Article 4 – Meetings
Section 1 – Worship Meetings
Worship services shall be held each Lord's Day, and may be held throughout the week as the church determines.
Section 2 – Members’ Meetings
In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration, which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There shall be a regular members’ meeting at least once a quarter, at some time apart from a public worship service agreed upon by the membership.
An elder designated by the elders shall preside as moderator at all members’ meetings of the church. The elders shall see that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held and that required reports are submitted to the church by the responsible members.
Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met, a quorum shall be understood to be met by those members present. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast by members present.
At any regular or special members’ meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.
The date, time, and purpose of any members’ meeting shall be announced at all public services of the church within two weeks preceding the meeting.
Special members’ meetings may be called as required by the elders, or at the written request, submitted to the elders, of ten percent of the voting membership. In the event of a written request from the members, the elders shall call a special meeting to be held within one month of their receipt of the request.
Article 5 – Officers
Section 1 – Summary
The Biblical offices in the church are elders and deacons. In addition, our church recognizes the administrative positions under this constitution of clerk and treasurer. All officers must be members of this church for at least one year prior to assuming their responsibilities.
Section 2 – Elders
The elders shall provide oversight to the ministry, financial management, and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14; and 1 Peter 5:1-4, the elders shall seek the mind of Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the word of God as they undertake the work of shepherding God's flock. The elders shall teach and exhort; refute those who contradict the truth; pray for the sick; care for the church’s members; devote themselves to prayer, to the government of the church and to ministry.
The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, oversee the process of church discipline, and mobilize the church to live faithfully to the covenant. The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.
The elders will decide and lead the congregation in all matters except the fundamental aspects of church polity as outlined in Article 6, Section 2.
In preforming their duties, set out above, elders will operate among themselves in delegating tasks, responsibility, roles and authority to execute their charge.
The elders will be the directors of Mercy Hill Chapel.
The elders shall be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. At least one-third of the elders shall be composed of church members not in the regular pay of the church (non-vocational elders), and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.
In accordance with 1 Timothy 2:12 and 3:2, women shall not serve as Elders.
The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. Elders will be elected through regular or irregular voting as set forth below.
An elder's term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation, as set forth below. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and 1 Timothy 5:17–21. The dismissal of an elder can be carried out by regular or irregular voting as outlined below.
The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The scope and approval of job descriptions for any staff position shall reside in the hands of the elders.
At the beginning of each year, during a regular or special members’ meeting the elders shall present to the church a financial report for the previous year and a budget for the upcoming year. Any member can bring financial suggestions or concerns to the elders throughout the year. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders.
When qualified elders are unavailable, in order to maintain at least three elders or to account for the presence of non-vocational elders, the elders will nominate and the congregation will affirm a provisional elder for a term of no longer than one year. The provisional elder cannot serve consecutive terms.
A teaching elder is selected by the elders and confirmed by the congregation. The teaching elder serves as the primary preacher.
The elders shall choose a chairman of elders’ meetings who shall also serve as moderator of members’ meetings. The chairman will also serve as the president of the corporation. The chairman will be confirmed annually at elders’ meetings.
Section 3 – Deacons
The office of deacon is described in 1 Timothy 3:8–13 and Acts 6:1–7. The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, those who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service and administration. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons. Deacons shall care for the temporal needs of members, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help.
The responsibilities, duties, and service of deacons will be subject to the directions of the elders. Deacons shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation.
Section 4 – Clerk
It shall be the duty of the clerk to record the minutes of all regular and special members’ meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the elders or the church.
The clerk shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term of one year.
In the absence or incapacity of the clerk the elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church clerk.
The clerk shall serve as the secretary of the corporation.
The church clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of this constitution shall be available for all church members.
Section 5 – Treasurer
The treasurer, who shall not be an active elder or paid church staff member, shall ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the elders. The treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The treasurer shall render to the elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church.
The treasurer shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term of one year.
Article 6 – Voting
Section 1 – Principles
The process for church voting shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles: substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, should be an integral part of the election process; all candidates for church office should be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow members; the voting process shall express that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration that is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Section 2 – Congregation
In accordance with the word of our Lord in Matthew 18:17 and 1 Corinthians 5:12, the church is a self-governing entity. Therefore the congregation will vote directly on the most fundamental aspects of church polity. The fundamental aspects of church polity are as follows: admission of perspective members into membership; termination of membership; the election or dismissal of all officers; and revisions, additions, or amendments to the church constitution or articles of incorporation.
Section 3 – Process
All voting is required to take place at any regular or special members’ meetings as set out above.
Regular voting is a vote on an issue or candidate that has been proposed by the elders. In such a vote a majority is required for ratification. Suggestions for candidates or issues may be brought to the attention of the elders in private or at any regular elder meetings.
Irregular voting is a vote on an issue or candidate that has not been proposed by the elders. In such a vote a three-fourths majority is required for ratification. To have an irregular issue or candidate placed on the agenda for a meeting a petition of no less than 10 percent of the members must be presented to the elders at least a month before any regular meeting. In the case of special members’ meetings the petition for an irregular issue or candidate should be included with the petition for the special members’ meeting, as set out above.
Any issue or candidate that is to be voted on at any members’ meeting must be presented at a previous special or regular members’ meeting.
Any member with reason to object to a nominating candidate or proposed issue should express such concern to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.
The persons elected shall assume their respective offices upon election and issues ratified will take immediate effect, unless another date has been specifically designated.