aspects of the church.
Section 4 – DISCIPLINE AND RESTORATION OF A MEMBER
The elders are responsible for the oversight of the flock. When a member of the body deviates from sound doctrine, or their lives dishonors the name of Christ, the body is responsible to seek to restore the wayward member. If unheeded, the elders would intervene. The biblical process is outlined below.
(A)Members are to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another. When a member becomes aware of a matter that hinders spiritual growth and testimony, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother. Before he goes, he should examine himself to insure that he goes with a spirit of humility, not self-righteousness, with the goal of restoration. After prayerful consideration, a good way to proceed would be with questions to verify the facts, not accusations. (Matthew 7:1-5, 18:15; Romans 15:1-2; Galatians 6:1-2)
(B)If reconciliation is not reached, one or two more members are to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter. This second step should also follow the guidelines above. The presence of others will help to establish truth, preventing misunderstanding and misperceptions on either side. (Matthew 18:16)
(C)If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (A) and (B) have been taken, the elders shall hear the matter. If the matter is not resolved during this hearing, the elders shall recommend to the members of the Church that they make an effort to go to the offending member and seek that member's restoration. (Matthew 18:17)
(D)If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (A), (B) and (C) have been taken, such members who refuse to repent and be restored have removed themselves from the protection from the body and the privileges of membership. (Matthew 18:17-20;
I Corinthians 5; II Corinthians 7:9-10; James 5:19-20)
(E)If an unrepentant party is removed from church membership, all contact with him from that point forward must be for the sake of restoration (except family members). Regular fellowship is no longer possible. “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
(F)A person may be restored to the privileges of membership, following a disciplinary removal, after confession is made publicly before the church membership of the sin or sins involved, and repentance is apparent to the elders.
Section 5 – TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP
Members, not under the disciplining process of Section 4, may request that letters of transfer be sent to another church. When members from other churches request transfer of membership to Grace Bible Church, an effort should be made by the elders to inquire as to the reasons for the transfer.
Section 6 – TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
(A)Membership may be terminated if the member is not regularly attending worship services at Grace. Upon good cause (hospital stay, illness, temporary job assignment, etc.) being shown to the elders, this provision for termination may be waived.
(B) No member of this church may hold membership in another church, except missionaries who may belong to a church where they are stationed. If any member unites in membership with another church, that person is automatically terminated without notice from membership in this church.
(C)Membership will be terminated by death.
Section 7 – PRIVILEGES OF BURIAL
Members have the right to be buried in our church cemetery. Cemetery rules and regulations pertaining to burial and maintenance of the grave site will be available to the family.
The Bible teaches that the church is built upon Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone and Head, and that the apostles and prophets completed the foundation. The apostles appointed elders in every church who were to be the leaders in each local assembly. Deacons were appointed to serve the body in order to free up the elders for their ministry in the church, especially the ministry of the Word and prayer. The terms “pastor (shepherd)/teacher,” “bishop,” “overseer,” and “elder” are used in the Bible as various functions of the same office. (I Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:17-28; Titus 1:5-7) The deacons were never appointed to lead the church, but to serve. The elders were clearly the appointed leaders in the church who functioned as a team in dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, God called leaders to lead, just as a shepherd leads the sheep instead of following them wherever they want to go. The shepherd does not drive the sheep, but leads them by example and by caring for them. As in all of the Bible's teaching on authority, the focus is ultimately on trusting God. A citizen is to trust God and obey civil authority, except when they contradict what God says. (Romans 13:1-7; Acts 4:18-20) The wife is to fall under her husband's authority, just as Christ submitted to the Father. (I Peter 3:1-6; John 6:38) God appoints men, though fallible, as leaders in the local church, who are to be followed, as they follow Christ. The congregation is called upon to trust God to guide and direct these leaders through the Scriptures and by His Spirit. These leaders are not to “lord it over” the people, but to be loving leaders, willing to give their lives for the sheep. (I Peter 5:1-4; John 10:11-13) They should have a sympathetic ear to each member of the body. According to the Scriptures, the final decision rests with the elders. (Acts 15:6-22, 16:4) The congregation has the responsibility to follow the elders, to obey them, and to pray for and support them, because they watch for their souls. It is unprofitable for the congregation to give them grief. It is much more profitable for them if the elders are encouraged and supported by them, thus being free to do their job with joy. (Hebrews 13:17-18)
The qualifications for elders are listed in Titus 1 and I Timothy 3.
In light of biblical teaching, we believe that the elders are God-appointed overseers of the church as under-shepherds, and are called upon to recognize the giftedness of the members of the body in order to make proper appointments for ministries. (I Timothy 4:14, 5:17; Acts 15; Acts 20:17-32; Acts 11:30; Titus1:5-9; Philemon 1:1; I Peter 5:1-5; John 21:15-17; I Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 14:23; Acts 6:1-6; Hebrews 13:7-18; I Corinthians 9)
Section 1 – SPECIFIC CHURCH OFFICES
To help support the ministry of elders, the following ministries are essentially functions of service that help to fulfill the needs of our congregation here at Grace Bible Church.
According to Scripture, these deacons are servants, examined and nominated by the congregation, and appointed by the elders, not elected. The Church offices are the elders and the deacons. (Acts 6, 15 ....see the following sections.)
Section 2 – DESIGNATION OF CORPORATE OFFICERS
As an accommodation to legal relationships outside the church, trustees will be appointed as necessary by the congregational board.
Section 3 – ELIGIBILITY FOR OFFICE
(A)Elders; also referred to as Bishops/Overseers, Pastors (Shepherds)/Teachers. (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; I Peter 5:2-3; Hebrews 13:7, 17-18; John 10:11-14; John 21:15-19)
(1)Scriptures on Elders
I Timothy 3:1-7
1 This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine,
no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to
exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
I Peter 5:2-3
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly;
not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God; whose faith
follow, considering the end of their conversation.
17 Obey them that have rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that
must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.
18 Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming,
and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than
these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea,
Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he
said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said to him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou
knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou
wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and
carry thee whither thou wouldest or not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith
unto him, Follow me.
(2)Biblical Qualifications for Elders (See above Scripture references)
God-given desire to serve (ready and willing to serve)
Blameless (doesn't mean faultless, but above reproach)
A steward of God (he recognizes his accountability to God: it is God's flock, not the elder's flock)
Husband of one wife (lit. “a one-woman man,” sexually pure, not a womanizer)
Vigilant (alert, watchful, clear-headed)
Sober (of a sound mind, sane, in one's senses; curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate; knows how to properly order his priorities.)
Of good behavior (orderly, elders must not live chaotic lives; respectable)
Given to hospitality (hospitality, lit. “a lover of strangers”)
Able to teach (teachable, qualified, demonstrates a pattern of being teachable and teaching) (I Timothy 3:2, 5:17; II Timothy 2:24; Titus 1:9)
Not given to wine or any substance (not addicted to wine, rather filled with the Spirit)
No striker (lit. “not a giver of blows,” not violent, not prone to violence or striking others gentle and forebearing)
Not greedy of filthy lucre (not greedy for money, not materialistic)
Patient (gentle II Timothy 2:24, considerate, gracious and forebearing)
Not a brawler (not quarrelsome, not argumentative, not looking for a fight, peaceable, contends for the faith without being contentious)
One who rules his own house well, witnessed by having faithful children (a leader and manager in his home, faithful children not accused of riot or being unruly, children are submissive)
Not a novice (not “newly planted,” not a recent convert, not inexperienced in the faith)
A good report of them which are without (a good testimony in the community)
Lover of what is good
Not self-willed (not self-pleasing, not arrogant)
Not soon angry (not quick-tempered, not hot-headed, but patient)
Just (righteous, in a right relationship with God and man, maintains a walk with God)
Holy (set apart from sin and to God, distinct, views life from God's perspective)
Temperate (self-controlled, restrains urges and impulses, makes spiritual choices rather than fleshly ones)
Holds fast the faithful word as he has been taught (sound biblical doctrine should be taught and adhered to with deep conviction)
Able to exhort and convince the gainsayers (willing and able to encourage with good doctrine and refute the bad doctrine, able to use the Word of God effectively)
(B) Deacons: “servant” (I Timothy 3:8-12; Acts 6:3)
(1)Scriptures on Deacons
I Timothy 3:8-12
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrew by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Phillip, and Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. Then the Word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
(2)Biblical Qualifications for Deacons (See above Scripture references)
Grave (men of dignity, reverent, honorable, serious in purpose)
Not double-tongued (not saying one thing to one person and another to another, not a gossip)
Not given to wine (not addicted to wine or any substance)
Not greedy of filthy lucre (not greedy for money, not materialistic)
Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience (I Timothy 3:9)
First proved (tested, observed to demonstrate a pattern of Godly character)
Being found blameless (doesn't mean faultless, but above reproach)
Husband of one wife (lit. “a one woman man,” sexually pure, not a womanizer)
Ruling their children and their own houses well (loving, spiritual leaders and managers of their children and their own household) Ephesians 5:25-30
Among you (part of the church family)
Of honest report (a good reputation and testimony)
Full of the Holy Spirit (a life which is consistent with his confession of faith, controlled by the Spirit of God)
13.Full of wisdom (He seeks to know the will of God, and lives it)
(1)Scripture on Wives of Leaders
“Even so wives must be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” I Timothy 3:11
“Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some not obey the word, they, without
a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied
by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and
quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. ”
I Peter 3:1-6
(2)Biblical Qualifications of Wives of Leaders (See Scriptures above)
Grave (women of dignity, reverent, honorable, serious in purpose)
Not slanderers (“diabalos” = devil, diabolical, not one who defames someone's character, accusing falsely, not one who is given to finding fault with others, spreading criticisms in the church)
Sober (alert, watchful, clear-headed)
Faithful in all things (a woman of faith, trustworthy and reliable)
Section 4 – TERMS OF OFFICE
The Bible gives no indication that elders served for any specific term of office. On the contrary, they appear to always remain as elders unless biblically disqualified, no longer desire the office, or are no longer able to fulfill this role.
Again, the Bible gives no indication that deacons served for any specific term of office. Deacons were appointed in the New Testament Church for specific tasks (e.g. Acts 6 to administer meals for widows). The needs of the body will change with time, and certain deacon functions may or may not be needed. Deacons will be appointed by the elders for specific tasks for as long as needed and as long as the deacon meets the biblical requirements of a deacon, and is willing and able to fulfill this role.
Section 5 – APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS
(A) Elders shall be appointed by elders according to the qualifications listed in Section 3.
(B) Deacons shall be appointed by the Elders as needed in accordance with the qualifications in Section 3.
(C) Names of candidates identified by the Elders as potential Elders or Deacons will be presented to the congregation for a period of examination, during which time, if any member of the congregation has a concern about the individual named, his character, or fitness for office, that member will express his/her concern to the Elders, who will examine the concern in light of the qualifications in section 3. Once the examination period has passed, assuming there have been no concerns leading to disqualification, the Elders will confirm the newly appointed officer to the congregation.
Duties of Officers
Section 1 – ELDERS
The terms pastor (shepherd), elder, bishop and overseer refer to the same office in a New Testament church. Acts 14:23, 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; Philemon 1:1; I Timothy 3:1, 5:17, 19; Titus 1:5, 7
(A)The elders shall oversee the ministry of the Word of God, the ordinances (the Lord's Supper and Baptism) and all other ministries of the church. The elders shall tenderly watch over the spiritual interests of the membership, vigilantly guarding against false doctrine, sin, and those who would harm the flock. This may at times necessitate discipline and restoration for the good of the flock and of individuals.
(B) The elders shall meet regularly to exhort one another and to be mutually accountable as they:
Coordinate the teaching and ministries of the church.
Evaluate the needs, and direction of the church.
Formulate new strategies and goals for the church.
Administrate (oversee) the operations of the church.
(C)The elders, through study of the Word and prayer, will depend on the Holy Spirit to bring them to a decision.
Section 2 – DEACONS
“Servant” - I Timothy 3:8-12; Acts 6:3; Acts 2:42
The role of a deacon is to serve the Body of Christ under the supervision of the elders. Their purpose is to free up the elders to focus on the ministries of the Word, prayer and tending to the spiritual needs of the flock. Their duties involve the physical side of ministry. For example, aiding members with the physical needs, participating in visitation, assisting in serving the Lord's Supper, assisting in maintaining the facilities, etc.
Section 3 – TRUSTEES
The trustees are to represent the church in strict accordance with the directives from the congregational board in the execution of legal matters. The trustees shall purchase, hold lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and take real and personal property by will, gift or bequest on behalf of the church.
Section 4 – DUTIES OF ALL DEACONS
All Deacons shall work together in a spirit of unity and accountability, realizing we are a team and each person is of great value. Loyalty to our Lord Jesus Christ, the local church and the elders is of utmost importance. Any differences should be settled privately, and in a way that honors the Lord.
Section 1- PREAMBLE
In recognition of the broad scope of the ministries within the church, we recognize the need for committees. All committees are accountable to the elders. They shall present reports and updates as requested. The committees are to establish goals for the year. These goals should concur with the vision and mission of the church.
The elders shall appoint a chairman for each committee. The Chairman, with counsel from the elders, then recruits the members for that committee, as directed by the Lord. We encourage prayer and much thought be given to the composition of each committee. The talents and spiritual gifts of individual members should be utilized to further the cause of Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-16; I Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12:3-8)
Section 2 – COMMITTEES
(A) Finance. The finance committee shall serve as the Audit Committee, unless the elders appoint an auditor. The Finance Committee shall account for all finances of the church.
(B) Property and Grounds. This committee shall see to the proper maintenance and protection of all property of the church, and shall take care that it is kept in good repair. All buildings, including the parsonage, shall be inspected periodically (at least annually). This committee shall maintain records such as warranties, titles and inventory. This committee may be divided into subcommittees, which would have specific responsibilities for assigned church properties. This committee shall also function as the cemetery committee.
(C)Missions. This committee is responsible for maintaining contact with the missionaries we support, investigating potential missionaries for church support, and making specific recommendations to the elders concerning our missionary program. They are also responsible for facilitating hospitality to visiting missionaries.
(D)Music Committee. This committee is to oversee the music and audio/visual aspects of the service.
(E)Academy Board. This committee oversees the operation of Grace Academy.
(F)Benevolence Committee. This committee oversees and directs the use of the church's resources designated for helping those in need, in accordance with stated guidelines.
(G)Other Committees shall be formed by the elders as needs arise.
Section 1 – MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP AND PRAYER
Unless otherwise determined by the elders, the church shall meet each Sunday morning and at other times during the week for worship edification. Our purpose for gathering on Sunday mornings is to exalt God, thereby encouraging believers, enhancing desire to know Him better.
The ordinances of the Lord's Supper and Baptism may be performed at any meeting, and at the discretion of the elders.
Section 2 – MEETINGS FOR CHURCH COMMUNICATION
The elders will communicate regularly with the congregation, in order to;
(A) Keep the church informed. For example, a meeting to present the annual budget, reports of ministries, strategies and goals, and opportunities for ministry.
(B) Invite feedback from the congregation.
Section 3 – SPECIAL MEETINGS
Bible conferences, missionary conferences and other special meetings may be held as the elders deem beneficial.
Section 1 – PRIVATE INUREMENT
No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers or other private persons, except that the church 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 Article I, Section 2 of this constitution.
Section 2 – POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT
No substantial part of the activities of the church shall be carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. The church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
Section 3 – DISSOLUTION
Upon the dissolution of the church, the trustees shall, after paying or making provision for all the liabilities of the church, dispose of all assets of the church to such organizations organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Trustees shall determine. Assets may be distributed only to organizations that agree with the church's statement of faith.
Section 4 – RACIAL NON-DISCRIMINATION
The church shall have a racial non-discrimination policy and therefore shall not discriminate against members, applicants, students and others on the basis of race, color or national or ethnic origin.
From time to time the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions, but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise-designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control of the church. No fiduciary obligations shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Article I, Section 2.
We recognize the Bible as the final authority in faith and practice, and will constantly evaluate this constitution, and our lives in light of the Word of God. This constitution may be revised or amended, as deemed necessary by the elders, to promote the well-being of the body, and to preserve the teaching of Scripture. Additionally, the congregational board shall, by course, re-evaluate this constitution every three years.
This constitution was initially adopted by a majority vote of the members present and voting, in accordance with the present constitution, at a duly called meeting of the church.
This constitution supersedes any other constitutions and/or by-laws of Grace Bible Church at Rockwell, North Carolina.
Any further constitutional revisions are ratified according to the following protocol: first, suggestions for any amendments, corrections, or changes must be given to the congregational board. Once approved by the congregational board, it shall be made freely available to the congregation.
Revised by the present congregational board, April 8, 2019, by those present:
Elders: Jason Brilliant, Joey Phillips, Tommy Young, Steve Parker
Deacons: Tom Correll, Brandon Basinger
Constitution Committee: Darryl Bolden
Invited, but not present, were deacons Frank File, Jake Myers, and Constitution Committee member Shane Tolliver.
April 8, 2019