NEW COVENANT CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
- ACTS 15 MEETINGS
Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who desire to become part of the covenant community shall make this known to the elders. After proper instruction the elders will bring the request before the church. If no objection is raised concerning the person’s manner of life or doctrine, the person shall become a member upon signing the Covenant of the Church and receiving the right hand of fellowship.
Unbaptized believers shall first be immersed in accordance with their profession of faith. Previously baptized believers may be received on the basis of their Christian experience after satisfactory inquiry into any previous church relationships.
A member can request dismissal from membership for the following reasons:
1. He wishes to join another assembly which is closer in proximity or will otherwise provide better shepherding.
2. He can no longer in good conscience uphold the Articles of Faith. In order to continue serving the Lord, he will find another church.
A member may be disciplined and removed from the rolls in accordance with Matthew 18:15-18. If it appears that a member has requested withdrawal from membership to avoid or abbreviate church discipline, that request will not be given effect until the scriptural steps of the disciplinary process have been completed. This is an action which must be completed by the church.
The officers of this church shall be elders and deacons, exercising their offices according to the New Testament pattern.
The elders shall exercise their scriptural responsibilities of shepherding oversight and leadership as God directs and their abilities allow. Specifically they shall:
1. Be responsible for the oversight of all the ministries of teaching, discipleship and evangelism.
2. Have oversight of all public services.
3. See to the preparation of believers for baptism and church membership.
4. Appoint from among their number one to serve as Chairman of the Board of Elders.
5. Appoint from among their number one to serve as moderator of Acts 15 meetings. In his absence, the Board of Elders shall appoint another elder to serve as a substitute.
6. Prepare, in cooperation with the deacons, an annual budget to be submitted to the church for confirmation.
7. The unsupported elders will determine the support level of the supported elders and submit these to the church in the annual budget.
8. The Board of Elders is authorized to alter the annual budget to expend funds not provided in the budget to carry out the work of the church. Such expenditures of funds in any calendar year shall not exceed 3 percent of the annual budget approved by the church for that year.
The deacons are helpers to the elders. They will assist the elders specifically by:
1. Helping oversee the practical needs of the church.
a. One of the members will serve as church treasurer and another as church clerk.
b. They will serve as trustees of any properties acquired by the church.
c. They will care for all matters relating to facilities and equipment.
2. Assisting in the spiritual oversight of the church.
a. They will keep the elders informed as to the needs of members for aid and assistance.
b. The elders will appoint certain ones from among the deacons who will serve as undershepherds, assisting the elders in shepherding tasks. These “shepherding” deacons will also be trained in the responsibilities of eldership.
3. Women deacons may serve in any capacity that does not give them spiritual or administrative authority over men.
1. Each deacon will be directly responsible to an elder. The elder will meet with his deacon as is necessary.
2. Each deacon will submit his budget needs to his elder in time for the annual meeting.
3. The elders and deacons will meet together as is deemed necessary by the Chairman of the Board of Elders. They will meet at least once a year.
Elders and deacons will be selected with the following steps:
1. The elders will receive recommendations from the congregation after a time of prayerful considerations and instruction by the elders.
2. These recommendations will be reviewed by the Board of Elders, after which time a recommendation will be made to the congregation.
3. These men will become officers upon confirmation by the congregation.
Elders and deacons serve the congregation as long as their ministry is satisfactory to themselves, their colleagues, and the congregation, and as long as their lives are consistent with the biblical qualifications. Resignations shall be submitted to the Chairman of the Board of Elders and acted upon by the entire board who will then announce the resignation to the church.
It is understood that the head of the church is Christ and that a church does not make decisions independently from him, but rather attempts to discern the will of the Lord. For the most part this will be accomplished through the Spirit appointed leadership. However, there may be times when the entire church is called upon to participate in discerning the will of the Lord. In this case an Acts 15 Meeting can be called by the Chairman of the Board of Elders. The purpose of such a meeting is to confirm the will of the Lord for the congregation.
In such a meeting, it is the responsibility of each member to discern the mind of the Spirit. What indicates the mind of the Spirit is the unification of conviction and opinion on the part of the body in support of a particular plan or decision, so that the whole church is able to move together preserving the testimony of Christ. With these principles in mind, Acts 15 Meeting will be conducted in a way which promotes the open sharing of differing views with the goal of allowing the congregation the opportunity to weigh out the alternatives before the Lord in prayer. Only those decisions which are confirmed in a spirit of unity will be carried out. However, it must be kept in mind by the members that in decisions in which the Word of God gives latitude, the overriding principle of scripture is to “diligently maintain the unity of the Spirit”. Should a decision fail to be reached due to lack of unity, no action will be taken. This rule shall be set aside in the following exceptional instances: Representatives of the Board of Elders may, after prayerful discussion with the dissenters, recommend that the opinion of the dissenter be disallowed due to lack of biblical basis which would override the exhortation to unity. In such a case, the decision of the majority will stand.
This constitution may be amended whenever the elders believe it is necessary for the benefit of the congregation. Such amendments must be confirmed in accord with the Acts 15 meeting above.
Until a plurality of elders and assisting deacons have been selected, the responsibilities of the elders and deacons shall be exercised by the steering committee, Jim Frost and Dick Scoggins. In the event that the eldership consists of only one person, the constitutional responsibilities of eldership will be carried out by a Steering Committee consisting of the elder (who will serve as Chairman), and representatives from the deacons, until such a time as additional elders are added to the board.