Church Constitution

Victory Fellowship Church Constitution

An Independent Non-Denominational Church

Approved – September 18, 2005

  • Part 1 – Doctrine
  • Part 2 – Membership
  • Part 3 – Church Government
  • Part 4 – Elders
  • Part 5 – Pastors
  • Part 6 – Deacons
  • Part 7 – Officers and Committees
  • Part 8 – Discipline
  • Part 9 – Ordination
  • Part 10 – Amendments
  • Part 11 – Dissolution

CONSTITUTION OF VICTORY FELLOWSHIP CHURCH
Newaygo, Michigan

NAME: The name of this church is Victory Fellowship Church, a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Michigan, hereinafter referred to as “the church”. It will “do business as” and be identified publicly as Victory Fellowship Church.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this church shall be:

  • to worship and glorify God (John 4:23,24);
  • to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ;
  • to strengthen believers in Christian living (Ephesians 4:12);
  • to promote missionary interest and endeavor; and
  • to encourage and promote the fellowship of the believers as taught in the Holy Scriptures.

 

 

PART 1 – DOCTRINE

STATEMENT OF FAITH

The Biblical beliefs to which we ask all members to agree are contained in the following Statement of Faith:

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, and infallible authoritative Word of God
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

 

  • We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ,
    • His virgin birth,
    • His sinless life,
    • His miracles,
    • His death on the cross
    • His bodily resurrection,
    • His personal return in power and glory

 

  • We believe in the ministry, power and gifts of the Holy Spirit as recorded in scripture.

 

  • We believe in the resurrection of the dead, the saved to eternal salvation and the lost to eternal damnation

 

PART 2 – MEMBERSHIP

  1. REQUIREMENTS

 

The membership of this church shall consist of those who give clear evidence of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, and have a sincere desire to live a godly, Christian life.

Each person desiring to unite with this church shall be interviewed by the Elders regarding their Christian experience, and the basis of their salvation. Upon acceptance, the individual will be received into the membership of the church at a regular service.

All applicants will be required to agree to the foregoing Statement of Faith and the Constitution of the church and show consistent attendance at Church services.

 

 

 

 

  1. COVENANT OF MEMBERSHIP

As members of Victory Fellowship Church we will, by the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, covenant to:

  1. Progress in obedience to Christ (John 14:15)
  2. Worship regularly with the church family (Psalm 150:1; Ephesians 5:19-20; Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:42-47)
  3. Serve faithfully in ministry (1 Peter 4:10)
  4. Financially support the church ministry through cheerful and generous giving (2 Cor.9:6-15; 1 Cor. 16:1-2).
  5. Love and uphold fellow members, to pray for them and to encourage them, even when they have failed. (Phil. 2:1-4; Gal.6:1-2).
  6. Influence my circle of friends, relatives and associates to become Christ’s disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
  7. Be responsive to the church leadership (Hebrews 13:17).
  8. Resolve conflicts with other church members according to Matthew 5:23-24 and Matthew 18:15-17.
  9. Refrain from gossip (Proverbs 20:19; Romans 1:29-30)
  10. WITHDRAWAL OR REMOVAL OF MEMBERSHIP
  11. Upon written request of any member addressed to the Elders, his or her name shall be removed from the church roll.
  12. If a member should join another church without a written request for removal of his or her name from the church roll, his or her name shall be removed from the church roll.
  13. Membership may be revoked, for any of the following reasons:
  14. Holding fast to a belief in a false or heretical doctrine.
  15. Known to live a life inconsistent with a Christian profession.
  16. Continuous absence from church service for 6 months without satisfactory reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 3 – CHURCH GOVERNMENT

This church shall be self-governing in all matters. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation that are common among Christian Churches. This church incorporates under the laws of the State of Michigan. The government of this church is vested in the members of the church and is fully delegated to those Elders whose affirmations are current. Jesus Christ is the only Head of His church. The Elders shall be the spiritual and administrative leaders of the church with authority to appoint or hire other persons or committees to serve the needs of the church and determine the appropriate compensation. If at any time there are less than three (3) elders whose affirmations are current, the governance of the church shall revert to the remaining elders and deacons. The members will be notified of all decisions by the Elders, which would significantly affect the church or impact its budget by more than 15 percent.

 

PART 4 – ELDERS

It is really God who makes men elders by maturing and burdening them to fulfill such a ministry. As overseers in their leading and protecting capacity, it is the responsibility of the elders to recognize the men whom the Holy Spirit appoints as elders (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:14).

The process of recognition of elders at Victory Fellowship Church is as follows:

  1. IDENTIFICATION

Anyone in the church family may, after prayerful consideration of the scriptural qualifications, recommend one of the men (Age 21 or older) of the church to the eldership for consideration as an elder. Each man so presented is given serious consideration by the existing elders.

  1. If the elders are unaware of any Scriptural reasons to not consider the man, they commit some time in contact with the man himself in order to determine with him God’s will in this matter (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Peter 5:2). With this information, the eldership prayerfully decides whether the man suggested is a true candidate for the office of elder.
  2. Once agreed that the man appears to desire the office under the Lord’s direction, the elders notify the congregation of the candidate under consideration. The church family is encouraged to pray and inform the elders of their input either personally or in writing.

 

  1. Any areas of life in which the man is found lacking results in an invitation for a discipling relationship between a member of the elders and the candidate. In this way deficiencies are dealt with directly and the candidate may be considered for the eldership at a future time.
  2. CONSIDERATION
  3. Following the identification of a potential elder, the elders take reasonable time to get to know the candidate. This time provides for:
    • Prayer and fasting for God’s will in the matter (Acts14:23).
    • A period to familiarize the man with the functions of an elder.
    • A sufficient opportunity for the existing elders to develop their relationship with the person and to evaluate his spiritual depth and character as one who might share in the ministry of equipping the saints (1 Timothy 5:22).
  4. Any areas of life in which the man is found lacking are discussed lovingly, candidly and confidentially within the eldership. The candidate’s continuation in the process of becoming an elder is determined by the circumstances of any deficiency that arises.
  5. PRESENTATION
  6. Following the period of consideration, the elders, by 3/4 consent, notify the congregation of their intent to formally commend the candidate as an elder. They further charge the church family to be praying specifically for this man and his family.
  7. Approximately one month after the church family has been notified, the candidate is formally presented to the congregation by the elders. He is given opportunity to share with the church family his heart and sense of the Spirit’s leading for him to assume the office of elder.
  8. The church family is given the responsibility to pray and express themselves regarding the candidate. During this period the elders challenge the body to affirm the man or to bring to them any report, which may affect his qualification for the office of elder.
  9. Any objections concerning the candidate, which might surface during this process, are worked through in a constructive manner with the man involved so that any deficiencies or misunderstandings may be addressed and corrected.
  10. When the elders are assured of God’s direction, and that any former objections have been dealt with properly, the new elder is publicly affirmed by the elders in the presence of the congregation.

 

 

 

 

  1. TERM OF SERVICE

At least once a year the elders choose a site and time to gather for a retreat. The retreat is a time of reflection, discussion, prayer and evaluation. At this retreat each man’s work and life is candidly discussed. The retreat also provides an opportunity for the elders to appoint corporate officers from the eldership for the coming year (as required by state law).

At least once a year the elders shall call a meeting of church members for the purposes of sharing the vision for the church and the practical steps needed to fulfill it. (e.g. ministry and budget)

An elder shall be approved for no longer than three years.  Pastors (who are also elders) have no term limits.
An elder must step down from the board after one term in office. He may be approved again as a serving elder after 6 months off the Board.

  1. DISQUALIFICATION

Every member is subject to accountability within the church and therefore the elder may be disciplined according to Biblical principles (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Cor.5; 2 Thes. 3:14, 15). Scripture does dictate that no accusation against an elder is to be taken seriously unless there are two or three witnesses to verify the charges. When a confronted elder “continues in sin,” he is rebuked by the elders before the congregation, that “others may fear” (1 Timothy 5:19, 20).

An elder is subject to scrutiny in areas, which call for church discipline (unrepentant sin) and circumstances, which might affect his continuing qualification to serve as an elder. When an elder ceases to meet those qualifications, he is asked to remove himself from the office for a time so that he may put his life in order in that area. Such action is taken only by the unanimous agreement of the other elders. If an elder himself feels unable to serve for any reason, he may request to be relieved from office either temporarily or permanently. The process of his possible reinstatement at a later time is determined by the elders in relation to the circumstances.

 

  1. ACCOUNTABILITY

In carrying out his duties, the elder is immediately responsible to the other elders, continually responsible to his brothers and sisters in the congregation, and ultimately responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

PART 5 – PASTOR(S)

Senior Pastor and Associate Pastor(s):

A.  Search Committee:

  1. This committee shall consist of at least two elders, two deacons, and two members of Victory Fellowship Church who are appointed by the Board of Elders.
    2. The Search Committee will elect their own Chairman and Secretary.
    3. The committee shall solicit applications from candidates for review. After evaluating candidates, the committee shall decide which candidates to interview.
    4. After the interviews are conducted, the Search Committee will vote to accept a candidate or continue the search. The vote must be approved by a two thirds majority.
    5. If the results of the vote are to recommend approval, the Search Committee shall seek the opinion of the congregation by polling them, using a standardized polling form. Polling forms may be obtained and handed in within a two-week period, during which time any individual within the congregation may voice his objection of any candidate.

  2. Board of Elders’ approval:

Upon considering the Search Committee’s recommendation, and after prayerful consideration, the Board of Elders will vote at their next regular meeting or at a special called meeting after the two-week waiting period. To extend a call to a candidate, the Board of Elders’ vote must be a three fourths majority.


  1. Qualifications:

1. In order to qualify as a pastor, the candidate should be a graduate of a conservative, evangelical school, or have equivalent knowledge, skills, and experience;
2. He must agree with the church’s doctrinal position as outlined in this constitution;
3. He must meet the Biblical requirements of an Elder.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Duties of the Senior Pastor:

1. The Senior pastor’s primary duties shall be to provide spiritual shepherding,
2. He shall be the manager of the church staff, and ex officio member of all committees and boards.

  1. Additional staff:

Additional pastoral staff may be called at the discretion of the Board of Elders. The duties of the Associate Pastor(s) will be defined as needed.

  1. Evaluation Clause:

After an initial six-month period, the pastor is to be evaluated by the Board of Elders.

  1. Dismissal:

A pastor may be dismissed by the unanimous vote of the Board of Elders.

  1. Resignation:

All resignations must be submitted in writing to the Board of Elders for their consideration at least sixty days in advance of desired date of resignation.

PART 6 – DEACONS

  1. ROLE OF DEACONS IN THE CHURCH

 

  1. The purpose of Deacons is to relieve the elders of the multitude of practical duties of caring for the flock. Deacons are to give their primary attention toward caring for the congregation’s physical welfare. Deacons have the honor of modeling, for the local church and the lost world, God’s compassion, kindness, mercy, and love. As the church compassionately cares for people’s needs, the world sees a visible display of Christ’s love, which will draw some people to the Savior. Deacons are to be an example of commitment, unity and harmony in their service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. Under the direction of the Elders, the deacons are to care for the buildings and equipment owned by the church. They are the collectors of funds, the distributors of relief and agents of mercy. They help the poor, the jobless, the sick, the widowed, the elderly, the homeless, the shut-in, and the disabled. They comfort, protect and encourage people and help to meet their needs. Although they do in many ways meet spiritual needs of those whom they serve, their primary service is related to physical needs. Specific duties include, but are not limited to:
  • Setting up a schedule of members to be responsible for counting and recording church monies. Two members shall always be present while monies are counted and recorded.
  • Deliver written budget request to the Finance Committee by December 1st.
  1. FINANCE COMMITTEE & ANNUAL BUDGET. The finance committee shall be composed of the Treasurer, and at least one deacon and one elder. This committee will gather all budget requests from various ministries of the Church and develop proposed budgets. This budget proposal will be submitted to the Elders and Deacons. The Elders and Deacons will approve the final budget and present it to the Church congregation.

 

  1. B. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ELDERS AND DEACONS (Philippians 1:1)
  • The Deacons are to carry out the directives of the Elders in areas of service to the needs of the flock. In the New Testament a DEACON (“diakonos”) is one who renders service or ministers to the needs of another.
  • Elders and Deacons will meet together on a regular basis.
  1. RECOGNITION OF DEACONS. The recognition, affirmation, and continuance of Deacons will be at the discretion of the Elders

 

PART 7 – OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES.

The Elders will be responsible for appointing, overseeing and removing as needed any officers or committees of the church:

 

 

PART 8 – DISCIPLINE

The discipline of the church is entrusted to the Elders and shall be exercised according to the principle of Christian love, and as outlined in Galatians 6:1 – “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” All discipline must be conducted in Christian meekness and love with a desire to remove offenses and to win offenders.

  1. Personal grievances between members shall be reconciled according to the scriptural rule in Matthew 18:15-17.
  2. Cases not settled by the rule of Matthew 18:15-17 shall be brought to the Elders who shall endeavor to resolve the problem with disciplinary procedures in the spirit of the Word of God.
  3. The Elders shall endeavor to resolve any grievance by, or unbecoming conduct on the part of, any member of this church, and shall have the authority to call members into conference when there is evidence that any member is no longer in accord with the doctrinal statement, as set forth in this constitution.
  4. If any member, thus having been dealt with, persists in his sinful course, it shall be the responsibility of the Elders to carry out appropriate disciplinary action.
  5. Dismissal from church membership shall be announced to the church membership.

PART 9 – ORDINATION

  1. Composition and Function of Council of Ordination
  2. When, in the judgment of the Elders, a member of this fellowship, or in special cases a non-member in agreement with the Doctrinal Statement, is called to the Christian ministry, it shall be within the power of the Elders to call and conduct a Council of Ordination. This Council shall consist of the Pastor and Elders of this Church, and may include other ordained Christian ministers and delegates from fundamental Churches.
  3. The Council of Ordination shall thoroughly examine the applicant regarding his personal Christian experience, call to ministry, educational training, doctrinal belief, reputation and demonstrated efficiency in Christian service. The applicant shall give evidence of his agreement with those provisions of the Constitution of this Church with respect to doctrine, independence of the local church and Scriptural qualifications for church leadership.

 

 

  1. Upon completion of the examination, the applicant shall be accepted only after a paper ballot vote polling of the Elders produces a three fourths (3/4) majority indicating an intent to Ordain said applicant. When so recommended, this Church and the applicant shall arrange a public ordination service.
  2. The public ordination service shall be incorporated into the record of the Church, and a Certificate of Ordination shall be provided for the newly ordained minister.
  3. Discipline of Ordained Ministers
  4. The Elders shall have the power to discipline, even to the revoking of the ordination credentials of any minister ordained under this Constitution, if the said minister is found guilty of doctrinal or moral defection after an impartial trial conducted in the spirit of 1 Cor. 13. .

PART 10 – AMENDMENTS

Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by 3/4 agreement of the Elders at any regular Elder’s meeting. Members of the fellowship may propose amendments to the Elders for consideration. Changes to the constitution will be adopted only with the consent of a minimum of three fourths (3/4) of the Elders.

PART 11 – DISSOLUTION

No part of the net earnings of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member, director, or officer of the corporation or any private individual; and no donor, member, director, officer of the corporation or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any corporate assets. Upon dissolution, any assets of the corporation must be distributed to one or more 503(c) non-profit organizations of like ministry.

In the event that the corporation is dissolved, there shall be a liquidation of all assets. The Board of Elders shall be in charge of the liquidation unless the court appoints a trustee to be in charge of receivership. Debtors shall be paid in accordance to the priority of indebtedness unless ordered by the court to proceed on a pro rata basis or in any other manner that the court deems proper. Any assets in excess of indebtedness shall be distributed at the discretion of the Board of Elders in compliance with Internal Revenue Service requirements.