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The name of this corporation is Grace Church (GC). It is a California nonprofit religious corporation with its principal office in Orland, California.
This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for religious purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law). These purposes include the establishing and maintaining of religious worship; the evangelizing of the unsaved by the proclamation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; the equipping of believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture.
GC shall have corporate members consisting of the Board of Elders. No other members of the fellowship shall be voting members of the corporation.
Purpose of the Fellowship: The congregation of Christian believers who have applied for membership and have been duly accepted shall constitute a spiritual body, united for the spiritual purposes set forth in Article II of these bylaws.
Eligibility: Active membership in GC shall be open to all persons 18 years and older who confess Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and who have been baptized by immersion as believers. If, after meeting with the prospective applicant, the Board of Elders determines that the applicant does not confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, or there is a lack of evidence of a godly lifestyle, membership shall be denied.
Voting Privileges: Membership in this church shall not vest in any member any proprietary rights in GC but shall only entitle the member to vote at a meeting of the members on those matters that the Board of Elders submits to the church membership for affirmation. In such cases, voting privileges are restricted to members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.
Applications for Membership: All requests for membership shall be made to a Pastor or Elder. Upon making such a request, the person shall be given an application for membership, a copy of the Statement of Faith and a copy of the bylaws. A Pastor or Elder shall meet with the applicant following receipt of the application for the purpose of going over this material, answering any questions, and listening to the person’s testimony. The applicant shall affirm the Statement of Faith, the bylaws, and testify publicly before the congregation during a Sunday service.
Church Discipline: 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 a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1). There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the Board of Elders including the pastor. These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith. 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 Board of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18.
Before such dismissal:
It shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn or correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration;
If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then the warning member shall again go the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two other 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.
If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then it shall be brought to the attention of the Board of Elders. If the Board of Elders determines after thorough investigation in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and Titus 3:10, that there is corroborating evidence 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 shall inform the church and the congregation at a Sunday 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 Sunday service.
If the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church at a Sunday service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the board of elders, then he or she shall be publicly restored to fellowship and/or membership.
Removal from Membership: A member of this church who shall willfully, without plausible reason or excuse, absent himself or herself from the services of this church for a period of one year shall be removable at the discretion of the Board of Elders.
Qualifications of elders: All elders shall be males, who have been attending this church for a minimum of one year, who are called of God to the task of shepherding God’s flock, who desire the office of elder, and whose lives meet the character qualities set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4.
Responsibilities of elders: The elders shall have oversight of all persons, ministries, and functions of the church. One of the elders shall serve as chairman of the elders for purposes of administration. Whether through the oversight of a functional area or through more direct personal ministry, the ultimate concern of all elders is to shepherd the flock of God among them (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).
Selection of elders: Those currently serving as elders will be responsible for appointing additional elders based on the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. Names of those desiring the office of elder may be submitted by any member of the congregation for consideration by the current elders. The elders may only appoint new elders after thorough and prayerful examination. The elders shall solicit input from the congregation by announcing or publishing the names of any men to be considered for elder for three weeks prior to the annual business meeting. The purpose is to give any in the congregation who may be award of any Scriptural reasons why a prospective elder may not be qualified to bring it to the attention of the elders.
Following the examination, all candidates for elder who are unanimously approved by the elders shall be submitted to the congregation at the annual business meeting and confirmed by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of all votes cast. As many qualified men as are called of God and needed may serve. Elders shall serve as long as they meet the Scriptural qualifications and are willing to serve.
At any time, any elders may move to an inactive status. As God leads, he may move to active status again, assuming that his life still meets the qualifications for elder, and subject to the unanimous approval of the other elders.
Operation of elders: The elders shall operate as a plurality. Authority is not vested in any one man. Decisions shall be made by reaching an un-coerced unanimity. The objective in any decision is to find the mind of Christ. This is best accomplished by unanimous agreement following thorough, biblically based discussion and prayer. Christ’s mind is not divided and the decisions of the elders should reflect that to the church body. When unanimity cannot be reached, the elders must wait upon the Lord until He reveals His will on the matter. The elders may on occasion request response or input from the congregation. This is not for the purpose taking a vote, but only as a further means of seeking the mind of Christ.
Discipline of elders: If any church member has knowledge of a charge against an elder, the process for dealing with sin in another church member as described in the section on Church Discipline (under Church membership) shall be followed. The exception to this is that in step “C”, the accusation must be brought to the elders by two or three witnesses in accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19-21. The elder under accusation must absent himself from the vote on a matter of discipline or dismissal.
Appointment of deacons and deaconesses: To enable them to carry out their ministry more effectively, the elders may appoint deacons and deaconesses who meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13 and 1 Timothy 3:11 respectively. They shall be members of this church for at least one year. The names of prospective deacons/deaconesses shall be announced or published for three weeks prior to the annual business meeting to solicit input from the congregation. Following examination and unanimous approval by the elders, they shall be confirmed at the annual business meeting by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of all votes cast.
They shall serve as long as they meet the qualifications and are willing to serve. Responsibilities will be assigned to deacons/deaconesses by the elders as needs arise.
Election and Tenure of Office: The Pastoral staff usually consists of persons on salary selected by the Board of Elders. The selection is then affirmed by the members of the church at the Annual Meeting or at a specially called meeting, and such affirmation shall be at least three-fourths (3/4) majority of all votes cast. A staff member shall remain in office for an indefinite period of time subject to the following restrictions. The Board of Elders may dismiss any member of the Pastoral Staff upon giving him a three-month written notice of such an intention with congregational affirmation of that decision with at least three-fourths (3/4) majority of all votes cast. A Pastoral staff member must give the Board of Elders at least a three-month notice if he intends to resign. This minimum notice time period for resignation or dismissal may be less by mutual agreement.
Qualifications: The qualifications for a Pastoral staff member are identical to those for an elder, as described in Article V.
Duties: The Senior Pastor is a de facto elder of the church and shall be responsible for the general oversight of the spiritual welfare of the church body. He is to be primarily engaged in equipping the church body for the work of the ministry through preaching, teaching, exhorting and modeling a godly life. He shall work in mutual accountability to the board of Elders. The Senior Pastor shall arrange for and conduct all public and regular services of the church. In his absence, the Board of Elders shall be responsible for the same.
Receipt, Investment and Disbursement of Funds
Receipt of Funds: GC shall receive all monies or other properties transferred to it for the purposes for which GC was formed. However, nothing contained herein shall require the board of Elders to accept or receive any money or property of any kind if it shall determine in its discretion that receipt of such money or property is contrary to the expressed purposes of GC as shown by said bylaws.
Disbursement of Funds: GC shall hold, mange, and disburse any funds or properties received by it from any source in a manner that is consistent with the expressed purposes of this Corporation.
Designated Contributions: From time to time the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Elders. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designed contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Article II.
Corporate Records and Reports
Records: GC shall maintain adequate and correct accounts, books, and records of its business and properties. All such books, records, and accounts shall be kept at its principal place of business in the State of California, as fixed by the board of Elders from time to time.
Inspection of Books and Records: Every Elder shall have the absolute right at any time to inspect all books, records, documents of every kind, and the physical properties of GC and also of its subsidiary organizations, if any.
Fiscal Year of the Corporation: The fiscal year of GC shall begin on the first day of June and end on the last day of May in each year.
Upon dissolution of the church, the Elders shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the church, dispose of all of the assets of the church to such organization or organizations formed and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law), as the Elders shall determine. Assets may be distributed only to tax exempt organizations which agree with the church’s Statement of Faith.
Endorsement of Documents, Contracts: The Board of Elders, except as otherwise provided in these bylaws, may authorize any officer or officers, agent or agents, to enter into any specified contract or to execute any instrument for an agreed upon specified purpose in the name of or on behalf of GC. Such authority may be general or confined to specific instances. Unless so authorized by the Board of Elders, no officer, agent, or employee shall have any power or authority to bind GC by any contract or agreement, or to pledge its credit, or to render it liable for any purpose or for any amount.
These bylaws may be amended and new and additional bylaws may be made from time to time by the Board of Elders in the exercise of the power granted to the Board of Elders in these bylaws.