BYLAWS OF GRACE CHURCH OF SANTEE
Revised September 28, 2014
The name of this church, a California nonprofit religious corporation, is Grace Church of Santee. These Bylaws are subordinate to the Articles of Incorporation. The Articles of Incorporation and these Bylaws, including the Statement of Faith, together form the Constitution of Grace Church of Santee.
Section 1: General Purpose. The General Purpose of Grace Church is as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation.
Section 2: Specific Purpose. The specific purpose of Grace Church is to glorify God through worship, outreach, education, service, and fellowship.
- Worship. To worship God publicly in spirit and truth, and maintain personal daily devotions (John 4:24).
- Outreach. To share the gospel message with as many people as possible in our community, state, nation and world (Matthew 28: 18-20; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).
- Education. To train and equip members for effective ministry. To promote spiritual growth and discipleship through the study of God’s Word (Ephesians 4:11-13; 2 Timothy 2:2).
- Service. To serve one another in love, and to promote good works in order to meet spiritual, emotional, and physical needs (Matthew 25:34-40; 1 Peter 4;10,11; Galatians 5:13,14).
- Fellowship. To love, encourage, and pray for one another as we share our lives together in Christ (Acts 2:44-47; Hebrews 10:23-25; John 13:34,35).
Grace Church is autonomous and self-governing, independent of denominational control. With approval of the members, Grace Church may voluntarily associate with one or more church associations.
Statement of Faith
The Statement of Faith of Grace Church is set forth below. The Board of Elders, with approval of the Members, may review the Statement of Faith periodically and may revise it for clarity and to more faithfully reflect the teaching of Scripture.
- The Scriptures. The Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament, were inspired by God in the whole and in the part. As such, they are inerrant in their original writings. They are the supreme and infallible rule of faith and practice for the church (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
- The Trinity. There is but one living and true God, infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, immutable, immense, eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. In the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons of one power, substance and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
- God the Father. God the Father is an infinite, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. He works all things after the counsel of His own will, and concerns Himself with the affairs of humanity. He hears and answers prayer, and saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (John 4:24; 5:17; Isaiah 6:3; 1 Timothy 1:17; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 11:6).
- God the Son. Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son. He is true God and true man in one Person, conceived by the Holy Sprit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death, made atonement for sin, rose again bodily form the dead, ascended into heaven, where He intercedes for His people. He will return personally and visibly in power to judge the world (Micah 5:2; John 1:18; Luke 19:10; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Hebrews 4:14-16; Titus 2:13; Revelation 19:11-21; 20:11-15; Revelation 21).
- God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity and is fully God. He convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He regenerates, sanctifies, and indwells every believer, and baptizes them into the body of Christ. He guides and empowers believers and gives gifts to them for the work of service (Acts 5:3,4; John 16:8; Titus 3:5; Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 12:4-13; Ephesians 4:11-16)
- Man. God created man in His own image and free from sin. Man, because of his fall in Adam, is a sinner by nature and choice. He is therefore spiritually dead and in need of salvation (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7-3:19; Ro. 3:10-23;5:12-21; 6:23).
- Salvation. Salvation from sin and death comes by grace through Jesus Christ. This salvation is based upon the sovereign grace of God, and was purchased by Christ on the cross. Sinners are saved when they repent of sin and trust Jesus Christ for salvation. Salvation always results in a changed life, righteous living, and good works. Those who are true believers cannot finally fall away from grace, but are kept by God’s power unto eternal salvation (John 1:13;17; Ephesians 1:1-13; Romans 5:1; Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:38-39).
- The Church. The church is the spiritual body of which Christ is the head. The true church is composed of all persons who through faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. This body expresses itself in local assembles whose members have been baptized upon a credible confession of faith and have associated themselves for worship, instruction, evangelism and service. The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. The New Testament teaches the interdependence of local churches and the mutual submission of believers to each other in love (Matthew 28: 18-20; Acts 1:8; 2:41-47; Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 10:24, 25).
- Separation of Church and State. Each local church is self-governing in function and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority. Every human being is directly responsible to God in matters of faith and life, and each should be free to worship God according to the dictates of his or her conscience (Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:1; 1 Timothy 2:1-6).
- Church Conduct. The supreme task of every believer is to glorify God in this life. The believer should live blamelessly before the world, be a faithful steward of his or her possessions, and seek to mature in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Timothy 6:6-9; 1 Peter 1:14, 5; 2 Peter 3:18).
- Satan. Satan exists as a personal being. He is the prince of this world system, the deceiver of the nations, and the adversary of God and God’s people. Satan’s destiny is one of judgment and eternal punishment (John 8:44 Revelation 12:9 20:10).
- Last Things. Both the saved and the lost will be resurrected from the dead. The saved will be raised to eternal comfort and bliss in heaven. The lost will experienced conscious, eternal suffering in hell (John 5:28, 29; Revelation 20:1-15).
Section 1: Qualifications for Membership.
- A personal commitment of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Baptism by immersion as a public profession of faith in Christ.
- Agreement with the statement of faith.
- Commitment to abide by the Constitution of Grace Church.
- Completion of new member’s class unless waived by the Pastor.
- Approval by the Board of Elders.
The names of candidates for membership shall be posted in the Sunday morning bulletin for four weeks prior to their induction to give the members of Grace Church an opportunity to express concerns to the Board of Elders about any candidate.
New members may be presented to the congregation at any regular worship service or special congregational meeting.
Section 2: Responsibilities of Membership.
- To pray for the church regularly.
- To be faithful to God in personal devotions and family worship.
- To worship regularly with the church family.
- To serve in some ministry of the church.
- To support the church financially.
- To walk in obedience to God’s Word, and seek to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20).
Section 3: Voting Rights of Membership.
Each member 18 years and older is entitled to one vote at any church business meeting. Voting by proxy is prohibited, but members who cannot attend a business meeting may submit a written ballot if approved by the Board of Elders.
Section 4: Removing Members.
Upon recommendation by the Pastor and Elders, members may be removed from the church roll for the following reasons:
- Transfer of membership to another church.
- By personal request of the member.
- Failure to attend the services for a period of three months one year.
- Church discipline.
- A member will be subject to church discipline when his or her life exhibits public sin or scandal, heresy, divisiveness, gossip, contempt of church leadership, or other flagrant wrongdoing which hinders the testimony of the church or brings reproach upon the name of Christ.
- Procedures for the dismissal of a member shall be according to Matthew 18: 15-17. A majority vote by members at a business meeting shall be necessary for dismissal.
- Upon repentance and approval of Pastor and Elders, dismissed members shall be restored to full fellowship with the church according to the spirit of 2 Corinthians 2:7-8.
Section 5: Membership Status
No member of Grace Church shall have any ownership interest in assets of Grace Church. No membership or right arising from membership shall be transferred.
Section 1: The Senior Pastor.
- Qualifications. The Senior Pastor shall meet the character qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9. He should be licensed or ordained for the gospel ministry, and agree with the Statement of Faith of this church. At the time of his call, he shall become a member of this church.
- Duties. To shepherd the flock of God at Grace Church by preaching, teaching, discipling, counseling, and training believers to walk in obedience to God (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-13, 2 Timothy 2:2, 4:2; Titus 1:9; 2:1). He shall oversee the worship services and ordinances of the church. He shall work with the Board of Elders in proposing and supervising the spiritual ministry of the church and provide leadership to that board. He will be an ex officio member of all committees and other groups in the church.
- Selection. If a pastoral vacancy occurs, the Board of Elders shall serve as the Pastoral Search Committee. The Board of Elders may appoint additional members from the congregation as needed. The best available candidate shall be brought to the church to speak in one or more of the services, and interact with members of the congregation in an variety of ways. The congregation shall then vote at a special business meeting on whether or not to extend a call. An affirmative vote of 75% of present and voting members shall be required to call a senior pastor.
- Term. The Senior Pastor shall serve indefinitely. The relationship may be terminated by resignation or removal.
- Resignation. Should the Senior Pastor resign, he shall provide 60 days notice prior to leaving. This requirement may be modified or waived by the Elder Board if circumstances warrant.
- Removal. The Senior Pastor may be removed by a two-thirds majority vote by present and voting members at a special business meeting. The church shall give him 60 days notice prior to removal. If the Board of Elders deems it necessary, the Senior Pastor may be relieved of his duties with 60 days pay, prior to dismissal. If it is determined that sin in the minister’s life disqualifies him from the ministry, the procedure in 1 Timothy 5:19-21 will be followed.
Section 2: The Board of Elders.
- Qualifications. Candidates for Elder shall be members of the church who demonstrate the character qualities of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, and who have been members in good standing for a minimum of one year.
- Duties. The Board of Elders shall be responsible to provide counsel to the Senior Pastor in maintaining the effective and efficient operation of the church. They shall elect a chairman and vice-chairman, and meet at least eight times per year to perform their duties. They shall assist the Senior Pastor in the administration of the ordinances, and help determine church policy and practice. They shall oversee the financial affairs of the church, and prepare an annual budget to be presented at the annual meeting. They shall annually review the pastor’s salary and benefit package, and if possible, contribute to his retirement program. They shall exercise general oversight over the church property. They may appoint Deacons who meet the qualifications of I Timothy 3:8-13, and committees as needed to facilitate ministries in keeping with the purpose of the church. They shall watch over the spiritual affairs of the church as instructed in Acts 20:17-35, Titus 1:9 and I Peter 5:1-4.
- Composition. The Board shall consist of no less than four members including the Senior Pastor, while the church membership is under 200. Thereafter the church may elect as many as needed. Within these parameters, the Board of Elders shall determine the specific number of positions to be filled in a given year.
- Term. Each Elder shall serve for a term of two (2) years after which he must be re-elected by the Church Membership for another consecutive term. There is no limitation upon the number of consecutive terms Elders may serve.
- Selection. The Board of Elders shall present a slate of qualified men to serve as Elders for approval at the annual business meeting. A two-thirds majority of present and voting members shall confirm Board members.
- Removal. A Board member may resign by giving at least thirty days notice. Failure to perform required duties shall be treated as a resignation. The Board may request a formal resignation of an Elder who fails to meet his obligations.
- Quorum. A quorum for all Board meetings shall consist of two-thirds of the total membership of the Board. Unless otherwise specified, a simple majority of Board members present and voting shall decide any matter.
- Special Meetings. The Board may hold special meetings by agreement after each elder is given at least three days notification verbally, by electronic means, or by regular mail of the time and date of such a meeting. If a quorum of Elders are present at any location, and all give consent, they may hold a special meeting to conduct pressing business.
Section 1: The Pastoral Staff.
The pastoral staff shall work closely with the Senior Pastor in providing leadership and teaching so that the church’s purpose is being accomplished.
- Qualifications. Same as for Senior Pastor.
- Duties. Each staff member’s job description shall be determined by the Senior Pastor with approval of the Board of Elders.
- Selection. The Senior Pastor shall make a recommendation to the Board of Elders. The candidate shall then be presented to the congregation for approval. A two-thirds majority of present and voting members at a business meeting shall be required to extend a call to a staff minister.
- Term. Ministry staff members shall serve indefinitely. The relationship may be terminated on thirty days notice.
- Removal. The Senior Pastor may dismiss a staff member if circumstances warrant with the approval of the Board of Elders. If it is determined that sin in the staff minister’s life disqualifies him from the ministry, the procedure in 1 Timothy 5:19-21 will be followed.
Section 2: Program and Support Staff.
Other staff members shall be hired as necessary by the Board of Elders to carry out the church’s ministry. The funding of new staff positions must be approved by the congregation. Their job descriptions shall be determined by the Senior Pastor unless he delegates that to the Board of Elders.
- Selection. Officers shall be selected by the Board of Elders for one year terms. Neither the Elder Board Chairman nor the Senior Pastor may serve concurrently as either Recording Secretary or Treasurer.
- Recording Secretary. The recording secretary shall be responsible for recording minutes of church business meetings, and maintaining accurate and current membership rolls. Questions as to the membership status of any individual shall be determined by the Board of Elders.
- Treasurer. The treasurer shall be responsible for receiving all contributions made to the church, maintaining records of those contributions, and providing annual receipts to contributors. He or she shall disburse authorized funds, keeping accurate records of such disbursements. He or she shall prepare financial reports for the Board of Elders, and an annual financial report for the church membership at the annual meeting.
- Business Meetings. The Senior Pastor or Elder Board Chairman shall moderate all church business meetings, unless they designate someone else.
- Annual Meeting. In November or December of each year, a congregational meeting shall be held to elect Elder Board members, ratify the annual budget, confirm membership roll transactions, and conduct other business as determined by the Senior Pastor and Board of Elders. All elections and decisions in any business meeting shall be decided by a simple majority vote unless otherwise specified.
- Special Business Meetings. Special business meetings may be called by the Senior Pastor or Board of Elders as needed. At least ten days written notice, or an announcement at the worship services on two successive Sundays, shall be required for any special business meeting. The Senior Pastor and Board must call a business meeting upon receiving a written petition signed by at least 50% of the voting membership with a specific statement of the business intended. No other business shall be transacted at that time.
- Quorum. For all church business meetings, a quorum shall consist of 40% of the total voting membership of the church.
- Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the church shall correspond to the calendar year.
- Bylaw Revisions. These Bylaws may be revised by the congregation provided the proposed change (s) is presented in written form at least one month before being acted upon. A two-thirds majority of members present and voting shall be required to revise the Bylaws. If adopted, the revision becomes effective immediately, but not retroactively. The Bylaws shall be completely reviewed by the Board of Elders at intervals of no more than five years.
- Over-Budget Expenditures. The congregation must approve any expenditure which exceeds 2% of the yearly church budget. The Board of Elders shall be authorized to use monies for goods or services on non-budgeted items with the provision that a minimum of $15,000.00 cash reserve be maintained at all times.
- Real Estate and Buildings. The congregation must approve any acquisition or liquidation of real estate, including any construction or removal of buildings (whether permanent or temporary).
- Budget Review. The congregation must approve any amendment of the annual budget at a special business meeting.
This corporation shall continue to function as a church without a specific term of existence. The property of the corporation is irrevocably dedicated to religious or charitable purposes. Should the church disband, after providing for existing debt or obligation, the existing membership shall distribute its remaining assets to religious or charitable organizations which are in concert with the mission of the church, which are organized and operated exclusively for religious or charitable purposes, and which have established their tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) (or the corresponding provision of any future federal internal revenue law). No private person shall benefit by church dissolution and distribution of assets.