GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
This organization shall be known as Grace Bible Church of Moorpark, incorporated under the laws of the State of California. Grace Bible Church is a member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.
Grace Bible Church of Moorpark
Serve His People, and to
Influence the world with the Gospel.
OUR STATEMENT OF FAITH
THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the Bible, consisting solely of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme and final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (Isaiah 8:20; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
We believe that there is only one true and living God, who is sovereign, eternal, self-existent, immutable, omniscient, omnipresent, holy, just, and loving. (Isaiah 44:6; Psalm 71:19)
We believe that He has revealed Himself in three distinct persons: God the Father; God the Son, Jesus Christ; and God the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:4-6)
a) God the Father
We believe in God the Father: an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of mankind, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 1:5-9; 12:5-10)
b) God the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He is eternal and shares all of the attributes of Deity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as God's only begotten Son. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into Heaven, perpetual intercession for His people and personal, visible return to earth. (John 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-8; 1 Timothy 3:16)
c) God the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is a person and shares all the attributes of Deity with the Father and the Son. He came forth from the Father and Son to testify of Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He regenerates, sanctifies, and empowers all who believe in Jesus Christ. He is an abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide for all Christians. (John 14-16)
We believe salvation is entirely the work of God, not by the will or effort of man. We believe that mankind was created in holiness, but as the result of sin against God, all have fallen from that original estate, and have no ability to save themselves or contribute anything at all to their salvation. As a result, all of mankind is under the just condemnation of a most holy God. We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of God’s grace, provided exclusively and completely by the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again, by the Holy Spirit; and that as a result of regeneration God graciously gives those He is pleased to save both the desire and ability to believe in Christ and to repent of sin. Regeneration must precede faith and repentance, but will always be followed by faith and repentance.
(Romans 9:15-16; Romans 5:12-14; Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 2:11-3:7; Romans 3:23, 5:23, 5:6-8; John 3:3-8; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 1:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:25)
We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ, of which Christ is Head. It consists of all regenerated persons. We believe in local churches as segments of the universal Body of Believers, and that it is the spiritual obligation of every believer to be united with a local church. We believe church members are to be accountable to one another and to the recognized leadership of the church. We believe that God has called the Church to evangelize the lost, and to act as a preserving and illuminating influence in the world. This calling can only be fulfilled under the guidance and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that as individual believers need to be members of a local church, local churches need to be members of an association of like-minded churches. (Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 1:22-23; Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 5:13-16; Hebrews 13:17; Acts 1:8; Colossians 4:16)
We believe Christian living is marked by love for God and love for one’s fellow man. We believe that every Christian is to live a life worthy of the Lord, seeking to please Him, and growing in the grace and knowledge of God. Christians are to be strengthened with God’s glorious power, in patience, and joy, giving thanks always to God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who has delivered us from spiritual darkness into light and given us the power to be children of God. Christians are called to be active members of a local church to encourage believers, and to be salt and light in the world, praying, and proclaiming the gospel that others may come to saving faith in Christ. (Matthew 22:36-40; Colossians 1:10-14; John 1:11-13; Acts 2:41-47; Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Corinthians 9:16)
We believe that the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and water baptism for Believers are to be administered in the church as they are recorded in scripture. (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth. We believe in the resurrection of the bodies of all who have died, followed by the final judgment of God. We believe in the eternal felicity of those God has declared righteous based on their faith in Jesus Christ; and the endless suffering of those who have died in sin rejecting the free grace of God available only through faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:11; John 3:16-18; Revelation 20:11-21:8)
We believe in the personal Lordship of Christ over individual Believers. Each must give account of himself to God. Therefore, in matters not clearly defined in scripture, convictions of one should not be imposed on others. In addition, doctrinal differences that are within the bounds of historic, orthodox Christianity should not be cause for division. (Romans 14; Mark 9:38-40)
HISTORIC STATEMENTS OF FAITH
We subscribe to the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, and London Baptist Confession of 1689. These creeds and confessions are available from Grace Bible Church.
The principal office for the transaction of the business of the corporation is fixed and located at 12039 Hertz Street, Moorpark, California 93021. The Elders may at any time, or from time to time, change the location of the principal office from one location to another.
SECTION 1: Church Membership: The Nature and Purpose
A. All Christians automatically become members of the Universal Church at the time of conversion. (Acts 2:41, 46-47) Membership in a local church, as taught in the Bible, is voluntary, but not trivial. Local church membership is a commitment to serve and to mutual accountability as prescribed in scripture.
B. The procedures of membership outlined below are designed solely for the purpose of maintaining scriptural and accountable local church government (Hebrews 13:17), such that our affairs are conducted in decency and order. (1 Corinthians 14:40) In no way is our understanding and practice of membership to be construed in such a way as to disrupt our Christian unity and fellowship with true saints who attend church elsewhere. (Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4)
C. There is a difference between being a regular attender of Grace Bible Church and being a member of Grace Bible Church. While all are invited to attend, members make a formal commitment to the church. That commitment includes:
1. Attending Sunday worship regularly, at least 75% of the time. Exceptions would include illness, necessary work, or being out of town. (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:24-25)
2. Participating in the ministry by serving. (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Peter 4:10-11)
3. Participating in the ministry through biblical financial contribution. Biblical giving is to be regular, proportional, and offered in faith (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). A tithe (10% of one’s income) is considered a biblical baseline.
4. Receiving the Lord’s Supper regularly and frequently as administered by the church. (Luke 22:19-20)
5. Concurring with the Grace Bible Church Statement of Faith (including the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689), vision statement, and distinctives. (Amos 3:3, Philippians 2:1-2)
6. Willingly submitting to the spiritual leadership of the Elders of the church as they submit to God and the scriptures. (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-5) Desiring to be held accountable by the church, including church discipline if necessary. (Proverbs 18:1; Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5; James 5:16-20)
7. Pursuing peace in all relationships within the church, including speaking positively about the church, the leaders and other congregants. This also includes dealing biblically with persons with whom any problems may arise according to Matthew 18:15-17.
8. Promising to seek the counsel of the Elders regarding withdrawing membership and/or changing churches before a decision is made.
9. Understanding that membership at Grace Bible Church will be renewed annually from the date when received into membership after speaking with one of the officers of the church. (2 Corinthians 13:5) (See Article IV, Sec. 4.)
SECTION 2: Church Membership: Requirements and Procedures
A. Before being accepted as members of Grace Bible Church, applicants must:
1. Be baptized believers in Jesus Christ.
2. Live a life-style that does not contradict their profession of faith.
3. Demonstrate a commitment to the ministry of Grace Bible Church for a minimum of three months:
a) By attending Sunday Worship Services 75% or more of the time, unless hindered by illness or some other necessary reason. (Hebrews 10:25)
b) By serving in some form of ministry of the church. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
c) By contributing financially to the church. Biblical giving is to be regular, proportional, and offered in faith. A tithe (10% of one’s income) is considered a biblical baseline (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
4. Be 18 years of age (for the purpose of voting).
5. Be willing to submit to the government of this church.
6. Apply for membership by:
a) Reading and concurring with the material on membership at Grace Bible Church provided by the Elders, including Article IV of the church’s bylaws.
b) Interviewing with two of the Elders of the church.
c) Completing an application for membership.
B. Once accepted as members, applicants will sign the church roll sheet and will be acknowledged as members in an appropriate manner.
SECTION 3: Church Membership: Membership Rolls
A list of members who are actively participating in church activities shall be maintained.
SECTION 4: Church Membership: Accountability
The Elders of the church will hold members accountable to maintain their commitment to the Lord and to His Church. Annually, each member shall reconsider each of the commitments required of new members.
A. If a member is continuing steadfastly in his commitments and wishes to renew his membership, he will be invited to do so. The renewal will be so noted in the membership roll book.
B. If a member has become lax in any of the commitments required for new members and wishes to renew his membership, he will be given three months to demonstrate a renewed commitment to his membership. After three months, if the areas of concern have been rectified, the member will be invited to renew his membership, and the renewal shall be so noted in the membership roll book. If after three months the member has not satisfactorily rectified the areas of concern, the membership will be terminated. The member may reapply for membership whenever he is again ready to make and keep the necessary commitments.
SECTION 5: Church Membership: Termination
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
A. Membership may be terminated by request by member to terminate membership. There may be instances in which a person will choose to withdraw his or her membership. As entering into membership should not be taken lightly, neither should withdrawal be taken lightly.
1. Conscientious members should seek counsel from the Eldership if they are contemplating the termination of their membership before such a decision has been determined.
2. Members have an obligation to discuss their withdrawal from membership before simply leaving the church.
B. Membership may be terminated at the time of the annual renewal if the member is no longer demonstrating the level of commitment required of members. (See Article IV, Sec. 4, B.)
C. Membership may be terminated for non-participation after appropriate efforts to restore fellowship and participation have failed. The length of time of non-participation that warrants termination shall be determined at the discretion and good judgment of the Elders.
D. The Elders may terminate a person’s membership as an act of discipline. (See Article IV, Sec. 7.)
E. Church membership shall be terminated upon the event of a member’s death.
SECTION 6: Church Membership: Voting Membership
Each member shall be entitled to one vote in matters that call for a decision of the membership. (See Article V, Sec. 3., D. & F.)
SECTION 7: Church Membership: Discipline
A. The Nature of Discipline
Discipline is a censure or correction that is required of the church by scripture. The goal of church discipline is not punitive, but corrective, desiring always to see Christians repent of sin and be restored into full fellowship with the Body of Christ.
B. The Motivation for Discipline
1. The spiritual welfare of the Church. The church must purge out those elements that will bring reproach on Christ and His Church. (1 Corinthians 5)
2. The spiritual welfare of individuals who are called to hold others accountable. We bring judgment on ourselves if we do not discipline those who should be disciplined. (Ezekiel 33:7-9)
3. The spiritual welfare of individuals who are in sin. Though difficult and painful, biblical discipline is one of God’s appointed means of delivering a person from sin. (1 Corinthians 5:4-5, Hebrews 12:5-6, Proverbs 13:24)
C. The Process of Discipline
The Elders of the church will, through teaching and example, encourage the members of the church to discipline themselves and one another in the following ways:
1. Exercising self-discipline; e.g. applying self-correction. (1 Corinthians 11:31)
2. Overlooking, in love, the failings of one another. (1 Peter 4:8)
3. Admonishing a brother or sister when necessary. (Matthew 18:15)
4. Taking one or two others as witnesses if the personal admonition is rejected. (Matthew 18:16)
In cases of scandalous sin that may bring reproach on Christ and His Church, there is no requirement to attempt private resolution of the matter and it should be brought to the Elders without delay.
5. Bringing the issue to the Elders of the church who act as representatives of the church if the previous admonition is rejected. (Matthew 18:17)
6. Excommunicating the person under discipline, communicating the same to the congregation if the admonition of the Elders has been rejected. (Matthew 18:17, 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, 11-13)
7. Restoring the person under discipline when, in the opinion of the Elders, that person has been restored through repentance and rededication or conversion. The Elders shall announce the end of the disciplinary action to the church. (2 Corinthians 2:5-8)
D. The Subjects of Discipline
1. Non-member attenders. The authority and responsibility of the church to discipline those who have not made a commitment to membership in the church is less than it is regarding members or leaders in the church. Excommunication of non-member attenders may or may not be communicated to the congregation (C., 6.), depending on the nature of the issue and the person’s influence in the church.
2. Members. The authority and responsibility of the church to discipline its members is invited by its members by applying for and being received into membership of the church. If a member who is subject to church discipline opts to terminate membership as a means of avoiding discipline, the rest of the congregation will be informed of the circumstances of the discipline and termination of membership.
3. Leaders. Elders and Deacons have greater responsibility and receive greater honor than other members of the church. (1 Timothy 5:17) Therefore they are held more strictly to the standards to which all Christians are to comply. (James 3:1) Because their ministries are public and because their sin can bring greater reproach to Christ and His Church, based on the judgment of the Elders of the church, if an Elder is living in sin and will not repent, he is subject to public rebuke. If an Elder is repentant, but his sin is of a nature that requires him to step down from his position as an Elder, he will not be rebuked, but the congregation will be notified regarding the reason for the man’s removal as an Elder. (1 Timothy 5:19-20)
4. Children. The Elders will exercise disciplinary authority, with children in the congregation, if necessary, in the following ways:
a) If a child in the congregation has professed faith in the Lord and subsequently demonstrates a rebellious spirit, or repudiates his earlier profession of faith, the Elders will offer pastoral help to the head of the household as appropriate. If the child persists in a state of rebellion, the Elders may initiate the process of church discipline and the child may be excommunicated.
b) If the rebellion of a child is of a scandalous nature, and the parents refuse to cooperate with the church discipline, the Elders may initiate the process of church discipline with the parents.
E. Grace Bible Church of Moorpark will honor acts
of church discipline carried out biblically in
other Christian churches.
SECTION 1: The Headship of Christ
The government of Grace Bible Church shall be committed to acknowledging the Lordship and direction of Jesus Christ over His Body. All those in authority shall continually seek His mind and will, through His Spirit and the Word of God in all actions and decisions.
SECTION 2: The Elders
A. Definition of Terms
1. Elders are the spiritual leaders of the church. (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9)
2. Lay-Elders are Elders who are not paid church staff.
3. Staff-Elders are Elders who are paid church staff. Assistant Pastors are Staff-Elders.
4. When the general term “Elder(s)” is used, it shall be a reference to both Lay and Staff-Elders working together.
5. The Pastor is an Elder.
B. Qualifications (1 Timothy 3:2-7 & Titus 1:6-9)
1. Elders must be men of godly character. Each must be blameless, wise, hospitable, not “given to alcohol,” or “greedy for money,” having a time-tested walk with the Lord.
2. Elders must have their households in order. Each must be a “one-woman man,” having a supportive godly wife and obedient children.
3. Elders must be “apt to teach,” meaning that while all are not preachers, they must be able to handle the Word of God accurately and be able to lead others using God’s Word, whether in large group settings, small-group settings, or in counseling.
4. Elders must be committed to the ministry of Grace Bible Church
5. Elders must be proven team players.
C. Ministry and Powers
Subject to limitations of the Articles of Incorporation, other sections of the Bylaws, and of California law, all corporate powers of the corporation shall be exercised by or under the authority of, and the business and affairs of the corporation shall be controlled by the Elders. Without limiting the general powers, the Elders shall have the following powers:
1. The Elders shall have oversight in all affairs of the church.
2. The Elders shall lead by precept and example. They shall pray together regularly, and review the progress of the execution of day to day functions, as frequently as needed for mutual counsel.
3. The Elders shall conduct, manage and control the affairs and business of the corporation; and make rules and regulations not inconsistent with law, the Articles of Incorporation, or the Bylaws.
4. The Elders shall see to the details of the ministry of the church, under the direction of the Pastor, thus freeing him to give himself to prayer, the ministry of the Word, and the administration of the ministry.
5. The Elders shall be authorized to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose of the corporation, and for that purpose authorize to be executed and delivered, in the corporate name, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, deeds of trust, mortgages, pledges, or other evidence of debt and securities.
6. The Elders shall be responsible for the physical maintenance, security, and improvements of the church's properties, facilities, and equipment.
7. The Elders may appoint Deacons or other duly qualified men to assist them in managing the affairs of the church.
D. Place and Time of Regular Meetings
Regular meetings of the Elders may be held at any place, and at any time designated by the Elders.
E. Annual Meeting
The Elders shall meet at least once each year for the purpose of organization, reviewing the past year, election of officers and the transaction of other business.
F. Special Meetings
Meetings of the Elders for any purpose or purposes may be called at any time by the Pastor or any two (2) other Elders.
A quorum for any meeting of the Elders shall be a majority of the Elders.
Decisions shall be by unanimous consensus of the Elders.
I. Number of Elders
The number of Elders in a church is ultimately determined by the Lord. While having a larger number of Elders may be desirable, it is better to have few, or even one, than to have Elders who are not called by God to be Elders.
The term “Elder” is always used in the plural in the New Testament, indicating that ideally there should be more than one Elder. If the number of Elders drops to one, he must do the following:
1. Be in regular counsel with a pastor from another church for the sake of accountability.
2. Appoint no less than two and no more than five men in the church to serve as a sounding board regarding the church’s operations.
1. The Elders shall always be looking for potential Elders from within the congregation. If a man is thought to be a candidate for Eldership, he must be watched closely for a reasonably long time to be sure that he is really called by God. Haste in ordaining leaders is warned against in scripture and is therefore to be avoided. (1 Timothy 5:22)
2. Candidates approved by the existing Elders shall be announced to the congregation for feedback.
3. Approved candidates shall be ratified by a unanimous vote of the Elders.
4. Their appointment shall be acknowledged at a regularly scheduled worship service to be selected by the Pastor within one (1) month of their appointment.
K. Length of Term
Lay-Elders shall renew their commitment to serve as Elders annually. Each year, every Lay-Elder will examine himself, and be examined by the other Elders to determine if he is still willing, able, and qualified to serve as an Elder.
Those who are renewed will continue to serve as Elders. Those who, for whatever reason, are not renewed, will take a year off, after which they may be reconsidered to serve as Elders.
1. Lay-Elders may be removed by a majority vote of the other Elders.
2. Staff-Elders may be removed by the Pastor, with counsel from the Lay-Elders.
3. The Pastor may be removed by three-quarters (3/4) of the Lay-Elders and by two-thirds (2/3) of the voting membership of the church. (See Article VI, Section 3, F.)
SECTION 3: The Pastor
A. Definition of Terms
The Pastor has no more authority than the other Elders, but he is the leading Elder in the church. The Pastor must be ordained, or qualified for ordination. (See Article VII.)
1. The Pastor shall minister unto the Lord in regular personal worship and praise. He shall give himself to the ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4) and seek to walk uprightly before the Lord in his personal life. He shall seek the mind of God for the general direction of the ministry.
2. The Pastor shall be the primary teaching Elder of the church. He shall devote considerable time to the study of the Word and shall teach the Scriptures to the flock by precept and example. He shall aim to feed the flock, equip the saints for ministry, and guard the church against attacks.
3. The Pastor shall be the President of the corporation, its Chief Executive Officer, the leading Elder, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the corporation. He shall oversee the business of the church and give leadership to the Assistant Pastors, Staff, and Lay-Elders, Deacons, staff, and the general church body and its ministries.
4. The Pastor shall be accountable to the Elders.
C. Qualifications (See 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9)
1. The Pastor shall meet the qualifications of Elders. (See Article V, Sec.2., B.)
2. The Pastor shall be a Spirit-gifted teacher of the Word. He must have a shepherd’s heart for the flock. He must be biblically conservative and theologically Reformed.
In the event of a vacancy, the Elders, and any others appointed by the Elders shall constitute a nominating committee. This committee shall seek, find, and nominate a candidate. They shall seek first among the Elders and staff from within the fellowship. Election shall be by three-fourths (3/4) vote of the voting membership.
1. The Pastor's initial compensation shall be specified by the Lay-Elders at the time of his calling. The church shall provide, as possible, adequate salary, housing allowance, health insurance, expense allowance, conference funds, vacation time, continued education, pension, and other special funds as needed for his ministry. The church shall also defray the costs of sending the Pastor to out-of-town conferences or conventions attended for the church, as approved by the lay-Elders. The Lay-Elders shall be responsible to review the Pastor's compensation annually.
The Pastor’s compensation package shall be commensurate with those of pastors of congregations of similar size in the area, and with his experience and education. (1 Timothy 5:17-18)
2. The Lay-Elders shall seek counsel from experienced and reputable outside sources on how to review the Pastor’s compensation each year.
1. For the purpose of removing the Pastor, any two (2) Lay-Elders may call a joint meeting of the Lay-Elders. Staff-Elders may not participate in the vote to remove the Pastor. The meeting shall be called in accordance with the procedure outlined for calling special meetings (Article V, Section 2, F).
2. Should three-fourths (3/4) of the Lay-Elders concur that the Pastor should be removed from the pastorate of the church, and if the Pastor will not resign, the matter shall be brought before the voting membership at a duly called meeting.
3. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of negative votes of the voting membership will remove the Pastor.
4. Should less than three-fourths (3/4) of the Lay-Elders concur that the Pastor should be removed from the pastorate of the church, those Lay-Elders who voted for his removal shall resign immediately.
SECTION 4: Staff-Elders and Assistant Pastors
A. Definition of Terms
1. Staff-Elders are men who make their living as church staff members, but who are not “Ordained Pastors.”
2. Assistant Pastors are men who make their living as church staff members, and who are “Ordained Pastors,” or are qualified for ordination. (See Article VII.)
1. Staff-Elders and Assistant Pastors shall minister unto the Lord in regular, personal worship and prayer. They shall give themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:4) and seek to walk uprightly before the Lord in their personal lives.
2. The Pastor shall define the ministry responsibilities of both Staff-Elders and Assistant Pastors. Both shall serve under the Pastor's leadership.
1. Staff-Elders shall meet the qualifications of Elders. (See Article V, Sec.2., B.)
2. Assistant Pastors shall meet the same qualifications as the Pastor, including ordination. (See Article V, Sec. 3., C.)
Staff Elders’ and Assistant Pastors’ compensation shall be specified by the Pastor to be ratified by the Elders at the time of their calling. The church shall provide, as possible, adequate salary, housing allowance, health insurance, expense allowance, pension, conference and continued education funds, and vacation time. Compensation packages shall be commensurate with a man’s experience and education. Compensation packages shall be reviewed annually. (1 Timothy 5:17-18)
It shall be the prerogative of the Pastor, after counseling with the Elders, to remove Staff-Elders and/or Assistant Pastors if they are not in harmony with the ministry of the church as directed by the Pastor.
SECTION 5: Deacons
A. Definition of Terms
Deacons are servants. They are called to serve the Lord, the church, and the congregation under the direction of the Pastor and Elders. Deacons must not only serve, they must do so with servants’ hearts.
1. The Deacons shall carry on various ministries within the church to meet the physical needs of the church under the direction and encouragement of the Pastor and Elders.
2. The Deacons shall counsel with the Pastor, pastoral staff, and Elders regarding physical needs which arise in the church; they shall pray for any in the flock for whom they are caring; they shall serve the flock by exercising hospitality, love, care, and good counsel. The Deacons shall meet at the discretion of the Pastor.
3. The Deacons may be requested to attend the meetings of the Elders for the sake of being informed regarding church business. Deacons will be excused from Elder meetings that require greater confidentiality.
C. Qualifications (See 1 Timothy 3:8-13)
The personal, family, and spiritual qualifications for Deacons are the same as those of Elders, except they need not be “apt to teach” the Word of God.
1. Deacons must be men of godly character. Each must be blameless, wise, hospitable, not “given to alcohol,” or “greedy for money,” having a time-tested walk with the Lord.
2. Deacons must have their households in order. Each must be a “one-woman man,” having a supportive godly wife and obedient children.
3. Deacons must be committed to the ministry of Grace Bible Church
4. Deacons must be proven team players.
D. Number, Appointment, and Organization
1. The number of Deacons in a church is ultimately determined by the Lord. While having a larger number of Deacons may be desirable, it is better to have few, or even none, than to have Deacons who are not called by God to be Deacons. The number of Deacons shall be left to the discretion of the Elders according to the needs of the congregation.
2. The Elders shall always be looking for potential Deacons from within the congregation. If a man is thought to be a candidate for Deacon, he must be watched closely for a reasonably long time to be sure that he is really called by God. Haste in ordaining leaders is warned against in scripture and is therefore to be avoided. (1 Timothy 5:22)
3. Deacons shall be nominated by the Elders and ratified by a unanimous vote of the Elders.
4. Candidates shall be announced to the congregation for feedback.
5. Approved candidates shall be ratified by a unanimous vote of the Elders.
6. Their appointment shall be acknowledged at a regularly scheduled worship service to be selected by the Pastor within one (1) month of their appointment.
E. Length of Term
Deacons shall renew their commitment to serve as Deacons annually. Each year, every Deacon will examine himself, and be examined by the Elders to determine if he is still willing, able, and qualified to serve as a Deacon.
Those who are renewed will continue to serve as Deacons. Those who, for whatever reason, are not renewed, will take a year off, after which they may be reconsidered to serve as Deacons.
Deacons may be removed by a majority vote of the Elders.
THE CORPORATE BOARD
AND THE OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH
SECTION 1: The Corporate Board of the Church
The Corporate Board of the church shall have a minimum of three members and shall consist of the Pastor and Lay-Elders. In the event that there are fewer than three Board Members, the existing Board Members may appoint others to serve as Corporate Board Members until such time as there are enough Elders. These appointments should first be from among the Deacons. If there are not enough Deacons, other trusted men from the church may be appointed.
If the Corporate Board of the church is not made up of all Elders, it is to be understood that the Corporate Board does not have jurisdiction over the spiritual matters of the church. They are only to attend to the legal affairs of the Corporation.
SECTION 2: Officers
The officers of this corporation shall be a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and such other officers as the Elders may appoint. Officers other than the President need not necessarily be Elders.
SECTION 3: Election
The Elders shall, by unanimous vote, elect the officers of the corporation for terms of one (1) year, or until their successors are elected.
SECTION 4: Vacancies
A vacancy in any office because of death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or otherwise, shall be filled by one appointed by the Elders.
SECTION 5: President (Pastor)
Subject to ratification of the Elders, the President (Pastor) shall have general supervision, direction and control of the business and affairs of the corporation. He shall be responsible to preside over all meetings of the members, Elders, and Deacons, and shall have such other powers and duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Elders.
SECTION 6: Vice President
In the absence or disability of the President, the Vice President shall temporarily perform all the duties of the President, and in so acting shall have all the powers of the President until the Elders take action on the vacancy. The Vice President shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the Elders.
SECTION 7: Secretary
The Secretary shall keep a full and complete record of all the proceedings of the Elders; shall keep the seal of the corporation and affix it to such papers as may be required in the regular course of business; shall make services of such notices as may be necessary or proper; shall supervise the keeping of records of the corporation; and shall discharge such other duties of the office as prescribed by the Elders.
SECTION 8: Treasurer
The Treasurer shall receive and safely keep all funds of the corporation and deposit them in the bank or banks that may be designated by the Elders. All corporate checks must be signed only by those so authorized by the Elders.
LICENSING AND ORDINATION
SECTION 1: Definition
Staff-Elders shall be licensed by the church for tax purposes. Licensing of a minister will be valid only while the man serves Grace Bible Church of Moorpark and shall be revoked upon his removal from ministry or departure from this church.
Pastors and Assistant Pastors shall be ordained to the ministry by Grace Bible Church of Moorpark, or shall have been ordained by another ministry that is recognized by Grace Bible Church. Ordination shall remain valid for life regardless of where the man serves unless he has been removed from ministry in a disciplinary manner. Ordained Pastors and Assistant Pastors are licensed for tax purposes.
SECTION 2: Principles of Licensing and Ordination
A candidate for licensing or ordination recognizes that only our Sovereign, Holy God can truly call His children for service in the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The calling of a minister is not the result of a title; rather the title is a result of his calling. This calling is recognized as from the True and Living God. It is man's privilege, and specifically the privilege of the overseers of the true Church of Jesus Christ, to ratify God’s calling on a man’s life, by licensing or ordaining.
SECTION 3: Qualifications for Licensing or Ordination
A. A candidate must be regenerated as described by our Lord in the third chapter of the Gospel of John.
B. A candidate must subscribe to the statement of faith as described in the Preamble of these Bylaws, including the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.
C. A candidate must have evidence of the obvious calling of God upon his life to the satisfaction of the Elders.
D. A candidate for ordination must have completed a minimum of four (4) years of College level Bible Education, or the equivalent as designated by the Elders.
SECTION 4: Procedures for Licensing and Ordination
Qualified candidates shall be licensed for the ministry by a unanimous vote of the Elders, the action being recorded in the corporate record.
1. Candidates for ordination shall be interviewed by an ad hoc ordination council made up of no more than three members of the Elders and at least two other ordained ministers appointed by the Elders. The candidate will be examined with regard to his manner of life, knowledge of scripture, understanding of doctrine, and pastoral ministry. The ordination council, by simple majority, will recommend the candidate’s ordination by the Elders of the church. The Elders are not bound by the recommendation of the ordination council.
2. Upon the unanimous vote of the Elders, the candidate will be ordained as a minister of the Gospel with the right to perform ministerial functions in accordance with the ordinances of God's Holy Word and the laws of the land, with all prerogatives of such a calling and office.
3. An ordination service will be held in an appropriate and timely manner.
Any organization, group, or club whose membership is primarily for a church activity, shall be considered an auxiliary of the church and shall be subject to the Bylaws of the church. As an auxiliary organization, it shall exist only in cooperation with the Elders.
AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS
The Bylaws may be amended or repealed and new Bylaws adopted with the unanimous approval of the Elders.
ANNUAL ACCOUNTING & FINANCIAL PROCEDURES
Section 1: Financial Year
This church shall operate on a calendar year from January 1 through December 31.
Section 2: Means of Support
This church shall be supported through the tithes and offerings of its members and friends, not through fund-raising activities or through sales of any kind.
SECTION 1: Execution of Documents
The Elders may authorize by majority vote, any officer or officers, agent or agents, to enter into any contract or execute any instrument in the name of, and on behalf of the church, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances. Unless so authorized, no officer, agent, or other person shall have any power or authority to bind the church by any contract or engagement or to pledge its credit or to render it liable for any purpose or to any amount.
SECTION 2: Inspection of Bylaws
The church shall keep in its principal office the original or a copy of its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, as amended to date, certified by the Secretary, which shall be open to inspection by the members at all reasonable times during the office hours.
SECTION 3: Construction of Definitions
Unless the context otherwise requires, the general provisions, rules of construction and definitions contained in the California General Nonprofit Corporation Law, shall govern the construction of these Bylaws.
SECTION 4: Rules of Order
The rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order, revised, shall be the general guide to govern all business meetings of the church, except in instances of conflict between said Rules of Order and the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of the church or provisions of law.
SECTION 5: Dissolution
If for any reason this corporation should dissolve, any properties owned by the corporation shall be given to a nonprofit Christian church or missions organization, selected by the Elders.
SECTION 6: Liability
No Director, Officer, Elder, or Deacon appointed by this church shall be personally or individually liable for any error or mistake, act or omission for, or on behalf of this church, occurring within the scope of his or her duty as such Director, Officer, Elder, or Deacon, excepting only for his or her own willful misconduct or violation of law.
SECTION 7: Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
We affirm that men and women were created by God to be different. We affirm and celebrate male and female roles and responsibilities as defined in the Word of God. We believe marriage is only to be between one man and one woman for a lifelong monogamous relationship. We believe that all expressions of sexuality outside of biblical monogamous marriage are sinful and cannot be affirmed by the church. We agree with the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, available from the church office or the Grace Bible Church website.
(These bylaws amended and approved by unanimous decision of the Board of Directors on 2/13/2016. All previous bylaws are rendered obsolete.)