Constitution

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Article I – Incorporation

On May 7, 1979, Countryside Bible Church was incorporated under the Texas Non-Profit Corporation Act as a non-profit organization for religious purposes.

Article II – Purposes of the Church

  • Worship – To provide opportunity for the teaching of God’s Word, fellowship, communion, and prayer (Acts 2:42)
  • Service – To ensure that all have opportunity to serve Christ (Ephesians 4:11)
  • Discipleship – To encourage the growth of each believer toward maturity in the faith and Christ-likeness (Colossians 1:9-12)
  • Evangelism – To share the Gospel both at home and abroad (Acts 1:8)

Article III – Government

The Board of Elders shall be responsible for the governing of the church, and shall submit to the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit in such governing (Titus 1:9) . The Elders will be responsible for the final decisions (I Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 5:1-3).

Article IV – Leadership

The Officers of the church shall consist of a Senior Pastor, a Chairman, a Secretary, and Deacons. The Board of Elders shall appoint such other officers as deemed necessary.

Article V – Responsibilities of Pastoral Staff, Elders and Deacons

Section 1 – Elders

The Elders shall be responsible to:

  • Care for the spiritual needs of the church family
  • Guard the purity of doctrine and life of the church
  • Direct the administration of the church ordinances
  • Discipline in accordance with the Word of God
  • Share the ministry of pastoral care
  • Approve all leadership positions

The Elders are responsible for the total operation of the church, including various organizations, physical properties, finances, and other temporal matters. The Board of Elders shall function only under the headship of Christ and the authority of the Word of God. Their decision-making process shall always be guided by clearly discerned Scriptural principles (I Peter 5:2-6) . All decisions will be made in a manner which preserves the principle of unity (Acts 15:25; Philippians 2:1-5) . Disregarding the opinion of an Elder who is in the process of church discipline (I Timothy 5:19, 20) does not violate this principle.

Section 2 – Senior Pastor and Pastoral Staff

The pastoral staff is accountable to the Board of Elders. The Senior Pastor shall oversee the preaching of the Word and give pastoral care. He shall be responsible for the oversight of the church staff. By virtue of his position he shall serve as an Elder.

Section 3 – Deacons

The Deacon’s role is one of administration and serving the flock (Acts 6:1-6). The Deacons shall have responsibilities as delegated by the Elders in order to share with the Elders in their ministries and will meet with the Elders at periodic intervals.

Article VI – Selection of Pastoral Staff, Elders and Deacons

Section 1 – Elders

Elders shall be added to the Board based upon the Spirit-led recognition of a man’s fulfillment of the Scriptural qualifications (I Timothy 3; Titus 1; I Peter 5) and his awareness of the call of the Holy Spirit to serve. Any man who candidates for the Office of Elder shall be recommended to the membership for their consideration. The Board of Elders shall establish and maintain a written procedure for identifying, qualifying, and approving new Elders. Such procedures shall be available for inspection by any member of Countryside Bible Church upon request. Upon approval of an Elder candidate by the Board of Elders, that man shall be presented to the church body as an Elder.

Section 2 – Senior Pastor and Pastoral Staff

Any man who is a candidate for a senior pastoral position shall be recommended by the Board of Elders to the church at a business meeting called for this purpose. Approval at a business meeting of at least two-thirds of the attending members and a final approval by the Elders after consideration of any concerns expressed are necessary for this selection.

Section 3 – Deacons

Deacons shall be added based upon the Spirit-led recognition of a man’s fulfillment of the Scriptural qualifications (I Timothy 3; Titus 1; I Peter 5) and his awareness of the call of the Holy Spirit to serve. Any man who candidates for the office of Deacon shall be recommended to the membership for their consideration. The Board of Elders shall establish and maintain a written procedure for identifying, qualifying, and approving new Deacons. Such procedures shall be available for inspection by any member of Countryside Bible Church upon request. Upon approval of a Deacon candidate by the Board of Elders, that man shall be presented to the church body as a Deacon.

Section 4 – Miscellaneous

All leadership shall be active members of the church and be in submission to the Constitution and Doctrinal Statement.

Article VII – Terms of Service of Elders and Deacons

Each Elder and Deacon, staff and non-staff, shall serve in perpetuity, qualified beforehand as, and responsible to, shepherd the members in regular attendance at Countryside Bible Church, as set forth in Article V, Sections 1, 2, and 3. The terms of service for an Elder or Deacon may be terminated by resignation or disqualification as set forth in Article VIII. The term-and all responsibilities, authorities, or privileges granted to the Elder or Deacon-shall cease on the date of resignation or knowledge of disqualification. Any Elder or Deacon who has resigned must re-submit to the application/qualification process if they desire to resume said office.

Any Elder or Deacon may take a voluntary bi-annual sabbatical of not more than ninety (90) consecutive days. If the sabbatical extends beyond ninety (90) days, he must re-candidate before resuming his former office.

Article VIII – Removal of Pastoral Staff, Elders and Deacons

Resignation from any position must be submitted in writing to the Elder Board and may be accepted at any time. Vacancy in the Offices of Senior Pastor or Church Treasurer will be filled in the above described procedures as expeditiously as possible.

Any Elder, Deacon, or Pastoral Staff Member may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the Board of Elders if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified (according to pertinent Scripture, including I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-8) , after a thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders (or a duly appointed Committee of the Board) , in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and I Timothy 5:19. When an Elder, Deacon, or Pastoral Staff Member is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from his office, and if he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal shall be accompanied by a public rebuke, and notice shall be made before the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly-scheduled worship service as prescribed in I Timothy 5:20.

Article IX – Business Meetings

Notice shall be given from the pulpit in at least two consecutive Sunday morning services prior to a business meeting. Business meetings shall be called for member input. Approval of the congregation by a vote of at least 2/3 of active adult members voting shall be required for the following, to-wit:

  • Purchase or sale of real estate
  • Filling of permanent full-time senior pastor position
  • Amendment of the Constitution or Doctrinal Statement
  • Any other matters provided herein or any matters presented by the Elders for church vote

A business meeting shall be called by the Elders for any specified purpose.

Section 1 – Business Meeting

A Business Meeting shall be any meeting called to review any item designated in Article IX requiring congregational approval.

Section 2 – Voting

The privilege to vote is restricted to active members of this church 18 years of age and older. The Board of Elders shall determine the method of voting. Unless stated otherwise in this Constitution, a simple majority is required for the adoption of any resolution or motion or any item designated under Article IX for congregational approval.

Article X – Membership

Section 1 – Qualifications For Membership

Persons desiring to unite with this church by profession of a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior shall be examined as to their Christian faith and experience. Membership requirements are:

  • Belief in the finished atoning work of Christ for sin (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:8; I Timothy 1:7)
  • Belief in the Bible as the only inspired, inerrant, sufficient, authoritative guide for life (II Timothy 3:16)
  • Submission to the CBC Doctrinal Statement and Constitution
  • Believer’s baptism

Section 2 – Obligations of Membership

The members of the church shall be responsible for faithful support to the body of Christ, the church (II Corinthians 9:6-15; Hebrews 10:24-25), for submission to the leadership (Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 5:5), and for a ministry of support and encouragement to one another (Galatians 6:2; Colossians 3:12-17). Members are encouraged to contact any Elder if they wish to meet with the Board of Elders to discuss any matter of concern.

Section 3 – Types of Memberships

Three types of memberships are available:

  • Active members are those in good standing, who attend faithfully. Only active members of the age of eighteen (18) years and over shall have the privilege to vote and hold church office.
  • Youth members are those in good standing, who attend faithfully, who are below eighteen years of age. Membership will automatically be changed to an active membership at the age of eighteen.
  • Inactive members are those who have for at least six (6) months failed to regularly attend services of this church and who have not after having been contacted, given satisfactory explanations of such absence. Inactive members shall have no right to hold church office. Inactive members shall be dropped from all membership rolls after six months on the inactive membership roll.

Section 4 – Membership Rolls

Three types of membership rolls approved by the Board of Elders shall be maintained in the official church records at all times.

  • Active members
  • Youth members
  • Inactive members

Section 5 – Termination

Membership may be terminated for any of the following reasons:

  • Voluntary termination at the request of any member in good standing. No member may withdraw his/her membership during the process of church discipline of that member, as set forth in Article XII.
  • Involuntary termination as a result of remaining on the inactive rolls for six (6) months, or as a result of discipline under Article XII.

Article XI – Teachers

Teachers must consent in writing to submit to and be bound by the Constitution, Doctrinal Statement, Doctrinal Distinctives, and leadership of CBC. All teachers must be approved by the Elder Board or its designee.

Article XII – Church Discipline

Section 1 – Church Discipline

The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1) .

Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Board of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18. Before such dismissal, however, (a) it shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then (b) the warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. The first and second warnings may occur with no specified time interval. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then (c) it shall be brought to the attention of the Board of Elders. If the Board of Elders determines-after thorough investigation in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18, 1 Timothy 5:19-that there is corroborating evidence that the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then (d) he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the Board of Elders (or duly appointed Committee of the Board, per the Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Board), then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Elders in the exercise of their discretion may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline, (i. e. the informing of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance) or to the fourth stage of church discipline, (i. e. the dismissal from the fellowship and/or membership of the church) when one or more of the following have occurred;

  • Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have been public, i.e. openly and to the offense of the whole Church (I Corinthians 5:1-5) ;
  • Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the elders (Romans 16:17) ; or
  • Where the disciplined party has been warned twice to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Titus3:10-11).

The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.

Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly constituted subcommittee thereof) , a member, non-member, regular attender, or other individual may be notified that he or she is not to be present upon church premises for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others on church premises. Such required absence may, but need not, be concurrent with church discipline of that person.

Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly constituted subcommittee thereof) , the names of any members who have not attended a worship service, Sunday School class session or Fellowship Group meeting at Countryside Bible Church for a period of six months or longer may be removed from the active membership roll, in accord with the provisions of Article X, Section 5 of this Constitution.

Section 2 – Consideration Concerning Ministry Responsibilities

Protection of the flock as well as each individual will always be carefully considered by the Elders. Removal of the believer subject to church discipline from ministry responsibilities will be by the decision of the Elders, and will always be necessary whenever a public confrontation is required. After restoration of fellowship for this believer, time to restore trust and credibility (I Timothy 3:7) with opportunities to serve and to be proven (I Timothy 5:22-25) will be provided before resumption of ministry responsibilities.