Constitution of the Lion of Judah Congregation
Article I - Name
The name of this church will be the Lion of Judah Congregation.
Article II - Purpose
The purpose of this congregation is to give visible form to the faith and love to which God has called his people. We understand that we are a local manifestation of the universal Church, through which Jesus Christ continues to minister to the world through the Holy Spirit. We intend to make this call through our services and meetings, through teaching and discipleship programs for our members, through the proclamation of the Gospel in words and deeds, and through acts and programs of mercy to the needy .
Article III: Government
In recognition of Jesus Christ as head of the Church, this congregation will always strive to determine what the will of the Lord is, and will try to obey Him in all aspects of their congregational faith and practice. Since the authority to make decisions concerning the affairs of this church has been given to us by Jesus Christ, we believe that that authority must ultimately reside in the active membership of this congregation.
This church is voluntarily affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association of America (CBA of A), as well as the American Baptist Churches of the United States (ABC of USA) and its regional and national organizations. You can join and / or cooperate with other organizations of equal faith and order. These affiliations and cooperation may not violate the congregational autonomy of this assembly. Any additional affiliation will have to be approved by the congregation after deliberation at the level of the deacon board, and at least two congregational meetings to discuss that possibility.
This church will not withdraw from any of these Associations unless it is through a constitutional amendment formally adopted by the congregation. Such action to amend the constitution will only be undertaken after a consultation between the elders of this church and the regional or state officials of the Association in question.
This church will also be cooperating with the other churches in the community through local councils of pastors and churches.
Article IV: Doctrine
Section 1. Doctrine
This church accepts the Old and New Testament Scriptures as the inspired record of God's revelatory actions in history, and as the basis of ultimate authority for its doctrine and practice. The Doctrinal Statement attached to this document is an integral part of our doctrinal identity. Through it we set down the main guidelines of our belief as a congregation.
Section 2. Declaration on marriage
Being a church that adheres to a traditional interpretation of the Scriptures, we believe that marriage was instituted by God as the exclusive union of a man and a woman. We believe that any other interpretation of what the word of God clearly declares is outside of the historical and orthodox doctrine of the Church.
We also believe that the Word of God clearly states that sexual union is reserved for a man and a woman within the framework of marriage. Therefore, this church reserves the right to hold marriage ceremonies exclusively between a man and a woman.
In order to maintain consistency between our doctrinal beliefs and our employment, leadership, and volunteer service practices, we also declare that any person who is employed by our church or who plays a role of spiritual leadership or volunteer service in this congregation, shall agree. with the doctrinal position on human sexuality previously delineated.
Section 3. Membership Pact
In addition to its doctrinal statements, this church has adopted a Membership Pact, attached to this document, whereby the members of this congregation declare their decision to accept the lordship of Christ in their lives, as well as in the other matters of his congregational life.
Article V: Membership
Section 1. Admission of members
A person may be admitted to membership by any of the following means, subject in each case to the review and approval of the Deacon Corps:
- By Baptism - Any person who confesses Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and who is essentially in agreement with the doctrine and practice of this church may be received in membership.
- By letter of transfer - Any person who is essentially in agreement with the doctrine and practice of this congregation can obtain membership by means of a transfer letter from their old church, as long as it has a doctrine similar to ours.
- By testimony - Ultimately, this means will take precedence over all other means of gaining membership in this congregation. No one can be accepted into membership unless the congregation or its governing bodies have observed sufficient evidence in the candidate of a genuine surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and a clear desire to be incorporated into the life of the congregation, regularly attending its services and activities, and supporting it in its financial needs. In most cases, this will require that the candidate for membership have regularly attended church for a period of at least six months.
- For Restoration - Any person who has lost membership for any reason, may be restored as a member through the approval of the Deacons Corps.
Section 2. Removal of members
A person may be removed from the membership list for any of the following reasons or means:
- Due to death
- By letter - Any member of good testimony may receive a letter of transfer or recommendation subject to the approval of the Deacon Corps. The letter will be dated and signed by the pastor or the president of the Deacon Corps.
- By expulsion - If a member becomes a stumbling block for the harmony, well-being or public testimony of the church, either by conduct unworthy of a Christian, or by a persistent violation of the moral and spiritual principles that govern life of this congregation, the church shall have the right to terminate the membership of said member. This will only be done according to the principles suggested in Matthew 18: 15-17. The person in question will be formally notified, and must appear before the Deacon Corps. At all times, repentance and amendment of behavior will be sought, rather than the expulsion of the individual in question.
- For prolonged absence or inactivity - The Deacon Corps will periodically review the membership list, and list any inactive membership to any member who has not participated in any way in the collective life of the congregation during the previous twelve months, unless Let it be for a justified reason. If after consultation with the member in question, there is no possibility of restoring it to the active membership list, that member will be removed from the church membership.
Section 3. Voting and elections
Every active member of this congregation over 18 years of age has the right to vote. Only active members older than 21 may be elected to positions in the congregation. The age requirement does not apply to the internal organizations of youth and youth societies.
Article VI: The Chief Pastor and Other Officers
Section 1. The senior pastor
- According to the doctrine of this church, the senior pastor will be a man, called by God, and qualified to shepherd this congregation. Preferably, the candidate for the pastorate will be married, specifically with a woman, although in very exceptional cases the Pulpit Committee could consider a single candidate.
- The senior pastor will be the primary leader of the congregation in all activities; will preach the gospel; administer the ordinances of baptism, Holy Communion and marriage; will preside during the public services of the congregation; will be in charge of the spiritual welfare of the congregation. He will be available as a spiritual counselor to any member of the congregation or anyone in need of spiritual support, and must provide leadership to the church in its evangelism duties. The senior pastor will have oversight of the total church program, be an ex-officio member of any effective congregational body, and provide leadership to the church in the development of an effective congregational program. The senior pastor will be elected by the church membership after being recommended by the Pulpit Committee,
- In case of a vacancy, the pastor nominated by the Pulpit Committee (see Article VIII, Section 2) will not necessarily have to be affiliated with any of the denominations with which the church has affiliation, but will have to keep a close affinity with the doctrinal and administrative line of the church.
- The candidate will be called to assume the pastorate through the voting of the membership under the recommendation of the Pulpit Committee. The vote of the senior pastor shall be conducted by written ballot, at a congregational meeting specifically designated as an elective meeting, announced in at least two consecutive Sunday services, announced by letter to each active member at least two weeks prior. of the meeting. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the active membership will constitute a quorum in said election, and three quarters of the total vote will be necessary for the election of the senior pastor. In case there is no quorum a second call will be made for 2 weeks later. In this second meeting, the members present shall constitute a quorum.
- The senior pastor will occupy his position without a time limit, but both the pastor and the church may terminate the relationship by giving three (3) months of prior notification; or less by mutual consent, as long as the agreement has been previously examined by the Deacon Corps.
- The pastor will be dismissed by vote of the membership. Such voting shall be by written ballot, in a congregational meeting specifically designated for that purpose, announced in at least two consecutive Sunday services, and announced by letter to each active member at least two weeks before the meeting. Thirty-three percent (33%) of the active membership will constitute a quorum at said meeting, and a simple majority (51%) of the vote will determine the result.
- Associate pastors will be recommended by the pastor to the Pulpit Committee, and will be subject to the selection process stipulated in Article VI, Section 1, C, D and E. An associate pastor may be dismissed by vote of the senior pastor and deacons, without after consulting the congregation. This decision will have to be notified as far in advance as possible in an extraordinary congregational meeting.
Section 2. Moderator
Normally, the senior pastor will serve as the moderator of the congregational meetings. In the event that the issues to be discussed put him in a situation of possible conflict of interest, the president of the Deacon Corps will assume the address, either on behalf of the meeting or in its entirety. Any member of the congregation may request that the president of the Deacon Corps assume the direction of the meeting. Said petition shall be submitted to a vote of the members, and approved by a majority.
Section 3. Secretary
In consultation with the Deacon Corps, the pastor will nominate a Minutes Secretary. Said election shall remain in force as long as the secretary accepts to continue in office, and the elders and the pastor consider that the functions of the latter have been adequately performed. The pastor and deacons may nominate another secretary for any reason that is considered legitimate.
The Secretary of the Minutes:
- It will keep notes of the matters discussed and the decisions made during the congregational meetings, which will be read and submitted for approval during the next business meeting.
- Maintain a record of the names and addresses of the members, with the date and means of admission to membership; In addition, a record of baptisms and a list of inactive or eliminated members.
- Notify the officers, committee members and delegates of their choice or assignment.
- He will write letters and reports of an official nature at the request of the senior pastor, the deacons, or the congregation.
- It will keep documents of historical importance for the congregation. Immediately after the election of a successor, the secretary will deliver to it all the records and documents for which she has been responsible.
Section 4. Treasurer
The church will employ a treasurer, who will administer the financial affairs of the congregation in close communication and under the supervision of a Financial Committee composed of members of the Deacons 'Corps and members of the congregation with knowledge of finances assigned by the Deacons' Corps and the main pastor
Preferably but not exclusively, the treasurer will be a member of the congregation.
The treasurer will be chosen by the deacons and the senior pastor, and must be confirmed by the congregation at a business meeting.
The treasurer may be dismissed by decision of the senior pastor and deacons without prior consultation of the congregation.
The job description of the treasurer is part of the church's Employee Handbook.
Article VII: Bodies and Committees
Section 1. Deacons
Deacons are the most important governmental group in the congregation. Together with the senior pastor, they elaborate the spiritual vision and general policy of the church. They are persons who by their personal maturity, spiritual depth and involvement in the life of the congregation are aptly equipped to lead the life of the congregation with the senior pastor.
Section 1A. The specific functions of a deacon include:
- Serve as a point of liaison between the senior pastor and the congregation. Represent the interests and needs of the principal pastor, and communicate to the church the vision and needs of the senior pastor;
- Assisting pastors in their pastoral duties, which include evangelism, teaching, counseling, prayer and discipline;
- Assist pastors in overseeing other ministries and congregational groups;
- Preside in the church during the absence of the senior pastor;
- Visit the sick, new believers and visitors;
- Assisting the senior pastor, deacons and treasurer in the preparation of the annual budget;
- Promote the formation of a deep spirituality in the congregation, providing leadership in prayer, the study of the word and a life of holiness and consecration; attend Sunday School regularly, vigils, prayer meetings, and midweek services;
- Play a key role in the selection of the other official leaders of the congregation;
- Watch over the finances of the church;
- Represent the senior pastor and the church in external meetings;
- Be deeply interpenetrated with the life of the congregation; and stay informed about their needs and characteristics;
- Engage in other ministries, and stay informed about their status and needs;
- Assisting pastors in ministry during times of intercession; to pray in public and in private for the sick and the needy of the congregation;
- Meet regularly with the pastor to discuss the programmatic and spiritual needs of the congregation.
Section 1B. Administrative Regulations of the Deacon Corps
- Each deacon will be elected for a period of two years. If during this time he performs his duties properly, he may be nominated for subsequent elections by the Nominating Committee. In order to be elected for two consecutive terms, an elder must obtain a vote of two thirds of the vote.
- The various requirements that an elder must fill out in order to be nominated are stipulated in the document entitled "Requirements of a Deacon".
- Both men and women will be able to occupy the position of deacons. As much as possible, during any elective period, two thirds of the Deacon Corps must be occupied by men. As much as possible, a third of the Deacon Corps should be occupied by women.
- The Deacon Corps, together with the senior pastor, will have the responsibility and authority to discipline its own members. Any complaint against a deacon on behalf of a member of the congregation must first be submitted to the pastor, who will submit it to the President of the Deacon Corps to be discussed by them as early as possible. The confidentiality of the deacon in question will be protected at all times.
- Each year the Deacon Corps will elect a President and a Secretary. Other officers of the Deacon Corps may be elected as deemed necessary.
- The Deacon Corps will meet approximately every four weeks for its regular sessions. Other meetings will be convened as necessary.
- The pastor is an ex-officio member of the Deacon Corps.
- The Deacon Corps will have full power to convene an extraordinary session without the assistance of the senior pastor. In that case, the President of the Deacon Corps will inform the senior pastor beforehand that the session will take place.
- The Deacon Corps will consist of a minimum of five members whose majority will not be family-related to pastors or church staff members.
Section 1C. The Deacons and the Finances of the Church
- During the fiscal year, deacons will have the authority to approve the specific disbursement of congregational funds, as long as they do so within the framework established by the current budget approved by the congregation during a congregational meeting.
- The pastor and deacons will legally represent the church in any extraordinary financial transaction and sign any document on behalf of the congregation.
- The senior pastor and deacons will have the authority to enter into financial commitments on behalf of the congregation without prior consultation with the congregation, but in the case of significant transactions, such as purchase of property or construction projects, they will do everything possible to inform the members before contracting large debts on behalf of the church.
- Legally, the Deacon Corps represents the congregation in any title deed, and therefore, after the congregation, it is the most authoritative body regarding the protection, maintenance and administration of church property.
- The Deacon Corps will make the final determination about the use of the building by outside groups in consultation with the senior pastor, and determine the appropriate cost for such uses.
- The Deacon Corps will be responsible for overseeing all financial transactions of the church, including the designation of the bank where church funds will be deposited, the selection of institutions with which the church will conduct business, and the supervision of maintenance services. of the property.
Section 2. The Council
The Council is a deliberative body that will meet periodically to formulate and coordinate the various programs and activities of the church. It will be composed of the leaders of the various ministries of the congregation.
Section 2A. Functions and responsibilities
- Provide a means of communication among all the leaders and ministries of the congregation;
- Avoid duplication of functions, as well as conflicts in the calendar and in the use of available rooms;
- Allow the complementary operation of the ministries, as well as the planning of joint activities;
- Provide a forum where the main leaders of the congregation can discuss matters of great importance to the life of the church;
- Provide a means to plan the calendar of church activities several months in advance;
- Nominate members to the Nominating Committee, as established in point 2B-8 of section 2B.
- Help the senior pastor to stay informed about the status of the congregation through dialogue with its principal leaders;
- Avoid the isolation of the ministries, and promote the formation of a coordinated and comprehensive vision that permeates all the programs and activities of the congregation.
Section 2B. Council Regulations
- Each ministry will send its principal leader to represent it at the Council meetings. In case he can not attend, he will delegate the representation of the ministry to another leader.
- The pastor is the moderator of the Council.
- The secretary of the church serves as secretary of the Council.
- Each member of the Council will be responsible for bringing the program of activities of his ministry in advance to the coordinating meetings.
- In order to maintain a reasonable number for voting, the Council shall consist of members entitled to vote, and vocal members. The voting members are the leaders of the following committees and ministries: men, women, youth, young adults, discipleship, treasury, secretariat, nursery, education, new believers, ushers, praise, counseling, cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality. Additional members will be nominated according to point 2B-6 of this section.
- Any addition to the list of voting members of the Council will be made only through a formal recommendation by the pastor or a voting member, and will have to be approved by a majority.
- The senior pastor and the deacons are ex-officio members of the Council.
- During the time of elections, the Council will nominate members, who will join the Deacons Corps and the pastors to constitute the Nominating Committee. This number will be equal to half the number of existing deacons.
- The selection of spiritual leaders and administrators of the congregation is something that requires wisdom, spiritual maturity and deep understanding of the characteristics and needs of the church. Therefore, the persons selected by the Council to join the Nominative Committee will have to be chosen with the utmost care, and will fill in as much as possible the requirements of a deacon.
- As much as possible, the Council will meet at least every two months, or more or less frequently, as necessary.
Article VIII: Specialized Committees
Section 1. Nominating Committee
- It will be composed of the elders, the members of the Council nominated according to the stipulations of Article VII, Section 2 (B8), and the pastor. Through this committee all elective positions of the church, including elders, treasurer, secretary, superintendent of Sunday school, and members of the Christian Education Committee, will be deliberated and submitted to the congregation.
- The final vote of the Committee on the candidates discussed will be by written ballot. These nominations will be submitted to the congregation for final voting.
- The Nominative Committee will be in force for one year, and each year will be re-formed with the available officers, following the stipulations for the elections of said committee.
- The Nominating Committee will be formed at least six weeks before the date set for the elective meeting.
Section 2. Pulpit Committee
In case the pastoral position becomes vacant, the Nominating Committee will assume the functions of the Pulpit Committee. He will be in charge of mobilizing the congregation for a sustained period of prayer and seeking the Lord's will, and will then initiate the pertinent inquiries. The examination and selection of a candidate to be presented to the congregation will be carried out according to the stipulations of Article VI, Section 1, points C and D.
Article IX: Nominations and Elections
Section 1. Nominations
The nomination of candidates for elective positions will be carried out in accordance with the stipulations of Article VIII, Section 1, Nominative Committee.
- During deliberations to nominate candidates for various positions, the senior pastor will be free to express his or her feelings about each nominated individual.
- The pastor may, in exceptional situations, veto a nomination of the Nominating Committee. This will only be done after exhausting all possibilities of reaching an agreement. The Nominating Committee, in turn, may annul the pastoral veto by a vote of three quarters (75%) of the members present. A quorum will be required in this case. The vote would be carried out by means of a written ballot, and any member of the Council could request that it be carried out.
- They must be presented to the congregation during a Sunday service at least two weeks before the congregational meeting in which the candidacies will be voted on.
- Two weeks before the Nominating Committee meets to nominate candidates for the diaconate, any member of the congregation may submit nominations for the positions available. These candidatures will be submitted to the president of the deacons. The congregation will be notified about this opportunity during a Sunday congregational service.
- If nominations arise from the congregation, the Nominating Committee will determine if they are to be voted on during the congregational meeting. The Nominative Committee shall have full and exclusive power to determine the viability of any candidate considered for the diaconate.
Section 2. Elections
- Each officer will be elected by simple majority, except in the case of re-election of deacons, which will require the approval of two thirds of the voters.
- The annual election of officers will take place at the September congregational meeting (see Article X, Section 2).
- Vacancies that occur during the year may be filled for the remaining time, until the next election. The Deacon Corps would have the power to choose the replacement of those vacancies and would present the decision to the church during a Sunday meeting.
- For election purposes, the number of members present shall constitute a quorum.
Article X: Congregational Meetings and Services
Section 1. Services
- The main services of the church will take place on Sundays and Wednesdays. Other special meetings will be determined according to the needs of the congregation, in consultation with church authorities.
- Holy Communion will take place on the second Sunday of each month. In exceptional cases, it may be changed at the discretion of the senior pastor or deacons.
Section 2. Congregational Meetings
- Congregational meetings will take place three (3) times per fiscal year - in May, September and January. Other meetings will be convened as the need arises. The Deacons Committee will have the authority to increase or decrease the number of meetings in a particular year as needed.
- The congregational meetings will take place on a Sunday immediately after a regular service. In exceptional cases, the day of a meeting may be changed with prior consultation with deacons. A permanent change will require approval by the majority of the congregation.
- Congregational meetings will be announced for two consecutive Sundays.
- For purposes of congregational meetings, the number of members present shall constitute a quorum.
Article XI: Amendments
- This constitution may be amended at a regular or extraordinary congregational meeting by a vote of two thirds of the voters, assuming that there is a quorum. The congregation will be notified about the proposed amendment at least one month in advance.
- For the purpose of amendments, the attendance of two thirds of the registered members shall constitute a quorum. If there is no quorum, at the first convocation, no amendment may be voted on, unless there is no attendance of at least 51% of the membership in a subsequent convocation. After 2 convocations in which there is no quorum, the proposed amendment will be annulled.