1 CONSTITUTION and BYLAWS of RIVERVIEW COMMUNITY CHURCH Revised August 29, 2012
2 CONSTITUTION AND STATEMENT OF FAITH OF RIVERVIEW COMMUNITY CHURCH PREAMBLE: We, the members of Riverview Community Church, in an effort to more efficiently carry out the commission given by Jesus Christ to His church to make disciples of all nations, do ordain and establish the following Constitution to which we voluntarily submit ourselves: ARTICLE I: NAME The name of this organization shall be Riverview Community Church, an Evangelical Free Church, Ashland, NE. ARTICLE II: VISION, MISSION AND VALUES 2.1 The Vision of this church is to multiply small groups and local churches starting in Ashland and extending in ever-widening circles of influence throughout the Omaha/ Lincoln I-80 Corridor comprising every community in a thirty mile radius from I-80 s exit 426. We will win, build, and send multiplying disciples locally and globally in partnership with all other colaborers in the gospel of Christ. 2.2 We have defined our Mission as finding what s worth living for, which, in summary may be defined as possessing 1) Intimacy with the King and, 2) Passion for His kingdom. This, consciously or unconsciously, is what all people created in God s image are seeking to find. 2.3 The Core Values of this church, which will flavor the manner, and direct the personality with which RCC will carry out its Mission and fulfill its Vision shall include, but are not necessarily limited to Surrender, Dependency, Connection, Authenticity, Graciousness, Simplicity, and Multiplication. ARTICLE III: STATEMENT OF FAITH The Statement of Faith of this organization shall be the same as that of the Midwest District Conference and The Evangelical Free Church of America (see RCC Bylaws). ARTICLE IV: MEMBERSHIP Qualifications for Membership: Membership of this church shall be composed of those individuals who, through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have been born again.
3 ARTICLE V: AUTHORITY, OFFICERS, AND AFFILIATION 5.1 Authority: The government of the church is congregational, and the congregation, at its business meetings, is the legislative and governing body of this organization. 5.2 Officers: The officers of this organization shall be Chair, Vice-Chair, Church Secretary, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary. These officers shall be appointed by the elders, from among the elders or the membership of the congregation. They will function in their roles for one fiscal year at which time they may be re-affirmed for continued service : The offices of the church shall be Elder and Deacon. The primary functions of the elders and deacons are to govern, care for, and equip the body of believers for the work of the ministry : The Elder Leadership Team shall be responsible for the teaching of the Word and caring for the needs of the flock (congregation) and shall be the executive body of the congregation in all its dealings. The Elders shall have supervision over the business transactions and general work of the church and its organizations. They shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function : The Deacons shall assist the Elders in any service to the church as needed, but especially in the areas of caring for physical needs of the congregation, administration, and implementation of ministry plans. 5.3 Affiliation: This Church shall be affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America and its Midwest District Conference. It shall send delegates to their conferences, support their missions and unite in all mutual efforts for the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ in the measure that the membership of RCC may officially decide. ARTICLE VI: PROPERTY 6.1 This church will have the power to own, by gift, purchase, or any other means, such real, personal, or mixed property as is authorized by the laws of the State of Nebraska and as is deemed necessary for the business of the church, and will have the power to dispose of such property by deed of trust or any legal means. All such property will be held in the name of the church. 6.2 In case of a division of the church (from which we pray God by His mercy to preserve us), the property of the church will belong to the church under the administration of that group of members who most closely abide by its Constitution and Bylaws and are committed to continuing its local church ministry. Members are not to bring a division before the civil courts, except to enforce a decision of the District Conference (1 Corinthians 6:1-11). 6.3 In case of dissolution of the church organization, the property will be assigned to the
4 Midwest District Conference of The Evangelical Free Church of America, to enable said conference to renew the work or use the values thereof for further Gospel enterprises. The church will be considered dissolved if so decided by the church membership, or when the church has not held an annual meeting for three years, or when less than six members remain. ARTICLE VII: AMENDMENTS Amendments to this Constitution may be made at any regularly scheduled Annual Meeting of the Congregation according to the following schedule: 7.1 Proposed amendments must be submitted to the members in writing, along with the announcement of a congregational meeting called for the purpose of review, discussion, and revision, not less than two weeks in advance to said meeting. 7.2 Discussion and revision of proposed amendments will take place up to and at said congregational meeting. Any necessary changes will be presented as in In the event that no changes to the proposed revisions are necessary, the congregation may vote to functionally adopt the revisions and operate according to the revisions until final adoption. 7.4 Final adoption will be executed at the next regularly scheduled Annual Meeting of the Congregation. The proposed amendments must receive the affirmative vote of two thirds of the membership present and voting. BYLAWS OF RIVERVIEW COMMUNITY CHURCH ARTICLE I: STATEMENT OF FAITH (ADOPTED BY THE CONFERENCE ON JUNE 26, 2008) The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions: God 1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory. The Bible 2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor
5 should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises. The Human Condition 3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed. Jesus Christ 4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus Israel's promised Messiah was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. The Work of Christ 5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation. The Holy Spirit 6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. The Church 7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit, in the body of Christ, of which, He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer. Christian Living 8. We believe that God's justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God s Word, the Spirit s power, and fervent prayer in Christ s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
6 Christ s Return 9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission. Response and Eternal Destiny 10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen. ARTICLE II: CONGREGATIONAL GOVERNMENT This church adheres to a congregational form of church government. Ultimate authority in the church shall lie with the congregation. The congregation shall make annual affirmation by vote of 1) the elders, as their leaders under the Headship of Christ, 2) necessary revisions and amendments to the constitution and bylaws, 3) the annual operating budget, 4) the hiring of the Senior Pastor, 5) the purchase of land or permanent buildings, and 6) the promotion of a capital campaign. Other matters are delegated to the trusted wisdom of the plurality of the elders. 2.1 Offices of the church: The offices of the church shall be elders and deacons. The primary responsibility of the elders of the church is to provide oversight of the church and to shepherd the flock (congregation). They will lovingly govern, care for, and equip the body to do the work of the ministry. The purpose of the deacons is to lovingly serve, and to attend to specific needs of the body, freeing the elders to preach and teach the Word of God, as modeled in Acts 6. ARTICLE III: ELDERS 3.1 Qualifications: Elders must be born again; display the qualifications specified in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9; hold an unqualified affirmation of the statement of faith, demonstrate ownership and be living models of the defined Riverview mission, values, and vision. 3.2 Selection: A nominating task force shall be appointed by the elders eight weeks prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting, and composed of fifty percent (50%) elders and fifty percent (50%) non-elder church member/co-workers to prayerfully screen recommended elders. Anyone may submit nominees up to four weeks in advance of the Annual Meeting. Nominees will be evaluated according to the qualifications listed in the previous section. Qualifying nominees will be contacted for interest, followed by
7 interviews with at least two of the current elders. The interviewing elders will submit the names of qualifying nominees to the nominations task force for approval. The nominating task force will recommend potential nominees to the elders who will determine the final names to be presented to the congregation no less than two weeks prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting. Every nominee receiving an affirmative vote of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the votes cast will be considered affirmed to serve one two year term. An elder seeking a successive term must be reaffirmed by the same process. Three successive two year terms may be served followed by at least one year off. The senior pastor is an elder by virtue of his position and will be a voting member of the elders for the duration of his tenure. 3.3 Meetings and Quorum: The elders shall meet as often as necessary to adequately lead the Church. A quorum of one more than half of its members must be present for the elders to vote. Though unanimity is sought, all decisions require a simple majority vote of the quorum. Minutes of all meetings shall be taken by an appointed secretary. These minutes, with the exception of sensitive material, shall be available to all church members. Any voting church member may bring a matter before the elders at a regularly scheduled elder meeting by making a written request to the elder chairman at least two (2) weeks prior to the desired elder meeting. 3.4 Accountability: The elders are directly accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ for all their actions (Hebrews 13:17). Additionally, they are accountable to the congregation insofar as the congregation has affirmed their service and can, through appropriate means, take action to remove an elder from service. Individual elders, including the Sr. Pastor, are accountable to the plurality of elders. 3.5 Organization: The elders shall be self-organizing. The various functions and responsibilities shall be delegated among the elders. Interest, temperament, training and spiritual gifts shall be considered in delegating these functions : The elder leadership team has the authority to create ad hoc committees and positions to which it may delegate any aspect of its responsibility. The elder leadership team may also dissolve any ad hoc committee or position, which it created. ARTICLE IV: DEACONS 4.1 Qualifications: Deacons must be born again; display the qualifications specified in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-3; hold an unqualified affirmation of the statement of faith, demonstrate ownership and be living models of the defined Riverview mission, values, and vision. 4.2 Selection: A nominating task force shall be appointed by the elders eight weeks prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting, and composed of fifty percent (50%) elders and fifty percent (50%) non-elder church member/co-workers to prayerfully screen
8 recommended deacons. Anyone may submit nominees up to four weeks in advance of the Annual Meeting. Nominees will be evaluated according to the qualifications listed in the previous section. Qualifying nominees will be contacted for interest, followed by interviews with at least two of the current elders. The interviewing elders will submit the names of qualifying nominees to the nominations task force for approval. The nominating task force will recommend potential nominees to the elders who will determine the final names to be presented to the congregation no less than two weeks prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting. Every nominee receiving an affirmative vote of at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the votes cast will be considered affirmed to serve one two year term. A deacon seeking a successive term must be reaffirmed by the same process. Three successive two year terms may be served followed by at least one year off. 4.3 Meetings and Quorum: The deacons shall meet as often as necessary to adequately serve the Church. A quorum of one more than half of its members must be present for the deacons to vote. Though unanimity is sought, all decisions require a simple majority vote of the quorum. Minutes of all meetings shall be taken by an appointed secretary. These minutes, with the exception of sensitive material, shall be available to all church members. 4.4 Accountability: The deacons are directly accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ for all their actions (Hebrews 13:17), and to the plurality of elders. Additionally, they are accountable to the congregation insofar as the congregation has affirmed their service and can, through appropriate means, take action to remove a deacon from service. 4.5 Organization: The deacons shall be self-organizing. The various functions and responsibilities shall be delegated among the elders. Interest, temperament, training and spiritual gifts shall be considered in delegating these functions. ARTICLE V: SENIOR PASTOR The Church shall hire and support a Senior Pastor who embraces and models the mission, core values, and vision of Riverview Community Church. His primary roles include teaching the Bible, promoting the advancement of the kingdom through disciplemaking, and developing leaders for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). He will hire and oversee other pastoral staff members with the approval of the elders. The Senior Pastor shall not hold the office of elder chairman. 5.1 Qualifications: The Senior Pastor will exhibit the same standards of eldership as outlined in article 3.1. In addition, he must demonstrate the spiritual gifts of teaching and leadership.
9 5.2 Pastor Search: The elders will be responsible to oversee the search process for a new Senior Pastor should the need arise. A task force, appointed by the elders and composed of elders and other members of the congregation, will be utilized for the search process. 5.3 Pastor Selection: The election and hiring of a Senior Pastor may take place at any regular or special business meeting where he receives at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the votes cast. He is hired for an indefinite period of time. 5.4 Resignation and Termination: Throughout the process of a resignation or termination, the elders shall keep the congregation informed as is appropriate within legal and ethical boundaries : Resignation or termination notices must be given by the Senior Pastor or church, respectively, a minimum of thirty (30) days in advance of the stated date of severance. The elders shall determine a reasonable severance package : In cases of confirmed immorality, doctrinal impurity, and other serious offenses, the elders, pending final dispensation of the matter, shall suspend the Senior Pastor immediately. The elders shall have the authority to terminate or seek the Senior Pastor's resignation if deemed necessary. The elders shall determine a reasonable severance package. 5.5 Additional Pastors and Staff: The Senior Pastor, with the approval of the elders, may hire and support as many associate pastors or staff members as needed to effectively execute the ministry. Additional pastors shall work in cooperation with, and under the overall direction of the Senior Pastor. All associate pastors shall qualify for their respective offices according to the spirit of the standards set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7. They shall be voting members of RCC by virtue of their position. They shall be in full accord with the statement of faith, mission, core values, and vision of the church. ARTICLE VI: MEMBERSHIP 6.1 Admission: Any person who is a member of the church over which Jesus Christ is the Head is eligible for membership in this local church. A prospective member will share their testimony of saving faith with a church leader. Confirming their trust in Jesus resurrection and their declaration of the lordship of Christ in their lives (Romans 10:9, 10), they will be welcomed into membership by the elders, who will then announce their membership at the next available worship service. 6.2: Voting Privilege: The privilege of voting shall be granted to members 18 years of age and older.
10 6.3 Restoration: The elders will seek to bring restoration to a member who is found to be living an ungodly life or teaching contrary to the word of God according to the principles found in Matthew 18:15ff and Galatians 6:1, Privileges and responsibilities: Along with the received privileges of shepherding, counseling, worship, teaching, and purpose shared in the fellowship of the saints, members should view themselves as co-workers in the gospel of Christ. In the Riverview context that means affirmation of the statement of faith, and a lifestyle of worship, Pray & Watch, Life Group involvement, Total Community Immersion, and returning the Lord s tithe to the church, as reflected in the Membership/Co-worker Covenant.. ARTICLE VII: CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS 7.1 Annual Congregational Meeting: There shall be an annual congregational meeting to review church ministry and business. The elders must announce the annual meeting time, date and place during regularly scheduled worship services on two successive weeks that precede the meeting. All Church business meetings shall be conducted so as to respect both the individual and collective voice of the congregation under the biblical design of submission to the elders of the church, for the encouragement of the body, and for the glory of God. 7.2 Special Meetings: The elders may call special meetings as necessary provided they are announced in two successive regularly scheduled worship services. Notice may alternatively be given in writing and mailed to all members at their home address at least one week before the meeting. The elders are required to schedule a special meeting within four (4) weeks upon receiving a signed request for such a meeting signed by at least twenty five percent (25%) of the Church membership. 7.3 Quorums: At least twenty five percent (25%) of the Church's voting members must be present to conduct business requiring a congregational vote of affirmation. 7.4 Approval Requirements: Unless otherwise stated in the Constitution and Bylaws a majority vote is required to pass a measure. 7.5 Voting Method: The elders will have the authority to decide whether voting will be by voice, show of hand, paper ballot or other appropriate method, including absentee voting.
11 ARTICLE VIII: AMENDMENTS Members may amend the Bylaws at any annual or special business meeting attended by at least twenty five percent (25%) of the Church's voting members. Any motion to amend the Bylaws must receive a majority vote. ARTICLE IX: DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS: CONTRACTS, LOANS, CHECKS AND DEPOSITS 9.1 Execution of Documents, Day to Day Operations: Except as limited below, the business and affairs of the Church shall be managed by, or under the direction of the Elder Leadership Team. Except as limited below, the Elder Leadership Team may execute on behalf of the Church all instruments, documents and contracts, exercise all of the powers of the Church, and do all such lawful acts and things, that are not by law or these By-Laws directed or required to be exercised or done by the Members. Except as limited below, any decision or act of the Elder Leadership Team within the scope of its power and authority granted hereunder shall control and shall bind the Church. No Member, in such capacity, shall have any authority to bind the Church, except as expressly provided in this Agreement Contracting Authority: The Elder Leadership Team shall have the authority to enter into contracts, agreements, documents, instruments, notes, deeds, mortgages, deeds of trust, or other documents of conveyance or indebtedness, and to incur indebtedness, only with the prior approval of the Congregation and in the manner set forth in Contracts: The Elder Leadership Team may authorize any officer or officers, agent or agents, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of or on behalf of the church, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances. Unless so authorized by the Elder Leadership Team, no officer, agent or any other person shall have any power or authority to bind the church by any contract or engagement, or to pledge its credit or render it liable pecuniarily for any purpose or for any amount Loans: No loans shall be contracted on behalf of the church and no evidence of indebtedness shall be issued in its name unless authorized by a specific resolution of the Elder Leadership Team after vote of the congregation. Such authority shall be confined to a specific instance. Unless so authorized by the Elder Leadership Team, no officer, agent, or other person shall have the power or authority to bind the church to any such indebtedness or render the church liable for the repayment of the same Credit Card: Employees shall be given access to a church credit card, as approved by the Elder Leadership Team after a vote of the congregation, where the nature of their job requires such use. Church credit cards may only be used for ministry expenses and may not be used
12 for expenses of a personal nature. Expenditures over $ will require preapproval from the Elder Leadership Team Drafts, Checks, etc: All checks, drafts or other orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the church, shall be signed by such officer or officers, agent or agents of the church in such manner as shall from time to time be determined by resolution of the Elder Leadership Team Deposits: All funds of the church not otherwise employed, shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the church in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as the Elder Leadership Team may select. SECRETARY S CERTIFICATE I,, Secretary of Riverview Community Church, formed and existing under the laws of the State of Nebraska, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and complete copy of the Constitution and Bylaws of Riverview Community Church as submitted to and adopted by its Members and Elders on the day of, IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunder subscribed my name, this day of, By: Riverview Community Church Secretary