We, the Elders of Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Melissa, establish and approve the following Articles.
Article I: Name
The name of this local body of Christ shall be the Grace Bible Fellowship Church of Melissa (hereinafter “Grace Bible Fellowship Church”). This body was originally named Grace Church of Collin County, and was formed in November 1991.
Article II: Purpose
God’s purpose in establishing this local expression of the body of Christ is that His manifold wisdom, which He demonstrated in Christ Jesus our Lord, shall be made known (Ephesians 3:10). In response, we purpose to glorify God in the following mutually supportive ways as directed by the Holy Scriptures:
- By gathering together for worship and prayer in the unity of the Spirit (Acts 2:42);
- By the exercising of spiritual gifts for the edification, maturing, and equipping of God’s people for service to God (I Corinthians 12:4-7; II Timothy 3:16,17);
- By proclaiming the gospel of God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ to the world through word and practice (Acts 1:8; Matthew 5:13-16);
- By encouraging the application of Biblical principles to all spheres of life (Matthew 5:13-16; Jeremiah 29:7; I Corinthians 10:31).
Article III: Statements of Faith
The Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. The Statement of Faith and Statement of Doctrinal Positions for Grace Bible Fellowship Church are summaries of what we believe God’s Word teaches with regard to the essential tenets of Christian theology. Grace Bible Fellowship Church is in substantial agreement with the historic London Baptist Confessions of Faith of 1644 and 1689. All statements of faith and confessions are subordinate to Scripture and amendable.
Article IV: Form of Government
The government of this church shall be under the headship of Jesus Christ and in obedience to the Word of God (Colossians 1:17-18). Under Christ’s leadership, Grace Bible Fellowship Church shall be governed by Elders (pastors) in accordance with this Constitution, fulfilling the Biblical responsibilities defined in Article IX of the By-Laws. Likewise, Deacons will administer the affairs of this church, under the oversight of the Elders, in accordance with this Constitution, fulfilling the Biblical responsibilities defined in Article IX of the By-Laws.
Section 1: Elders
Elders shall be men called of God who are qualified according to I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and I Peter 5:2-3, and have accepted the Grace Bible Fellowship Church Statement of Doctrinal Positions. Unless providentially hindered, there shall be no less than two Elders at any given time, and up to as many as the Lord calls to the undershepherding role. Each Elder will serve as long as he remains Biblically qualified, available, and desires to continue to serve.
Section 2. Deacons
Deacons shall be men called of God who are qualified according to I Timothy 3:8-13 and have accepted the Grace Bible Fellowship Church Statement of Doctrinal Positions. Unless providentially hindered, there shall be no fewer than two Deacons at any given time, and as many as the Lord calls to this ministering role. Each Deacon will serve as long as he remains Biblically qualified, available, and desires to continue to serve.
Section 3. Other Leadership
All positions of leadership associated with Grace Bible Fellowship Church shall be filled with members. This includes all teaching positions (Sunday School, home fellowship small groups, etc.), the leading of worship services, and leadership positions for all other recognized ministry areas. All teaching and preaching from these leaders is expected to be consistent with the Grace Bible Fellowship Church Statement of Doctrinal Positions. The Elders may invite members of other churches to minister at Grace Bible Fellowship Church periodically.
Article V: Corporation Status
Grace Bible Fellowship Church is a religious corporation as filed with the State of Texas and is not organized for the private gain of any person. It is organized under the Nonprofit Religious Corporation Law exclusively for religious purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Article VI: Affiliations
Grace Bible Fellowship Church shall not be subordinated to any other organization. Grace Bible Fellowship Church may cooperate with other organizations of like mind and purpose, and may even affiliate with the same as long as the right of withdrawal is reserved. However, neither Grace Bible Fellowship Church authority nor property shall be subordinate to any other organization.
Article VII: Membership
The membership process allows a means of maintaining the purity of Grace Bible Fellowship Church and ensuring the administration of pastoral care (I Peter 1:15,16).
Grace Bible Fellowship Church receives as members those who evidence faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and who agree with the Statement of Faith. Each member is expected to exercise personal and corporate study of all tenets of the Grace Bible Fellowship Church Statement of Doctrinal Positions and not to undermine the doctrine and practice reflected in the Constitution, By-Laws, and Statements of Grace Bible Fellowship Church.
It is not required that a person be re-baptized to become a member. However, if the prospective member was only baptized as an infant, or for some reason there is a question about the validity of the original baptism, the prospective member shall be baptized as a believer.
Article VIII: Church Discipline
It is the aim of Grace Bible Fellowship Church to vindicate the integrity and honor of Christ by maintaining the purity of the local church and her worship (Matthew 18:15-18; Romans 16:17; I Corinthians 5:6-8; II Thessalonians 3.6-15; Titus 1:13, 2:15, 3:10). Grace Bible Fellowship Church, by consistently applying Biblical principles to Christians whether they be members or regular attendees, shall strive to restore offenders (I Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:1) and deter others from sin (I Timothy 5:20), including, if necessary, the public announcement of unrepentant sinning believers, as required in Matthew 18.
Article IX: Additional Grace Bible Fellowship Church Documents
All additional church documents approved by the Elder Board shall be in agreement with and subordinate to this Constitution and By-Laws.
Article X: Dissolution
In the event of the dissolution of Grace Bible Fellowship Church by the Elder Board, no member, officer of the church, or private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any assets. Upon dissolution, assets of the church shall first be used to pay any outstanding debts. Following this, the remaining assets of the corporation shall be given to non-profit corporations of like faith and practice and/or to missionaries supported by the church.
The selection of recipients, as well as the timing of the actual transfers, shall be determined by vote of the Elder Board with consideration given to recommendations made by the Board of Deacons. Actions required to carry out the dissolution shall be performed by the Deacon Board, who shall seek out legal assistance to complete the process.
Article XI: Ammendments
The Elder Board shall solicit comments and recommendations from the membership of Grace Bible Fellowship Church on all proposed amendments to this Constitution and By-Laws at least thirty days prior to their formal approval and incorporation. After evaluating responses from the membership, final approval of amendments shall be made by the Elder Board at a regularly scheduled Elder Board meeting.
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