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By-Laws


East Lake Fellowship

Church By-Laws

Introduction

In order to have a reasonable expectation of orderly self-government together with the protection of the exercise of faith and individual participation, these by-laws are established.  It should be noted that these by-laws are set in place to be principles to facilitate the operations of the church and not to be binders tying the hands of the congregation.  Therefore, these by-laws may be set aside to serve an immediate purpose by the vote of a majority of resident members present.

Article I:  Name and Purpose

Section 1:  Name

This body shall be known as the East Lake Fellowship Church (the “Church”) of Burnet, Texas. And shall be located at 13218 RR 2341, Burnet, Texas 78611.

Section 2:  Purpose

The church was established and continues to serve God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The practices of worship, evangelism, discipleship, fellowship and ministry are the fulfillment of the scriptural instructions contained in Matthew 22:37-40, 28:19-20.  All services, ministries and activities of the church should be in keeping with this purpose.

Marriage is a biblical institution established by God as described by Scripture. We believe the biblical ideal for marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment. Accordingly, this church’s pastors and staff will not officiate in same-sex unions or same-sex marriages, nor will its property or resources be used for such purposes.

Section 3: Church Covenant

This covenant represents a goal which the church body should strive to attain. Therefore, having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, maligning, gossiping, and excessive anger; to be zealous in our effort to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.

We, moreover, engage that when we, as members, remove ourselves from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the Spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.

Article II:  Church Government

The church reserves to itself the right of self-governance under the lordship of Jesus Christ.  While democratic principles and procedures are observed in the course of church life, the over-riding authority of all actions is the Will of God for this congregation and each member who declares Jesus Christ as Lord and Master.  The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine membership conditions and the rights of each member under those conditions.  This church is subject to no control of any denominational body but freely associates itself with other churches, conventions and associations for the mutual work of spreading the Gospel, for the relief of suffering, and for the benevolent interests of the world in which we live.  In all cases requiring a decision by election, the results will be the majority vote of the Resident Members present.  A motion will prevail if the number of affirmative votes is over half of the total affirmative and negative votes cast.  Abstentions are not counted either way.

Section 1:  Non-Profit Status

The Church is organized and shall be operated exclusively for religious, charitable, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended, unless any law shall be repressive in scope and/or nature, that it is our duty to democratically oppose it on the basis of the right of free exercise of religious beliefs and peaceable assembly. The Church is formed for any lawful purpose or purposes under the laws of the State of Texas, including any purpose described by Section 2.002 of the Texas Business Organizations Code.

Article III:  Church Membership

Section 1:  Membership

Membership in this body of believers consist of satisfying four pre-requisites.

            A.  The applicant professes a saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in keeping with the provisions of Acts 2:40-41,47, 5:14.

            B.  The applicant has been baptized by immersion in accordance with Matthew 28:19-10, and John 4:1-2.  (Exceptions may be granted because of extenuating circumstances.)

            C.  The applicant acknowledges God’s call to become a member of this congregation.  (Acts 2:47, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7)

            D.  The applicant has been received into the fellowship by a majority vote of resident members present at a regular business session of the church.

Section 2:  Reception of Members

Members will be received into the church in one of the following ways.

            A.  By profession of faith and baptism.

            B.  By letter stating their good standing with another Baptist church.

            C.  Should a letter not be feasible from another Baptist church, a statement from the individual attesting to their having a salvation experience and being baptized by immersion.

            D.  In the case of a member who has been removed from membership under the provisions of Article X:  Church Discipline, those persons will be readmitted to membership when all conditions of their return have been satisfied.

Section 3:  Discipleship of New Members

The process of becoming mature Christians make possible the ministries and services of the church.  Without a continual stream of new ministry leaders and participants, the work of the church is limited.  In accordance with instructions contained in Matthew 28:20 and Ephesians 4:11-13, the church will continually strive to provide opportunities for development and growth.  Specifically, the following actions are to be taken.

A.  Each new member will be counseled concerning their salvation experience and personal spiritual activities.  Included will be a discussion of possible ministry service.

            B.  Each new member will attend orientations to become familiar with the work of the church, our basic beliefs, our vision, strategy and purposes.  Included in this orientation will be information relative to the role and responsibilities of members.  Ministries and services of the church will be highlighted toward the end of seeking places of service for the new members so they may gain experience working along with more experienced members.  This is called the “Paul and Timothy” process.

Section 4:  Member Privileges

Each member has the privileges of being loved, encouraged, supported and comforted by other members of the congregation.  In addition, when selected by the congregation, each member has the opportunity to serve in a ministry of the church where their individual talents and gifts can be used to strengthen the church and each other.  Each member may participate in observing the Lord’s Supper providing they are satisfied with their personal preparation to do so.  In the case of voting on matters appearing before the church for resolution, only those members classified as “resident members” may cast votes.  “Resident members” are defined as those members who reside within the ministry area of the church (primarily Burnet County), are regular attendees at worship services and church activities and who participate in church ministries.  (See Section V:  Classification of Members.)

Section 5:  Church’s Expectations of Members

Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, the same can be said for the church.  To help each other be strong and thus strengthen the church and its capacity for ministry each member is expected to contribute to the life of the church through giving of time, talent and tithe.  Time is needed for us to do the work of the church.  Outreach into the community, time to study, time to help others.  Time is an essential ingredient of our giving.  The church is made up of different parts so many diverse skills, gifts and talents are needed to minister to the congregation and the community.  A place of active ministry should be the goal of each of us.  Tithing is a return of what God has blessed us with in the way of finance.  The church, as any organization, must have funds to operate and it is through the cheerful, willing approach to giving that we are blessed with support of our ministries and we receive a special blessing by being good stewards of God’s bountiful expressions of love to us.  To give a prescribed amount, or to match someone’s tithe is not the aim, rather each of us should give as God leads us to do so.

Section 6:  Classification of Membership

In order to assure that members who have invested their time, talent and resources in the church are the ones involved in decision making, and to provide information for statistical reporting, the following classifications are established. 

            A.  Resident Member.  This classification of membership is defined as a person who has joined the congregation in the specified manner and who resides within the area of the church’s ministry and who regularly attends church services and activities.  This member is also a regular participant in the life of the church.  This member receives full privileges to include voting on all issues.

            B.  Non-Resident Member.  This person no longer lives within the ministry area of the church but remains on the church rolls.  When appropriate, this member receives full privileges as stated in Section IV, but foregoes the privileges of voting while in this status.

            C.  Inactive Member.  This person resides within the ministry area of the church but is not active in church affairs and does not participate.  As with the Non-Resident member, they may receive the privileges of Section IV, when appropriate, but may not exercise the privilege of voting in the church’s decision-making process.

Should a member feel that their circumstances do not warrant their placement in a  category other than Resident Member, they may make that matter known to the church.  In most cases, placement will probably be self-evident.  But in case it is not, an appeal may be made first to the church clerk, then to the Deacons.  The deacons will review the appeal and provide a recommendation to the church for action. 

Section 7:  Termination of Membership

A person’s membership in the church may be terminated in any of the following ways.

            A.  Death of the member.

            B.  Transfer by letter to another Baptist church.

C.  Written request to the church stating member’s desire to have membership    terminated.

            D.  By exclusion from membership under Article X:  Church Discipline.

Section 8:  Record of Membership

The Church Clerk, an elected officer of the church, is charged with the responsibility to maintain the official church roll.  The roll will be updated periodically and copies will be provided for use by church members and ministry leaders.  As explained in Section V:  Member privileges, members will appear on the church roll as either Resident, Non-Resident or Inactive. 

Article IV:  Ordinances of the Church

Section 1:  Baptism

Baptism by immersion is a public testimony to our personal salvation experience.  Baptism is an act of worship and may be administered by the pastor, deacon, or others as authorized by the church.  Baptism of children requires parental permission. 

Section 2:  Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is a periodic reminder and celebration of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  The observance is far from being a ritual, but is a personal act of worship in which a contrite heart is a necessity.  The church will practice “open communion”, which means that the observance is open to any who desire to participate.  While it is a corporate act, it is also up to the individual to determine their own readiness to participate.  The pastor and deacons are responsible to schedule and administer the observance on a periodic basis. 

Article V:  Servant Leadership

Section 1:  Officers and Elected Servants

The church will vote annually to install members in positions of leadership.  These include the following.

            A.  Pastor.  A pastor will be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs.  A Pastor Search Committee will be chosen to seek individuals and to recommend the church take action to call the new pastor.  The pastor will be extended a call after a majority vote of the resident members present at a regular or a called business session.  The pastor may relinquish his position by giving the church two-week notice.  At which time, the pastor will cease participation in church affairs and will be compensated one month’s salary.  The church may declare the position of pastor to be vacant and with a majority vote of the resident members present at a regular or called business session.  Upon such action the pastor will cease participation in church affairs and will be compensated one month’s salary.

      

B.  Worship Leader.  The worship leader is chosen by the church usually for an indefinite period.  The worship leader works closely with the pastor in planning and leading the church in worship.  The worship leader also leads and coordinates the technical crew who support worship through the use of video, sound and staging as well as other accompanists within the overall music program.

C.  Deacons.  The method of selecting deacons differs from that of other church officers.  Pastors and deacons both enter the ministry through an ordination process.  Deacons serve to support the pastor by sharing in pastoral duties such as visitation and family care, and to minister to the members through the establishment of close relationships.  Deacons do not serve specified terms but may, of their own volition choose to step aside temporarily or permanently in the case of age or illness.  Deacon qualifications are set out in the scriptures and each applicant is examined by the setting deacons and the congregation to determine their fitness to serve. The Deacon Body shall elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman for a term of one year which expires at the end of the church fiscal year, September 30th. Such election will be by majority vote of the Deacon Body present.

            D.  Church Treasurer.  The church will elect a treasurer for a term of one year.  The treasurer is responsible for maintaining the record of financial transactions, preparation of periodic reports and advising the church on the state of financial health.  An assistant may be elected as appropriate.

            E.  Church Clerk.  The church will elect a clerk for a term of one year.  The clerk is responsible for recording and maintaining the record of church membership, meetings and special sessions.  The clerk will provide statistical information to other church entities as requested.

            F.  Trustees.  Trustees serve the church for three-year terms, that are staggered so that a new trustee is added each year while one trustee steps down.  The trustees hold the church property in the corporate name of the church and are empowered by the church to act on behalf of the congregation.  The signatures of the trustees are required on all business documents related to church matters. 

Section 2:  Organizations and Committees

Organizations of the church include those groupings of members to carry out the ministries.  Committees are those groupings that provide guidance and specialized knowledge.  Organizations such as the Sunday School are lead by directors and teachers who are elected each year by the congregation.  Committees are also elected each year and include such areas as hospitality, benevolence, fellowship, maintenance and flowers.  These organizations lend much to the life of the church as their efforts, although in different areas, lend themselves to the strength of the church as a whole.  These positions are normally filled through the work of a Nominating Committee who works to enlist members to serves and then recommends the slate to the church for action.

Section 3:  Vacancy of Positions

When a position becomes vacant, for any reason, the procedure for refilling is the same as for initial placement.  In some cases, for example trustee, an interim appointment may be made to finish an unfulfilled term.

Article VI:  Church Council

The Church Council, also called the Leadership Council, consists of the pastor, deacon chairman, head of each ministry and chairpersons of each committee.  The pastor serves as the chairman.  The council provides a collective and shared leadership to ensure that all programs, activities and efforts are coordinated to achieve the purposes of the church.  In cases where a decision by the congregation is needed, the council will prepare and present the recommendation to the church.  Each member of the church is invited and welcomed to council meetings which meet at the call of the chairman.

            Article VII:  Church Policy Manual

A church policy manual containing detailed instructions on procedures to be followed will be maintained under the auspices of the Church Council.  Matters of policy enacted by the congregation will be integrated into the manual and thus become the standard operating policy until changed.

        

 Article VIII:  Church Meetings

Section 1:  Worship Services

The church will meet on a regular basis on a schedule established by the congregation.  The purpose of worship service is to praise and worship God and to strengthen the spiritual health of the members.  The pastor and worship leader work in consultation to plan, arrange and lead the congregation in worship. A technical crew of specialists work with the pastor and worship leader to enhance the worship experience through the use of video, sound and staging.

Section 2: Regular Business Sessions

Regular business sessions will be held each three months on the second Wednesday of the month, during March, June, September and December.  Meetings may be rescheduled because of mitigating circumstances such as weather or illness.  Notification of the changed dates will be made to the congregation.  To insure the congregation is kept informed in the interim between meetings, regular monthly reports and copies of minutes will be prepared by the clerk and the treasurer and made available for general information. 

Also, information concerning matters that need advance study and background will be made available in sufficient time for studying by the congregation.

Section 3:  Special Business Sessions

Circumstances may require the church meet and discuss items of business that must be addressed apart from regular business sessions because of their importance or timeliness.  In such cases, notification of the special session will be made during the Sunday or Wednesday church services prior to the session.  The notification will include the date, time, subject, and place of the meeting, if it differs from the normal location.  No other items of business may be discussed or decided other that the one stated in the notification.  A special session may be called by the Church Council, Deacons, or by a written petition signed by at least twenty-five percent of the Resident Members.

Section 4:  Quorum

A quorum of at least seven Resident Members plus the pastor (or moderator) and the Church Clerk is required to conduct a regular or special business session.

Section 5:  Rules of Procedures

The 11th Edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Revised will be the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure not covered by the by-laws for all business sessions.

Article IX:  Church Finances

Section 1:  Budget

The Stewardship Committee, as established by the Church Policy Manual, in consultation with the Church Council will prepare and recommend to the church an annual budget.  The budget will identify by ministry and service element the amount of finances needed to support the work of the church during the coming year.  When approved by the church, the budget becomes the operating guidelines to be followed in funding the church’s activities. 

Section 2:  Accounting Procedures

All funds received and disbursed will pass through the hands of the church treasurer and will be properly recorded and accounted for in the financial accounts of the church.  A system of accounting will be used to provide for adequate security and safeguards for church funds.  Funds will be disbursed using checks on the church’s accounts with a two-signature process established with the appropriate financial institutions.  The church fiscal year will be established and contained in the Church Policy Manual.

 

Article X:  Church Discipline

Section 1:  Guidelines

The Scriptures are filled with instructions and examples of the importance of discipline in the Christian life.  Discipline is based on the biblical principle of redemption.  All acts of discipline should be aimed at righting the wrong and bringing the errant one back to the love and fellowship of God’s family.  Feelings of being judgmental, vengeance or retribution have no place in Christian discipline.  Therefore, we must always seek to bring back the one who has gone astray.

Section 2:  Termination of a Member

A member’s position in the fellowship of the congregation may be terminated for reasons of misconduct, continual disregard of friendly cautions or outright determination to act in ways contrary to the beliefs and teachings that Christians hold and value.  Prior to this action efforts should be made to correct the problem using scriptural procedures.  Should this fail, the congregation may vote to terminate the member’s fellowship.  The procedure is for the pastor and deacons to meet with the member and discuss the behavior in question.  Should the member desire to repent and change, they will be encouraged to do so.  Should the member refuse to accept the help offered, the deacons will meet to decide the appropriate course of action and report to the congregation for decision.

Section 3:  Restoration of a Member

Should a person who has had their fellowship or membership terminated seek to restore the relationship, the pastor and deacons will meet with them to discuss the situation.  They will seek to review and examine the issues of the original problem and possible amends to include repentance and resolution.  The pastor and deacons will then decide and present a recommendation to the congregation for decision.

Article XI:  Amendments

Amendments to these By-Laws may be made at any regular business session provided the changes are presented in writing at the previous business meeting and written copies are made available to the membership.

Article XII:  Operation and Dissolution

This church was started and continues to operate for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.  It is the purpose of this church to bring honor and glory to God for His love for us and for all of the bountiful blessings that could only come from Him.  For this we are thankful and grateful to be called His children.

In the case this church is no longer able to function in such a way as to fulfill this purpose, we pledge any remaining assets after our liabilities have been met, to go to the First Baptist Church of Burnet, Texas, the founders of the original mission church that has evolved over the years until today.  As circumstances dictate, the church may decide to make this transfer to another religious body engaged, who would carry on the work as needed to fulfill the call of the Great Commission.

 

East Lake Fellowship By-Laws

Revised  2017

Adopted:

Business Meeting  June 14, 2017

 

Church Clerk,

Cindy Proctor

 

 

 

 

 

 

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