Article 1 - Name
The name of this church is Mercy Hill Chapel.
Article 2 – Purpose
The foundation of this Church is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), and its code of guidance in all its affairs, the Word of God.
The object of this Church shall be to worship God according to the teaching of His Word, to practice the precepts and examples of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in the New Testament, to sustain its ordinances and doctrines and to preach and propagate among all peoples the Gospel of Salvation which is by personal faith on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The priorities of ministry of this church flow from the vision of God's glory revealed in Jesus Christ. We exist to be a powerful, community of worship.
Statement of Faith
1. The Scriptures :: We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter. It is the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.
2. Of The True God :: We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.
3. Of The Incarnation :: We believe that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity is God, of one substance with the Father and Holy Ghost, who in the fullness of time was born of the Virgin Mary, taking on a second nature, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
4. Of The Fall Of Man :: We believe that Man was created in holiness but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin, without defense or excuse.
5. Of The Way Of Salvation :: We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through Jesus Christ; who freely took upon him our nature, yet without sin; honored the divine law by his personal obedience, and by his death made a full atonement for our sins; that having risen from the dead he is now enthroned in heaven. He is the all-sufficient Savior.
6. Of Justification :: We believe that the great Gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; by which His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
7. Of Grace In Regeneration :: We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again; that regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary response to the gospel; and that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life.
8. Of Sanctification :: We believe that Sanctification is the process by which, according to the will of God, we are made partakers of his holiness; that it is begun in regeneration; and that it is carried on in the hearts of believers by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, in the continual use of the appointed means, – especially, the word of God, self-examination, self-denial, watchfulness and prayer.
9. Of The Perseverance Of Saints :: We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
10. Of A Gospel Church :: We believe that a visible church of Christ is a congregation of believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ.
11. Of Baptism And The Lord’s Supper :: We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost; to show forth our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect, in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration together of the dying love of Christ; by the sacred use of bread and wine, preceded always by solemn self-examination.
12. Of The World To Come :: We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that at the last day Christ will descend from heaven, and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will then take place; that the wicked will be adjudged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that this judgment will fix forever the final state of men in heaven or hell, on principles of righteousness.
Having trusted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and baptized upon our profession of faith, we do now, relying on his grace, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ
Powerful :: We commit, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to powerfully represent Jesus Christ to our world; seeking the salvation of our family, friends, neighbors and enemies; incarnating God’s justice and mercy on behalf and for those in need; pursuing the Biblical mandate to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, through missions, church partnerships and church planting.
Community :: We commit, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together; exercising an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other; and being slow to take offense but purposefully seeking reconciliation.
Worship :: We commit, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to worship and enjoy God above all else; striving for the continuing Gospel ministry in this church by its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; pursuing personal and family holiness through the consistent practice of spiritual disciplines, the pursuit of Godward affections and the battle against sin; ministering together through the fervent use of our energy and time, gifts and abilities, possessions and wealth.
We commit the preceding before God and one another. And we entreat God to use this covenant to spur us on toward holiness and protect us from individual and corporate sin. When we move from this place we will, if possible, unite with a like minded church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Article 3 - Membership
Section 1 – Qualifications
To qualify for membership in this church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been baptized, in obedience to Christ, following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. A potential member must be eighteen years of age. Each member must agree to submit to the teaching of scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and must promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Church Covenant. The elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person’s profession of faith, or such other evidence, as the elders deem appropriate.
Section 2 – Admission of Members
To be admitted into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission and accepted by vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches.
Section 3 – Duties and Privileges of Membership
In accord with the duties enumerated in the Church Covenant, each member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Only those shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church who are members of this congregation; non-members may serve on an ad-hoc basis with the approval of the elders. Under Christ this congregation is governed by its members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all members’ meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote.
Section 4 – Associate Membership
Students and others temporarily residing in Northeast Ohio who are members of an evangelical church may apply for associate membership. Qualifications are identical to those for full membership as set out above, except that home church membership must be retained. A letter of commendation will be sought from the applicant’s home church. Duties and privileges of associate members are the same as for other members except that:
(a)when absent from Northeast Ohio for extended periods of time they are released from the responsibility to attend our church services;
(b)while they will be encouraged to participate in members’ meetings they will not be eligible to stand for any office or to vote.
Termination of associate membership as a disciplinary measure will be as it is for other members, except that the elders shall notify the pastor or elders of the home church of that termination. Associate membership will normally terminate immediately upon the ending of the period of temporary residence in Northeast Ohio.
Section 5 – Church Discipline
Any member consistently neglectful of his or her duties or guilty of conduct by which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be dishonored, and so opposing the welfare of the church, shall be subject to the admonition of the elders and the discipline of the church, according to the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and the example of scripture. Church discipline, then, should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed.
Members waive their right to privacy when deemed necessary by the elders for the administration of church discipline.
Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, removal from office, and excommunication (see Matthew 18:15–17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14–15; 1 Timothy 5:19–20; 1 Corinthians 5:4–5).
The purpose of such discipline should be for the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined (see Proverbs 15:5; 29:15; 1 Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:4–5; Hebrews 12:1–11; Psalm 119:115; 141:5; Proverbs 17:10; 25:12; 27:5; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Matthew 7:26–27; 18:15–17; Luke 17:3; Acts 2:40; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:1–5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14–15; 1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 1:3–14; James 1:22);
For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them (see Proverbs 13:20; Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 15:33; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:14 [note this is written to the whole church, not just to leaders]; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:11; Hebrews 10:24–25);
For the purity of the church as a whole (see 1 Corinthians 5:6–7; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 5:27; 2 John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21:2);
For the good of our corporate witness to non–Christians (see Proverbs 28:7; Matthew 5:13–16; John 13:35; Acts 5:1–14; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Peter 2:2; 1 John 3:10); and
Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (see Deuteronomy 5:11; 1 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 19:2; Ezra 6:21; Nehemiah 9:2; Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 36:20; Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; 18:17, 25; Romans 2:24; 15:5–6; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; 1 Peter 2:12).
Section 6 – Termination of Membership
The church shall recognize the termination of a person’s membership following his or her death, and may do so after he or she has voluntarily resigned and joined with another church. Membership may also be terminated as an act of church discipline.
The church shall have authority to refuse a member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either for the purpose of proceeding with a process of church discipline, or for any other biblical reason.