summit lake community church
We, being Christians by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; believing the Bible to be the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God and final authority for all Christian faith and practice; in the desire to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ and fulfill our responsibilities to Him; do therefore bind ourselves together as the body of Christ in order to adopt the following Constitution as the statement of our beliefs and principles for the government of our local church.
ARTICLE 1: NAME AND INCORPORATION
The name of this church is to be called “Summit Lake Community Church” located in Montezuma County, Colorado. For legal purposes, this church is incorporated under the laws of the State of Colorado, so that it may own, provide and/or maintain a place of worship (including suitable real estate and buildings), receive, hold and disburse gifts, bequests and funds, and/or do all things necessary or incident to carry on such activities.
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSE
The purpose of this church shall be a wholehearted commitment to the following:
1) To the acknowledgement of Jesus Christ as the supreme object of our love and devotion.
2) To the systematic teaching of the Bible for the instruction of all who participate in the ministries of this church and especially to the edification and maturity of each member.
3) To God centered worship, whereby His glory is our highest goal.
4) To the importance of the family and Biblical fellowship, whereby each person is encouraged to abide by the principles of the Bible as they apply to these areas.
5) To being a godly example to our community and world so that the love and gospel of Christ will be proclaimed and displayed in a caring and uncompromising manner.
ARTICLE 3: DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
FINAL AUTHORITY: This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of the universal church and humanity itself, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Summit Lake Community Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, unanimous agreement by our board of Elders serves as the final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application for our church.
SCRIPTURE: We believe the Bible is the unique and complete self-revelation of God. It is verbally inspired of God, inerrant and infallible as originally written by the human authors (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Word of God is the supreme objective authority for all areas of life (Psalm 19:7-11; Hebrews 4:12). When properly interpreted and illuminated by the Holy Spirit, it becomes the only foundation for ascertaining the purposes of God and comprehending the created universe in which we live (Psalm 36:9; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15). Our beliefs concerning the Bible are in accordance with The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978).
THE TRINITY: We believe in the one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4), who is the Creator (Genesis1:1; John 1:3), Sovereign Ruler and Sustainer of the universe (Psalm 103:19; Acts 17:25, 28; Colossians 1:17), eternally existing as one essence, yet three co-equal persons, the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:1-2). Each member of the Trinity has the same attributes and perfections, and is worthy of the same worship, trust and obedience.
GOD THE FATHER: We believe in God the Father, unchangeable in His being, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, justice, goodness, grace and truth. He orders all things according to His own purpose and grace (Psalm 145:8-9; Daniel 4:34-35; Acts 17:24-28; Ephesians 1:11). At the center of His plans and purposes is the redemption of those who come to have a personal relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 4:6; Jude 1:24-25).
JESUS CHRIST THE SON: We believe in Jesus Christ, divinely conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18, 23, 25; Luke 1:26-35), who is fully God and at the same time fully man (John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5-8). He is perfectly righteous and without sin (Luke 1:35; Acts 3:14; 2 Cor. 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26). His death served as an atoning sacrifice to provide redemption and forgiveness for human sin (Mark 10:45; Romans 3:24-25; Colossians 1:14). He was crucified and bodily resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He ascended into Heaven where He serves as the High Priest and Advocate for believers (Acts 2:30-31; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 2:17; 9:24; 1 John 2:1).
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe in the Holy Spirit who convicts the world regarding issues of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11). He regenerates sinners, joining them to the person of Christ, sealing them until the day of final redemption (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13; Titus 3:5). He indwells, guides, and comforts believers while empowering them to live godly lives (1 Corinthians 2:12-13; Romans 8:2-13; Galatians 5:16, 22).
HUMANITY: We believe that human beings were created uniquely in the image of God to glorify and enjoy an eternal relationship with Him (Genesis 1:26-27). However, that relationship was severed due to Adam’s fall into sin. Subsequently, all of humanity suffers under a curse having inherited a sin nature from Adam (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22). All human beings are born spiritually dead and are willful sinners in thought, word, and deed and incapable of attaining salvation apart from divine grace and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 3:9-18; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 2:13).
SANCTITY OF LIFE: We believe that because all human life is created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27; James 3:9), it is therefore of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death (Psalm 139). We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Matthew 22:36-40). Furthermore, every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31).
SEX AND MARRIAGE: We believe God creates each person in His image distinctly, immutably, and biologically as male or female (Genesis 1:26-27). Therefore, one’s divinely determined biological sex should not be rejected. Furthermore, marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:4-6). Sexual intimacy should occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4). Any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual behavior, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Our beliefs concerning sex, and marriage are in accordance with the Nashville Statement: A Coalition for Biblical Sexuality (2017).
SALVATION: We believe salvation is a free gift of God to all who exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 6:23). Salvation is the result of God’s grace alone through faith alone and is in no way effected by any amount of one’s moral or religious efforts (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9). Those who trust in Christ are freely justified by God whereby their sin is imputed to Christ and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them (Romans 3:23-5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 5:21; Philippians 3:8-9; Col. 2:13-14). Genuine faith is accompanied by repentance (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; Hebrews 6:1) and it produces in the believer a life of love and good deeds toward God and others (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20; Ephesians 2:10; James 2:18-26; 1 John 4:19-21). All true believers are kept by the power of God and are incapable of losing their salvation (John 10:28-29; Ephesians 4:30; 1 Peter 1:5).
THE CHURCH: We believe in the Church, the one universal, united spiritual body and bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Revelation 19:7; 21:9) whose mission is to bring glory to God. This goal is to be accomplished by locally organized churches who are engaged in spreading the gospel of salvation to the entire world, making disciples of Christ among all peoples (Matthew 28:18-20). Furthermore, they are to be engaged in worship, prayer, instruction in the Word of God, keeping the ordinances, and fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42-46; Colossians 3:12-17; 2 Timothy 3:15-16). Each member of Christ’s body has spiritual gifts to be used in service to the local body for its edification (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1Peter 4:10-11).
THE ORDINANCES: We believe that the two ordinances of the Church given by our Lord are Baptism and the Lord’s Table (Communion). Baptism is by water immersion and commanded of all who have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38, 41). It is an act of obedience signifying the believer’s death, burial and resurrection “in Christ” (Romans 6:1-11). The Lord’s Table (Communion) is a memorial celebration symbolizing the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The bread represents the broken body of Christ and the cup represents His shed blood for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 22:17-10; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
LAST THINGS: We believe in the bodily resurrection of all humanity, followers of Christ to eternal life in the everlasting kingdom of heaven (Daniel 12:2; Romans 8:11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), and those who reject Christ to divine judgment and everlasting conscious suffering in hell (Daniel 12:2; John 3:36; 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15). We believe in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to establish a literal, earthly thousand year kingdom before the final judgment of the world and consummation of this kingdom of God in the New Heavens and the New Earth (Isaiah 60:1-22; 65:17-25; Jeremiah 50:4-5; Daniel 9:25-27; Romans 11:25-27; 1Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Titus 2:13; Revelation 20:1-6; 22:1-5).
ARTICLE 4: CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
4.1 – Purpose of Church Membership
Church membership demonstrates the commitment of every Christian to the body of Christ by formally identifying him or herself with a local church. Church membership is a tangible way for believers to communicate the bonds of mutual loyalty and their devotion to God’s purposes for their life in the local body of Christ. By joining the church in membership believers demonstrate that they wholeheartedly support the reason for the church’s existence (see Article 2). This reflects the pattern of the early church. Once people made a profession of faith in Christ, they joined the growing body of believers and committed themselves to one other for mutual worship, instruction, fellowship and evangelism (Acts 1:14; 2:41-42, 46-47; 5:14; 6:7; 13:48-49; 16:5).
4.2 – Requirements for Membership
Any person who is at least twelve (12) years of age and has made a credible profession of faith in Christ giving evidence of genuine salvation may seek membership at Summit Lake Community Church who additionally meets the following requirements as indicated in an application submitted to the Elders:
1) A written and/ or verbal testimony concerning the individual’s coming to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
2) Attendance at a membership class and/ or reading/ listening to material about church membership as assigned by the Elders.
3) Full agreement with and commitment to uphold the church’s Constitution, including the Doctrinal Statement (Article 3), and the Church Covenant (Article 4.4).
4) A meeting with at least two (2) Elders for an interview in which questions about the church and membership can be discussed as well as the prospective member’s Christian faith and commitment to Summit Lake Community Church.
5) Upon completing these requirements the applicant will be admitted to membership subsequent to unanimous approval by the Elders. The member will then be presented to the congregation during a regular worship service to be welcomed by the church body.
4.3 – Membership Status
A. Active Membership. Active members of the church are those who regularly participate in
and contribute to the services, activities and ministries of the church. A file shall be maintained listing active members and updated when changes in membership occur.
B. Inactive Membership. Those members who remain inactive for more than six (6) months; not participating or contributing regularly to the services, activities and ministries of the church shall be contacted by the Elders. Unless a satisfactory review and resolution of the situation is unanimously agreed to by the Elders, then the inactive member shall be removed from church membership. Exemptions for inactive membership may include but are not limited to those who are absent and/ or unable to fully participate and contribute regularly to the services, activities and ministries of the church due to matters of health, extended illness, having alternate places of residence and other extenuating circumstances. The Elders shall determine all such exemptions.
C. Church Discipline and Disputes (See Article 6).
D. Resignation, Transfer and Death. Members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action (See Article 6) may resign from membership by making an appeal to the Elders. At their discretion, the Elders will receive or write letters of transfer for incoming or outgoing individuals seeking membership here or elsewhere, respectively. Death shall terminate one’s membership in this church.
4.4 – Membership Responsibilities and Church Covenant
The members of Summit Lake Community Church shall agree to the responsibilities outlined in the following church covenant:
Having been drawn by God’s grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to submit ourselves to Him, we do now, relying upon His continuing grace and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power, solemnly and joyfully covenant with one another to the following commitments:
1) We will pray and work in our church body for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace while being firmly rooted in the soil of sound doctrine and teaching (Ephesians 4:3; 1 Timothy 4:6; 6:3-5).
2) We will not, as circumstance allow, forsake the regular assembling of ourselves together on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and other occasions for corporate worship, prayer, fellowship, celebration of the Lord’s Supper and instruction in the Word of God (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; Hebrews 10:23-25).
3) We will walk together in brotherly love; exercising care for one another, praying for one another, serving one another, faithfully encouraging as well as admonishing one another in sound words and doctrine as each occasion warrants (Romans 12:10-13; 13:8; 15:14; 1 Corinthians 12:25; Colossians 3:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 5:11; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 John 4:7).
4) We will seek to interact with one another with speech and behavior that is edifying so as to stimulate one another to love and good deeds; avoiding gossip, unwholesome words and
unnecessary controversy in trivial matters (Proverbs 20:19; Romans 15:2; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:29; 5:3-4; Colossians 3:8; 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:4-5; Titus 3:9, 10; Hebrews 10:24).
5) We will seek to ascertain and make use of the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon us in order to serve the needs of the church and to promote the unity, common good, and edification of each member of the body of Christ (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-13; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
6) We will rejoice with one another’s happiness, with tenderness of heart bear one another’s burdens and sorrows, and with loyalty meet one another’s spiritual and material needs (Romans 12:10-15; Galatians 6:2; James 2:15-17).
7) We will seek to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and with love for Christ leading a life of holiness in consecration to God (1 Timothy 4:7-8; 6:11; Titus 2:11-12; 2 Peter 1:5-7; 3:11).
8) We will pray and work together for the faithful proclamation of the Gospel to our community and the world; each of us considering how we might participate by our own lives in lovingly, gently and respectfully speaking the truth of the Gospel to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers (Matthew 28:19-20; Colossians 4:5; 1 Peter 2:12; 3:15-16).
9) We will contribute systematically, regularly, proportionately, sacrificially and cheerfully of our substance to the financial support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the needy, and the spread of the Gospel (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15).
10) We will pray for and humbly submit ourselves to the Elders of the church in as much as they faithfully shepherd the flock of God under the headship of Christ and according to sound principles of the Word of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:11-12; 3:4-5; Titus 3:1-2; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 13:17).
11) We will humbly submit ourselves to correction and discipline in accordance with Article 6 of this Constitution should we stray from the truth and become entangled in practices that are unbiblical, deny the faith, hinder the unity of the church or undermine the sound doctrines we hold (Matthew 18:15-18; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 6:1-8; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; 1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 3:10-11; Hebrews 12:11; 2 John 1:7-11).
12) If an erring member of the church has undergone discipline and subsequent restoration in accordance with Article 6 of this Constitution, we shall make every effort to encourage reconciliation and restoration with a gracious reception of the individual and extend love and forgiveness to him or her (2 Corinthians 2:6-8).
13) We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word (Acts 15:3, 33, 36; 21:17; Philippians 1:8; 4:21; Hebrews 10:25).
Towards this end may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
4.5 – Membership Privileges
In most instances, members will not be asked by the Elders to vote on or affirm church decisions and actions. However, the following exceptions shall apply:
A. Affirmation of Decisions. Active members at times will be asked to affirm important decisions or actions of the Elders through their careful and prayerful consideration. This will include, but is not limited to, the appointment of pastors and staff, appointment of Elders, large financial investments or substantial decisions regarding church property. In such cases, the Elders shall give serious consideration to the affirmation of proposed decisions or lack thereof by the active members of the church. If objections are raised by a substantial number of active members to any decision the Elders plan to make, the Elders shall give diligent reconsideration to the matter before proceeding. The concerns shall be respectfully considered and the Elders shall act with integrity in the matter. The Elders reserve the right to make all final decisions after consideration of all pertinent issues.
B. Voting on Decisions. In some cases, the Elders may identify a decision or action where wisdom would commend a vote of the members to confirm the decision. In such cases, voting privileges are restricted to active members (see Article 4.3) who are in good standing, who are not under any disciplinary action (see Article 6), and who have passed their eighteenth (18) birthday. Announcement of such a vote must be made to members at least two (2) weeks prior to the vote. A quorum shall consist of at least fifty percent (50%) of active members. These members must be present to vote and may not vote by proxy unless the Elders determine proxy voting is acceptable in cases of legitimate absence. A vote of no less than two-thirds (2/3) majority shall determine the outcome. Voting shall be by secret ballot. In the case of proxy voting, votes must be submitted in written form (including via e-mail or other electronic means) and must be received no less than 24 hours prior to the vote of the main body of present members.
4.6 – Attending Non-members
Summit Lake Community Church welcomes all people who desire to attend the church and participate in its services, activities, and ministries. Non-members who make a credible profession of faith in Christ shall not be barred from participation in celebrating the Lord’s Supper (See Article 3, “Doctrinal Statement: The Ordinances”). The church shall not bar non-members from participation in church services, activities and ministries except in cases where it is deemed important or necessary by agreement of a majority of the Elders that such participation requires membership. Non-members who serve in official positions within any ministries of the church must make a credible profession of faith in Christ, and sign a document indicating agreement with the church Constitution and Doctrinal Statement (Article 3) in its entirety. All those holding the office of Elder or Deacon or other significant positions as determined by unanimous agreement of the Elders must be active members of the church. Non-members shall have no voting privileges. The Elders and active members shall encourage all regular attendees who have made a credible profession of faith in Christ to apply for membership.
ARTICLE 5: CHURCH GOVERNMENT
5.1 – Autonomy and Affiliations.
This church is an independent and autonomous local church operating under the headship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of a qualified plurality of male Elders. Any outside affiliation shall be only with such churches, organizations and associations which demonstrate both by statement and practice their commitment to a Biblical worldview consistent with what this Constitution espouses. If the church does choose to affiliate with other churches, organizations or associations such affiliation shall in no way infringe upon the rights, powers, and privileges of this church, either as relates to its property, finances or the operation of its affairs.
5.2 – Governing Authority
The governing authority and leadership of this church shall reside with the Elders who shall oversee all the affairs of the church. The Elders shall serve as a plurality of males only, with no less than three (3) Elders serving at any one time. This shall include the Senior Pastor unless the position of Senior Pastor has been vacated. In that case, the minimum number of Elders shall be no less than two (2).
5.3 – Appointment and Qualifications of Elders
An Elder shall be no less than twenty-one (21) years of age. An Elder shall serve as long as he desires to do so, is Biblical qualified, physically capable, and faithful in his service. All Elders other than those serving as salaried pastors shall have been active members of the church for no less than one (1) year prior to be considered for the office of Elder. Each prospective Elder candidate must undergo an application process as determined by the current Elders. He shall first be unanimously approved by the current Elder board and then affirmed by the active membership of the church prior to his appointment as an Elder. In particular, each Elder must possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be:
- Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7)
- The husband of one wife; a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6)
- Temperate, sensible, vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2)
- Sober-minded, prudent, self-controlled (1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8)
- Of good behavior; orderly, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)
- Given to hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
- Able to teach; able to exhort believers in sound doctrine and refute false teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)
- Not given to wine; addicted to alcoholic beverages (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)
- Not violent; not given to bursts of anger (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)
- Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle (1 Timothy 3:3)
- Not a brawler; uncontentious; not quick tempered (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)
- Not covetous, not a lover of money; not driven by greed (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)
- Rules well his own house; his children are faithful, not accused of rebellion (1 Timothy 3:4, Titus 1:7)
- Not a novice; not a new convert (1 Timothy 3:6)
- Has a good reputation with outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)
- Not self-willed; driven by personal agendas (Titus 1:7)
- A lover of what is good (Titus 1:7)
- Just, fair, equitable (Titus 1:8)
- Holy, devout (Titus 1:8)
- Self-Controlled (Titus 1:8)
5.4 – Responsibilities of Elders
The Elders shall be responsible to oversee the spiritual well-being of the church and each of its members. In order to accomplish this, the Elders must devote themselves to the study and proclamation of God’s Word and to prayer. They must at all times faithfully uphold this Constitution including its Doctrinal Statement (Article 3). They must maintain contact with each member of the church, building relationships and respect so that they may shepherd and guide the members into spiritual maturity with their willing consent. They must instruct the members through careful attention to what Scripture teaches. They must guard the members from corrupt teaching and outright error. They must equip the members for engaging in various ministries of the church. They must serve as examples to the members through love and humility honoring Christ and Scripture in all that they do. The Elders shall have oversight of all ministries conducted under the auspices of the church. They shall delegate responsibilities to the Deacons as seems appropriate. They shall have oversight of all the finances of the church including establishing an annual budget. They shall delegate responsibilities for book-keeping when necessary and appoint an active member or Deacon as a treasurer to handle management of financial accounts and disbursement of funds. They shall set forth policies and procedures as well as positions on doctrinal or practical issues for the church. The Elders shall make every effort to achieve like-mindedness and unity in vision, decision making, strategy and implementation. They shall seek at all costs to preserve the principles of Scripture in decision making and defer to one another in matters of preference. They shall faithfully communicate to the church body regarding matters of direction, philosophy of ministry, policies and procedures, annual budget reports as well as important decisions. They shall seek the input of the active membership of the church on matters they deem to be important. They shall carry out all other responsibilities as indicated elsewhere in this Constitution. The Elders shall faithfully uphold these responsibilities. Failure to uphold these responsibilities due to negligence or disqualification shall be grounds for dismissal from service as an Elder. See Article 6.5 on discipline and removal of Elders.
5.5 – Elder Sabbaticals
Any Elder (including pastors) may seek a sabbatical in which he shall temporarily take a respite from his responsibilities as an Elder. All sabbaticals must be approved by a majority of the other Elders. The duration of the sabbatical shall be determined through consultation with the other Elders.
5.6 – Elder Evaluations
Evaluations of the Elders (including pastors) shall be made no less than every two (2) years. This shall consist of reviewing the qualifications and responsibilities of each Elder. It shall be a time to encourage each Elder to review and renew his commitment and calling as a shepherd of the church. Each Elder shall make a self-evaluation based on questions reflecting the qualifications and responsibilities outlined in this Constitution (Articles 5.3, 5.4 and 5.7.A). The self-evaluations shall be reviewed by the whole board of Elders at a meeting for that purpose.
5.7 – Pastors and Staff
A. Qualifications for Senior Pastor Appointment. The church shall appoint a salaried Senior Pastor to provide leadership to the church alongside the Elders. The Senior Pastor shall automatically be considered a member of the church and serve as one of the Elders and shall be considered a first among equals providing leadership to the rest of the Elder board. Thus, he shall meet all the qualifications of an Elder (See Article 5.3). He shall be in full agreement with the Constitution and Doctrinal Statement (Article 3). The Senior Pastor shall be especially gifted in the area of preaching and teaching (1 Tim. 5:17) in addition to the other responsibilities of an Elder (See Article 5.4). The Elders shall provide a contract to be agreed upon by the Senior Pastor upon his appointment which outlines: (1) a job description in accordance with the mission and purpose of the church (See Article 2); (2) a list of primary responsibilities; and (3) spiritual qualifications for the office of a pastor/ Elder (See Article 5.3).
B. Candidating Process for Senior Pastor. The Elders will determine and oversee the candidating process for confirming and appointing a Senior Pastor. They may appoint a search committee from among active members of the church to initiate the search process. No less than two (2) of the Elders shall serve on such a search committee. The candidate shall receive affirmation by active members of the church per Article 4.5.B with final confirmation of the candidate to be determined by unanimous agreement of the current Elders. The church body shall be given ample opportunity to hear and talk with any candidate before a decision of confirmation is made of his appointment to the church. The Elders shall determine the compensation of the Senior Pastor and review it annually.
C. Associate Pastors and Staff. The church shall appoint salaried Associate Pastors and other Staff as necessary. The Elders shall oversee the appointment process. If the Elders deem that it is necessary, a potential Associate Pastor shall undergo a candidating process similar to Article 5.7.B. Associate Pastors and other Staff shall sign a document indicating agreement with the Constitution and Doctrinal Statement (Article 3) in its entirety. Associate Pastors not shall serve as Elders unless determined otherwise by unanimous agreement of the current Elders. In either case, every Associate Pastor shall be considered a member of the church and meet the qualifications of an Elder (See Article 5.3). All Associate Pastors and Staff shall be subject to the immediate authority and direction of the Senior Pastor and ultimately accountable to the authority of the Elders. The Elders shall provide a contract to be agreed upon by an Associate Pastor or Staff upon his/ her appointment which outlines: (1) a job description in accordance with the mission and purpose of the church (See Article 2); (2) a list of primary responsibilities; and (3) spiritual qualifications for the position. The Elders shall determine compensation for all Associate Pastors and Staff and shall review it annually.
5.8 – Deacons
A. Appointment and Qualifications of Deacons. If necessary, the Elders shall appoint qualified Deacons to serve various needs of the church. Deacons shall include both men and women (deaconesses) and shall have been active members of the church for no less than one (1) year prior to being considered for the office of Deacon. Each prospective Deacon candidate must undergo an application process as determined by the current Elders. He or she shall first be unanimously approved by the current Elder board. Each Deacon must possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
B. Responsibilities of Deacons. The deacons shall be subject to the authority of the Elders and shall be accountable to the Elders for their responsibilities. The Elders shall determine those responsibilities and shall oversee them. Some of the responsibilities of the Deacons may include but are not limited to the following: (1) Facilities: Responsibility and/ or oversight for managing the church property including preparation for services; repair, maintenance and clean-up of facilities and grounds; management and removal of snow during the winter months; and other needs the property may have. (2) Benevolence: Responsibility and/ or oversight for providing assistance to families in need within the church and community; and organizing meals for those who are ill or otherwise require help with such. (3) Finances: responsibility and/ or oversight for collecting and counting offerings, maintaining financial records and accounts, overseeing and making disbursements of funds, and other financial matters as directed by the Elders. The Elders shall appoint a Deacon as a treasurer for the management of financial matters if another active member does not already hold that position per Article 5.4. (4) Ushers: Responsibility and/ or oversight during services for greeting visitors, distributing bulletins and visitor cards, seating the congregation, collection of offering and preparing the elements for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper as well as other aspects of assuring the appropriate functioning of services. (5) Special Events: responsibility and/ or oversight for organizing and facilitating special events.
ARTICLE 6: CHURCH DISCIPLINE AND DISPUTES
6.1 – Purpose of Discipline
The purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by: (1) Maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6); (2) to edify the congregation by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and (3) to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending person by calling him or her to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct so as to be reconciled to God, others and to be restored to the fellowship of the church (Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).
6.2 – Subjects of Church Discipline
Any member of this church shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18 under the following conditions:
(1) Doctrinal error: When a person promotes serious doctrinal error (Galatians 1:9; 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 6:3-5; 2 John 1:10).
(2) Misconduct: When a person engages in flagrant sin or serious misconduct that violates Scripture (1 Corinthians 5:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15).
(3) Disruption of Fellowship: When a person’s conduct causes division and discord within the fellowship of the church body or threatens the testimony of the church (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10-11).
The Elders shall investigate any individual who is not a member of the church but who participates in the activities of, and/ or attends the services of, the church and engages in these aforementioned actions. If it is determined by unanimous agreement of the Elders that such actions are damaging to the unity, purity, edification, and testimony of the church, then such individuals will be asked to absent themselves from the church and refrain from any further participation in its activities and services unless or until they have demonstrated repentance.
6.3 – Stages of Church Discipline
The process outlined in Matthew 18:15-18 shall guide stages of church discipline. The process shall occur with the utmost concern to maintain godly interaction. Gossip shall be avoided at all costs and all parties involved in warning erring members shall be careful to look to themselves so as to have pure and godly motives during any interaction in the matter. Thus, all church members who warn other erring members throughout each stage of discipline should exhibit spiritual maturity (Galatians 6:1) as demonstrated by humility, love and respect. If necessary, the initial warning of members should defer to one with more spiritual maturity and also consult with the Elders of the church and receive counsel before proceeding. The stages of discipline derived from Matthew 18:15-18 are as follows:
Stage 1. It shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring member’s false doctrine or misconduct to warn and correct them in private, seeking repentance and restoration.
Stage 2. If the erring member does not heed the first warning, then the warning member shall go to him or her a second time with one (1) or two (2) mature members (Galatians 6:1), seeking repentance and restoration again.
Stage 3. If the erring member still refuses to heed the second warning, then the matter shall be brought before the Elders for resolution. If there is no resolution of the matter with the Elders, then they shall inform the active membership of the church, at a special meeting called for this purpose, to encourage a collective call to repentance.
Stage 4. If the erring member does not repent in response to the whole membership of the church, then he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and membership of the church by unanimous agreement of the Elders. The active membership of the church shall be informed of this action at a special meeting called for this purpose. The member under discipline shall forfeit all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and membership and shall not attend services, events or activities of the church while under disciplinary action (1 Corinthians 5:2, 11). If the erring member demonstrates repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11) after dismissal, he or she may be reinstated by unanimous agreement of the Elders to fellowship and membership. At this point the other members of the church shall make every effort to encourage reconciliation and restoration with a gracious reception of the individual and extend love and forgiveness to him or her (2 Corinthians 2:6-8).
6.4 – Appeals, Resignations and Rights of Disciplined Individuals
The members of the church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any secular court of law due to dismissal or public statements made to the church congregation during the process of church discipline. Members who are under discipline by the church, 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 (Article 4.3.F). Persons dismissed from the fellowship or membership of the church forfeit any right to make claim upon any of the church property or on financial gifts that they have given to the church.
6.5 – Discipline and Removal of Elders
A. Discipline of Elders. In accordance with 1 Timothy 5:19-20, if any Elder (including any pastors) of the church engages in misconduct that is not detrimental to the spiritual well-being of the church but nonetheless has public consequences before the church congregation, such matters shall be subject to public discipline. The other Elders shall determine by unanimous agreement if the matter warrants public discipline. Any accusation against an Elder that would merit public discipline shall not be entertained unless it is confirmed by two (2) or three (3) witnesses who are determined to be credible by unanimous agreement of the other Elders. If the charges are determined to be true by unanimous agreement of the other Elders and the offending Elder repents, then the matter shall be resolved. Otherwise it shall be made known to the church body.
B. Removal of Elders. If any Elder (including any pastors) of the church engages in misconduct that is clearly detrimental to the spiritual well-being of the church which necessitates disqualification, then the Elder shall be removed from his position and dismissed from membership in the church. Such dismissal shall only occur after a thorough investigation by the other Elders has been conducted and the misconduct has been unanimously confirmed by the other Elders. At least two (2) or three (3) credible by witnesses, as determined by unanimous agreement of the other Elders, are required to confirm accusations made against the Elder. During the investigation the accused Elder shall temporarily relinquish his rights and responsibilities as an Elder until a verdict regarding the accusations has been made. If the accused Elder is found innocent of the charges made against him, he shall be restored to his rights and responsibilities as an Elder. If the offending Elder is found guilty of the charges made against him and he demonstrates appropriate repentance to the unanimous satisfaction of the other Elders, he shall make that known in a regular worship service before the church. In that case, he shall be restored to membership in the church but he may not be reappointed to his position as an Elder. Nonetheless, the members of the church shall make every effort at this point to encourage reconciliation and restoration with a gracious reception of the former Elder and extend love and forgiveness to him (2 Corinthians 2:6-8).
6.6 – Church Disputes
A. Disputes Resolved by the Elders. If disputes occur in the church between active members or professing Christians who are regular attendees and such disputes do not involve matters of church discipline, the Elders shall seek to resolve the dispute according to 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. Members of the church shall agree not to take the dispute before a secular court of law but to allow the dispute to be resolved by the Elders if at all possible. The dispute shall be considered resolved when unanimously agreed upon by the Elders.
B. Disputes Involving the Elders. If there is a dispute involving the Elders such that a majority of the active members of the church have a disagreement with them and it does not involve detrimental misconduct (i.e. matters of church discipline) or derelict duty in regard to their responsibilities as outlined in this Constitution (Article 5.4); then a wise, just and objective mediator shall be chosen either inside or outside the church membership to help resolve the dispute after conducting an investigation (see 1 Corinthians 6:5). A majority of each party (i.e. Elders and active members) in the dispute shall agree to the appointment of the mediator. Thus, the parties in the dispute agree not to take the matter before a secular court of law (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). The chosen mediator shall utilize whatever appropriate means and personnel to conduct the investigation. He shall seek to uphold and honor the intent of this Constitution in resolving the dispute. All appeals during the investigation from either party in the dispute shall be made to the mediator alone. His judgment in the dispute shall be final such that both parties agree to abide by that judgment. Once the judgment has been made no further appeals shall be made.
C. Church Division. In the unfortunate event that an irresolvable division among active members in the church should occur in which the Elders themselves are irresolvably divided, ownership of all property and assets of the church shall remain with those active members of the church who are abiding most faithfully to this Constitution as determined by the process of mediation outlined in Article 6.6.B whether that faction of active members (including Elders) be the largest or smallest group. A majority of each party in the dispute shall agree to the appointment of the mediator. The mediator’s judgment per Article 6.6.B shall be final and no further appeals shall be made.
ARTICLE 7: CHURCH FINANCES, PROPERTY AND ASSETS
This church shall be supported by the voluntary giving of tithes and offerings by members and those who attend the services. It is the responsibility of every member of this church to give systematically, regularly, proportionately, sacrificially and cheerfully of his or her substance to the ministry of the church (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8-9). All other forms of support shall be unanimously approved by the Elders. All monies received shall be kept by the church treasurer in appropriate financial institutions. Specific Elders (other than pastors) shall have power as officers of the church corporation for legal and/ or tax purposes. These shall have authority, in accordance with this Constitution and any applicable state or federal laws, to execute legal documents relating to real estate, church property, and church finances. All property shall be held in the name of the church. The church body shall be supplied with an annual budget for review at the beginning of the fiscal year. The fiscal year of the church shall begin on the first day of January and end on the last day of December of each year. Monthly financial reports shall be published in a weekly bulletin distributed during the regular Sunday morning service indicating giving and expenses for the church.
ARTICLE 8: DISSOLUTION OF THE CHURCH
Should this church dissolve, by unanimous agreement of the Elders, the assets of the church shall be appropriately transferred to a church or organization that demonstrates both by statement and practice their commitment to a Biblical worldview consistent with what this Constitution espouses. The transfer of assets shall be in accordance with all applicable state or federal laws and tax requirements.
ARTICLE 9: INDEMNIFICATION
Summit Lake Community Church will indemnify and hold harmless any and all officers, directors, Elders, Ministers, Pastors, Deacons, business administrators, and/or specific members for any expenses actually and necessarily incurred in connection with any action, suit or proceeding against said officers, directors, Elders, Ministers, Pastors, Deacons, business administrators, and/or specific members in which such action, suit or proceeding is related to their capacities in the function and operation of the church per this Constitution. This indemnification shall include costs for attorney fees. This indemnification shall occur as the expenses are incurred and in advance of the final deposition of the action, suit or proceeding, on receipt of the officers’, directors’, Elders’, Ministers’, Pastors’, Deacons’, business administrators’, or specific members’:
1) To repay the amount advanced it if proved by clear and convincing evidence in court that the officers’, directors’, Elders’, Ministers’, Pastors’, Deacons’, business administrators’, or specific members’ conduct involved a deliberate intent to injure the church’s best interest,
2) To reasonably cooperate with the church in connection with the action, suit or proceeding.
This indemnification shall be available to any officer, director, Elder, Minister, Pastor, Deacon, business administrator, and/or specific member which is made or thereafter to be made a part to any action, suit or proceeding because of the person’s position within the church. Persons who are officers, directors, Elders, Ministers, Pastors, Deacons, business administrators, and/or specific members at the time of being made a party, or threatened with being made a party to any action, suit or proceeding, or were officers, directors, Elders, Ministers, Pastors, Deacons, business administrators, and/or specific members at the time of the event(s) complained of in any such action, suit or proceeding, shall be allowed indemnification.
ARTICLE 10: ADOPTION, REVISIONS AND AMENDMENTS
This Constitution has been adopted on this the 27th of May, 2018 and shall supersede any previous documents such as constitutions and by-laws governing the organization of this church. This Constitution shall remain in force as presently formulated or as duly revised or amended until this corporation is duly dissolved. This Constitution shall not be suspended or abrogated unless the church has been duly dissolved. This Constitution may be revised or amended by unanimous agreement of the Elders whenever it is determined to be necessary. Revisions and amendments determined to be significant by said Elders shall be presented before the active membership of the church for affirmation or vote per Article 4.5. Whenever a revision or amendment is adopted, it shall be briefly noted below according to the article number and section and a date indicating when it was adopted.