HICKMAN COMMUNITY CHURCH CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLES
ARTICLE I: NAME
The corporate name of this church is “Hickman Community Church” of Hickman, California.
ARTICLE II: STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Hickman Community Church exists to glorify God, through loving submission to Jesus Christ, preaching Holy Scripture, living lives dependant on prayer, and multiplying through evangelizing the lost.
ARTICLE III: AFFILIATION
This congregation is a Non-Denominational Community Church uniting with other conservative Evangelicals to further the Kingdom of God.
ARTICLE IV: LOCATION OF OFFICE
The registered office of the church shall be located within Hickman, California, at such address as the Elders of the church shall determine. The Board of Elders, with confirmation by a majority vote of the members, may change the address of the registered office from time to time, upon filing the appropriate statement with State officials.
ARTICLE V: STATEMENT OF FAITH
[See Doctrinal Statement tab]
ARTICLE VI: MEMBERSHIP
The membership of this church shall consist of those who:
1. Have publicly confessed Jesus Christ as their personal Savior from sin and is Lord of their life (Romans 10:9-11, Matthew 10:32-33).
2. The public confession shall be made before the membership of Hickman Community Church.
3. Have expressed full agreement with the Statement of Faith, Constitution and By-Laws of Hickman Community Church, and have read and signed the membership covenant thereby agreeing to support the policies and beliefs of this body.
4. Have been baptized (by full immersion) and have made a confession of faith (Acts 2:41, Matthew 28:19).
5. Have attended the “New Members” class of the Hickman Community Church and have met with the Elders of Hickman Community Church.
6. Will be 16 years of age or older to be considered for membership.
7. The Elders will publicly communicate to the members the names of those desiring to join Hickman Community Church. At least two weeks after this communication, individuals who have completed the membership process will be presented to the congregation for affirmation of membership at a regularly scheduled meeting in order to publicly affirm the membership covenant and to be welcomed into the body.
8. Hickman Community Church appreciates letters from other churches, but does not recognize these as substitutes for the membership process.
ARTICLE VII: CHURCH OFFICERS AND POSITIONS OF SERVICE
The offices of this church shall be identified as Elders and Deacons who will oversee the business of this congregation. The Elder’s primary role is spiritual oversight. The Deacon’s primary role will be the position of practical service, under the authority of the Elders, to assist in ministering to the saints. Elders and Deacons shall be certain men selected from among the body.
ARTICLE VIII: WORSHIP
SECTION 1: This church shall have regular Sunday meetings set aside for the purpose of teaching, preaching, prayer, Scripture reading, singing praises, communion and fellowship.
SECTION 2: This church will hold an annual church business meeting on the 2nd Sunday night of the month of December for the purpose of presenting the church budget to the membership. At such annual meeting, the members shall consider reports of the affairs of the Corporation, and transact such other business as the Elders determine shall be brought before the meeting.
ARTICLE IX: CHURCH PROPERTY
The members of this church who abide by the Constitution and the By-Laws of the Hickman Community Church have the right to ownership and control of the property of this church.
ARTICLE X: GOVERNMENT
We acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the head of this church, and the Holy Scriptures are the only infallible guide in matters of faith, church order, and discipline; The Spirit of God teaches and illumines the Holy Scripture for the direction and guidance of Hickman Community Church affairs.
Hickman Community Church holds to an Elder-led, congregational form of church government in which the church is free to administer its own affairs, under the guidance and direction of a qualified and acknowledged Elder Board. The government of this church is therefore vested in the active membership of this congregation who recognizes and supports the leadership provided by the Elder Board. The decisions of this church are implemented through its acknowledged elders who are accountable to God and the local assembly. All decisions are to be made with complete Board unanimity as the Elders strive to serve the Lord who is the head of the church.
ARTICLE XI: PASTOR
The church and its Elders shall engage a qualified man to teach and pastor the Lord’s work here in our communities and to engage associates, as required, who are also willing to support and abide by this Constitution and By-Laws.
ARTICLE XII: AMENDMENTS
Proposed amendments to the Constitution or By-laws must be submitted to the Board of Elders at least four weeks prior to the Members’ Meeting at which time the Elders will present said changes for consideration and discussion by the members. All proposals shall be posted and mailed to the members at least two weeks prior to the meeting. The final vote of affirmation will take place at the next Members’ Meeting.
Amendments to the Constitution or By-laws may be made by a two-thirds vote of the voting members in attendance at any Members’ Meeting.
ARTICLE XIII: PREVIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
The adoption of this Constitution of Hickman Community Church makes null and void all previous constitutional provisions.
HICKMAN COMMUNITY CHURCH BYLAWS
ARTICLE I: MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1: QUALIFICATIONS
This church shall consist of believers who are in agreement with the Statement of Faith (Article V of the Constitution), who have made a “Confession of Faith” in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior publicly before the congregation, having been baptized, signed a Membership Covenant, and having attended the “New Members” class, and have agreed to be in active service within the fellowship.
SECTION 2: ADMISSIONS
The Board of Elders shall determine requirements in preparation for membership. Upon completion of all requirements, the candidate’s name shall be read at a regular church meeting, this being for the purpose of giving time for evaluation by the members. Then at the following Members’ Meeting the candidate shall be presented for a vote of affirmation by the members. This vote will require a two-thirds majority affirmation by members present for acceptance. Following a vote of affirmation, the candidate shall be brought before the church. It will be stated that the candidate has fulfilled all the requirements, after which they will then give a public confession stating their agreement with the Statement of Faith, Constitution, and By-Laws. Upon completion of this process, they will be welcomed into church membership.
SECTION 3: AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP
To hold voting privileges, a member should regularly attend church gatherings (at least four per month); otherwise membership standing will be dropped to an affiliate status, with no voting privilege. Affiliate members are also those who may be only temporarily living in our area; i.e., college students, members of the military, in the process of relocating, etc. An affiliate member has all the rights of membership except the right to vote, hold office, or serve in the position of Deacons.
SECTION 4: CHURCH DISCIPLINE PROCESS
Sinning brothers and sisters shall be dealt with as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20, with restoration to the fellowship as the goal.
The steps of this process are as follows:
1. Private Confrontation: v.15 – Go and speak privately with said party, seeking restoration.
2. Witness Confrontation: v.16 – Take 2 or 3 witnesses with you to confront the said party, for the purpose of restoration.
3. Tell it to the Church: v.17a – The said party is to be informed by letter informing them of the date it will be told to the church.
4. Remove them from the Church: v.17b – If he/she refuses to listen to the church and repent in a way that lines up with God’s Word, the said party will be informed by a second letter that at a future date his/her name will be read from the pulpit informing the congregation that he/she is being removed from the membership rolls with its inherent privileges, rights, and blessings.
SECTION 5: MEMBERSHIP DISSOLUTION
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, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18.
Any member who has failed to be true to the requirements of the membership covenant, and fails to be restored through the discipline process, shall be notified by the Eldership that they shall be removed from the membership of Hickman Community Church, and have this dissolution confirmed formally by letter of the said change of status.
Any member who is under discipline by the church as defined in the previous paragraphs agrees that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline [Article 1, Section 4]. They also agree to forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the elders in the exercise of their discretion may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline (i.e. the informing of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance) or to the fourth stage of church discipline (i.e. the removal from the fellowship and/or membership of the church) when one or more of the following have occurred:
· Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have been public, i.e. openly and to the offense of the whole Church (1 Cor. 5:1-5);
· Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the elders (Rom. 16:17); or
· Where the disciplined party has been warned twice to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Tit. 3:10-11).
SECTION 6: DENIAL OF MEMBERSHIP
If, upon review of an application for membership or 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 from that decision.
SECTION 7: CHURCH COVENANT AND COVENANT OF CHRISTIAN CONDUCT
Having been called, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into a covenant with one another as one body in Christ. We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love.
We promise to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge and holiness; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrine; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of its ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and spread of the gospel through all nations. We also agree, in so far as possible, to maintain family and personal devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith and life; and to seek the salvation of our extended family and friends.
We engage to walk uprightly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in all areas of life. We purpose to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and sinful anger; to abstain from over indulgence in the use of intoxicating drinks and drugs, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of God. We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feelings and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation following in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We purpose that should we ever be removed from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other Christian church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
SECTION 8: CONFESSION OF FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS
Realizing that I am, of myself, a sinner – that I cannot save myself by trying to be good; that I am, in this condition, hopelessly lost; and that, in this condition, I face a sure judgment that would condemn me to eternal separation from God and to punishment for my sins – I hereby surrender or have surrendered to Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I believe that He was and is God; that He died on the cross for my sins to take my judgment for me in my place; that He bodily arose from the dead; and that by repenting of my sin, believing on and trusting in Him for my salvation, He receives, forgives, and cleanses me, and gives me everlasting life with Him.
I sincerely purpose, with God’s help, to confess Him before others; to fully yield my life to Him through Christ; to pray to know God’s will in my life; to abandon all known sin; to confess known sin immediately to God; and to grow through God’s strength in the grace, love, and knowledge of God. I sincerely, humbly, and without reservation agree to all of the “Confession of Faith in Christ” given above.
ARTICLE II: QUALIFICATIONS OF PASTORS AND ELDERS
SECTION 1: PASTORS
The Pastor or Pastors of this church shall state their agreement, orally and in writing, to the doctrines and attitudes presented in these Articles of Constitution and By-Laws before they are called as Pastor. Record of such agreement shall be kept in the church office. He shall further meet the qualifications for an “Overseer or Elder” found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-3.
It shall be the primary task of the staff Pastors to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:11-12), to oversee the services for public worship of the church, to attend to the preaching of the doctrines of the Christian faith and life, to oversee the administration of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, to be awake to the spiritual welfare of the congregation, to do all possible through God’s sovereign strength to foster evangelism for the salvation of the elect, and to help Christians grow in the grace, knowledge, and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through the full, accurate and faithful proclamation of God’s Word.
When it is necessary to call a Pastor, the Elders shall take steps to secure a Pastor. During the candidation period, the Elders shall investigate the merits of every man under consideration in regard to his beliefs, attitudes, character, Bible knowledge, education, experience, and preaching or teaching ability in determining his fitness for the position. The Elders shall ascertain this information via personal interview, an “Ordination Questionnaire,” and any other means deemed necessary. When a suitable man is found, the Elders shall present him to the church for a vote of affirmation requiring a two-thirds majority approval by members present. When the affirmation has been gained, it will be announced at the next Sunday morning worship service. The Elders will publicly identify the Pastor affirmed through the laying on of hands. The normal six month minimum testing period for an Elder shall apply to the new Pastor (see Article II, Section 2.f, Elder selection).
At the time of calling, a financial compensation package for the Pastor shall be presented and will include what the salary will be. Pastor salaries shall be considered from year to year, and will be dependent upon the church’s budget and the Pastor’s need. The Pastor salaries will be approved along with the churches yearly budget.
1.d: TERM OF OFFICE (PASTORS)
Pastors shall be called for an indefinite period of time as long as they remain qualified and are physically and mentally able. The dismissal of a Pastor shall be at the discretion of the Board of Elders in accordance with the normal decision making process. Should the Elders ever find reason for Biblical disqualification, physical inability, or for reasons that result in dereliction of duty the Elders have the right to immediately suspend him from the ministry for an indefinite period of time.
SECTION 2: ELDERS
The Elders will work alongside the Pastor in regards to pastoral responsibilities to shepherd the flock of God as mandated in Scripture. The Elders shall be men responsible for oversight of the spiritual life of the church as well as the physical running of the church. The Elders shall act as spiritual advisors, counselors, and co-pastors to the Pastor and the church body. They shall meet with the Pastor weekly for prayer, study, business and discussion. The Elders and the Pastor shall in every way cooperate with each other for the spiritual welfare of the people of the church and the community. The Elders are the Scriptural equivalent of Presbyters, Pastors and Bishops, and that as such they should meet the same spiritual qualifications as those Biblically outlined for the Pastor. Each Elder shall clearly agree to the Constitution and By-Laws. He shall abide by and exhibit them before he is selected as Elder, and shall agree to teach them and support the Pastor in teaching them when he becomes an Elder. This agreement will be made by meeting the ordination requirements (See Article VIII) and oral affirmation before the congregation.
2.b: ELDER QUALIFICATIONS
This man shall meet the qualifications of an Elder or Bishop found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-3. Those already holding the office of Elder shall carry out the evaluation of those who desire the office of Elder.
The priorities of the Elders are as such:
· to live holy lives as an example to the congregation (Hebrews 13:7)
· to rule the Church of God with a servant attitude (I Timothy 5:17; I Peter 5:1-3)
· to feed (i.e., teach) and lead the flock of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:17)
· to facilitate the ministries of the people (Ephesians 4:11, 12)
· to warn and protect the flock (Acts 20:28; I Timothy 1:3, 4)
· to pray and study (Acts 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:15)
· to be free from self-interest (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6)
The authorized number of qualified men on the Board of Elders shall always be at least three. Elders should be added as necessary to properly shepherd an increase in the flock.
2.e: TERM OF OFFICE (ELDER)
The term of office shall be indefinite as long as they desire the office, are Biblically qualified, and are physically able. An Elder can step down from his responsibilities if needed. Concerns regarding potential disqualification of an Elder will be handled according to I Timothy 5:19. Serious accusations against Elders must be investigated and confirmed by the same process as established in Matthew 18:15-20.The office of an Elder may be terminated according to the same procedure listed in Section 1.d of Article II that deals with a Pastor.
2.f: ELDERS SELECTION
An Elder shall be chosen by nomination. He will then be approached by an existing Elder and informed of his nomination and asked to be in prayer about it. If he positively responds and there are no known Biblical disqualifications initially, he will be asked to sit in on Elder meetings for a minimum of six months in order to better evaluate a candidate during the process of qualification. He will be brought before the Elder Board for preliminary discussion concerning his life, qualifications, past service, theology, biblical position regarding Elders, and whatever else deemed necessary to discuss. He will then be asked to complete the Ordination Elder packet. Within a month he and his wife will be asked back to a meeting with the Elders to go over first Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-16. At this time questions will be asked of him and his wife concerning his qualifications. A third meeting will then be set up to go over his Biblical knowledge & theological positions. After much prayer, and if the nominee continuously shows himself qualified, the existing Elders shall vote in regards to presenting this nominee to the congregation. He will then be brought before the church for a period of 30 days for questioning and then, if he continues to show himself qualified, a vote of affirmation will be taken. If there are any Nay votes, the nominee and said voter will be brought before the Board of Elders for discussion and the Elder Board will rule upon each issue. Then, if still qualified, he will be voted in by the existing Elders and the congregation will be informed. It will require 100% affirmation by the Elders.
Elder accountability is first and foremost unto God (Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 5:1-5). It is mandatory, however, that the Elders be accountable to one another and to the congregation. If an Elder errs, the primary goal should always be spiritual restoration (Galatians 6:1-5). In situations where the erring Elder has rendered himself unqualified, the Board of Elders will ask for his resignation. Accountability between Elders and before the people must always be consistent with Matthew 18:15 ff. and I Timothy 5:19.
2.h: DECISIONS of the BOARD of ELDERS
Decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration only by consensus of the Board of Elders in a spirit of humility with each elder regarding one another before himself.
· In cases of normal business, a quorum consists of a majority of Elders present. However, Elders not present should be notified as soon as possible of important decisions, and strong objections will warrant reconsideration of decisions.
· Whenever the matter to be considered concerns buying or selling real estate, affirming an Elder or Deacon, sending of a missionary, approval of the yearly budget, or the amendment to or modification of the By-laws or the Statement of Faith, a quorum shall consist of all the members of the Board of Elders (with the exception of any Elder that is being voted upon) whether voting in person, by email, or by telephone to be later confirmed in writing. In the above decisions, the Board of Elders shall seek the affirmation of the congregation. A two-thirds congregational vote of those members voting is required on these matters.
The Elder board shall choose a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer to hold the corporate office positions. The senior Pastor (pastor/teacher) shall not be the President of the Board of Elders.
A Deacon is a servant of Christ, one who faithfully serves at the tasks of the church. As such, he should meet the qualifications of a Deacon listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Duties of individual Deacons shall be handed out by the Elders as they step into office and may be changed as needed and agreed upon.
The role of Deacons shall be one of support to the Elders. The Deacons will be involved in ministries of mercy, compassionately ministering to the poor and needy in a thoroughly Christian manner. Deacons are to emulate our Lord’s example of humble, loving service. Deacons are to be responsible for ministries such as, but not limited to, the following:
- Caring for widows and orphans
- The poor
- Special needs
- Care of property
Deacons will be involved in other ministries as determined by the Board of Elders.
3.c: TERM OF OFFICE AND NOMINATIONS
Deacons shall be nominated from among the congregation. They may be presented for nomination by the congregation, but must be set before the Board of Elders in regards to their appointment to this office. A Deacon shall be elected to office for a term of three years, and at the end of each term he will once again be brought before the Board of Elders and it will be decided by both the Board of Elders and the Deacon upon his willingness to continue in this ministry for another three years. This will continuously take place until a Deacon chooses to step down or is no longer qualified.
The Board of Elders shall oversee the choosing of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary for the Deacon Board. All decisions of the Deacon Board shall be by majority vote.
ARTICLE III: CHURCH MEETINGS
SECTION 1: REGULAR MEETINGS
1. This church shall have meetings for preaching, praying, discussion, and edification as deemed profitable and practical. A communion service shall be held at least once a month. We will strive to offer regular children and youth classes along with specialized classes for the men and women of this congregation.
2. Church: the regular meetings of the church shall be on Sunday morning and evening.
3. Home Fellowship Groups: these shall be provided as needed for the purpose of equipping, shepherding, and providing a platform for fellowship.
4. Sunday school: a Sunday school shall be maintained which will meet every Sunday morning at sometime during the scheduled service. Classes shall be offered for all age groups.
5. Youth Meetings: our young people will meet weekly for teaching, devotions and get-togethers.
6. Church Business Meetings:
There shall be an annual business meeting of the church in December. At this time reports of all departments and ministries shall be presented, along with the proposed following year’s budget for a vote of affirmation from the congregation. This will require a two-thirds majority approval by members present to pass.
The regular procedure of business shall be as follows:
- All meetings opened with Scripture and Prayer
- Reading and acceptance of the treasury report
- Elder reports
- Old business
- New business
- Closing Prayer
7. Board of Elders Meetings:
A) There shall be at least a Bi-weekly meeting of the Board of Elders.
B) Any member may request to be placed on the agenda for an Elder Board Meeting in order to ask questions, share opinions or voice concerns.
8. Special Meetings: Special business meetings may be requested by members and/or called by the Elders. Public notice shall be given from the pulpit and in church publications at least two Sundays in advance, stated in general terms the business to be transacted.
9. A vote of affirmation shall consist of a minimum of two-thirds percent majority of members present. Only active members of Hickman Community Church are eligible to vote.
ARTICLE IV: CHRISTIAN ORDINANCES
SECTION 1: BAPTISM
The form of baptism performed by the Elders of the church shall be that which is in accord with the form of baptism performed in the New Testament, that is, baptism by full immersion after a public confession of faith has been stated. The baptism performed by the Elders of this church shall be subsequent to a personal faith in Christ.
SECTION 2: THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper shall be served to all those who profess faith in Christ as their own personal Lord and Savior and are walking in fellowship with the Lord regardless of Christian Church affiliation.
ARTICLE V: FINANCES
Hickman Community Church will be supported by the offerings of its people, who give as God prospers and according to His leading (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
The church Treasurer shall be appointed by the Board of Elders, and shall be accountable to the Board of Elders. The responsibilities of the Treasurer shall include financial recording and the providing of periodic reports to the Board of Elders. These reports will be made available for viewing upon request.
The annual budget will be prepared by the Board of Elders based upon the financial information provided them by the church Treasurer, prior to being submitted to the congregation for approval. The proposed budget will be made available to the congregation a minimum of one week prior to the business meeting.
ARTICLE VI: TEACHERS:
All teachers shall submit themselves to the By-laws and the Statement of Faith.
ARTICLE VII: MISSIONARIES:
All missionaries supported through the church shall submit themselves to the official Missions Policy of the church and shall be approved by the Board of Elders. The approval of missionaries and their support shall be at the discretion of the Board of Elders.
ARTICLE VIII: ORDINATION
Ordination by Hickman Community Church refers to the mutual recognition by the Board of Elders of a man’s call to the ministry, preparation as a shepherd, and qualification to serve. The council before which the candidate is examined shall be the Hickman Community Church Board of Elders or by a panel that the Board of Elders designates. If approved by the Elders, the candidate shall be presented to the congregation for affirmation. Ordination shall be conferred for life so long as the man continues to manifest the qualifications of the office and to support the Hickman Community Church Statement of Faith.