Table of Contents
Article I Mission and Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Article II Statement of Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Article III Membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Article IV Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Article V Congregational Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Article VI Executive Officers . . . . …………….. .15
Article VII Confidentiality………………………….17
Article VIII Conflict Resolution……………………..18
Article IX Discipline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Article X Licensing, Commissioning,
and Ordaining . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Article XI Amendments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
We, the members
Mission and Vision
Section A. Mission
Bella Vista Church Exists to help people believe in Jesus Christ, belong to a community of faith, and become Christ’s servants in the world.
Section B. Vision
Bella Vista Church seeks to be a community where all
people can discover who they are as God’s Children as well as come to an understanding of what it means to be Christ’s servant. We envision every man, woman and child, every family equipped and empowered to serve others in the church, in their homes, in their communities, workplaces and in the world. We see Bella Vista Church as a community of servants that will change the status quo and change the world because not some, but all, are living in service to Christ.
Statement of Faith
A. GOD - There is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created out of nothing the universe and all living things, thus revealing the glory of his power, wisdom and goodness. (Genesis 1:1-2; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; Romans 1:20; 2 Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 2:18; Colossians 1:15-16; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 1:4-6; 4:11)
B. JESUS CHRIST - Jesus Christ is true God and true man, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, died in our place on the cross, and rose bodily from the grave. He ascended into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where he, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for his own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. (Matthew 1:18-25; 24:37-44; John 1:1-3; Romans 8:34; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17;
Hebrews 9:24; Revelation 19:11-16)
C. THE HOLY SPIRIT - The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person who works in convicting people of sin. In the life of the believer, He is involved in the new birth, the sealing of salvation, dispensing of spiritual gifts, and developing holiness (John 3:5-6; 14:16-17; 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:13-14).
D.THE BIBLE - The Bible in its entirety originated with God, and it was given through the instrumentality of chosen human authors. The Bible is the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God. The Bible is infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. (Psalm 119:89; Ephesians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
E. HUMANITY - God made humankind in his own image but, through Adam, humankind fell into sin. Because we are now sinners, both by nature and by choice, only God’s favor through the work of Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit can restore us. All humans, while sinners by choice and nature, still carry within them the image of God and as such are
sanctified by their Creator. All human life, therefore, including that of babies in the womb, the aged and the infirm is to be valued, protected, and cared for.
(Genesis 1:26; 2:17; John 5:40; Romans 3:9-10, 19-23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 3:8)
F. SALVATION - Salvation comes to us only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from any human merit. Jesus Christ is the only ground for our legal standing before God which
includes both forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Once made children of God by adoption and grace, we will never cease to be his children. (John 1:12, 5:24; 6:37-44; Romans 3:20, 27-28; 5:1-7; 7-8; 10:9-10, 13; 1 Corinthians 1: 29-31; 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:8-10;
Colossians 1:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:4-5; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 2:19; Jude 1:24).
G. THE CHURCH - All those who have experienced salvation are members of the Church universal which is the body of Christ. The Bible commands believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of baptism and the Lord's Table, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the church. Jesus Christ is the head of the church and every local church has the right under Christ to govern itself. Under the watch care of
elders and other supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity. (Matthew 16:18-19; 28:18-20; Acts 2:41-47; 13:1-3; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:1-16, 5:25-27; Colossians 1:17-18; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 5:1-2)
Christ Commands baptism and the Lord’s table. Water baptism is an outward sign of the forgiveness of sins and cleansing from sin which the Holy Spirit has and will continue to perform in the believer. Baptism, however, does not in any way merit salvation for the believer. The Lord's Table is regularly observed as the table of acceptance, of forgiveness, of celebration and of responsibility, at Christ's request until his return. (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-27; Ephesians 2:8; Colossians 2:11-13)
H. MARRIAGE– Marriage is the original and foundational institution of human society, established by God as a one-flesh, covenantal union between a man and a woman. It is intended to be lifelong (until separated by death), exclusive (monogamous and faithful), generative in nature (designed for bearing and rearing children), and is to reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church. (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:21-25; Matthew 19:4-8; Ephesians 5:22-33 )
I. HUMAN DESTINY - All people will experience the resurrection--believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for their obedience and unbelievers will be eternally separated from God into condemnation. (John 5:28-29; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:11-15)
Section A. Why Church Membership?
It is wholly in
keeping with the spirit and purposes of the
Section B. Becoming a Member
A person who
desires to become a member of
1. A person who surrenders to Jesus Christ and to the lifelong process of Christian transformation in the context of local church community life.
2. A person who has been baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ.
3. A person who agrees with the core doctrinal positions of BVC.
4. A person who is not under any actual or pending local church discipline.
acceptance is by approval of the
Section C. Expectations of BVC Members
1. Exhibit continual life transformation as a follower of Jesus Christ as directed by BVC’s vision, purpose, and values.
2. Be involved in local church community (small-group life), to be training for ministry to others, or to be active in ministry to others.
3. Attend weekly services and participate in congregational meetings as scheduled.
4. Graciously support the regular and periodic financial needs of the church
5. Vote in
congregational affirmations of decisions brought to the church by the
Section D. Removal from Membership
1. Voluntary withdrawal request by the member.
discipline initiated by the
4. Failure to
participate in the ministries of
5. Failure to adhere to the expectations of membership as outlined in Article III, Section C.
Before a person
is removed from membership, the church leadership will finalize any prior
follow up with a personal contact or letter.
Section A. Authority
Section B. Autonomy
Section C. Multifaceted Leadership
The head of
At the human level, five distinct
groups of people direct the ministries of
Section D. Terms of Service
Elder rule is the authoritative consensus managing of the local church by teaching, protecting, governing, and caring.
Authoritative elder rule is not
"lording it over" or being domineering. No one man seeks to impose
his will on another or on the flock.
With the exception of the Lead
Pastor, who will automatically serve as an elder, but not as the chairman, a member of the BVC paid staff may not
serve as an Elder. A member of an
All decisions of the
The general responsibilities of
1. Overall care of the church (1 Timothy 3:4–5).
2. Managing by life and by biblical teaching (1 Peter 5:3; 1 Timothy 5:17).
3. Guarding the church in the areas of biblical doctrine (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:9).
4. Guiding the church in biblical direction under the leadership of the Chief Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, and watching over the purity of the church by the exercise of church discipline (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13).
5. Endeavoring to see that the church exists to advance the Gospel of the kingdom through evangelism both at home and overseas and to equip the people of God to grow to maturity in Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 4:11–17).
The specific responsibilities of
1. Disciplining the church, being guided always by the principles set forth in the Holy Scriptures and the church discipline policy (Article VII).
2. Selecting a chairman, vice chairman, president and secretary for one year, beginning in July, from among themselves.
evaluating, and releasing all paid full-time
4. Calling and recommending Deacons for affirmation by the church membership.
members to serve on a search committee for making recommendations to the
6. Forming advisory council(s), subcommittee(s), or making specific assignments as necessary to carry out assigned responsibilities.
7. Appointing and/or affirming Advisory Council members as required.
8. Authorizing officers to affix the corporate name and seal and to execute conveyances, subject to restrictions in discipline or congregational approval.
9. Exercising final authority over the annual budget, building programs, fund raising, legal matters affecting the church and its ongoing functions, job descriptions and responsibilities for all staff, disciplinary actions with respect to staff and employees, conveyance of any real property of the church (subject to approval of the congregation as provided in Article V, Section F), proposals to amend the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws (subject to approval of the congregation as provided in Article V, Section F), and content of membership classes.
Section F. Administrative Council
The Administrative Council is
responsible for administrative oversight of specific areas of
members of the church make up the Administrative Council. The
The Council will have no less than four (4) members and no more than nine (9) members with expertise in the following areas: Accounting; ministerial staff; law; building construction and/or maintenance; business owner and/or director of an organization; financial investment or banking; or human resources.
A member of the BVC paid staff
may not serve on the Administrative Council, except that the
The Administrative Council will meet as needed or at a minimum of once every quarter with two-thirds (2/3) of the Council present constituting a quorum. All decisions of the Administrative Council will be by consensus and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Actions of the Administrative
Council are subject to the final authority of the
Specific responsibilities of the Administrative Council include:
1. Review and approve financial statements.
2. Review and assist with all major projects undertaken by the church.
3. Develop and approve church budgets.
4. Review any proposed expenditure or contract in excess of one fifty-second (1/52) of the annual church operating budget.
5. Ensure that a competitive bidding process is followed, as appropriate.
6. Affirm all persons recommended by the treasurer for oversight of monies received.
7. Propose changes to the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws as required.
Section G. Deacons
A primary role of a Deacon is as
a care-giver. As such, Deacons can help address the physical and material needs of all
individuals through the ministries of
Deacons should possess one or more service-related spiritual gifts such as helping, encouragement, mercy, pastoring, administration, intercessor; and possess a passion for helping to address human needs.
No fewer than four (4) Deacons shall be in office at any time. The Deacons will meet as needed or at a minimum of once every quarter. All decisions of the Deacons will be by consensus and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
All actions of the Deacons are
subject to the final authority of the
Section H. Ministry Advisory Councils
A Ministry Advisory Council serves to provide input, recommendations, and guidance to a ministry staff member.
Volunteer members and regular
attenders of the church can serve on a Ministry Advisory Council. The
A Ministry Advisory Council will have no less than four (4) members. The Council will meet as needed or at a minimum of once every quarter. All recommendations of the Council will be by consensus and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Members and regular attenders may serve on a Ministry Advisory Council.
The use of a Ministry Advisory Council for each area of ministry is recommended, but not mandatory.
The ministry staff members direct
the day-to-day affairs of the ministries of
Each ministry staff member has
been delegated specific responsibilities through a job description and job
objectives (updated at least annually).
The Lead Pastor, or Ministry Staff Director if so designated, determines
the responsibilities, which are then subject to the approval of the
The Lead Pastor oversees the
staff members and day-to-day operations of the church, and is accountable to
The Lead Pastor’s or, if
Reports on church operations to the
2. Serves on the Administrative Council as a voting member, or appoints a designate, and reports to the Council on church operations.
Develops and maintains job descriptions and job objectives
for each paid staff position subject to review by the
Oversees annual review of ministerial staff and makes
presentation to salary compensation team (appointed by the
5. Oversees annual review of all other paid church staff.
Section A. Purpose
Section B. Participants
Participation at a congregational meeting will be only for members (Article III) who are sixteen (16) years of age and older. Active nonmembers may attend but will not be able to participate in discussions or be able to vote on issues presented.
The chairman of
Section C. Quorum Requirement
(20%) of the
The chairman will have a list of members available at the meeting to resolve any questions.
Section D. Quorum of Members not Present at Meeting
In the event
that a quorum of members is not present at the congregational meeting, the
Section E. Calling a Congregational Meeting
There will be an
annual congregational meeting before the end of the first quarter of the budget
A notice in the church bulletin along with an announcement at two (2) consecutive Sunday morning services will publicize any congregational meeting.
Section F. Items Requiring Congregational Approval
Certain issues require congregation approval at a congregational meeting:
1. Disposition or acquisition of all real church property.
2. Changes to the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws.
congregational items as determined by the
Approval of property disposition or acquisition and changes to the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws requires affirmation by two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the congregational meeting after meeting quorum requirements.
A simple majority of the members present at the congregational meeting after fulfilling quorum requirements is all that is needed to affirm all other business.
Anyone making a proposal must make it available to the membership in writing two (2) weeks before the congregational meeting.
Section G. Affirmations Requiring Congregational Approval
meeting is not required before members vote for the affirmation of
Written ballots are the means by which members will decide all affirmations.
Proposed affirmations must be given to the membership in writing or in the church bulletin two (2) weeks before the affirmation. In addition, the proposed officer(s) will be introduced at a Sunday service two (2) weeks prior to the affirmation vote.
vote will be held on the second Sunday after the affirmation vote announcement
is made. In the event a member is not able to be present on the day of voting,
they may request an absentee ballot and return it to the church office by the
day of the vote.
Section B. Qualifications of Executive Officers
All church officers must meet the following qualifications:
The candidate will be an active member of
2. All officers will exhibit evidence of spiritual maturity.
Section G. President
Responsibilities of the Bella Vista Church President are as follows:
1. Serve as chairman of the
2. Is accountable
3. Acts as church representative in all matters requiring action of the office of President.
Section H. Vice President
Responsibilities of the Bella Vista Church Vice President are as follows:
1. Serves on the Administrative Council as its chairman.
Provides communications between the Administrative Council
Is accountable to the
4. Acts as church representative in all matters requiring action of the office of Vice President.
Section I. Secretary
Responsibilities of the Bella Vista Church Secretary are as follows:
1. Has prior appointment as an Elder of the church.
2. Records the minutes of Elder meetings.
Is accountable to the
4. Acts as church representative in all matters requiring action of the office of Secretary.
Section J. Treasurer
Responsibilities of the Bella Vista Church Treasurer are as follows:
1. Serves on the Administrative Council.
2. Keeps accounting of all receipts and disbursements.
Reports to the Administrative Council and the
4. Publishes financial report to the members quarterly.
5. Oversees all offertory counts and deposit of all monies received.
6. Recommends for affirmation to the Administrative Council additional persons to assist in overseeing the collection, counting, and processing of all monies received (Persons selected must be members or regular attendees).
7. Provides an annual contribution statement to all identifiable contributors no later than January 31 of the following year.
8. Is accountable to the Administrative Council.
9. Acts as church representative in all matters requiring action of the office of Treasurer.
The Bible teaches that Christians should carefully guard any personal and/or private information that others reveal to them. Protecting confidences is a sign of Christian love and respect (see Matt 7:12). It also discourages harmful gossip (Prov 16:28, 26:20), invites confession (see Prov 11:13, 28:13; James 5:16), and encourages people to seek needed Biblical counsel and pastoral care (Prov 20:19, Rom 15:14). Since these goals are essential to the ministry of the gospel and the work of this church, all members are expected to refrain from gossip and to respect the confidences of others.
our pastoral staff, elders, staff and
Although confidentiality is to be respected as much as possible, there are times when it is appropriate to reveal certain personal information to others without obtaining prior informed consent from the person(s). In particular, when members, pastors, elders or designated staff of this church believe it is Biblically or legally necessary, they may disclose confidential information to appropriate people in any of the following circumstances:
When the person who disclosed the information or any other person is in imminent danger or risk of serious harm unless others intervene (see Prov 24:11-12).
When required by state or federal law, such as the required reporting of suspected abuse or neglect.
When a person refuses to repent of sin and it becomes necessary to institute disciplinary proceedings, including possibly the communication with pastors or elders of another church with which the person has become affiliated (see Matt 18:15-20).
The pastors, elders, staff and
This church is committed to resolving in a biblical manner all conflict that may arise within the body. This commitment is based on God's command that Christians should strive to live at peace with one another (see Matt. 5:9; John 17:20-23; Romans 12:18; Eph. 4:1-3) and that when disputes arise, Christians should resolve them according to the principles set forth in Scripture (see Prov. 19:11; Matt. 5:23-25; 18:15-20; I Cor. 6:1-8; Gal 6:1).
We believe that these commands and principles are an obligation to every Christian and are essential to the unity, health, and witness of the church.
Section A. General Guidelines
All matters of discipline will conform to the guidelines defined in the New Testament (Matthew 18:15–18; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:5–11; Galatians 2:11-14; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 3:10).
Section B. Responsibility
Section C. Discipline of Church Officers
Special rules apply to the
No Elder may decide on the proposed discipline/expulsion if
he has been absent at any meeting in which there was dialogue between the
Any decision on expulsion/removal from office requires the
Spirit-directed consensus of the remaining eligible
Licensing, Commissioning, and Ordaining
Section A. Licensing
As Spirit-filled members are called out
from among the congregation to proclaim the Gospel of the grace of God, such
members may be given a license to preach and administer the ordinances by the
Section B. Commissioning
When a missionary who has been
approved by the Missions Advisory Council or when a ministry staff member
requests to be commissioned, the request must be presented and approved by the
Section C. Ordaining
When, in the judgment of the
The council of ordination will
thoroughly examine the candidate regarding his personal Christian experience,
call to the ministry, educational training, doctrinal belief, reputation, and
demonstrated efficiency in Christian service.
The candidate will give evidence of agreement with the provisions of the
church Bylaws with respect to doctrine, independence of the local church, and
scriptural qualifications for church leadership. The council of ordination will recommend to
Section D. Power of Revocation
revocation of the ordination credentials, license, or commission of any minister or missionary ordained, licensed, or commissioned under these Bylaws if said minister or missionary is found guilty of doctrinal or moral defection after an impartial hearing has been conducted in the spirit of 1 Corinthians 13.
These Bylaws will be adopted but may be amended or repealed from time to time upon approval of members at a congregational meeting as provided in Article V, Section E.