CONSTITUTION, ARTICLES OF FAITH, COVENANT AND BY-LAWS
OF THE GLOBAL HARVEST FELLOWSHIP
ARTICLE I: PREAMBLE
We, a congregation of believers in Jesus Christ, have united ourselves with one another as a local body to adopt and declare this constitution as our convictions so that we may carry on the Lord's work decently and in order.
ARTICLE II: NAME
The name of this religious, non-profit organization shall be Global Harvest Fellowship, located at 65 West 15th street, Bayonne, New Jersey 07002.
ARTICLE III: NON-PROFIT STATUS
This church shall be organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law.
ARTICLE IV: FOUNDATION, MISSION, AND PURPOSE STATEMENT
The foundation of this Church is the Lord Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:11), and its code of guidance in all its affairs, the Word of God, and this Church does here affirm its faith that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of Almighty God (Mark 13:31).
The mission of this church is that we desire to know God and to make Him known. To “know God” means more than merely attaining information. It has to do with both understanding and experiencing Jesus Christ as your ultimate joy and treasure (Ps. 16:11; Ps. 37:4; Mt. 13:44-45). We want people to understand the Gospel and experience the life-changing power of Jesus in such a way that God is their ultimate DELIGHT. Therefore, the first way that we will engage our world is by DECLARING His gospel to all kinds of people in all kinds of places. The gospel is the message that we must share boldly and compassionately with the world. We long to see believers grow into the image and likeness of Christ. We are passionate about seeing people become DISCIPLES of Jesus. To accomplish this, we are committed to creating healthy gospel-centered relationships that glorify God and develop fully devoted followers of Christ. This mission is summarized by our shorter statement; Delight in God. Declare the Gospel. Disciple Others.
The purpose of this church is to glorify God through worship, evangelism, edification and equipping of believers until our Lord comes again.
The purpose of the Church shall be to perform charitable and religious purposes as a church to engage in religious and educational endeavors and to engage in any other lawful business or activity permitted for public benefit nonprofit corporations related to such purpose.
ARTICLE V: ASSOCIATION
This church stands for historic Baptist principles. It shall be an independent, autonomous church, subject only to Jesus Christ being the head of the church and to His Holy Word, the Bible. The church may choose to associate or cooperate with other biblical groups on a voluntary basis while still maintaining her independence.
ARTICLE VI: STATEMENT OF FAITH
SECTION 1: THE WORD OF GOD
We believe that the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, are the Word of God, and as originally written were both verbally and plenary inspired and were the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore wholly without error. We believe that the Bible is the supreme revelation of God's will for man and has supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice. (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21; Mark 13:31; John 8:31-32; Acts 20:32)
SECTION 2: GOD IS TRIUNE
We believe in one living and true God, the creator of heaven and earth, who is infinite, eternal, almighty, and perfect in holiness, truth, and love. God, eternally existing and manifesting in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; co-existent, co-equal, co-eternal in all power and glory. They execute distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of creation, providence, and redemption. (Gen. 1:1, 26; Jn 1:1; Ex. 20:2-3; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24; Romans 1:19-20; Eph. 4:5-6; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 John 5:7; Rev. 4:11)
SECTION 2.1: GOD THE FATHER
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe that He infallibly foreknows all that shall come to pass, that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Luke 10:21,22; Matthew 23:9; John 3:16; 6:27; Romans 1:7; I Timothy 1:1, 2; 2:5, 6; I Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6)
SECTION 2.2: GOD THE SON
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He is the eternal Word made flesh. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings. He is perfect in nature, teaching, and obedience. He is fully God and was fully man. He was always with God and is God. Through Him all things came into being and were created. He was before all things and in Him all things hold together by the word of His power. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation and in Him dwells the fullness of the godhead bodily. He is the only Savior for the sins of the world having shed His blood and died a vicarious death on Calvary’s cross. By His death in our place, He revealed divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having redeemed us from sin, on the third day He rose bodily from the grave, victorious over death and the powers of darkness and for a period of 40 days appeared to more than 500 witnesses performing many convincing proofs of His resurrection. He ascended into heaven where at God’s right hand He intercedes for His people and rules as Lord over all and we believe He is coming back again to judge the living and the dead. He is the Head of His body, the church, and should be adored, loved, served, and obeyed by all. (Is. 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38; John 1:1; 20:28; Romans 9:5; 8:32; II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:21-23; John 20:30, 31; Matthew 20:28; Ephesians 1:4; Acts 1:11; Romans 5:6-8; 6:9, 10; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:28; I Timothy 3:16)
SECTION 2.3: GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person possessing all the attributes of personality and of deity. He is equal with the Father and with the Son and is of the same nature. He convicts mankind of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment and to regenerate, sanctify, and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the agent of the new birth, and indwells every believer in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit baptizes, indwells, seals, infills, guides, and teaches the way of righteousness to all who believe in Jesus Christ. He is an abiding helper, teacher, guide and will lead the church into a right understanding and rich application of the truth of God’s Word. He is to be respected, honored, and worshiped as God the Third Person of the Trinity.(Jn.14:16-17; 7:39; Heb.9:14; Eph.1:13-14; 5:18; Jn. 14:26; 1 Cor. 12:13; 6:19-20; John 16:9-14; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Galatians 5:22-26 )
SECTION 3: MAN
We believe that God made man – male and female – in His own image, as the crown of creation that man, in his sinless and perfect state might have fellowship with Him. Tempted by Satan, man rebelled and sinned and thereby incurred physical, spiritual, and eternal death, which is separation from God and became subject to divine wrath. Man fell from the state of innocence, in consequence all human beings are born with a sinful nature, inwardly depraved and their conduct being utterly devoid of the holiness required by law, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse. This depravity is radical and pervasive. It extends to his mind, will, and affections. Unregenerate man lives under the dominion of sin and Satan. He is at enmity with God, hostile toward God, and hateful of God. Fallen, sinful people, whatever their character or attainments, are lost and without hope apart from salvation in Jesus Christ. (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7; Ecc. 7:29; Gen. 3:1-6,24; Rom. 3:10-19; 5:12-19; II Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 19:3, 20; 20:10, 14, 15)
SECTION 4: SALVATION
We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial work of the Son of God. Salvation is a sovereign gift of God and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. We believe man is justified by grace through faith apart from works by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to be saved, the sinner must be born again, being regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ at Calvary and becoming the recipient of the new nature. We believe that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation and that no one is saved apart from a conscious and personal decision to trust in Christ as his or her one and only Savior. We believe all true and genuine believers elect of God, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Genuine believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. This salvation which Christ has bestowed is eternal. (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5 :1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3 :16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8 :28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2 :1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2 :13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 :1 0,19; Hebrews 11:39-12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2 :19; 3:2)
In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, repentance, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
1. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.
2. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
3. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.
4. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which believers are set apart to God's purposes, and are enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerated believer’s life.
5. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and eternal state of the redeemed.
(Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5; Acts 3:19; 4:12; 13:38-39; 16:31; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2:8-10; John 3:3-5; 14:6; Romans 6:23; 10:9-10)
SECTION 5: THE CHURCH
We believe in the universal Church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized in a credible profession of faith, and associated for worship, work, and fellowship. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.
The Local church is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship in the gospel, observing the ordinances of Christ, and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges vested in them by His Word. The officers are: Pastors sometimes called bishops or elders-who serve as overseers shepherding the flock of God. The elders (consisting of non-staff and staff) shall serve together according to individual giftedness in the shepherding, teaching, leading, direction and administration of all matters pertaining to the ministries of the church (1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9); and Deacons (servants of the Church and helpers to the Elders) whose qualifications and duties are defined in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. (Ephesians 2:19-22; 5:19-21; Acts 1:8; 2:42; Matthew 16:18; 1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Peter 1:3,22-25; Hebrews 10:23-25; Acts 2:37-42) (See more details concerning Church Offices in Article XI)
SECTION 6: THE ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
We believe that the ordinances of the church are baptism and the Lord's Supper.
We believe that water baptism is only intended for the individual who has received the saving benefits of Christ’s atoning work and has become His disciple. Therefore, in obedience to Christ’s command and as a testimony to God, the church, oneself and the world, a believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Water baptism demonstrates in a beautiful and visual demonstration the believer's identification and union with the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, thus, illustrating the believer's death to sin and his resurrection to new life. It is a prerequisite to membership and privileges in the local church.
The Lord’s Supper is to be observed only by those who have become genuine followers of Christ. This ordinance symbolizes the breaking of Christ’s body and the shedding of His blood on our behalf and is to be observed repeatedly throughout the Christian life as a sign of continued participation in the atoning benefits of Christ’s death. As we partake of the Lord’s Supper with an attitude of faith and self-examination, we remember and proclaim the death of Christ, receive spiritual nourishment for our souls, and signify our unity with other members of Christ’s body. (Mt. 28:19-20; Rom. 6:3-5; Ac. 2:41-42; 1 Cor. 11:20, 23-30)
The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship done by believers in which we proclaim that Christ has clothed us with His righteousness, written His law upon our hearts, and empowered us for faithful obedience. The Lord’s Supper is not only a remembrance of what Christ has done, but also looks forward to what He will accomplish at His Second Coming. We worship at the Lord’s Supper as we are reminded that, although Christ’s work in redemption is finished, the plan of God continues to be worked out through His church until He comes to rule and reign (Heb 9:28, Rev 19:11-17).
This examination includes an evaluation of the extent to which we are conforming to Christ’s image and a commitment to remove the barriers of sin that are hindering our growth. The Lord’s Supper is an act of worship in which we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and acknowledge how far we have fallen short while yet trusting the provision of Christ for the forgiveness of our sin.
SECTION 7: THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well-being of his fellow men. This is the expectation for every believer, that, by the aid of the Holy Spirit they should walk in Christian love and holiness. This means then, they must exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and their conduct should be blameless before the world; that they should be a faithful steward of their possessions; and that they should seek to realize for themselves and others the full stature of maturity in Christ. We further believe that any achievement of these characteristics will be evidenced by sincere humility and genuine zeal for the advancement of the cause of Christ. (2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Peter 5:5-6; I Corinthians 10:31; Romans 12:1-3; Hebrews 12:1-2; John 14:15, 23-24; I John 2:3-6; II Corinthians 9:6-9; I Corinthians 4:2; Colossians 1:9-10)
SECTION 8: SEPARATION
We believe that the believer should separate from worldliness, sin, and ecclesiastical apostasy unto God. It is based upon God's principle of division between truth and error and His specific command that born-again people should be separated from the world unto Christ; that it is clearly commanded by God that all believers should live separated from all religious apostasy, worldly and sinful practices; and should be holy as He is holy. This truth must be practiced with an attitude of devotion, humility, compassion and yet with conviction, to create the proper condition and atmosphere for the main objective, that is, the salvation of the lost through the gospel of Christ.
SECTION 9: SANCTITY OF LIFE
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect and value all human life. Every human being, regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, physical abilities, mental competence, or any other condition of life, has been created in His image, reflects His glory, and is loved by Him. Because human life is sacred, we strive to be intentional agents of God’s love and compassion for those who find themselves in difficult, unwanted circumstances as well as those who suffer pain as a result of illness, injury, injustice, or oppression. We shall strive to alleviate these conditions wherever possible, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to share God’s invitation to find meaning and purpose in life through a personal relationship with Him by faith in Jesus Christ. We renew our commitment to proclaim the gospel to those who have not yet responded to Christ’s work and to discover the full meaning of the sanctity of life as we fellowship with all the redeemed in the praise and worship of God forever. (Genesis 1:1; 27; Genesis 2:7; 9:6; Acts 17:25; Matthew 6:25-26; Deuteronomy 5:17; 12:31; Jeremiah 7:30-31; Ezekiel 16:20-21; Exodus 20:13; Job 31:15; Psalm 119:73; Psalm 139; Psalm 127:3-5; Jeremiah 1:4-5; Deuteronomy 32:39; Luke 1:41; James 5:14-15; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 2:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:5; Leviticus 19:32; Psalm 71:18; 1 Timothy 5:1-2)
SECTION 10: MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
We believe that Marriage unites one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment to each other (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:4-6). Marriage provides for intimate companionship, pure sexual expression (Genesis 2:25; Ephesians 5:31-33), procreation, and reflects the relationship of Christ and the church (Genesis 1:28; Proverbs 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5).
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, pedophilia, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:5, 13; Genesis 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4). While we would never bar anyone from attending our church concerning such matters, we do believe fully in God’s purpose and design for His creation. Such sinful patterns, if not repented, will be a barrier to membership, employment and leadership in a body of believers. Therefore, we further believe that the physical condition in which a person is born, including their gender, is established by God (Exodus 4:11; John 9:3), therefore claims of innate sexual confusion (self-determination gender identity) are not in line with Scripture and transvestism and its related perversions including sex change operations are unacceptable before God (Deuteronomy 22:5). We further believe that declaring God’s word and warning people of the temporal and eternal consequences of their sins, including sexual perversions, is an act of loving concern. God’s word remains true and His prohibitions, including those on sexual perversions and immoralities, cannot be satisfied or amended by any human government authority. (John 17:9-20; Romans 6-8; 1 Corinthians 6:11,19-20; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 6:14-17; 7:1; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 1:13; 3:1-4; Titus 2:11-12,14; Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:14-16).2 Jn.9-11; 1 Cor. 5:9-11; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Gal. 1:8-9; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; Rom. 16:17; Ti. 3:10)
SECTION 11: SATAN
We believe in the reality and personality of Satan (the Devil); who is the author of sin, the cause of the fall; that he was created by God as an angel, but through pride and rebellion became the declared enemy of the Creator and man. He is the prince and ruler of the powers of darkness, the accuser of the brethren. He is full of subtlety and seeks to destroy the purposes of God and to ensnare all mankind. He was conquered by Christ on the cross and is destined to the judgment of an everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. (2 Cor. 11:3; Isa. 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19; Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:7-12; Eph. 2:2; Rev. 20:10)
SECTION 12: THE LAST THINGS
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of Him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Jesus Christ, all sin purged, and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and His people will be enthralled by the immediacy of His indescribable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of His glorious grace. (Matthew 16:27; Mark 14:62; John 14:3; Acts 1:11; Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:15; II Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13; I Corinthians 4:5; I Corinthians 15; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15; Dan.12:2-3; Jn. 5:28-29; Jn.14:2-3; 1 Thess. 4:17; Matt. 25:26; Rev. 20:11-15)
ARTICLE VII: CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1: QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Persons who give testimony of their salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, their Savior and Lord (Matthew 10:32-33), who have been baptized by immersion following their salvation (Romans 6:3-10), who give assurance of their willingness to follow and submit themselves to the Word of God as the final authority of faith and life (Luke 8:21; Matthew 7:21-27), and who indicate their agreement with the Constitution and Statement of Faith of this church (1 Corinthians 1:10), shall be eligible for membership.
SECTION 2: RECEPTION OF MEMBERS
1. All persons who desire to unite themselves with this church, and who fulfill the qualifications for membership, shall make application to church leadership. They shall then meet with designated Pastors or Elders for examination of the candidates as to their conversions, spiritual conditions and agreement with the church's doctrines, covenant, and policies. Following examination, candidates will be presented to the Council of Elders and Board of Deacons for approval.
Members may be received in one of four ways:
A. By baptism of immersion following salvation.
B. By confession of faith (when impossible to secure a church letter), having been saved and baptized.
C. By restoration.
2. Approved applicants for membership shall be presented to the congregation at the first convenient Sunday worship service.
The names of those who apply for membership shall be posted at least two weeks in advance prior to the service concerning membership confirmation. If no valid objections are received from anyone by the Pastors or Elders during the following two weeks after posting, the right hand of fellowship shall be extended to them at a designated Sunday morning service.
SECTION 3: RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBERS
Each member shall seek diligently to live in accordance with the pattern of the New Testament for believers. They shall seek to attend the services regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25), participate faithfully in giving of their means as the Lord may prosper them (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), to pray for and support the leadership of the church (Hebrews 13:17-18), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the church by influence and example (Ephesians 4:15-16). Each member shall make themselves available for service in the church in accordance with their gifts (1 Corinthians 12:7).
SECTION 4: COVENANT OF MEMBERSHIP
Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and having publicly confessed Him by baptism in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I freely and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one Body in Christ.
I pledge, therefore, by the aid of God's Spirit, to live together in Christian love; to work for the advancement of God's kingdom through His church in knowledge, holiness, and mutual care; to support its ministry by a faithful stewardship of money, time, and talents; and to sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrines, and disciplines.
I further pledge, to maintain family and private devotions, to bring our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our own families and acquaintances; To walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, and exemplary in our behavior; to avoid from gossip, backbiting, and excessive anger; and to avail myself of the great privilege of praying for one another and all men.
I also pledge that when I move from this place, I will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith, where I can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
SECTION 5: REMOVAL FROM MEMBERSHIP
Members may be removed from the membership for the following reasons:
1. by death;
2. by request of the member (upon request, any member in good standing may be granted a letter of transfer to any church. This letter shall be sent to the church in which the member wishes to unite);
3. for joining another church;
4. for inactivity (a member who habitually absents themselves without communication, or sufficient cause or is absent for a period of six months will be removed from membership after an Elder(s) has made a personal visit or after all attempts to locate the member have been unsuccessful); This must be applied in a case by case basis and a general concept concerning membership. The church leadership will do all in their power to maintain the relationship with members.
5. by discipline when disciplinary action fails to produce restoration to fellowship.
Members who have been removed because of inactivity or disciplinary action shall be notified by letter from the Church Secretary following instruction from the Elders. The Pastor and Elders shall notify the church of those members who have been removed.
ARTICLE VIII: THE DISCIPLINE AND DISMISSAL OF MEMBERS
SECTION 1: CAUSES FOR DISCIPLINE
Members who openly and flagrantly violate the church covenant to the detriment of the church's witness in the community will be subjected to disciplinary action.
The cause of church discipline is disobedience to God’s Word. Discipline that goes beyond private rebuke does so because of either unrepentance or the public nature of the sin (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; 1 John 2:18-19).
Serious matters of sin include:
2. Unrepentant immoral conduct – including all sexual perversions listed in Article VI, Section 10 (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17);
4. Living in a disorderly manner (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Jude).
SECTION 2: REASONS FOR DISCIPLINE
All disciplinary actions are for the purpose of restoration and will be carried out in love according to the teachings of the scriptures in Matt. 18:15-17, Gal.6:1-10, and 1 Cor. 5:1-13. Dismissal from membership may be implemented to individuals who continue to live in a disorderly manner in spite of all the efforts exerted by the church leadership to correct him/her.
The reasons for discipline include:
1. To bring about reconciliation and restoration of the one in sin to fellowship through conviction of sin leading to repentance (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; James 5:19-20; 2 Corinthians 7:8-13);
6. To promote the proper fear of God (Acts 5:13-14).
SECTION 3: THE STEPS OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Step 1: The individual in sin is confronted/admonished by a fellow believer with the goal of correction, reconciliation and restoration. If the individual does not listen, then Step 2a (Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1).
Step 2a: The individual in sin is confronted/admonished again, with two or three witnesses present, with the goal of correction, reconciliation and restoration, and to establish the facts. If possible, one of the witnesses should be an Elder of the church. If the individual does not listen, then Step 2b (Matthew 18:16).
Step 2b: The matter is brought to the Elders. Charges are to be put in writing and placed in the hands of the accused, requesting a meeting with the Elders within two weeks. If reconciliation is not achieved and the Elders determine the accused is in sin, the individual shall be removed from active ministry, then Step 3 (Matthew 18:16; Galatians 6:1).
Step 3: The matter will be brought to the congregation at a regular worship service. The church will be instructed to seek after the individual to bring about repentance and reconciliation. If the individual does not listen to the church’s admonition to repent, then Step 4 (Matthew 18:17).
Step 4: If the individual does not repent within a one to two-month time of Step 3, the individual is to be disfellowshipped and the congregation instructed to treat the individual as a “gentile and tax-gatherer” (an unbeliever). The church membership should continue to pray for the individual that they may be restored. (Matthew 18:17)
SECTION 4: REASONS FOR DISMISSAL FROM MEMBERSHIP
Any member who is habitually absent from church services for a period of six months shall be dropped from the active membership list and moved to inactive membership list as a form of discipline. This shall be implemented after faithful efforts have been exhausted to remind the member of his/her responsibility. The Council of Elders is responsible to evaluate the church’s membership list and in particular any member in the inactive list and may take appropriate actions for particular cases including dismissal from the membership.
SECTION 5: RESTORING MEMBERSHIP
Upon request, any person on the inactive list may be restored to active status with the approval of the Council of Elders.
SECTION 6: ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR DISMISSAL AND RESTORATION
1. Future restoration of a disfellowshipped individual is possible upon repentance and reconciliation with those offended. Such an individual must meet with the Elders to determine what “fruit of repentance” they will require for restoration (Psalm 51; Matthew 3:8; 2 Corinthians 7:9-11).
2. Refusal of an individual to meet with those involved in Section 3 (Steps 1-4 above) will not prevent the process from continuing and the Elders from rendering a decision based upon the testimony available.
3. Resignation of membership or no longer attending church services will not prevent the process of church discipline from continuing.
4. Churches/Pastors that inquire concerning an individual under church discipline will be informed.
5. Employees, members, and those volunteering to assist in any ministry sponsored by Global Harvest Fellowship that reach Step 2b in Section 3 above, are subject to immediate suspension of their employment or position at the discretion of the Elders of Global Harvest Fellowship when the matter is brought to their attention. The accused is subject to termination of their employment or position once they have been given reasonable opportunity to meet with the Elders and the Elders have been able to establish the facts in the case.
ARTICLE IX: CATEGORIES OF MEMBERSHIP
For functional purposes, church memberships are categorized as follows:
An individual who has met the qualifications of membership in Section A, has been received as a member as in Section B, and is fulfilling the responsibilities of a member as in Section C. Such member is entitled to all privileges of the church. Those who are 18 years of age or older may also vote at corporate and church business meetings. The current active voting membership shall be used for determining a quorum at corporate or church business meetings. The Elders are responsible to review the active membership roll prior to business meetings and transfer unqualified active members to the non-active member category (or remove them from the membership roll) so that there is a true base for establishing a quorum.
A former active or associate member who has not been in regular attendance during the six-month period prior to a business meeting. Non-active members are entitled to all privileges of this church except voting and right to the floor at Business Meetings. An active member may be transferred to the non-active member category by request or by action of the Elders prior to a business meeting. A non-active member may be restored to the active member category by a vote of the Elders. Such action shall take place only after the non-active member has been in regular attendance for a minimum of one month and has made a formal request to the Elders. Examples of non-active members are missionaries, military service personnel, college students, shut-ins and those who are temporarily displaced from the geographical location of this church, but expect to return in the future.
Any transient individual who actively desires to serve in ministry with Global Harvest Fellowship and meets the same requirements as stated for members, but is also a member of another church of like faith and practice and wishes to maintain membership in their home church. They shall have the same rights and privileges as Active Members except voting and church officer positions. This membership status is simply for those who are temporarily within the area and desiring to join our church in ministry and service.
ARTICLE X: ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS
SECTION 1: ACTIVE MEMBERS
Only active members shall be entitled to vote, be elected as an Officer of the Church (as defined in Article IX), or be allowed to serve as a ministry head or regular teacher.
SECTION 2: CHURCH MINISTRIES INVOLVEMENT
Any person seeking to be involved in any church-related ministries such as organizational fellowships, committees, Christian education or choir shall be encouraged to be a member of the church.
SECTION 3: VOTING AGE
A voting member should be 18 years of age and above.
SECTION 4: MAJORITY VOTE
A majority vote consists of 50% + 1 of members in attendance, except for decisions included by Article XVI, Section 2.
ARTICLE XI: THE CHURCH OFFICERS
SECTION 1: THE OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH
A. The officers of the church shall be: Elders (vocational and non-vocational), Deacons, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Assistant Financial Secretary, Sunday School Superintendent, and Auditor.
B. All potential officers will be nominated by the Council of Elders and Deacons Board and presented to the church for confirmation concerning the appointed position. Confirmation will be through a majority vote of the active membership.
C. All officers must be an active member for one (1) year or more, except for Deacons which is two (2) years or more and the Elders which is four (4) years or more.
D. All officers must be 18 years and above.
E. All officers must be spiritually mature, of unquestionable Christian character and willing to serve to the best of their abilities in the positions they are elected.
F. As needed, the Council of Elders as defined in Section 2 may nominate other officers which is subject to the confirmation of the congregation.
SECTION 2: COUNCIL OF ELDERS
A. Qualifications of Elders
a. Elders shall be selected from men who meet the qualifications and high standards of the Word of God prescribed for their office. They shall endeavor by God's grace to live and serve conforming fully to the standards found in Hebrews 13:3-7, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 1 Peter 5:1-3, and Titus 1:5-9. Some elders may receive financial remuneration as ministry staff or otherwise.
B. Composition of the Council of Elders
a. The Council of Elders shall be composed of the following:
b. Vocational Elder(s) as defined in point ‘d’ of this Section and expanded upon in Section 3 of this Article.
c. Non-vocational Elders as defined in point ‘e’ of this Section.
d. The Elder Council shall be composed of Staff and Non-Staff Elders.
e. Staff Elders are men who receive financial compensation from the Church as they fulfill God's call to the specific ministries of the Word, prayer and shepherding the flock. In addition to the duties of their office as described in Section ‘C’ below, Staff Elders shall perform the duties determined by the Council of Elders concerning their employment and approved by the congregation. The duties shall be in writing at the time of employment and substantial changes shall be approved by the Church. The role of Pastor(s) shall be outlined further in Section 3 of this Article.
f. Non-Staff Elders are men recommended by the Council of Elders and called by the Church who serve voluntarily without financial support from the Church as they fulfill God's call to the specific ministries of the Word, prayer and shepherding the flock.
g. The Lead Pastor shall be the leader of the Elders, or the Chairman of the Council. The Council shall annually select its Vice-Chairman from among its Elders. The Elders shall be equal in vote and in shepherding the church but may specialize in function.
h. The number of Elders will be determined by the needs of the church, but it should be a minimum of three men and may vary from time to time.
a. The fundamental responsibility of the Elders is to devote themselves to prayer and the Word. The Elders are responsible for governing the Church as godly servant leaders. They are responsible for establishing the vision of the church. They must teach the Word and tend the flock of God in this Church. The responsibilities of the Elders shall include: examining prospective members and candidates for baptism and acquainting them with the Affirmation of Faith and Church Covenant, overseeing the process of Church discipline, examining prospective candidates for office, scheduling and providing a moderator for business meetings, providing for reporting and recording of official Church business, overseeing the workings of the church (i.e. the Deacons and appointed Church agents and committees), conducting worship services, administering the ordinances of the Gospel, equipping the membership of the Church for the work of the ministry, teaching the whole counsel of God both formally and informally, correcting error, overseeing, coordinating and promoting the ministries of the Church, and mobilizing the Church for world mission.
b. The Council of Elders shall be responsible for overseeing policies and practices for the church consistent with Biblical principles.
c. The Council of Elders along with the Board of Deacons shall serve as trustees of the church representing this corporation. It shall not have the authority to sell, lease, donate or dispose of any church property in any manner to exceed $10,000.00 in value; or to mortgage or encumber the same with the debt to exceed the above amount. All expenditures of more than $10,000.00 are to be submitted to the approval of the church except in routine matters (specified in the Church’s Budget).
d. The Council of Elders has the authority to create committees and positions to which it may delegate any specified aspect of its responsibility (in coordination with the Board of Deacons when monetary compensation is needed). The Council of Elders has the authority to dissolve any committee or position that it has created.
e. The Council of Elders shall function as the Elders Selection Committee except in the instance when the number of Elders is below 3. In the instance that the number of Elders is below 3, the remaining Elders along with the Deacons shall assume the responsibility to select Elders.
f. The Council of Elders shall hold regular meetings at least quarterly. Meetings of the Council of Elders may be held at any location and may be conducted by means of electronic communication through which the Elders may simultaneously hear each other.
D. Nomination and Selection of Elders
a. Nominations for non-vocational Elders shall be put forward from the Pastoral leadership after teaching the congregation by a Pastor concerning the Biblical qualification of Elders as stated in Section 2 A of this Article.
b. The nominee shall express his desire and willingness to serve in the Council of Elders.
c. The Elders Selection Committee shall interview all nominees who seem to have met all qualifications of an Elder. The Elders Selection Committee shall be unanimous in their decision to approve, disapprove, or add to the list of nominees. In the initial formation of the Council of Elders, the vocational Elder(s) and all the Deacons shall act as an ad hoc Elders Selection Committee and shall review all nominations and the nominee’s qualifications.
d. An approved alphabetical list of nominees for Elders will then be announced at least one month prior to the congregational meeting. The congregation will then have that month to address any concerns they may have with the Elder Selection Committee concerning nominees.
e. Upon the selection and completion of the Council of Elders as stated in Section 2 D of this Article, all the Deacons will ceased to be part of the Elders Selection Committee and will return to be under the direction of the Elders, and shall continue to perform the duties of the Deacon Board as outlined in Section 4 of this Article.
i. In case the number of Elders fall below three, the remaining Elder(s) and all the Deacons will function as an ad hoc Elders Selection Committee (Section 2C subpoint e).
E. Term of Office
a. Non-vocational Elders and Vocational Elders shall remain in office for an indefinite period of time. Should an Elder desire to step down, they must inform the rest of the Elders a month in advance.
F. Accountability of the Council of Elders
a. The Elders shall be accountable to one another and thereby perform a yearly evaluation of each other for the purpose of consistently maintaining the integrity and character of an Elder as required in the Scripture.
b. The Elders shall hold at least one meeting every quarter. Two-thirds of the Elders shall constitute a quorum. A record of all meetings is to be maintained. Copies of the minutes of the meetings shall be supplied to all the Elders. At the first meeting after the annual church business meeting, the Elders shall elect a vice-chairman and a secretary.
G. Removal from the Council of Elders (Vocational and Non-Vocational Elders)
a. By Resignation: Any member of the Council of Elders may resign at any time by giving a written notice to the Chairman of the Council of Elders, at least a month in advance.
b. Grievance: Where a grievance exists against an Elder whether due to teaching contrary to the beliefs of the church or to alleged conduct on their part unfitting an Elder, such grievance may be brought before the Council of Elders by any two congregational members in good standing.
i. The person must take his/her concern privately to the Elder and have it resolved.
ii. If the concern is not resolved, the person should take 2 or 3 witnesses and go again and speak with the Elder.
iii. If it is still not resolved, the person with the witnesses should meet with the Council of Elders in closed session.
d. In matters concerning a major accusation of alleged conduct unfitting for an Elder then such a grievance should be brought before the Council of Elders in a closed session.
i. If the Council, after thorough investigation and consideration, believes the grievance to be true and substantial, he shall be disqualified as an Elder and shall be removed from the office of the Council of Elders.
ii. In the case of a disqualified Vocational Elder, he will be subject for termination and voted upon as per Article XI Section 3 (F) during a special congregational meeting called by the Council of Elders.
iii. In case of a disqualified non-vocational Elder, a special meeting with the congregation shall be called by the Council of Elders to submit to the congregation for removal. Removal of an Elder shall be done through a majority vote (2/3) of the present active membership of the church. If the cause of removal is sin unbecoming of an Elder and he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal should be accompanied by a public rebuke as prescribed in 1 Tim 5:20. After the collective effort of the church for him to repent and he remains unrepentant, he shall be dismissed from the church membership. After dismissal and upon demonstration of repentance, he can make a request for reinstatement before the Council of Elders and will be given an opportunity to be restored to the church membership and will be presented to the congregation for renewal of fellowship.
iv. If the accusations are determined to be false, those making the false accusations are to be rebuked, with church discipline carried out if there is no repentance. If the accusations are determined to be true, the Elders are to determine if it is a matter of disqualification from being an Elder or a matter of correction. Disqualification would be for no longer meeting the character qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:6-9, or serious negligence of responsibilities, or no longer holding to the church’s Statement of Faith, or any of the causes for discipline.
A. Vocational Elder is an ordained Pastor of the church and having been called by God, has committed his vocational life to the service of the local church.
B. The Pastor(s) is responsible for the general oversight of the spiritual edification of the church. He is responsible for the full-time pastoral ministry of the church. He shall conduct all public and regular services of the church. The number and roles of additional Pastors will be determined by the Council of Elders.
C. The Pastor(s) shall have the charge of the spiritual welfare of the church; the pastor(s) shall regularly preach the Gospel, teach the Word of God and have charge of overseeing the services and ministries; and shall administer the ordinances of the church.
D. Pastor/Vocational Elder(s) is a compensated Elder serving in the ministry having been called and approved by the members.
a. Compensation package shall be determined jointly by the remaining Council of Elders and Deacons. Vocational Elders shall not be involved in any way regarding the determination of their own compensation and benefits.
b. Vocational Elders shall be responsible to the Council of Elders and the greater church body.
E. When calling a pastor, the pastoral search committee shall carefully consider candidates as to their qualifications (must be based on 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9), doctrinal positions, work experience and willingness to adhere to GHF Constitution and By-Laws.
F. The Vocational Elders/Pastor(s) shall continue in office until resignation or by termination through a majority vote (2/3) of the present active membership of the church.
G. The Vocational Elders/Pastor(s) shall give the church not less than sixty days' notice of his intention to discontinue as Pastor. The church shall give the Pastor not less than sixty days' notice of her intention to discontinue his services. If, in judgment of the church, the conduct of the Pastor justifies immediate termination of his ministry, the church may declare the pulpit vacant and pay two months' salary beyond that date.
H. The Vocational Elders/Pastor(s) shall be an ex-officio member(s) of all boards and committees, and will have the same rights and privileges as members of those committees.
I. The Senior Pastor shall moderate all congregational meetings of the church except when he is the subject of the meeting. He is the only one who has the right to call for any congregational meeting. In his absence, he may appoint an Associate Pastor or the Chairman of the Board to preside over the congregational meeting. If he is to be under discussion in a meeting, the Vice-Chairman of the Council of Elders shall preside (or one of the other Elders), and the Pastor and his family shall withdraw from the meeting.
SECTION 4: DEACONS
A. Deacons shall be members of this church and have the qualifications set forth in Acts 6:3 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and shall be nominated by members of the church. The nominations shall be submitted to the Council of Elders and will interview all nominees who seem to have met all qualifications of a Deacon. The Council of Elders shall be unanimous in their decision to approve, disapprove, or add to the list of nominees. An approved list of nominees for Deacons will then be announced at least two weeks prior to the congregational meeting on which the members will be affirming the nominees.
B. The number of Deacons will be determined by the Council of Elders according to the needs of the church, but it should be at least five members.
C. Deacons shall serve for a period of two years. If at any time the deacon does not meet the requirements of the scriptures, he shall be dismissed by a majority vote of the church as per the recommendation of the Council of Elders.
D. Deacons shall encourage having a monthly meeting with the Pastor(s) to evaluate the needs of the church, both spiritual and general welfare of the church.
E. The Pastor(s)/Elders can attend any Deacon’s Board meeting, and at least one Elder is necessary for moderating the meeting.
F. The Deacons shall appoint from within the Board an individual to serve as Secretary.
ARTICLE XII: MEETINGS
SECTION 1: PUBLIC WORSHIP
A. The stated meeting of this church for regular public worship shall be on Sunday, any additional services may be added when deemed necessary by the Council of Elders.
B. All meetings shall be devoted exclusively for preaching and teaching the Word of God, praying and praising with appropriate music.
C. It shall be the practice of this church to observe the Lord's Supper at least once a month. The Lord's Supper may be observed on other appropriate occasions as determined by the Council of Elders.
D. Any other special services shall be called by the Council of Elders as they deem necessary.
SECTION 2: CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS
A. The official church year shall begin January 1 and close on December 31st.
B. The Church bi-annual meetings shall be determined by coordination between the Elders and Deacons and shall aim to take place within the first month of the year and preferably in June.
C. Monthly or special meetings (concerning the whole congregation) can be called at any time.
D. Church meetings shall be presided by the Senior Pastor, or by his designate at all times, except when the Pastor is the subject of the meeting, the Council of Elders shall appoint a moderator.
E. Special (emergency) meetings shall only be called by the Council of Elders. All active members must be given at least 24-hour notice before such a meeting is held.
ARTICLE XIII: PRIVATE INUREMENT
No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the church purposes.
ARTICLE XIV: POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT
The church shall not involve itself in any political activity, for or against any candidate or party.
ARTICLE XV: RACIAL NONDISCRIMINATION
The church shall have a racially nondiscriminatory policy and therefore shall not discriminate against members, applicants, students, and others on the basis of race, color, nationality and ethnic origin.
ARTICLE XVI: CHURCH QUORUM
A quorum for all regular and special congregational meetings of the church, except when making changes to the GHF Constitution and By-Laws, the purchase or selling of property or the calling or termination of a Pastor are being considered, will consist of 50% + 1 of the present voting members.
Two-third (2/3) of the voting active members is required to:
A. Amend the GHF Constitution and By-Laws
B. To buy or sell church property
C. To call or terminate a Pastor
ARTICLE XVII: DESIGNATED CONTRIBUTIONS
All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Council of Elders and the Board of Deacons. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes of the church.
ARTICLE XVIII: AMENDMENTS
SECTION 1: PROCEDURE
Any proposed amendment(s) or changes by any member may be submitted to the Council of Elders, which will be taken up during the regular Elders meeting.
SECTION 2: PROPOSALS
Any proposed amendment(s) should be written and signed properly by the person(s) involved.
SECTION 3: SUBMISSION
If approved by the Elders, the proposed amendment(s) shall be submitted to the Church for ratification at a regular or special meeting, announcing its contents and nature at two consecutive public meetings (services) prior to the church meeting at which it is submitted.
SECTION 4: REVIEW
This constitution, articles of faith, covenant & by-laws shall be reviewed by the Council of Elders and Board of Deacons annually.
ARTICLE XIX: DISSOLUTION
In case of dissolution, assuming all liability payments have been made (only if needed), all assets shall be transferred to a gospel-centered, and Bible-based Christian organization to be chosen by majority vote of members before dissolution. The recipient organization must be a non-profit organization whose doctrine and philosophy are in line with that of Global Harvest Fellowship.
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