GRACE HARVEST BAPTIST CHURCH
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The name of this incorporated organization shall be the Grace Harvest Baptist Church of Virginia and it shall operate as a non-profit community of faith with its primary location in Amelia County, Virginia.
Section 1. Source of Authority
Grace Harvest Baptist Church shall operate in accordance with the Statement of Faith. The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Board of Elders is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
Section 1. Active Membership
Active membership in the Grace Harvest Baptist Church shall be open to persons who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior, who have been baptized by immersion, and are found to be in reasonable attendance at regular gatherings. Reasonable attendance thereby being defined as at least once every six months. All active members of Grace Harvest Baptist Church shall sign the church Member Covenant.
The membership of this Church shall be composed of individuals who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and affirm the tenets of the Grace Harvest Baptist Church Constitution and Bylaws and who offer evidence, by their confession and their conduct, that they are living in accord with their affirmations and this Constitution, Bylaws, and are actively pursuing and continuing in a vital fellowship with the Lord, Jesus Christ. The Board of Elders of the Church shall have final authority in all matters of church governance, as set forth and described in the Bylaws.
All present members of the unincorporated entity known as the Grace Harvest Baptist Church of Virginia, shall, upon incorporation and agreeing by signing the covenant to be bound by the Articles, Constitution and Bylaws of the new church corporation, become active members of this Church. No member of this Church, nor any officer, nor any member of the Elder Board of Directors shall by virtue of such membership, office or position, incur or be subject to personal liability to any extent for any indebtedness, obligations, acts or omissions of this Corporation.
Section 2. Associate Membership
Associate membership in the Grace Harvest Baptist Church of Virginia shall be open to all persons who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior, who have been baptized by immersion and who are unable to be found in reasonable attendance at regular gatherings. All associate members of the Church shall sign the church Member Covenant.
Section 3. Transfer or Resignation of Membership
Any Active or Associate Member may request transfer of membership, or may resign from membership at any time. Written notice of such intent shall be submitted to the Senior Pastor or the Chairman of the Board of Elders, and action to honor the request shall be taken at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Elders. In the event that the member requesting such action is in the church discipline process, their request would be honored under the provisions elsewhere in these bylaws.
Section 4. Inactive Membership Removals.
Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly constituted subcommittee thereof), the names of any members who have not attended a celebration service or home group meeting of Grace Harvest Baptist Church for a period of six months or longer may be removed from the active membership rolls after notifying such members of their inactivity. Likewise, the names of any associate members may be removed at the discretion of the elders from the associate membership rolls.
Section 5. Voting Privileges
Membership in this church shall not vest in any member any proprietary rights, but shall only entitle the member to participate at a meeting of the members on those matters that the Board of Elders chooses to present to the church membership for affirmation. Any merger or dissolutions shall be submitted to the membership by the Board of Elders for approval by three quarters of the members present and voting at any duly called meeting. In such meetings, participation restricted to active members in good standing, who are not under any disciplinary action, and who are at least 18 years of age
Section 6. Applications for Membership
All requests for membership shall be made to a Pastor, Elder, or Deacon. Prospective members will meet with an Elder to review the prospective member’s personal testimony, the vision of the church and the Member Covenant. Upon the successful completion of that interview, the prospective member will be invited to endorse the Member Covenant under the sponsorship of an Elder.
Section 7. Denial of Membership
If, after meeting with a prospective member, the Board of Elders determines that the applicant does not confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, or that there is a lack of evidence of a godly lifestyle, membership shall be denied. The decision made by the Board shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any court or other authority from that decision.
Section 8. Admission of Applicants
Applicants admitted to membership shall, if possible, present themselves at a worship celebration designated by the Senior Pastor and Board of Elders, at which service such applicants shall publicly affirm their membership commitment and be publicly acknowledged as members.
Section 9. Responsibilities of Members
The active membership of this Church shall be composed of individuals who offer evidence, by their confession and their conduct, that they are living in accord with their affirmations and this Constitution, Bylaws, and are actively pursuing and continuing in a vital fellowship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Members shall seek to exercise their spiritual gifts for the mutual benefit of all the church body and shall submit to the loving rule of the Elders.
Section 10. 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)
- to bring restoration and healing to the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1).
- Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Board of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline, according to Matthew 18:15-18. Specifically:
- it shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to personally warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then
- the warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two members of the Board of Elders who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. The first and second warnings may occur with no specified time interval. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then
- it shall be brought to the attention of the Board of Elders (or a duly appointed Committee of the Board, per these Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Board). If the Board of Elders (or a duly appointed Committee of the Board, per these Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Board) determines—after thorough investigation and giving the erring member a chance to be heard before the Board or its designees in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19, that there is corroborating evidence that the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders shall inform the church and the congregation thereof in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect will be given. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, and acts in a manner that compromises the testimony of the church and its members in the community, then
- he or she shall be dismissed from the membership of the church. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement then he or she may be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.
- Members involved in the discipline process may not freely exercise any rights or privileges of membership until the process is resolved. Their conduct and participation will be under the loving care and supervision of the Board of Elders. Members may not choose to transfer or resign their membership while involved in the discipline process. If after the church discipline process, any other church requests the transfer of membership on behalf of any member who has been removed from membership while involved in the disciplinary process, the Senior Pastor shall notify the corresponding church that the member “was removed due to the church discipline process” while giving no details of the reason for said discipline.
- The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court or any other authority because of the dismissal or resignation of any member, or because of public statements to the congregation in conjunction with these Bylaws.
- Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly constituted subcommittee thereof), a member, regular attendee, or other individual may be notified that he or she is not to be present upon church premises for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others on church premises. Such required absence may, but need not, be concurrent with church discipline of that person.
Section 11. Regular Meetings
A regular annual meeting of the church members shall be held at the principal office of the church (as the same shall be from time to time designated in the minutes of the Board) in the first quarter of each year. At such regular annual meeting, the members shall consider reports of the affairs of the church, and transact such other business as the Elders determine shall be brought before the meeting. At such time the members shall affirm appointments made by the Elders of those who shall serve as Elders, the selection of those serving for one year in the offices of Deacons, and the annual budget.
Section 12. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the members may be called at any time by order of the Pastor, the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Board of Elders, or by a majority of the members of the Board of Elders.
Section 13. Notice of Meetings
Notice of regular meetings shall be given for two successive Sundays prior to the meeting. In addition thereto, notice shall be published in the regular church bulletin for two successive Sundays prior to such meeting. Notice of special meetings shall be given at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting and shall also be published in the regular church bulletin on the Sunday immediately preceding the meeting.
Section 14. Quorum and Minutes
At all duly called meetings of the Church, whether regular, special or adjourned, the members present shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Minutes of the regular and special meetings shall be taken and kept in the records under the custody of the designated secretary.
Section 15. Moderator
The chairman of the board may serve as Moderator of the Church or he may delegate the tasks to another officer. The Vice-Chairman shall serve as Moderator in his absence unless he delegates otherwise. The latest edition of the Robert’s Rules of Order Revised shall be the parliamentary guide and may be invoked by the Moderator to establish order and/or procedures not specifically covered by these Bylaws.
Section 16. Church Membership Rights
Those admitted to church membership do not constitute a legislative body and they cannot vote, or pass resolutions binding upon the Church. They shall not have any equity in the real property of the Church, or rights to vote on its disposal. Said property of the Church is dedicated exclusively to religious and charitable purposes.
Section 1. Responsibilities:
Subject to the limitations of the Articles and these Bylaws and of pertinent restrictions of the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, all the activities and affairs of the Church shall be exercised by or under the direction of the Board of Elders who will serve as the corporate board of Directors, who are responsible for shepherding and having oversight of the flock. Without prejudice to such general powers, but subject to these same limitations, it is hereby expressly declared that the Board shall have the following powers in addition to the other powers enumerated by these Bylaws:
- To select and remove all the officers, agents, pastors, staff, and employees of the Church; prescribe such duties for them consistent with the Scriptures, with law, or with these Bylaws; and fix the terms of their offices and their compensation.
- For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, The Board of Elders is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application for this congregation.
- To make such disbursements from the funds and properties of the Church as are required to fulfill the purposes of this Church and generally to conduct, manage, and control the activities and affairs of the Church and to make such rules and regulations consistent with the Scriptures, with law, or with these Bylaws, as they may deem best.
- To adopt, make and use a corporate seal, and to alter the form of such seal from time to time as they may deem best.
- To assist the Senior Pastor in the administration of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- To determine the participation of the church and the use of the church real property for such religious and civil ceremonies which may arise including, but not limited to: marriage ceremonies, funeral or memorial services, family and children’s dedication ceremonies, etc.
- To borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purposes of the Church and to cause to be executed and delivered, in the corporate name, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, deeds of trust, mortgages, pledges, hypothecations, or other evidences of debt and securities.
- To carry on a business and apply any such profit that results from the business activity in which it may legally engage.
Section 2. Number of Elders
The authorized number of active elders of the Church serving on the Elder Board shall not be less than three (3) until changed by an amendment to these Bylaws. No less than fifty (50%) percent of the Elders at any time shall be laymen from the congregation and not related to paid staff. The Elders shall annually elect from its lay members a Chairman to facilitate the meetings and agenda in consultation with the Pastor.
Section 3. Nomination, Selection, and Tenure of Office
In the process of the continuing expansion of the church, the Pastor with the unanimous approval of the Elders may act to present any qualified candidate to the church to be affirmed in their office as Elder. After the Elders are affirmed by the congregation, the newly elected Elders shall assume office immediately.
From time to time, an Elder may be sent for a special term of ministry away from this congregation. This sending will reflect the model seen in Acts, as the churches sent Elders for ministry and service to other places. As a Sent Elder, this man, with his family, will be supported by the earnest prayers of the Elders and the congregation. While serving as a Sent Elder, he will not serve as an active and voting elder, but will interact with the Board of Elders on an advisory basis.
Each Elder shall serve as God enables, for an unspecified length of time, until such time as he senses God’s leadership to resign.
Section 4. Qualifications
Each member of the Board of Elders must be an active member of this church and possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be:
(a) Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7)
(b) Husband of one wife; a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6)
(c) Temperate, sober, vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2)
(d) Sober-minded, prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
(e) Of good behavior; orderly, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)
(f) Given to hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
(g) Apt to teach; able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)
(h) Not given to wine (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
(i) Not violent; not pugnacious (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)
(j) Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle (1 Timothy 3:3)
(k) Not a brawler; not contentious; not soon angry or quick-tempered (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
(l) Not covetous; not a lover of money; not greedy of base gain (1 Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7)
(m) Rules well his own house; his children are faithful, not accused of rebellion to God (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:7)
(n) Not a novice; not a new convert (1 Timothy 3:6)
(o) Has a good report or reputation with outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)
(p) Not self-willed (Titus 1:7)
(q) A lover of good men and things (Titus 1:8)
(r) Just, fair (Titus 1:8)
(s) Holy, devout (Titus 1:8)
(t) Self-controlled (Titus 1:8)
Section 5. Vacancies
Any Elder may resign effective upon giving written notice to the Chairman of the Board or the Secretary of the Board, unless the notice specifies a later time for the effectiveness of such resignation. If the resignation is to take effect at some future time, a successor may be selected before that time. A vacancy or vacancies in the Board shall be deemed to exist in case of the death, resignation, or removal of any Elder, or if a need exists and the specified limit is not exceeded. No reduction of the authorized number of Elders shall have the effect of removing any Elder from active service.
Section 6. Removal of Elders
Any Elder may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the Board if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified (according to pertinent Scripture, including 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9), after thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders (or a duly appointed Committee of the Board, per these Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Board),in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19. During the period of time that an Elder is under investigation, he will not be able to vote on any matter brought before the Board of Elders, including his own church discipline process. Any Elder may be removed for cause, at the end of the church discipline process, by a simple majority vote of the Board of Elders. When an Elder is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from shepherding, and if he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal shall be accompanied by a public rebuke, and notice shall be made before the church and the congregation as prescribed in 1 Timothy 5:20. There shall be no appeal to any Court or any other authority concerning this action of the Board of Elders.
An elder may be removed without cause upon the formal recommendation of the Senior Pastor by a simple majority vote of the entire membership of the Board of Elders.
Section 7. Place of Meetings
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary provided in these Bylaws, any meeting (whether regular, special, or adjourned) of the Board of Elders of the Church may be held at any place within or without the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Section 8. Regular Meetings
Regular meetings of the Board shall be held without call or notice as set in the minutes of the previous meetings.
Section 9. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Board of Elders may be called at any time by order of the Chairman or Vice-Chairman or the Secretary of the Board of Elders or by a quorum of the members of the Board of Elders.
Section 10. Notice of Special Meetings
Notice of special meetings of the Board of Elders shall be addressed or delivered to each Elder or at such Elder’s address as it is shown upon the records of the Church or as may have been given to the Church by the Elder for such purpose of notice. Notification may be made by first class mail, postmarked seven days before the meeting, or by e-mail or telephone four days before the meeting. Special meetings may be held without advance notice if 100% of the elders agree to such a meeting.
Section 11. Quorum
Except as otherwise provided herein, a majority of the Elders currently serving shall constitute a quorum except when a vacancy or vacancies prevents such majority, whereupon a majority of the Elders in office shall constitute a quorum, provided such majority shall constitute either one-third of the authorized number of Elders or at least two Elders, whichever is larger, or unless the authorized number of Elders is only one. A majority of the Elders present, whether or not a quorum is present, may adjourn any meeting to another time and place. Whenever the matter to be considered concerns calling or dismissing a pastor, or buying or selling real estate, a quorum shall consist of not less than two-thirds of the members of the Board. Whenever the matter to be considered is of a nature to require action by Lay Elders only, a majority of the Lay Elders currently serving shall constitute a quorum. The act or decision done or made by the Elders present at a meeting duly held at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Board of Elders.
Section 12. Participation in Meetings by Conference Telephone or Internet
Members of the Board may participate in a meeting through use of conference telephone, internet, or similar communications equipment, so long as all members participating in such meeting can hear one another.
Section 13. Adjournment
A majority of the Elders present, whether or not a quorum is present, may adjourn any meeting to another time and place. Notice of the time and place of holding an adjourned meeting need not be given to absent Elders if the time and place be fixed at the meeting adjourned, except as provided in the next sentence. If the meeting is adjourned for more than forty-eight (48) hours, notice of any adjournment to another time or place shall be given prior to the time of the adjourned meeting to the Elders who were not present at the time of the adjournment.
Section 14. Action Without Meeting
Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Board may be taken without a meeting if all members of the Board shall individually or collectively consent in writing to a duly prepared resolution to such action. Such consent or consents by polled motion shall have the same effect as a unanimous vote of the Board and shall be documented by entering the polled motion into the minutes of proceedings of the Board.
Section 15. Rights of Inspection
Every Elder shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records, and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the Church of which such person is an Elder, for a purpose reasonably related to such person’s interest as an Elder.
Section 16. Use of Real Property
The Board of Elders has full and final authority to grant or deny permission for any member to use the real property of the church for any purpose.
Section 17. Decisions of the Board of Elders
Decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration by unanimous vote in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding one another before himself. Exceptions are limited to those instances clearly stated in these bylaws, including the dismissal of the senior pastor and the removal of an Elder.
Section 18. Committees
Committees of the Board may be appointed by resolution passed by the whole Board. Committees shall be composed of two or more members of the Board and shall have such powers of the Board as may be expressly delegated to it by resolution of the Board of Elders, except with respect to:
(a) The approval of any action for which the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia require member’s approval (must be approved by the Board as a whole).
(b) The filling of vacancies on the Board or on any committee.
(c) The amendment or repeal of Bylaws or the adoption of new Bylaws.
(d) The amendment or repeal of any resolution of the Board which by its express terms does not qualify for such amendment or repeal.
(e) The appointment of other committees of the Board or the members thereof.
(f) The approval of any self-dealing transaction, as such transactions are defined in the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Board shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which proceedings of any such committee shall be conducted. In the absence of any such prescription, such committee shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which its proceedings shall be conducted. Unless the Board or such committee shall otherwise provide, the regular and special meetings and other actions of any such committee shall be governed by the provision of this Article applicable to meetings and actions of the Board. Minutes may be kept of each meeting of each committee.
Section 19. No Compensation
Elders (as such) shall not receive any stated or fixed salary for their services, however, nothing herein contained shall be construed to preclude any Elders from serving the Church in any other capacity and receiving compensation. However, the Elder Board member may receive reasonable reimbursement for travel and other approved expenses upon request presented with written documentation.
Section 20. Conflicts of Interest Policy
The Elders should adopt a Conflicts of Interest Policy, required by the IRS, which will provide for full disclosure of material conflicting interests by Elders, Officers, committee members or employees or their immediate family members. This Policy shall permit the Elder Board to determine whether the contemplated transaction may be authorized as just, fair and reasonable to the Church.
Section 1. Councils and Committees or Teams
To promote efficient handling of Board matters, the Board may appoint various councils and committees or teams from within its membership, the staff, and from the church at large. All councils and committees or teams shall exist for the period specified by the Board. These councils and committees or teams shall perform tasks solely in accordance with the duties and with powers specifically delegated by the Board. The general functions of councils and committees are:
(a) To bring considered recommendations to the Board concerning ministries.
(b) To provide a wider base of counsel to the Elders having the oversight of specific ministries.
Section 2. Deacons
(a) Duties: The Deacons shall assist the Elders in the shepherding of the saints, assist the Pastor at Communion and baptismal services, aid in the general spiritual care of the church, and perform other duties as assigned by the Board of Elders.
(b) Qualifications: The Deacons shall consist of members recognized by the congregation and the Elders for possessing the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. A Deacon shall be a man of dignity, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not fond of sordid gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, first tested and found above reproach. A deacon will be a man of good reputation in the church and in the community.
(c) Nomination and Selection of Deacons: Recommendations to fill the office of Deacon shall be requested as needed from all church members. Nominees meeting Biblical qualifications and selected by the Board of Elders shall be presented to the congregation.
(d) After selection, a Deacon shall serve a term of three years. After each term of service, a Deacon shall rotate out of service as a Deacon for at least one year.
Section 3. Vacancies
In the event any of the above-mentioned offices become vacant between annual meetings, the Board of Elders may fill such vacancy for the unexpired term.
Section 1. Offices
The officers of the Church shall be Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Senior Pastor shall serve as President and Chief Executive Officer. The Church may also have, at the discretion of the Board of Elders, other officers as may be appointed in accordance with the provisions of this article. The officers of the Church shall be active members of the church.
Section 2. Election
The officers of the Church, except such officers as may be appointed in accordance with the provisions of this Article, shall be appointed by the Elder Board and serve at the pleasure of the Elder Board. Each officer shall serve in his office until he shall resign, be removed, or become otherwise disqualified to serve, or until his successor shall be elected and qualified.
Section 3. Subordinate Officers
The Board of Elders may appoint, and may empower the Chairman to appoint, such other officers as the business of the Church may require, each of whom shall hold office for such period, have such authority, and perform such duties as are provided in the Bylaws or as the Board of Elders may from time to time determine.
Section 4. Removal and Resignation
Any officer may be removed upon disqualification and removal as an Elder per these Bylaws. In accordance with the provisions of the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, any officer may resign at any time without prejudice to the rights, if any, of the Church under any contract to which the officer is a party, by giving written notice to the Board of Elders, or to the Chairman, or to the Secretary of the Church. Any such resignation shall take effect at the date of the receipt of such notice or at any later time specified therein; and, unless otherwise specified therein, the acceptance of such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective.
Any officer may be removed without cause upon the formal recommendation of the Senior Pastor and a simple majority vote of the Board of Elders.
Section 5. Vacancies
A vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or any other cause shall be filled in the manner prescribed in the Bylaws for regular election or appointment to such office, provided that such vacancies shall be filled as they occur and not on an annual basis.
Section 6. Inability to Act
In the case of absence or inability to act of any officer of the Church and of any person herein authorized to act in his place, the Board of Elders may from time to time delegate the powers or duties of such officer to any other officer or other person whom the Board may select.
Section 7. The Chairman
The Chairman shall, subject to the control of the Board of Elders, have general supervision, direction, and control of the activities and officers of the Church. He shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Elders, which are to be conducted according to the scriptural principles such as set forth in Philippians 2:2-8. He shall be an ex officio member of all the standing committees, if any, and shall have powers and duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Elders or the Bylaws.
Section 8. Vice-Chairman
In the absence or disability of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman shall perform all the duties of the Chairman, and when so acting shall have all the powers of, and be subject to all the restrictions upon, the Chairman. The Vice-Chairman shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as from time to time may be prescribed for him by the Board of Elders or the Bylaws.
Section 9. Secretary
The Secretary shall keep, or cause to be kept, a book of minutes at the principal office or such other place as the Board of Elders may order, of all meetings of the members, the Board and its committees, with the time and place of holding, whether regular or special, and if special, how authorized, the notice thereof given, the names of those present at the meetings, the Board and committees’ meetings, and the proceedings thereof. The Secretary shall give, or cause to be given, notice of all meetings of the Board and any committees thereof required by these Bylaws or by law to be given, shall keep the seal of the Church in safe custody, and shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as prescribed by the Board. The Secretary shall keep, or cause to be kept at the principal office of the Church, a church membership register, or a duplicated membership register, showing the names of the members and their addresses.
Section 10. Treasurer
The Treasurer shall ensure the stewardship of the physical and financial resources of the Church, “taking precaution that no one should discredit us in our administration… for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Corinthians 8:20-21).
The Treasurer shall select assistants “of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3) to implement and accomplish this responsibility.
The Treasurer shall ensure that all financial activities and transactions are consistent with these Bylaws as well as the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Treasurer shall keep and maintain, or cause to be kept and maintained, adequate and correct accounts of the properties and business transactions of the Church. The books of account shall at all reasonable times be open to inspection by any Elder as provided in the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Treasurer shall deposit, or cause to be deposited, all monies and other valuables in the name and to the credit of the Church with such depositories as may be designated by the Board of Elders. He shall disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the Church as may be ordered by the Board of Elders.
The Treasurer shall render, or cause to be rendered, to the Chairman and the Elders, whenever they request it, an account of all the transactions and of the financial condition of the Church, and shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Elders. The Treasurer shall make, or cause to be made, the financial reports at each regular Board meeting and at the annual meeting of members.
Section 11. Senior Pastor
- The Senior Pastor shall arrange for and conduct all public and regular services of the church and shall be responsible for general oversight of the spiritual welfare of the church. In the absence of the Senior Pastor, the Board of Elders shall be responsible to arrange for the public and regular services of the church.
- Duties and Responsibilities: The Senior Pastor shall at all times simultaneously occupy the office of the President who shall also serve as chief executive officer of the church unless he designates otherwise. The Senior Pastor shall have general supervision, direction, and control of the business and affairs of the Church. The Senior Pastor shall have such other powers and duties as the Elders may prescribe from time to time. The Senior Pastor shall be an ex officio member of all councils and committees, and he shall be responsible to the Board of Elders. The Senior Pastor and/or the Directors shall execute any necessary documents and instruments on behalf of the Church corporation, except where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Elders/Directors to some other officer or agent of the Church.
- Election, Removal and Resignation: The Senior Pastor shall be selected by a unanimous decision of the Board of Elders and presented to the congregation. He shall remain in office an indefinite period of time subject to the following reservations: The simple majority vote of the Elders shall dismiss the Senior Pastor upon giving him one month’s written notice of its intention to dismiss, after following the procedures stated in these bylaws. The Senior Pastor must give one month’s written notice to the Chairman of the Board of Elders if he intends to resign. The time limit of a Senior Pastor’s resignation or dismissal is subject to a lesser time if both the Senior Pastor and the church by mutual agreement provide otherwise.
The Church shall receive all monies or other properties transferred to it for the purposes for which the Church 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 the Church as shown by said Articles.
The Church shall hold, manage, and disburse any funds or properties received by it from any source in a manner that is consistent with the expressed purposes of this Church.
Section 1. Records
The Church 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 Commonwealth of Virginia, as fixed by the Board of Elders from time to time.
Section 2. Inspection of Books and Records
Every Elder shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect all books, records, documents of every kind, and the physical properties of the Church, and also of its subsidiary organizations, if any.
In any dispute arising between church members, pastors, or staff pertaining to any matter of spiritual teaching or practices, church finances, or title to property purchased with church contributions, the dispute shall be resolved by the Board of Elders of the church (or a duly appointed Committee of the Board, per these Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Board). A decision shall be reached after prayerful consideration, in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding one another before himself and striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Any dispute between a member and the church, excepting those involving the process of Church Discipline as described elsewhere in this document, shall be resolved by the Board through Christian Conciliation. If mediation does not resolve the dispute then legally binding Christian Arbitration shall be employed by the Board or individuals selected by the Board in accordance with the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation found at www.HisPeace.org. A decision shall be reached after prayerful consideration, in a spirit of humility, with each Arbitrator seeking that which most glorifies God and regarding one another before himself.
In the event that a dispute arises between the senior pastor and the Board of Elders, the dispute shall be resolved by the Board of Elders. The Board of Elders shall appoint a committee of no less than three Elders to meet with the Senior Pastor and attempt to restore unity. If the dispute continues, the Board of Elders shall convene a meeting to resolve the dispute. The Chairman, or his designee, shall personally inform all of its members at least seven days in advance of such meeting. The quorum for such meeting shall be two-thirds of all elders. Every effort shall be made by all parties involved to recover the unity of the body through prayer, mutual forgiveness and humility. If the dispute is not resolved, the senior pastor may be given an opportunity to resign, or a motion to dismiss the pastor may be made by any member of the Elder’s Board. This motion will require the support of a simple majority of all members currently serving on the Board of Elders to be approved.
Judgment upon an arbitration decision may be entered in any court otherwise having jurisdiction. Jurisdiction and venue shall be the county and state where the church is located and Virginia law will apply to dispute. Members, pastors, staff or third party vendors/contractors shall understand that these methods shall be the sole remedy for any controversy or claim arising against the Church and expressly waive their right to file a lawsuit in any civil court against one another or the Church for such disputes, except to enforce an arbitration decision. In that case, judgment upon an arbitration award may be entered by any court having competent jurisdiction, in conformity with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Notwithstanding this above provision, to protect the church and its members and under its risk policy procedures, the Church is required to maintain liability insurance. Therefore, this conflict provision is conditioned upon agreement by the church’s insurers that, in light of the particular facts and circumstances surrounding the disputed matter, this provision, and the process it establishes will not diminish any insurance coverage maintained by the Church. Moreover, the Arbitrators cannot adjudicate any issue that a civil court could not adjudicate due to jurisdiction based on religious liberty or church autonomy issues unless the church gives its written consent.
Section 1. Records for Finances
Adequate and accurate records for accounting of income and expenses, including contributions, shall be kept by the Treasurer. A monthly financial report will be presented to the Elder Board. A monthly financial report will be displayed at the church or any member can receive a copy by calling the Church office.
Section 2 Deposits.
The Elder Board shall select banks, trust companies, or other depositories in which all funds of the Church not otherwise employed shall, from time to time, be deposited to the credit of the Church.
Section 3. Checks.
All checks or demands for money and notes of the Church shall be signed by such officer or officers or such other persons as the Elder Board may from time to time designate. Any check over the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) shall require two authorized signatories from two disinterested Elder Board members.
Section 4. Fiscal Year.
The Elder Board, in consultation with the Finance and Budget Team, shall have the power to fix, and from time to time to change, the fiscal year of the Church. Unless otherwise fixed by the Elder Board, the fiscal year shall be the calendar year. Accurate records shall be kept by all organizations of the church and report made on the fiscal year basis. All funds handled by any and all organizations of the Church shall be reported to the Elder Board.
Section 5. Contracts.
The President and Chairman together are authorized to sign all contracts not involving real property but the Elder Board may authorize any officer or officers, agent or agents of the Church, in addition to or in place of the officers so authorized by these Bylaws, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of any on behalf of the Church, including real estate transactions. Such authority may be general or confined to specific instances. All contracts for major services or expenditures should be reviewed by a competent attorney.
Section 6. Designated Contributions.
The Church may accept any designated contribution, grant, bequest or devise consistent with its general tax-exempt purposes, as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation. As so limited, donor-designated contributions will be accepted for special funds, purposes or uses as approved by the Elder Board, and such designations generally will be honored. However, the Church shall reserve all rights, title and interest in and to and control of such contributions, as well as full discretion as to the ultimate expenditure or distribution thereof in connection with any funds (including designated contributions) to assure that such funds will be used to carry out the Church’s tax-exempt purposes.
Section 7. Budget and Audit.
The Elder Board shall prepare and present to the Church at the Regular Annual Meeting an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for expenses together with an annual strategic plan. The Finance and Budget Team, if any, shall conduct or arrange for an annual review or audit of a type and nature they deem appropriate except every three to five years an outside audit should be conducted.
Section 8. Purchase or sale of property and borrowing
Neither officers nor agents of the Church may purchase or sell real or personal property on behalf of the Church unless authorized by the Board of Elders. Any borrowing of money must be unanimously approved by the Board of Elders. Subject to the provisions of applicable law, any note, mortgage, evidence of indebtedness, contract, conveyance, or other instrument in writing and any assignment or endorsement involving real property thereof executed or entered into between this Church and any other person, when signed jointly by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman, and the President, Secretary and the Treasurer of this Church shall be valid and binding on this Church in the absence of actual knowledge on the part of the other person that the signing officers had no authority to execute the same.
Any person made or threatened to be made a party to any action or proceeding, whether civil or criminal by reason of the fact that he or his testator is or was a Director, or Officer, employee or agent of the Church, may be indemnified by the Church, and the Church may advance his related expenses, to the full extent permitted by law. The Church may purchase and maintain insurance to indemnify: (a) itself for any obligation which it incurs as a result of the indemnification specified above; and (be) its Leadership Team and officers.
GRACE HARVEST BAPTIST CHURCH MEMBER COVENANT
Grace Harvest Baptist Church is a unique church. The vision of a church, built around families and individuals worshipping, studying the Bible and praying together was given by God to Pastor Mark Wells in 2005. Since then, God has been working. God has drawn a leadership team of elders together, and brought people together into this community of faith. God keeps adding people to His church. As each new family or individual comes, the church wants to give them the chance to express their commitment to the same core values that drew the original members together.
This covenant is an opportunity to present the vision of our church in a clear and systematic fashion to each new member of the church. Each member, in turn will be asked to sign that they have read and affirmed this covenant.
Signing a covenant may be new to some Christians. God is a covenant-making God. His covenant relationship was expressed by the covenant sacrifices of Abraham, Moses and the leaders of the children of Israel. Jesus expressed his covenant relationship with his disciples, and with us, sealing us with his Holy Spirit. In our modern era, people do not slaughter animals or perform sacrifices to enter into agreements, they give their signature as a sign of their commitment. In the same way, we offer newcomers the opportunity to enter into an agreement of membership with our church.
We recognize that it is only the power of God, working in us and through us, that is able to give us the desire and the ability to do His will. We trust His empowerment as we commit ourselves to seek His best for our lives and for the life of our church. We are not expressing an expectation of perfection, but a desire that God lead us to grow and mature as individuals and as a community of Christ.
Core Value #1: Unity:
Our prayer is to be brought to unity, just as God and Jesus are one, to let the world know that God sent Jesus and that God loves all of us just as He loves Jesus. [John 17] This unity will be reflected in our fellowship as we work to obey the command of Jesus: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." [John 13] And so, by God's grace, we will endeavor to get rid of all bitterness, rage and slander, along with every form of malice. We will make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. [Ephesians 4] Our unity will be expressed by our participation in home groups, regularly scheduled worship times, and special events. We strongly encourage every active member of our church to be a member of a home group.
Core Value #2: Personal Discipleship:
We desire to be disciples of Jesus, and for our obedience to show in our daily lives. We ask God to help us to always be ready to give a reason, to anyone who asks us, for the hope in God that we have. We seek to share our message with gentleness and respect. [I Peter 3:15] We trust God's enabling to strengthen our prayers for each other, working hard through prayer so that each one of us may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. [Colossians 4:12] The Bible is our practical, daily guide. We will seek God's message to us daily with our whole hearts. We want to treasure its instruction and use the strength that it gives us against sin and the adversary. [Psalm 119: 9-11] We seek to be disciples and disciple makers, meeting one-on-one to encourage each other in our pursuit of Godliness. [2 Timothy 2]. Our lives, as disciples must reflect the commission of Christ: we go, trusting God to gather people for salvation and worship, and seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through study and service.
Core Value #3: Exemplary Living:
We will trust God, who is always working in us, to give us the desire and the ability to do His good will. [Philippians 2:13] We will seek God's power to live exemplary lives, expressing love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility and self-control. [Galatians 5:22-23] We desire to live in a way that does not cause others to stumble. [Romans 14] We commit to the pattern of Biblical discipline. When an offence is present, we will first go privately and seek to be reconciled with that person. If the offense is not resolved, we will seek the counsel of an elder of our fellowship, and place ourselves under their authority. That elder may also include other elders in the reconciliation process. When the offense is not resolved, the elders will relieve the erring member of any responsibility and fervently pray for God's power to intervene. The elders will continue to actively seek reconciliation. In the extremely unlikely event that the erring member refuses the counsel of the elders, church membership will be withdrawn from that person. [Matthew 18:15-17] Even if the church must withdraw membership from someone, we will continue to pray that the individual will seek to be reconciled with God and His church. We will continue to prayerfully seek to be reunited with them when they choose to accept the counsel of the elders.
Core Value #4: Elders:
We recognize the Biblical pattern of God calling out men to serve in positions of greater responsibility. We endeavor to pray regularly for those whom God sets over us. Every elder shall be exemplary in his person: a man mature in faith, above reproach, devoted to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach. Each must manage his own family well, see that his children obey him with proper respect and have a good reputation with outsiders. [1 Timothy 3] As the elders express the leadership of God for the church, we will seek to unite with that direction. The elders are given responsibility of the care of the church, and will seek to be available to all church members for help, counsel, encouragement and intercession at all times. The elders will faithfully pray for the church members. They will seek to encourage and build up each member. They will teach and preach the Word of God faithfully, trusting its transforming power through the Holy Spirit in the lives of members.
We agree with the Apostle Paul as expressed in Ephesians 2:4-10. God made us alive in Christ through his rich mercy even when we were dead in sin. His grace has saved us, because there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves. We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do the good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.
We trust that the God who saved us by grace, and has already prepared good works for us to do in Christ Jesus, will give us the desire and the ability to do all that He desires. Trusting His power alone, we joyfully enter into a covenant relationship as members of Grace Harvest Baptist Church.
What we believe as a church is commonly known as church doctrine. Our doctrine is the foundation by which we serve God. Grace Harvest Baptist Church’s doctrinal statement has been organized into categories to assist you in understanding what we believe and teach through our various ministries.
Section 1. The Scriptures
Every word in the original writings is inspired by God and is without error. It is accurate in all matters to which it speaks including: spiritual, historical, and scientific. The Scriptures have a transformational effect on the believer's life. Through Scripture, God's Holy Spirit guides the believer in understanding and implementing truth, as well as turning away from sin and false teachings. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the foundation of the faith and practice of Grace Harvest Baptist Church (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21).
Section 2. God
God exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The three have distinct personalities and yet are of the same substance, one God. (Gen. 1:1; John 10:30; John 4:24; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14)
Section 3. Jesus Christ
The eternal Son of God became incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ, being born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man. He died physically on the cross and was bodily resurrected three days later. (John 1:1,14,18; 5:18; Heb. 1:1-9; 5:8; I John 5:20; I Tim. 2:5; I Cor. 15:1-5 )
Section 4. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He regenerates, indwells, baptizes, and seals all believers in Christ and empowers those yielded to God. (Matt. 28:19; John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5; I Cor. 6:19; Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 2:12; 12:13; Eph. 4:30; Col. 3:14)
Section 5. Man
Man is created in the image and likeness of God. In Adam, all mankind fell into sin with the result that all men are sinners. Men are justly condemned to eternal judgment and can do nothing to merit salvation. (Rom. 2:2,3,5; Eph. 2:8,9; Gen. 1:27, 9:6; Rom. 5:12; 3:23; Eph. 2:1)
Section 6. Salvation
Salvation is given to those men chosen by God and drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit. The only means to their salvation is belief in and recognized need of Christ’s substitutionary death and resurrection. (Acts 4:12; 13:38,39; I Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 4:4,5; 5:1; John 3:16; Eph. 2:8,9; Acts 16:31; Eph. 1:4,5; Rom. 8:29,30)
Section 7. Sanctification
Every believer is promised positional, progressive, and ultimate sanctification. (Heb. 10:10,14; John 17:15-17; Eph. 5:26-27; I Thess. 4:3,4; I John 3:2; I Cor. 6:11)
Section 8. Assurance
All who are born of the Spirit through faith in Christ can have assurance of salvation and are thus eternally secure in Christ. (Rom. 5:1; I John 5:13; John 10:27-29; 17:12; II Tim. 1:12; Eph. 4:30; John 6:37)
Section 9. The Church
The church is composed of all believers. It is the body and bride of Christ, formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and existing in two aspects, universal and local. The universal church is an elect company of believers, baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body. Its mission is to witness to its head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations. At the rapture of the church, it will be caught up to meet the Lord, after which He will return to set up His Kingdom. The local church is a group of believers voluntarily joined together in love to worship God with praise and thanksgiving, and to glorify Jesus Christ through an aggressive effort to disciple others by the preaching of the gospel, and the exercise of spiritual gifts. (Eph. 1:22,23; 5:24-30; I Cor. 12:4-13,27)
Section 10. Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual gifts are God-given abilities for service, i.e., “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4:1-16; I Cor. 12:7,11; I Pet. 4:10; Rom. 12:1-6)
Section 11. Christian Life
Christians are called to a holy life of service and testimony in the power of the Holy Spirit. This service includes the sharing of the gospel message to the whole world. All believers are promised rewards in heaven for their faithfulness in service. (I Pet. 1:15,16; Acts 1:8; I Cor. 3:12-17; John 14:1-3)
Section 12. Ordinances
The Bible sets forth two ordinances, the Lord’s Supper and water baptism. The Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated regularly in remembrance of Christ’s death on the cross, and in expectation of His return. Water baptism is an outward testimony of a person’s belief in Christ. Immersion is the ideal means set forth in Scripture. (Matt. 28:19,20; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 8:12,36-38; 9:18; 10:47; I Cor. 11:23-26)
Section 13. Second Coming
The blessed hope of the church is the imminent return of Christ. The events of the return of Christ take place in the following order: the rapture of the church, the tribulation, the second advent, the establishment of the reign of Christ on earth for one thousand years, and finally the eternal state of punishment for the unsaved and the eternal state of blessing for the saved. (Titus 2:13; I Thess. 1:10; 4:13-18; 5:4-10; John 14:1-3; Matt. 24:21,29,30; 25:31-46; Rev. 3:10 )
Section 14. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.(Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.)
ARTICLE XIV Doctrinal Distinctives
Section 1. The Bible
We understand the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God. As such it is the sole source and standard for matters of faith and practice for the believer. It is sufficient to meet every spiritual need of the Christian (II Peter 1:3).
The Bible should be understood plainly and literally unless there is reason in a given passage to believe that it was intended to be taken otherwise (e.g., figures of speech, prophetic language, etc.). The meaning of the Scripture can be understood through careful (II Tim. 2:15) and prayerful (I John 2:27) study by anyone.
Section 2. The Church
The Church is described in the Bible as the “body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12; I Cor. 12:27). The Apostle Paul explains this metaphor in I Corinthians 12. Just as the physical body has only one head but has many individual parts that perform different functions, even so the “Body of Christ,” the Church, has one head but is made up of many individual members. The head of the Church is Jesus Christ. He is the central organizing and directing influence of the Church. The body, made up of eyes and ears and hands and feet, constitutes the wide diversity of individual Christians. We are individually gifted and enabled by Christ to perform specialized functions in the Church so that the Church functions in a healthy manner.
The Apostle Paul also describes the Church as the “pillar and support of the truth” (I Tim. 3:15). For this reason we see one of the great privileges and responsibilities of the Church to be the preaching and teaching of the Word (II Tim. 4:2). Therefore, we see the teaching and preaching of the Bible as one of the central focuses of the various ministries of the Church.
Section 3. The Leadership
Grace Harvest Baptist Church is an elder lead congregation. We recognize the Biblical pattern of God calling out men to serve in positions of greater responsibility. We endeavor to pray regularly for those whom God sets over us. Every elder shall be exemplary in his person: a man mature in faith, above reproach, devoted to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, and able to teach. Each must manage his own family well, see that his children obey him with proper respect and have a good reputation with outsiders. [1 Timothy 3] As the elders express the leadership of God for the church, we will seek to unite with that direction. The elders are given responsibility of the care of the church, and will seek to be available to all church members for help, counsel, encouragement and intercession at all times. The elders will faithfully pray for the church members. They will seek to encourage and build up each member. They will teach and preach the Word of God faithfully, trusting its transforming power through the Holy Spirit in the lives of members.
Section 4. Theological Distinctives
Broadly understood, theology is simply the message of the Bible understood in all of its various elements and details. It is a man-made understanding of the whole of the Bible (all 66 Books—Old Testament and New Testament) set out topically and systematically. Christians and churches have traditionally recognized various theological movements or schools of thought that are helpful in describing important biblical ideas (e.g., salvation, redemption, sanctification, End Times, etc.).
This being said, Grace Harvest Baptist Church is:
- Reformed (Salvation only). Grace Harvest Baptist Church holds to a reformed stance in our doctrine of salvation. We believe that the Protestant Reformation was a real recovery of the Biblical truth concerning salvation and the role of the Scriptures in the life of the believer and the Church. We firmly embrace the 5 Solas (Latin for “alone”) of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura, the Bible is our sole source of truth; Sola Fide, one is saved only by faith; Sola Gratia, one cannot earn their salvation through any work rather it is by grace alone; Solus Christus, it is only through Christ that one may be saved; and Soli Deo Gloria, all that the believer does should be done to the glory of God. We also recognize that the Bible places a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God.
- Non-charismatic. The Greek word underlying this word literally means grace—”the unmerited favor or blessing of God.” The New Testament describes God as individually gifting believers with certain spiritual gifts for the benefit of the Church. Among the various spiritual gifts described in the New Testament, we see some that were more vividly supernatural manifestations of the power of God and the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some of these gifts were intended to be temporary and were uniquely suited to the founding of the Church during the lifetime of the Apostles. Other gifts were intended to be permanent and have been manifested in every age of the Church from the first century forward. By “non-charismatic” we mean to indicate that we acknowledge this distinction.
- Dispensational. Dispensationalism refers to the observation that God seems to have related with man throughout history in different ways throughout different ages or dispensations. These dispensations are typically characterized by certain distinct organizing principles. It does NOT suggest or infer that man was saved in different ways at different times. Man has always—in every age—been saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Dispensationalism is characterized by a clear distinction between Israel and the Church and by a consistent use of a literal principle of interpretation. We hold to a belief that there are still unfulfilled promises made to national Israel by God. In addition, we also add that Dispensationalists may differ on the specific number of dispensations.
- Premillennial. A large portion of the Bible speaks of events that were future at the time they were written. Of these passages, a significant portion refers to future events yet to be fulfilled. These passages are generally understood as referring to the “End Times. Two of the most significant end-time events yet remaining to be fulfilled are the return of Jesus Christ to the earth (the Second Coming) and the establishing of a physical kingdom by Jesus Christ here on earth (the “Millennium). By premillennial we understand the ordering of these events to be such that the Second Coming precedes the Millennium.
These Bylaws may be amended and new and additional Bylaws may be made from time to time at any time by the unanimous vote of approval of the Board of Elders at any regular meeting or at any called meeting at which such amendment has been publicized as one of the agenda items of such meeting.
Whenever an amendment or new Bylaw is adopted, it shall be copied in the book of minutes with the original Bylaws, in the appropriate place. If any Bylaw is repealed, the fact of repeal with the date of the meeting at which the repeal was enacted or written assent was filed shall be stated in said book.