Constitution of First Christian Church of Iola, Kansas
Since it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to call certain servants to unite here in 1859, for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and He has sustained and prospered this work to this present day; and
Whereas we, the members of First Christian Church, having searched the Scriptures under the guidance of His Holy Spirit, have recognized the need to reconstitute ourselves to more closely conform to His will for the Church in this age and prepare ourselves for greater efforts in His name;
Now therefore we, the members of First Christian Church, do hereby organize ourselves in accord with the Kansas Nonprofit Corporation Act and adopt this Constitution as a our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of and bring glory to Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the standards set forth in the Statement of Faith, Mission Statement and Membership Covenant of this church.
ARTICLE I. NAME, PURPOSE
SECTION A. NAME
The official name of this corporation is the First Christian Church of Iola, Kansas, Inc. It is a Kansas Nonprofit Corporation with principal offices located at 1608 Oregon Road, Iola, Kansas.
SECTON B. PURPOSE
The church exists by the grace of God, for the glory of God, which shall be the ultimate purpose in all its activities. This church glorifies God by loving Him and obeying His commands through:
- Worshipping Him
- Equipping the saints through Bible instruction and study
- Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching and personal evangelism, and other means consistent with the teachings of the Holy Scriptures
- Encouraging, supporting, and participating in missions work; locally, domestically, and internationally
- Administering the ordinances of baptism and communion
- Encouraging Biblical fellowship among believers
- Serving other individuals, families, and churches by providing for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, in the name of Jesus Christ
- Calling fellow churches to biblical faithfulness and purity through instruction and encouragement about the nature of the local church
ARTICLE II. MEMBERSHIP
SECTION A. QUALIFICATIONS
While becoming a Christian means to commit yourself to Christ, becoming a church member means to commit yourself to other Christians. This is demonstrated in II Corinthians 8:5, when Paul mentions two different types of commitments. “But they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.”
At First Christian Church, we want our people to understand that they first give themselves to Christ for their salvation, for it is only by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that one can be saved. This is the universal church family that encompasses everyone who is justified by Christ’s blood. This is different from the local church family that Paul refers to in II Corinthians. Believers in Christ must appreciate that they are expected to join other Christians for membership in their church family to encourage their faith and build them up in the Lord, and do the same for others.
At First Christian Church, we only expect of our members what the Bible clearly expects of all believers. These expectations are summarized in the Membership Covenant (see attachment).
There are two requirements of membership:
- A personal profession of Christ as Lord and Savior
- Baptism as a public confession of one’s faith
SECTION B. DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP
In accordance with the duties enumerated in the Membership Covenant, each member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Only those shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church who are members of this congregation. Non-members may serve in a case-by-case basis, with the approval of the elders. Non-members may serve the Church for purposes of administration and professional consultation.
With Christ being the center and head of any and all this body endeavors to do, its members will govern the congregation by His will. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all members’ meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote.
SECTION C. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
- DEATH: When a congregational member of the church dies, his or her name shall be removed from the Congregational Membership.
- TRANSFER: When requested, a congregational member’s letter of transfer from another church will be recognized and honored.
- RESIGNATION: A congregational member may terminate membership by written request including reasons for desire to end affiliation with First Christian Church. This request will not be honored for those who are currently under church discipline.
- CHURCH DISCIPLINE: The purpose of church discipline is to affect a return to a biblical standard of conduct and doctrine in a congregational member who errs (Gal. 6:1), to maintain purity in the local church (I Cor. 5:6), and to deter sin (I Tim. 5:20). Congregational members who shall err in doctrine or conduct shall be subject to dismissal according to Matt. 18:15-18.
CORRECTIVE DISCIPLINE: Corrective discipline implies disorderly conduct or heretical doctrine that is opposed to the church’s life and faith. Reasonable efforts shall be made to clear up difficulties and remove offenses before any action is taken. No offense shall be brought before the church until the instructions of Christ have first been followed (Matt. 5:23-24; 18:15-16). Corrective discipline has for its aim the glory of God, the welfare and purity of the church, and the spiritual growth of the offender.
EXCOMMUNICATION FROM MEMBERSHIP: Procedure shall be in the following manner. The suspected person shall first be interviewed as directed in Matthew 18:15-18. If this does not lead to restoration of fellowship, written charges shall be filed with the Eldership. After a fair and impartial hearing of all the witnesses accessible and all the facts ascertainable, if the majority of the Eldership believes the accused to be guilty, the Eldership shall make an appropriate recommendation to the congregation for their action at a regularly called congregational meeting. The congregation shall have the right to excommunicate by a 2/3 vote of the members present and voting.
RESTORATION OF MEMBERSHIP: The right to exclude or excommunicate persons or the withdrawal of fellowship (II Thess. 3:6) is in harmony with the teaching of the New Testament (Matt. 18:16-17). The Apostolic church also had a right to restore those persons who gave satisfactory evidence of being penitent (II Cor. 2:6-8). The object of the discipline having been accomplished, the congregation shall have the right to restore the penitent member to full membership by a 2/3 vote of the members present and voting.
ARTICLE III. MEETINGS
SECTION A. WORSHIP MEETINGS
Worship services shall be held each Lord’s Day, and may be held throughout the week as the church determines.
SECTION B. CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS
These meetings will pertain to the monthly Church Board Meetings and the annual Congregational Meeting.
In every meeting together, members shall act in a spirit of mutual trust, openness and loving consideration, which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There shall be a regular Board meeting at least every other month, at some time apart from a public worship agreed upon by the membership. The Board Chair, Vice-Chair, or appointed Elder shall preside as moderator at all members or Board meetings of the church. The Board Chair, or Elders will insure that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held, and that the responsible members submit required reports to the church. Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met by a quorum (minimum of ten (10) members of the General Board), shall be understood to be met by those members present. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast by members present.
A budget shall be approved by the membership at the annual congregational meeting no less than thirty (30) days prior to the start of the fiscal year. Prior to this approval and subject to the Board, or Elders discretion, expenditures may continue at the prior year’s level.
While officers will be regularly elected during the annual congregational meeting, it is appropriate as the need arises to fill positions as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.
ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS OF THE CONGREATION AND THE GENERAL BOARD
SECTION A. GENERAL STATEMENT
Jesus Christ alone is the Head of His Church. However, as Head, He has ordained that individual churches should be blessed with the spiritual rule and ministry of special office bearers. Therefore, it is the duty of the church to seek to discover those to whom Christ the Lord has imparted the necessary gifts for office bearing, and having formally recognized such by common vote, to set them apart by united prayer and to submit to their rule and ministry. Christ has ordained that the administration of local churches is to be by elders and deacons.
SECTION B. ELDERSHIP
PASTOR(S): Among the Elders are those whom we call Pastors. These are set apart for prayer and the study of the Word, and should, as far as possible, be adequately maintained in material necessities, so as to be disentangled from the cares of a secular calling. A Pastor, being by Scriptural terminology a teacher and ruling Elder, must evidence the personal, domestic, and ministerial qualifications for this office as set for in I Timothy 3:1-8, and in Titus 1:5-9. Anyone called to this office must be able to conscientiously affirm his agreement with the Statement of Faith, Mission Statement, Membership Covenant and Constitution of First Christian Church. Should he at any time move from this position, he is under spiritual and moral obligation to make this known to the church with adequate forewarning as to enable a positive transition. The Pastor shall seek to discharge all the functions of his office as set forth in the Scriptures and in keeping with the exercise of his own distinctive gifts of ministry. In conjunction with the Elders, he shall have general oversight of all the church and its ministry and functions.
ELDERS: Elders are responsible for the spiritual ministrations of the church, the implementation of church discipline, and watching over the souls of the members as those who must give account to God for this responsibility. They, in conjunction with the Pastor, shall exercise the oversight of the church in all its ministries and functions. Anyone desiring the office of an Elder must evidence the personal, domestic, and ministerial qualifications as set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:5-9. Elders must seek to discharge their duties as set forth in the Scriptures, particularly such passages as, Acts 20:28; I Peter 5:1-4 and Hebrews 13:17. While every Elder bears spiritual rule (and are “apt to teach”), some will be more engaged in formal and public teaching, while others will be more exclusively engaged in the details of ruling (I Tim. 5:17). Elders are subject to each other, none having superior authority.
QUALIFICATIONS: Each Elder must be a congregational member not under church discipline and possess the following qualifications. He shall be: (1) Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach; (2) The husband of one wife; a one-woman man. If divorced the basis was according to Biblical standard of Matthew 19:9 and I Corinthians 7:12-16; (3) Temperate, sober, vigilant; (4) Sober-minded, prudent; (5) Of good behavior, orderly, respectable; (6) Given to hospitality; (7) Able to teach and is teachable—he can exhort believers and refute false teaching; (8) Not addicted to wine, not a drunkard; (9) Not violent, pugnacious; (10) Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle; (11) Not a brawler, uncontentious, not easily angered or quick-tempered; (12) Not covetous, not a lover of money, not fond of sordid gain; (13) Rule his house well, his children (living in their home) are faithful, i.e. not accused of dissipation or rebellion to God; (14) Not a new convert, not a novice; (15) Have a good reputation with those outside of the church; (16) Not self-willed; (17) Lover of good men, good things; (18) Just, fair, holy, devout and self controlled.
NUMBER OF ELDERS AND TENURE OF OFFICE: Since the church should endeavor to recognize all the men whom the Holy Spirit has endowed with the requisite graces, gifts, and sanctified desire the number of Elders shall not be fixed, but must be more than one as ascribed in the Scriptures (Acts 14:23; 15:6; 20:17; I Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; I Pet. 5:1). These may all continue in office as long as they remain qualified, able and willing to serve.
ELDERS ADDITIONS: Periodically, the Board of Elders will provide a list of male congregational members not under church discipline to the remaining congregational members for input as to whom the Elders should consider for Elder candidates. The Board of Elders shall carefully consider the congregation’s input before the Board decides to invite a man, or men to enter onto the Elder Board. If a man, or men, accepts the Elders’ invitation to enter as a candidate, their names shall be placed in the church bulletin for two weeks following his acceptance of the Board’s approval. It is during these two weeks that congregational members will be encouraged to offer their input as to the validity of a given man’s candidacy. At the end of the two week period, if the Elders are satisfied that the man is suitable to enter Elder candidacy, the man will be publicly recognized as an Elder at the worship service designated by the Board of Elders.
SECTION C. DEACONS, DEACONESSES AND DIACONATES
DEACONS AND DEACONESSES: The office of deacon is described in I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-7. The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, men and women who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons and deaconesses. These may all continue in office as long as they remain qualified, able and willing to serve. Deacons and deaconesses shall care for the temporal needs of members, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration. The deacons and deaconesses shall receive, hold and disburse a fund for benevolence, reporting on its use to the elders at their request, and reporting to the church its total receipts and total disbursements only.
DIACONATES: In keeping with the direction of the Holy Scriptures to raise up and teach our children in the ways of the Lord (Deut. 6:7; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 5:22-6:9), First Christian Church will endeavor to bring up the young people within the body to begin to train them in a life of service. The diaconates will serve along side of the deacons and deaconesses in the area of communion, service projects for the church and community, and in helping those who may need assistance. Ages of the diaconates will range from 14 years old through high school.
SECTION D. GENERAL BOARD
GENERAL: The governing of the church and the conducting of its business, the management and control of its property, real and personal, and the general supervision of its work shall, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, be vested in the General Board, Elders, Deacons and Deaconesses. The General Board shall consist of the following officers: Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Trustees, Secretary, Clerk, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Christian Education Director, and Chairpersons of functional committees. The congregation will elect each of these offices for one year.
NOMINATION: Nominations for each office will be presented by the Elders, while seeking potential prospects from other members and officers as possible candidates. Congregational members are encouraged to offer suggestions at least two weeks prior to nomination submissions. Candidates will be reviewed among the Elders prior to presenting for nomination. These nominations will be made at a minimum of four weeks prior to the annual congregational meeting.
QUALIFICATIONS: To be considered for nomination the candidate must be: (1) Regular attendee of Sunday church services; (2) An active participant within the church body as the occasion has required; (3) Willing to fulfill assignment as a member of a functional committee; (4) Above reproach in character and lifestyle; (5) A promoter of good will and encourages a Christ-centered focus to the fellowship; (6) Capable to complete in a reliable fashion the duties assigned to the office; (7) A constant example of striving to be a Christ follower in their words, actions and demeanor.
OFFICE REQUIREMENTS: The following is a brief description of each office and its minimum requirements:
- CHAIRPERSON—This office shall fulfill the usual duties such as call and preside at all regular or special business meetings of the congregation.
- VICE-CHAIRPERSON—Person shall fulfill the usual duties of the Chairperson in their absence, such as call and preside over regular or special business meetings of the congregation.
- SECRETARY—This individual will keep minutes of all regular or special business meetings of the church, and other specific meetings as required. Minutes will be provided to the church office in a timely manner for the following months meeting, or as required.
- TRUSTEES—These officers will act as legal agents of First Christian Church in all business matters, under the direction of the General Board and are subject to the approval of the congregation; They will hold legal title to all church property and handle all business transactions related thereto; They shall receive all endowment, trust funds and bequests. The final receipt and disposition of such funds shall be under the supervision of the General Board. The Trustees shall have such duties as are required by the State of Kansas.
- CLERK—This office will keep a complete record of the church membership and such vital statistics as required by the General Board, such as: additions, transfers, terminations, or deaths. This officer should be involved in the annual review of the church membership role to determine active, absent and non-participating members.
- FINANCIAL SECRETARY—Person shall receive and make a record of all funds in their proper account and thereupon deliver all funds to the church Treasurer; Send out financial statements to individual members; Present monthly report to the General Board and an annual report to the congregation.
- TREASURER—The role of Treasurer will be to receive from the Financial Secretary a report of the deposits and disbursements; funds authorized by the General Board; a record thereof and make a report at each regular monthly meeting of the General Board and an annual report to the congregation. A committee appointed by the Chairperson of the General Board shall audit the books annually. A report of such audit shall be rendered to the General Board by the second board meeting following the end of church year.
- CHRISTIAN EDUCATION DIRECTOR—These responsibilities will include working closely with the Pastor to coordinate a Bible themed and Christ centered curriculum for children, youth and adults of the church. The Director will meet regularly with the Christian Education Committee seeking new ideas and to pass along upcoming events or studies. In all things this office will strive to make the classes Christ honoring with a purpose and goal to build up the body in the unity of our Lord, and to ultimately form the stepping stones to a mature Christian.
- OUTREACH—This office is led by our Lord’s words of Matt. 28:19-20a, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” This officer will lead the Outreach Committee to determine worthy outreach programs that First Christian Church should support, while insuring these missions follow the Mission Statement of the church of Lead, Feed and Tend. Opportunities should be sought to raise money for missions when necessary; Actively pursue possible local or domestic needs that could further the gospel of Christ; Host and coordinate meetings when missionaries visit the church; Update bulletin board to keep current news of supported missions before the congregation.
- PROPERTY—Supervise all church property and grounds and all general equipment; including care, repair, replacement and protection. This office will facilitate requests for found problems and the determination of needed outside assistance when required. It will also be necessary to conduct random inspections of the facility to assure there is no recorded damage or wear that is not reported, or is occurring over time.
- PERSONNEL/PASTORAL RELATIONS—This person will act for the congregation and the General Board by heading the committee to select candidates for different opportunities within the church as the need arises. These openings could be and are not limited to: pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, professional and non-professional staff personnel. This office will also provide an annual review of all paid staff (Pastor, Associate Pastor, Youth Pastor, Worship Leader, Secretary and Custodian). This evaluation shall be used to commend performance, promote improvements, identify needs within the church and foster communication. This office shall prior to the preparation of the annual budget; use the above evaluation to recommend salary changes as the budget of the church permits.
- Memorials—This committee will supervise and administer the records and funds received through gifts donated in honor of a deceased family member or friend. The received memorials will be reported to the Board, and noted if a specific request for these funds has been made. If no designation has been made then the committee will make recommendations to the Board that will best serve the present and long-range objectives of the church.
- SPECIAL OFFICES—These offices will be appointed as necessary, but should be filled by normal care of church members as they grow and serve as the need arises. These offices are, but are not limited to:
- —Will be a coordinated effort between the Worship Leader and the Pastor, while seeking outside input for special music and service order.
- —Currently handled by individuals preparing gift bags for visitors, mailing of post cards and follow-up with visitors as required.
SECTION E. RESIGNATION, REMOVAL, VACANCIES
RESIGNATION: An officer may resign by giving written notice to the General Board. The resignation is effective without acceptance when the notice is given to the General Board, unless a later effective date is named in the notice.
REMOVAL: An officer will be removed if he/she is under church discipline. In addition, removal may occur to intentional mishandling of the office, or demonstrates lack of ability to adequately complete the requirements of the office.
VACANCY: A vacancy due to death, resignation, removal, disqualification, or other cause must be filled for the unexpired part of the term as determined by the General Board.
SECTION F. DELEGATION
An officer may delegate some or all the duties and powers of an office to other persons with the approval of the General Board. An officer who delegates the duties or powers of an office remains subject to the standard of conduct for an officer with respect to the discharge of the delegated duties and powers.
SECTION G. SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
In any dispute arising between the General Board, Elders, Staff or Congregation pertaining to any matter of spiritual teaching or practices, church finances, or title to property purchased with church contributions, the dispute will be resolved by the General Board. A decision shall be reached after prayerful consideration in a spirit of humility, with each member regarding one another before themselves.
ARTICLE V. AMMENDMENTS
SECTION A. GENERAL STATEMENT
This constitution may be amended, and new and additional Articles and Sections added as needed at any time by the General Board in the exercise of the power granted to said General Board in this constitution. Any amendment to this constitution shall be presented at the annual meeting of the congregational membership. The proposed amendment must be read at a regular meeting of the General Board at least thirty days prior to the vote thereon, and provided a copy of the proposed amendment has been made available, or read at a regular congregational meeting two Sundays prior to the vote by the congregation.
ARTICLE VI. DISSOLUTION
ARTICLE A. DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS
Upon dissolution, the General Board, or officers acting under the direction of the General Board, shall distribute the assets of the Church in the following order of priority: (1) Distribution of assets received and held for special use or purpose; (2) Payment of costs and expenses of the dissolution proceedings, including attorney fees and disbursements; (3) Payments of debts, obligations, and liabilities of the Church; (4) Distribution of assets of organizations with a purpose similar to that which is identified within the Statement of Faith, Mission Statement and Constitution.
ARTICLE B. SPECIAL USE OR PURPOSE
Assets of the Church may not be diverted from the uses and purposes for which the assets have been received and held, or from the uses and purposes expressed or intended by the original donor.
Last Revision: January 13, 2014