Faith Community Fellowship
Adopted May 17, 2009
FAITH COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP
We the members of Faith Community Fellowship do hereby set forth and establish this Constitution to be a guide in carrying out the purpose and ministry of said Church; namely, the proclamation of the Word of God as revealed through the person and teaching of Jesus Christ; the administration of the sacraments; the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth; the witnessing to the redemptive power and work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this community and throughout the world; and the maintaining of a public place for worship and Christian education that youth and adults may be nurtured and comforted in the Christian truth and doctrine.
This Church shall be known as, Faith Community Fellowship, Massillon, Stark County, Ohio.
Faith Community Fellowship, an Ohio nonprofit corporation, will have the specific purpose as stated in its Articles of Incorporation and whatever powers are or may be granted by the Ohio Nonprofit Corporation law or any successor legislation.
Faith Community Fellowship acknowledges as its only head, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Savior of men. It acknowledges as brethren in Christ all who share in this confession. It looks to the Word of God and to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, to prosper its redemptive and creative mission at home and in all the world. It claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the Apostle’s Creed and such other creeds and standards which are in harmony with the Word of God and our Statement of Faith. Where these doctrinal standards suggest differences in interpretation, the Word of God of both the Old and New Testaments shall be the final norm of interpretation, respecting the liberty of conscience and understanding of pastors, licensed ministers and laymen inherent in the Gospel and as they are directed by the Holy Spirit.
FAITH COMMUNITY FELLOWSHIP STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe in . . . .
We believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God written.
We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe in the deity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His substitutionary and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
SINFUL NATURE OF HUMANITY
We believe that humanity is lost and sinful and renewal by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for salvation.
We believe that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit, and thereby become children of God, and heirs of eternal life.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling power and fullness the Christian is enabled to live a godly life in this present evil world.
RESURRECTION AND FINAL JUDGEMENT
We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto eternal punishment.
“We believe that the love of Christ binds all believers together in perfect unity.”
In fellowship with Christians throughout history we accept the Apostles Creed as an affirmation of our faith.
THE APOSTLES CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into Hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Holy Baptism and Lord’s Supper are recognized as the Sacraments of the Church.
This Church is a member of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.
The Pastors shall have freedom of pulpit and altar with respect to form and content of worship and administration of the Sacraments, as long as these are in harmony with the spirit and doctrinal values of our Statement of Faith and meet with the approval of a majority of the members of the Spiritual Council.
COMMUNICANT MEMBER (Full church membership):
A Communicant Member has received full privileges and responsibilities through baptism, profession of faith, and affirmation of the Faith Community Fellowship statement of faith.
Communicant Members are expected to participate in the Lord’s Supper and shall have a voice and vote in Congregational meetings, unless otherwise provided for in the by-laws.
All Communicant Members, 17 and over, have voting privileges.
An Associate Member is entitled to full pastoral care but has no voting privileges.
Additions and deletions of those in this category shall come under direction of the Spiritual Council.
MEMBERSHIP UNDER REVIEW:
An individual who has not met the requirements of Communicant or Associate Membership as stated in the Constitution and By-Laws and is under review by the Spiritual Council. The intent is not to discourage, but to encourage restoration to full church membership.
Throughout the Constitution and By-Laws any mention of the term “member” is synonymous with Communicant Member.
The Spiritual Council shall be composed of the Senior Pastor and Elders of the Church. It shall be primarily concerned with, and minister to, the spiritual life of the members. It shall have accountability over all the aspects of the Church to the congregation. It shall exercise discipline in the Church, except in the case of the Pastors. It shall provide the elements of the Lord’s Supper and aid in their distribution when requested by the pastors. It shall admit members into Communicant Membership when stipulated requirements have been met. It shall issue transfers to members of good standing to other Christian Churches when requested.
It shall exercise discipline of probation or erasure of members delinquent in their duties as members. A Chairman, Vice Chair and Secretary shall be chosen by the group. It shall keep an accurate record of their actions. This team shall meet monthly.
Both men and women shall be eligible to serve as Elders and in all other offices of the Spiritual Council and Church.
THE ADMINISTRATION TEAM
This team is comprised of the Pastor(s), Office Administrator, Head Deacon, Facilities Deacon, Personnel Deacon, Know Deacon, Grow Deacon, Serve Deacon, Treasurer, and any assistants. This team meets twice a month. They are the operational body of the Church.
The Administrative Team is accountable and reports out monthly to the Spiritual Council.
A Head Deacon shall be chosen by the team. The Office Administrator shall serve as its Secretary. The Senior Pastor shall serve as its Chairman.
Both men and women shall be eligible to serve as Deacons and in all other offices of the Administrative Team and Church.
ELECTION AND TERMS OF OFFICE
Elders and Deacons shall be elected by a majority vote cast at a Congregational Meeting for that purpose. They shall be elected for a term of two (2) years and may serve for two (2) consecutive terms, after which they shall be ineligible to serve for a period of one (1) year.
One who has been appointed to fill an unexpired term can complete the unexpired term and be elected to one (1) consecutive term after which they shall be ineligible to serve for a period of one (1) year.
The Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team shall elect officers for a one (1) year term.
The Chairman of the Spiritual Council and the Head Deacon shall be eligible to serve in that office for two (2) consecutive years.
The Executive Committee shall be composed of the Senior Pastor, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Spiritual Council and Head Deacon The Chair of the Spiritual Council shall serve as its Chairman.
It shall act on behalf of the Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team when necessary or so instructed by the Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team.
It shall appoint all standing committees and all special committees, unless otherwise provided for by the instruction of the Spiritual Council.
ELDERS AND DEACONS
Elders are elected by a majority vote cast at a Congregational Meeting by the Members of the Church and ordained to their office, to assist and support the Pastors in the general government of the Church.
They form, with the Pastors, a council in common for the spiritual supervision of the flock, which is committed to their care. They are to be the advisors and counselors of the Pastors in the discharge of their holy office; they are to be to them as hands and eyes, acting with them and for them, and representing their presence throughout the Congregation. It is their province to go before the flock in the way of Christian example, to watch over it in the Lord, to take an active interest in its spiritual welfare, to feel a responsibility for its condition to be at hand in all circumstances with spiritual aid for its necessities and wants. To them, moreover, in conjunction with the Pastors belongs the whole discipline of the Church, its power of the keys, as exercised both in the form of censure, probation and in the form of restoration.
Deacons are elected by a majority vote cast at a Congregational meeting by the Members of the Church and ordained to their office, to assist and support the Pastors in those ministrations that pertain to the more outward needs of the general household of faith. They are to aid in securing the funds necessary for the needs of the Church, fostering the principle of stewardship, and thereby cultivating the spirit of liberal and cheerful giving. In discharging these duties, however, they must not lose sight of the true spiritual character of their office, which, although it may be thus occupied with outward and temporal things, yet remains always a proper branch of the Christian ministry, requiring virtues and merits of like sort with those which are needful for the office of the ministry in its more exalted character.
The Pastors of the Church are to be elected by secret ballot by the Members of the Church. The conclusion of the Pastor’s service as Pastor of Faith Community Fellowship will be announced with three (3) month’s notice either by letter from him to the governing body, or by the Congregation to him following a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Congregation indicating such. When a pastoral vacancy occurs in the Church, a special team appointed by the Executive Committee, shall interview prospective candidates for the pastoral position of the Church. After prayerful consideration of these candidates, the team shall make its report and recommend one (1) to the Spiritual Council to be presented by it to the Church for election. The ballots cast shall be marked “yes” or “no”. If two-thirds (2/3) of the votes cast favor the candidate, the Spiritual Council shall issue him a Call to the pastorate, together with a record of the vote cast. If he accepts the Call, proper services for his Installation shall be arranged at the earliest possible date after his arrival. The Congregation shall pay his moving expenses.
DEFINITION OF TERM “PASTOR” AND “LICENSED MINISTER”
The term “Pastor” as used in this Constitution and By-Laws is to be interpreted to mean: A person who has been officially ordained to the office of the Christian Ministry and who has been elected to serve the local Church in the pastoral office. The Pastor is accountable to the Congregation. The Spiritual Council will act on behalf of the Congregation in monitoring and evaluating pastoral duties.
The term “Licensed Minister” as used in the Constitution and By-Laws is interpreted to mean: A lay person who is authorized by the Spiritual Council to administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper during Faith Community Fellowship’s worship services and to perform marriages.
The status and accountability of all other church staff shall be determined by the Administrative Team unless otherwise provided for in this Constitution and By-Laws, or within their specific call agreements or job descriptions.
The property of the Church, both real and personal, and all monies, legacies, and an adequate insurance program, shall be under the care of the Administrative Team. They shall hold these as a sacred trust for the Church and keep the Church building and all other buildings and properties belonging to the Church in proper repair and adapted for uses approved by the Administrative Team. The purchasing and selling of property, the borrowing of money which encumbers the property of the Church, the remodeling of buildings and the erection of new buildings shall conform to State law and shall be authorized only by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Members assembled at a duly called Congregational Meeting entitled to vote thereon unless otherwise provided.
DISSOLUTION OF THE CORPORATION
(In the event that the Spiritual Council, the Administrative Team and the Congregation, by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members assembled at a duly called meeting, agree on the dissolution of the corporation, the following action shall be:
Property and assets are to be dispersed to non-profit entities as directed by a majority vote of Leadership. It is not required that both property and assets go to the same non-profit agency.)
The Spiritual Council shall provide for and call such Congregational Meetings as are necessary and as provided for in the By-Laws, but a Congregational Meeting shall be held at least annually for the election of Elders and Deacons and for the approval of the annual budget.
Fifty percent (50%) of the lay membership of the Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team shall constitute a quorum for meetings.
Twenty percent (20%) of the officially recorded Communicant Members shall constitute a quorum at Congregational Meetings.
Amendments to this Constitution may be made by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Members present and voting at a duly called Congregational Meeting. Such Amendments shall be presented in writing to the Congregation at least two (2) weeks before the meeting.
Throughout the Constitution and By-Laws any mention of one gender includes the other gender.
NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
A Nominating Team composed of one (1) Elder, one (1) Deacon and three (3) Members at large of the Church shall be appointed by the Executive Committee at the beginning of each calendar year. This Team shall meet at least ninety (90) days before the Congregational Meeting at which elections for Elders and Deacons are held. It shall nominate at least two (2) persons for each office of Elder and Deacon to be filled. Names may be suggested to the Nominating Team by Members of the Church up to ninety (90) days before the Congregational Election Meeting. The consent of all nominees must be obtained before their names are placed on the ballot.
Nominees shall have been Members of the Church for at least two (2) years before their names are placed in nomination. All nominees shall have reached the legal age of eighteen (18) by the time they take office. Special care should be exercised that nominees be persons of mature and steady spiritual character because of the nature of their office. Nominees of Elders and Deacons will be considered by their spiritual gifts, their abilities, and experiences and will be prayerfully considered. The Nominating Team will make their selections for nominations using these criteria.
An Election Team of at least five (5) persons shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Executive Committee prior to the Congregational Election Meeting, for the purpose of distributing, collecting and counting the ballots. No candidates for Elder or Deacon shall serve on this Team.
A record of the process and election count should be reported to the Spiritual Council and placed on file by way of the minutes from the Spiritual Council meeting.
OFFICERS AND DUTIES
CHAIRMAN OF THE SPIRITUAL COUNCIL:
He shall be elected for a one (1) year term and preside over the meetings of the Spiritual Council. He shall see to it that regular and special meetings are called and properly announced. He shall see to the prompt execution of all resolutions and actions voted by the Spiritual Council. He shall see that all responsibilities assigned to the Spiritual Council, and to standing and special teams appointed by the Executive Committee be properly attended to. He shall serve as moderator of all Congregational Meetings. He shall be an ex-officio member of all teams appointed by the Executive Committee. The Chairman is encouraged to have a healthy working relationship with the Senior Pastor and Staff of the Church.
VICE-CHAIRMAN OF THE SPIRITUAL COUNCIL:
He shall be elected by the Spiritual Council for a one (1) year term and preside over the meetings in the absence of, or at the request of the Chairman. He shall serve in place of the Chairman when circumstances demand it. He shall help the Chairman carry out his responsibility when called upon to do so
SECRETARY OF THE SPIRITUAL COUNCIL:
The Secretary shall be elected by the Spiritual Council for a one (1) year term and keep an accurate record of all appointments, elections and transactions of the Spiritual Council and any other team as so assigned. He shall carry on all correspondence assigned to him. If he is also an elected member of the Spiritual Council, he will then have voting rights within the Spiritual Council
The Treasurer shall be elected by the Administrative Team for a one (1) year term and shall have charge of all monies of the Church for the support of the Church’s local program, and all benevolence and other monies that are to be disbursed by the Administrative Team. He shall pay all bills approved for payment by the Finance Team or that are signed by the appropriate Deacon He shall report monthly to the Administrative Team and annually to the Church. He shall be properly bonded. If he is also an elected member of the Administrative Team, he will then have voting rights within the Administrative Team.
The Administrative Team shall elect the Financial Secretary for a one (1) year term. He shall be responsible for the counting and depositing of all monies received for current, benevolent, memorial, and other funds, unless otherwise provided for by action of the Administrative Team. He shall be properly bonded. He shall hold no other office that might represent a conflict of interest.
He shall be elected by the Administrative Team for a one (1) year term and preside over the meetings of the Administrative Team in the absence of, or at the request of the Chairman. He shall serve in place of the Chairman when circumstances demand it. He shall help the Chairman carry out his responsibility when called upon to do so. The Head Deacon is encouraged to have a healthy working relationship with the Senior Pastor and Staff of the Church.
Is a member of the Administrative Team. The Know Deacon facilitates the Know Ministry. The Know activities would include but not be limited to invitational, evangelism, worship and Christian commitment ministries. The Know Ministry invites non-Christians to Christ.
Is a member of the Administrative Team. The Grow Deacon facilitates the Grow Ministry. They assist with Christian education, small group ministries for learning and discipleship. The Grow Ministry helps with deepening our relationship with God and provides discipleship.
Is a member of the Administrative Team. The Serve Deacon facilitates the Serve Ministry. This Ministry assists others in ministries and helps them to succeed. The Serve Ministry assists fellowship with their passions in the area of connecting and placing outward ministries, outreach, and missions.
Is a member of the Administrative Team. The Facilities Deacon works on office equipment issues and the facility needs both interior and exterior. This Deacon is responsible for technical and purchasing needs.
Is a member of the Administrative Team. The Personnel Deacon is responsible for the Program Staff and Non-Ministry Staff. This Deacon will also be a key person if there is a need for assistance with the Ministry Staff.
NUMBER OF ELDERS AND DEACONS
The Church shall elect eight (8) Elders to two (2) year terms; two (2) or three (3) to be elected each year.
The Church shall elect nine (9) Deacons to two (2) year terms; three (3) to be elected each year.
INSTALLATION AND ORDINATION
Elders and Deacons shall be installed into the office to which they have been elected at a Sunday morning worship service in June. Those who have not been previously ordained to their respective office by the laying on of hands shall be so ordained at the time of their installation.
An unexpired term of Elder or Deacon caused by death or resignation shall be filled by the Executive Committee for the remainder of the term based upon previous election results. The person receiving the next highest vote for the particular position will be asked to serve the vacancy. If the list is exhausted, the responsibility to fill the vacancy will rest with the Executive Committee.
All Communicant Members present at duly called meetings shall have voice and vote. There will be no absentee balloting in the voting process.
The Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper shall be open to all Christians who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Communion will be offered at least six (6) times per year.
Children may take Communion but it is strongly suggested that they be Confirmed first. If the parent knows that a child understands the full significance of Communion and has given their life to Christ, the Church would not stand in the way of the child receiving Communion.
Water baptism, either by immersion or sprinkling, is acceptable.
Parents having their children dedicated or baptized must be members of Faith Community Fellowship. On occasion a parent not living in this area may want their child baptized or dedicated at Faith Community Fellowship. If that parent is an active member in their home Church they may have their child baptized or dedicated at Faith Community Fellowship but a letter would be sent to their pastor telling of the baptism so that they understand the full significance of the service.
Infant baptism or infant dedication is acceptable at Faith Community Fellowship.
Parents are to have a time of instruction with the pastor prior to the baptism or dedication so that they understand the full significance of the service.
The financial policy of the Church shall be mainly on the basis of stewardship giving. Any projects for the purpose of raising money for the Church shall be engaged in by any organization of the Church, only by consent of the Administrative Team.
The finances of the Church shall be administered by the budget system. The Finance Team shall prepare a budget for current operating expenses and for the benevolent ministries of the Church. The budget shall be reviewed and approved by the Administrative Team, and then submitted to the Spiritual Council for final approval. After final approval the Spiritual Council will present the budget to the Church at its annual Congregational Meeting for consideration and adoption. The Administrative Team may authorize expenditure of money beyond the budget up to the amount equal to 5% of the current fiscal year general budget amount. Any amount above 5% of the current fiscal year general budget amount shall have the approval of the Church.
Pastors, Ministers, Deacons, Elders and any elected volunteer position shall abide by the Church Covenant:
- Spend daily time in prayer and Bible study with God
- To participate in a small group or Bible study
- Pray for at least one unchurched person
OTHER TEAMS AND COMMITTEES
The Spiritual Council shall appoint annually through its Executive Committee, such standing teams and special teams that are necessary to carry out in an orderly and effective manner all the ministries committed to it that the total program of the Church might be effectively administered.
The Executive Committee of the Spiritual Council shall make appointments before August 1st of each calendar year in which they shall serve, unless otherwise authorized by the Spiritual Council.
All teams will be augmented by persons other than members of the Administrative Team. Each team will nominate its own chairman who will have the responsibility of communicating to the Administrative Team as outlined by the Spiritual Council. The Spiritual Council will review and approve the nominated chair and members for each team.
ENCOURAGEMENTS AND REQUIREMENTS
A Communicant Member is encouraged to pray for the Church and its members, to practice family and private devotions, to give careful attention to the Christian support of the Church and its programs, to work for the advancement of God’s Kingdom by witnessing to the truth and power of Christ through Christian Fellowship, to partake of the Lord’s Supper, and to regularly attend worship service.
Regularly worship attendance is required to maintain full membership. A Member’s lack of recorded worship attendance for six (6) weeks will prompt a personal contact from the pastor. If additional follow-up is required, the Spiritual Council will refer to the policy manual for the procedure.
Whenever it becomes necessary to erase a name of a member, the pastors and the Spiritual Council shall continue their concern and prayers for such person and work towards their repentance and re-profession. If during the process a member contacts the church with desire to continue their membership this process is discontinued.
The intent of this process is not to discourage, but to encourage full restoration to church membership.
The purpose of discipline is to honor God by preserving the purity of the Church. Church discipline is the Church’s exercise of authority given by Christ in the direction of guidance, control, and nurture of its Members. Discipline is for building up the body of Christ, not destroying it, for redeeming, not for punishing. Discipline must be exercised in love and gentleness for the good of all to promote healing. Failure to discipline greatly hinders the testimony of the local Church. This entire process is to be grounded in prayer as revealed in Ephesians 6:18. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
This process would be directed toward members overtly displaying sinful behavior. The Spiritual Council, the pastor(s), and the Head Deacon, together, will administer the discipline process, the guidelines of which are listed in the policy book. I Corinthians 5:12-13, Hebrews 12:10-11
PREPARATION FOR MEMBERSHIP
All young people and adults who have not been previously prepared for Church Membership shall be so prepared by proper instruction in the basic doctrines of the faith and the nature of the Church, so that an intelligent and meaningful profession of faith can be made by them.
Written notice of any special Congregational Meeting required by the Constitution or By-Laws shall be given to the Congregation not less than 14 days before said meeting. Written notice of the annual Congregational Meeting shall be given not less than 30 days before said meeting and the report of the Nominating Team shall be distributed not later than the Sunday prior to the annual meeting. Written notice shall be deemed sufficient if published in the Church bulletin, the newsletter or by direct mailing to the membership.
The Church shall meet in an Annual Congregational meeting during May to approve the budget for the ensuing year and to elect Elders and Deacons. The new Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team shall meet to organize at the time of their regular June meeting.
The Executive Committee shall appoint the standing teams/committees and have them ratified by the Spiritual Council at their regular August meeting.
Special Congregational Meetings shall be called by the Chairman of the Spiritual Council at the request of the Spiritual Council, the Pastors or by a petition signed by at least 50 Communicant Members, to consider special and pertinent matters on which the Members of the Church should take action, or about which they are to be informed, when such matters demand discussion at a Congregational Meeting.
DUTIES AND RIGHTS OF THE PASTORS
It shall be the duty of the Pastors to set a good example among the Members of the Church, and to conduct all services on Sundays, and such other services as the Spiritual Council may desire, to direct the work of Christian Education, administer the Holy Sacraments, visit the sick, comfort the distressed, and to perform all such duties as described in appropriate and agreed upon job descriptions.
The Senior Pastor or his delegate is an ex-officio member of both the Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team, and all other teams, organizations and committees chartered by the Spiritual Council and the Administrative Team as long as he is the Senior Pastor of the Church. All other Pastors are ex-officio members on the Administrative Team. No other pastor or licensed minister shall perform any religious ministries in the Church without the consent of the Sr. Pastor. To invite a speaker either during a temporary absence of the Pastors or for special occasions, the consent of both Pastors and the Spiritual Council is necessary. The Pastor’s salaries shall be promptly paid in bi-weekly installments and shall be sufficient to relieve them of temporal cares as far as possible, and to preserve the dignity of their calling, subject to the provisions of the contract between the Pastors and the Church.
Any conflict within the Church shall be taken to the Spiritual Council. The issue will be discussed and hopefully resolved through that group. If, over time, the Spiritual Council comes to an impasse on the issue, they may consider outside resources to mediate the situation, e.g., guidance from the umbrella organization, written resources in the church library (e.g., Maximizing Differences: A Christian Approach to Anticipating and Managing Conflict by Douglas M. Little, PH.D), local Christian colleges. Biblically, legal counsel should be discouraged.
Amendments to By-Laws may be made by a majority vote of the Members present and voting at a duly called Congregational meeting. Such Amendments shall be presented in writing to the Congregation at least 14 days before the meeting.