Article 1. Church Government
These By-Laws describe the organization and administration of Cornerstone Bible Church. The Bible, being the very Word of God, is our ultimate authority in all matters. This document applies our understanding of the Scriptures to the governing of this church.
Scripture describes a member of the Body of Christ, the true, invisible, universal church, as one who has received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (John 1:12; 3:3, 5, 7, 16; 1Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 2:8). Any person seeking membership in this local church shall therefore appear before the Board of Elders to give testimony of their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and their acceptance of Cornerstone Bible Church doctrinal statement. A true Christian experience, including the observance of the Lord’s Supper and the experience of baptism by immersion after accepting Christ as Savior, should be evident in each candidate’s life.
Members should agree to commit themselves to the local church by ministering within the fellowship (Eph. 4:12-16; 1Pet. 4:10-11), faithfully attending its services and functions
(Heb. 10:25), submitting to the Scriptural authority of the church (Heb. 13:7, 17), and financially supporting the ministry as exemplified in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2.
The granting and removing of membership shall be determined by the Board of Elders. It is the responsibility of the Elder Board to determine if and why any member is no longer actively participating in church fellowship, and to make every effort to restore such a one to active fellowship before taking action regarding his/her membership. Inactive members will be removed from the membership roll.
The Board of Elders shall, in love, exercise church discipline as necessary to foster the spiritual wellbeing of the fellowship and of individual members. This shall include, if necessary, dismissal from church office and separation from membership. A unanimous vote of the Board of Elders is necessary for any disciplinary action.
(Mt. 18:15-17; Gal 6:1; 2Thes. 3:6,14,15; 1Cor 5:1-3; Rom. 16:17-18; Titus 3:10; 1Tim. 5:19-20)
C. ASSEMBLY MEETINGS
Meetings conducted at Cornerstone Bible Church will be held whenever the Elders see the need to communicate with the assembly. Notice of the time and place shall be given from the pulpit by the Pastor for two consecutive weeks, when possible. This should also be published in the bulletin. Any emergency meetings can be called at any time, by unanimous concession of the Board of Elders. Meetings can be called for the sake of informing the assembly on church matters or to gather further information from the assembly to foster the unanimity in Elder decisions (Heb. 13:17).
Article 2. Church Leadership
A. BOARD OF ELDERS
- Election and Term of Office: The governing body of this corporation shall be known as the Board of Elders. It shall consist of male members that meet the Scriptural qualifications of an Elder as described below under “Qualifications”. Elder nominations will be prayerfully evaluated by the Elder Board. Qualified nominees will be presented to the church body. The members’ input will be considered, and earnestly sought after. A majority vote (members only) will then be required for confirmation. Those appointed to the Board of Elders shall serve for an indefinite time. Upon a unanimous decision of the Elders (minus the Elder in question), the position of an Elder will be terminated. All Pastors, Deacons and members shall be responsible to this Board (1Tim. 2:12).
- Qualifications: Each member of the Board of Elders must be an active member of this church, and possess the qualification found in 1Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
- Above reproach (reprimand, reproof, slander)
- Husband of one wife (a one-woman man)
- Temperate (sober, level-headed, pleasant)
- Self-controlled (sensible, serious)
- Respectable (ethical, conscientious)
- Hospitable (congenial, empathetic)
- Able to teach (able to refute false teachings, and can encourage believers)
- Not given to much wine (to include willing to abstain from tobacco, hard liquors, and non-medicinal/illegal drugs)
- Not violent (disorderly)
- Gentle (moderate, forbearing)
- Not quarrelsome (hostile, belligerent, contentious)
- Not a lover of money
- He must manage his own house well
- He must see that his children obey him with proper respect
- Not a recent convert
- Has a good reputation with outsiders
- Not overbearing (dominant, opinionated)
- One who loves what is good
- Upright (honest, aboveboard, straightforward)
- Holy (devout)
- Disciplined (self-controlled, firm)
- Elder Board Duties:The Elders are responsible for the shepherding and oversight of the church body (1Pet. 5:1-4; Acts 20:28-30; 1Tim. 3:5). Specific duties shall be as follows:
- To elect an elder chairman and vice-chairman, elder secretary and church treasurer
- To establish policies and determine practices for the church
- To hear and consider all reports and recommendations submitted to/by leadership
- To assist the Pastor/Teacher in the administration of the ordinances
- To appoint or remove such pastors and staff as may be deemed appropriate
- To exercise general oversight of financial matters of the church
- To exercise general oversight over church property
- To acquire or dispose of all real or personal property of any kind
- To provide for the discipline of erring members while striving for reconciliation
- To oversee all ministries (there shall be an Elder assigned to every area of ministry)
Elder Board Decision-making Process: Decisions shall be reached after prayerful considerations by unanimous vote, for or against, in a spirit of humility with each Elder regarding one another before himself.
- Pastor/Teacher Election: All Pastor/Teacher male only candidates shall be selected by the board of Elders. The members’ input must always be considered, and must be earnestly sought after. One candidate will be presented to the members. After hearing him preach on at least one Sunday, an informal meeting will be set aside for members to ask him questions prior to voting. A majority vote (members only) will be required for confirmation. The Pastor/Teacher shall remain in office for an indefinite period of time. Upon a unanimous decision of the Elders (minus the pastor), the position of Pastor/Teacher will be terminated and a new search begun (1Tim 2:12). Any person in ministry receiving compensation directly or indirectly shall not be in a position to determine the nature or amount of said compensation.
- Pastor/Teacher Duties: The Sr. Pastor/Teacher shall be the overseeing Elder at all Elder meetings, until an alternate Chairman of the Board of Elders is unanimously elected. The Sr. Pastor/Elder shall arrange for and conduct all public and regular services of the church and shall be responsible for general oversight of the spiritual welfare of the church. The Associate Pastor shall assist the Sr. Pastor in all his areas of responsibilities.
BOARD OF DEACONS:
1. Election and Term of Office: Deacons shall consist of male members that meet the Scriptural qualifications of a Deacon as described below under “Qualifications”. Deacon nominations will be prayerfully evaluated by the Elder Board. Qualified nominees will be presented to the church body. The members’ input will be considered, and earnestly sought after. A majority vote (members only) will then be required for confirmation. Those appointed to the Board of Deacons shall serve for an indefinite time. Upon a unanimous decision of the elders the position of a Deacon will be terminated. All Deacons shall be responsible to the Board of Elders (1Tim. 2:12).
2. Qualifications: Each Deacon must be an active member of this church, and possess the qualification found in 1Tim. 3:8-12 and Acts 6:3.
- Full of the Spirit and Wisdom (born again)
- Men worthy of respect (in and out of the church)
- Sincere (trustworthy, truthful, honest)
- Not indulging in much wine (including willing to abstain from tobacco, hard liquors and non-medicinal/illegal drugs)
- Not pursuing dishonest gain
- They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience (knowledge of the Scriptures)
- They must first be tested
- Their wives (if married) must be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but sober (modest, pleasant, rational) and trustworthy in everything (born again)
- Must be the husband of one wife (a one-woman man)
- Must manage his children and household well
3. Deacons’ Duties: Deacons are to assist the Elders in the administration of business and ministry of the church. The Elders then oversee ministries of the church through the Deacons. Every ministry associated with the church will be overseen by an Elder, preferably through a Deacon. Deacons’ tasks then are to be in charge of their assigned ministries so that the Elders can devote themselves to prayer and the Word in overseeing the assembly (Acts 6:2-4).
C. BIBLE LEADERS/TEACHERS
All regular Bible leaders and or teachers shall be members of this assembly, teaching in harmony with the By-Laws and the Doctrinal Statement of Cornerstone Bible Church. Women are not to teach or exercise authority over a man. Boys will be considered reaching or approaching manhood in the beginning of his teen years (1Tim. 2:12).
Article 3. Miscellany
A. CHURCH PROPERTY
This congregation shall have the power to receive, either by gift or by purchase, and to hold such real, personal, or mixed property as is authorized by the laws of the State of Maine, and as deemed necessary for the business of Cornerstone Bible Church. All such property shall be held in the name of Cornerstone Bible Church. The Legal Trustees are three members of the Board of Elders, selected by the Board of Elders. Up until three such members are appointed, the Sr. Pastor shall act solely in this capacity. He/they shall have the power to receive, purchase, sell, lease, convey, mortgage, deed or otherwise transfer property of the church, and shall have the power to dispose of such property by mortgage, deed or otherwise. Prior to any transaction(s), the Elders shall seek input from the members of the congregation, thus maximizing the involvement of the members in the decision-making process. At no time shall the proceeds of such acquired assets profit the Legal Trustees.
Amendments to these By-Laws must be adopted by unanimous concession of the Board of Elders. Prior to the change(s), the Elders shall seek the input of the members of the congregation, thus maximizing the involvement of the members in the decision-making process.
Quoting Alexander Straugh in his book “Biblical Eldership” p.362
“Over the years, I have observed church Elders who do not allow their brothers and sisters to have any involvement in the church’s decision-making process. These Elders wrongly act as the ruling oligarchy of the church. Good Elders will not be satisfied with a passive congregation. Good Elders want an educated, involved and mature congregation. The vibrant health of the Eldership lies in its sensitivity to its fellow brethren, its flexibility, and its desire to involve every member of the body in the art of living together in peace.
At this point, I am compelled to repeat what I said earlier: the Eldership must always seek the counsel and mind of those they lead. No clergy-laity division exists between Elders and congregation. Instead, theirs is a tightly knit, delicate, and reciprocal relationship. In the local church, there are no rulers who sit above or subjects who stand below. All are equal brethren. However, there are leaders and followers in a horizontal relationship.”
Original Draft 12/20/1994 Current Revision “F” 07/24/2017 Printed 07/24/2017