Life of Purpose Christian Church

By-Laws
 
PREAMBLE
We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith, as an instrument of administration for the purpose of guiding the affairs of this Church, to assist us in accomplishing our mission and to govern the body in an orderly manner. Accepting the whole Bible, the inspired Word of God as our authoritative rule of faith and practice, we therefore covenant together as a body of believers in Jesus Christ and adopt for our ministries and government the following articles.

ARTICLE I – NAME

 This church will be known as Life of Purpose Christian Church (SBC).  Hereafter referred to as Life of Purpose.

ARTICLE II – CHURCH MISSION

To build a church family that develops relationships and encourages spiritual growth, by proclaiming the message of Jesus Christ to the community and beyond.

ARTICLE III – STATEMENT OF FAITH

The Holy Bible is the inspired word of God. There is one God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – each possessing all the attributes of deity.   God, the Father, created people to have fellowship with Him, but they defied God by sinfully going their own way.  As a result, we need God’s saving grace to end our alienation from Him. Salvation comes only through God’s grace – not human effort –and must be received personally by faith.   Jesus Christ, second Person of the Trinity, lived a sinless life on earth and voluntarily paid for our sins by dying on the cross as our substitute.  This accomplished salvation for all who receive grace by trusting in Him alone.  He rose from the dead and is the only mediator between us and God.   The Holy Spirit, third Person of the Trinity, draws sinners to Christ and equips believers for personal growth and service to the church.

Life of Purpose subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, a copy of which is available upon request.
ARTICLE IV – COVENANT

We, the members of Life of Purpose, having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized (or having agreed to be baptized) by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, enter into a covenant with each other, as one body in Christ.   We therefore will:

  • Walk together in Christian love.
  • Strive for the advancement of Life of Purpose for the kingdoms sake.
  • Seek the salvation of the unbeliever.
  • Continually encourage spiritual growth.
  • Assemble faithfully for worship and fellowship.
  • Observe the Ordinances of Baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper.
  • Be faithful stewards of our resources by contributing cheerfully and regularly through our tithes and offerings.
  • Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the community and beyond.
  • Help one another experience a growing knowledge of God through Small Groups.
  • Educate our children according to our faith.
  • Be reliable in our commitments and responsibilities.
  • Live a life that exemplifies Christ to others.
  • Hold each other accountable to Christian principles.
  • Regularly observe a personal quiet time with God in prayer and bible study.
  • Pray for one another continually.
  • Help each other in sickness and sorrow.
  • Be gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

We enter into this covenant because we have the common purpose of obeying Jesus Christ and because we believe that we need one another’s help to do this.

ARTICLE V – GOVERNMENT AND RELATIONSHIPS 
The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it.  Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership.  (See Article I of the By Laws).  All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.  This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual council and cooperation common amongst Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Blue Water Association, the Michigan Baptist State Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
 
ARTICLE VI – CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. General
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.
Section 2. Qualification
Anyone is welcome to become a member of this church. A person may become a member by a profession of faith, participating in the New Member Orientation and meeting at least one of the following qualifications:
  • Baptism according to the policies of this church.
  • Promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church.
  • Restoration upon a statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in a Baptist church when no letter is obtainable.
Section 3. Rights and Responsibilities of Members
Every member of the church:
  • Is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present or provision has been made for absentee balloting.
  • Is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
  • May participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.
  • Must accept and abide by the Church Covenant.
Section 4. Termination of Membership
A person’s membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
  • Death of the member.
  • Transfer to another Baptist church.
  • Exclusion by action of this church.
  • Erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.
Section 5. Discipline
It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The pastor, other members of the church staff, elders and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment. Should some serious condition exist that would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds vote of the members present is required; and the church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church. A spirit of Christian kindness and patience shall pervade all such proceedings. The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by vote of the church upon evidence of the excluded person’s repentance and reformation.
 
ARTICLE VII – CHURCH OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
All who serve as officers of the church and those who serve on church committees shall be members of this church.   Section 1. Church Officers The officers of this church shall be:
  • Pastor
  • Church Staff
  • Elders
  • Deacons
  • Clerk
  • Treasurer
  • Trustees
Pastor
A pastor shall be licensed and ordained as a minister of the Gospel as stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. It shall be the Pastor’s duty to preach the gospel, teach the scriptures, administer the ordinances, articulate a vision for the congregation, train and prepare leaders, equip the saints for the work of ministry in order to evangelize the lost, care for the sick and bereaved and in various other ways guide and advance the spiritual welfare of the church. The pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such he works with the deacons and church staff to lead the church in the achievement of its mission. A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. A Pastoral Search Committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor, and its recommendations will constitute a nomination. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one name at a time. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given. Election shall be by ballot and require an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present to elect the nominee to be called as pastor. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request using the same three-fourths voting method. The pastor may relinquish the office as pastor by giving at least two weeks notice to the church at the time of resignation. In the event that the pastor improperly discharges the responsibilities of his office the church may declare the office of pastor to be vacant. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least two week’s public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon the recommendation of a majority of the Personnel Committee and the deacons or by written petition signed by not less than one-fourth of the resident church members. The members present shall designate the moderator for this meeting by majority vote. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by secret ballot and require an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the pastor so excluded from office, the church will compensate the pastor with not less than one-twelfth of his total annual compensation. The revocation shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in not more than 30 days.
 
Church Staff
The ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. A job description shall be written when the need for a staff member is determined. Those staff members:
  • Shall exhibit evidence of a personal call of God to be a minister of the Gospel as stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
  • Shall be recommended to the church by the Personnel Committee and called by church action.

At the time of resignation, not less than a two-week notice shall be given to the church. The church may vote to vacate such positions upon recommendation of the Personnel Committee, such termination being immediate, and the compensation conditions being the same as for the pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual’s compensation. Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the church determines the need for their services. The Church Administrative Team shall have the authority to employ and to terminate services of non-ministerial staff members. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the supervising staff member and, as appropriate, with the consultation of related committees of the church.

Elders
There shall be no less than three elders (not including the Pastor). The church shall elect elders by ballot at regular business meetings.  All candidates will be fully and carefully considered in keeping with Biblical qualifications found in Titus 1:6. Upon agreeing to serve if elected, election shall proceed at the next regular business meeting following their nomination. Elders shall serve on a rotation basis. Each year the assigned term of office of one-third of the number of elders shall expire, and an election shall be held to fill vacancies. In case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the church may elect an elder to fill the unexpired term. After serving a three-year term assignment, an elder shall be eligible for reelection only after the lapse of at least one year. The Pastor will be considered an elder but not subject to tri-annual review. The elders will elect a leader as chairman. The Pastor shall not be the chairman of the elders. The chairman shall preside as moderator at all business meetings of the church. The elders shall ensure that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held and that the responsible members submit required reports to the church. It will be the responsibility of the chairman of elders to assign a moderator from the board of elders in the event of his absence. Elders shall be the resource of wise council for the church. An elder shall adhere to the Biblical precepts stated in 1 Kings 12:6 (advisor), Acts 14:23 (trustworthy), Acts 15:2 (believer), Acts 15:4 (witness), Acts 15:6 (deliberator), Acts 15:22 (leader), Acts 16:4 (decision maker), 1 Timothy 4:14 (messenger), 1 Timothy 5:17 (director/preacher/teacher), and James 5:14 (spiritual).
 
Deacons
The church shall elect deacons by ballot at regular business meetings.  All candidates will be fully and carefully considered in keeping with Biblical qualifications found in Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12. Upon agreeing to serve if elected, election shall proceed at the next regular business meeting following their nomination. There shall be no less than one deacon for every 12 to 15 church families or as determined by the needs of the church. The acting Deacons will annually appoint a Chairman. Deacons shall serve on a rotation basis. Each year the assigned term of office of one-third of the number of deacons shall expire, and election shall be held to fill vacancies and to add to the deacons such numbers as the church size warrants. In case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the church may elect a deacon to fill the unexpired term. After serving a three-year term assignment, a deacon shall be eligible for reelection only after the lapse of at least one year. There shall be no obligation to constitute as an assigned deacon one who has been a deacon in another church; but in such instances as one might be chosen by this church for assignment as a deacon, his previous ordination by another church of like faith and order shall suffice for this church. In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church. Their task is to serve with the pastor and staff in performing the pastoral ministry tasks of:
  • Leading the church in the proclamation of God’s Word to believers and to unbelievers.
  • Providing pastoral care to church members and other persons in the community.
  • Developing the church’s missionary outreach to the world.
  • Building and maintaining harmonious fellowship in the church.
  • Providing assistance to the pastor(s) as needed.
Clerk
The church shall elect a clerk as its clerical officer. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a suitable record of all official actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a register of names and status of members. The clerk shall issue letters of transfer as requested, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give required notice of all meetings where notice is necessary, as indicated in these bylaws. The clerk shall be responsible for preparing the annual letter of the church to the association. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary who will assist the elected clerk. All church records are church property and shall be kept in the church office when an office is maintained.
 
Treasurer
The church shall elect a treasurer as its financial officer. The treasurer shall be bonded, the church paying for the bond. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to present to the church at each regular business meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements since the previous meeting. Upon completing the annual account at the end of each fiscal year and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church. The Administrative Team or a public accountant shall audit the treasurer’s report and records annually.
             
Trustees
The church shall elect three or more trustees to serve as legal officers for the church. They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any church property. When the signatures of trustees are required, they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church-approved matters. Trustees shall serve on a rotation basis, with one new trustee being elected every three years.   Section 2. Church Committees A person must be a member of this church in order to be elected to a committee. All committee member candidates shall be nominated at a regular business meeting and (upon accepting the nomination) elected by the church. There may be various types of committees. Temporary committees will be established by the church on an “as required” basis and will be determined by the current needs, growth and direction of the church. Permanent committees shall be responsible for conducting the administrative and business aspects of the church. Permanent committees of this church shall be the Personnel Committee and the Stewardship Committee. The term for these committee members is not subject to any time limit and shall only replace members as needed. (See Amendment)

ARTICLE VIII –  CHURCH COUNCIL
The Church Council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, conducting, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church. Regular members of the Church Council shall be the pastor(s), ministerial church staff, elders, deacons, ministry and small group leaders. The primary functions of the Church Council shall be to:
  • Recommend to the church suggested objectives and church goals.
  • Review and coordinate ministry and program plans recommended by church officers, organizations, and committees.
  • Recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities.
  • Evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals.

All matters agreed upon by the council that call for action not already approved shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval. ARTICLE IX –   LICENSING, ORDINATION AND REVOCATION Section 1. Ministers

  • Licensing: Any member, who gives evidence that he is called of God to the work of the Gospel Ministry, may be licensed as a Minister of the Gospel by a 75% majority vote of the active membership present at any business meeting.
  • Ordination: Any member who gives evidence that he is called of God to the work of the Gospel Ministry and who has been examined by the Church Council, and has been deemed to possess the Scriptural qualifications and spiritual preparation, may be recommended for ordination before the church. It shall be necessary to secure a 75% majority vote of the active membership at a special-called business meeting, in order to obtain approval for ordination.
  • Revocation: Any minister who has been licensed and/or ordained by this church may have their credentials revoked in the event they are found to have disgraced the cause of Christ through their conduct

ARTICLE X – CHURCH ORDINANCES

Section 1. Baptism
This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord. (1) Baptism shall be by immersion in water. (2) The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism. The deacons shall assist in the preparation for, and the observance of, baptism. (3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
     
Section 2. The Lord’s Supper
The church shall observe the Lord’s Supper monthly, the first Sunday of the month, unless otherwise scheduled by the church. The pastor and deacons shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparations.
 
ARTICLE XI – CHURCH MEETINGS
Section 1. Worship Services Shall be held any day or time as needed to meet the needs of those we are called to reach.
Section 2. Regular Business Meetings The church shall hold regular business meetings on a monthly basis. In the event of no new business, the next meeting may be suspended up to three months if agreed by the church.
Section 3. Special Business Meetings The church may conduct specially called business meetings to consider matters of special nature and significance. A one-week notice must be given for the specially called business meeting unless extreme urgency deems such notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, the date, and time and place; and it must be given in such a manner that all resident members have an opportunity to know of the meeting.
 
ARTICLE XII – CHURCH FINANCES
Section 1. Budget The Stewardship Committee, in consultation with the Church Council, shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses. It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts.
Section 2. Accounting Procedures All incoming money shall be received and counted jointly by the Clerk and the Treasurer or other such persons as the Stewardship Committee designates. The Stewardship Committee shall establish such other internal controls, as they deem necessary or advisable. All expenditures shall be made in keeping with the guidelines established by the Stewardship Committee, approved by the Church and within the annual budgeted amounts. The Church must approve any expenditure in excess of the budget established. A review of the Church’s financial records and procedures shall be conducted annually. The Stewardship Committee shall determine the extent and depth of the review. The review shall be conducted by whomever the Stewardship Committee determines. A written report of the review shall be made available to the Church as soon as practical. Those who have responsibility that involves actual handling of funds shall be bonded. (See Article regarding the church treasurer).
Section 3. Fiscal Year The church fiscal year shall run concurrently with the church year, which begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.
 
ARTICLE XIII – AMENDMENTS
Amendments to the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church. All proposed additions, revisions and amendments would be announced from the pulpit and made available in writing to the active members at least four Sunday mornings prior to the business meeting where the vote to approve such changes will be held. Amendments to the constitution and bylaws shall be by two-thirds vote of church members present.
 
AMENDMENT PASSED ON FEB 14TH 2010 Voting: If there is no definitive formula written in the Life Of Purpose Christian Church Constitutional By Laws regarding a required majority or percentage for an issue or position up for vote to be considered approved or not approved, the following will be the standard for such voting. A vote of 2/3 majority will constitute passage or acceptance of said action. A blank vote is a NO vote. The example being: If there are 20 voters present and upon counting the votes there are (10) yes votes, (8) no votes, and (2) blank votes, the issue is NOT passed since the Yes votes only equal 50% of the voters present and does not reach the 66% needed to pass. A blank vote can mean a lack of unanimity on the issue and requires us as a Church to further investigate or discuss the issue openly with our congregation to the goal of mutual understanding and above all else a compliance to the will and word of God.  
 
AMENDMENT PASSED ON MARCH 13TH 2011 In order to maintain three elders, other than the pastor, current elders shall serve beyond their three year term until another elder(s) is elected.   Deacons shall follow the same format of serving beyond the term limits to maintain the church requirements.
 
AMENDMENT PASSED ON NOVEMBER 20TH 2014 In order to optimize the committees of Life of Purpose church, the existing Personnel and Stewardship Committees shall be merged into one Administrative Committee. Any and all existing references to any type of Committee in the constitution are to be construed as referring to the Administrative Committee. Permanent committees of this church shall be the Administrative Committee. The term for these committee members is not subject to any time limit and shall only replace members on an as needed basis.
  • The Administrative Committee assists the church in the following matters:
    • Matters related to employed personnel administration, including those called by church action
    • Determining staff needs, employment, salaries, benefits, other compensation, policies, job descriptions, and personnel services
    • Development and recommendation of stewardship plans
    • Creation and proposal to Pastor and Elders for unified budget and budget subscription plans
    • Advises and recommends in the administration of the gifts of church members and others
    • Uses sound and biblical based principles to assist with financial management matters of the church
    • Assists church officers in the preparation and presentation to the church or other authorities of any required reports regarding matters of the church