Saints Community Church
Article I: NAME
This church shall be known as Saints Community Church, in the city of Metairie, Louisiana.
ARTICLE II. Affiliation
A. This local Assembly shall govern itself in accordance with its By-laws.
B. While maintaining its inherent rights to autonomy in the conduct of its own affairs, this Assembly shall voluntarily enter into full cooperative fellowship with the General Council of the Assemblies of God, Springfield, Missouri, and be an active member of the Louisiana District of the Assemblies of God, Alexandria, Louisiana and shall share in the privileges and assume the responsibilities enjoined by these affiliations.
Article III. Non Profit Status
This corporation shall be operated exclusively for religious, educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law, including, without limitation.
Saints Community Church gave formal notice from the Internal Revenue Service of its qualification as a tax-exempt Section 501(c)(3) religious organization on March 16, 2011. Copies of the notice are maintained in the church offices.
Article IV. Purpose
The purpose of this church shall be:
1. Minister the Word of God, and advance the Gospel by all available means;
2. Promote and encourage, through the ministries of the organization, cooperation with other organizations ministering within the community;
3. To establish and maintain a place of worship, prayer, instruction in the word, fellowship, evangelism and discipleship and the support of missionary activity; and to administer the ordinances of Baptism and The Lord’s Supper;
4. To have the right to own, hold in trust, use or otherwise possess, sell, convey, mortgage, lease, or otherwise dispose of such property as may be needed for the purpose of its work.
Article V. Statement of Fundamental Truths
Section 1. Doctrines.
The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This statement of doctrinal beliefs does not fully exhaust the extent of our beliefs. For purposes of Saints Community Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Elder Council is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
1. The Scriptures are the Inspired, Inerrant Word of God.
We accept that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The writers were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) and wrote the God-breathed words of God found in both the Old and New Testaments (2 Timothy 3:16). We believe Scripture, therefore, to be a useful and necessary guide to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and sufficient for doctrine, moral instruction, correction, and a full understanding and revelation of God. We accept that the Bible is inerrant. In other words, if God being perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4, Matthew 5:48) cannot make mistakes, we expect His power and ability to ensure that the original writers wrote down exactly what He intended.
2. The Authority of Scripture.
We accept that God has all authority and we accept that the God-breathed words of God (2 Timothy 3:16) serve as the primary authority by which God communicates to us what God desires for us to believe and do. We accept that we as humans are limited beings corrupted by our sinful nature. As our understanding is often imperfect (1 Corinthians 13:12), we rely on Scripture to be the standard by which our misunderstandings are corrected.
3. There is One True God.
We accept that there is one God. We believe that God is the creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine persons - The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and perfections, while remaining distinct in their personhood (Father as God – Philippians 1:2, Son as God – Titus 2:13, Holy Spirit as God – Acts 5:3-4; Oneness of God – Deuteronomy 4:35, 6:4-5, Isaiah 45:21-22, Mark 1:10-11, Colossians 2:9).
4. Jesus Incarnate.
We accept that Jesus is incarnate. In other words, Jesus is both fully God and fully man – a person with two natures. As fully God, Jesus has the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7), claim divinity (John 8:58), know everything (Luke 11:17), be everywhere (Matthew 18:20, 28:20), and rule over all (Matthew 28:18). (Jesus as divine - John 1:1, 14, Romans 10:9, Colossians 2:9, 1 John 5:20). As human, Jesus is like us in every respect, with human body, heart, mind, will, emotions, feelings – all respects except sin (Luke 2:40, John 12:27, Hebrews 4:15). By becoming fully man, we accept that Jesus has the power to save us fully.
We accept that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life of perfection, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the grave, ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our high priest and mediator.
5. Fall and Salvation of Man
We accept that man was created in the likeness and image of God, but sinned after being tempted by Satan (Genesis 3:1-7). As a consequence of man’s fall, we became dead in our sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1), alienated from God (Colossians 1:21), and became subject to the power of Satan (Ephesians 2:2). By our nature and choice, we find ourselves hurting God, ourselves, and others through our own depravity. We accept that it is only by God’s work in Jesus Christ that we can be rescued, restored, and renewed. We accept that our salvation can only come through the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ on the cross for forgiveness of sins, his atoning death, and his victorious resurrection from the dead (Hebrews 10:4-18, 1 Peter 1:18-21).
We accept as Christ followers that we are set apart unto God to the same measure that Christ is set apart unto God. However, retaining our sinful nature, we accept that we must continually strive to “be perfect as He is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), to “grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18), and to dedicate ourselves fully unto God (Romans 12:1-2) as to be “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
7. The Church and Its Purpose
We accept that the true church is comprised of all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This true church is led by Jesus, who is the head (Ephesians 5:23), who calls us to be His witnesses to the whole world (Acts 1:8) and to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-19). As Christ followers, we are also called to care for the orphans, widows, poor, and sick – the “least of these” – through love and compassion (Matthew 25:14).
8. The Ordinances
We accept that believer’s baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper are the only ordinances of the church given to us by our Lord Jesus (Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25). Though they are not means of salvation themselves, they regularly serve to spiritually nourish God’s people and visibly express the gospel message.
9. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit with Physical Evidence
We accept that all believers are entitled to, should expect, and earnestly seek the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with an initial evidence of tongues (Acts 2:4, 10:46, 19:6). Manifestations of the Spirit-filled life will present itself internally through the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24) and externally through the giving of gifts (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 1 Peter 4:10-11) as the Spirit desires for the believer for the building up of God’s kingdom. The gifts of the Spirit are available today, should be eagerly desired, and practiced in submission to the Spirit.
10. Divine Healing
We accept that God does heal today, that by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5), and that He holds the power and prerogative to heal at His choosing. Given this belief, we may boldly go before the Lord in prayer seeking healing as “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:14-16)
11. The Consummation
We accept that as Jesus ascended that he will one day descend in the Second Coming (Matthew 24:30), that the living and dead in Christ will be resurrected from the grave (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), judgment will be made on the just and the unjust (Romans 14:10-12, Revelation 20:11-15), and that Christ’s kingdom will be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13, Revelation 21:1). At this time, Satan, his demons, and those outside of Christ will be permanently separated from the benevolent presence of God, enduring eternal punishment, while the righteous, in glorious bodies, will live and reign with Christ for all time, giving Him unending praise and glory (Revelation 20:10, 21:26-27). We accept that at this time there will no longer be death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Section 2. Positions
In living out the above doctrine, sometimes positions must be made on certain issues and topics. Below are some of those positions, which we believe are supported by Scripture. For purposes of Saints Community Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Elder Council is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
Saints Community Church holds that marriage only has one meaning, and that is marriage sanctioned by God, which brings together the two complementary halves of humanity – male and female – and joining them in “one-flesh” unions (Genesis 2:18-35). This marriage relationship mirrors to our world the relationship Christ has with His Church (Ephesians 5:21-33). Further, this marriage relationship is unique in that it makes a covenant with God, vowing to both God and spouse a commitment to remain steadfast in our unconditional love, reconciliation, and sexual purity. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex and that any relationship existing in this context is not made in covenant with God.
Saints Community Church holds that every person, regardless of sexual preferences or identity, must be afforded Christian compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Behavior inconsistent with expected Christian fruit (such as hateful actions or harassing speech) are to be rejected and will be considered for removal of one’s membership.
Saints Community Church holds to the belief there are only two ordinances of the Lord’s Supper and Believer’s Baptism. First, it should be stated that an ordinance is not a sacrament, a means of grace that has saving values. However, it is, similar to a city ordinance, a command to be kept. These ordinances were clearly instituted by Jesus, taught by the apostles, and practiced in the life of the early church. Believer’s Baptism signifies our identification and obedience to Jesus and symbolically unites us in His death and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper signifies the new covenant relationship between us and Jesus and the sacrifice of Jesus required to obtain this covenant. We believe that these two ordinances are clear and visual signs of the gospel message and that their observance should be active in the life of the church.
There are a number of festivals within our local context, most importantly the Mardi Gras Festival. Often with any cultural festival, there are negative and positive stigmas associated with that event. Mardi Gras and other festivals are no different. And while many Christians and churches in our area have made the decision to receive or reject Mardi Gras, Saints Community Church strives to bring a third response to the festival season - restoration and redemption. That is, Saints Community Church seeks to use the festival season to “become all things to all people so that by all possible means some might be saved.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) We encourage participation in purposeful events such as outreach or special services. We also encourage our people to practice safety and be aware of the impact on Christian witness during this time.
ARTICLE VI. LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE
Section 1. Overview
The church seeks to be led by the Holy Spirit in all its decisions. The Lead Pastor, the staff, the members, the Advisory Council, and the Elders, all have a role in the church’s leadership.
A. The Lead Pastor is responsible for developing and communicating the vision and overseeing the day-to-day ministry of the church. The Lead Pastor serves as a member of the Elder Council.
B. The staff is responsible for working with the Lead Pastor in setting vision and managing day-to-day affairs, as well as for the leadership of their respective departments.
C. The members influence the spiritual tone, strength, and direction of the church by wisely selecting the Councils of Elders & Deacons.
D. The Advisory Council is to protect the church through counsel, prayer and, if required, the discipline of the Lead Pastor, as well as guidance in the process of selecting a new Lead Pastor. There shall be a minimum of two and as many as four members comprising the Advisory Council.
E. The Elders are to serve the church as spiritual leadership, as well as by reviewing church management policies and by approving the major financial commitments for the church. There shall be a minimum of three and as many as seven. The Elders shall serve as the legal board of Saints Community Church. They may also be referred to as Elders, Directors, or Officers of the Corporation.
Section 2. Elders
To be considered as an elder, the person must first and foremost have been called by God into leadership and be one with the highest Christian character. The qualifications of an elder are clearly outlined in Scripture and must be utilized in the selection of an elder to the Elder Council (See 1 Timothy 3:2-7, 1 Peter 5:2-4, Titus 1:5-9).
1. Above Reproach - Someone who has a reputation that will not bring shame on Jesus or His Church.
2. Husband of One Wife - Literally, a “one-woman man,” Elders, if married, must be devoted spouses and not controlled by sexual lust or immorality.
3. Temperate - Someone who is self-controlled, peaceable, free from excesses.
4. Self-controlled - A person who curbs his own desires for the greater good of others and does not to make superficial decisions based on immature thinking.
5. Respectable - A person who demonstrates a life of honorable behavior, is respected by non-Christians, and who lives an exemplary Christian walk that will seek imitation by others.
6. Hospitable - A person who is unselfish with their personal resources.
7. Able to Teach - A willingness and maturity in teaching such that God is glorified and sound doctrine is communicated.
8. Not Addicted to Wine - A person free from all addictions with a willingness to minimize their liberty for the sake of others.
9. Not Violent - Someone with control over their emotions who exhibits gentleness and patience in moments of adversity.
10. Not Quarrelsome - A person who refuses to be divisive and seeks to limit controversy not connected to discussion with eternal consequences.
11. Not Greedy - Someone who desires to have an eternal perspective of money and does not have a preoccupation with amassing material wealth.
12. Manage Their Household - Must have a well-ordered and healthy family life.
13. Not a New Convert - An elder must not be a new believer, but one considered to be a fully mature Christian.
14. Not Self-Willed - One who does not push an agenda, force opinions, abuse authority, or demonstrate stubbornness. An elder must be a servant.
15. Loving What is Good - A person who desires to honor God in every decision.
16. Just - An elder must desire to be fair and impartial in all decisions, prayerfully seeking the best for all parties involved including God’s Kingdom and Saints Community Church.
17. Devout - A person devoted to prayer, worship, evangelism, discipleship, and the study of Scripture.
18. Holding Fast to the Faithful Word - Committed to the Scriptures and led by the Holy Spirit.
19. An Elder may or may not be paid staff of the church.
In addition to these qualifications for service, an Elder must exhibit a willingness to competently and consistently carry out the following responsibilities as Elder:
1. Form an Elder Council and meet together with the Lead Pastor regularly for prayer and fasting pertaining to their responsibilities and the management of the church. (I Timothy 5:17)
2. Work in harmony with the Lead Pastor for the vision and direction for the Assembly (I Peter 5: 2,3).
3. Give themselves to prayer and ministry of the Word (Acts 6:3).
4. Anoint the sick and pray for healing (James 5:13-15)
5. Balancing tenderness with toughness as Shepherds of God’s flock (Acts 20:28)
6. Equip Christians for the edification of the Church (Ephesians 4:12)
7. Protect the Church from false teachers (Acts 20:28-29)
8. Administer church discipline and mediate disputes (Matthew 18:15-17)
9. Examine membership applicants for approval.
10. Examine Elder candidates for approval.
11. Examine Lead Pastor candidates for submission to the membership.
12. The Elders shall approve major financial commitments of the church, including any purchase requiring a loan, purchase of real property, as well as the annual budget of the corporation.
13. The Elders oversee the acquisition, construction and major renovations of the physical facilities of the church. Management of any construction project that requires a loan is accountable to the Elders.
14. An Elder will also be a member of the legal board, and may also be referred to as a Director or Officer of the Corporation. A member of the Elder council will be appointed to serve as Secretary.
15. The Elders may appoint additional member(s) to the legal board who are not a member of the Elder Council.
16. An Elder shall submit to the authority of the Elder Council as a member of the Assembly.
B. Manner of Selection
1. Elders are selected on the basis of a recognized call of God to leadership in the local Assembly. This will be seen by the scriptural qualifications becoming evident. (See Article VI, Section 2, Paragraph A.)
2. The congregation and existing leadership, prior to the installation of anyone as Elder shall observe a season of fasting and prayer.
3. After prayerful counsel and the interviewing process, those meeting the qualifications of an Elder will be selected, as needed, by the Elder council.
4. Prior to the installation of an Elder opportunity shall be given for any member of the congregation to share privately, in writing, with the existing Elder Council, any concerns about a prospective Elder. It then becomes the responsibility of the Elder Council to answer those concerns, if necessary.
5. Elders shall be recognized during an Installation Service.
C. Meetings of Elders
1. Meetings of Elders shall be called only by the Senior Pastor, except during any period of pastoral discipline contemplated by Article VI, Section 3, Paragraph D2 during which meetings may be called by agreement of at least three Elders.
2. A majority of the Elders shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting. Except as otherwise required in these Bylaws, the act of a majority of the Elders shall be the act of the Elders.
3. Any action required to be taken, or that may be taken, at a meeting of the Elders may be taken without a meeting if a written consent, stating the action to be taken, is signed by all of the Elders.
4. At any meeting of the Elders, any Elder may participate in the meeting by telephone provided all members of the Elders present at the meeting or by telephone can hear and speak to each other. Participation by telephone shall be equivalent to attending the meeting in person.
5. For meetings at which Elders vote regarding approvals required under these Bylaws, minutes or other written evidence of actions taken, which may include printed copies of electronic communications from all of the Elders, shall be kept by the Secretary and shall be promptly provided to the members of the Elder Council.
D. Term of Service
1. Elders shall serve up to three years from the time of their installation at which time they will re-examined and re-appointed if they are willing and the Lead Pastor, the Elder Council along with the acting membership affirm their continued role as elders.
2. Elders are disqualified when they no longer meet the scriptural qualifications, are no longer doing the work of an Elder, or for some reason are no longer active members of the Assembly.
3. Any discipline of an Elder shall be in accordance with I Timothy 5:19.
Section 3. Lead Pastor
1. The Lead Pastor shall meet all scriptural qualifications of an Elder as given in Article VI, Section 3, Paragraph A.
2. The Lead Pastor shall be a credentialed minister of the Assemblies of God and shall be in good standing in his relationship with the Louisiana District Council and the General Council of the Assemblies of God and shall be recommended by the Advisory Council.
1. The Lead Pastor shall serve as the President and chief executive officer of the corporation. If possible, he shall preside at all the meetings of the Elder Council and shall see that all orders and resolutions of the board are put into effect. He may execute in the name of the corporation all deeds, bonds, mortgages, contracts and other documents authorized by the Elders. He shall be an ex-officio member and chairman of all standing committees, and shall have the general powers and duties of supervision and management usually vested in the office of the President of a nonprofit corporation.
2. The Lead Pastor shall preside over all officially called membership meetings. He may delegate responsibilities as needed.
3. The Lead Pastor shall be responsible for all scriptural service, and shall have oversight in arranging all special services, conventions, etc. No person shall be invited to speak or preach in the Assembly unless he/she is in understanding and in full harmony with the Lead Pastor’s wishes.
4. The Lead Pastor shall have the oversight of all visitation work and may appoint others to assist him in this work as needed.
5. The Lead Pastor shall submit to the authority of the Elder Council as a member of the Assembly, and work in harmony with the Elders.
C. Manner of Selection
1. The Lead Pastor is selected on the basis of a recognized call of God to leadership in the local Assembly. This will be seen by scriptural qualifications becoming evident (Bylaws, Article VI, Section 2, Paragraph A).
2. The Advisory Council shall be involved in guiding the Elder Council through the process of selecting candidates for the office of Lead Pastor. The Elder Council shall narrow down the list of candidates to proceed to the interview process.
3. A season of fasting and prayer shall be observed by the congregation and existing leadership prior to the recognition of anyone becoming a Lead Pastor.
4. Prior to the installation of a Lead Pastor, opportunity shall be given for any member of the congregation to share privately, in writing, with the Elder Council, any concerns about a prospective Lead Pastor. It then becomes the responsibility of the Elder Council to answer those concerns, if necessary.
5. The Lead Pastor shall be selected by a consensus of 2/3 of the Active Membership present at a Congregational Meeting.
6. The Lead Pastor shall be recognized during an Installation Service.
D. Term of Service
1. The Lead Pastor shall serve in this position and role of authority for perpetuity. A minimum of 30 days’ notice shall be given either by the Lead Pastor in the event of resignation or by action of the Elder Council in conjunction with the Executive Council of the Louisiana District Council.
2. The Lead Pastor is disqualified when he no longer meets scriptural qualifications, he is no longer doing the work of a Lead Pastor, or for some other reason is no longer a member of the Assembly.
Section 3. Advisory Council
1. The members of the Advisory Council shall meet all scriptural qualifications of an Elder as given in Article VI, Sect. 3, Paragraph A.
2. At least two of the members of the Advisory Council must be, or have been, Senior Pastors of respected congregations who know and love the church and the Lead Pastor. They may not be employees of the corporation or staff members of the church, nor can they be married or otherwise related to employees or staff members, or fellow members of the Advisory Council. They must agree to make themselves available to serve the church as requested by the Elders, and must be willing to provide spiritual protection to the church through prayer and by exemplifying honorable Christian lives. The church will cover the travel, lodging, and meal expenses of members of the Advisory Council if traveling from out of town to attend meetings requested by the Senior Pastor or Elders. The members of the Advisory Council will not be paid anything above their actual expenses and are prohibited from having any other business relationship with the church.
1. The Advisory Council shall convene not less than once per calendar year.
2. Subject to budget considerations, the Lead Pastor’s salary will be determined by the following procedure:
a. the Advisory Council will consult with board of directors the salary range for Senior Pastors based upon the size of the church’s congregation and its annual giving,
b. the Elders will by a two-thirds vote, set the senior pastor’s salary.
3. The Lead Pastor, in the event of alleged misconduct, will be accountable to the Advisory Council and the Louisiana District of the Assemblies of God. In such cases, the Advisory Council will be involved with the Elder Council in the selection process of a new Senior Pastor, as outlined in Article VI, Section 3, Paragraph C2.
4. In the event of an impasse between the Lead Pastor and the members of the Elder Council, the Advisory Council will be called upon to provide spiritual guidance and work together to bring reconciliation.
C. Manner of Selection
1. The Advisory Council will be nominated by the Lead Pastor and approved by a unanimous vote of the Elders. The members of the Advisory Council shall not be deemed to be “directors” (as defined in the Louisiana Business Organizations Code, or any successor statute) of the corporation.
2. The Senior Pastor and the Elders may replace members of the Advisory Council at the rate of one per year and enter that change into the minutes of meetings of the Elders and Directors. If disciplinary action is being considered, changes in the Advisory Council may not be made until its work is completed.
Section 4. Other Staff and Employees
A. All ministerial staff and all other church employee appointments, supervision, and termination shall be by the Lead Pastor.
B. All employees shall abide by the standards of Christian living set forth in these bylaws for members. (Article VI, Section 1)
C. Employees must hold to the church’s statement of faith and doctrine and be willing to abide by them, as well as policies and procedures outlined in the employee handbook.
ARTICLE VII. MEMBERSHIP – COMMITMENT TO FELLOWSHIP
Each Christian, as a member of the true church, the Body of Christ, and as members of a local church, makes a commitment to fellowship to that local congregation (Membership and Commitment to Fellowship are used interchangeably). The active membership of Saints Community Church shall consist of all persons whose names appear on the Church Membership Roster established and maintained by the Elder Council.
Section 1. Standard of Membership
The Standard of Membership in condensed form is new birth, agreement and compliance with the Statement of Fundamental Truths (Article V), consistent Christian living as described in this section, faithful attendance of services, doctrinal agreement, and faithful contributions of tithes and offerings.
1. Members are to have the evidence of a genuine experience in regeneration (the new birth) John 1:12, 3:3-8; I Peter 1:18-25. This regeneration occurs through repentance of sin and confession that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.
2. Members are to subscribe to the Statement of Fundamental Truths. (I Corinthians 1:10).
3. Members are to be baptized in water by immersion, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
4. Members are encouraged to be baptized with the Holy Spirit evidenced with the supernatural speaking in other tongues or be earnestly seeking (Acts 2:2-4).
5. Members are to be practicing daily prayer and Bible reading – a consistent devotional habit (II Peter 3:18).
6. Members are to practice tithing (Matthew 23:23; Genesis 14:20; I Corinthians 16:2). We set no levy on our members, though we believe in and preach tithing. The work of the church requires faithful financial support by its members. (I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8:11, 12,14; 9: 6,7; II Chronicles 31:5; Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38; 10:25; Romans 12:8.
7. As Spirit-led Christians, we should refrain from gambling, secret orders, and should stay away from every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and not be involved in immorality (pornography, adultery, fornication, homosexuality, or living together outside of marriage; See 1 Cor. 6:9-10, 18). We support Biblical marriage, family relationships, and we maintain the position of life for the unborn. Spirit-led living includes moderation in all areas of life including habits such as consumption of alcohol.
8. Members are to faithfully attend meetings of the church on a weekly basis (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:24, 25). The strength of a church is dependent upon the loyalty of each member. A feeling of responsibility to the services is important.
9. Members are encouraged to give to the missions and outreach ministries of the church. Our conviction is that God uses the local church for the evangelization of the community, the nation and the world (Matthew 28:19, 20).
10. Members are to make every effort to attend any scheduled membership meetings. Membership meetings can only be scheduled by the Lead Pastor, or in his absence, the Elder Council.
Section 2. Reception of Members
A. Those applying for membership are to complete leadership training and submit an application form.
B. Those applying for membership need not be U.S. citizens.
C. Upon successful completion of the Leadership Training and subsequent approval of the Elder Council, the applicant shall sign a membership covenant, have their name placed on the church roster and be received as a member of the assembly.
D. Members are to be accountable to one another and be willing to submit to Biblical correction from each other and from the Elder Council as constituted herein.
Section 3. Discipline of Members
A. Grounds for Discipline.
1. Any member of the church who is willfully unfaithful in attendance of services can be disqualified from active membership.
2. Unscriptural conduct or radical departure from the tenets of faith held by this church (Article V) shall be considered sufficient grounds upon which such person (s) shall be disqualified as a member.
B. Manner of Discipline
The instruction of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17 indicates the following course of action if your brother or sister sins:
1. Seek the lord in private prayer! If this does not resolve the matter,
2. Under the Lord’s direction, if the matter persists, go and speak to him / her in private. If there is still no resolution,
3. Take one or two others. If he refuses to listen to them, only then do you
4. Take it to the Church (the Elder Council).
It cannot be stressed enough that the purpose is reconciliation! All things should be done gently with love! This is why step 1. is essential.
Section 4. Transfer of Members
Those who desire to sever their membership with Saints Community Church may do so in writing. In such case, all effort should be made to leave in accordance with Jesus’ command to “love one another” (John 13: 34) and to, “as far as it depends on us, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). If a member is in good standing and desires to transfer to another fellowship, they may request a letter of recommendation from the Lead Pastor.
Section 5. Annual Meeting and Special Meetings of Members
A meeting of the members of the corporation shall be held annually, and special meetings may be called, as determined by the Board of Directors. Meetings shall be held at the church’s Metairie location or the principal place of business. Notice of any meeting, and the purpose of any special meeting, of the members may be given by oral announcement at any regularly scheduled Sunday service at each church location at least one week prior to the date of the meeting. Notice also may be given by email or other electronic format to subscribers to the church’s regular form of electronic communication to members or by posting on the church website, in each case at least seven days prior to the date of the meeting. When a duly called annual or special meeting has been convened, those members present shall constitute a quorum. The President shall be the chairman of all meetings of members; in his absence, the Secretary, or any other Director appointed by the Directors, in that order, shall serve as chairman.
Section 6. Members’ Rights
Members’ rights are described in Article VI, Section II, Paragraph B4 relating to appointment to the Elders Council; Article VI, Section 3, Paragraph C5 relating to the selection of a new Lead Pastor; and relating to amendments to the corporation’s charter and these bylaws; Article X. Except as set forth above, members shall have no voting rights.
Section 5. Revision of Church Roster
The Elder Council shall be authorized to revise the church roster no less than one week prior to any duly called Church Growth Meeting or special business meeting.
ARTICLE VII. FINANCE
Section 1. The Lead Pastor’s Administrative Role
The President is the Lead Pastor of the church. The Lead Pastor and the staff are ultimately responsible for all day-to-day administrative decisions of the church. The Lead Pastor hires, directs and dismisses staff, although the Lead Pastor may not, without the prior approval of the Elder Council, (i) hire (nor increase the salary of) any relative of any church employee, or (ii) hire as a pastoral staff member any person who does not satisfy the spiritual qualifications for membership in the church.
Section 2. The Lead Pastor’s Role in Establishing Salaries
Subject to the approved annual budget, the Lead Pastor with the assistance of the Elders determines all salaries and writes pay scales for full-time salaried employees.
Section 3. Budgets and Expenditures
An annual budget must be prepared prior to the commencement of each year. The Lead Pastor and staff will prepare an overall consolidated budget and present it to the Elder Council for approval. Funds of the corporation shall be spent or disbursed in accordance with the approved annual budget, although such budget may be revised by the Lead Pastor as necessary to reallocate amounts from one department or line item to another department or line item, except as otherwise expressly provided from time to time by the Elder Council.
Section 4. Authority
The Lead Pastor may not, on behalf of the corporation, borrow money (other than in the ordinary course of business) or enter into any material long-term agreements, incur mortgage indebtedness or material, long-term capital leases, enter into or amend long-term real estate leases, commit the corporation to buy or sell real estate, or commit the corporation to construct facilities, without the prior approval of the Elders. All funds from undesignated contributions available to the corporation above budgeted amounts are deemed discretionary and are available to be spent by the Lead Pastor in the ordinary course of business of the church.
ARTICLE VIII. BUSINESS PRACTICES
Section 1. Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the corporation shall be the calendar year.
Section 2. Contracts
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in these Bylaws, the Elders may authorize any officer or officers, agent or agents of the corporation, in addition to the officers so authorized by these Bylaws, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the corporation. Such authority may be general or may be confined to specific instances.
Section 3. Checks, Drafts or Orders
All checks, drafts, order for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the corporation shall be signed by such officer or officers, agent or agents of the corporation, and such manner, as shall from time to time be determined by resolution of the Elders. In the absence of such determination by the Elders, such instruments may be signed by either the Secretary or the President of the corporation.
Section 4. Deposits
A. All monies received shall be properly counted by at least two responsible persons.
B. All monies received by any or all departments and ministries for any purpose shall be properly accounted for and deposited in the appropriate church account.
C. All funds of the corporation shall be deposited to the credit of the corporation in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as the Directors may select in accordance with these Bylaws.
Section 5. Gifts
The Lead Pastor may accept on behalf of the corporation any contribution, gift, bequest or devise for any purpose of the corporation.
Section 6. Books and Records
A. The corporation shall keep correct and complete books and records of account.
B. The corporation shall also keep minutes of the proceedings of its members, Elders, committees having exercised any of the authority of the Elders and any other committees. It shall keep at the principal office a record giving the names and addresses of all Directors.
Section 7. Facilities
A. Saints Community Church’s facilities were provided through God’s providence and by the sacrificial generosity and benevolence of those within our church. The church desires that this facility be used for the fellowship of the Body of Christ and to glorify God. Although these facilities are not generally open for public usage, we make our facilities available to approved non-members as an act of Christian charity and as a witness to our faith.
B. Facility use will not be permitted to persons or groups holding, advancing, or advocating beliefs or practices that contrast with the church’s moral and faith teachings, which are summarized in our church’s bylaws. Further, the church’s facilities may not be used for activities that contradict or are deemed inconsistent with our teachings. The lead pastor, or his official designee, is the final decision-maker concerning use of church facilities.
C. The consumption, sale or distribution of alcohol & illicit drugs, abusive or foul language, violent behavior, and weapons are strictly prohibited on church premises. Any person exhibiting these behaviors or items will be required to leave the premises.
ARTICLE IX. DISSOLUTION CLAUSE
If this Assembly ceases to function for the purposes herein set forth, all property and all assets remaining after satisfying debts and obligations shall revert to the Louisiana District Council Assemblies of God, with headquarters in Alexandria, Louisiana. The Louisiana District Council shall have full authority to sell such property and to use the proceeds for the work of the Assemblies of God.
ARTICLE X. AMENDMENTS
Amendments to this constitution shall first be recommended by the Elder Council to the official membership. Amendments may be made by a two-thirds consensus of the active membership of the church present at an officially called business meeting or by a mail vote. Only the Elder’s Council can convene official business meetings of the membership. Proposed amendments must be made available to the active members at least two weeks prior to presentation for a vote.