Community Church, inc.
A Tennessee Non-profit Corporation
13442 Hwy 70 West, Cumberland County
Sparta, Tennessee 38583
(to replace constitution of predecessor organization originally approved 6/3/01)
I. Preamble- The corporation is organized for the purpose of
preserving and perpetuating the stated tenets of religious faith and practice
including activities consistent with that faith and especially those charitable
services of benefit to the public. We declare and establish this constitution to
reserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the organization of
this spiritual body in an orderly manner under the Lordship of Jesus Christ
Himself. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church
congregation member and the freedom of action of this body to all other
churches, persons or organizations within the constraints of the laws of the
State of Tennessee regulating non-profit corporations therein.
II. Name- The organization of this body shall be known as the “Neverfail Community Church, Inc.”
III. Objectives- To be a fellowship of believers in which God is pleased to dwell and work, and a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses of Christ with as many people as possible in our church congregation, community and throughout the world. Our priorities will always be to first bring glory to God through worship, obedience and loving service; second to equip the saints of God to the tasks of servant ministry; thirdly to proclaim the Good News of God’s offering of redemption through faith in Jesus as Christ alone; and fourthly to foster a loving and receiving environment in which Christ will build His church.
IV. Doctrine- This church body receives the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments as its authority in matters of faith and practice. This church affirms that the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ in personal relationship with the individual believer, must be central in the life of the individual and church and that all Christians, with the best and most scholarly tools of inquiry, are both free and obligated to study and obey these Scriptures. This church organization affirms the inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God without the imposition of creed, the interference of clergy, or the intervention of civil government. This church organization affirms that this and other local churches are free, under the Lordship of Christ, to determine our membership and leadership, to order our worship and work, to license and/or ordain those whom we perceive as gifted for ministry, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ, of whose unity and mission we are proudly a part.
V. Polity- The government of this church organization is
vested in the members of the body who are “born again” Christian believers and
are currently participating in it’s ministries and support, both financial and
The organization of the body shall meet annually for a thorough review of the past year’s activities and for the election and/or affirmation of next year’s organizational officers and leaders and for the approval of the coming year’s financial plans and strategies and other business as needed.
The organization of the body shall meet at other times for continuing review of activities and for decisions not previously delegated to officers or leaders including, but not limited to, amending the financial plans and strategies and elections to fill vacancies as may be needed.
The organization of this body is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes the importance of mutual counsel and cooperation which should be common among Christian Churches.
The organization of this body reserves unto itself the right to determine whether to associate or not associate with, or withdraw such association from, any other group, association or denomination of Christian churches and shall not be limited to associate with only one such group, association or denomination.
All property owned or leased by the organization of this body is to be held for the use and benefit of the membership who adhere to, maintain and propagate the doctrines, faith, and practices consistent with the heritage of Christian Churches as described in this Constitution in proper context with orthodox scriptural understandings, even though those members be a minority.
Upon dissolution of the corporation, the Board of Directors shall, after paying all its liabilities, dispose of all of the assets exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such manner, or to such organization(s) organized and operated exclusively for religious and/or charitable purposes as shall at that time qualify as a(n) exempt organization(s) under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code (or successor) as the Board of Directors shall determine.
VI. Amendments- This Constitution may be amended at any legal meeting of the organization of this body by a three-quarters (75%) majority vote of active members approving the proposed amendment at two consecutive legal meetings. The amendment will be effective immediately upon the adjournment of the second meeting in which it was approved unless a later date is stated otherwise in the amendment itself.
This document is effective on adoption by
the church members this 5th day of December, 2004.
Community Church, inc.
13294 Hwy 70 West, Cumberland County
BY - LAWS
I. Church Membership
section 1. General- This is a sovereign and democratic Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right to self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of the church. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.
section 2. Candidacy- Any person in agreement and commitment with our church faith and practice as referred to in the Constitution may offer themself as a candidate for membership of this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership by personal statement of affirmation regarding prior conversion experience (meaning to be “born again” according to the common understanding of evangelical Christian Churches) and baptism by immersion (unless compelling reason for an alternate form) and their expressed commitment to support of this church body in regular attendance, service and financial support. The candidate immediately becomes a member of this corporation upon the approval of at least 75% of active members present.
section 3. Rights of Members- Every active member of the church is entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present or provision has been made for absentee balloting. An ‘active member’ is defined as a received member who participates in support of the church financially and in regular attendance (at least 25% of worship and at least 25% of business meetings) within the previous three months. Only active members of this congregation are eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
section 4. Inactive Members- Any member who does not participate in the support of this congregation financially and in attendance of at least 25% of worship meetings and 25% of business meetings in the most recent three month period shall be considered as “Inactive” and shall not retain the right to vote or to serve, or continue to serve, in any leadership capacity until their support is restored for a period of three months. Such inactive members will be counted statistically as “inactive”.
section 5. Termination of Membership- Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
1) death of the member
2) dismissal by letter of recommendation to another like minded congregation
3) exclusion by action of this congregation after proper disciplinary procedure
4) erasure upon request or proof of membership in another like minded congregation.
section 6. Discipline- It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The Pastor(s), other members of the church staff, and elders are available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.
Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the Pastor(s) and elders and other church leaders will take every reasonable measure to resolve this problem in accord with Biblical direction found in Matthew 18. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a three-fourths vote of the active members present is required; and the church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church. All such proceedings shall be preceded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forebearance.
The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon the request of the excluded person, and by a vote of the church, upon evidence to the elders of the excluded person's repentance and reformation.
II. CHURCH MINISTERS AND MINISTRIES
section 1. Church Leadership-
( 1. ) Pastors: The Pastor(s) is/are responsible for leading the congregation to function as a New Testament Church. The Pastor(s) will equip and lead the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff to perform their tasks. The Pastor(s) is/are loverseers(s) of all ministries in the church. As such they work with the elders and church staff to: a) lead the church in the achievement of its Mission; b) Proclaim the gospel to believers & unbelievers; c) Care for the church's members and other persons in the community.
A Pastor is chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given.
The elected Elders shall seek and recommend a suitable pastor for any vacancy. After the members have heard him/her preach (or in other ways exercise their gifts relative to the task to which they are being called) , in person, they will vote. The Elders shall bring to the consideration of the congregation only one name per vacant position at a time. Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those active members present being necessary for a choice. The Pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his/her request or by the vote of the congregation to terminate.
A Pastor may relinquish their office by giving at least two week's notice (or such time as required by their current employment agreement) to the congregation at the time of resignation. The congregation may declare the office of a pastor vacant. Such action will take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon recommendation of a majority, of the personnel committee and the elders or by written petition signed by not less than one-fourth of the active congregation members. The moderator for this meeting shall be designated by the active members present, by majority vote, and shall be someone other than a staff pastor. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by secret ballot; an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the active members present being necessary to declare the office vacant. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the pastor so excluded from office, the congregation will compensate the pastor with not less than one-twelfth of his/her total annual compensation (or more as may be required by current employment agreement). The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in not more than thirty (30) days or in accordance with employment agreement terms.
( 2. ) Elders: Upon recommendation of the pastor(s), the church shall elect Elders by ballot at regular business meetings of the church. Elders once elected and ordained by the church, will serve on a rotating basis of one to three years, or until they are incapacitated by reason of health, age or removal from office for disciplinary reasons by vote of the church. There shall be no obligation to constitute as an assigned elder one who has been an elder or deacon in another church; but in such instances as one might be chosen by this church for assignment as a elder, their previous ordination by another church of like faith and order shall suffice for this church. In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament elders are to be servants of the church. Their task is to serve with the pastor and staff in performing the pastoral ministries tasks of leading the church in the achievement of its mission and proclaiming the gospel to believers and non-believers. The elders shall serve as a pastor search committee to make recommendation to the congregation for the filling of any vacancies on the pastoral staff. Each year the elders shall choose among themselves a chairman who will serve on the church leadership team. In the absence of the moderator or assistant, the Chairman of the Elders shall preside over church business meetings, or in absence of both, the Clerk shall call the church to order and preside for the election of an acting moderator. The elders serve at the pleasure of the pastor(s) and the congregation and the congregation is under no obligation to re-elect an elder upon the completion of an elected term.
( 3.) Deacons: Upon recommendation of the pastor(s) and elder(s) the church shall elect deacons by ballot at regular business meetings of the church. There shall be one deacon elected for assigned service for every six to eight households. Deacons once elected and ordained by the church, will serve on a rotating basis of one to three years, or until they are incapacitated by reason of health, age or removal from office for disciplinary reasons by vote of the church. There shall be no obligation to constitute as an assigned deacon one who has been a deacon in another church; but in such instances as one might be chosen by this church for assignment as a deacon, his or her previous ordination by another church of like faith and order shall suffice for this church. In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament deacons are to be servants of the church. Their task is to serve with the pastors, elders and staff caring for the church members and other persons in the community. Each year the deacons shall choose among themselves a chairman who will serve on the church leadership team. The deacons serve at the pleasure of the pastor(s) and elder(s) who are not under any obligation to recommend anyone for re-election upon the completion of an elected term.
( 4. ) Yoke-fellows: Based on scripture passages 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God ..." and 2 Timothy 4:2 "... be instant in season , out of season ..." and applying the wisdom Jethro imparted to Moses in Exodus 18:17-24, the church shall elect, as possible, persons to serve as "Yoke-Fellows" for one year renewable terms. One shall be assigned to each pastor, and one to each active elder and deacon to assist in ministry and be exposed to and trained for the elder and deacon ministries. In electing a person to serve as a "Yoke-Fellow", the church in no way obligates itself to ever elect, call to serve or ordain that person as an elder or deacon and the person is in no way obligated to agree to serve as an elder or deacon. The Yoke-fellow may be removed from office for any reason by action of the pastor(s) and elders with general explanation to the congregation. The Yoke-fellows serve at the pleasure of the pastor(s) and the elder or deacon to whom they are assigned. The pastor(s) are under no obligation to recommend a Yoke-fellow for re-election upon the completion of an elected term.
( 5. ) Ministry Team Leaders shall be confirmed by vote of the congregation for one year renewable terms. Each ministry team numbered in section 2. below shall have a person recommended by the pastors and those working on that ministry team to serve as a team leader/minister to lead and coordinate the works of that ministry team and to represent that team before the congregation and serve on the congregation’s leadership team. The ministry team leader shall serve at the pleasure of the pastor(s) and the ministry team who are under no obligation to recommend a team leader for re-election upon the completion of an elected term.
( 6. ) Administrators
( a. ) administrator: The church may elect, appoint or hire an administrator if needed to serve a specified or continuing term for overseeing, coordinating and training for the various administrative duties that become needful to the effective operating of the church organization, especially in relationship with the local, state and federal governments. The church administrator shall represent church administration on the leadership team and be accountable to the staff pastors and the elders.
( b. ) clerk; legal documents, minutes, calendar, history, membership roll: The church shall elect, annually, a clerk and an assistant clerk as its clerical officers. The clerk shall act as the secretary of the corporation and thus must be of legal age. The clerks shall be responsible for keeping a suitable record of all official actions of congregation business meetings and leadership meetinsg (except financial, as otherwise herein provided). The clerks shall be responsible for keeping a register of names of members, with dates of admission, dismissal, death or erasure, together with a record of baptisms. Further duties shall be issuance of letters of dismissal voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports and give all required notice of all meetings where notice is necessary, as indicated in these by-laws. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to one or more church secretaries who will assist the elected clerks. All records are congregation property and shall be kept at the church office, when an office is maintained.
( c. ) treasurer(s), offering counting & book-keeper: The church shall elect, annually, a church treasurer and an assistant treasurer as its financial officers. The treasurer shall act as the chief financial officer of the corporation and thus must be of legal age. It shall be the duty of the treasurers to receive, preserve, and pay out all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements, available to the congregation up through the preceding month. The treasurer(s) may choose to enlist the service of another church member to assist in the book-keeping, such that prompt and regular reports may be made to the congregation regarding financial condition. Both the treasurer and the assistant treasurer shall have access by signature to any bank accounts maintained for church operations. In the absence of a duly elected treasurer or assistant treasurer, a duly elected active trustee shall be substituted as an authorized signature on bank accounts, keeping two people at all times with access by signature to church operating funds.
( d. ) trustees; properties: The church shall elect three trustees to serve as legal officers of the corporation and thus must all be of legal age. They shall hold in trust the church property and assist the church in matters related to properties administration. Their work includes seeing that all church properties are maintained for ready use; recommending policies (for congregation approval) regarding use of properties; anticipating needs for additional facilities or improvements to existing facilities; consulting with the personnel committee and the church staff regarding the needs for, and the employment of, maintenance personnel, and regarding the assignment for supervisory responsibilities to appropriate personnel. Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to acquire, mortgage, lease, or transfer any church property. When signatures of trustees are required, they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase or rental of property or other legal documents related to church-approved matters. The trustees shall see that any offerings received at public meetings are collected and deposited by church members other than themselves and records of such are transferred to the treasurers and book-keeper. Trustees shall serve on a rotation basis, with one new trustee being elected every year for a three year term.
( e. ) personnel; staff; The church shall elect three Personnel committee members who shall, together, assist the church in matters related to employed personnel administration, including those called by church action. Their work includes such areas as determining staff needs, employment, salaries, benefits, other compensation, policies, job descriptions, and personnel services, including conflict resolution. Personnel committee members shall serve on a rotation basis, with one new member being elected every year for a three year term.
( 7. ) Concurrent service. Recognizing that God often gifts people in multiple areas, there shall not be a prohibition against one person serving in more than one office as long as they are equipped and able to serve in those multiple capacities, with the exception that treasurers can not serve as trustees.
section 2. Church Ministry Teams-
The functioning ministries of the congregation shall be loosely organized into the following ministry teams that will each be guided and coordinated by an elected minister or team leader. These ministry teams will work together, recognizing that none of these areas of ministry are mutually exclusive to any others and that there will often be much overlap in function.
( 1.) Prayer: intercession and petition on behalf of this congregation and others, members thereof, neighbors, family members, our community, governors and civil leaders, that God’s will would be done on Earth as it is in heaven.
( 2. ) Praise & Worship: public demonstration of praise to and worship of our God weekly in the congregation’s designated worship place and other proper opportunities and settings.
( 3. ) Proclamation: the preaching, exhortation and public prophetic ministries of the congregation in any and all proper forums and manners including speaking, music, dance and drama.
( 4. ) Discipleship: the education, training and mentoring ministries of the congregation including one-on-one and small and large group settings of members, attenders and the community.
( 5. ) Service/Missions
( a.) local, in-reach: meeting physical needs of congregation members and regular attenders as a demonstration of God’s loving-kindness and provision for His family.
( b. ) local, out-reach: meeting physical needs of people in the nearby community as a demonstration and proclamation of God’s sovereignty and power and grace and mercy and invitation into the Kingdom of God.
( c. ) distant, partnerships: extending all aspects of the ministries of this congregation to the ends of the Earth through short and long term partnerships by the sharing of ministers and finances and any other resources with other congregations and/or mission sending agencies.
III. Church Practices and Meetings
section 1. Church Ordinances
( 1. ) Baptism- This congregation shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith and surrender to His Lordship, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
a) Baptism shall be by immersion in water when feasible (unless there is compelling reason for an alternate form, such as a health issue).
b) The Pastor(s), or whomever the Pastor(s) or elders shall appoint (ordained or not ordained), shall administer baptism.
c) Baptism shall be administered on behalf of the congregation as an act of worship during any worship service of the congregation, regularly scheduled or otherwise.
d) A person who professes Christ and is not baptized after a reasonable amount of time shall be counseled by the Pastor and/or staff or deacons/elders. If negative interest is ascertained on part of the candidate, they shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism and will no longer be considered a candidate for church membership.
( 2. ) The Lord's Supper- The congregation shall observe the Lord's Supper as often as is good and at least quarterly. Any Pastor or elder shall administer or appoint congregation members (ordained or not ordained) to administer the Lord's Supper with the assistance of those active church members they choose, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparation when celebrated in a scheduled worship service.
( 3. ) These By-Laws shall in no way be taken to preclude other memorials, celebrations or practices in the congregation meetings that would be consistent with Scriptural principles.
( 4. ) All professing “born-again” Christian believers may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the congregation.
section 2. Congregation Meetings
( 1. ) Worship Services- The congregation shall meet regularly as determined by the organization of this body for the worship of the Almighty God. Prayer and praise and thanksgiving shall be among the ingredients of these worship services with opportunities for preaching, instruction and evangelism as appropriate. Responsibility for the filling of the pulpit for all services shall belong solely to the staff Pastor(s), except when the Pastor(s) may be incapacitated by reason of sickness or injury, in which case this responsibility will fall to the next senior (by ministry assignment) staff minister or the elders. In event there is no staff Pastor or other staff ministers, the elders shall be responsible for the pulpit supply.
( 2. ) Special Services- Revival services, Harvest meetings and any other congregation meetings essential to the advancement of the congregation's objectives shall be placed on the congregation’s calendar as deemed good with the staff Pastor(s) responsible for choosing or approving the evangelists or any other scheduled speakers. Any active member may make suggestions for speakers which will be prayerfully considered.
( 3. ) Regular Business Meetings- The congregation may hold business meetings as often as monthly in an attitude of worship. A regular business meeting date shall be announced in the church newsletter/bulletin calendar at least two Sundays (inclusive) prior to the meeting.
(4.) Annual Meetings- The organization of this body shall meet once a year for the purpose of (1) reviewing reports of the year’s activities from all the officers and ministry team leaders, (2) electing or affirming officers and ministry team leaders for the coming year, (3) approving the annual financial plans and strategy for the coming year, and (4) considering any changes to the Constitution & By-Laws or the overall purpose or strategy of the organization of this body. This should be an un-hurried meeting with considerations made for worship and fellowship and discerning God‘s direction.
( 5. ) Special Business Meetings- The organization of this body may conduct ‘called’ business meetings to consider matters of special nature and significance. These meetings shall be recommended by a Pastor or Elder. Such meetings will be announced at one regularly scheduled church service prior to the Special Business Meeting. The notice shall include the subject, time, place, and the date; and it must be given in such a manner that all active members have an opportunity to know about the meeting. Only business specified on special notice shall be discussed at this meeting.
( 6. ) Quorum- The quorum of any business meeting shall consist of more than one third of active members.
( 7. ) Parliamentary Rules- Robert's Rule of Order, Modern Edition c.1989 is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
section 3. Church Finances
( 1. ) Budget- The treasurer(s) in consultation with the congregation leadership, ministry teams/committees and organizations should prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, and indicating, by items, the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses or a percentage allocation of funds available after specified fixed costs are met. The budget will be administered by the ministry team leaders according to the accounts assigned to them. The ministry team leaders will have authorization to make adjustments to the budget accounts within their jurisdiction so long as the total amounts within their jurisdiction are not increased and that they announce any changes to the elders. The Elders working with the treasurer(s) will resolve any fund availability questions. It is understood that membership in this congregation involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts. There shall be opportunity provided to secure worthy commitments of financial support from the church members as the need arises. Offering envelopes will be provided for member's use if asked for.
To set an example in tithing, the organization of this body should seek to include in its budget opportunities to commit at least 10% of un-designated receipts to mission opportunities and other Christian ministry organizations to use as they determine.
( 2. ) Accounting Procedures- All funds received for any and all purposes shall pass through the hands of the treasurer(s) &/or financial secretary, and be properly recorded on the books of the congregation. A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the treasurers and financial secretaries.
( 3. ) Fiscal Year- The congregation’s fiscal year will be determined by the treasurer in accordance with any appropriate government regulations and will be made known to the congregation.
section 4. Policies & Procedures-
A policy and procedures manual including job descriptions for all ministry teams and volunteer ministry workers will be developed and brought to the church item by item for approval at regular business meetings. The leadership team will continually review and update the policies and procedures as needed. All activities on behalf of the congregation will be in accordance with the current policies and procedures. Each member of the staff and every ministry team leader is responsible for having a current copy. Current copies will be made available to any active congregation member by the clerk within two weeks of a request. One current copy will always be made available for access by active congregation members in a convenient location in the congregation’s primary assembly space.
Changes in the By-Laws may be made at any regular business meeting of the congregation or such special meeting properly called for the purpose of amending these By-Laws, provided each amendment shall have been presented, in writing, at a previous business meeting and written copies of the proposed amendment shall have been made available to each active member at the normal place of congregational worship. Amendments to the bylaws shall be by two-thirds vote of the active members present and voting.
This document is effective on adoption
by the congregation members this 5th day of December, 2004