Note from the Elders:
We believe it is important for our church members to have a working knowledge of our church polity (i.e. how our church is governed; how our church operates).
We believe elders are to shepherd the flock of Christ in our church, and that means we must know who are the members of our flock. We believe Christians are to submit to biblical elders, and that means Christians need to know who their elders are. These two beliefs lead to meaningful church membership and eldership being practiced in the local church.
We believe that practicing meaningful church membership and eldership necessarily means church discipline must be practiced as well. Church discipline has the overarching goal of restoration, and only leads to the offending member’s removal from the church when they refuse to repent of the sin of which they have been made repeatedly aware.
Some of these concepts may be new to you as a prospective member. Please do not hesitate to ask the elders for further clarification on any of them.
The Elders shall be responsible to:
i. Care for the spiritual needs of the church family
ii. Guard the purity of doctrine and life of the church
iii. Direct the administration of the church ordinances
iv. Discipline in accordance with the Word of God
v. Share the ministry of pastoral care
vi. 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 Council 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).
Elders shall be added to the Council 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 Council 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 Faith Bible Church upon request. Upon approval of an Elder candidate by the Council of Elders, that man shall be presented to the church body for a vote of confirmation as stated in the constitution and bylaws of Faith Bible Church.
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.
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 Council 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 Faith Bible Church upon request. Upon approval of a Deacon candidate by the Council of Elders, that man shall be presented to the church body as a Deacon.
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 Council of Elders to discuss any matter of concern.
Upon a person's request for membership, the following procedures will be followed:
i. The person shall meet with a subset of the elders (2 or 3) to discuss if he or she has truly trusted Christ as Savior.
ii. An elder or an elder-appointed member of the church shall give an information packet containing the membership covenant/commitment to the applicant.
iii. An elder or elder-appointed member of the church shall meet with the person to discuss and answer any questions regarding the church and his or her membership commitment.
iv. If after meeting with an elder of the church, the person is found to be of kindred spirit with the church, and can and will commit to the responsibilities of membership, an elder shall present his or her request for membership to the elder body for approval or denial.
v. If a request for membership is denied, an elder of the church shall meet with the person to discuss and answer any questions regarding the decision of the elder body.
vi. Upon elder body approval, the new member shall be publicly presented to the church as a fellow member of the church.
vii. The new member shall be assigned to an elder shepherding group for care.
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 obstinately persist in heterodox doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Council of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18.
Before such dismissal, however,
i. 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
ii. 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
iii. it shall be brought to the attention of the Council of Elders. If the Council 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
iv. 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 Council of Elders (or duly appointed Committee of the Council, per the Bylaws, at the sole discretion of the Council), 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
i. 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);
ii. 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
iii. Where the disciplined party has been warned twice to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Titus 3:10-11).
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.