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to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, to establish
a church upon the truth of Holy Scripture, and perpetuate
our faith even to generations yet unborn, we, the Elders of
Belmont Church, do declare and establish this Constitution
and By laws.
of this church shall be "Belmont Church" a not for
profit corporation organized and existing under the laws of
the State of Tennessee.
for which Belmont Church exists are to:
God through holy living and corporate celebration.
2. Give glory to God through unselfish, joyful fellowship
and the building up of the body of Christ.
3. Reach those who are lost in our communities and throughout
the nations of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. Equip believers for works of service, fulfilling the ministry
of Jesus in their generation.
Church is hereby established on the following articles of
believe that there is one God, infinitely perfect and eternally
existent in the persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
believe in the eternal deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His
appearance on earth through a virgin birth, His sinless life,
His miracles, His death to take away the sins of the world
and restore right relationship with God, His bodily resurrection,
His ascension to the right hand of the Father and His personal
future return to earth in power and glory.
believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose
indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
We believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit as the empowerment
of the Christian for witness and service. We believe that
all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are operative and necessary
for the church today.
believe that the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired, authoritative
Word of God and that it is eternally reliable.
believe that salvation is by grace, through faith in our Lord
Jesus Christ. We believe that repentance toward God, faith
in Jesus and regeneration by the Holy Spirit are necessary
believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost;
those who are saved to eternal life and those who are lost
to eternal damnation.
believe in one universal church that is the body of Christ.
We believe that Christ is its head. We believe that all who
are born again are its members. We believe the church's purpose
is offering worship to God, fellowship, ministry and instruction
to itself, and evangelism and service to the world. We believe
in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
believe in baptizing believers by immersion in obedience to
our Lord Jesus Christ.
believe in the importance of the Lord's Supper and emphasize
that all believers should partake regularly with others remembering
the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, celebrating
the new covenant with God and with one another, anticipating
His glorious return.
believe in the ministry and presence of angels, the reality
of the devil and demonic beings and the legitimacy and necessity
for spiritual warfare over and for nations, cities, families
believe in the sanctity of life, celibacy for singles, sexual
purity for all and the sacredness of marriage.
believe that "God hates divorce" (Malachi 2:16)
and that it is detrimental to society. We do believe, however,
that divorce may be permissible where marital infidelity or
abandonment has occurred (Matthew 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15).
In such cases the leaders of the church must have walked with
the individual to affirm the action taken.
believe that Jesus Christ has called both men and women to
the ministry of God's word and power (Galatians 3:26 29).
Though men and women have differing roles, women are to be
encouraged and released in the ministry of the church, including
public ministry as God leads.
believe in God's continued calling on Israel, and we accept
a calling to stand with, comfort and encourage the Jewish
people throughout the world. (Romans 1 :16; Romans 11 :11
believe that when Jesus ascended He gave the gifts of apostles,
prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the church
for the purpose of equipping the church and bringing the body
of Christ into maturity (Ephesians 4: 1 11) and that these
ministry gifts continue today.
believe that God has entrusted to His church both the message
and ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5) and that
we must be proactive in tearing down dividing walls based
on racial, socioeconomic or denominational background.
ARTICLE 1: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Criteria for Belmont Church Membership
A. A member of Belmont Church must be a Christian, meaning one who has received Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.
B. A member of Belmont Church must agree with the following biblical truths:
1. There is one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Maker of heaven and earth.
2. Jesus Christ is God’s only Son, our only Lord and Savior, eternally existing, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, crucified for our sins, risen from the dead on the third day, ascended to the Father, sitting at His right hand, coming again as Judge and King.
3. The Holy Spirit has been given to all believers.
4. Salvation is available through faith in Jesus Christ alone. There is no other path to God.
5. The Bible is God’s Word and is authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
6. There is one church universal, one family of believers.
C. A member of Belmont Church must have concluded membership in any previous churches as ethically and peacefully as possible.
D. A member of Belmont Church must accept that the leaders of Belmont Church have a pastoral responsibility in his or her life, including following the biblical disciplinary process as defined in Matthew 18:15-17.
E. A member of Belmont Church must support the work of God through Belmont Church with time, gifts, skills and finances.
Section 2. Qualifications for New Members
Any person attending Belmont Church who gives satisfactory evidence of having placed his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord, who affirms his agreement with the criteria for Belmont Church membership, who completes an appropriate new member process, and who affirms his submission to the Belmont Church Elders shall be received as a member of this church, upon approval of the staff Pastor.
Section 3. Discipline
The disciplining of a Belmont Church member, when necessary, shall proceed as follows:
A. In any member should conduct himself in a manner which, in the studied opinion of the Elders, based upon the facts known to them, is not in harmony with Scriptural principles and for which he does not show evidence of repentance, he shall be interviewed and counseled after the manner clearly indicated in the Word of God (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; II Thessalonians 3:14-15). The restoration of the erring member shall be the primary purpose and love the sole motivating force in these interviews.
B. If, however, the member should choose to continue in his unrepentant condition, and should persist in sin, false teaching or division as determined by the Elders, the Elders may terminate his membership. The Elders may also notify the church of such action, and may expel him from the fellowship of the church (I Corinthians 5:9-13).
Section 4. Termination of Membership
Membership is terminated when one or more of the following occurs:
A. A member dies.
B. A member resigns from Belmont Church and/or joins another church.
C. A member resigns from Belmont Church for a period of one (1) year other than for missions activities or physical impairment.
D. A member conducts himself in such a manner as to evidence, in the opinion of the Elders, a refusal to submit to the leadership of Belmont Church.
E. A member is disciplined in accordance with Section (3(B) above.
F. A member denies his profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Membership may be reviewed periodically by the Elders. Those members liable for termination of membership under 4(D)(F) above shall be identified. They shall be counseled with a view toward reconciliation with Belmont Church. Those refusing reconciliation shall be removed from the membership.
ARTICLE 2: GOVERNMENT
Section 1. Authority
The governing authority of Belmont Church shall be vested in the Elders. All the Elders shall comprise the College of Elders; all Elders of the College of Elders shall be ministering Elders. Belmont Church shall be Elder-governed and led by a Pastoral Leadership Team.
Section 2. Officers
The officers of Belmont Church shall be those individuals as may from time to time be designated by the College of Elders to administer the policies of Belmont Church, consistent with the requirements of the State of Tennessee for officers of not-for-profit corporations. Each person serving as an officer of the church shall be required to support and agree with the stated doctrine of this church.
A. The officers of Belmont Church shall be the Chairman of the Elders, the Chairman-Elect (or Co-Chair), the Secretary of the Elders, and the Secretary-elect.
Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities of Elders
The duties and responsibilities of the Elders of Belmont church shall be as follows:
A. The Elders shall oversee and engage in the pastoral ministries of Belmont Church.
B. The Elders shall establish the mission and vision of Belmont Church and oversee their implementation.
C. The Elders shall approve and affirm all major directional and/ or doctrinal policies of Belmont Church by a two-thirds majority of all active members of the College of Elders. The Administrative Group shall determine by a two-thirds majority vote what shall be considered to be in the category of major directional changes or doctrinal policies.
D. The Elders shall hold title to all Belmont Church properties “in trust” for the benefit of Belmont Church and carry out specific duties with regard to the property, as approved by a two-thirds majority vote of all the active members of the College of Elders.
E. The Elders may borrow money and incur indebtedness on behalf of Belmont Church.
F. The Elders shall cause to be executed and delivered for Belmont Church’s purposes and in Belmont Church’s name any promissory notes and other evidences of debt and/ or security instruments. No Belmont Church funds shall be invested into a financial instrument where the principal will be at risk of loss.
G. The Elders shall exercise all powers conferred by the State of Tennessee and/or other applicable laws.
H. The Elders must approve any official affiliation of Belmont Church with another church or organization by a two-thirds majority vote of all the active members of the College of Elders at any duly called meeting.
Section 4. Selection of Belmont Church Elders
A. The Elders shall be selected according to the following process:
1. Any Elder may nominate new Elders for the College of Elders. The Elders shall receive input from members of the congregation in such method as they deem appropriate, in connection with the nomination process.
2. Individuals nominated for the College of Elders shall be approved by a three-fourths majority vote of the College of Elders after determining the person’s qualifications for becoming an Elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9).
3. The elders shall present the new Elders to the congregation for comment following recommendation. Any comments from the congregation shall be investigated and acted upon by the Elders. Once chosen, Elders shall serve in the College of Elders for an indefinite period of time.
Section 5. Removal of Church Elders
A. Any Elder may be removed from office for conduct contrary to the Word of God at any duly called Elders meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of all the active members of the College of Elders. The Elder in question must exclude himself from the vote.
Section 6. Administrative Group
A. Within the College of Elders shall be an administrative committee (the “Administrative Group”) which will meet with appropriate frequency to oversee Elder administrative matters. The administrative responsibilities of Belmont Church shall be overseen by the Elders, who shall periodically designate certain members of the College of Elders to serve on an Administrative Group for that purpose. This Administrative Group shall be charged with the responsibility of (1) providing the general oversight of the administrative matters of the church and (2) providing an accountability for the execution and fulfillment of the vision and mission of the church through the Pastoral Leadership Team. This Administrative Group shall be responsible for the oversight of the administration and regular day to day operations of the church; however, the actual administration and fulfillment of those activities will be implemented by the Pastoral Leadership Team.
B. The members of the Administrative Group shall each be active members of the College of Elders. A normal term of service on the Administrative Group shall be three years. A person may serve two consecutive terms, if elected for a second term, but must then rotate off the Administrative Group for at least one year. New Administrative Group members, replacing those rotating off, shall be selected by a vote of the active members of the College of Elders taken in September. Their term of service shall then begin the following January. The chairman of the Pastoral Leadership Team shall have a permanent seat on the Administrative Group of Elders. The chairman-elect and the secretary-elect are automatically rolled over into the new year for the next year of service.
C. The Administrative Group shall consist of no fewer than seven (7) and no more than nine (9) members at any time. If at any time the total number of members should become fewer than seven (7), the College of Elders shall take appropriate steps to elect enough additional members to insure that the Administrative Group is comprised with the minimum number of members. The presence of a majority of members then actively assigned to it shall be required in order for the Administrative Group to be capable of taking any action. There shall be no quotas for the number of staff or non-staff Elders who shall comprise the membership of the Administrative Group, except that at all times the number of non-staff members shall represent a majority of the members then serving.
D. All matters to be considered by the Administrative Group shall involve all members of the Group, except with respect to (1) those certain aspects of the budgeting process described more fully below in subsection E, (2) any matters relating to salaries, and (3) such other matters as the College of Elders may from time to time deem appropriate to be dealt with solely by non-staff Elders. With respect to salaries, staff Elders shall not participate in the discussion or determination of any such salaries.
E. The Administrative Group shall at least annually request a budget proposal and staffing plan from the Pastoral Leadership Team based upon the vision approved by the College of Elders. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall then fashion a comprehensive proposed budget by obtaining departmental budget requests and recommendations from each department head. Those departmental requests and recommendations shall not contain recommendations regarding salaries for the pastors and staff within the respective departments. The Pastoral Leadership Team will make proposals for pastoral and staff salaries, with each department head absenting himself or herself from all such salary discussions or votes related to his or her specific department. Once the salary proposals and departmental proposals are completed, the Pastoral Leadership Team shall present a comprehensive proposed budget to the Administrative Group. The Administrative Group shall then make such changes to the budget as it deems appropriate, at which time the budget shall be accepted. In its review of the budget, the Administrative Group may solicit advice and counsel concerning any budget item or area from any of its members who might be staff Elders; however, in the budget approval process by the Administrative Group, no staff Elder who is a member of the Administrative Group shall be permitted to cast a vote that in any fashion involves either (1) any salaries or (2) his own departmental budget, and he shall absent himself from the discussion during the taking of any such vote.
F. The Administrative Group shall notify the members of the College of Elders and provide them with appropriate information on each occasion in which the members of the College are to address any item that is assigned to the College by the Bylaws, as well as on each other occasion in which a member of the College might request that information. Copies of the minutes of the Administrative Group meetings shall be regularly provided to all the members of the College of Elders, except that information regarding pastoral salaries shall not be provided to those members of the College who are staff Elders.
Section 7. Pastoral Leadership Team
A. Selection of members. The members of the Pastoral Leadership Team will be recommended by the Administrative Group from the Belmont pastoral staff and from such other staff as the Administrative Group may deem appropriate and approved by a two-thirds majority vote of all the members of the College of Elders.
B. Composition and Structure. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall normally have 5-7 members, as determined by the Administrative Group, chaired by one of the Pastoral Leadership Team members, also as determined by the Administrative Group and approved by a two-thirds majority vote of all the members of the College of Elders. Normally the Pastoral Leadership Team will be comprised of lead pastors who have supervisory responsibilities over the administrative and pastoral areas.
C. Terms of Service. The members and the chairman of the Pastoral Leadership Team will serve indefinite terms, which will be subject to periodic review by the Administrative Group and approved by a two-thirds majority vote of all the members of the College of Elders.
1. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall initiate the vision in partnership with the Administrative Group and the College of Elders for the projects, programs and activities of Belmont Church. The visions shall be articulated as least annually.
2. The Pastoral Leadership Team is commissioned by the College of Elders to execute the vision, projects, programs and activities of Belmont Church. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall report to and be overseen by the Administrative Group.
3. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall be responsible to prepare a proposed annual church budget for submittal to the Administrative Group on a schedule agreed upon by the two groups.
4. The Pastoral Leadership Team is commissioned to oversee the functioning of the Belmont Church staff and to manage the day-to-day activities of Belmont Church.
5. The Pastoral Leadership Team has responsibility in partnership with the Administrative Group in matters relating to the hiring of new employees, the disciplining of current employees, the firing of current employees, changes to the annual church budget during the course of the year, and additions and/or other changes to currently existing projects, programs and activities of Belmont Church.
6. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall be responsible for maintaining mechanisms for proper legal, personnel, organizational, tax or fiscal compliance with all appropriate regulatory agencies, with established, internal Belmont Church policies and in a manner consistent with all other related and clearly delineated provisions existing in these church by-laws.
7. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall be in effective relationship with the Administrative Group, utilizing mechanisms mutually agreed upon by the two groups.
8. The hiring of Belmont church staff, pastoral and non-pastoral, shall likewise be executed according to a staffing plan submitted at least annually by the Pastoral Leadership Team and approved by means of a two-thirds majority vote of all the members of the Administrative Group.
Section 8. Employment, Dismissal, and Discipline of Employees
Prologue to Section 8
Discipline, in the context of this section, is meant to be understood as an action in response to the moral failure of an employee requiring time away from normal work and ministry function.
A. The Pastoral Leadership Team shall have responsibility for all hiring, firing, disciplining and employment changes and other employment related issues of Belmont staff, subject to prior apprising conversations with the Administrative Group.
B. The College of Elders shall have responsibility for all hiring, firing, disciplining and employment changes and employment related issues of members of the Pastoral Leadership Team by a two-thirds majority vote of the College.
C. In a case involving the disciplining of a Belmont Church Staff Pastor, the College of Elders must be informed of both the violations and the disciplinary response as soon as possible. No such notification of the College of Elders is necessary in the disciplining of a non-pastoral staff member.
ARTICLE 3: BUSINESS MEETINGS
Section 1. Quorum
A quorum of any board shall be a majority of that board.
Section 2. Meeting of Elders
Any Elder or the Chairman of Elders, upon attempted notification of all Elders, may call a duly constituted meeting of either the Administrative Group or the College of Elders at least three business days in advance of the meeting. Emergency meetings, which require crisis decision making, may be called without three business days’ notice. Efforts must be made to notify all Elders of the emergency meeting and its agenda prior to the meeting. Minutes shall be kept of any duly called Elders’ meeting and those minutes shall be archived. The Elders may approve actions without having a meeting by consenting upon the action via e-mail, fax or phone. These actions shall be documented and presented at the next Elders’ meeting for archival purposes.
ARTICLE 4: MISSIONARIES AND INSTITUTIONS
It is expected that full or partial support of missionaries will be undertaken in an expanding fashion as Belmont Church grows and as the Lords leads. The College of Elders shall approve the missionaries and institutions to be considered for support. No missionary shall be supported unless the doctrinal statement of the missionary or institution shall be consistent with the doctrinal statement of Belmont Church.
ARTICLE 5: DISSOLUTION
In the event of the dissolution of Belmont Church, the residual assets shall be disbursed to one or more or organizations which themselves are exempt as organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) and 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 as amended, or corresponding sections of any future law, or to the federal, state or local government for exclusive public purposes. Any and all such organizations shall be determined at duly called and held Elders meetings. Dissolution shall occur upon the recommendation of a three-fourths majority vote of all the active members of the College of Elders and ratified by a majority of the membership at a congregational meeting call for that purpose.
ARTICLE 6: AMENDMENTS
This Constitution and By Laws may be changed or altered by a three-fourths majority of all the active members of the College of Elders at a duly called meeting of the College of Elders.