Cornerstone Bible Church Constitution
The Purpose of Cornerstone Bible Church is to give God glory through
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
We celebrate God’s being, character, and actions in worship.
“Shout for joy to the LORD , all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5
We incorporate Gods family into our fellowship.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
We lead God’s people to maturity in Christ through His Word.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
We demonstrate God’s love through service.
“To prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12-13
We communicate God’s love to the world by proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ.
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
II. FORM OF GOVERNMENT
The government of Cornerstone Bible Church is vested in the membership. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligation of mutual counsel and cooperation among churches of like faith.
The membership will elect a Board of Elders to whom it will delegate authority for decision making for the purpose of organization and edification of the believers. The membership will also elect a Board of Deacons to whom it will delegate authority for decision making for the purpose of administration and operation of the building, grounds, and facilities. However, the congregation reserves the right to supersede or revoke any delegated authority at any time that it deems necessary. The election of Elders and Deacons will be accomplished from nominations provided by the existing Board of Elders except for the initial election which will be accomplished from nominations provided by the Leadership Team.
1. Christ is Head of the Church.
Everything we do must be in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, and to His Word.
The congregation of members has the final authority in all decision making however, the day to day leadership and decision making is delegated to the Board of Elders. When the members meet together at a called business meeting they may approve the budget, elect Elders, elect Deacons, approve buildings (design and financials), and/or approve the hiring or termination of full time ministerial staff members.
3. Board of Elders and Pastor:
The Board of Elders and Pastor shall have delegated the authority to lead, feed, guide, and protect the flock, and oversee the administration of the church affairs. Their primary ministry will be to provide spiritual oversight and to care for the needs of the flock. The number of pastors and elders will be determined by the current Board of Elders and shall be based upon the size and needs of the flock and limited to the availability of qualified, willing candidates.
4. Board of Deacons:
The Board of Deacons shall be composed of deacons and deaconesses as necessary with the task to assist in the oversight and caring for the flock under the authority of the Board of Elders/Pastors. Their primary ministry shall consist of caring for the physical needs of the flock and administrating the affairs of the church.
Various committees to accomplish the varied tasks of the body will be appointed as they are needed. They will be responsible to report to the Board of Elders and/or Board of Deacons. All committees shall be formed with the approval of the Board of Elders and/or Board of Deacons and shall function under their authority.
Various organizations are needed to minister to the different age groups and interests of our members. All organizations shall be formed with the approval of the Board of Elders and/or Board of Deacons and shall function under their authority. All organizations and their policies and practices shall be consistent with this constitution.
A. Membership Requirements:
1. A professing Christian can become a member of Cornerstone Bible Church after reaching the age of 12 and upon clear affirmation of:
a. Personal faith in Jesus Christ alone as one’s Savior.
b. Familiarity, agreement, and willingness to comply with and support our Statement of Faith.
c. Familiarity, agreement, and willingness to comply with and support our purposes, goals, policies, and practices as set forth in Scripture and our Church Constitution.
d. Willingness to become actively involved within our church by upholding the church with their
· Prayers (spend time praying for the pastor, church leaders, and other members of the church),
· Presence (being a part of the worship services as an act of praise to God and being a part of the activities of the church),
· Gifts (giving of their material possessions, time, and talents), and
· Service (helping meet the needs of others; for as we are serving others we are serving God).
e. Willingness to submit to the leadership and correction of the Board of Elders of Cornerstone Bible Church as outlined in Scripture.
2. The applicant must complete a class designated for new membership. The class instructor shall be an elected Elder or group of Elders who will assure that the applicant has made a clear affirmation of the above.
3. The new member shall be welcomed into the membership of Cornerstone Bible Church at a regular Sunday morning worship service.
B. Associate Member:
1. Applicants who desire to retain their membership in another church outside the city or state may be admitted into the membership of Cornerstone Bible Church in the same manner as prescribed in Membership Requirements, above. Such members shall possess the same rights and privileges as the regular active members.
2. Any member who is absent from the services of the Cornerstone Bible Church due to military service, employment requirements, missionary service, school attendance, age, physical disability, temporary medical disability, students, or any other reason acceptable to the Board of Elders will be considered an Associate Member. Associate Members with a recognized absence will not be counted in calculating a needed quorum.
All members shall have equal rights, however members under 18 are not eligible to vote. Members of Cornerstone Bible Church have no property rights and upon termination of membership, they shall be entitled to no interest in the assets of Cornerstone Bible Church.
D. Membership Roll:
It shall be the duty of the Board of Elders to examine the membership roll periodically. Any member who has been absent from regular services of Cornerstone Bible Church for a period of 6 months or longer shall be evaluated by the Board of Elders to determine if they should be placed on the Associate Member List or the Inactive Membership List. Inactive Member is a temporary membership status. Any member whose name appears on the Inactive Member List for a period of 6 months shall be removed from the membership of the church.
E. Termination of Membership:
Termination of membership shall be by one of the following means:
1. Member’s written request.
2. Becoming a member of another church.
3. Action of the Board of Elders after a member has been on the Inactive Member List for a period of six months.
4. Through disciplinary measures as set forth in Scripture with a view towards restoration to the fellowship of Cornerstone Bible Church.
IV. Purpose and Powers and Disposition of Assets
1. Cornerstone Bible Church is organized exclusively for charitable and religious purposes, including the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c.)(3.) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section to any future federal tax code.
2. No part of the income of Cornerstone Bible Church shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of charitable and religious purposes. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles or exercises any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes of the church.
3. All assets of Cornerstone Bible Church are dedicated for use in the furtherance of and performance of charitable and religious purposes. Upon dissolution of the church, all assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c.) (3.) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the State of Texas for public purpose. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by a Court of Competent Jurisdiction of the county in which the principle office of the church is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
Article 1. Officers
The church membership shall elect from their members officers who shall oversee and administrate the affairs of the church. Each elected position shall function in complete agreement with the current job description for that position. The Elder Board shall review each job description annually and changes shall be made as needed. The following are the elected positions:
2. Deacon or Deaconess
3. Senior Pastor
4. Additional Ministry Staff
Article 2. Meetings
A. Worship Meetings:
Public worship and celebration services shall be held regularly on Sunday. In addition, the Elder Board may schedule other meetings as they deem appropriate and may alter temporarily any of the regularly scheduled worship meetings.
B. Congregational Business Meetings:
Business meetings shall be called to vote on necessary items as outlined in E. ,below, or to edify the congregation on other business matters, etc. There will be an annual meeting during the last few months of the calendar year to present annual reports, elect new officers, approve the annual budget, and other such items requiring congregational approval. Other special called meetings may be called by the Elder Board or by written request of 1/10th of the active membership. At such meetings only the business for which the meeting was called can be conducted. Notice of all meetings will be provided at least 2 weeks before the meeting, and all items that will require voting will be clearly known at that time.
For all congregational meetings, a quorum shall consist of 1/4th of the number of the members who are eligible to vote. For meetings of the Board of Elders, Combined Board of Elders and Deacons or Board of Deacons a quorum shall consist of two thirds of the members of said Board rounded to the highest whole number.
For all congregational voting, a simple majority vote will carry the motion except a 2/3 (two thirds) majority vote will be required to carry all voting concerning the calling, hiring, or termination of full time ministerial staff or election of an elder. All elections of Pastors, Elders, Full Time Professional Staff, and Deacons shall be by secret ballot. There is no provision for proxy voting or absentee ballots.
E. Items Requiring Congregational Approval
The following require approval by vote of the eligible members:
1. Calling, hiring, or termination of full time ministerial staff. The Board of Elders can accept any resignation of hired professional staff.
2. Election or calling of an Elder and the election of deacons.
3. Purchase of land or buildings on lands.
4. Design and construction of buildings exceeding $5,000. It should be noted that the Board of Deacons has authority to lease facilities for classroom or meeting places as becomes necessary.
5. Annual budget (authorized spending) and amendments to the annual budget.
6. Borrowing of monies in any form.
7. Amendments to the Constitution of Cornerstone Bible Church.
8. Selling of land and buildings in excess of $5,000.
Article 3. Procedures
A. Rules of Conduct of Meetings:
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the parliamentary manual of the church for all official meetings. If any part of Robert’s Rules of Order shall be found to be inconsistent with or contradictory to the constitution of Cornerstone Bible Church, the constitution shall govern.
B. All calling of pastoral staff or nominations of Elders or Deacons:
Must be by full majority (100%) vote of the Board of Elders to be presented to the congregation.
Article 4. General
A. Fiscal Year:
The fiscal year for the church shall begin on the first day of January. All officers shall remain in office until their successors are elected. The church shall continue to operate on the previous years’ budget until the new budget is approved.
B. Compensation and Benefits
1. Senior Pastor/Pastor
a. Compensation: It shall be the duty of the Board of Deacons to review the Senior Pastor’s and other full time pastoral staff’s compensation packages to make appropriate recommendations to the Elders for their approval.
b. Vacation: The Senior Pastor shall be given an annual paid vacation of at least 2 weeks, no more than 4 weeks
c. Continuing Education: The Senior Pastor shall be given 2 weeks annually of paid time for continuing education. The Board of Elders shall set policies for use of such time.
d. Sabbatical: The Senior Pastor shall accumulate 2 weeks paid time annually for Sabbatical and spiritual renewal. The Board of Elders shall set policies for use of such time.
2. Other Staff: The Board of Deacons with Board of Elder approval shall determine the compensation for all other staff positions.
Article 5. Board of Elders
The Board of Elders shall consist of the Senior Pastor and other Biblically qualified men from the membership of Cornerstone Bible Church. The Board of Elders shall elect from within the Elders a chairman, vice chairperson, and secretary to manage the affairs of the Board. This Board shall exercise the authority to govern the affairs of the church. They shall be directly accountable to the congregation of Cornerstone Bible Church. The Board of Elders shall act as Trustees in all legal matters and shall have authority to enter into agreements and contracts on behalf of the church in accordance with the approval of the congregation at a duly called meeting.
All candidates for the office of Elder shall be examined in accordance with the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. They shall be in agreement with the Purpose and Statement of Faith (Items I and II of the Constitution and other Doctrinal Statements of Cornerstone Bible Church. With the exception of the Senior Pastor they shall have been a member of Cornerstone Bible Church for at least one (1) year prior to being nominated.
Elders shall be elected at the annual church business meeting or at a meeting specially called for that purpose. The current Board of Elders shall, as needed, present to the congregation candidates who have been approved according to the qualifications set forth above. Potential candidates’ names may be submitted, in writing, to the Board of Elders at least one (1) month prior to the election meeting. This will allow time to determine the candidate’s qualifications and willingness to serve as Elder.
3. Number and Tenure:
The current Elder Board shall determine the number of Pastor/Elders according to the size and needs of the congregation. There shall be neither a minimum or maximum number of Elders. The terms of Pastor/Elder shall be for an indefinite period of time. An Elder may continue to serve as long as his life exhibits the characteristics of and are consistent with the qualifications set forth in scripture.
The duty of the Elders in cooperation with the Pastor shall be to shepherd the flock by:
- Insuring that sound Biblical teaching, preaching, and education that conforms to the doctrinal statement of the church is available to all age groups.
- Insuring that believers are encouraged and equipped to find and use their spiritual gifts and serve in the place that God has called them.
- Insuring that the congregation comes together and is adequately led in corporate worship.
- Insuring that the priority and practice of prayer is taught and encouraged in the life of individual believer as well as the corporate body of the church.
- Insuring that essential benevolence needs of the flock are met.
- Insuring that Biblical church discipline, when necessary, is exercised. Such discipline should be done in love and with a view toward restoration as far as is possible.
- Insuring that the ministries of Cornerstone Bible Church emphasize outreach, evangelism, and discipleship for the purpose of reaching the un-churched and nurturing them to maturity in Christ.
- Modeling a life consistent with their calling and position as a believer and within the body of Christ. (I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9)
- Supplying the pulpit in the event of the Senior Pastor’s absence or need.
To oversee and manage the flock by:
- Recommending to the congregation a Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and other such officers and/or staff as the Board deems necessary to effectively operate the business and spiritual affairs of the church.
- Having oversight and approval of all personnel decisions including the hiring, managing, supervising, and termination of all paid and unpaid staff positions and ministry coordinators. Hiring and termination shall be done with the approval of the congregation where indicated by the constitution and by-laws.
- Appointing committees as needed for the efficient operation of the church.
- Insuring that sound financial principals and proper stewardship are followed in all areas of ministry. They shall be ultimately responsible for the development of a budget, in cooperation with the Board of Deacons, for presentation at the annual meeting, as well as oversight of the collection and distribution of all church funds.
- Developing and implementing policies and procedures as needed.
5. Removal and Discipline:
An Elder’s position on the Board may be terminated by resignation or dismissal. Any two (2) members with reason to believe that an Elder should be removed from office should express such concerns to the Board of Elders and if need be to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17 and I Timothy 5:17-21. The congregation has final authority to remove an unqualified Elder. The Board of Elders may, for good cause and credible evidence, suspend an Elder from office until such matter is resolved. The Board of Elders shall not initiate disciplinary actions on the basis of any unsigned or anonymous letters of accusation against an Elder as it would be impossible to substantiate.
An Elder may take a sabbatical from his duties on the Board of Elders for just cause and for a specified period of time with the approval of the remaining Elders. At the end of the approved sabbatical, the Elder may then resume his duties and responsibilities on the Board of Elders.
Article 6. Board of Deacons
The Board of Deacons shall consist of Biblically qualified men and women from the congregation of Cornerstone Bible Church. The Board of Deacons shall elect from within the Deacons/Deaconesses a chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary to manage the affairs of the Board of Deacons. They shall assist the Board of Elders /Pastors in the oversight of the practical and material needs of the congregation. The Board of Deacons is under the supervision and shall be directly accountable to the Board of Elders. The Board of Deacons shall exercise the authority granted to them by the congregation under the direction of the Board of Elders.
All candidates for the office of Deacon/Deaconess shall be examined in accordance with the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13. They shall be in agreement with the basic doctrines of faith (Statement of Faith) and Church Purpose of Cornerstone Bible Church. A candidate shall have been a member of Cornerstone Bible Church for at least one (1) year prior to being nominated.
Deacons/Deaconesses shall be elected at the annual church business meeting or at a meeting specially called for that purpose. The Board of Deacons, with approval of the Board of Elders, shall as needed, present to the congregation candidates who have been approved according to the qualifications set forth above. Potential candidates may be submitted, in writing, to the Board of Deacons at least one (1) month prior to the election meeting. This will allow time to determine the potential candidate’s qualification and willingness to serve as Deacon/Deaconess.
3. Number and Tenure:
The number of Deacons/Deaconesses shall be as many as are needed and deemed qualified in accordance with the size and needs of the congregation. This number shall be determined by the current Board of Deacons, and additional members may be added as the need becomes apparent. There shall be neither a minimum or maximum number of Deacons/Deaconesses. The term of office shall be three (3) years with one (1) year elapsing between full terms. After one (1) year off the Deacon/Deaconess may then be re-elected as set forth above. A schedule shall be maintained, as well as possible, to elect 1/3 of the Board each year in order to provide stability to the Board of Deacons. In the event there are no qualified, willing candidates for the office of Deacon/Deaconess, the term of an off rotating Deacon or Deaconess may be extended as needed and approved by the remaining Board members. Such a board member would then be rescheduled for rotation off the following year or at such time as another qualified and willing candidate is approved by the congregation.
The duty of Deacons/Deaconesses shall be to assist the Board of Elders in ministering to the flock and helping oversee the practical and material needs of the church by:
· Developing, with the approval of the Board of Elders, a budget for presentation to the congregation at the annual church business meeting. They shall, under the authority of the Board of Elders, exercise oversight in the administration of the budget approved at the annual meeting. The Board of Deacons has authority to increase the budget by up to 5% of the original or properly amended budget amount so that unplanned expenses of urgency can be met.
· Exercising care, maintenance, and oversight for the properties and facilities of the church. This shall include retaining and oversight of paid positions and services pertaining the care and maintenance of the church property and facilities.
· Receiving and disbursing the Benevolence funds of the church. The administration of this fund is to be kept confidential. A report of needs and fund disbursements shall be provided to the Board of Elders.
· Developing and implementing appropriate policies and procedures as needed for the effective oversight and management of the church.
· Appointing and supervising appropriate committees as needed to care for the needs of the church.
· Assisting in the preparation and administration of church ordinances.
· Other specific ministries as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Board of Elders.
5. Removal and Discipline:
A Deacon’s or Deaconess’ position on the Board of Deacons may be terminated by resignation or dismissal. Any two (2) members with reason to believe that a Deacon or Deaconess should be removed from office shall express such concern to the Board of Elders, and if need be to the congregation. Any such action shall be in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17. The congregation has the final authority to remove an unqualified Deacon or Deaconess. The Board of Elders may, for good cause and credible evidence, suspend a Deacon or Deaconess from office until such matter resolved. The Board of Elders shall not initiate disciplinary actions on the basis of any unsigned or anonymous letters of accusation against a Deacon or Deaconess since it would be impossible to substantiate.
A Deacon/Deaconess may take a sabbatical from his or her duties on the Board of Deacons for just cause and for a specified period of time with the approval of the remaining board members. At the end of the approved sabbatical, the Deacon or Deaconess may then resume his or her duties and responsibilities on the board subject to his or her original term limit.
Article 7. Church Treasurer
1. A Church Treasurer shall be appointed by the Board of Elders each year. They will select the most qualified person available based on experience and education from among the members of the church.
2. The Treasurer shall be the custodian of all deposited church funds. The Treasurer shall keep a record of all revenues and expenditures of the church. The Treasurer with the approval of the Board of Deacons and approval of the Board of Elders may appoint other members of the church to help with the record keeping. Prior to disbursement of funds, the Treasurer will verify that each purchase or expense has been authorized by the church budget, covered by designated contributions or collections or otherwise approved by the Board of Deacons. In event that funds are not available to pay all expenses, the Treasurer shall have the authority to determine which expenses to pay.
3. The Treasurer shall have the authority concerning the church’s finances to prepare any reports required by national, state, or local governments and to communicate and/or negotiate on behalf of the church with all governmental agencies.
4. The Treasurer shall publish a Financial Report at a required frequency as required by the Board of Deacons listing all expenses for budgeted and non-budgeted items for the month and the year to date.
Article 8. Church Financial Secretary
1. The Church Financial Secretary will be appointed by the Board of Elders each year. They will select the most qualified person available based on experience, education, and ability to maintain the very private nature of individual giving from among the members of the church.
2. The Church Financial Secretary will maintain records of the individual tithes, gifts, and offerings of each contributor. The Church Financial Secretary will provide a record of the giving to the particular individuals annually. After those records have been distributed , the Church Financial Secretary shall maintain these records for 7 years, after which they will be appropriately destroyed.