We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith, and to govern the body in an orderly manner, and to preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches.
ARTICLE I: NAME
The name of this church shall be SANCTUARY of Seattle, Washington, an autonomous body, free from all alliances other than such as it shall of its own free will and choice engage, and from which it may at its own free will and choice disengage.
ARTICLE II: OUR IDENTITY, OUR MISSION, OUR VISION, OUR VALUES, OUR COMMITMENTS
Section 1: Our Identity
We are a gospel-driven, center-city, missional-community of changed people . . .
Gospel-driven: our central value from which the others flow. The ‘gospel’ is the good news that through Christ the power of God’s kingdom has entered history to renew the whole world.† When we believe and rely on Jesus’ work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, that kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us.
- read the Bible as the Gospel
- preach and teach the Gospel to all, not just unbelievers
- preach and teach the Gospel in every sermon and lesson
- receive the Gospel as the ‘milk’ and ‘meat’ of God’s Word
- view the world and the church through the lens of the Gospel
Center-city: Our conviction goes beyond building a church.† We envision a new city. †Cities are central to Jesus’ mission, and the mission of the early church, and to ours. (Luke 4:43) We believe that nothing promotes the peace and health of the city like the spread of faith in the gospel. It renews both individual lives and reweaves the fabric of whole neighborhoods. We believe that nothing moves Christians to humbly serve, live with, and love all the diverse people of the city like the gospel does.
- We will strive to become a vibrant center-city church.†
- We encourage Christians to live in the city, to love and respect the people of the city.
- We partner with the people of the city in seeking to serve the physical and spiritual needs of the city.
- We encourage Christians to learn from the city, to accept and love its people, to invest their resources back into the city, and strive for excellence in all we do.
Missional-community: The Gospel calls us to be FOR the city/culture/people where God has placed us-Seattle-and through it the world. Some churches are OF the culture.† They so embrace the culture that they lose their distinctiveness.† Some churches are AGAINST the culture.† They so oppose the culture that they lose their relevance. And some churches are ABOVE the culture.† They so “super-spiritualize” life that they lose their point of contact. On the other hand, a church FOR the culture engages the culture in order to transform it.
- We resolve to learn and speak the language of our culture.
- We resolve to sincerely listen to people and their ’stories’.
- We resolve to be a Christian community that is counter-cultural/intuitive.† We resolve to show the world how radically different a Christian society is with regard to relationships, sex, money, and power.
- We resolve to live out our Christianity in our work and recreation. †
- We resolve to demonstrate the unity of the church in the city.
Changed-people: The Gospel changes people from the inside out. Religion makes nice people; the Gospel makes new people. Religion reforms you on the outside; the Gospel transforms you from inside out. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation. Religion says: “If you live a good life, then God will love you”, leading to a deadly combination of pride and despair. The Gospel says, “None of us is good. In fact, we are far worse than we think (humility), but through Jesus Christ we are far more loved than we ever dared dream (confidence).”† Because we are “in Christ”, we are given a new identity, a new Father, and a new family. Because “Christ is in us”, we have new wisdom, new love, and new power.† We are liberated to accept people we once excluded, and to break the bondage of things (even good things) that once drove us. In particular, the gospel makes us welcoming and respectful toward those who do not share our beliefs.†
- We resolve to live in on going grace renewal.
- We resolve to be “new” people, not “nice” people.
- We resolve to believe that the Gospel can change anyone.
- We resolve to motivate with grace, not guilt.
- We resolve to approach all problems (personal, church, social) with the Gospel.
Section 2: Our Mission
. . . spreading the gospel first through ourselves and then through the city in word, deed and community . . .
Word ministries: engaging the gospel
- Worship and Prayer / Vital sign: joyous worship
- Learning and Edification / Vital sign: theological depth
Deed ministries: engaging our culture
- Outreach (spiritual) / Vital sign: relentless evangelism
- Outreach (social justice) / Vital sign: sacrificial service
- Outreach (cultural) / Vital sign: creative expression
Community ministries: engaging one another
- Fellowship and Small Groups / Vital sign: intimate relationships
Section 3: Our Vision and Strategy
. . . bringing personal changes, social healing, and cultural renewal, one neighborhood at a time … beginning with Capitol Hill.
Our vision is to see a movement of the gospel that impacts this city in a spiritual, social, and cultural transformative way. Our vision is Christ and his ‘already-but-not-yet’ kingdom. To see his kingdom come, his will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Our strategy is to plant a network of missional churches (spiritual hubs) in the various center-city neighborhoods of Seattle beginning with Capitol Hill. These churches will disciple and nurture a growing collective of missional, apostolic bands of people spreading the gospel in word, deed and community; each contextualizing the gospel in a unique way to a particular people group or a particular cause (homelessness, single mothers, artists, etc.). †As our missional efforts spread into various other center-city and inner-city neighborhoods of Seattle, we hope to see some evolve organically into church-plants (spiritual hubs) each unique to the particular neighborhood they are in.
ARTICLE III: AFFIRMATION OF OUR FAITH
- The Scriptures – We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible, and God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; Matthew 5:18; John 16:12, 13).
- The Godhead – We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—co-eternal in being, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections (Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
- The Person and Work of Christ – 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 the Virgin Mary in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man (John 1:1–2, 14; Luke 1:35). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3–5). We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry as Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9, 10; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1–2). We believe Jesus is coming again to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5; Romans 14:9; 2 Timothy 4:1).
- The Person and Work of The Holy Spirit – We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 16:8–11; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18).
- The Total Depravity of Man – We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that through Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; man is totally depraved and of himself utterly unable to remedy his lost condition (Genesis 1:26, 27; Romans 3:22, 23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3, 12).
- Salvation – We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 2:8–10; John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18–19).
- Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers – 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; 10:27–30; Romans 8:1, 38, 39; 1 Corinthians 1:4–8; 1 Peter 1:5). We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh (Romans 13:13, 14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11–15).
- The Ministry and Spiritual Gifts – We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowing of spiritual gifts. It is, however, the believer’s responsibility to attempt to develop their sovereignly given spiritual gift(s). The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion and is the placing of the believer into the Body of Christ. We also believe that particular spiritual gift(s) are neither essential, nor prove the presence of the Holy Spirit, nor are an indication of deep spiritual experience (1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 13; Ephesians 4:7–8). We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accordance with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14, 15). We believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to minister according to the gift(s) and grace of God that is given to him (Romans 12:1–8; 1 Corinthians 13; 1 Peter 4:10–11).
- The Church – We believe that the church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 5:25–27; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; 2 Corinthians 11:2). We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 18:22; 20:17; 1 Timothy 3:1–3; Titus 1:5–11). We believe in the autonomy of the local churches, free of any external authority and control (Acts 13:1–4; 15:19–31; 20:28; Romans 16:1,4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 1 Corinthians 5:4–7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1–4). We recognize believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper as scriptural means of testimony for the church (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 2:41, 42; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26).
- The Ordinances – We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water into the name of the triune God. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 6:3-5; I Corinthians 11:23-26).
- The Last Things – We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the saved and the endless suffering of the unsaved (Matthew 16:27; Mark14: 62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Phil. 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:15; II Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; I Corinthians 4:5; I Corinthians 15; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:4-6,11-15).
ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP
The membership of this Church shall consist of persons who confess faith on the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, who give evidence of regeneration by a life consistent with their profession and with the views of faith, doctrine and practice of this Church, who have been baptized and who have been received into its membership according to the By-Laws of this church.
ARTICLE V: LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATION
Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Congregation of the Church is the final authority within this local Church. This authority is normally exercised through the election of officers to govern the Church. However, the vote of the membership of this Church at a properly called meeting, as provided in the By-Laws, shall be required to effect the following actions:
- Accept members into the Church, give letters of transfer or recommendation to members, or drop members from the Church roll;
- Elect officers of the Church;
- Discipline members by dismissing them and discipline officers by removing them from office;
- Approve annual budgets of the Church, authorize any expenditure of the funds of the Church when such expenditure is not covered by an approved budget, and approve any transactions regarding real property;
- Accept, reject, or otherwise dispose of any matter submitted to the membership of the Church by the Council of Elders, or raised by motion at a business meeting;
- Adopt, amend, or repeal the Constitution or By-Laws of this church;
- Approve the call, job description and initial salary of Vocational Elders (Pastors) and Vocation Deacons (Ministers).
The offices of the Church shall be Elder and Deacon. The purpose of the officers of the Church is to lovingly govern, care for, and equip the membership to do the work of the ministry. The leadership of the Church shall be vested in the
Council of Elders Leadership Council who are responsible for governing the Church, teaching the Word and tending the flock of God in this Church. The Elders and Deacons shall together form the Leadership Council. shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function.
ARTICLE VI: RELATIONSHIPS AND AFFILIATIONS
This church is not subject to control by any other ecclesiastical body, but can, of its own choice, support missionary outreach, Christian schools, and associations as it desires, or terminates their support. It shall be the policy of this church to support only missions known to be in agreement with our Doctrinal Statement both in their doctrine and practice.
ARTICLE VII: CHURCH YEAR
The fiscal year of this church shall end on the 31st day of each December.
ARTICLE VIII: REVISIONS, ADDITIONS, AMENDMENTS
a) Revisions, additions or amendments of this constitution may be made only at the annual meeting; and by two-thirds majority of those members present and voting at such meeting, provided at least twenty five percent (25%) of the resident membership of the Church is present at such meeting; and after presentation by written motion at a quarterly or special business meeting held at least three months before the annual meeting; and if notice of the proposed change or addition has been given, in writing and from the pulpit on at least two Sundays in the interim period between said meetings.
b) Article III and VIII (2.) of this constitution shall not be repealed amended or revised.
ARTICLE IX: DISSOLUTION
It is confidently expected that the ministry of SANCTUARY of Seattle will continue until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in order to fulfill all possible legal requirements, it is the expressed wish and desire of this Corporation, if SANCTUARY of Seattle should bring its work to a conclusion and dissolve its corporation, that none of its assets remaining after meeting all responsibilities and payment of all just obligations shall inure to the benefit of any individual member of the corporation, Board member, employee, or other private individual. All such assets, if any, shall in the event of its dissolution be turned over by decision at any annual meeting or special meeting of the members of this corporation to an organization, or organizations, which is, or are, in harmony with the objectives as stated in Article II of this Constitution and is or are in agreement with the Doctrinal Statement as given in Article III of this Constitution. Such an organization or organizations must be recognized by the United States Treasury Department as entitled to income tax exemption. Notice of such a meeting must be made in writing and mailed to all members at their last address on file with the church office. Notice must be mailed no earlier than 21 days prior to the meeting, nor later than 14 days prior to the meeting.
ARTICLE I: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Reception of Members
General Procedure: All actions regarding membership, either of admission or dismissal, shall be by vote of the Church upon recommendation of the Council of Elders. At any of the regular meetings for worship, the Church may, without special notice, act upon the reception of members, or upon transfer of members to other churches.
- Admission by Baptism: Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving evidence of change of heart, and having accepted the faith, aims and ideals of this Church as expressed in the Affirmation of our Faith and the Sanctuary Membership Covenant Agreement, may be received into membership by baptism, upon recommendation of the Council of Elders.
- Admission by Letter: Members from other Christian churches holding like faith may be received as members with us upon presentation of letters of transfer from such churches, and upon acceptance of the faith, aims and ideals of this Church as expressed in the Affirmation of our Faith and the Sanctuary Membership Covenant Agreement. If such credentials be of older date than six months prior to their presentation, the applicant may be required to furnish additional information.
- Admission by Experience or Restoration: All applicants for membership other than by baptism or by letter of transfer, that is by Christian experience if previously baptized, or by restoration, shall be received into the church in the same way as those by baptism, except the ordinance shall not be administered.
Instruction to New Members: All persons uniting with this Church by baptism, by letter, by experience or restoration, shall previously, by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council, be made acquainted with the Sanctuary Membership Covenant and Affirmation of Faith. New members shall pledge themselves to fulfill their stewardship obligations as to worship, service, and giving, when they make a profession of faith and join the church.
Section 2: Membership Covenant
a) Purpose: When anyone enters into relationship with God by grace from, and faith in, the person and work of Jesus Christ they are entering into two covenants.
1. The first is to journey with God for the rest of their lives and love Him fully.
2. The second is to journey with His other children in the community of the local church.
b) Your membership in a church is an official recognition of this, and the purposes of the Sanctuary Membership Covenant are:
1. To join the Spirit in forming authentic community that reflects the relationship between the Father, Son & Spirit
2. To clarify the ongoing blessings & responsibilities of each member
3. To encourage consistency, accountability and loving unity within the church family
4. To accomplish God’s call for the Sanctuary church family
c) This agreement does not imply that you will never fall short of the goals, but that the desire of your heart is to fulfill each of the responsibilities stated to the best of your ability. We trust that your commitment will be a personal blessing to your own journey in Christ, as well a blessing to those around you.
d) The Facts of Membership
1. A numerical record was kept (Acts 2:37–47)
2. Records were kept of widows (1 Tim. 5:3–16)
3. Elections were conducted (Acts 6:1–6)
4. Discipline was carried out (Matt. 18:15–20; 1 Cor. 5; Gal. 6:1)
5. Pastors will be held accountable for members (Heb. 13:17)
6. There was an awareness of who was a church member (Rom. 16:1–16)
e) With the help of the Holy Spirit, the church leadership covenants the following:
1. We commit ourselves to lovingly caring for you and seeking your growth in Christ (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thes. 5:12)
2. We covenant to provide teaching and counsel from the Scriptures (Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17–18)
3. We commit that this teaching will span the whole counsel of God’s Word (Acts 20:27-28)
4. We commit to helping you in times of need (Acts 2:42–47, 4:32–35; James 2:14–17)
5. We covenant that your pastors and deacons will meet the criteria assigned to them in the Scriptures (1 Tim. 3:1–13; 5:17–22; Titus 1:5–9; 1 Pt. 5:1–4)
6. We covenant to pray for you regularly, particularly when you are sick (James 5:14)
7. We covenant to be on guard against false teachers (Acts 20:28–31)
8. We covenant to exercise church discipline when necessary (Matt. 18:15–20; 1 Cor. 5; Gal. 6:1)
9. We covenant to help you become equipped to serve Christ (Eph. 4:11–13)
10. We covenant to seek God’s will for our church community to the best of our ability as we study the Scriptures and follow the Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1–5)
11. We covenant to set an example and join you in fulfilling the duties of church members (1 Cor. 11:1; Philip. 3:17; 1 Tim. 4:12)
f) With the guiding help of the Holy Spirit, I, the undersigned, publicly proclaim as follows:
1. I believe Jesus Christ is exactly who He claimed to be (Isaiah 5:6; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; Luke 22:70; John 4:25–26; 6:29; 8:58; 11:25–27; 14:6–7; 15:5)
2. I have renounced my old way of life, repented of my sins, asked God to forgive my sins, to cleanse me and make me a new creation (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
3. I confess Jesus Christ is the Lord and Master of my life (Romans 10:9)
4. I recognize that my sin nature has separated me from God and put me at enmity with Him, the object of his wrath. Because of my sins I deserve eternal torment and separation from God, i.e.: Hell (Romans 3:10, 23)
5. I recognize that there is only one way to God, salvation, the kingdom of heaven and eternal life: Jesus Christ. There is no other way. My redemption and the forgiveness of sins is an unmerited gift of grace from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, accomplished by His death and shed blood on the cross at Calvary (John 14:6; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8–9)
6. I am a Christian who has been saved from my sins by the grace of Jesus Christ. I have accepted His gift of salvation bought by His death on the cross, the penalty for my sins, and His resurrection, by which I am assured of eternal life (John 3:16–18; Romans 3:23–26)
7. In obedience to Scripture, I have been baptized after I became a believer in Jesus Christ as evidence and testimony of my commitment to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, my Savior (Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:21)
8. I have read and understood the Sanctuary doctrinal statement and agree to not be divisive to its teaching. I also understand the importance of submission to church leadership and will be diligent to preserve unity and peace (Ephesians 4:1–3; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
9. I will endeavor to maintain a close relationship with the Lord Jesus through regular personal Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and practice of the other spiritual disciplines. My commitment to follow Jesus Christ will be evident through my regular participation in the Sunday assembly and worship services, my willingness to serve where needed, and my involvement in fellowship with other members of the church body through a small group or class (Psalms 119:97; 105:1–2; Acts 2:42–47; Hebrews 10:23–25)
10. I will strive to properly manage the resources God has given me, including my time, body, spiritual gifts and talents, attitudes, finances and possessions (Proverbs 3:9–10; Romans 12:1–2; Ephesians 4:1–16; 5:15–18; Gal5:22–26). This includes regular giving and service to the local church (Sanctuary) that is sacrificial, cheerful, active, and voluntary (Romans 12:1–8; 2 Corinthians 8–9; 12:7–31; 1 Peter 4:10–11)
11. I commit myself to the Sanctuary church family and agree to aid in fulfilling its missional purpose to both be and bring the gospel to Seattle by being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only, serving Jesus as my Master and Lord in every area of my life
12. I covenant to practice the humility and sacrificial attitude of Christ by considering the needs of others (Philippians 2:1–11), by seeking spiritual friendships (Proverbs 17:17), and by not gossiping (Proverbs 16:28; Matthew 18:15–17)
13. I covenant to have friendly Christian relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ from other churches, but I will not function in leadership or as a member in another church family (Hebrews 13:17)
14. I covenant to be self-disciplined, to follow the biblical procedures of church discipline regarding my brothers and sisters in Christ, and submit myself to church discipline if the need should ever arise (Matthew 18:15–17; 1 Corinthians 5:1–5; 2 Corinthians 2:5–8; Galatians 6:1–5, 8; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 2:25; Titus 1:9; 3:10–11; Revelation 2:5–7, 14–25)
15. I covenant to submit to the authority of Scripture as the final arbiter on all issues (Psalm 119, 2 Timothy 3:16–17)
Section 3: Dismissal of Members
a) Transfer: Any member uniting with another church by either letter of transfer or being taken into that membership shall be removed from the membership roll as of the date of occurrence.
b) Request: Any member may terminate their membership by written communication to the
Council of Elders Leadership Council.
c) Move: Members, who move from this city, shall supply the Church with their new address and apply for a letter of dismission within one year provided there be a church of the same faith and order in the place to which they move. If necessary, it shall be the duty of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council to remind such member of their duties in this respect. In case there is no such church in the place, or there are circumstances which render it inadvisable to change membership, the member shall report to the Church as often as once a year at least, in person or by letter and by contribution. All non-resident members who do not so report shall be subject to dismissal by the Church after appropriate efforts have been made to contact the member and remind them of their duties.
d) Inactive Members: Any Member who does not attend church services and who, in the discretion of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council, shows no interest in the church for a period of one year, and who gives no positive response to an inquiry of the Council of Elders Leadership Council within three months regarding such lack of interest shall automatically be transferred to the Inactive List. Members on the Inactive List are not eligible to vote or hold office. They may be transferred back to active Membership status by making request of and being approved by the Council of Elders Leadership Council.
Section 4: Discipline of Members
The discipline of members shall be a responsibility of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council. All such proceedings shall be guided by a spirit of prayer mingling Christian kindness, forbearance, and holy firmness under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. All cases shall be dealt with in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20, not forgetting Galatians 6:1 and I Corinthians 10:12. Discipline shall be the responsibility of Council of Elders Leadership Council. The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1). Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Council of Elders Leadership Council, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18. Before such dismissal, however,
1. it shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then
2. the warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. The first and second warnings may occur with no specified time interval. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then
3. it shall be brought to the attention of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council. If the Elders Council (or a duly appointed Committee of the Elders Council, per these Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Elders Council) determines–after thorough investigation in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19–that there is corroborating evidence that the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders Council shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly-scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then
4. he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the
Elders Council (or a duly appointed Committee of the Elders Council, per these Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Elders Council), then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.
b) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the
Elders Council in the exercise of their discretion may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline, (i.e. the informing of the church and the congregation†thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance) or to the fourth stage of church discipline, (i.e. the dismissal from the fellowship and/or membership of the church by the Congregation) when one or more of the following have occurred;
1. Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have been public, i.e. openly and to the offense of the whole Church (1 Cor. 5:1-5);
2. Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the
Elders Council (Romans 16:17); or
3. Where the disciplined party has been warned twice to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Titus 3:10-11).
c) The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members, who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.
d) Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly†constituted subcommittee thereof), a member, non-member regular attender, or other individual may be notified that he or she is not to be present upon church premises for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others on church premises. Such required absence may, but need not, be concurrent†with church discipline of that person.
ARTICLE II: MEETINGS
Section 1: For Worship
Public services shall be held on the Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month or at such other times as the Council of Elders may determine. Other religious services may be appointed as the advancement of the work of the Church may require.
Section 2: For Business
Annual Meeting. The annual meeting of the members shall be held no later than ninety (90) days after the close of the fiscal year. The exact date, time and place shall be set by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council.
Notice of Meetings. Notice of all meetings shall be posted, published, mailed and/or e-mailed by the Church Clerk no less than seven (7) nor more than fifteen (15) days prior to such meeting.
Special Meetings. The
Council of Elders Leadership Council or any ten members in good standing may call for a special meeting. Notice of the meeting shall be given from the pulpit or by other notification, the particular object of such meeting being clearly stated in the notice. In the calling of special meetings for purposes where an interval after advance notice is required by provision in these By-Laws or according to law, such provisions shall be observed. Notice shall be given at least one week in advance for meetings on specially important matters not otherwise provided for.
Agenda. So far as practical, the order of business of all meetings shall be:
1. Meeting called to order
3. Ascertain of quorum
4. Reading of minutes of last meeting
Council of Elders Leadership Council and Committee Reports
6. Unfinished business
7. New business and elections
Quorum At least one-fourth of the members must be present to constitute a quorum at annual or special meetings of the members. If a quorum be not present at the appointed date of any meeting, the meeting shall be adjourned for not less than seven (7) days or more than fifteen (15) days. Notice of the adjourned meeting is to be given as prescribed in Section 2 of this Article. In the absence of the required quorum, three (3) members may constitute a quorum for the purpose of adjourning any meeting.
Voting At all meetings each member, shall have but one vote, and no votes may be cast by proxy. When not otherwise provided in these Bylaws, the vote of a majority of the members present at a meeting shall be the act of the corporation. Any member, who for reasonable cause cannot attend a meeting, may request to vote through electronic mail. The vote via electronic mail must be sent to Clerk prior to general voting at any meeting.
Members on the Inactive List are not eligible to vote or hold office.
Rules Governing Business Meetings Robert’s Rules of Order shall be recognized as the general pattern for the conduct of the business meetings of the Church. Seeking the Lord’s wisdom and blessing through thankful prayer shall be a part of every meeting.
ARTICLE III: CHURCH GOVERNMENT
Section 1: General Statement
a) Officers. The Officers of the Church shall be
a Council of Elders and the Deacons. Officers shall be called to office by vote of the membership of the Church as provided for in Article III, Section 2 and Section 3 of these By-Laws. All officers of the Church shall be members of the Church in good and regular standing. Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) below, the Council of Elders and the Deacons are the only bodies and positions created by these By-Laws.
b) Clerk, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary. The Church, upon nomination by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall elect at the annual meeting, members to the positions of Church Clerk, Treasurer and Financial Secretary. The functions of Treasurer and Financial Secretary shall not be performed by one member.
- The Treasurer shall be the custodian of the funds, securities, books of account and all other valuable papers of the church.
- The Treasurer shall keep, or cause to be kept, proper books of entry containing in detail the financial transactions of the church under the direction of the Council of Elders.
- In the event of the disability of the Treasurer, the Treasurer’s duties may be performed by the Chairperson of the
Council of EldersLeadership Council until such time as a replacement may be appointed by the Council of EldersLeadership Council. (See Section 11: Vacancies).
- Shall be responsible for receiving and depositing offering and tithes and all other income.
- Shall keep record of all income from contributing members and other sources.† The Financial Secretary shall make written report of all income received to the Treasurer and
Council of EldersLeadership Council.
- The Clerk shall keep correct records of all meetings of the membership and shall be responsible to insure that notice of all meetings of the members is given in the manner prescribed by the Bylaws under the direction of the
Council of EldersLeadership Council.
- He or she shall keep a register of the names and addresses of the church members, with dates of admission, dismissal, dedication of children, and deaths of members of the church family.
- He or she shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church and write letters of transfer of membership, prepare written reports of the church, and keep an accurate history of the church.
- An assistant church clerk may be elected or the clerk’s responsibilities shall be delegated to a church secretary if and when the church can afford to employ one.
Committees and Appointees. The
Council of Elders Leadership Council has the authority to create committees and positions to which it may delegate any specified aspect of its responsibility. The Council of Elders Leadership Council has the authority to dissolve any committee or position which it created. The Council of Elders Leadership Council also has the authority to appoint Elders, Deacons or other members of the Church to serve as members of such committees and to act as its agents in such positions. The Deacons may nominate candidates for any committee or position, with appointment by the Council of Elders. The Council of Elders may delegate to the Deacons the authority to appoint Deacons or other members of the Church to serve as members of such committees and as agents of the Council of Elders in such positions. Every committee shall have a chairperson, responsible for the overall operation of the committee, who shall be appointed by the Council of Elders Leadership Council. Council of Elders Leadership Council may delegate the responsibility for selecting the chairperson to the Deacons or to the committee.
Section 2: Vocational Pastors and Ministers
a) Definition. Vocational Pastors are the ordained Elders of the church, who in response to God’s call, have devoted their vocational lives to the ministry of the Word and prayer in the service of the church of Christ. Vocational Ministers are the non-ordained ministers of the church who, in response to God’s call, serve the church of Christ as their primary vocation. Both Vocational Pastors and Vocational Ministers are supported financially by the church in return for their vocational labors.
b) Duties. In addition to the duties of their office as described in Sections 4 and 5 below, Vocational Pastors and Ministers shall perform the duties determined by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council and approved by the congregation. The duties shall be in writing at the time of the call to service, and substantial changes shall be approved by the church. The church’s call of a Vocational Pastor is a call to the Eldership of the church. Therefore Vocational Pastors shall be members of the Council of Elders Leadership Council and have all the Biblical qualifications of an Elder. Vocational Ministers are not necessarily called to the Eldership, but as assisting partners in the ministry. Therefore, Vocational Ministers shall be Deacons. Vocational Ministers may, when appropriate, be called by the church to the Council of Elders Eldership from the Deacons. Deacon status.
c) Vocational Call by the Church. The members shall call Vocational Pastors and Ministers (1) by ballot upon recommendation of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council and (2) by at least a two-thirds majority of those members voting at the meeting with at least twenty five percent (25%) of the membership of the Church present. Oral notice of any such meeting, stating its object, shall be given from the pulpit on the next two successive Sundays preceding the meeting. Notice shall also be given by mail to the resident membership at least one week before the meeting. Vocational Pastors and Ministers shall stand for reaffirmation not later than the third annual meeting following their call or previous reaffirmation. Reaffirmation of a Vocational Pastor or Minister shall be by two-thirds vote of those members present and voting at the meeting.
d) Termination of Vocational Call by the Church.
- By resignation. The question of terminating the vocational call of a Vocational Pastor or Minister shall be considered at any time by the church upon the presentation of the Pastor’s or Minister’s resignation.
- Grievance. Where a grievance exists against a Pastor or Minister, either due to his preaching or teaching contrary to the beliefs of the Church as set forth in Article III of its Constitution or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting an Elder or Deacon, such grievance may be brought before the
Council of EldersLeadership Council by any two members in good standing, following the procedure prescribed in Article II of these By-Laws. If the Council, after thorough investigation and consideration, believes the grievance to be true and substantial, then the vocational call of the Pastor or Minister may be terminated at any business meeting upon the recommendation of the Council of EldersLeadership Council when supported by closed ballot of a majority of those members of the Church present and voting with at least twenty five percent (25%) of the membership of the church present at such meeting. Oral notice of any such meeting, stating its object, shall be given from the pulpit on two successive Sundays next preceding the meeting. Notice shall also be given by electronic mail or postal mail to members without electronic mail to the resident membership at least one week before the meeting.
3. Lack of reaffirmation. If a Vocational Pastor or Minister fails to be reaffirmed to the office of Elder or Deacon as provided in paragraph (c) above, a special business meeting shall be called to consider the question of terminating the vocational call with that Pastor or Minister. The vocational call shall be terminated only if supported by closed ballot of a majority of those members of the Church present and voting with at least twenty five percent (25%) of the membership of the church present. Public notice of any such meeting, stating its object, shall be given on two successive Sundays next preceding the meeting. Notice shall also be given by mail to the membership at least one week before the meeting. Removal from office and termination of the vocational call by this means shall not be considered disciplinary action.
e) Licensing and Ordination. In the matter of licensing and ordaining any person to the Gospel Ministry, the church shall follow, as far as possible, the procedure recommended by the Puget Sound Baptist Association.
Section 3: Lay Officers
Definition. Lay officers are the non-Vocational Elders and Deacons of the Church.
Duties. Lay Elders and Deacons shall have the duties of their offices as described in Sections 4 and 5 below.
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall recognize, interview, and investigate candidates for lay Elder and Deacon.
The Council shall provide for individual members of the Church either to nominate candidates or to present themselves to the Council as candidates for office and for the Council’s further investigation. In no instances shall any individual be considered a nominee for the office without the nominee’s consent. In those cases where the
Council of Elders Leadership Council concludes that a nominee is not qualified for office they shall so inform the nominee stating the reasons for this conclusion.
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall present a ballot of candidates for calling or reaffirmation as Elders or Deacons to the congregation at the annual meeting. The Council of Elders Leadership Council may also nominate candidates for election to office at any quarterly or special meeting, provided that the written ballot of nominees is available for review in the church office at least ten days in advance of the meeting – and is announced publicly to the church by electronic mail to its members or in the Sunday morning worship at least ten days in advance of the meeting.
Lay Elders and Deacons shall be called by the Church for a normal term of three years and may succeed themselves if re-elected. If the Deacons or Elders desire to increase its number of members, they shall bring their request to the attention of the
Elders Congregation. If agreed, the nominating committee shall act promptly to fill such request.
- Resignation. An officer may resign his office at any time if he finds he is no longer able to discharge the duties of the office.
- Grievance. Where a grievance exists against an officer of the Church either due to the adherence to and propagation of beliefs contrary to the beliefs of the Church as set forth in Article III of its Constitution or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting an Elder or Deacon, such grievance may be brought before the
Council of EldersLeadership Council by any two members in good standing, following the procedures prescribed in Article II of the By-Laws of this Church. If the Council, after thorough investigation and consideration, believes the grievance to be true and substantial, then the officer may be removed from office upon the recommendation of the Council of EldersLeadership Council when supported by closed ballot of a majority of those members of the Church present and voting at any annual, quarterly, or special meeting with at least twenty five percent (25%) of the membership of the church present at such meeting. Oral notice of any such meeting, stating its object, shall be given from the pulpit on two successive Sundays next preceding the meeting. Notice shall also be given by mail to the resident membership at least one week before the meeting.
- Lack of reaffirmation. If a Lay Elder or Deacon stands for reaffirmation and fails to be reaffirmed, the Elder or Deacon shall be removed from office. Removal from office by this means shall not be considered disciplinary action.
Council of Elders
Composition, Term, and Calling. The
Council of Elders shall be composed of both Lay Elders and Vocational Elders. The Council of number of Elders shall be composed of at least three members, with the number of Elders at any time determined or limited by the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of members in the church shall be determined by the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of members in the church. There shall be at least twice as many Lay Elders as Vocational Elders. Each Elder shall be called by the membership of the Church to a term of three years. That call and any reaffirmation(s) shall be conducted as provided in Article III, Sections 2 and 3 of these By-Laws.
Qualifications. Elders and nominees for Elder shall be qualified for the office as specified in the Bible. Relevant texts include I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and I Peter 5:1-4. Elders are also required to be in agreement with the Sanctuary Elder Affirmation of Faith. The Sanctuary Elder Affirmation of Faith shall only be amended by a recommendation of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council to the church, following the same procedure to amend the By-Laws.
Responsibilities. The fundamental responsibility of the Elders is to devote themselves to prayer and the Word.
The Elders are responsible for governing the Church, teaching the Word and tending the flock of God in this Church. The responsibilities of the Elders shall include: examining prospective members and acquainting them with the Affirmation of Faith and Church Membership Covenant, overseeing the process of Church discipline, examining prospective candidates for office, scheduling and providing a moderator for business meetings, providing for reporting and recording of official Church business, overseeing the work of the Deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conducting worship services, administering the ordinances of the Gospel, equipping the membership of the Church for the work of the ministry, teaching the whole counsel of God both formally and informally, correcting error, overseeing, coordinating and promoting the ministries of the Church, and mobilizing the Church for world mission. Organization. The Council of Elders shall organize itself however it determines to be best to achieve the mission of the Church. The Elders shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function. The Elders must meet at least once per month. Meetings of the Elders may be held at any location and may be conducted by means of electronic communication through which the Elders may simultaneously hear each other. Unless the Council provides otherwise, meetings of the Council may be held immediately upon notice. A quorum for meetings of the Elders is defined as at least two Lay Elders and one Vocational Elder (or) one-half of the Lay Elders plus at least one-half of the Vocational Elders, except for matters on which only Lay Elders are entitled to vote in which case a majority of the Lay Elders shall constitute a quorum. The Council shall annually select its Chairman and Vice-Chairman from among its Lay Elders.
Section 5: Deacons
Composition, Term, and Calling. The Deacons shall be both Vocational Ministers and Lay Deacons. The number of Deacons shall be determined by the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of members in the church. Each Deacon shall be called by the membership of the Church to a normal term of three years. The call and any reaffirmation shall be conducted as provided in Article III, Sections 2 and 3 of these By-Laws.
Qualifications. Deacons and nominees for Deacon shall be qualified for the office as specified in the Bible. Relevant texts include I Timothy 3:8-12.
Responsibilities. The Deacons shall advise and be ready to assist the Elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the Word, new and existing ministries of the Church, and the care for the members of the congregation.
Their responsibilities may include: 1. administering a fund to assist the poor and needy and otherwise providing aid in times of crisis or distress;
2. the greeting and welcoming ministries of the church;
3. assisting in administering the ordinances of the Gospel;
4. assisting at fellowship gatherings of the church;
5. caring for and maintaining the Church properties;
6. administering the business affairs of the Church that pertain to its material assets.
Organization. The Deacons shall organize themselves however they determine to be best to achieve the mission of the church. The Elders or the Deacons may designate any specific Deacon or group of Deacons to specialize in some particular Deaconal function. Meetings of the Deacons or subcommittees thereof shall be held as needed to best fulfill the responsibilities of the Deacons.
Section 6: Leadership Council
Composition, Term, and Calling. The Leadership Council shall be composed of Elders and Deacons.
The responsibilities of the Council are for governing the Church, teaching the Word and tending the flock of God in this Church. Responsibilities shall include: examining prospective members and acquainting them with the Affirmation of Faith and Church Membership Covenant, overseeing the process of Church discipline, examining prospective candidates for office, scheduling and providing a moderator for business meetings, providing for reporting and recording of official Church business, overseeing appointed church agents and committees, conducting worship services, administering the ordinances of the Gospel, equipping the membership of the Church for the work of the ministry, teaching the whole counsel of God both formally and informally, correcting error, overseeing, coordinating and promoting the ministries of the Church, and mobilizing the Church for world mission.
Organization. The Leadership Council shall organize itself however it determines to be best to achieve the mission of the Church. They must meet at least once per month. Council meetings may be held at any location and may be conducted by means of electronic communication through which the Council members may simultaneously hear each other. Unless the Council provides otherwise, meetings of the Council may be held immediately upon notice. A quorum for a Council meeting is defined as at least two members plus a vocational elder. The Council shall annually select its Chairman and Vice-Chairman from among its Lay Elders or Deacons.
Section 10: Officers of the Corporation
President The Chairperson of the
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall be President. In such capacity the Chairperson will sign such instruments as may require the President’s signature, and perform the other usual duties of the office.
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall appoint a second Elder member on the Council to be Vice-President. In such capacity the Vice-President will preside at meetings of the membership, sign such instruments as may require the Vice-President’s signature and perform such other duties as the President may from time to time prescribe.
Treasurer The Treasurer of the church shall also function as the Treasurer of the Corporation and perform such duties as pertain to that office.
Secretary The Clerk of the Church shall also function as the Secretary of the Corporation and perform such duties as pertain to that office.
Board The Council of Elders shall function as the Corporation’s Board of Directors, and shall perform such duties as pertain to that office.
Section 11: Vacancies
In the event of the absence or disability of any of the Officers, the
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall appoint a member of the church to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term.
ARTICLE V: CHURCH EMPLOYEES
In addition to Vocational Pastors and Ministers, the church may employ additional personnel. The moneys for such personnel must be approved by the congregation at a properly called business meeting. The
Council of Elders Leadership Council shall be responsible for determining the duties of and hiring such personnel.
ARTICLE VI: CONFORMITY
Any section or provision of these Bylaws in conflict with the Laws of the State of Washington now in effect or hereafter amended, pertaining to religious organizations, or practice of religion, shall be deemed to be amended to conform therewith unless to do so would violate the law of God as defined in Scripture.
ARTICLE VII: PROPERTY
Section 1: Sale or Purchase of Real Property
The church shall not sell or purchase any real property unless:
The proposed sale or purchase has been reviewed and approved by the Church Membership. .
The individual(s) authorized to sign shall be stated in the Approving Resolution adopted by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council.
Section 2: Encumbering Real Property
The church shall not encumber real property unless:
The proposed encumbrance has been reviewed and approved by the Church Membership.
The individual(s) authorized to sign shall be stated in the Approving Resolution adopted by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council.
Section 3: Lease of Real Property Owned by the Church and Lease of Real Property to be Used by the Church
All leases will be reviewed and approved by the Church Membership.
The individual(s) authorized to sign shall be stated in the approving Resolution and adopted by the
Council of Elders Leadership Council.