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CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF

LITTLE FLOCK FELLOWSHIP CHURCH

 

 

ARTICLE I

 

NAME

 

            The name of this church shall be Little Flock Fellowship Church, of Ashland, Ohio.

 

 

ARTICLE II

 

COVENANT

 

            The covenant by which this church exists as a distinct body, and which every member accepts, is as follows:

 

            Acknowledging Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord, and submitting to the authority of the Holy Scriptures as our rule of faith and practice, and recognizing the privilege and duty of uniting ourselves for Christian fellowship, the observance of Christian ordinances, the public worship of God, and the advancement of His church on earth, we do now, in the sight of God and invoking His blessing, solemnly covenant and agree with each other to associate ourselves as a church of the Lord Jesus Christ, as warranted by the Word of God.

 

            We agree to maintain the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God, to submit ourselves to the orderly administration of the affairs of the church and to walk together in brotherly love.

 

            This we do depending on the aid of our heavenly Father, who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation, and of Jesus Christ who has redeemed us with His blood, and of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Guide.

 

 

ARTICLE III

 

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

 

Section 1. Statement of Faith.

 

The "Statement of Faith" which this church shall embrace, preach, and defend, is  

specifically set forth as follows:

 

 1. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19).

 

 2. We believe the Bible to be fully and uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit and that it is the only authoritative, inerrant and infallible Word of God (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21).

 

 3. We believe in the eternity and deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, inerrant teaching substitutionary death and atonement, bodily resurrection, ascension to the right hand of the Father and coming again (Matt. 1:18-23; Lk. 24:36-43; John

      1:1-3; Acts 1:1-11; II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:14-16).

 

 4. We believe that man, created in the image of God, was tempted by Satan and fell, and because of his consequent spiritual death, requires regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation (Gen. 1:26-28; Gen. 3:1-24; John 3:3-5; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1-4).

 

 5. We believe that salvation consists in the remission of sins, the imputation of Christ's righteousness, and the gift of eternal life, received by faith alone, apart from works, and that

      all true believers, once saved, are kept by God's power, secure in Christ forever, and assured of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word (Tit. 3:5-7; John 6:37-40; I John 5:11-13).

 

 6. We believe in the personal ministry of God the Holy Spirit, who, at the moment of regeneration, baptizes, indwells, and seals each believer, and by whose filling empowers for Christian life and service (John 16:7-15; Acts 5:3-4; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:18ff.).

 

 7. We believe that the one true Church, the Body and the Bride of Christ, is composed of all true believers of this present age, and is organized on the basis of local, autonomous churches, for the purpose of worship, edification and worldwide Gospel witness (Eph. 1:22,23; 4:11-16; 5:25-32; Matt. 28:19,20).

 

 8. We believe in consistent Christian character and conduct as an outgrowth and evidence of salvation, and that our responsibility is to set apart our lives for the set purpose and will of God, that we may honor our Savior, encourage the faithful, and testify to the lost (Eph. 2:10; I Cor. 6:19,20; Tit. 2:11-14).

 

 9. We believe that the ordinances of the Church, given by our Lord Jesus Christ, are baptism of believers by immersion, and the Lord's supper, as celebrated by the bread and the cup (Matt. 28:19,20; I Cor. 11:23-26).

 

10. We believe that Satan personally exists as the great adversary of God and His people, and shall consequently suffer the eternal horrors of the lake of fire (Job 1:6,7; Rev. 12:1-10; Matt. 25:41).

 

11. We believe in the imminent, visible and personal return of Christ to remove His Church from the earth before the tribulation, and afterward to descend with the Church to establish His millennial kingdom upon the earth (I Thess. 1:10; 4:16,17; Rev. 3:10; 19:11-20:6).

 

12. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (John 5:28,29; Matt. 25:41).

 

 

Section 2. Statement of Biblical Authority.

 

We understand that the above articles of faith do not by any means exhaust the extent of our belief, which is the whole Word of God, and they are not intended to set any limit beyond which faith may not go within the Word. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God (2 Tim 3:16-17) that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source and arbiter of all that we believe (Isa. 8:20; Luke 16:29). We do believe that insofar as these articles extend they are a true presentation of that sound doctrine taught in Scripture, and therefore binding upon us as Christian believers.

 

 

Section 3. Statement on Marriage, Gender and Sexuality.

 

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

 

We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

 

We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, polygamy, polyamory, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God and is to be rejected by washed, sanctified and justified believers in Jesus Christ  (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-11).

 

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Little Flock Fellowship Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Little Flock Fellowship Church members and the observing community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Little Flock Fellowship Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers and servants agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Eph. 5:18-21; Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22).

 

We believe that God offers redemption, restoration and reparative renewal to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy, forgiveness and illumination through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 6; Rom 10:9-13; Rom 13:10-14; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Col 3:1-5; 1 John 5:4).

 

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity as ones created in God’s very image (Gen 1:26; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful, disparaging and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Little Flock Fellowship Church, knowing that it is the kindness, patience and love of God which leads men to repentance and regenerative renewal in Jesus Christ (Rom 2:4; Titus 3:1-8; 1 John 4:8-11).

 

 

 

ARTICLE IV

 

CHARTER

 

Section 1. Authority.

            1. The primary authority by which this church exists as an ecclesiastical body is received from God through the Holy Scriptures. The government of this church shall be conducted according to congregational form, with the final authority being vested in the body of believers who compose it and not subject to any other ecclesiastical body. However, the church does recognize the sustaining obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation with other churches of like faith, but these obligations are purely advisory and in no sense mandatory.

 

            2. The secondary authority is by the laws of the State of Ohio under which it is incorporated.

 

Section 2. Property.

 

            1. The title of the property of this church shall be vested in the corporate body of the church.

 

            2. All property or assets owned by the local church and its auxiliaries shall be irrevocably dedicated to religious purposes, and upon dissolution such property or assets shall not inure to the benefit of any private citizen but shall revert to a religious organization which is a qualified tax exempt organization and which shall be selected by the members of the local church, or in the event of their failure to make such a selection, by The Judge of Court of general jurisdiction in the county where said church shall be located.

 

            3. No church property or equipment may be borrowed or the facilities of this church used without consent of the Board of Elders-Overseers or the Pastor.

 

            4. The congregation shall not authorize a debt or aggregation of debts in excess of three thousand and five hundred dollars ($3500.00) except by a two-thirds vote of all members present at a regular or specially called business meeting.

 

 

ARTICLE V

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 1. Qualifications.

 

            1. Any person who shall have confessed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is committed to Him as Savior and Lord, and who shall have publicly submitted to the authority of the Bible as the complete, final, inerrant, and inspired revelation of the Triune God to man, and who shall have been baptized by immersion, and who shall have consented to the covenants and provisions of this Constitution and by-laws, may formally become a member of this church.

 

            2. Prospective members will be asked to attend new members class before formal induction into membership. The church may waive this requirement at the discretion of the Pastor or Board of Elders-Overseers.

 

Section 2. Duties.

 

            Members are expected to be faithful in all spiritual duties essential to the Christian life, to participate in the communion ordinances, to be loyal to the church, to attend regularly its services, to contribute to its support and charities, and to share in its organized work.

 

Section 3. Privileges.

 

            1. Only those members in good standing, sixteen years and older, are eligible to vote in all business sessions.

 

            2. All members under sixteen years of age shall be called junior members. These shall not have voting privileges until they are recognized publicly as regular members through due process as stated in Section 1.

 

            3. Any member who feels a dissatisfaction with the general procedure of any department of this church shall make known his case to the Pastor or Board of Elders-Overseers in writing. Such written grievance must be signed. If any grievance deals with a difficulty with another member of the church, Matthew 18:15-19 will form the basis of procedure.

 

            4. All members shall agree not to pursue legal action or bring suit against the Pastors, Board of Elders-Overseers, Deacons, or church staff in connection with the performance of their official duties (I Cor. 6:1-8).

 

Section 4. Withdrawal.

 

            1. A letter of recommendation may be granted, upon request, to any member in good standing by the Pastor and Board of Elders-Overseers. The member is considered released from membership on the date the letter is granted. The letter is null and void after six

months. A letter shall only be issued to another organized body of believers.

 

            2. A member's name may be dropped from the roll upon written request of the member involved.

 

            3. Withdrawal from membership will not constitute reason for discontinuance of Biblical discipline in process.

 

 

Section 5. Dismissal.

 

            1. Should a member fail to perform his duties as outlined in Article V, Section 2, and due efforts by the proper officials of the church have failed to encourage his interest and after this condition has prevailed for one (1) year, his name may be dropped from the membership by action of the Pastor and Board of Elders-Overseers. Persons may be reinstated to membership by a public reaffirmation of faith.

 

            2. Excommunication is the right and duty of this church in cases where members are in opposition to the doctrinal teaching of the Word of God as accepted and practiced by this church, or where members are found guilty of unscriptural conduct. All such cases shall first be investigated by the Pastor and Board of Elders-Overseers and the person shall be given due hearing. The Board of Elders-Overseers shall then recommend action to the church, and a two-thirds vote shall be required for excommunication. The basis of this procedure shall be in accordance with the Biblical guidelines of Matt. 18:15-19 and I Cor. 5:1-13.

 

            3. It is to be understood that the ultimate goal of Biblical discipline is the restoration of the member to fellowship in the body of Christ (II Cor. 2:5-8; Gal. 6:1).

 

 

ARTICLE VI

 

GOVERNMENT

 

Section 1. Meetings.

 

            1. An annual congregational meeting shall be held on a date set by the Board of Elders-Overseers when the annual reports shall be presented and such other business transacted as may properly come before the meeting. If such a meeting conflicts with dated spiritual activities, the Pastor may, by consent of the Board of Elders-Overseers, designate any other day of the month as the day in which such meetings shall be held.

 

            2. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor or the Board of Elders-Overseers. All business meetings shall be publicly announced in at least two regularly scheduled services.

 

            3. The presence of 20 percent of the voting membership at any duly called business meeting shall constitute a quorum required for the transaction of business.

 

            4. All congregational decisions require a majority vote unless otherwise specified in this constitution.

 

Section 2. Officers and Committees.

 

            1. Pastor.

 

                        a. Call.

 

The initial call shall be for three years and subsequent calls shall be for two years. When a

vacancy occurs, one candidate at a time shall be recommended to the church by the Board of Elders-Overseers, and a two-thirds vote of the members present at a meeting called for that purpose shall be necessary for his call.

 

                        b. Duties.

 

 In addition to the responsibilities unique to the roll of the Elder-Overseer as listed in paragraph two of this Section, he shall provide leadership for the congregation and the Board of Elders-Overseers. He shall consider his primary responsibility that of edifying the saints in accord with Ephesians 4:11-16. In addition to preaching and teaching the Word of God, he will set a pattern of good works commensurate with his office. He shall be directly responsible for the selection, conduct, and dismissal of the staff in consultation with the Board of Elders-Overseers. The Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all Boards and Committees of this church.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

                        c. Termination                                                                                                                                                                                            

 His leadership can be terminated voluntarily by the submission of a written resignation to the Board of Elders-Overseers and to the congregation at any regular service or business session. If the Pastor desires to cease his services with the congregation he shall give three months notice to the congregation and the congregation in case it desires to dispense with his services, will render him three months notice. Immorality, insubordination, or teaching contrary to Article III, the "Statement of Faith," shall be cause for immediate termination.

 

 

            2. Elders-Oveseers.

 

                        a. Call.

 

            The congregation shall elect its own elders-overseers according to the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Any member sensing God's call to this office may present himself to the Board of Elders-Overseers and, upon their recommendation, shall be submitted to the church for congregational election in accordance with the needs of the church.

 

                        b. Duties.

 

            These elders-overseers shall be responsible for the oversight of all matters of church life and practice, and shall see that opportunity be given for regular schedules of public worship, prayer and observation of the Christian ordinances. The Board of Elders-Overseers shall serve as corporate officers of the church and will be responsible for moderating all congregational business meetings.

 

            The Board of Elders-Overseers will submit to the congregation for election each year a sufficient number of names to provide a full complement to their Board. The number of elders-overseers will be commensurate to the size and growth of the church, but at no time will the Board be less that three members. Initially, the election of the board of Elders-Overseers shall be divided into one-thirds: one-third for a three-year term; one-third for a two-year term; and one-third for a one-year term. After the initial election, all terms shall be for three years.

 

            A confirmation of the oversight of this Board shall be attested by:

 

            (1) Congregational approval on pastor, elders-overseers, deacons and deaconesses, and all standing ministries and commissions.

 

            (2) Congregational approval on all financial indebtedness and all salaries paid by the church.

 

            (3) Congregational approval on any and all amendments to this Constitution.

 

            (4) The Board may at any time request the voice of the congregation on matters of particular significance.

 

                        c. Termination.

 

            An Elder-Overseer may terminate his office to the Board by a written resignation to the Board or Pastor. Immorality, insubordination or teaching contrary to Article III, the "Statement of Faith," shall be cause for immediate termination.

 

            3. Deacons and Deaconesses.

 

                        a. Call.

 

            Deacons and Deaconesses shall be chosen from the members of the church according to the qualifications of I Timothy 3:8-13. Recommendations for this office shall be submitted to the board of Elders-Overseers who will then present to the church those names approved for election. The number of Deacons and Deaconesses shall be determined by the immediate needs of the congregation. The term of service shall be for a period of three years.

                                               

                         b. Duties.

           

            Their ministries shall be to assist the Board of Elders-Overseers in ministries of service as needed by the church.

 

                        c. Termination.

 

            A Deacon or Deaconess may terminate his or her office by a written resignation to the Board of Elders-Overseers or Pastor. Immorality, insubordination, or teaching contrary to Article III, the "Statement of Faith," shall be cause for immediate termination.

 

            4. Financial Secretary.

 

            The Financial Secretary will be elected for a two year term by congregational vote at the annual election of officers. It will be his responsibility to oversee counting, recording and

providing contributors a written receipt for funds given. He shall turn all moneys of the church over to the Treasurer and shall issue orders upon the Treasurer for such sums as directed by the church or any authorized person. He shall make full or partial report as often as requested to do so by the church and shall make a full report at each annual meeting.

 

            5. Treasurer.

 

            The Treasurer will be elected for a two year term by congregational vote at the annual election of officers. It will be his responsibility to keep separate accounts of all moneys paid to him by the Financial Secretary. All money received by him for the church shall be deposited in the name of the church in a bank selected and named by the church. Any checks of the church drawn on any bank or depository shall be valid when signed by the Treasurer upon the proper order from the Financial Secretary.

 

            6. Recording Secretary.

 

            The Recording Secretary will record the minutes of all church business meetings and provide copies of those minutes to the Pastor and Board of Elders-Overseers. He shall read

these minutes for approval at the next following business meeting.

 

            7. Moderator.

 

            The Moderator of the church shall be the Vice-Moderator of the Board of Elders-Overseers. He shall be assisted by an Elder-Overseer selected from, and by, that board. His responsibilities shall be to preside at all business meetings of the congregation and to appoint such committees as are needed when special circumstances arise, in accordance with these by-laws.

 

 

            8. Christian Ed. Director.

 

            The Director of Christian Ed. will be elected by a congregational vote at the annual election of officers. It will be his responsibility to provide leadership for all departments of Christian Ed., which will include providing needed classes, appropriation of teachers and securing needed materials for classroom use. He shall work in consultation with the Pastor and Board of Elders-Overseers.

 

            9. Requirements.

 

            All officers and teachers of the church and its auxiliaries must be active members of this church in good standing, with the unity of the church body at heart.

 

            10. Committees.

 

            a. The Board of Elders-Overseers shall act as the Nominating Committee or appoint a Nominating Committee to supply names for the annual election as well as any vacancies which may occur. The Nominating Committee shall nominate willing and qualified candidates for each office with space for an additional name at non-pastoral, elder or diaconate offices.

 

            b. Any other committee can be established for specific purpose and when purpose is completed, committee is dissolved.

 

            c. All elected boards and committees shall form their own organization annually unless otherwise specified in these by-laws.

 

Section 3. Manner of Election.

 

            The election of officers shall be held at the Annual Business Meeting. All officers shall be elected by ballot.                

 

Section 4. Amendments.

 

            This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of all members who are eligible to vote and present at any regular or special meeting, provided that a notice of at least ten days be given of such proposed amendment. Such notice must contain a copy of the proposed amendment.

 

 

ARTICLE VII

 

CHURCH FACILITY USE POLICY

 

 

Section 1. Purpose Statement.

 

The church’s facilities were provided through God’s benevolence and by the sacrificial generosity of church members. The church desires that its facilities be used for the fellowship of the Body of Christ and to bring God glory. Although the facilities are not generally open to the public, we make our facilities available to approved non-members as a witness to our faith, in a spirit of Christian charity, and as a means of demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in practice.

 

But facility use will not be permitted to persons or groups holding, advancing, or advocating beliefs or practices that conflict with the church’s faith or moral teachings, which are summarized in, among other places, the church’s constitution and bylaws. Nor may church facilities be used for activities that contradict, or are deemed inconsistent with, the church’s faith or moral teachings. The pastor and the board of Elders-Overseers are the final decision-makers concerning use of church facilities.

 

This restricted facility use policy is necessary for two important reasons:

 

First, the church may not in good conscience materially cooperate in activities or beliefs that are contrary to its faith. Allowing its facilities to be used for purposes that contradict the church’s beliefs would be material cooperation and spiritual compromise with that activity, and would be a grave violation of the church’s faith and religious practice. (Rom 12:9; 2 Cor 6:14-18; 1 Thess 5:21-22).

 

Second, it is very important that the church present a consistent message to the community, and that the church staff and members conscientiously and consistently maintain that message as part of their witness to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Allowing facilities to be used by groups or persons who express beliefs or engage in practices contrary to the church’s faith would have a severe, negative impact on the message of the Lord Jesus Christ that the church strives to promote. It could also cause confusion and scandal to church members and the community because they may reasonably perceive that by allowing use of our facilities the church agrees with and promotes the beliefs or practices of the persons or groups using its facilities. This is to be avoided at all costs.

 

Therefore, in no event shall persons or groups who hold, advance, or advocate beliefs, or advance, advocate, or engage in practices that contradict the church’s faith use any church facility. Nor may church facilities be used in any way that contradicts the church’s faith. This policy applies to all church facilities, regardless of whether the facilities are connected to the church’s sanctuary or worship center, because the church sees all of its property as one, and as holy and set apart to worship God (1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17).

 

Section 2. Approved Users and Priority of Use.

 

The pastor and/or Board of Elders-Overseers must approve all uses of church facilities. Generally, priority shall be given to church members, their immediate families, and organized groups that are part of the ministry, organization, or sponsored activities of the church. Church facilities and equipment will be made available to non-members or outside groups meeting the following qualifications:

 

1. Groups or persons requesting facility use must affirm that their beliefs and practices and planned uses of the facilities are consistent with the church’s faith and practice.

 

2. There must be no conflict with regularly or specially scheduled activities of the church, church ministries or church members.

 

3. The group or person seeking facility use must submit a signed “Church Facility Reservation Request and Agreement” form.

 

4. The group or person seeking facility use must be willing to take responsibility for the facilities and equipment used and must agree to abide by the church’s rules of conduct for facility use, as stated in the “Church Facility Reservation Request and Agreement” and as described in any additional instructions by church staff.

 

 

ARTICLE VIII

 

FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY

 

            A written financial report detailing the preceding year’s income and expenditures shall be reviewed by the church in a formal business meeting on an annual basis.

 

(Revised January 1995 by Congregational vote)

(Revised January 1998 by Congregational vote)

(Revised January 2004 by Congregational vote)

(Revised January 2016 by Congregational vote)