What We Believe
What we believe and teach.
How we conduct ourselves in the household of faith.
We have extensive documentation that can be seen below, but have included the brief doctrinal synopsis immediately below to show that we are classical, Bible believing Christians.
A. God reveals Himself in the three persons of the Godhead, the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
B. We accept the Bible as God's infallible word, inerrant in the original manuscripts. It is our only rule of faith and practice.
C. We accept Jesus Christ as God's divine Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, virgin born, who died on the cross as a substitutional sacrifice for our sin. He arose bodily from the dead, and ascended into heaven where He is now our interceding High Priest. He will come again in Person to judge the living and the dead.
D. Man was created in the image of God, but fell into sin. We have all sinned in our own right and need a Savior to save us from the penalty for our sins. Salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ.
E. The Church is an elect company of believers, who by the influence of the Holy Spirit were baptized into one body. We accept as Christians those who have been born again. We baptize by immersion only, and receive into our membership only penitent, immersed believers, or baptismal candidates. We celebrate the Lord's Supper as a symbol of Christ's broken body and spilled blood, that we might proclaim His death until he returns. 1st Cor 11:26
We are indebted to the Christian Law Association and the National Association of Evangelicals for much of the material that follows.
Full Statement of Faith and complete constitution and bylaws.
ARTICLE 1 – NAME AND PURPOSE
This congregation of believers shall be known as the New Hanover Church of Wilmington, North Carolina.
This congregation is organized as a church 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), including, but not limited to, for such purposes, the establishing and maintaining of religious worship, the building of churches, parsonages, schools, chapels, radio stations, television stations, rescue missions, print shops, daycare centers, and camps; the evangelizing of the unsaved by the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; the educating of believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture, both in Sunday and weekday schools of Christian education; and the maintaining of missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country.
ARTICLE 2 – STATEMENT OF FAITH AND COVENANT
SECTION 2.01—STATEMENT OF FAITH
The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members.
(A) The Holy Scriptures. We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original manuscripts, infallible and God-breathed and, therefore, are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21)
(B) The Godhead. We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 14:10, 26; 2 Cor. 13:14)
(C) The Person and Work of Christ.
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Cor. 5:1921; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8)
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2)
(D) The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14)
2. We believe that He is the divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)
3. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry. (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12)
(E) The Total Depravity of Man. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19)
(F) Salvation. We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:9)
(G) The Perseverance of the Saints and Assurance of Believers.
1. We believe that all the redeemed are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever.
(John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1; 38-39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 1 Pet. 1:4-5)
2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation
through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)
(H) The Church
1. We believe that the local church, which is the body and the bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons. (1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27)
2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures and that priority consideration is to be given to the Great Commission at home and in remote places. (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11, Matt. 28:19-20)
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
4. We recognize water baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper as symbols of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age. (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 8:36-38; 1 Cor. 11:23-26)
(I) Separation. We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. (Lev. 19:28; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11)
(J) The Second Advent of Christ. We believe in the personal return of Christ. He will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; 1 Thes 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev 20:1-6)
(K) The Eternal State.
1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28, 29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13)
2. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6)
3. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the final resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15)
(L) The Personality of Satan. We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall
of Man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10)
(M) Creation. We believe that the Scripture should be interpreted literally whenever possible including the events of the first eleven chapters of Genesis. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin. (Gen. 12; Ex. 20:11)
(N) Civil Government. We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)
(O) Human Sexuality.
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, transgenderism and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:130; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23) It shall be the policy of New Hanover Church that only members in good standing may be joined in marriage by any pastor, elder, or other individual legally authorized to perform such a ceremony in the State of North Carolina. Additionally, upon the approval of the Council, non-member relatives of members may be joined in marriage either at the church facility or elsewhere.
Other churches, individuals, or ministries that wish to use the church facility for weddings must first assert in writing that they affirm this statement on human sexuality. The Council will have sole authority to approve such use of the facility.
(P) Family Relationships
1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors, elders, and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
(Q) Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental wellbeing of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
(R) Euthanasia. We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment. (Ex. 20:13, 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28)
(S) Love. We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:1718)
(T) Lawsuits between Believers. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
(U) Missions. We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ, we must use all available means to go to unreached people groups and not wait for them to come to us. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:4648; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20)
(V) Giving. We believe that every Christian, as a steward of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to financially support his local church. We believe that every Christian should give sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of his giving once the gift has been made. (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)
(W) Observations. It is recognized that gaining unanimity on a document of this magnitude may be difficult. None the less, the committee that assembled this document understands that in a non-denominational church such as New Hanover Church there are bound to be differences of opinion among Believers of good conscience. On those issues that are peripheral to the specific salvation message a candidate for membership who is in disagreement on some point may be admitted if he/she can give sufficient and direct Biblical support for their position. And upon admission agree not to create division in the church family over the doctrine in question.
SECTION 2.02—AUTHORITY OF STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members. All literature used in the church shall be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all gossip, divisive conversation, and excessive anger; to abstain from such worldly amusements as might diminish our testimony and profession of our Christian faith, and to be free from all oath-bound secret societies with unbelievers; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, and to secure reconciliation without delay.
We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
ARTICLE 3 – MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 3.01—QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Upon approval of the Elders, membership shall be extended to all who have had and whose lives evidence a genuine experience of regeneration through faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior; who renounce sin; who endeavor to live a consecrated life wholly unto the Lord; who fully subscribe to the Statement of Faith contained herein; who enter into the church covenant contained herein; who agree to submit to the authority of the church and its leaders as set forth herein; having signed a copy of these by-laws; and delivered the signed copy to one of the elders; and upon compliance with any one of the following conditions:
(A) By baptism (immersion) as a true believer in Christ Jesus as personal Savior; or as a baptismal candidate with intention to be immersed at the earliest opportunity.
(B) By letter of transfer from another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice, or other written statement of good standing from the prior church if the applicant has been baptized by immersion subsequent to a profession of faith;
(C) By testimony of faith, having been baptized by immersion; or
(D) By restoration, if having been removed from membership, upon approval of the Elders, after confession is made publicly before the church membership of the sin or sins involved, and satisfactorily evidencing repentance to the Council of Elders or an individual or committee designated by them.
(E) Minor children under the age of eighteen may be members upon profession of faith and immersion. Full comprehension may be difficult for younger children. So this document will be signed by minors at age eighteen assuming they possess a testimony and lifestyle consistent with their Christian confession. This will be confirmed by a conversation with an Elder after which full voting rights will be granted.
SECTION 3.02—DUTIES OF A MEMBER
On becoming a member of this church, in addition to the covenant contained in Section 2.03, each member further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the pastoral counsel; to pray for them; to recognize their authority in spiritual affairs of the church; to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the church; to support the church in prayer, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and in accordance with Biblical commands, to support through a lifestyle walk affirming the beliefs and practices of the church.
SECTION 3.03—PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP
(A) Only members at least eighteen years of age who are physically present at a duly called meeting of the church shall be entitled to vote. There shall be no proxy or absentee voting. The eligible membership of the church has certain limited areas to exercise a vote as determined by the Elders. Members may not vote to initiate any church action, rather the vote of a member is to confirm and ratify the direction of the church as determined by the Council of Elders.
(B) This congregation functions not as a democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus
Christ and the direction of the Council of Elders. Determinations of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures. The Council shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church.
(C) Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government. Although the general public is invited to all of the church’s worship services, the church property remains private property. The Council has the authority to suspend or revoke the right of any person, including a member, to enter or remain on church property. If after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, the person may, at the discretion of the Council be treated as a trespasser.
(D) A member may inspect or copy the prepared financial statements of the church and the minutes of the proceedings of church meetings and of Council meetings, provided he shall have made a written request upon the church and the church has received the written request at least five business days before the requested inspection date.
1. A member may not, under any circumstances, inspect or copy any record relating to individual contributions to the church, the list of names and addresses of the church members, or the accounting books and financial records of the church.
2. The church may impose a reasonable charge, covering the costs of labor and material, for copies of any documents provided to the member.
SECTION 3.04—DISCIPLINE OF A MEMBER
(A) There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the Council of Elders. These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the church covenant. If a pastor/elder is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee. The Pastors/Elders shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline.
(B) Members are expected to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another. When a member becomes aware of an offense of such magnitude that it hinders spiritual growth and testimony, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother. Before he goes, he should first examine himself. When he goes, he should go with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration.
(C) If reconciliation is not reached, a second member, an elder/pastor, is to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter. This second step should also be preceded by self-examination and exercised in a spirit of humility with the goal of restoration.
(D) If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, the discipline committee, as the church representatives Biblically responsible for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter. If the matter is not resolved during the hearing before the discipline committee, the committee shall recommend to the members of the church that they, after self-examination, make an effort personally to go to the offending member and seek that member’s restoration.
(E) If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (B), (C), and (D) have been taken, such members who refuse to repent and be restored are to be removed from the membership of the church upon the decision of the discipline committee.
(F) No matter may be heard by the discipline committee unless the steps outlined in subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, except in the case of a public offense.
(G) If an unrepentant offending party is removed from the church membership, all contact with him from that point forward (except by family members) must be for the sake of restoration.
(H) The procedures provided in this section are based on Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:1-11; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 10-15; 1 Tim. 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.
SECTION 3.05—TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP
Members not under the disciplinary process of Section 3.04 may request that letters of transfer be sent to another church.
SECTION 3.06—TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
(A) The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member in question has not attended a regular worship service of the church in the preceding six months. Upon good cause being shown to the Council, this provision for termination may be waived in the case of any individual member at their discretion.
(B) No member of this church may hold membership in another church. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member unites in membership with another church. Exceptions to this requirement may be made by the Council upon request for temporary residents such as college students and members of the military.
(C) The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member states that he or she is actively involved in any conduct described in Section 2.01(O) or files a lawsuit in violation of Section 2.01(U).
(D) No provision contained in this section shall be subject to or governed by the procedures regarding discipline of members set forth in Section 3.04.
(E) A member may resign at any time, but no letter of transfer or written statement of good standing will be issued upon such resignation, except at the discretion of the Council.
ARTICLE 4 – OFFICERS
SECTION 4.01—CHURCH OFFICERS
The church officers are Pastor/Elder (see Section 5.01), Deacon (see Section 5.02), minister of records (see
Section 5.03), minister of finance (see Section 5.04). One person may hold two or more offices, except that of
Pastor/Teacher. The Council, from time to time as they deem appropriate, may appoint other church officers, subject to a confirmation vote of the Council.
SECTION 4.02—DESIGNATION OF CORPORATE OFFICERS
As an accommodation to legal relationships outside the church, the pastor/teacher shall serve as president of the corporation; the minister of records shall serve as secretary of the corporation; the minister of finances shall serve as treasurer of the corporation; and the chairman of the Council of Elders shall serve as vice president of the corporation.
SECTION 4.03—ELIGIBILITY FOR OFFICE
(A) The church shall not install or retain an officer who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith. All church officers, upon request of the Council, shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith (as set forth in Article 2).
(B) All church officers must be approved initially and thereafter annually by the Council in order for them to commence or continue in their offices.
(C) Only church members are eligible for appointment to any church office or position.
SECTION 4.04—TERMS OF OFFICE
(A) The relationship between the pastor/teacher and the church shall be permanent unless dissolved at the option of either party by the giving of a month’s notice, or less by mutual consent. The calling of a pastor/teacher or severance of the relationship between the him and the church may be considered at a specially called meeting of the church, provided notice to that effect shall have been given from the pulpit to the church two Sundays prior to said meeting. A two thirds majority of the eligible members present and voting shall be required to call a pastor/teacher or to sever the relationship between him and the church. Disciplinary removal of the pastor/teacher from office automatically terminates his membership. A restoration to membership after disciplinary removal will be subject to the requirements of Section 3.01(D).
(B) The term of service for all offices and positions in the church, except the pastor/teacher, shall be one year, at the expiration of which the officers may be re-appointed.
(C) A vacancy occurring in any office or Council, except in the case of the pastor/teacher, may be filled at any regular or specially called meeting of the Elders.
(D) All appointed officers shall serve in their respective offices until their successors are duly appointed.
(E) Members of the Council of Elders may be removed from office for unbiblical conduct, as determined by the other Council members, upon a majority vote of the remaining members of the Council.
SECTION 4.05—APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS
The annual appointment of Elders/officers shall occur during the month of April. Procedures for processing these appointments shall be determined by the sitting Council of Elders.
SECTION 4.06—PASTORAL OVERSIGHT OF OFFICERS AND STAFF
(A) Subject to the approval of the Council of Elders, and on the condition that they shall become a member of the church upon assuming their duties, the pastor/teacher may hire associates and assistants to assist him in carrying out his God-given responsibilities with the advice and consent of the Council
(B) All church staff, whether paid or volunteer, shall be under the supervision of the pastor/teacher who has the sole authority to dismiss the same after consultation with the Elders. No employee or volunteer shall be hired, appointed, or retained who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.
ARTICLE 5 – DUTIES AND POWERS OF OFFICERS
SECTION 5.01—THE PASTOR
(A) The pastor/teacher shall preach the Gospel regularly and shall be at liberty to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God as the Lord leads him. He shall act as moderator at any church meetings that may be called for the transaction of church matters, supervise the teaching ministries of the church, and tenderly watch over the spiritual interests of the membership.
(B) The Pastor/Teacher (or an individual selected by him) shall appoint the members of the various committees of the church. He shall serve as the president of the corporation. He shall publicly inform all newly appointed officers of the particular function and the responsibilities of their respective offices. He shall extend the right hand of fellowship to all new members on behalf of the church Council and perform such other duties as generally appertain to such a position. The pastor/teacher shall be free to choose the means and methods by which he exercises the ministry that God has given him.
(C) All appointments for public worship and Bible study and the arrangements thereof, including time and place and the use of the property belonging to the church for purposes other than the stated appointments, shall be under the control of the Council.
(D) The Pastor/Teacher shall become an Elder upon acceptance of his call. He shall have no term.
SECTION 5.02—THE COUNCILOF ELDERS
(A) The Council of Elders shall be comprised of the sum total of individuals designated as Pastors/Elders and shall in concert assist the Pastor/Teacher promote the spiritual welfare of the church, conduct the religious services, and oversee all other work of the church. They shall make provision for the observance of the ordinances of the church. They shall, if requested, consider applications for church membership. They shall, in cooperation with the church staff disburse the benevolence fund. They shall engage in visitation and all other evangelistic efforts of the church. The Council of Elders shall care for the administrative needs of the church’s various ministries. They shall provide the pulpit supply and choose a moderator for church meetings if the pastor/teacher is unavailable or that office is vacant. Upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of the pastor/teacher, the Council of Elders shall function as a pulpit committee.
(B) Immediately following its annual administration meeting, the Council of Elders shall assemble and appoint, from their own number, a chairman who shall be vice president of the corporation, a vice chairman, and a secretary.
(C) The Council of Elders shall constitute the board of trustees of the corporation. The board of trustees shall exercise only the following specific powers,
1. To purchase, hold, lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and to take real and personal property by will, gift, or bequest on behalf of the church;
2. To sell, convey, alienate, transfer, lease, assign, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, and to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the real and personal property of the church, to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose and the use of the church; to cause to be executed, issued, and delivered for the indebtedness, in the name of the church, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness; and to secure repayment by deeds of trust, mortgages, or pledges; and
3. To exercise all powers necessary for the dissolution of the church corporation.
SECTION 5.03 DEACONS
Deacons may be appointed by the Council to perform services as directed by the Elders. The number of Deacons shall be determined by the Council and meet the qualifications as stated in I Timothy 3:8-13. The term of the office shall be one year. Vacancies may be filled at any time during the year at the discretion of the Council. Deacons may be added as needed at the discretion of the Council.
SECTION 5.04—THE MINISTER OF RECORDS
The minister of records shall:
(A) Certify and keep at the office of the church, the original bylaws or a copy, including all amendments or alterations to the bylaws;
(B) Keep at the place where the bylaws or a copy are kept a record of the proceedings of meetings of the Council of Elders, with the time and place of holding, the notice of meeting given, the names of these present at the meetings;
(C) Sign, certify, or attest documents as may be required by law;
(D) See that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws. (In case of the absence or disability of the secretary, or his or her refusal or neglect to act, notice may be given and served by the pastor/teacher or by the chairman of the Council of Elders.).
(E) Be custodian of the records of the church, including the membership roll, baptisms, and certificates of ordination, licenses and commissions;
(F) See that the reports, statements, certificates, and all other documents and records required by law are properly kept and filed;
(G) Exhibit at all reasonable times to proper persons on terms provided by law the bylaws and minutes of proceedings of the Council of Elders or the minutes of the meetings of the church members;
(H) Keep an account of any special events in the life of the church which are of historical interest and make available to the Council of Elders a report of the status of the church membership roll in the past year;
(I) Keep all records at the office of the church and deliver them to any successor upon leaving office; and
(J) Serve as the secretary of the corporation.
SECTION 5.05—THE MINISTER OF FINANCE
The minister of finance shall:
(A) Have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds of the corporation, and deposit all funds in the name of the church in banks, trust companies, or other depositories as shall be selected by the Council of Elders;
(B) Receive, and give receipt for all contributions, gifts, and donations to the church;
(C) Disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the church as may be directed by the Council of Elders, or the budget adopted by Council, taking proper vouchers for the disbursements;
(D) Keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts of the church’s properties and business transactions including account of its assets, liabilities, receipts, disbursements, and capital;
(E) Make all expenditures of the church (except miscellaneous petty cash disbursements) by check;
(F) When and as requested, render to the Council of Elders accounts of all his transactions as minister of finance and of the financial condition of the church;
(G) Present a written report of itemized disbursements at the regular administration meetings of the Council, and make a general report for the year at the annual administration Council meeting;
(H) Keep all church financial records at the office of the church and deliver them to any successor upon leaving office; and
(I) Serve as treasurer of the corporation.
SECTION 5.06—ASSOCIATE PASTORS
Under the direction and guidance of the pastor/teacher, the associate pastor(s) of the church shall assist him in carrying out the ministries of the church. Such associates shall serve at the discretion of the pastor/teacher. Compensation shall be established by the Council of Elders.
SECTION 5.07—DUTIES OF ALL OFFICERS
(A) All officers shall prepare a written report of their work for the annual meeting of the Council of Elders and shall surrender all records in their possession to the minister of records at the close of their term of office to be filed as a permanent record of the work of the church. All records are the property of the church and must be kept in the church office.
(B) Any officer who neglects his duties as outlined in the bylaws for a period of three months may be removed from his office, at the discretion of the Council, and another may be appointed to serve the un-expired term.
SECTION 5.08—INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS
A public installation service in which all newly appointed officers of the church are to be dedicated to their respective offices and the ordination of newly appointed Elders may be held at a public church service following their appointment at the annual Council of Elders administration meeting.
ARTICLE 6 – MEETINGS
SECTION 6.01—MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP
Unless otherwise determined by the Council, the church shall meet each Sunday for public worship. Both morning and evening Bible study and prayer meetings may be also be established. Except when circumstances forbid it, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed as directed by the Council.
SECTION 6.02—MEETINGS FOR CHURCH ADMINISTRATION
(A) The annual Council of Elders administration meeting shall be held during the last week of April at which time the regular church administration shall be considered. A quorum shall consist of the members present.
(B) All Council of Elders administration meetings shall be opened and closed with prayer for divine guidance and blessing.
(C) The moderator shall determine the rules of procedure according to his sense of fairness and common sense, giving all present a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter. The moderator is the final authority on questions of procedure, and his decision is final and controlling. The following order may be observed at the regular church administration meetings:
1. Devotions & prayer
2. Reading of minutes
3. Reception of members
4. Dismissal of members
5. Report of officers
6. Reports of standing committees
7. Reports of special committees
8. Unfinished matters
9. Appointment of officers
10. New matters
(D) For any meeting under this article, the moderator, in his sole discretion, shall have full and unilateral authority to require nonmembers to leave the meeting room and to order the immediate removal of any member or other person present who is deemed by the moderator to be disruptive to the proceedings by act or presence. The moderator shall have full authority to order the removal of all children (ages to be determined by the moderator) if the moderator determines, in his sole discretion, that circumstances so warrant. If the moderator determines that compliance with his order of removal is unsatisfactory, the moderator may, in his sole discretion, revoke the disruptive person’s right to remain on the premises in accordance with Section 3.03(C) and treat the person as a trespasser.
SECTION 6.03—SPECIAL MEETINGS
(A) The pastor/teacher (or Council of Elders, if the office of pastor/teacher is vacant or if the pastor is the subject of possible disciplinary action) may call a special meeting by giving notice of such a meeting and the purpose for which it is called to the church from the pulpit at least one Sunday and not less than one week prior to said meeting. A meeting for the calling of a pastor/teacher or the severance of the relationship between the church and pastor/teacher shall be called in accordance with the provision of Section 4.04(A).
(B) Bible conferences, missionary conferences, and other such meetings may be held as the Council deems beneficial.
SECTION 6.04—FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the church shall begin January 1 and end December 31.
ARTICLE 7 – MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
The church believes that it is to provide the members’ children with an education which is based upon and consistent with Biblical teachings. The church believes that the home and church are responsible before God for providing a Christian education. To this end, the church shall engage in ministries of education in keeping with the following dictates.
SECTION 7.02—CHURCH PARTICIPATION
All educational programs or courses of instruction formulated and offered by the church shall be primarily for the benefit of the members of the church; however, the pastor/teacher may permit non-church members to participate in church educational programs or courses of instruction if he deems it in the best interest of the church.
SECTION 7.03—STAFF MEMBERSHIP
All instructors, teachers, and administrators shall be members of this church. This provision shall not apply to visiting missionaries, evangelists, or preachers engaged for the purpose of delivering sermons, or other special meetings on a temporary basis.
SECTION 7.04—STATEMENT OF FAITH ACCORD
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be taught and presented in full accord with the Statement of Faith of the church. The church shall not hire, appoint, or retain any employee or volunteer for its educational programs who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted as an integral and inseparable ministry of the church.
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted consistent with the teaching of the inerrant Word of God. Any assertion or belief which conflicts with or questions a Bible truth is a pagan deception and distortion of the truth which will be disclaimed as false. It is the responsibility of every instructor or teacher to present the inerrant Word of God as the sole infallible source of knowledge and wisdom.
SECTION 7.07—CHRISTIAN WALK
All administrators, instructors, and teachers shall continue or adopt a lifestyle consistent with the precepts which they teach, whether in or out of the classroom.
ARTICLE 8 – ORDINATION
SECTION 8.01—ORDINATION QUALIFICATIONS
Any member of this church or its mission churches, who gives evidence of a genuine call of God into the work of the ministry and possesses the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, may be ordained as a minister of the Gospel.
SECTION 8.02—ORDINATION PROCEDURE
(A) Upon a conference with the pastor/teacher and after he has approved the candidate for ordination, the pastor/teacher shall call a Council to examine and pass on the qualification of the candidate. The ordination Council shall consist of ordained ministers of like faith invited to participate in the examination of the candidate.
(B) If the candidate is found worthy of ordination by the Council, the ordination Council may ordain the candidate on behalf of the church.
(C) The pastor/teacher and the chairman of the Elders shall arrange for the ordination service.
ARTICLE 9 – INDEMNIFICATION
SECTION 9.01—ACTIONS SUBJECT TO INDEMNIFICATION
The church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, elder, deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the church, against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.
SECTION 9.02—EXPENSES SUBJECT TO INDEMNIFICATION
To the extent that a pastor, elder, Deacon, officer, employee, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in that action, suit, or proceeding, he or she may be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.
SECTION 9.03—LIMITATIONS OF INDEMNIFICATION
Any indemnification made under this Article, may be made by the church only as authorized in the specific case on a determination that indemnification of the pastor, elder, deacon, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Section 9.01. (a)The determination shall be made by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of the Council of Elders who were not and are not parties to or threatened with the action, suit, or proceeding; (b) if the described quorum is not obtainable or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested Elders so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion; or (c) by a majority vote of the members of the church.
SECTION 9.04—TIMING OF INDEMNIFICATION
Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article, may be paid by the church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the Council of Elders in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the pastor, elder, Deacon, officer, employee, or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the church.
SECTION 9.05—EXTENT OF INDEMNIFICATION
The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the church, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under this Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a pastor, elder, Deacon, officer, employee, or agent and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person.
The church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a pastor, elder, deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the church against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in that capacity, or arising out of his status in that capacity, whether or not the church would have the power to indemnify him against liability under the provisions of this Article.
ARTICLE 10 – COMMITTEES
SECTION 10.01—STANDING COMMITTEES
The pastor/teacher (or the Council of Elders, if the office of pastor is vacant) may appoint standing committees and designate a chairperson for each standing committee and, except when otherwise specifically provided in these bylaws, shall determine the membership of each standing committee. In addition to the discipline committee, the pastor may appoint other standing committees as he deems appropriate.
SECTION 10.02—SPECIAL COMMITTEES
The Council of Elders, in its discretion, may create special committees to provide the Council with advice and information regarding matters submitted to the committee by the Council for consideration. The committee shall have no authority to act on behalf of the corporation. The members of the committee shall be chosen by a majority vote of the Council of Elders and shall serve solely at the pleasure of the Council. The special committee shall be subject to the control and direction of the Council of Elders at all times.
ARTICLE 11 – DESIGNATED CONTRIBUTIONS
From time to time the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions, but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Council of 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 Section 1.02.
ARTICLE 12 – BINDING ARBITRATION
SECTION 12.01—SUBMISSION TO ARBITRATION
Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of this church agree to submit to binding arbitration any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bringing any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
SECTION 12.02—NOTICE OF ARBITRATION
In the event of any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement arising out of or relating to these bylaws or any other church matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions, or disagreement as befits Christians. To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and, recognizing their mutual interests not to disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution. If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions, or differences shall be finally settled by arbitration as described in Section 12.01, above, and such Procedures for Arbitration as are adopted pursuant to Section 12.04, below.
SECTION 12.03—LIMITATIONS ON ARBITRATION DECISIONS
(A) Should any dispute involve matters of church discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures for church discipline as outlined under Section 3.04, were followed.
(B) Should any dispute involve the removal from office of the pastor or any church officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures set forth in Sections 4.04 or 5.06 were followed.
SECTION 12.04—ARBITRATION PROCEDURES
The Procedures for Arbitration shall be as adopted by the Council of Elders.
ARTICLE 13 – AMENDMENTS
These bylaws may be revised or amended by the Council of Elders at any regularly or specially called meeting. They shall be reviewed every five years to assure that the structure and details remain relevant to the ministry of the church.
These by-laws were adopted by a unanimous vote of the Council of Elders.
These bylaws supersede any other bylaws of New Hanover Church.
Minister of Records_________________________________ Date ___________________________
Member signature ________________________________