1 Organizational Bylaws July Deer Creek Rd. Monument, CO 80132
2 2 ARTICLE I NAME The name of this church is The Ascent Church. ARTICLE II MISSION OF THE ASCENT CHURCH Our mission focuses on Jesus primary teachings known as The Great Commandment and The Great Commission: The Great Commandment Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-38i The Great Commission Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 The Ascent Church carries out this mission through the use of a multi-site campus methodology. ARTICLE III STATEMENT OF FAITH The Trinity We believe in God who has always existed and always will exist in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God created all that exists by calling it into being. God came in human form in the Person of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, who lived a sinless life, died on the cross to provide salvation for all who believe in Him, and rose again, and ascended to heaven. In the fullness of time, Christ will return in power and glory to judge the living and the dead and establish God s kingdom without end. The Holy Spirit indwells the believer, convicts of sin, and guides our life in Christ until Jesus returns. (Genesis 1 and 2, Colossians 1:16; John 3:16-18; Mark 8:31, Luke 24:6-7; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Matthew 28:18-20 and 26:64 and 24:30, 2 Timothy 4:1, Acts 3: 19-21, Titus 2:11-14, Isaiah 9:7, John 16:13, Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, Galatians 5:25) The Bible We believe in the divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible in faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
3 3 Humanity & Salvation We believe that all people are loved by God and are created to have fellowship with God. We are all sinners in need of our Creator God to restore us to right relationship first with God and also with other people. This salvation is freely given by grace to all who believe in Christ Jesus through faith. (1 Timothy 2:3-4, Romans 3:22-26, John 6:40, Revelation 3:20, Ephesians 2:8-9) The Church We believe that the church is a gathering of people who are committed to following Christ together within the larger body of Christ, which consists of all believers around the world and throughout time. We come together to love God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strengths and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 10:25-28; Hebrews 10:23-25) ARTICLE IV APPLICATIONS AND PRACTICES Baptism & Communion Baptism and communion are significant ways that we identify with Christ. We practice baptism by immersion as a symbol of new life for the believer. Through baptism we publicly acknowledge both our faith in Christ and our commitment to follow His teachings and example. As a church, we recognize previous baptism experiences. (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34, Acts 2:37-38, Ephesians 4:4-6, Matthew 28:19-20) We regularly observe communion as a community of believers to remember what Christ did on the cross for the forgiveness of the sins of all people. (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:14-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26) Biblical Sexuality The Ascent Church affirms each person as an image of God and welcomes all people to worship and participate in the life of the church. The Ascent Church holds that intimate sexual expression is intended, by God, to be between one man and one woman in the life-long, monogamous, covenanted commitment traditionally called marriage. Intimate sexual expression outside of marriage goes against God s will. (Genesis 2:24-25; Exodus 20:14-17, 22:19 ; Leviticus 18:22-23, 20:13-16; Matthew 19:4-6 & 9, Romans 1:18-31; I Corinthians 6:9-10 & 15-20; I Timothy 1:8-11; Jude 7) The Ascent Church holds that God created the human race male and female. Intentionally adopting a gender other than one s birth-gender is outside of God s will. (Genesis 1:27, Deuteronomy 22:5). Those who seek marriage through The Ascent Church, including the use of The Ascent Church buildings or resources, and/or officiating by The Ascent Church pastors, must seek to pursue behavior consistent with the above beliefs. Biblical Interpretation As believers, the words of God in Scripture are our ultimate authority in faith and practice. We recognize that believers can, in good faith, have differences in biblical
4 4 interpretation on matters that are not essential to salvation through Christ. The Holy Spirit is our guide as we study Scripture and pray about matters of biblical interpretation, and every believer is personally and ultimately accountable to God. For these and other practices of The Ascent Church, the Board of Elders holds final authority and interprets Scripture as they are led by the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Peter 1:19-21, 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, 1 Thessalonians 2:13) ARTICLE V MEMBERSHIP A. The Ascent Church Members 1. The Ascent Church will declare as a member and add to the membership roll any person who meets the following requirements: a) The person has received Jesus Christ as personal Savior. b) The person desires to live an obedient Christian life. c) The person claims The Ascent Church as his/her home church and desires to be counted as a member of The Ascent Church. d) The person agrees with The Ascent Church Statement of Faith and Applications and Practices (Articles III and IV). 2. Anyone wishing to become a member of The Ascent Church will complete a membership request packet. This is an administrative tool The Ascent Church staff will use to maintain the membership roll. Members will be approved by the Board of Elders or staff as designated by the Board of Elders. 3. Member Rights Members shall have the right to vote on the following matters: 1. The affirmation of Lay Elders 2. Confirmation of the Lead Pastor 3. Approval of the annual budget 4. The acquisition of real property and related indebtedness 5. Addition of campuses/congregations (per a multi-site mission and strategy) 6. The merger of The Ascent Church with another faith community 7. Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws of the (Article IX) 8. The disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the church per Article VII
5 5 All votes will be by ballot as prescribed in Article VI, Section A, Paragraph 4. Voting by proxy is prohibited. Affirmation requires a three-fourths (3/4) majority of votes cast. 5. Member Responsibilities 1. Submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of the Bible (Galatians 2:20; 2 Timothy 3:16) 2. Respect and support the appointed leaders and pastors of the church (Hebrews 13:17) 3. Support the vision, and the philosophy of ministry of the church (Hebrews 13:17) 4. Commit to the financial support of the church (Deuteronomy 16:17) 5. Commit to serve the church s mission and vision through the use of one s spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12) 6. Commit to pray for the ministry of the church and the community (1 Timothy 2:1) 7. Commit to protect the unity of the church (Ephesians 4:1-6; Philippians 2:1-4) 8. Commit to actively participate in the life of the church (i.e. worship services, church votes, meetings, prayer, community service, focus on loving neighbors) (Hebrews 10:24-25) B. The Ascent Church Affiliates The Ascent Church Affiliates are those individuals who consider themselves affiliated with the church but have not signed a statement of faith or requested membership according to the requirements of Article V, Section A. C. Removal from The Ascent Church Membership Members may be removed from membership roles for the following reasons: 1. When a Member requests transfer to another church community. 2. When a Member requests to be removed from membership roll. 3. The Board of Elders may change a member s status through the exercise of church discipline. The Board will accomplish this discipline with love, clarity and for the purpose of restoration. (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13) 4. Absence from functions, showing no interest in the work of the church for six months and giving no response to communication.
6 6 ARTICLE VI GOVERNANCE A. Statement of Governance 1. The Ascent Church is ultimately accountable to God. Christ is the Head of the church. Elders are ordained by God and carry spiritual authority and accountability as they shepherd the church vision and its members. (1 Peter 5; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17) Elders will exhibit biblical character as they live their lives and lead the church, being accountable first to God, then to other members within the church. The Board of Elders will lead the church in conjunction with a Lead Pastor, overseeing staff that equips the members to carry out the mission and vision of The Ascent Church. (Ephesians 4:11-16) In Christ there is no hierarchy all members of the church are equal before God. (Romans 3:22, 29; 10:12; Galatians 3:28) As such, the governance of The Ascent Church originates in the members of the congregation with oversight being granted, through Scripture, to the Elders. As well, the members of the congregation entrust the day-to-day operations and decision-making of The Ascent Church to the Elders, Pastors and church staff. (1 Peter 5; Titus 1) The Board of Elders is responsible for the direction, support, and accountability of the Lead Pastor. The Lead Pastor, as a member of the Board of Elders, is responsible for the direction, support, and accountability of the staff of The Ascent Church. 2. The Board of Elders will have the authority to manage the annual operating budget as required to carry out the mission of The Ascent Church. The Board of Elders will also have the authority to increase the approved annual budget as needs may arise by no more than five percent (5%) in aggregate per fiscal year without membership approval. (Article VI, Section A, Paragraph 4) When income exceeds expenditures in a given fiscal budget year, that money will be available for ministry use in subsequent years. The Board of Elders will ensure adequate financial reserves for regulating cash flow. 3. Congregational and Informational Meetings: The Board of Elders will call for a congregational meeting at least annually and at any other times as determined or required. Congregational meetings are designed to allow the Board of Elders to share information with the congregation and to provide an open forum for discussions and dialogue on current church issues and proposals that require a vote of the membership. Congregational meetings are open to all church members and affiliates, though only members are allowed to vote. The Board of Elders will provide notice of all congregational meetings, to include the meeting topic(s) and/or agenda, through communications methods as prescribed at the previous Annual Meeting, for a minimum of two (2) consecutive weeks prior to the scheduled
7 7 meeting date. The Chair of the Board of Elders, or a designee, will preside over congregational meetings. As well, and for purposes of definition, the Board of Elders may call informational meetings at anytime to discuss topics of interest to the members and affiliates. These meetings do not have a specific requirement for advance notice nor is a vote required. 4. Only voting members of The Ascent Church, as defined by Article V, Section A, are eligible to participate in church votes and elections. The Board of Elders will administer a voting process that ensures only voting members receive ballots and vote. Further, the system will maintain the integrity and secrecy of individual votes, provide members with sufficient opportunity and time to vote on ballot issues and elections, and protect the overall integrity of the voting process. The Board of Elders may use a variety of voting techniques that meet these requirements (e.g. voting station, vote by mail, electronic voting). An approved vote will be defined as a (3/4) three-fourths majority of the members responding. 5. The Board of Elders is responsible for the interpretation of these bylaws. Decisions of interpretation will be seen as affirmed by a unanimous vote of the quorum of the Elders. (Article VI, B, 6, C) B. Board of Elders 1. Elders must meet the qualifications stipulated by the Scriptures. (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9) All Elders will be members of The Ascent Church and will agree to the church s Statement of Faith and Applications and Practices. (Articles III and IV) a) Lay Elders are defined as those Elders that are not on the staff of The Ascent Church. b) Staff Elders are The Ascent Church staff members who are selected by the Elders to serve on the Board of Elders. 2. Composition of The Board of Elders a) The Board of Elders will consist of a minimum of five Lay Elders in addition to selected Staff Elders. As well, the Board of Elders will have, at a minimum, one representative Elder from each multi-site campus. Voting members of the board will consist of the Lay Elders and the Lead Pastor.
8 8 b) The Lead Pastor, as an Elder, functions and votes in the same manner as Lay Elders, except for approval of pastoral and staff compensation packages (Article VI, Section B, Paragraph 5(f)) as there is a conflict of interest. 3. The Ascent Church will use the following process to select Lay Elders: a) Nomination As it deems necessary and as vacancies arise, the Board of Elders will ask the members and affiliates to nominate Elders in accordance with the scriptural guidance prescribed in these by-laws. (Article VI, Section B, Paragraph 1) Members and affiliates may nominate Elders via handwritten and/or electronic methods, which will then be given to the Chair of the Elder Board. Only members will be granted the right to vote on new Elder representatives. b) Screening The Board of Elders will prayerfully evaluate and screen each nominee and will select the nominee(s) who meets the qualifications of an Elder as stated in Scripture as well as these bylaws. The Board Chair will present the recommended nominee(s) to the members for final consideration. Prior to affirmation, nominees will be presented to the members in a congregational meeting as well as through written notification. c) Review After presenting the selected nominee(s) to the congregation, the Board of Elders will establish a two-week review period for the purpose of membership prayer, consideration and feedback. During this review period members and affiliates may offer comments regarding the nominee to the Board of Elders. The Board of Elders retains the option to withdraw the nomination if comments lead to a concern for that nominee serving as an Elder. d) Election The members will vote to affirm Lay Elders as set forth in Article VI, Section A, Paragraph 4. An Elder will be considered selected by the membership after receiving a (3/4) three-fourths majority of votes cast. Elected Elders will begin their term effective immediately. 4. Term of Service Lay Elders will serve a three-year term. As their term is completed, the membership may elect them for one additional consecutive term. Lay Elders may be considered for future terms only after a minimum sabbatical of one-year.
9 9 5. Function The Elders will have responsibility for the following functions: a) Shepherd the members and affiliates of the church as directed by Scripture. b) Guard Biblical truths in the teachings and ministries of the church. c) Establish and administer the governing principles, policies, and procedures of the church. d) Oversee all church ministries, assess the needs of the church body and provide for them through program planning, implementation, budgeting and periodic evaluation. e) Act as the final authority for church discipline as directed by Scripture. f) Approve recommended pastoral and staff compensation packages. g) Review, and if needed, approve disciplinary actions and recommendations for dismissals. h) Act as corporate directors in accordance with the Colorado Nonprofit Corporation Act. 6. Board of Elders Practices a) Basis of Authority The Scriptures are the basis of authority for all the deliberations and activities of the Board of Elders. The Board of Elders is self-governing in its practices. b) Officers The Board of Elders will elect from its members the following officers each year: Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. c) Decision-Making Process Attendance by a majority of the voting members of the Board of Elders constitutes a quorum. Unanimous decisions of the quorum shall constitute official Board of Elders decisions. As defined by these bylaws, the Board will bring matters of major concern and importance to the congregation for consideration and vote such matters include: - Annual approval of operating budget - Increases in the aggregate budget greater than 5% - Hiring of Lead Pastor - Affirmation of Elders - Changes and amendments to the bylaws - Incurrence of new debt above and beyond normal operating procedures and expenses - Purchase and sale of real estate assets - Mergers with other faith communities - Dissolution of the church - Other matters as they deem necessary
10 10 d) Elder Meetings There can be three sessions of an official Elder Board Meeting: - Open Session: This is typically the first part of a meeting, time as defined by the Board of Elders, to invite the members and affiliates for open discussion and comments. Minutes are kept of these discussions, - Regular Session: This part of an Elder meeting is closed to the members and affiliates due to possible sensitive subject matter of the church and/or persons. Minutes of Regular Sessions will be kept and are available to members and affiliates. - Executive Session: This part of an Elder meeting is only attended by voting members of the Elder Team and any specific invitees. Due to the nature of the confidentiality of the subject matter, minutes and notes of these discussions are not made public. Decisions affecting the entire membership of the church will be brought forward and summarized in the open session minutes. 1. The Board Chair, or designated Elder, shall preside over meetings. The Board of Elders will meet as often as necessary to conduct church business. The Board of Elders will make an open session available at the beginning of each scheduled meeting for the purposes of hearing discussion and member concerns. Church members and affiliates may attend the open session as guest observers. The Board of Elders may later move to a closed regular and executive session as required to address spiritual issues and business related to The Ascent Church. The Board Chair will excuse all guest observers from the meeting prior to beginning the regular session. 2. Any church member or affiliate may request to speak to or bring a matter before the Board of Elders by contacting a member of the Board. The Board will include the request on a future meeting agenda at the earliest opportunity. 3. The Board of Elders will take minutes of all open and regular sessions conducted by the Board. Once approved (by vote prior to, or at the next meeting), the meeting minutes become a matter of record and are then available to the members upon request. e) Discipline The Board of Elders will be a self-disciplining body and, when required, will discipline its members according to Scriptural guidelines. (Proverbs 27:17; Matthew 18:15-17) When discipline results in an Elder s dismissal from service on the Board, an informational meeting will be held to communicate the general nature of the decision to the members and affiliates. Discipline and/or dismissals will be conducted in a spirit of reconciliation.
11 11 C. Deacons Deacons may be appointed as needed, supporting the Elders, Pastors and members, to facilitate operational matters of the church. (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13) 1. Qualifications Deacons must meet the qualifications stipulated in the Scriptures. (1 Timothy 3:8-13) All Deacons will be members of The Ascent Church and will agree to the church s Statement of Faith and Applications and Practices as set forth in Articles III and IV of these bylaws. 2. Selection The Board of Elders will appoint Deacons using the following process: a) As it deems necessary, the Board of Elders will select Deacons. All selected Deacons, and their role(s), will be presented to the members and affiliates. 3. Function The Deacons serve under the guidance and direction of the Board of Elders. They are responsible for assisting the Board of Elders in the service ministries of the church. The specific service ministry areas may change, but in general shall include, but are not limited to special projects, care and benevolence ministries, worship and welcome support, community outreach, local missions support and such other ministry areas as the Board of Elders may direct. 4. Term of Service Deacons will serve for a term designated by the Board of Elders. Terms will be defined by the role(s) and needs of service. 5. Deacon Practices a) Reporting Deacons will report regularly to the Board of Elders, in a manner determined by the Board of Elders. b) Meetings Deacon teams will meet as often as it deems necessary to fulfill its service and ministry requirements. Special project teams will keep minutes of meetings and discussions, reporting them to the Board of Elders. D. Pastoral Staff 1. Lead Pastor In order to fulfill its stated purpose, this church will call and support a Lead
12 12 Pastor. The Lead Pastor will guide and direct the teaching and preaching of God's Word, shepherding The Ascent Church family, and overseeing the management of the entire ministry of the church. A member of the church by virtue of the position, the Lead Pastor will be in full accord with the church s Statement of Faith and Applications and Practices as set forth in Articles III and IV. The Lead Pastor will be an ex officio member of all boards and committees of the church. a) Lead Pastor Search Team In the event of a Lead Pastor vacancy, the Board of Elders will establish an ad hoc Lead Pastor Search Team, chaired by an Elder, and consisting of volunteer members from the church body as delegated by the Board of Elders. The team will function under the guidance and direction of the Board of Elders and will manage all phases of the selection process leading to the presentation of a Lead Pastor candidate for the membership s consideration and vote. When seeking a new Lead Pastor, the Lead Pastor candidates will exhibit qualifications as set forth by the Board of Elders, with advice from the Lead Pastor search team, in keeping with scriptural guidelines and interpretation. b) Selection Upon recommendation of the Lead Pastor Search Team, the Board of Elders will present a Lead Pastor candidate to the church at a special congregational meeting. The Board of Elders will not present more than one candidate at a time to the membership for vote. The members will vote on the Lead Pastor candidate as set forth in ARTICLE VI, Section A, Paragraph 4. Confirmation requires a threefourths (3/4) majority of votes cast. c) Termination & Discipline The Board of Elders holds authority to dismiss the Lead Pastor from leadership duties. The Board of Elders will call a special informational meeting to discuss the termination of the Lead Pastor. 2. Additional Pastoral Staff As ministry needs warrant, the Elders will call and budget for various associate Pastors and ministers. Additional Pastoral staff members will work in conjunction with and be responsible to the Lead Pastor to teach God s Word, shepherd the church body, and manage the ministries of The Ascent Church. All members of the Pastoral staff will qualify for their respective
13 13 positions according to the standards of Scripture. They will be members of The Ascent Church by virtue of their position and will be in full accord with the church s Statement of Faith and Applications and Practices as set forth in Articles III and IV. Additions of ordained and/or licensed pastors requires an informational meeting of the members and affiliates of the specific campus that the pastor will primarily serve. A vote is not required. E. Employees Other Than Pastoral Staff The Ascent Church may employ other staff, in both full-time and part-time positions, to accomplish the daily work of the church. The Board of Elders retains the authority to identify and fill required staff positions, to establish the salary and terms of employment, and to terminate employees. The Board of Elders may delegate this authority to the Lead Pastor and Pastoral staff. ARTICLE VII PROPERTY RIGHTS A. Acquisition and Holding of Property The church shall have power to acquire, manage and control such property as may be necessary, required or desirable for its use and benefit. B. Dissolution Upon dissolution of the corporation, The Ascent Church will establish a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all the liabilities of the corporation, dispose of all the assets of the corporation exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such manner or to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational or religious purposes as shall at the time qualify (and be in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service) as an exempt organization or organizations under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Board of Trustees shall determine. The appropriate civil court of El Paso County, Colorado shall dispose of any such assets not so disposed of, exclusively for religious purposes. ARTICLE VIII DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to its members, trustees, officers or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distribution in furtherance of the purposes set forth in ARTICLE II hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation,
14 14 and the corporation shall not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding section of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). ARTICLE IX AMENDING ORGANIZATIONAL BYLAWS A. The congregation may amend this constitution by vote as set forth in Article VI, Section A, Paragraph 4. Amendment of this constitution requires a three-fourths (3/4) majority affirmation of those that vote. The Board of Elders will call a special congregational meeting as set forth in Article VI, Section A, Paragraph 3 to discuss any issues related to the proposed amendment as a prelude to a membership vote. B. The church cannot repeal, amend or revise Article VII PROPERTY RIGHTS and Article VIII DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS. i The passages of Scripture associated with each of the statements are not offered as proof texts; rather, they are intended to serve as a beginning place for further study.
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ARTICLE I CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS PREAMBLE Having been loved by God, saved by the gift of His grace, and created in Christ Jesus for the purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship,
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Document to be presented to the Congregation LA CRESCENT EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH (LEFC) La Crescent, MN By-Laws 2016 Table of Contents ARTICLE 1 MEMBERSHIP...................................................
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CONSTITUTION GRACE COVENANT CHURCH OF AUSTIN, TEXAS ARTICLE I NAME The name of this church shall be Grace Covenant Church of Austin, Texas. ARTICLE II PURPOSE The purpose of Grace Covenant Church is to
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WEST BELLEVUE CHURCH, SBC CONSTITUTION Adopted December 10, 2000 * Revised January 13, 2013 * ***DRAFT***Revised April & June, 2013*** Note: non-highlighted text is from original adopted December 10, 2000;
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