Bella Vista Church By-Laws

Bylaws

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


Bella Vista Church

Bylaws

 

 

We, the members of Bella Vista Church, do ordain and establish the following articles to which we voluntarily submit ourselves:

 


 

ARTICLE I

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.

 

ARTICLE II

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)

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE III

Membership

 

Section A.  Why Church Membership?

It is wholly in keeping with the spirit and purposes of the Church of Jesus Christ that a believer submit to a committed involvement (or membership) in a local church.  This not only provides a means of maintaining a church constituency, but more importantly it conveys the importance of a committed relationship with Jesus Christ.

 

Section B.  Becoming a Member

A person who desires to become a member of Bella Vista Church must meet the following requirements and obligations. A member should be:

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.

Membership acceptance is by approval of the Elders. The Elders may require that prospective church members attend a scheduled class  to explain or clarify BVC’s doctrinal positions, church functions, purpose, and vision.

 

Section C.  Expectations of BVC Members

The following characterizes Bella Vista Church’s expectations of its members. A member should:

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 Elders of BVC.

 

Section D.  Removal from Membership

The Elders may remove a person from membership for any of the following reasons:

1.      Voluntary withdrawal request by the member.

2.      Disagreement with Bella Vista Church’s Statement of Faith (Article II).

3.      Church discipline initiated by the Elders (Article VII).

4.      Failure to participate in the ministries of Bella Vista Church via Sunday Worship Service attendance or ministry involvement for a period of six (6) consecutive months unless confined by reason of illness, being out of the local area, or other extenuating circumstances.

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.
ARTICLE IV

Government

 

 

Section A.  Authority

Bella Vista Church recognizes the Bible as the Word of God and regards it as the final authority in matters pertaining to the conduct of the church.

 

Section B.  Autonomy

Bella Vista Church is a free and autonomous body claiming the right of free government and recognizes no outside religious authority or control.

 

Section C.  Multifaceted Leadership

The head of Bella Vista Church is the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ.  No decision is ever made that would knowingly contradict any of Jesus' teachings.  In addition, through the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Bella Vista leadership endeavors to discern God's direction for the church.

 

At the human level, five distinct groups of people direct the ministries of Bella Vista Church.  These groups are the Elders, the Administrative Council, Deacons, the Ministry Staff, and the Ministry Advisory Councils 

 

Section D.  Terms of Service

The Elders, Deacons, and church officers shall each serve terms of service of three (3) years.  These terms of service should be staggered so that approximately one-third of an office’s members will be affirmed each year.  Elders and Deacons may serve only two (2) consecutive terms in the same office. After a period of one (1) year of absence from the office, the individual may again be affirmed to serve in that office.

 

Section E.  Elders

Elders are the key leaders at Bella Vista.  Our current understanding of the Scriptures teaches us that a group of men called Elders are to govern the local church.  (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5).  Elders are spiritually qualified, mature men who are directly accountable to God for the well being of the church (1 Timothy 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–10; Hebrews 13:17).  Elders are to rule well, and those under their care are to respect them (1 Peter 5:1-4).

 

Elder rule is the authoritative consensus managing of the local church by teaching, protecting, governing, and caring.

 

The Elders accept the spiritual responsibility that God has given them for the welfare of the flock committed to their charge. The decisions made by the Elders are not arbitrary but authoritative. The Elders seek God's Word, depend on his Spirit, weigh various options wisely, and reach a decision before God and each other on behalf of God's people.  They seek ultimately a unity of mind that is produced by their submission to the Holy Spirit and submission to one another.

 

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.  Elders endeavor to reflect the will of God—not the will of a man or group of men.  Therefore, any decision that departs from biblical truth loses its authority; thus, it is no longer binding on the church.

 

The Elders act as a board of directors for the church, delegating administrative responsibility to the Administrative Council, ministry responsibilities to the Deacons and Ministry Advisory Councils, and day-to-day ministry affairs to the staff. No fewer than six (6) Elders shall be in office at any time.

 

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 Elders immediate family may serve on a paid, part-time basis (20 hours or less) as long as there exists no direct reporting responsibility between the Elder and the family member, that the Elder would remove himself from any decision-making that could affect the family member, and that no real or perceived conflict of interest exists. 

 

The Elders will have final authority in all matters.  They are accountable to God for the lives of the people committed to their ministry. (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:4)

 

All decisions of the Elders will be by consensus and by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

 

The general responsibilities of the Elders include:

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 the Elders include:

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.

3.      Calling, evaluating, and releasing all paid full-time Ministry Staff

4.      Calling and recommending Deacons for affirmation by the church membership.

5.      Selecting members to serve on a search committee for making recommendations to the Elders for filling Elder, Deacon, church officers, and staff ministry positions on a temporary or permanent basis.  If the need arises for replacements or additional elders, candidates will be required to serve up to six months as nonvoting interns without congregational affirmation.  The Elders will evaluate the elder candidate during the internship and then decide whether or not to submit the candidate to the congregation for its affirmation.

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 Bella Vista Church operations. 

 

Volunteer members of the church make up the Administrative Council.  The Elders empower the Council to oversee the legal and financial aspects of the ministry and matters related to the building and facilities. The Administrative Council shall consist of the Vice President, Treasurer, and other members as affirmed.  The President or his designate is also a voting member not included in the count of Council members.  The Council chairman is also the Vice President.

 

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 Elders may appoint one staff member as a council member to support the activities of Council. A member of a Administrative Council member’s immediate family may serve on a paid, part-time basis (20 hours or less) as long as there exists no direct reporting responsibility between the Council member and the family member, that the Council member would remove himself from any decision-making that could effect the family member, and that no real or perceived conflict of interest circumstance exists. 

 

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 Elders. 

 

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

Deacons are volunteer members of the church. Deacons are empowered by the Elders to oversee, support, and encourage all aspects of one or more specific areas of ministry. 

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 Bella Vista Church. Deacons may also serve as advisors and informational conduits for the Elders in those areas of ministry. A Deacon may also serve a Ministry Advisory Council as its Chairperson.

 

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 Elders. 

 

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 Elders empower the Council to assist the ministry staff member in the day-to-day operations of the specific ministry. A Deacon may be appointed by the Elders to chair a Council.  The staff ministry director shall be a voting member of the Council.  Ideally, the ministry staff member should not serve as the Council Chairperson. The staff member’s responsibility shall be to the Ministry Staff Director, then to the Elders.

 

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.

 

 

Section I.  Ministry Staff

The ministry staff members direct the day-to-day affairs of the ministries of Bella Vista Church.  They are paid so that they can devote the best hours of their day to strengthen and build the ministries.  The staff’s main job is to build and coordinate volunteers so that ministry can happen.

 

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 Elders.  Each is evaluated annually with respect to progress on job objectives.

 

The Lead Pastor oversees the staff members and day-to-day operations of the church, and is accountable to the Elders.  If another staff member is appointed as Ministry Staff Director, he may be delegated these responsibilities, and will be accountable to the Senior Pastor.

 

The Lead Pastor’s or, if delegated, the Ministry Staff Leader’s responsibilities include the following:

 

1.      Reports on church operations to the Elders.

2.      Serves on the Administrative Council as a voting member, or appoints a designate, and reports to the Council on church operations.

3.      Develops and maintains job descriptions and job objectives for each paid staff position subject to review by the Elders.

4.      Oversees annual review of ministerial staff and makes presentation to salary compensation team (appointed by the Elders).

5.      Oversees annual review of all other paid church staff.

 

 


ARTICLE V

Congregational Meetings

 

Section A.  Purpose

Bella Vista Church will convene congregational meetings to review matters that require member review and/or approval..  Bella Vista Church will request that members periodically participate in the affirmation of officers.

 

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 the Elders will preside at all meetings.  In his absence, the vice chairman of the Elders will preside.  If neither is present, the Elders will select a temporary chairman.

 

Section C.  Quorum Requirement

Twenty percent (20%) of the Bella Vista Church members who are qualified to participate in a congregational meeting will constitute a quorum.

 

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 Elders may elect to receive written ballots for any business matter that was presented for a vote at the meeting.  In such event, written ballots will be received for the two (2) Sundays following the Sunday service at which the Elders’ decision to receive written ballots is announced.

 

Section E.  Calling a Congregational Meeting

There will be an annual congregational meeting before the end of the first quarter of the budget year.  The Elders may also call a congregational meeting of the congregation at any time.  In addition, the Elders will call for a congregational meeting when at least twenty-five (25) members submit a signed request for such a meeting…………..  The request must state the purpose(s) of the proposed meeting.

 

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.

3.      Other congregational items as determined by the Elders and/or by petition of at least twenty-five (25) members

 

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

A congregational meeting is not required before members vote for the affirmation of Elders, Deacons, church officers, and full-time ministry staff.

 

Affirmation of Elders, Deacons, church officers, and full-time ministry staff requires an affirmation vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members voting. 

 

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.

 

The affirmation 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.
ARTICLE VI

Executive Officers

 

Section A.  Bella Vista Church Executive Officers

Bella Vista Church’s executive  officers are, President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer.  Persons serving in these roles shall also serve as a Trustee of the church and as a member of the Compensation Committee. A Trustee is serves as a legal representative of the church, with responsibilities including disposition or acquisition of real property.

 

Section B.  Qualifications of Executive Officers

All church officers must meet the following qualifications:

1.      The candidate will be an active member of Bella Vista Church.  (“Active” means that the person has participated in the ministries of Bella Vista Church via Sunday worship service attendance or ministry involvement on at least two-thirds (2/3) of the Sundays for two (2) years prior to affirmation, unless extenuating circumstances exist that prohibit attendance.) 

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 Elders.

2.      Is accountable to the Elders.

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.

2.      Provides communications between the Administrative Council and the Elders.

3.      Is accountable to the Elders.

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.

3.      Is accountable to the Elders.

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.

3.      Reports to the Administrative Council and the Elders monthly, including actual and budgeted receipts, disbursements, and a cash-flow analysis.

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.

 


ARTICLE VII

Confidentiality.

 

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.

 

In particular, our pastoral staff, elders, staff and volunteers who are ministering within the bounds and authority of recognized ministries and offices of the church, shall carefully keep confidential and protect all personal information they receive through Biblical counsel and pastoral care in one-on-one sessions, group meetings or other ministries.

 

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 volunteers may, but need not, provide individuals with written notice of these confidentiality provisions, but these provisions shall be in effect regardless of whether or not such notice is given.

 


 

ARTICLE VIII

Conflict Resolution.

 

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.

 

 


 

ARTICLE IX

Discipline

 

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

The Elders will administer all matters of church discipline.

 

Section C.  Discipline of Church Officers

Special rules apply to the discipline of Elders, Deacons, and church officers.  If, after prayer and study, it is determined that an individual should be removed from office, the following must be observed:

1.      No Elder may decide on the proposed discipline/expulsion if he has been absent at any meeting in which there was dialogue between the Elders and the person(s) being disciplined/expelled.

2.      Any decision on expulsion/removal from office requires the Spirit-directed consensus of the remaining eligible Elders.

3.      When the Elders decide to remove an affirmed official from office, the Elders will fill the vacancy by following the procedures outlined in Article VI, Section E of the Bylaws.

 

 

 

 


ARTICLE X

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 Elders for a specific period. To receive a ministerial license the person must meet all of the qualifications for Eldership as recorded in 1 Timothy and Titus. The license must be renewed annually and is not valid if the person is no longer under the authority and care of the elders of BVC.

 

 

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 Elders to become effective.

 

Section C.  Ordaining

When, in the judgment of the Elders, a member, or in special cases a nonmember, is called to the Christian ministry (including both the preaching and nonpreaching ministries), it will be within the power of the Elders to call and conduct a council of ordination after announcing it to the church. 

 

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 the Elders to proceed with ordination.  The Elders will affirm the ordination upon their concurrence with the council’s recommendation.

 

Section D.  Power of Revocation

The Elders will have the power to discipline, even to the

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.


ARTICLE XI

     Amendments

 

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.

   

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