Church Constitution - New Covenant Chapel
New Covenant Chapel
Recognizing God’s grace by which we live here and eternally and desiring to glorify God through relationship with him and with others of biblical and Christian faith, in praise of our great God, Lord Christ, and Holy Spirit, we establish this constitution for the framework of operation of our church.
Article I – Name, Location, and Purpose
Section 1: Name
This organization shall be known as New Covenant Chapel.
Section 2: Location
New Covenant Chapel is located at __________________.
Section 3: Purpose
The purpose of this organization is to provide a means whereby its members may worship God together. Our united worship is corporately presenting our witness of the Gospel to the world and by edifying each other through (1) preaching and teaching Christian doctrine and ethics, (2) encouraging each other to love and good works, and (3) supporting each other in endurance against the infiltration of wickedness and deceit. We find our purpose established in the Bible, and these Holy Scriptures are recognized as our ultimate authority for all faith and practice. Our purpose is pursued through regular meetings, special meetings, education, care, missionary outreach, and any other ministries and activities that the church deems necessary or appropriate. New Covenant Chapel is operated as a non-profit organization exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational 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 Revenue Law).
Article II – Fundamental Beliefs
Section 1: God
A. God is an eternal, infinite, personal, unchanging Spirit of one essence existing in three Persons who is and acts in perfect, harmonious truth, goodness, and beauty. He created all existence apart from himself and sustains all existence.
1. Creator – Genesis 1; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 134:3; Colossians 1:16
2. Sustainer – Psalm 36:6; 55:22; Colossians 1:17
3. Eternal – Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:2; Romans 1:20; 16:26; Hebrews 9:14
4. Infinite – 1 Kings 8:27; Job 11:7; Psalm 139:7-12; 147:5; Jeremiah 23:23-24
5. Personal – Genesis 3; Exodus 3:6, 14; Psalm 20
6. Spirit – John 4:24; Acts 17:24; I Timothy 1:17
7. One Essence – Deuteronomy 6; Ephesians 4:5-6; 1 Timothy 2:5-6
8. Three Persons
a. Father – Matthew 6:9, 26, 30-32; Mark 8:38; Revelation 3:21
b. Son – Matthew 26:63-64; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1-3
c. Holy Spirit – Matthew 28:19; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Peter 1:2
9. Truth – Psalm 19:7-9; Jeremiah 9:24; Romans 1:16-17
10. Goodness – Psalm 118:1, 29; John 3:16; Romans 8:28
11. Harmonious essence and existence – God is and acts in harmony of attributes. Thus, He acts in righteousness (including justice) in accord with His love. His love likewise does not violate His righteousness.
B. God alone is worthy of worship, and each Person of the Godhead is worthy of worship.
1. The Father – Deuteronomy 26:10; Psalm 29:2; Hebrews 12:28; Revelation 4:10
2. The Son – Philippians 2:10; Revelation 5:13-14
3. The Spirit – Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 6:19
Section 2: Bible
A. The Bible, the original writings of the historically accepted canon of sixty-six books contained in the Old and New Testaments, is the exclusive, inspired Word of God, and, as such, it is God’s revelation as our ultimate authority for faith and practice.
1. Exclusive – 2 Timothy 3:15-16 (note: refers to those Scriptures Timothy knew as a whole from childhood, i.e., Law, Writings, Prophecy—the Old Testament); 2 Peter 3:16; I John 4:6
a. Systematic approach – God loves his creation (John 3:16). God interposes himself in his creation (Psalm 20). God reveals himself to his creation (Romans 1-3). God requires of his creation attitude and action consistent with his revealed character (Romans 1:18-20). Therefore, considering God’s revelatory interposition upon creation and his love and infinite nature, God both could and would provide a complete communication to humankind of all he wants us to know of him and how he wants us to respond to him. Since we have a closed canon of Scripture accepted through the millennia as his Word, we may be confident that this is the complete and exclusive revelation of God to all humankind.
2. Inspired – John 10:34; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Peter 3:16; 1 John 4:6
B. Although only the autographs were divinely inspired, God providentially keeps his Word through manuscripts and translations so that best available manuscripts and faithful translations may continue to be authoritative.
1. Preservation – 1 Kings 19:18; Isaiah 1:8-9; 37:31; 43:21; Ezekiel 6:8; Romans 9:27; 1 Peter 1:5
Section 3: Christ
A. As God, Jesus possesses all the attributes of the Godhead with control of expression.
B. As man, Jesus possessed a nature and physiology similar to man’s in that he grew in wisdom and stature, he became hungry and thirsty, and he experienced fatigue, sorrow, joy, fear, and temptation.
1. Deity – Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13
2. Human Nature – Matthew 4:2; 27:46; Luke 2:52; 22:44; John 4:6; 15:11; 19:28; Hebrews 4:15
C. Jesus was virgin born and lived a sinless life.
1. Virgin Birth – Matthew 1:18-23
2. Sinless Life – Hebrews 4:15
D. Jesus atoned for the sins of humankind through the willing offer of himself, his vicarious sacrifice, and his resurrection.
1. Offer – Galatians 1:4; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14
2. Vicarious Sacrifice – Romans 5:6-8; I Corinthians 15:3; Hebrews 9:26; 10:12
3. Resurrection – Matthew 28:6; Romans 8:34; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 15:14
E. Jesus continues his role of priest in his intercession for believers.
1. Intercession – Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25
Section 4: Humankind
A. God created Adam and Eve without sin.
1. Sinless Creation – Genesis 1:31 (see also Doctrine of God for why God cannot create sin)
B. Humankind is composed of material and immaterial aspects.
1. Material – Genesis 2:7; Psalm 31:9
2. Immaterial – Genesis 2:7; Psalm 31:9; Romans 8:16
C. Since all existence outside God is dependent on God, all existence outside God has a of obedience to Him
1. Responsibility – Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 2:15-16; Psalm 96:8; Hosea 6:7; Romans 9:20
D. Adam sinned against God resulting in condemnation—separation from God.
1. Adam’s Sin – Genesis 3:1-7
2. Condemnation – Genesis 3:17-19; Proverbs 11:21; Romans 6:23
E. All humankind bears the guilt of Adam’s original sin and corrupted nature.
1. Guilt of Original Sin – Romans 5:12-14, 18-19
2. Corrupted Nature – Genesis 6:5-6; Psalm 58:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Jeremiah 17:9
Section 5: Sin
A. Sin is any impiety (attitude or action) contrary to the essence and existence of God.
1. Sin – Genesis 6:5; 1 Kings 14:22; Psalm 51:4; 141:4; Proverbs 21:4; Matthew 5:27, 15:19; James 4:17
2. Transgression – A subset of sin in which the sinner violates the revealed law of God – Romans 1:20, 4:15, 5:13
B. Transgression against God results in death (separation from God).
1. Result – Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Proverbs 14:12; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 6:20-23
Section 6: Salvation
A. Purpose - Salvation is the activity of God to remove the guilt of sin from people in order to reconcile them to himself for the eventual restoration of perfect and intimate relationship between God and humanity.
1. Purpose and Plan – Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 1:3-14; 3:7-12; Hebrews 1:1-4
B. Application - God applies Christ’s sacrificial payment for sin to the individual who in repentance believes in Christ, the revealed righteousness of God. Belief in Christ entails two aspects:
1. that he is the hope of reconciliation to God, meaning acceptance that
a. Christ is God
b. the sinless Christ’s sacrificial death paid the penalty for the individual’s own sin
c. the individual has no merit of his own to be worthy of God’s grace
2. that he is the hope of restoration in God, meaning acceptance that
a. Christ will come again to make all things new
b. Evil will be forever purged
c. Union of God will be everlasting
3. Application of Christ’s righteousness – John 1:12; Romans 3:21-25; 5:15-21
C. Result - The believing person receives remission of sins, justification, sanctification, and adoption in everlasting relationship through the Holy Spirit.
1. Remission of sins – Matthew 26:28; Colossians 1:13-14; Hebrews 10:12-17
2. Justification – Romans 4:23-25; 5:16-18
3. Sanctification – Romans 6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13
4. Adoption – Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:4-6
Section 7: Restoration
A. As promised, Christ will return to this earth to bring final judgment to all evil and to gather together His covenant people from among the physically dead and living to continue in complete, restored, everlasting relationship with God.
1. His return – John 14:1-3; Acts 1:10-11; Revelation 22:7, 20
2. His judgment – 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 19:11-15
3. His gathering – Matthew 24:30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Article III – Membership
Section 1: Admission
A. Qualifications. Any person may be admitted to the membership of New Covenant Chapel who:
1. Gives testimony of conversion and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
2. Assents to the Fundamental Beliefs as recorded in Article II
3. Agrees to conduct himself/herself (1) in compliance with this document, (2) in compliance with the expressed and/or intended spirit of mutual benefit and cooperation of this organizational body, and (3) with the intention of living apart from sin as commanded by God’s Word
4. Is willing to support the work of this church in regular participation
B. Procedure. Any person desiring membership in New Covenant Chapel may make his/her request known to a church elder. The candidate shall then meet together with at least two of the elders to determine whether he/she meets the qualifications for membership. If determined qualified, the candidate shall be presented to the congregation during a regular church service for congregational approval and welcome. A three-quarters majority vote of the church quorum is required to admit a member.
Section 2: Removal
A member of New Covenant Chapel may be removed from the membership list for any of the following reasons:
B. Request. Removal from membership may be made based on a request from the member personally or a request for a letter from another church.
C. Absence. The membership of any individual shall be automatically terminated if the member in question has not attended regular worship services of the church in the preceding six months. The church may choose to waive this provision if it determines that there is good cause for the absence. Waiver must be approved by a three-quarters majority vote of a church quorum.
D. Persistent sinful conduct. Removal from membership may be made based on persistent sinful conduct that is clearly contrary (according to the church’s determination) to the direct teachings of the Bible (such as immorality or apostasy). Prior to removal, the church, through its members and elders, shall strive to follow the guidelines for church discipline given in Scripture (Mat. 18:15-17; I Cor. 5:11). A two-thirds majority vote of a church quorum is required for removal of a member. Any member excluded from the church in this manner may be restored upon evidence of confession and repentance acceptable to the church. Restoration shall require a vote of three-quarters majority of a church quorum.
Article IV – Operation
Section 1: Regular Meetings for Corporate Worship
The church shall hold regular meetings for corporate worship in regard to the preaching/teaching of God’s Word, united praise to our God, and the relational edification of its members through encouragement to love and good works. In addition, the church may hold special meetings, such as conferences and concerts.
Section 2: Meetings for Church Business
A. Regular Business Meetings. The church shall conduct quarterly business meetings for the first three quarters of a calendar and/or fiscal year. A budget for the following year shall be considered at the third quarter meeting. If a new budget is not approved, special business meetings will be called as necessary until a budget is approved. Announcements of such meetings shall be made at least a week in advance of the meeting.
B. Annual Business Meetings. The annual business meeting shall be held in the month following the closing of the fiscal year (fiscal year is the calendar year) and announced at least two weeks in advance. At that time the church shall, among other pertinent matters, report on the previous year and elect elders and deacons if needed.
C. Special Business Meetings. Special business meetings may be called by the elders to consider matters which require action prior to the next regular business meeting. Announcement shall be made at least one Sunday in advance.
D. Moderator. The pastor or another elder, shall act as moderator at all business meetings of the church.
E. Voting. All members at least 18 years of age shall be eligible to vote. In all business meetings not less than 51 percent of the voting membership shall be considered a quorum. Voting shall be either open or secret at the discretion of the moderator. A three-fourths majority vote of all voting members present shall be required for passage of any item of business (unless specified otherwise in this document).
Section 3: Administration
The elders have administrative responsibility for all areas of church life. One elder is designated as chief administrator having responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the church. However, all operations are under the purview of the elders as a whole.
Section 4: Separation
The position of the church is that Scripture commands God's people to be holy, that is, to separate from spiritual union with those (1) who teach and/or promote heresy (i.e., offense against the gospel) and/or (2) who willingly continue in disobedience to clear biblical command (Rom. 16:17; Eph. 5:11; II Thes. 3:6-15; II John 9-11; II Cor. 6:14-18). The church will maintain an ecclesiastical separation from people and organizations who fall into either of the two errors mentioned. The church urges its members to honor the church's position in this regard and to practice the same type of separation on an individual basis.
Article V – Officers
Section 1: Pastor
A. Qualifications. The pastor must be a member of New Covenant Chapel. The pastor must meet the Scriptural qualifications for the office set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-11.
B. Responsibility. The pastor is an elder of the church and takes part in all elder oversight of operations. The pastor is the primary preacher/teacher of the church. Unless an administrative/executive pastoral position is created, the pastor holds responsibility for all of the church meetings and oversees church staff.
C. Call and Tenure. A pulpit committee, composed of the elders, shall seek and recommend a qualified person to be pastor of the church. Following careful examination and opportunity to hear the candidate preach, the church shall vote on the candidate at a special business meeting. Once elected, the pastor will continue to serve indefinitely until resignation or dismissal. Dismissal must be by membership vote in a special business meeting called for that purpose. Dismissal requires a two-thirds majority of a church quorum.
Section 2: Elders
A. Qualifications. Elders must be members of New Covenant Chapel. Elders must meet the Scriptural qualifications of the office as set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-11. They must have been members of the church for at least one year. (Exception to the one year membership requirement may be made for those chosen to be elders in the first year of church operation.)
B. Responsibilities. The elders oversee all areas of church life. The elders may elect a chairman who shall serve for a term of at least one year but no longer than five years.
C. Election and Tenure. Church members may submit recommendations for elders. Elder nominees are examined by the elders of the church. Elder candidates may also be examined by the church at large during a special meeting for that purpose. The church shall vote on the candidate at the annual business meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose. The nomination/examination period must be at least three months. Upon election, an elder shall serve for five years (or until resignation or dismissal). Dismissal must be by membership vote in a special business meeting called for that purpose. Dismissal requires a two-thirds majority of a church quorum. The number of elders shall be determined by the elders according to the needs of the church (minimum of three).
Section 3: Deacons
A. Qualifications. Deacons shall meet the Scriptural qualifications of the office as set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13. They must have been members of the church for at least one year. (Exception to the one year membership requirement may be made for those chosen to be deacons in the first year of church operation.)
B. Responsibilities. According to the pattern set forth in Acts 6:1-6, the deacons shall assist the elders in every aspect of ministry in the church in which the elders deem assistance is needed. The deacons may elect a chairman who shall serve for a term of at least one year but no longer than that deacon’s normal tenure.
C. Election and Tenure. Church members may submit recommendations for deacons. From that list, the elders will submit nominations to the congregation for vote. Upon election, a deacon shall serve for three years. The number of deacons shall be determined by the elders according to the needs of the church.
Section 4: Staff
In order to meet the needs of the church, the elders are at liberty to fill positions, salaried and unsalaried, with personnel who are equipped for a particular task. Special pastoral staff positions, such as executive pastor, assistant pastor, music pastor, youth pastor, or outreach pastor, shall be nominated by the elders and approved by the church by vote (three-quarters majority). Other positions, such as secretaries, custodians, and any others the elders may deem necessary, shall be appointed by the elders. Salaried personnel may be hired only after the church membership has allocated funds for that position in the budget.
Article VI – Financial Support Policy
The financial needs of this church shall be met by the voluntary giving of contributions by its members and friends (Mal. 3:8-10; I Cor. 16:1-2; II Cor. 9:6-7). Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions, but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the elders. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Article II.
Article VII – Affiliation
Section 1: Autonomy
This church is an independent church that is totally self-governing and subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body.
Section 2: Authority
The authority for church government of this church is vested in its membership.
Article VIII – Amendments
Amendments to this Constitution may be adopted only by a three-fourths majority vote of the membership quorum at any regular or special meeting, provided that such amendment be distributed in written form to the membership at least two weeks prior to the vote.
Article IX – Dissolution
In the event of the dissolution of New Covenant Chapel as a non-profit organization, the assets of this church shall be given to other non-profit organizations of like fundamental faith which would satisfy the remaining membership and qualify under the provision and regulations of the Internal Revenue Code of 2009 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law).