Constitution

Constitution of the Coal Creek Bible Church 12-02-01

Preamble

We, the members of the Coal Creek Bible Church, of near London Mills, Illinois, do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves:

Article 1 The Name

This organization shall be known as the Coal Creek Bible Church, of near London Mills, Illinois.

Article 2 The Character

Section 1 – Policy. Its government is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations and privileges of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among churches of like precious faith.

Section 2 – Doctrine. The belief and teaching of this church are summarized in the following statement:

1. The Holy Scriptures.

We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired Word of God, the final authority for faith and life, inerrant in the original writings, infallible and God-breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Matt. 5:18; John 16:12-13).

2. The Godhead.

We believe in the Triune God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having thorough attributes and perfections. (Deut. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:14)

3. The Person and Work of Christ.

1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man without

ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful man. (John 1:1-2; John 1:14; Luke 1:35).

2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His

death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead.

(Rom. 3:24-25; 1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:3-5).

3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and is now exalted at the

right hand of God, where, as our high priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Heb. 9:24; Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).

(4) The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.

1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of

righteousness, and of judgment; and that He is the Supernatural agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 1:13-14).

b. We believe that he is the divine teacher who guides believers into all truth, and,

that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit. (John 6:13; 1 John 2:20,27; Eph. 5:18).

(5) The Total Depravity of Man.

We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God; and that man is totally depraved, and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. (Gen. 1;26,27; Rom. 5:22,23; 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3, 12).

6. Salvation.

We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. (Eph. 2:8-10; John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18,19).

7. The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers.

1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by the power of God and

are thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1,38,39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 1 Peter 1:5).

2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their

salvation through the testimony of God's Word, which clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh.(Rom.13:13,14; Gal.5:13; Titus 2:11-15)

8. The Two Natures of the Believer.

We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural. (Rom. 6:13, 8:12-13; Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

9. Separation.

We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior & Lord, and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is ordered of God. (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:1-2, 14:13; 1 John 3:14-17; 2 John 9:11; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).

(10) Missions.

We believe that it is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and word to the truths of the Holy Scriptures and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind. (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:19,20).

11. The Ministry and Spiritual Gifts.

1. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of all His gifts, and that the gifts of evangelists, pastors, and teachers are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today. (1 Cor. 12:4-11; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12).

2. We believe that God does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with His own will, for the sick and afflicted. (John 15:7; 1 John 5:14,15).

12. The Church.

1. We believe that the Church, which is the body and espoused bride of Christ is a spiritual organism made up of all born-again persons of the present age. (Eph.1:22-23, 5:25, 27; 1 Cor. 12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2).

2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27, 20:17, 20:28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).

13. The Personality of Satan.

We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11, 25:41; Rev. 20:10).

14. The Second Advent of Christ.

We believe in that “Blessed Hope”, the personal, imminent, pre-tribulational and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His millennial Kingdom.

(1 Thes. 4:13-18; Zech. 14:4-11; Rev. 19:11-16, 20:1-6; 1 Thes. 1:10, 5:9; Rev. 3:10).

15. The Eternal State.

1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Rev. 2-5, 6, 12, 13).

2. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are re-united to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; Rev. 20:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23, 3:21; 1Thes. 4:16-17)

c. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious misery

until the second resurrection, when with soul and body re-united they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment. (Luke 16:19-26; Matt. 25:41-46; 2 Thes. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Mark 9:43-48; Rev. 20:11-15).

Article 3 Membership

Section 1 – Conditions of Membership. The only condition for membership in this local church is the same as that required for membership in the invisible church, namely, saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Section 2 – Reception of Members. The fact that one has been saved through the ministry of this church does not automatically make one a member of this church. Nor does the fact that one has been baptized by the pastor of this church automatically make him a member of this church. That is because those saved here or baptized by the pastor may desire to unite with some other church. Therefore, the person desiring membership in this church should make his desire known either by presenting himself for membership at the regular invitation or by relating that desire privately to the pastor. Each candidate for membership shall relate his Christian experience to the elders of the church, who shall, after ascertaining as nearly as possible the candidate’s genuine conversion, recommend him to the approval of the church. If, the candidate is a member of another church, the clerk shall write to that church, telling of the candidate’s desire to unite with this church. The “right hand of fellowship” shall be publicly at the next regular Sunday church service.

Section 3 – Ending of Membership.

1. Membership may be severed by death, by letter to another church, or by vote of the church.
2. By letter. A member in good standing may, upon application, receive a letter of commendation and dismissal from this church in order to unite with another church of approved character.
3. By discipline. When the church, in the exercise of its lawful authority and discipline, withdraws fellowship from one proved to have fallen into gross sin, his membership immediately ceases (Matt. 18:15-18; Gal. 6:1).

Section 4 – Duties of Members. It is the duty of all members to endeavor, by the grace of God, to live a life worthy of their high calling in Christ Jesus, that the testimony of the church be not hindered. With such an attitude of devotion to Christ, he will attend all the services of the church which it is possible to him to attend, he will support the church with his tithes and offerings, he will serve in whatever capacity he can, and he will pray for the ministry of the church.

Section 5 – Instructions for Members. The church shall offer, at least once a year, a class in which the pastor will conduct a discussion on the meaning and responsibility of the constitution for those who wish to become members, or any other interested persons. The times of these classes will be determined by the pastor.


Article 4 – Government

Section 1 The government is vested in the body of believers of which the church is composed.

Section 2 – Business Meetings. The annual meeting shall be held during January of each year, December 31 being the end of the church year. At this time there shall be elected one elder, one deacon, the church clerk, the treasurer, the missions treasurer, and the various committees. Annual reports shall be made by the treasurer, the missions treasurer, the pastor, and the Sunday School Superintendent. Quarterly business meetings shall be held during the months of April, July, and October, at which quarterly reports by the various officers of the church will be made, and the business matters of the fellowship will be voted on.

Section 3 – Special Business Meetings. Special business meetings of the church may be called by the pastor upon request of the official board. Special meetings may also be called by written request by any five adult members, specifying the objects thereof, and submitting it to the board. Such notice shall be given at the worship services on the Lord’s Day preceding the day fixed for such meeting. No special meeting shall be held on the same day on which the notice is given.

Section 4 – Election by Secret Ballot. The church members shall elect all officers by secret ballot, and a majority of all votes cast shall be required to elect.

Section 5 – The Right to Vote. The right to vote upon church affairs is limited to members of the church in good standing, fifteen years of age or over. Provided however, this right may be denied to those who have for six months prior thereto, failed or neglected to communicate with the church or participate in its activities.

Section 6 – Quorum. A quorum shall consist of fifty-one percent of the resident voting members. At meetings where there is not a quorum, no vote shall be taken concerning church policy or financial matters.

Section 7 – Procedures. Robert’s Rule of Order shall be the rule of order at all business meetings.

Section 8 – Officers.

1. The officers of the church shall be a pastor, four elders, three deacons, a clerk, a treasurer, and a Sunday School superintendent. These officers constitute the official church board. The responsibilities and duties of the board shall be overseeing the general business of the church, including but not limited to, duties specified in this constitution. The board shall elect at the first board meeting after the annual church business meeting, a chairman of the board and a vice-chairman, each to serve one year. The chairman shall be responsible to conduct all the regular church business meetings. The vice-chairman will be responsible in the absence of the chairman.

2. The pastor. The qualifications and duties of the pastor are listed in 1 Peter 5:1-4 and 1 Tim. 3:1-7. The pastor shall be chosen by a two-thirds vote of the church membership present, and shall by virtue of his office, discharge all the functions of the ministry. He shall be ex-officio on all committees. The relationship between the pastor and the church may be severed at any time by mutual consent or by sixty days notice given by either party. If, during his ministry with the church, he should fail to properly carry out his prescribed duties, should preach anything which could properly be termed heresy, or should show definite inclination toward modernistic tendencies, a group of five resident voting members may call a special business meeting for the purpose of securing a vote for the dismissal of the pastor as specified in Article 4, Section 3 – Special business meetings.

3. The elders. There shall be four elders, each to hold office four years. One shall be elected each year. The qualifications and duties of the elders are listed in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. The pastor is also an elder, with particular duties of teaching the Word (1 Tim. 5:17). The function of the elders is: to rule (1 Tim. 3:4, 5; 5:17); to guard the body of revealed truth from perversion and error (Titus 1:9); and to oversee the church as a shepherd does his flock (Acts 20:28; John 21:16; Heb. 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2). This includes assisting in the administering of the ordinances of the church, visiting the sick of the fellowship, investigating those delinquent in attendance, and endeavoring to remedy any spiritual weakness in the lives of the members of the church. In short, the elders have charge of the spiritual affairs of the church.

4. The deacons. The qualifications and duties of the deacons are listed in Acts 6:1-7 and 1 Tim. 3:8-13. There shall be three deacons, who shall hold this office for three years, if they remain members of this church in good standing, one to be elected each year. They shall watch after the needs of the poor, in behalf of the church (Acts 6:1-3). They shall have charge of the care and maintenance of the church property and buildings. They shall represent the church in signing legal documents and in general, watching after the material affairs of the church.

5. The clerk. The clerk shall be elected for one year, and shall keep a record of all the business transacted in the congregational and official board meetings. The clerk shall be responsible for the keeping of a record of the church membership, admissions, dismissals, deaths, baptisms, and interesting items of history. The clerk shall keep a record of all important correspondence and other such records as may pertain to this office or have in custody any other papers or documents as directed by the congregation or official board.

6. The treasurer. The treasurer shall be election for one year and shall hold and disburse all the church funds, except the missions funds. He shall keep an itemized account of the receipts and expenses of the church and make a quarterly report of the same to the church. The books shall be open to inspection by the official board at any time.

7. The Sunday School superintendent. The superintendent shall be elected for one year and shall be charged with the complete charge of the Sunday School. He shall engage the teachers of the younger classes (the adult and high school classes electing their own teachers each year); he shall arrange the classes, arrange the studies, conduct any teachers’ and officers’ meetings, and have complete supervision of the Sunday School. He shall give a report at each quarterly and annual business meeting as to the average Sunday School attendance for the quarter or year in comparison with the previous achievements.

8. The assistant Sunday School superintendent. The assistant superintendent shall be elected for one year, and by virtue of his office shall be ready to help and aid the superintendent in his duties and to assume his duties in his absence.

9. The Sunday School secretary. The Sunday School secretary shall be elected for one year and shall be charged with the responsibility of keeping an accurate record of the Sunday School attendance and offerings. The secretary shall also see that all Sunday School literature is ordered and delivered to the various classes.

10. The assistant Sunday School secretary. The assistant Sunday School secretary shall be elected for one year, and by virtue of the office shall be ready to help and aid the secretary and to assume the duties in the secretary’s absence.

11. The pianist. The pianist and an assistant pianist shall be elected for one year, and shall be responsible to accompany the congregation at church services. A pianist for the Sunday School shall be chosen by the music committee (see Section 9 (2)).

12. The Bible Camp representative. The Bible Camp representative shall be appointed by the official board for one year, and shall be responsible to represent the church on the general council of “The Young People’s Bible Conference”. He shall keep the church in touch with the progress of the camp program. Any financial commitments to the camp association must have been previously cleared with the official board of the church.

13. The head usher. The head usher shall be elected by the official board for one year, and shall be responsible for all church ushering. He shall appoint his assistants. He shall take a count of attendance at all services and shall report each attendance figure to the pastor.

14. The missions treasurer. The missions treasurer shall be elected for one year and shall hold and disburse all missions funds. He shall keep an itemized account of the receipts and disbursements of the missions funds of the church. He shall make a quarterly report to the church. The books shall be opened to the official board at any time.

Section 9 – Committees. The following committees shall be elected by the church for one year. All such committees shall then choose its chairman from the committee. All committees are subject to the official board of the church. The church board shall appoint persons to fill any vacancy on committees or offices until the annual meeting when such vacancy shall be filled by election in the usual manner.

1. The Missions Committee. The missions committee shall be composed of three members, the function of which is to keep in contact with the missionaries in whom the church is interested. In order to do this letters to the missionaries should be written at least every other month. The committee members shall refer correspondence from the missionaries to the pastor. The committee shall refer to the treasurer so as to keep the missionary giving chart up to date. Once a month, one of the committee members shall be given a brief time in the services for a presentation of the need of the various mission fields, at home and abroad.

2. The Music Committee. The function of the three member music committee is to select any hymnals or music books to be used by the congregation or the choir, to arrange and direct the Christmas and Easter musicales or programs, to encourage and to schedule rehearsals for the junior choir, the senior choir, and the orchestra. They should be seeking out and enlisting those who have musical talents. They shall assist the pastor in seeing that special music is provided for both morning and evening services each Sunday and for each songfest. They shall choose a Sunday School pianist. In whatever ways possible they should seek to further the ministry of music in the church.

3. The Flower Committee. The flower committee, of three members, is to see that flowers are sent by the church to any member or friend of the church who is sick and in the hospital. Also, flowers shall be provided by the church for the funeral of anyone who is a member or a friend of the church, or whose funeral is conducted locally by the pastor of this church. Easter lilies should be provided each Easter and this committee should encourage and provide flowers from the various members when flowers are in season.

4. The Nursery Committee. The nursery committee shall be composed of three members. This committee shall be responsible for all issues related to the nursery ministry of the church. They shall prepare the regular nursery schedule and provide the office with the information for the bulletin. They shall also report to the Deacons any need for repairs. They shall also ensure nursery supplies are maintained and that toys are kept safe and clean.

5. Christian Education Committee. The Christian education committee shall consist of the Sunday School superintendent and two members elected from the congregation. This committee shall be responsible for all church Christian education: including the selection of Sunday School curriculum, children’s church, Vacation Bible School, and youth ministries.

6. The Pulpit Committee. The pulpit committee, to be appointed by the church board whenever such a committee is necessary, shall be composed of five members: an elder, a deacon, two women, and an older teenager. The function of the pulpit committee is to seek out the names of possible candidates for the pulpit of the church, to send some of the committee to hear such possible candidates for the pulpit, to examine candidates for the pulpit in regards to their doctrine and manner of life, to secure pulpit supplies during the time the church is without a pastor, and to recommend such candidates as they can approve to the vote of the church.

7. The Nominating Committee. A nominating committee consisting of the pastor, one elder selected by the elders, one deacon selected by the deacons, and two members of the church selected by the congregation shall be appointed not less than thirty days before the annual business meeting. A moderator shall be selected by the committee.

The committee shall meet to select two persons for each office of the church, and five persons for each committee. This selection shall be posted on the church bulletin board two Sundays before the annual business meeting. The committee shall prepare ballots for the election.

8. The Social Committee. The social committee shall consist of four members. The members of this committee shall be responsible for the entertainment procedures of the church. They shall arrange and set up for special functions, including dinners, breakfasts, outings, picnics, and other specials. They shall make provisions for the entertainment of special speakers, or groups that may be brought in.

Article 5 – The Ordinances

Section 1 – Baptism. The church shall teach and recommend the practice of the ordinance of Christian baptism. Those saved should obey the Lord in baptism (by immersion only). Baptismal services shall be held as often as necessary to baptize the new converts and other Christians who may not have been immersed but who wish to be.

Section 2 – The Lord’s Supper. The communion service shall be held during the same months as the regular quarterly business meeting. Any believer shall be invited to partake of the elements in remembrance of Christ.


Article 6 – Offerings

This church is supported by love-offerings. No one is obligated to pledge, only as the Scripture enjoins. See 2 Cor. 9:6-8; 1 Cor. 16:2; and Mal. 3:8. No funds shall be raised by any other method than by personal freewill offering.

Article 7 – Licensing and Ordination

Section 1. When any member of the church feels the call of God and has shown the gifts of the ministry, he shall be granted at his request and by two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting, a license to preach the gospel of Christ and to perform the work of the ministry as God gives opportunity. This license may be renewed annually at the regular annual meeting by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting. If not renewed, it becomes invalid.

Section 2. If the church unanimously decides that one of its licensed preachers possessed the scriptural qualifications for full ordination, the elders of the church shall call a council of ministers and brethren to examine the qualifications of the candidate, to which council the property and business of ordaining shall be wholly referred.

Article 8 – Amendments

Any of these by-laws except the doctrinal statement may be altered, amended, or repealed at any regular meeting by majority of the church, provided however, two weeks notice of the proposed change has been given at any of the regular church services.

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