GRACE FAMILY CHURCH
Grace Family Church, Inc.
Charter Number 2143756
State of Ohio
Revised February 2017
Article I. Name
Article II. Purposes and Prerogatives
Article III. Tenets of Faith
Article IV. Core Values
Article V. Ordinances
Article VI. Membership
Article VII. Government
Article VIII. Elections, Vacancies, and Removals
Article IX. Meetings
Article X. Departments
Article XI. Finance
Article XII. Property
Article XIII. Ministry Credentials
Article XIV. Amendments
BYLAWS OF GRACE FAMILY CHURCH
Adopted this second day of December, 2012
For the purpose of establishing and maintaining a place for the worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father; to assume our share of responsibility and the privilege of sharing the love of Jesus Christ, by all available means, both at home and in foreign lands; to provide for Christian fellowship for those of like precious faith, where the Holy Spirit may be honored according to our distinctive testimony; to live lives that exemplify the grace of the Lord; and to develop strong families in the faith as well as to be a family for all who would align themselves with us; we, the members of this assembly, recognize ourselves a body of Christian believers according to the scriptural plan for the local church under the laws of the State of Ohio, that we may worship God as a united body, exercising all the rights and privileges granted to religious bodies, do hereby adopt the following articles of church order and voluntarily submit ourselves to be governed by them.
ARTICLE I. NAME
The name of this assembly shall be Grace Family Church, Inc. located in Mahoning County, State of Ohio.
ARTICLE II. PURPOSES AND PREROGATIVES
The Church Corporation is organized and shall be operated exclusively for religious, charitable, and educational purposes.
The headings used in the Bylaws are used for convenience and shall not be considered in construing the terms of the Bylaws.
The prerogatives and purposes of this assembly shall be:
SECTION 1. OUR PURPOSE
Our mission: Showing the grace of God to everyone, everywhere, every time.
SECTION 2. OUR PREROGATIVE: To Govern
Grace Family Church shall have perpetual existence and is a sovereign assembly.
As such, this assembly shall have the right to govern itself and to conduct its own affairs according to the principles of the Protestant Bible.
SECTION 3. OUR PREROGATIVE: To Acquire and Dispose
In connection therewith, or incidental thereto, this assembly shall have the right to purchase or acquire by gift, bequest or otherwise, either directly or as trustee, and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease, or otherwise dispose of any real estate or chattels as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes, and to exercise all other powers conferred upon it by its charter or by the applicable nonprofit corporation law of this state; all in accordance with its bylaws as the same may be hereafter amended.
SECTION 4. OUR PREROGATIVE: To Worship, Fellowship, and Propagate
The purpose of this assembly shall be to establish and maintain a place for the worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, to provide for Christian fellowship for those of like precious faith, where the Holy Spirit may be honored according to our distinctive testimony, and to assume our share of responsibility and the privilege of propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ by all available means, both at home and in foreign lands.
ARTICLE III. TENETS OF FAITH
The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42). The phraseology employed in this statement is not inspired or contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a Spirit-filled ministry. No claim is made that it contains all biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.
1. The Scriptures Inspired
The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).
2. The One True God
The one true God has revealed himself as the eternally self-existent "I AM," the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10, 11; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22).
The Adorable Godhead
The terms trinity and persons, as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from "gods many and lords many." We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is One Lord, as a Trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural (examples, Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16,17).
Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead
Christ taught a distinction of persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained (Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Matthew 11:25-27; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1:3,4).
Unity of the One Being of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes Him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter; the Son is the Begotten; and the Holy Spirit is the One proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11,21; Zechariah 14:9).
Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation, and authority. Hence no person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others (John 5:17-30, 32, 37; 8:17,18).
The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The appellation Lord Jesus Christ is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God (Romans 1:1-3, 7; 2 John 3).
The Lord Jesus Christ, God with us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man, is "Immanuel," God with us (Matthew 1:23; 1 John 4:2,10,14; Revelation 1:13,17).
The Title, Son of God
Since the name Immanuel embraces both God and man, in the one person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title Son of God describes His proper deity, and the title Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God belongs to the order of eternity, and the title Son of Man to the order of time (Matthew 1:21-23; 2 John 3; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 7:3; 1:1-13).
Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title Son of God solely from the fact of the Incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father and Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (2 John 9; John 1:1,2,14,18,29,49; 1 John 2:22,23; 4:1-5; Hebrews 12:2).
Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all (Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 2:32-36; Romans 14:11; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity, and to give Him all the honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see paragraphs b, c, and d), and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father (John 5:22,23; 1 Peter 1:8; Revelation 5:6-14; Philippians 2:8,9; Revelation 7:9,10; 4:8-11).
3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
A. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:
His virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31,35).
His sinless life (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22).
His miracles (Acts 2:22; 10:38).
His substitutionary work on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians
His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39;
1 Corinthians 15:4).
His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9,11; 2:33; Philippians 2:9-
11; Hebrews 1:3).
4. The Fall of Man
Man was created good and upright; for God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God (Genesis 1:26,27; 2:17; 3:6; Romans 5:12-19).
5. The Salvation of Man
Man's only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
A. Conditions to Salvation
Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).
B. The Evidences of Salvation
The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16). The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12).
6. The Ordinances of the Church
A. Baptism in Water
The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded in the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47,48; Romans 6:4).
B. Holy Communion
The Lord's Supper, consisting of the elements--bread and the fruit of the vine--is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4); a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26); and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26); and is enjoined on all believers "till He come!"
7. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14- 16; 15:7-9). With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost (Mark 16:20).
8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4). The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-10,28), but different in purpose and use.
Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12). Scriptures teach a life of "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to obey the command: "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15,16).
Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-11,13; 8:1,2,13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13; 1 Peter1:5).
10. The Church and Its Mission
The Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her Great Commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven (Ephesians 1:22,23; 2:22; Hebrews 12:23).
A. Priority Reason
Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshiped by man, to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, and to demonstrate His love and compassion for all the world, the priority reason for being of Grace Family Church is:
To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16).
To be a corporate body in which man may worship God (1 Corinthians 12:13).
To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:12).
To be a people who demonstrate God’s love and compassion for all the world (Psalm 112:9; Galatians 2:10; 6:10; James 1:27).
Grace Family Church exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason for being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience:
Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 4:29-31; Hebrews 2:3,4).
Adds a necessary dimension to a worshipful relationship with God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 1 Corinthians 12-14).
Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ and care for the poor and needy of the world (Galatians 5:22-26; Matthew 25:37-40; Galatians 6:10; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:11,12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Colossians 1:29).
11. The Ministry
A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the fourfold purpose of leading the Church in: (1) evangelization of the world (Mark 16:15-20), (2) worship of God (John 4:23,24), (3) building a Body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11,16), and (4) meeting human need with ministries of love and compassion (Psalm 112:9; Galatians 2:10; 6:10; James 1:27).
12. Divine Healing
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the Atonement, and is the privilege of all believers (Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 8:16, 17; James 5:14-16).
13. The Blessed Hope
The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52).
14. The Millennial Reign of Christ
The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years (Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27,30; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6). This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel (Ezekiel 37:21, 22; Zephaniah 3:19, 20; Romans 11:26, 27) and the establishment of universal peace (Isaiah 11:6-9; Psalm 72:3-8; Micah 4:3,4).
15. The Final Judgment
There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8).
16. The New Heavens and the New Earth
"We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21 and 22).
ARTICLE IV. DOCTRINAL CORE VALUES (CARDINAL DOCTRINES)
Four of these beliefs are considered the core values of our Fellowship. They are:
1. Salvation Through Jesus Christ (John 3:3, 16, 17; Romans 10:13; Ephesians 2:8, 9)
Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life.
2. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:4; 17, 18, 38, 39)
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.
3. Divine Healing for the Sick (James 5:14-16)
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.
4. The Second Coming of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)
The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years.
ARTICLE V. ORDINANCES
Section 1. Baptism in Water
The ordinance of baptism by immersion in water (Matthew 28:19) shall be administered to all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls, and who give clear evidence of their salvation (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12).
Section 2. Holy Communion
The ordinance of the Lord's Supper shall be observed regularly as enjoined in the Scriptures (Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
ARTICLE VI. MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. RELATIONAL Core Values
Foundational to our existence as a local body of believers is the understanding that the members of this fellowship shall commit to walk with one another in grace. We are committed to transparency, authenticity, and humility as devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
A. Relational Commitment
We also commit to pursue the following:
Not to be easily and unnecessarily offended.
Emotional, relational, and spiritual health.
To approach the other individual(s) in humility when offenses arise, endeavoring to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Integrity in our relationships with each other is of the highest priority.
Furthermore, should conflict arise between any two or more individuals the members of Grace Family Church shall follow the Biblical pattern of conflict resolution as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.
Section 2. Membership Eligibility
Active membership in this assembly shall be open to all those who possess the following qualifications:
Have been interviewed by the Leadership Team.
A testimony to an experience of the "new birth."
Having been baptized in water by immersion.
Evidence of a consistent Christian life (Romans 6:4; 8:1-4; 13:13, 14; Ephesians 4:17-32; 5:1, 2, 15; 1 John 1:6,7).
A willingness to contribute regularly to the financial support of Grace Family Church.
Acceptance of the Tenets of Faith and Doctrinal Core Values as set forth in Article III and Article IV of these bylaws.
Having reached at least 16 years of age.
Having regularly attended services of, and supported, this assembly for a period of at least three consecutive months prior to the date of application for membership.
Shall regularly attend, support, and be loyal to the services of Grace Family Church and shall not serve in any leadership capacity in any other church in the greater Youngstown-Warren area.
Shall complete membership classes and agree to be governed by the bylaws of this assembly.
Section 3. Procedure for Membership Recognition
Those individuals eligible for membership who shall desire to become members of this church shall make written application to the Pastor or the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team shall have the right and authority to determine the eligibility and acceptability of all applicants for membership by majority vote. Those approved for membership by the Leadership Team shall be received into the church publicly at any of its regular services, and their names thereupon added to the church membership roll. No applicant for membership shall be accepted as a member within 45 days before an annual or special business meeting.
Section 4. Privileges of membership
No member of the congregation shall be entitled to any voting rights, except as set forth in ARTICLE VIII, Section 1, paragraph A; ARTICLE VIII, Section 2, paragraph F; and in ARTICLE IX, Section 3. All voting rights and management of the Church are reserved in the Leadership Team and Executive Committee.
Section 5. Junior Membership
Junior membership shall be available for young people under 16 years of age who give evidence of the new birth, meet the scriptural standards for membership as specified in these bylaws, and are approved by majority vote of the Leadership Team. Junior members shall automatically become active members on their sixteenth birthday.
Section 6. Associate Members
The Leadership Team, at any regular or special meeting, may approve associate members by a majority vote. Eligibility for associate membership is available to any person who is a member in good standing of an Evangelical church in another community and who is not in this community on a permanent basis. Associate members who meet the regular qualifications for membership shall be entitled to all the privileges of regular members.
Section 7. Honorary Members
The Leadership Team, at any regular or special meeting, may approve honorary members by a two-thirds vote of the members present. Honorary membership is available to any member who has left the church indefinitely. Honorary membership recognition shall continue as long as the member maintains a consistent Christian life, remains sound in doctrine, and maintains a cooperative attitude toward the home assembly.
Section 8. Inactive Membership
Active members who shall without good cause absent themselves from the services of the assembly for a period of 3 consecutive months or more, or who cease to contribute of their means to its support for a period of 3 consecutive months, may be declared inactive members by a majority vote of the Leadership Team, and thereupon shall lose their membership privileges until they are restored to the fellowship, their standing to be settled by action of the Leadership Team.
Section 9. Discipline
Discipline is an exercise of scriptural authority for which the church is responsible (Matthew 16:19; 18:15-20; Luke 17:3; John 20:23; Acts 16:4; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 13:17). The purpose of discipline is to promote repentance and restoration through exposing sinful behavior. It is to be redemptive in nature as well as corrective. Any member of the assembly is subject to discipline on the basis of unscriptural conduct or doctrinal departure from the Tenets of Faith of this assembly, as determined in the sole discretion of the Leadership Team or the Pastor.
The assembly will follow the disciplinary procedure set forth in Matthew 18:15-20. This procedure consists generally of the following steps: (1) The Pastor or a designated member of the Leadership Team discusses the charges with the member in an effort to resolve the matter privately; (2) if the first step does not resolve the matter, then the member shall meet with the Pastor and Executive Committee in an effort to resolve the matter privately; (3) if the issue remains unresolved then the member shall meet with the Pastor and the Leadership Team. The decision of a majority of the Leadership Team shall be final. A member found guilty may be dismissed from membership in the church (Matthew 18:17). However, lesser disciplinary sanctions may be imposed as appropriate, depending on the circumstances of each case. Where there is evidence of genuine repentance the disciplined party may be restored to fellowship by a two-thirds vote of the Leadership Team.
Members who are under discipline by this assembly forfeit and waive the right to resign from membership in this assembly. Resignations from membership are possible only by those members in good standing who are not under any disciplinary action. Transfers or resignations shall not be unreasonably withheld by the leadership of Grace Family Church.
ARTICLE VII. GOVERNMENT
Section 1. LEADERSHIP TEAM
A. In General
The government of this assembly shall be vested in the Leadership Team which shall consist of the Pastor and his spouse and at least three, but not more than seven, deacons and their spouses, if married. The term “Leadership Team” is the same in meaning as Board, Deacons, Deacon Board, or Board of Directors. The term “Pastor” is the same in meaning as Lead Pastor or Senior Pastor.
The members of the Leadership Team shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Pastor and should see their role as one of assisting the Pastor with the practical needs of the body. Primarily, their role consists of establishing policy, overseeing the finances (by way of the Executive Committee), updating the membership roster, and serving to meet the practical needs of the body. The deacons are not involved in pastoral ministry. The Leadership Team is not an appeals process for matters of pastoral oversight. Deacons are not representatives from the congregation overseeing the Pastor, rather, gifts from out of the body to assist the Pastor in Christ-like servanthood. They shall not meet to conduct or discuss official church business without the Pastor.
The following keys are essential for the spiritual and relational health of the body:
1) The Key of Confidentiality
Members of the Leadership Team must never break confidentiality (not even with former members).
What is said in the meeting stays in the meeting.
2) The Key of Not Listening
Members of the Leadership Team must not listen to criticisms, but must always send the complaint to its source or to the Pastor.
3) The Key of Unity
Members of the Leadership Team must never meet in sub-groups to discuss church business but always as one team. We may disagree on details, but when we leave the meeting we leave as one team.
The Pastor and the Leadership Team shall fulfill their spiritual and temporal duties in a spirit of servanthood to the Lord, the Church and one another. Neither the Pastor nor the Leadership Team are to exercise dictatorial authority over one another or the Church; but shall cooperatively work together as a model of Christian unity and partnership, each submitting to one another as the Spirit, need, or circumstance may require. If disunity arises between any members of the Leadership Team, it shall be the responsibility of each to attempt to solve the difficulty between them, modeling relational health and integrity as outlined in ARTICLE VI., Section 1. Relational Core Values.
The members of the Leadership Team shall be Spirit-filled, or earnestly desiring to be filled, men and women of mature Christian experience and knowledge.
They shall meet the scriptural standard of Acts 6, I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
They shall be at least twenty-three (23) years of age.
They shall have been members of the church for at least one (1) year prior to their appointment.
They shall currently support the church with their tithes, offerings, and faith promises for missions, have a cooperative spirit, and regularly attend church services.
They shall not be divorced and remarried, except when the divorce occurred prior to conversion (II Corinthians 5:17), or for the scriptural causes of a former spouse’s marital unfaithfulness (Matthew 19:9), or the abandonment of the believer by the unbeliever (I Corinthians 7:10-15).
Typically, they shall not hold ministerial credentials.
C. Duties of the Leadership Team
All of the affairs of this church shall be managed by the Leadership Team, including, but not limited to the general charge and management of the practical affairs of the assembly. The Leadership Team shall have the authority to carry out the purposes of the assembly according to its charter and these bylaws.
The Leadership Team shall meet at least quarterly.
The Pastor shall provide the primary vision for GFC and the LT shall assist the Pastor in the implementation and fulfillment of that vision.
The Leadership Team shall act in an advisory capacity to the pastor in all matters pertaining to the church in its spiritual life and in the administration of its ordinances.
The Leadership Team shall have exclusive voting rights on all matters and decisions pertaining to this body of believers (church).
The Leadership Team shall act in the examination of applications for membership and in the administration of discipline in a timely manner.
The Leadership Team shall elect a secretary from the members of the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team shall elect a Treasurer from the members of the Leadership Team who meet the qualifications for such office.
The Leadership Team shall elect a Member At-Large from the members of the Leadership Team.
For so long as the church is temporarily without a Pastor, the remaining members of the Leadership Team shall be empowered to select a temporary chairman of the Leadership Team and shall serve as the pulpit committee for the selection of a new Pastor.
There may be operational committees appointed by the Pastor and the Leadership Team to serve in an advisory capacity in expediting the work and the ministry of the church, such committees may be created by the Leadership Team as the occasion may warrant.
Section 2. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Officers
A. In General
Along with the Pastor/President there shall be a Secretary, a Treasurer, and a Member At-Large chosen from the members of the Leadership Team. These four (4) individuals shall constitute the Executive Committee of the Corporation. The Pastor, by virtue of office, shall be the President and Chairman of the Executive Committee as well as Chairman of the Leadership Team.
The Executive Committee shall meet monthly.
The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the preparing, adopting, and subscribing the annual unified church budget.
The Executive Committee shall function in matters demanding immediate attention when it is impractical to call a meeting of the Leadership Team.
The Executive Committee shall report all of its proceedings at the regular meetings of the Leadership Team.
All of the financial affairs of this church shall be managed by the Executive Committee, who shall have the sole oversight of, but not limited to the general charge and management of the finances, assets, and properties of the Church unless otherwise designated by the Executive Committee. It shall supervise the disbursements of funds from the church.
The Pastor shall hold ministerial credentials.
The Secretary shall be an active member of this assembly for at least 1 year immediately preceding election to office, shall currently support the church with tithes, shall have a cooperative spirit, shall be faithful in attendance at church services, and shall be a member of the Leadership Team. The Secretary shall have a propensity for computer skills and be diligent in the communication of official correspondence such as minutes.
The Treasurer shall be an active member of this assembly for at least 1 year immediately preceding election to office, shall currently support the church with tithes, shall have a cooperative spirit, shall be faithful in attendance at church services, and shall be a member of the Leadership Team. The Treasurer shall be adept with financial matters and shall oversee the money-counters.
The Member At-Large shall be an active member of this assembly for at least 1 year immediately preceding election to office, shall currently support the church with tithes, shall have a cooperative spirit, shall be faithful in attendance at church services, and shall be a member of the Leadership Team. The Member At-Large may also serve as the Assistant Treasurer and shall be knowledgeable and teachable in the intricacies of the business, finance, and operations of the church.
C. Duties of Officers
The Lead Pastor is uniquely called to be the primary visionary and leader of the church. As such, the pastor shall be responsible for all spiritual oversight and service of the assembly and shall direct its activities. The pastor is designated in the Scriptures as the head of the church under the leadership of the Lord Jesus, and is referred to under the title “pastor” (Ephesians 4:11). “overseer” (Acts 20:28), and “shepherd” (I Peter 5:2-4).
Shall be recognized as a member of the Leadership Team and Executive Committee, President of the Corporation, Chief Executive Officer of the Church, and shall act as Chairman of the Leadership Team, the Executive Committee, and all the business meetings of the assembly.
Shall provide for all services of the assembly and shall arrange for all special meetings and guest speakers. No person shall be invited to speak or preach in the assembly without his approval.
Shall be an ex officio member of all committees, teams, groups, and ministries.
Shall have the authority to appoint and approve any and all staff that would be necessary to properly carry on the work of the Lord after consultation with the Leadership Team.
Shall have the oversight of all Church Staff including the Pastoral, Administrative, and Custodial staff, including, but not limited to:
All employment decisions
Delegation of responsibilities to all staff
Shall be the only official spokesperson for the church, unless he has otherwise designated another individual for a particular purpose at a limited, specific, and designated time.”
Shall keep the minutes of the official meetings of the Leadership Team and Executive Committee and of the annual and special business meetings of the assembly.
Shall keep a record of the membership of the assembly and perform any other clerical work necessary to the proper discharge of his duties.
Shall be the custodian of all legal documents.
Shall file such annual corporation reports with the secretary of state as may be required by state law.
Shall be entrusted with all the finances of the assembly, subject to the supervision of the Leadership Team, and shall see that a member of the Leadership Team, exclusive of the Lead Pastor or his spouse, shall deposit all funds in the checking account of Grace Family Church. All checks issued on behalf of the church must be signed by two Leadership Team members as assigned by the Leadership Team. Under no circumstance shall relatives both be granted check signing privileges simultaneously.
The Treasurer or Business Manager, if applicable, shall keep an itemized account of receipts and disbursements, shall present a report for each regular meeting of the Executive Committee, and shall present an annual report to the assembly in its annual Grace Family Celebration.
The Treasurer or Business Manager, if applicable, shall assist the assembly in acquiring and maintaining available tax exemptions under state and local law.
The Treasurer or Business Manager, if applicable, shall provide a record of all identified giving to each donor at least annually.
The Treasurer or Business Manager, if applicable, shall be the custodian of all the financial records of the church.
Section 3. Trustees
The Executive Committee shall serve as the legal trustees of the corporation.
Section 4. Fiduciary Duties
The law imposes several fiduciary duties on officers, deacons, and trustees, including the duties of due care and diligence, loyalty, avoidance of self-dealing, expending designated contributions for the purposes specified, and not commingling personal and corporate funds.
Section 5. No Compensation
Whether or not employed by the Church for other purposes, directors, officers and members of the Leadership Team shall for their duties be regarded as volunteers and shall serve without compensation for those duties, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for any reasonable expenses incurred on behalf of the Church.
Any Leadership Team member barred from receiving compensation under these provisions shall not be barred from serving the Church in any other appropriate capacity, such as Pastor or Church Staff and receiving reasonable compensation for such other services.
Section 6. Indemnification
To the fullest extent permitted by Ohio law, as now in effect or as may hereafter be amended, no Leadership Team member of the Corporation shall be personally liable for damages in any proceeding brought by or in the right of the Corporation, or in connection with any claim, action, suit or proceeding to which he or she may be or is made a party by reason of being or having been an Board member of the Corporation, provided, however, that such relief from liability shall not apply in any instance of unbiblical or unlawful acts.
ARTICLE VIII. ELECTIONS & APPOINTMENTS, VACANCIES, AND REMOVALS
Section 1. Elections & APPOINTMENTS
The Pastor shall be nominated by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Leadership Team. Recommendations may be made to the Leadership Team by any member of the assembly.
The Pastor shall be elected by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of all votes cast by the voting members of the congregation to serve for an indefinite period of time.
Election shall be by secret ballot at the annual business meeting of the assembly or at a special business meeting of the assembly called for that purpose. Only one candidate shall be considered at a time.
The secretary shall be elected by the Leadership Team from among its members. The term of office shall be one year, and the Secretary may serve consecutive terms without limitation.
The treasurer shall be elected by the Leadership Team from among its members. The term of office shall be one year, and the Treasurer may serve consecutive terms without limitation.
D. Member At-Large
The Member At-Large shall be elected by the Leadership Team from among its members. The term of office shall be 1 year, and the Member may serve consecutive terms without limitation.
E. Leadership Team
Leadership Team members and their spouses (if married) shall be appointed by the Pastor in consultation with the Leadership Team. Leadership Team members and their spouses shall be appointed for a 3-year term and must remain off the Board for at least one year upon completion of their term. The terms of Leadership Team members shall be staggered appropriately. Relatives of the Pastor, other than the Pastor’s spouse, shall not serve on the Leadership Team.
F. Other Pastors and Employees
All associate and assistant pastors, directors of music, youth, children, and any other members of the pastoral or church staff, and all other church employees shall be appointed by the Pastor in full consultation with the Leadership Team and shall serve solely at the pleasure of the Lead Pastor. The Pastor shall make every reasonable effort to communicate any staffing concerns to the Leadership Team.
Section 2. Vacancies and Removals
When a vacancy in the office of the Pastor shall occur, a temporary replacement shall be arranged for by the Leadership Team until a Pastor shall be chosen as prescribed in Article VIII, section 1A.
B. Secretary, Treasurer, and Member
The offices of Secretary, Treasurer, and/or Member may be declared vacant upon the expiration of the term of office, or upon removal, resignation, or death.
The office of deacon may be declared vacant upon the expiration of the term of office, or upon removal, resignation, or death.
Any office or position of leadership in the church (other than that of the Pastor) may be declared vacant by a majority vote of the Leadership Team.
E. Filling Vacancies
Any office or position of leadership in the church (other than that of Pastor) may be filled by appointment of the Leadership Team for the unexpired term.
Any office may be declared vacant by an act of a majority of the members of the Leadership Team.
Grounds for such action shall be:
Radical departures from the tenets of faith.
Incompetency in office.
For any other good and sufficient cause.
An incumbent under charges shall have the opportunity for a fair and impartial hearing of his case before the Executive Committee, if he so desires.
A complaint may be lodged against an incumbent in office and brought before the Executive Committee for action by any member exercising the right of initiative. Upon the recommendation of the majority of the Executive Committee this complaint shall be brought before the Leadership Team.
The decision of a majority of the Leadership Team shall be final.
F. Pastoral Difficulty
In the event the Pastor shall have serious charges preferred against him or his ministry has ceased to be effective or irreconcilable differences arise between the Pastor and the Leadership Team the matter shall be brought to the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team shall follow the Biblical pattern of conflict resolution as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. Biblical principles of reconciliation shall be foundational in trying to resolve the conflict.
Should there be no resolution, outside parties such as experienced pastors and leaders who may be acquainted with the church and who have a heart for the welfare of Grace Family Church or a third-party Christian mediator shall meet with the Pastor and Leadership Team in order to resolve the conflict.
Should there be no resolution after proceeding through the three (3) steps mentioned above, the matter shall be referred to the members of the congregation for a vote upon recommendation of removal by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Leadership Team.
A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members of the congregation present at the duly called business meeting shall be required for removal. A person such as pastor of experience from the area or a third-party Christian mediator designated by the Leadership Team shall chair the meeting of the members of the congregation.
The order of business at the meeting of the members of the congregation shall be as follows:
Presentation of evidence by the Leadership Team
Presentation of case by Pastor or his designee
Testimony from members of the congregation for vote
The Pastor shall receive one month’s severance pay for each year of service up to six months of severance pay.
ARTICLE IX. MEETINGS
Section 1. Meetings for Worship
Meetings for public worship shall be held on each Lord's Day and during the week as may be provided for under direction of the Pastor or the Leadership Team if there is no Pastor.
Section 2. Annual Church Council
There shall be an Annual Church Council (a/k/a “Grace Family Celebration”) of the assembly, at which time a report of all ministries shall be presented. This meeting shall be held within the first forty-five days of the New Year. The time and place shall be announced by the Pastor. Notice of the date, time, and place of each Annual Church Council shall be announced during the morning worship services on each of the two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting.
Section 3. Special Business Meetings
Special business meetings of the assembly may be called by the Pastor.
In the event of the voluntary resignation or death of the Pastor a candidate for Pastor shall be presented to the congregation after having first been approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Leadership Team, although a consensus is preferred. The membership of the congregation shall be called together to vote, by secret ballot, on said candidate. A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members of the congregation shall be required to elect said candidate to the office of pastor.
SECTION 4. QUORUM
One–third (1/3) of the membership of the church shall constitute a quorum for a congregational meeting called for the purpose of electing or removing the Pastor.
Section 5. Parliamentary Order
All board and business meetings of the church shall be governed by parliamentary procedure as set forth in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Revised, in keeping with the spirit of Christian love and fellowship.
The Leadership Team shall meet at least quarterly or at the call of the Pastor for the transaction of business for the assembly, time and place to be announced by the Pastor. A majority of the Leadership Team members present shall constitute a quorum.
Section 6. Membership Roll
The Leadership Team shall review the list of active members at least annually, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Leadership Team immediately preceding the Annual Church Council, and compile a current list of active members twenty-one to forty days prior to the Council.
ARTICLE X. DEPARTMENTS
Section 1. In General
This assembly shall create and maintain such departments and sub-organizations as may be necessary and advisable for the extension of its work including, but not limited to, Christian Education, Youth, Men’s, Women’s, etc. All such departments and organizations shall be subordinate to the assembly and shall contribute to the harmony and development of the whole, being amenable to the church. They shall be under the general supervision of the Pastor and Leadership Team, and the Pastor shall be an ex officio member of all committees or departments.
ARTICLE XI. FINANCE
Section 1. In General
The church shall be financed according to the scriptural method, by the voluntary contributions, tithes, and offerings of the members and friends of the organization. Offerings shall be accepted by the assembly at such times and in such ways as agreed upon by the Leadership Team and shall be administered by the Treasurer under their direction (Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38;1 Corinthians 16:1,2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Section 2. Handling of Offerings
All offerings shall be counted by at least two authorized persons who are not related to each other, unless there are at least two other persons also counting, before the funds are removed from the church building. An offering receipts form shall be signed and given to the Treasurer or the Business Manager, if applicable. A record shall be kept of all receipts and disbursements of the local assembly and of all individual giving. All Sunday deposits shall be made immediately after the service. All deposits less than $1,000 shall be made within five (5) days of receipt. All deposits over $1,000 shall be made within five (5) hours of receipt.
SECTION 3. THE BUDGET
The church shall operate on a unified budget.
Each department of the church shall be assigned an expenditure budget and shall operate its department within said budget.
All monies received by any or all departments for any purpose shall be properly accounted for and deposited with the church treasurer.
Section 4. Contracts
The Executive Committee alone may authorize any officer or officers, agent or agents of the Church, in addition to the officers so authorized by these Bylaws, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the Church, and such authority may be general or may be confined to specific instances. No person shall enter into any contract on behalf of the church without the approval of the Executive Committee.
Section 5. SALARIES
The pastor shall be given regular and adequate financial support, the amount and manner of which shall be determined by agreement between the pastor and the Executive Committee.
The salaries of all members of the pastoral staff and other full or part time employees shall be set by the Executive Committee with the advice and counsel of the pastor.
All salaries shall be reviewed annually.
Regular financial support to missionaries, missionary projects, and other person(s) and cause(s) shall be decided upon by the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team may designate the establishment of a Missions Committee who shall oversee all the management of the missions program with the exception of the Missions line items in the annual budget whose oversight shall remain with the Executive Committee.
SECTION 6. FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year for the corporation shall commence on January 1 and end on December 31.
ARTICLE XII. PROPERTY
Section 1. Title
All property of the assembly shall be deeded to the assembly and held in its name.
Section 2. Purchases and Sales of Property
All budgeted purchases of furnishings, equipment, and other items of tangible personal property between $500 and $10,000 shall be approved by a simple majority of the Executive Committee. All purchases of furnishings, equipment, and other items of tangible personal property, exceeding $10,000 in cost shall be authorized by a vote of at least two-thirds of the Leadership Team.
No real property of the assembly may be purchased, sold, leased, mortgaged, or otherwise alienated without the same having been authorized by at least a two-thirds majority vote of the Leadership Team.
Section 3. Dissolution
Upon the dissolution of the assembly, none of its funds or assets shall be distributed to any officer, deacon, trustee, or any other individual. The Executive Committee shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the assembly, dispose of all of the funds and assets of the assembly by conveying the same to the Assemblies of God World Missions Department of the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Any such funds or assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Circuit Court of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, to such organization as said Court shall determine, which is organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes.
ARTICLE XIII. MINISTRY CREDENTIALS
Ordination and Licensing shall be at the Lead Pastor’s discretion. The Leadership Team may ordain and/or license a person as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ after first examining the applicant’s sense of call, background, moral and religious character, and what previous Bible courses and/or independent study the applicant has received. Final determination shall be within the absolute discretion of the Leadership Team.
Section 1. License to preach
A License to preach shall be given to those applicants who are duly qualified through study and who have evidence of the call of God on their lives. The License to preach is the entry level credential.
Section 2. Ordination
Ordination shall be conferred upon those applicants who are duly qualified through study and who have evidence of the call of God on their lives and who have held a License to preach for at least two years.
Section 3. Application
The Leadership Team shall cause to be prepared an ecclesiastically proper application for ordination and a governance document providing for oversight, tenets of accountability, suspension and revocation of “papers of licensure” and/or ordination and reinstatement. An applicant’s application shall be either approved or denied within forty-five (45) days of the completion of the investigation of the applicant. Those applicants who are approved shall receive a certificate evidencing the approval.
The Leadership Team may revoke any minister’s credentials at any time, with good and sufficient cause, save and except the Pastor/President/Chairman of the Board.
ARTICLE XIV. AMENDMENTS
The bylaws may be amended at any regular or special Leadership Team meeting by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the current Leadership Team, except as otherwise indicated herein. At least fourteen (14) days written advance notice of any special meeting shall be given to each member of the Leadership Team.
Article III of these bylaws is not subject to amendment, except to conform to any amendments made to the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, USA. However, the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, USA shall not be binding on Grace Family Church.