BYLAWS OF GATEWAY CHURCH INCORPORATED
For the purpose of establishing and maintaining a place for the worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father; to provide for Christian fellowship for those of like precious faith, where the Holy Spirit may be honored according to our distinctive testimony; to assume our share of responsibility and the privilege of propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ, by all available means, both at home and in foreign lands; we, the members of this assembly, do hereby recognize ourselves as a local assembly in fellowship with, and as a part of, the General Council of the Assemblies of God, and the Georgia Assemblies of God; and that we do hereby adopt the following articles of church order and submit ourselves to be governed by them.
ARTICLE I. NAME
The name of this assembly shall be Gateway Church.
ARTICLE II. PREROGATIVES AND PURPOSES
The prerogatives and purposes of a General Council affiliated assembly shall be:
1. To Govern
This Church shall have the right to govern itself according to the standards of the New Testament Scriptures, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:3,13). This right shall specifically include such matters as the calling of a pastor, the election of the church board, and the discipline of its members and the conducting of its own services and church program.
2. To Acquire and Dispose
In connection therewith, or incidental thereto, this assembly shall have the right to purchase or acquire by gift, bequest or otherwise, either directly or as trustee, and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease, or otherwise dispose of any real estate or chattels as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes, and to exercise all other powers conferred upon it by its charter or by the applicable nonprofit corporation law of this state; all in accordance with its bylaws as the same may be hereafter amended.
3. To Recognize
This assembly shall recognize that the District Council and the General Council have the authority and right to approve scriptural doctrine and conduct; also to disapprove unscriptural doctrine and conduct and to withdraw their certificates of membership if deemed necessary. See Article IX of the Bylaws of The General Council of the Assemblies of God.
ARTICLE III. AFFILIATION
While maintaining its inherent rights to sovereignty in the conduct of its own affairs as herein set forth, this assembly shall voluntarily enter into full cooperative fellowship with assemblies of like precious faith, associated in the Georgia Assemblies of God, and the General Council of the Assemblies of God, with headquarters in Springfield, MO.
ARTICLE IV. PURPOSE
The purpose of the Church is to glorify God by fulfilling the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
1. EVANGELISM / MISSIONS - To share the good news of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible in our community and throughout the world (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, 2 Peter 3:9).
2. EDUCATION - To help members develop toward full Christian maturity and train them for effective ministry. To promote personal growth, spiritual growth, and discipleship through Bible teaching (Ephesians 4:11-13, Matthew 18:20, Timothy 2:2).
3. WORSHIP - To participate in public worship services together and to maintain personal daily devotions (John 4:24).
4. MINISTRY/SERVICE - To serve unselfishly, in Jesus’ name meeting the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of those in our Church, in our community, and in the world (1 Peter 4:10-11, Matthew 25:34-40, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 5:13).
5. FELLOWSHIP - To encourage, support, and pray for each other as members of the family of God. To share our lives together. (I John 1:7; Acts 2:44-47; Hebrews 10:23-25; Romans 15:5,7; John 13:34-35)
This Church seeks to benefit the people of Columbus, Georgia, and the area by providing opportunities for spiritual, physical, intellectual, social, and cultural development (Luke 2:52)
ARTICLE V. TENETS OF FAITH
The Bible is our all-sufficient rule for faith and practice. This Statement of Fundamental Truths is intended simply as a basis of fellowship among us (i.e., that we all speak the same thing, 1 Corinthians 1:10; Acts 2:42). The phraseology employed in this statement is not inspired or contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full-gospel ministry. No claim is made that it contains all biblical truth, only that it covers our need as to these fundamental doctrines.
1. The Scriptures Inspired
The Scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).
2. The One True God
The one true God has revealed himself as the eternally self-existent "I AM," the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10, 11; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22).
The Adorable Godhead
(a) Terms Defined
The terms trinity and persons, as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from "gods many and lords many." We therefore may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is One Lord, as a Trinity or as one Being of three persons, and still be absolutely scriptural (examples, Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; John 14:16, 17).
(b) Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead
Christ taught a distinction of persons in the Godhead which He expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but that this distinction and relationship, as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained (Luke 1:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Matthew 11:25-27; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 1:3, 4).
(c) Unity of the One Being of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes Him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter; the Son is the Begotten; and the Holy Spirit is the One proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21; Zechariah 14:9).
(d) Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation, and authority. Hence no person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or Independently of the others (John 5:17-30, 32,37; 8:17, 18).
(e) The Title, Lord Jesus Christ
The appellation Lord Jesus Christ is a proper name. It is never applied in the New Testament either to the Father or to the Holy Spirit. It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God (Romans 1:1-3, 7; 2 John 3).
(f) The Lord Jesus Christ, God with us
The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man. He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who because He is God and man, is "Immanuel," God with us (Matthew 1:23; 1 John 4:2, 10, 14; Revelation 1:13, 17).
(g) The Title, Son of God
Since the name Immanuel embraces both God and man, in the one person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title Son of Goddescribes His proper deity, and the title Son of Man, His proper humanity. Therefore, the title Son of God belongs to the order of eternity, and the title Son of Man to the order of time (Matthew 1:21-23; 2 John 3; 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 7:3; 1:1-13).
(h) Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ
Wherefore, it is a transgression of the doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title Son of God solely from the fact of the Incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption. Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father and Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (2 John 9; John 1:1, 2, 14, 18, 29, 49; 1 John 2:22, 23; 4:1-5;Hebrews 12:2).
(i) Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord
The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him. And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Spirit that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all (Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 2:32-36; Romans 14:11; 1Corinthians 15:24-28).
(j) Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son
Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the Son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but it is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Spirit to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity, and to give Him all the honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead except those which express relationship (see paragraphs b, c, and d), and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father (John 5:22,23; 1 Peter 1:8; Revelation 5:6-14; Philippians 2:8,9; Revelation 7:9, 10; 4:8-11).
3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:
(a) His virgin birth (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31, 35).
(b) His sinless life (Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22).
(c) His miracles (Acts 2:22; 10:38).
(d) His substitutionary work on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
(e) His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39;
1 Corinthians 15:4).
(f) His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; Philippians 2:9-11;
4. The Fall of Man
Man was created good and upright; for God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God (Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:17; 3:6; Romans 5:12-19).
5. The Salvation of Man
Man's only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.
(a) Conditions to Salvation. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).
(b) The Evidences of Salvation. The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16). The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24; Titus 2:12).
6. The Ordinances of the Church
(a) Baptism in Water. The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded in the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47,48; Romans 6:4).
(b) Holy Communion. The Lord's Supper, consisting of the elements--bread and the fruit of the vine--is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4); a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26); and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26); and is enjoined on all believers "till He come!"
7. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14- 16; 15:7-9). With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost (Mark 16:20).
8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4). The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (1Corinthians 12:4-10,28), but different in purpose and use.
Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God (Romans 12:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:12). Scriptures teach a life of "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to obey the command: "Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15,16). Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-11,13; 8:1,2,13; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13; 1 Peter1:5).
10. The Church and Its Mission
The Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 2:22; Hebrews 12:23). Since God's purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshiped by man, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the priority reason-for-being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:
a. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16).
b. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God (1 Corinthians 12:13).
c. To be a channel of God's purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 14:12). The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason-for being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This experience:
a. Enables them to evangelize in the power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 4:29-31; Hebrews 2:3,4).
b. Adds a necessary dimension to a worshipful relationship with God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16; 1 Corinthians 12-14).
c. Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ (Galatians 5:22-26; 1 Corinthians 14:12; Ephesians 4:11,12; 1 Corinthians 12:28; Colossians 1:29).
11. The Ministry
A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for the threefold purpose of leading the Church in:
(1) evangelization of the world (Mark 16:15- 20),
(2) worship of God (John 4:23, 24), and
(3) building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Ephesians 4:11, 16).
12. Divine Healing
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the Atonement, and is the privilege of all believers (Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 8:16, 17; James 5:14-16).
13. The Blessed Hope
The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51,52).
14. The Millennial Reign of Christ
The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years (Zechariah 14:5; Matthew 24:27,30; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6). This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel (Ezekiel 37:21, 22; Zephaniah 3:19, 20; Romans 11:26, 27) and the establishment of universal peace (Isaiah 11:6-9; Psalm 72:3-8; Micah 4:3,4).
15. The Final Judgment
There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelation 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8).
16. The New Heavens and the New Earth
"We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21 and 22).
ARTICLE VI. ORDINANCES
Section 1. Baptism in Water
The ordinance of baptism by immersion in water (Matthew 28:19) shall be administered to all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls, and who give clear evidence of their salvation (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12).
Section 2. Holy Communion
The ordinance of the Lord's Supper shall be observed regularly as enjoined in the Scriptures (Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
ARTICLE VII. MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Membership Eligibility
Active voting membership in this assembly shall be open to all those who possess the following qualifications:
a. A testimony to an experience of the "new birth."
b. Having been baptized in water by immersion.
c. Evidence of a consistent Christian life (Romans 6:4; 8:1-4; 13:13, 14, Ephesians 4:17-32; 5:1, 2, 15; 1 John 1:6,7).
d. An indication of a willingness to contribute regularly to the financial support of the church of which he is to become a member.
e. Acceptance of the Tenets of Faith as set forth in Article V of these bylaws.
f. Having reached at least 18 years of age.
g. Having regularly attended services of, and supported, this assembly for a period of at least three consecutive months prior to the date of application for membership.
h. Agreement to being governed by the bylaws of this assembly that may be amended from time to time.
Section 2. Responsibilities of Membership
The responsibilities of membership are described in the membership commitment.
Section 3. Procedure for Membership Recognition
Those individuals eligible for membership who shall desire to become members of this church shall make written application to the pastor or church board. The church board shall have the right and authority to determine the eligibility and acceptability of all applicants for membership by majority vote. Those approved for membership by the church board shall be received into the church publicly at any of its regular services, and their names thereupon added to the church membership roll. No applicant for membership shall be accepted as a member within 30 days before an annual business meeting or within 10 days before a special business meeting.
Section 4. Pastor and Spouse
By virtue of office, the lead pastor shall be considered an active voting member of the church during his tenure. The pastor's spouse shall become an active voting member simultaneously with the pastor, subject to section 10 of this Article VII.
Section 5. Transfer Members
A member in good standing of another Assemblies of God church, who satisfies the standards for membership eligibility specified inSection 1 of this Article VII (other than the attendance and support requirements), may apply for membership by submitting a letter of transfer from the pastor of the other assembly, upon the approval of a majority of the church board.
Section 6. Junior Membership
Junior membership shall be available for young people under 18 years of age who give evidence of the new birth, meet the scriptural standards for membership as specified in these bylaws, and are approved by majority vote of the church board.
Section 7. Associate Members
The church board, at any regular or special meeting, may approve associate members by a majority vote. Eligibility for associate membership is available to any person who is a member in good standing of an Assemblies of God church in another community, who is in this community on a temporary basis, and who intends to return to his or her home church. Associate members shall be entitled to all the privileges of regular members, except that they shall not be eligible to vote and shall not be eligible for any of the offices described in Article VIII of these bylaws.
Section 8. Honorary Members
The church board, at any regular or special meeting, may approve honorary members by a unanimous vote of the members present. Honorary membership is available to any member who has left the church indefinitely. Honorary membership recognition shall continue as long as the member maintains a consistent Christian life, remains sound in doctrine, and maintains a cooperative attitude toward the home assembly.
Section 9. Inactive Membership
Active voting members who shall without good cause absent themselves from the services of the assembly for a period of 3 consecutive months or more, or who cease to contribute of their means to its support for a period of 3 consecutive months, may be declared inactive members by a majority vote of the church board, and thereupon shall lose their voting privileges until they are restored to the fellowship, their standing to be settled by action of the assembly through its church board.
Section 10. Termination of Membership
Members shall be removed from the Church membership rolls for the following reasons:
2. Transfer of membership to another church,
3. By personal request of the member, or
4. Dismissal by the Church board according to the following conditions: The member’s life and conduct is not in accordance with the Membership Commitment (see Article VII Section 1) in such a way that the member hinders the ministry influence of the Church in the community. Procedures for the dismissal of a member shall be according to Matthew 18:15-17.
Section 11. Discipline
Discipline is an exercise of scriptural authority for which the church is responsible (Matthew 16:19; 18:15-20; Luke 17:3; John 20:23; Acts 16:4; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 13:17). The purpose of discipline is to promote repentance and restoration through exposing sinful behavior. It is to be redemptive in nature as well as corrective. Any member of the assembly is subject to discipline on the basis of unscriptural conduct or doctrinal departure from the Tenets of Faith of this assembly, as determined in the sole discretion of the church board. The discipline of ministers who hold credentials with the Assemblies of God is administered by the District Council and General Council of the Assemblies of God.
The assembly will follow the disciplinary procedure set forth in Matthew 18:15-20. This procedure consists generally of the following steps: (1) The pastor or a designated member of the church board discusses the charges with the member in an effort to resolve the matter privately; (2) if the first step does not resolve the matter, then the member shall meet with the pastor and church board or with a designated committee of the church board in an effort to resolve the matter privately; (3) if the first or second steps do not resolve the matter, then the member or the church board may submit the matter to the membership of the assembly in a special business meeting called for that purpose. Only active voting members of the church shall be permitted to attend such a special business meeting. The decision of a majority of the voting members present at such a meeting shall be final. A member found guilty may be dismissed from membership in the church (Matthew 18:17). However, lesser disciplinary sanctions may be imposed as appropriate, depending on the circumstances of each case.
ARTICLE VIII. GOVERNMENT
Section 1. There shall be an official Church Board, here in after referred to as the “Board of Directors.” The Board of Directors shall be divided in to two areas of emphasis based on gifting, calling and competency. The first area of emphasis shall be the administrative elders, who shall be responsible for the management, central business, and all the corporate powers of the Church. The second area of emphasis shall be the deacons, who shall serve in a leadership capacity on matters pertaining to the Church in its ministries, spiritual life, ministry of ordinances, and the administration of the discipline and membership of the Church. No two (2) members of the same immediate family shall serve concurrent terms on the Church board of directors (Specifically- parents & children, in-laws) No employee of the Church (other than the lead pastor) shall serve on the board of directors.
A. In General
The government of this assembly shall be vested in the board of directors which shall consist of the lead pastor and at least three, no more than seven members, to the extent that such authority is not limited by district supervision as provided for under the bylaws of the District Council.
B. Qualifications of Church Board Members. See qualifications for pastors, deacons, and elders below.
C. Duties of Board of Directors
(1) The board of directors shall have general charge and management of the affairs, funds, and property of the assembly. The board of directors shall have the authority to carry out the purposes of the assembly according to its charter and these bylaws.
(2) The board of directors shall act in the examination of applications for membership and in the administration of discipline.
(3) For so long as the church is temporarily without a pastor, the remaining members of the board of directors shall be empowered to select a temporary chairman of the church board; the temporary chairman shall be selected from the elders.
(4) The board of directors shall elect a secretary from among its members.
(5) The board of directors shall elect a treasurer from among the active voting members who meet the qualifications for such office.
Section 2. Officers
A. In General
There shall be a president, secretary, and treasurer. The lead pastor, by virtue of office, shall be the president and chairman of the board of directors. The offices of secretary and treasurer may be held simultaneously by the same individual.
a. The lead pastor shall have been saved a sufficient number of years and have had experience enough that he shall have wisdom in the handling of Church affairs.
b. The lead pastor shall have had sufficient education, both natural and spiritual, to be sound in doctrine and apt to teach.
c.The lead pastor shall be of sufficient age to be mature in judgment.
d. The lead pastor shall be required to hold valid credentials with the Assemblies of God prior to being considered for the office of Lead Pastor.
The secretary shall be an active voting member of this assembly for at least 1 year immediately preceding election to office, and shall be a member of the church board of directors.
The treasurer shall be an active voting member of this assembly for at least 1 year immediately preceding election to office, and shall currently support the church with tithes, and shall have a cooperative spirit, and shall be faithful in attendance at church services.
C. Duties of Officers
(1) Lead Pastor
(a) The Lead Pastor is designated in the scriptures as the head of the Church under the leadership of the Lord Jesus and is referred to under the title “pastor” (Eph. 4:11), “overseer” (Acts 20:28), and “shepherd” (I Peter 5:2).
(b) Shall be recognized as a member of the church board, president of the assembly, and shall act as chairman of all the business meetings of the assembly and of the church board of directors.
(c) Shall provide for all services of the assembly and shall specifically arrange for all special meetings, conventions, and revival campaigns. No person shall be invited to speak or preach in the assembly without his approval.
(d) Shall, as chairman of the church board of directors, be chairman of the nominating committee for the selection of deacon and elder nominees. The pastor may privately interview those nominated, ascertaining their eligibility and availability to serve as deacons and elders.
(e) Should conduct a training class at least once a year on the responsibilities of the church board, deacons, trustees, secretary, treasurer, and other church leaders. Such a training course shall be based upon the scriptural directives for church leadership and the church bylaws. (f) Shall be an ex officio member of all committees.
(a) Shall keep the minutes of the official meetings of the church board of directors and of the annual and special business meetings of the assembly.
(b) Shall keep a record of the membership of the assembly and perform any other clerical work necessary to the proper discharge of his duties.
(c) Shall be the custodian of all legal documents.
(d) Shall file such annual corporation reports with the secretary of state as may be required by state law.
(a) Shall be entrusted with all the finances of the assembly, subject to the supervision of the church board of directors, and shall deposit all funds as a prudent investor would under the circumstances. All checks issued on behalf of the church must be signed by the treasurer and one additional officer authorized by the church board of directors.
(b) Shall keep an itemized account of receipts and disbursements, shall present a report for each regular meeting of the church board of directors, and shall present an annual report to the assembly in its annual business meeting.
(c) Shall assist the assembly in acquiring and maintaining available tax exemptions under state and local law.
(d) Shall provide a record of all identified giving to each donor at least annually.
(e) Shall be the custodian of all the financial records of the church.
Section 3. Deacons
The Deacons shall be an active voting member of this assembly for at least 1 year immediately preceding election to office. The deacons shall be persons of mature Christian experience and knowledge that shall be expected to meet the requirements set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Acts 6. Deacons shall be at least twenty three years old. They shall currently support the church with their tithes and offerings, have a cooperative spirit, and regularly attend church services. They shall not hold ministerial credentials.
Section 4. Administrative Elders
The Administrative Elders shall be an active voting member of this assembly for at least two years immediately preceding election to office. All elders shall be at least twenty-five years of age. Those considered for the eldership must be people who are spiritually mature (1Timothy 3), have an excellent spirit (Daniel 6:3), are committed to serve in unity with others, and display a desire to support the vision of the Lead Pastor. Each elder serves and assists the Lead Pastor in fulfilling the Church’s mission. They shall currently support the church with their tithes and offerings, and regularly attend church services. They shall not hold ministerial credentials.
Section 5. Trustees
Three trustees (who may be deacons, elders, or officers) shall be elected for the holding of church property, if required by law. Trustees must be active voting members of the assembly.
Section 6. Other Pastors and Employees
All Team Pastors, Associate or Assistant Pastors, paid Team Leaders and Team Members, and all other Church employees shall be hired or appointed by the Lead Pastor, and compensation will be determined by the Lead Pastor. The Lead Pastor shall conduct annual performance evaluations and review the call and compensation of each employee unless he has otherwise delegated this authority and responsibility.
Section 7. Fiduciary Duties
The law imposes several fiduciary duties on officers, deacons, elders, trustees, including the duties of due care and diligence, loyalty, avoidance of self-dealing, expending designated contributions for the purposes specified, and not commingling personal and corporate funds.
Section 8. Temporary Board of Directors
Should irreconcilable differences arise between the lead pastor and other members of the board of directors, destroying the unity and the successful ministry of the local assembly, the District Executive Presbytery along with the sectional presbyter (the investigating committee), upon request from the lead pastor or a majority of the church board of directors, shall investigate such differences. Upon a two-thirds majority vote of the investigating committee they may declare the church under District supervision. The term "District supervision “means that the investigating committee has the authority to (1) suspend the constitution and bylaws of the church, (2) suspend the church board of directors, (3) reclassify the church as a District Council affiliated church, and (4) appoint and establish a temporary church board of directors invested with the authority to manage both the secular and ecclesiastical affairs of the church until such strife shall cease. If the pastor is also the sectional elder, the Assistant Regional Presbyter shall be a member of the investigating committee in his place.
Section 9. Local Church Credential
This assembly may grant a local church credential to persons wishing to pursue ministerial recognition pursuant to guidelines established by the General Presbytery of The General Council of the Assemblies of God and the district council with which this assembly is affiliated. It is understood that this credential is to endorse ministry which is undertaken under the auspices of this church and implies no certification by the district council or the General Council, and is not transferable to other churches or ministries.
Section 10. Licensing and Ordination
1. The Board shall adopt, by majority vote, which vote shall include the affirmative vote of the Chairman of the board of directors, qualifications for all ministerial candidates to be credentialed.
2. The Board and Lead Pastor may recognize “qualified” ministers by issuing licenses and ordinations.
3. The Board and Lead Pastor may suspend or revoke any minister’s license or ordination that is licensed or ordained by this corporation in accordance with detailed ecclesiastical rules and regulations established by Resolution of the Board.
4. Ordination and Licensure of ministers under Article VIII, section 9 shall expire upon death, resignation, non-renewal or revocation, or upon decision of the Board or the lead Pastor.
ARTICLE IX. ELECTIONS, VACANCIES, AND REMOVALS
Section 1. Elections
A. Lead Pastor
(1) The pastor shall be nominated by the church board of directors. Recommendations may be made to the church board of directors by any member of the assembly.
(2) The term of the Lead Pastor’s office shall be for an indefinite period; the term shall expire upon thirty days notice given either by the resignation of the Lead Pastor or by action of the church.
(3) Election shall be by secret ballot at the annual business meeting of the assembly or at a special business meeting called for that purpose. Only one candidate shall be considered at a time.
(4) A two-thirds majority vote of all votes cast shall be required to constitute an election. Where a pastor succeeds himself, only a majority vote is necessary.
(5) In the event either the pastor or any other member or members of the assembly shall challenge the validity of an election, the validity of the election shall be arbitrated by the Regional Presbyter or the District Executive Presbytery, and its decision shall be final.
The secretary shall be elected by the church board of directors from among its members. The term of office shall be one year, and the secretary may serve consecutive terms without limitation.
The treasurer shall be elected by the church board of directors from among the active voting members of the assembly. The term of office shall be 1 year, and the treasurer may serve consecutive terms without limitation.
Deacons shall be nominated by a nominating committee appointed by the board of directors (see Article VIII, section 2C, paragraph  [d]), after an application and qualification process. They shall be elected by a majority vote of those active voting members present at an annual business meeting of the assembly at which an election is to be conducted. Active voting members may recommend nominees to the nominating committee whose duty will include the collection of names which will be privately vetted through the Lead Pastor’s office in order to qualify for election by the congregation at the annual business meeting.[However, nominations for deacon shall not be accepted from the floor during any business meeting without prior proof that the nominee meets the qualifications for a deacon.] Deacons shall be elected for a 3-year term, and shall hold office until the annual business meeting at which their successor is elected. Deacons may not serve more than two consecutive 3-year terms. The terms of deacons shall be staggered appropriately. One (1) member will be elected for (1) year. Two (2) members will be elected for two (2) years. Additionally, two (2) members will be elected for three (3) years.
E. Administrative Elders
The Administrative Elders are chosen by the lead pastor and current elders to serve the Church and therefore shall act in a governing & ministry capacity with the lead pastor in all matters pertaining to the Business of the Church. The term of office shall be one year, may serve consecutive terms without limitation. Elders shall be elected by a majority vote which shall include the affirmative vote of the Chairman at a regular or special meeting of the board of directors after an application and qualification process.
Trustees shall be nominated by a nominating committee appointed by the board of directors, and they shall be elected by a majority vote of those active voting members present at an annual business meeting of the assembly at which an election is to be conducted. Trustees shall be elected for a 3-year term, and shall hold office until the annual business meeting at which their successor is elected. Trustees may serve consecutive terms without limitation.
Section 2. Vacancies and Removals
A. Lead Pastor
1. In the event the Lead Pastor has serious charges preferred against him or his ministry has ceased to be effective and no provision has been made for the termination of his ministry, responsibility is vested in the board of directors to ask for the resignation of the Lead Pastor at any of its regular business meetings or a special called meeting of the board. If such resignation is refused, the Lead Pastor may only be removed, with or without cause, by a two-thirds majority vote of the active membership present and voting at any regular or special membership meeting, and such meeting is to be presided over by a District Officer.
2. When a vacancy in the office of the pastor shall occur, a temporary replacement shall be arranged for by the board of directors until a pastor shall be chosen as prescribed in this Article IX, section 2A. The counsel of the district superintendent will be sought.
3. When a pastor's credentials are withdrawn by the District or General Council, the pastor's term of office shall be automatically terminated.
4. In the event a special business meeting is called by petition as provided in Article X, Section 4, for the purpose of considering the status of the pastor, a majority vote of all voting members present and voting shall be required to remove a pastor from office before his term expires. Severance pay shall be governed by Article XI, section 3C.
B. Secretary and Treasurer
The offices of secretary and treasurer shall be vacant upon the expiration of the term of office, or upon the termination of the officer's active membership, whichever shall occur first.
The office of deacon shall be vacant upon the expiration of the term of office, or upon the termination of a deacon's active membership, whichever shall occur first.
D. Administrative Elders
The office of elder shall be vacant upon the expiration of the term of office, or upon the termination of an elder's active membership, whichever shall occur first.
E. In General
Any office or position of leadership in the church (other than that of the lead pastor) may be terminated with or without cause by a majority vote of the Church board of directors at any regular or special meeting of the board of directors for the limited purpose of removal of such member from office or position held.
1. Ground for such action shall be:
a. Unscriptural Conduct.
b. Doctrinal departure from the tenets of faith.
c. Incompetency in office.
d. For any good and sufficient cause.
e. Failing to regularly attend Church services and to support the Church with tithes and offerings.
F. Filling Vacancies
Any office or position of leadership in the church (other than lead pastor) may be filled by appointment of the board of directors for the unexpired term.
ARTICLE X. MEETINGS
Section 1. Meetings for Worship
Meetings for public worship shall be held on each Lord's Day and during the week as may be provided for under direction of the lead pastor or the church board of directors if there is no pastor.
Section 2. Annual Business Meeting
An Annual Membership Meeting of the active members shall be held during the first quarter of each calendar year at such time as determined by the board of directors. The purpose of this meeting shall be to celebrate the Lord’s blessing upon the Church from the previous year, to ratify nominees for deacon, and to cast vision for the future ministry of the Church. Subject to Section 3 of this Article, any other proper business may be conducted at this meeting.
Section 3. Notice Requirements for Membership Meetings
1. General Requirements. Whenever members are required or permitted to take any action at a meeting, notice shall be given to members no less than two (2) weeks prior to a meeting. Notification of membership meetings shall be given in any of the following manners which shall be deemed to be a reasonable method of calling a membership meeting:
a. Distribution of written material to the congregation in attendance at all regular weekend services; or
b. Oral announcement to the congregation; or
c. Delivery by United States mail to each member identified on the membership roll.
2. Notice of Certain Agenda Items. Action by the members on any of the following proposals, other than by unanimous approval by those members present and entitled to vote is valid only if the notice or waiver of notice specifies the general nature of the proposal:
a. Calling or removing the Lead Pastor;
b. Adopting, amending, or repealing Bylaws;
c. Disposing of all or substantially all of the Church’s assets;
d. Adopting or amending a merger agreement; or
e. Approving the election to dissolve the Church.
Section 4. Special Business Meetings
Special business meetings of the assembly may be called by the pastor, or by a majority of the board of directors, or by a petition signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) of the active voting members of the assembly. Only those active voting members who have regularly attended services of, and supported, this assembly for a period of at least 3 consecutive months prior to signing the petition shall be counted. Petitions pertaining to the business affairs of the church shall be submitted to the pastor or the secretary of the church board. A petition pertaining to the status of the lead pastor shall be directed to the district superintendent, who shall arrange for a special business meeting of the assembly. No more than one petition on a given subject shall be recognized in any 12-month period. No business other than that specified in the notice of meeting shall be transacted at any special meeting of the assembly.
Section 5. Parliamentary Order
All business meetings of the church shall be governed by parliamentary procedure as set forth in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Revised, in keeping with the spirit of Christian love and fellowship.
Section 6. Voting Constituency
A. Qualifying of Voters. The voting constituency at all business meetings of the assembly shall consist of all active voting members who are present and who are 18 years of age or older (Article VII, Section 1).
B. Transfer Members. Transfer members shall have voting privileges after 30 days of transfer of membership (Article VII, Section 5).
C. Members Under Process of Discipline. No member under the process of discipline shall be entitled to a vote until the process is completed (Article VII, Section 11).
Section 7. Quorum
A quorum shall consist of all members present at any duly called business meeting.
Section 8. Order of Business
The regular order of business for the annual business meeting of this assembly shall be as follows:
b. Reading of previous minutes
c. Report of treasurer
d. Report of committees
e. Unfinished business
f. Election of officers
g. New business
Section 9. Board of Directors Meetings
The board of directors shall meet monthly or at the call of the lead pastor for the transaction of business for the assembly, time and place to be announced by the lead pastor. A majority of the board members present shall constitute a quorum.
Section10. Place of Board of Directors Meetings
Regular or special meetings of the board of directors may be held at any place within or outside the State of Georgia that has been designated. In the absence of such designation, meetings shall be held at the principal office of the Church. Any meeting, regular or special, may be held by conference call, telephone, or similar communication equipment, as long as all board members participating in the meeting can hear one another. All such board members shall be deemed to be present in person at such meeting.
Section 11. Regular Meetings of Board of Directors
Regular meetings of the board of directors may be held without notice if the time and place of such meetings are established by resolution of the board.
Section 12. Special Meetings of the Board
Authority to Call. Special meetings of the board may be called for any purpose and at any time by the Lead Pastor or by theboard of directors at such time the board agrees there is a need for district leadership involvement. The board shall not hold meetings without the leadership of the Lead Pastor (or in the case of a vacancy of the Lead Pastor, the chairman of the board), or District Officers, or without prior approval from the same.
Section 13. Membership Roll
The board of directors shall review the list of active voting members at least annually, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the board immediately preceding the annual business meeting, and compile a current list of active voting members.
ARTICLE XI. FINANCE
Section 1. In General
All funds for the maintenance of the assembly shall be provided by the voluntary contributions, tithes, and offerings of the members and friends of the organization. Offerings shall be accepted by the assembly at such times and in such ways as agreed upon by the church board of director and shall be administered by the treasurer under their direction (Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8).
Section 2. Handling of Offerings
All offerings shall be counted by at least two authorized persons before the funds are removed from the church building. An offering receipts form shall be signed in duplicate by those counting the offering, with one copy going to the treasurer and the other to the lead pastor. A record shall be kept of all receipts and disbursements of the local assembly and of all individual giving.
Section 3. Pastoral Remuneration
A. Regular Remuneration. The lead pastor shall be remunerated for services by a salary or by other means agreed upon by the board of directors and lead pastor. The church board of directors shall review the pastor's remuneration at least annually.
B. Reimbursement for Expenses. The pastor shall be given consideration by the board of directors for expenses incurred by his attendance at District Councils, General Councils, District functions, and other functions related to the Church by reimbursement of such expenses, or by an offering to help defray such expenses, according to the ability of the church as determined by the board of directors.
C. Severance Pay. In the event a pastor is removed from office by a vote of the active voting membership of the church, or shall fail to be sustained by a vote of the active voting membership at the end of a term, he shall be given a minimum of 2 months regular or average remuneration as severance pay, except in the case of moral turpitude.
ARTICLE XII. PROPERTY
Section 1. Title
All property of the assembly shall be deeded to the assembly and held in its name or, if required by law, to trustees acting on behalf of the assembly and their successors in office. Should the assembly choose to do so, it may request the Georgia District Council of the Assemblies of God to act as its trustee to hold title.
Section 2. Purchases and Sales of Property
All purchases of furnishings, equipment, and other items of tangible personal property, exceeding $25,000 in cost shall be authorized by a vote of at least two-thirds of the voting members of the board of directors who are in attendance at a regular or special meeting. All purchases and sales of real property shall be authorized by a vote of at least two-thirds of the voting membership in attendance at a regular or special meeting of the assembly.
Section 3. Discontinuation of Church Services
Should this assembly cease to maintain a weekly worship service for a period of 3 months under the direction of a leader duly authorized by and in good standing with the District Council, it shall be dissolved and its properties disposed of according to Article XII, section 5, of these bylaws.
Section 4. Disaffiliation
Title to all real property now owned or hereafter acquired by the assembly shall be held in trust as a place of divine worship in full cooperative fellowship and affiliation with The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Springfield, Missouri, and the Georgia District Council of the Assemblies of God. In the event that the assembly shall be divided over doctrinal or any other issues, or shall vote to disaffiliate from the Assemblies of God, all property of the assembly shall remain with those members, whatever their number, desiring continued affiliation with the Assemblies of God and adhering to its Statement of Fundamental Truths. The determination of which group of members desires continued affiliation with the Assemblies of God and adheres to its Statement of Fundamental Truths shall be arbitrated by the District Presbytery of the Georgia Assemblies of God, and its decision shall be final and binding. If all of the members of the assembly shall vote to disaffiliate from the Assemblies of God for doctrinal or any other reasons, then all of the property of such assembly shall revert to said District Council and shall be used by the District as an Assemblies of God church if possible, and if not possible, the District may sell the property and apply the proceeds in any manner consistent with its stated purposes.
Section 5. Dissolution
Upon the dissolution of the assembly, none of its funds or assets shall be distributed to any officer, deacon, elder, trustee, or any other individual. The church board of directors, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the assembly, dispose of all of the funds and assets of the assembly by conveying the same to the Georgia Assemblies of God, for the purposes of the assembly, and provided that said District Council at the time qualifies as an exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). Any such funds or assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the Circuit Court of the county in which the principal office of the corporation is then located, to such organization as said Court shall determine which is organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes.
ARTICLE XIII. ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES
Inasmuch as the Scriptures require Christians to take their disputes to the saints and not to the civil courts (1 Corinthians 6:1-8), all disputes which may arise: (1) between any member of this church and the church itself, or (2) between any member of this church and any pastor, officer, director, employee, volunteer, or other worker of this church, shall be resolved by binding arbitration if efforts to mediate or conciliate the dispute have failed. Either party to the dispute may initiate the arbitration process by filing with the other party a written request for arbitration within a reasonable time after the dispute has arisen and efforts to mediate or conciliate have failed. In such a case, the member and the church shall each name an arbitrator, and the two so selected shall name a third. All arbitrators must be born again,
Spirit-filled believers who are members of an Assemblies of God church. The third arbitrator chosen by the other two shall disclose, before accepting the appointment, any financial or personal interest in the outcome of the arbitration, and any existing or past financial, professional, family, or social relationships which are likely to affect impartiality or which might reasonably create an appearance of partiality or bias. Either of the parties to the arbitration, on the basis of such disclosures, may disqualify such a candidate from serving as the third arbitrator. A third arbitrator who serves without objection from either party has a continuing duty to disclose relationships or interests which may impair his impartiality. Either party, regardless of the stage of the arbitration process, may on the basis of such disclosures disqualify such a person from further participation. The arbitration process shall not proceed until the third arbitrator is selected. The arbitrators shall appoint the time and place for the hearing and cause notification to the parties to be served personally or by registered mail not less than 30 days before the hearing. Appearance at the hearing waives such notice. The arbitrators may adjourn the hearing from time to time as necessary and, on request of a party and for good cause or upon their own motion, may postpone the hearing to a later date. The arbitrators may hear and determine the controversy upon the evidence produced notwithstanding the failure of a party duly notified to appear. The parties are entitled to be heard, to present evidence material to the controversy, and to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing. The hearing shall be conducted by all the arbitrators, but a majority of them may determine any question and render a final award. If during the course of the hearing an arbitrator for any reason ceases to act, he shall be replaced in the same manner in which he was originally selected.
The arbitrators may in their absolute discretion admit as evidence any affidavit or declaration concerning the matters in dispute, a copy thereof having been given at least 5 days previously to the party against whom the same is offered, but the person whose evidence is so taken shall be subject to cross-examination by such party. The arbitrators shall have the power to order and direct what they shall deem necessary to be done by either of the parties relating to the matters in dispute. Cost of the arbitration shall be determined and assessed by the arbitrators. Any submission of a dispute to arbitration shall not be revoked by the death of any party to the dispute, and any award will be binding upon such person's heirs and successors. The decision of the arbitrators shall be binding on both parties, and both parties submit themselves to the personal jurisdiction of the civil courts in this state (including federal courts), as well as the courts of any other state which may have jurisdiction over any dispute contemplated by this Article, for the entry of a judgment confirming the arbitrators' award. The arbitration process is not a substitute for any disciplinary process set forth in the constitution or bylaws of the church, and shall in no way affect the authority of the church to investigate reports of misconduct, conduct hearings, or administer discipline. Any matter not provided for herein shall be governed by the provisions of the Uniform Arbitration Act. If a dispute may result in an award of monetary damages, then use of this arbitration procedure is conditioned on acceptance of the procedure by the liability insurer of the church, and the insurer's agreement to honor any arbitration award up to any applicable policy limits.
Section 1. Amendments
The bylaws may be amended at any regular or special business meeting of the assembly by a majority vote of the membership present, except as otherwise indicated herein. Articles III, XII, and XIV of these bylaws may be amended only by the affirmative vote of 100 percent (100%) of the active voting members present at any annual or special business meeting called for the purpose of amending these bylaws. Article V of these bylaws is not subject to amendment, except to conform to any amendments made to the Statement of Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God. All amendments must be consistent with the constitution and bylaws of the Georgia District Assemblies of God.
Section 2. Matters Not Covered
All matters not covered by the Constitution and By-Laws or resolutions which have been passed by this Church shall be governed by resolutions appearing in the Minutes of the District and the General Council of the Assemblies of God, Inc.
Section 3. Method of Voting
Regardless of any other provision of the Constitution and By-Laws, the board of directors, by motion, second and majority vote by a show of hands can require that any vote be made by secret ballot.