By-Laws

Article I. Name

The name of this corporation is Life Church Salisbury. This corporation will be further referred to in these bylaws as "the Church" and also may be referred to in these bylaws by and may do business as "Life Church" and such other names as the Elders of the Church, as defined in §11.1.2, shall determine from time to time.

Article II. Mission

Life Church exists to lead people to life in Jesus Christ by making disciples engaging in gospel-centered worship, gospel-centered community and gospel-centered service.

Article III. Offices

3.1 Principle Office

The principal office for business transactions of the Church 708 Jake Alexander Blvd., Salisbury, NC 28147. This office is located in Rowan County. The Elders shall have full power and authority to change the principal office from one location to another and shall be responsible for recording any change in the location of the principal office.

3.2 Other Offices

The Elders of the Church shall have power and authority to establish other offices, campuses, sites and locations at any place or places where the Church is qualified under applicable law to conduct its business.

Article IV. Nonprofit Status

The Church is a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the state of North Carolina and is organized under the North Carolina Business Corporation Act, as amended (the "NCBCA"). Federal tax exemption is granted under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).

Article V. Purposes

The Church is formed for any lawful purpose or purposes not expressly prohibited under the NCBCA. The Church is organized and shall be operated exclusively for religious, charitable and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Church's purposes also include the limited participation of the Church in any other activities, including taxable activities, but only to the extent the activities would be permitted by a tax-exempt organization.

Article VI. Powers and Restrictions

Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws and in order to carry out the above-stated purposes, the Church shall have all those powers set forth in the NCBCA as it now exists or as it may hereafter be amended. Moreover, the Church shall have all implied powers necessary and proper to carry out its express powers. The powers of the Church to promote the purposes set out above are limited and restricted in the following manner:

The Church shall not pay dividends and no part of the net earnings of the Church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its organizers, officers or other private persons, except that the Church shall be authorized and empowered to make payments and distributions (including reasonable compensation for services rendered to or for the Church) in furtherance of its purposes as set forth in the Certificate of Formation or these Bylaws. No substantial part of the activities of the Church shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the Church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publication or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the Certificate of Formation or these Bylaws, the Church shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on by (i) a corporation exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws, or (ii) a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

In the event this Church is in any one year a "private foundation" as defined by Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws, it shall be required to distribute its income for such taxable year at such time and in such manner as not to subject the foundation to taxation under Section 4942 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws; and further shall be prohibited from: (a) any act of "self dealing" as defined in Section 4941(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws; (b) retaining any "excess business holdings" as defined by Section 4943(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws; (c) making any investments in such manner as to subject the foundation to taxation under Section 4944 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws; or (d) making taxable expenditures as defined in Section 4945(d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws."

The Church shall not accept any gift or grant if the gift or grant contains major conditions which would restrict or violate any of the Church's religious, charitable, or educational purposes or if the gift or grant would require serving a private as opposed to a public interest.

Article VII. Affiliations

The Church is autonomous and maintains the right to govern its own affairs, independent of denominational control. Recognizing, however, the benefits of cooperation with other churches and parachurch organizations in the fulfillment of its purposes, the Church may voluntarily affiliate with other churches and/or para-church organizations and conventions by consensus of the Elders. The Church is affiliated with the Rowan Southern Baptist Association and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Article VIII. Meetings

8.1 Public Worship

Meetings for public worship shall be held at such times and places as may be provided for under the direction of the Elders.

8.2 Church Business Meetings

The Elder Team shall have the authority to call a Church business meeting or other special meetings as needed.

Article IX. Values and Beliefs

9.1 Our Core Values

Our core values bring clarity to the things that matter most to Life Church. They guide our mission, influence major decisions and direct everyday ministry plans. They also help navigate our staffing and budgeting issues.

  1. Jesus is at the center of all we are and all we do. We believe in a church made-up of unapologetically passionate, fully-devoted followers of Jesus, who relentlessly pursues us.
  2. Everyone Belongs. We believe that everyone belongs - regardless of backgrounds, differences or how close/far we may be from God. We are a safe place, a come as you are church who believes in keeping it real through genuineness and authenticity.
  3. Love reigns supreme. We believe in practicing the unconditional, transforming love of Jesus.
  4. Community is essential. We believe in community, made-up of intentional relationships where we open ourselves to discipleship, vulnerability and genuine accountability. Furthermore, we believe transformation happens best when we are relationally-invested with others who are also pursuing Jesus. We believe community is the essence of who we are as a church.
  5. The Gospel is a verb. We believe in missional, incarnational living, that as a church, we do not exist for ourselves but for the good of the world around us. As followers of Jesus, we have been commissioned to share the Good News of Jesus both in word and action. As we focus on meeting felt needs in our community and beyond, we earn the right to be heard.
  6. We are generous. We believe in being an extravagantly generous church through acts of service and sacrificial financial giving. God's blessings have been given to us as tools for blessing others. We believe that a life of fullness is a life of generosity, and that as we are faithful to empty ourselves for His glory and the sake of others, God is faithful to fill us with life. Those who live open-handed are never empty-handed.
  7. We are next-generation focused. We believe in investing the best of our time, energy and resources into our children and students, and in partnership with families, to lay strong foundations for the children/students in our community to grow into their full potential and to be equipped to be ambassador of the faith in their schools, community and the world.
  8. We take the Bible seriously. We believe the Bible (the 66 books of the Old and New Testament) to be God's holy and inspired Word and the sole basis of our belief.
  9. We take unity seriously. We believe in the power of unity in the church and will relentlessly protect this unity for the sake of the Gospel. The church is to be a community of people with linked arms, leaning forward in the same direction.
  10. We are globally-minded. We believe in a globally-minded church with a mission to take the Gospel to our community, our region, our nation and to the ends of the earth. As a local-church (little ‘c' church) we are also part of the Universal Church (big ‘C' church), which is His redemptive agent in the world, made-up of believers in Christ spread across the globe. This means we are called to assist, participate and go in order to advance the Gospel of Jesus.
  11. We are collaborative. We believe in working closely with other like-minded churches, ministries and organizations to bring hope and relief to our community and the world in the name of Jesus.
  12. We are transforming, not conforming.

    We believe in a transforming (not conforming) church, with the responsibility to help people recognize their immeasurable value to God and to develop their full, God-given potential. We believe every individual is creative - created in the image and likeness of a creative God, uniquely designed and gifted with talents, gifts, strengths and abilities that are waiting to be unleashed for God's glory.

9.2 Our Core Beliefs

Essential Beliefs

In essential beliefs, we have unity Acts 2:44; Ephesians 4:4-6; Philippians 2:1-5

Non-Essential Beliefs

In non-essential beliefs, we have freedom Romans 14: 1, 4, 12, 22
Areas where we choose not to major on minor issues

All Beliefs

» In all our beliefs, we show love. 1 Corinthians 13:2

9.3 Statement of Faith

About the Bible

The Bible is God's written Word to all mankind. It was written by human authors, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error and completely relevant to our daily lives. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Psalm 119:105; 160; 12:5; Isaiah 40:8; Proverbs 30:5; 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:24-25)

About God

There is one God, the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in a triune relationship with Himself as one substance in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal. (Genesis 1:1, 26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; John 5:21-23, 14:10; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

About the Father

God is our heavenly Father, full of greatness. He is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, unchanging, completely worthy of our trust, and above all, holy. He concerns Himself in the affairs of mankind, and intends for human beings to live in fellowship with Himself. He is good, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love and is faithful, and He works all things together for good to those who love Him. In His unfathomable grace, He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, for mankind's redemption. It is in Him that we live, move and exist. (Exodus 3:14; Numbers 23:19; Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; Psalm 11:4-6; Malachi 3:6; John 3:16; 4:24; 5:26; 14:1; Acts 17:28; Romans 3:3-4)

About the Son (Jesus Christ)

Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. He is the Word of God manifest in human form - completely human but, at the same time, completely God. In His incarnational form, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven's glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. (Matthew 1:22-23; Isaiah 9:6; Luke 4:18-19; John 1:1-5, 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; Romans 1:3-4; Acts 1:9-11, Colossians 1:15-16)

About the Holy Spirit

» The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to guide all believers in truth, to exalt Christ, to bring comfort, and to make mankind aware of their sin and their need for a Savior. He comes to abide in every Christian (by Christian, we mean Christ-follower or disciple of Jesus) from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, guidance in doing what is right, and ultimately makes us more like Christ. His presence assures us of our relationship with Christ. Furthermore, He gives spiritual gifts to the Christian for works of ministry and service. (Genesis 1:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; 5:18; Galatians 5:22-25)

About Mankind

Man was made in the image of God, created to reflect and share in God's glory. But all of mankind is marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called "sin." This attitude separates people from God and causes them to be in rebellion against Him and His ways. Only the grace of God brings human beings into holy fellowship with Him. The sacredness of human life is evident in that God created mankind as the crown of His creation; therefore, every human being possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and love. (Genesis 1:26-30; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6; 59:1-2; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 3:10-18, 23; Ephesians 2)

About Salvation

Salvation is God's free gift to us, but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God's offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin's penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to and Christ-ruled life in faith, we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Christ by faith. (Romans 5:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6; 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Acts 2:21, 4:12; Romans 5:1, 10:9-10)

About Eternal Security

Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been saved, you cannot "lose" it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self effort of the Christian (by Christian, we mean Christ-follower or disciple of Jesus). It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security in Christ. (John 6:39,10:28, 30; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10; 14; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:3,5)

About Eternity

Mankind was created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. Those who are separated from God will ultimately spend eternity in Hell. Those that have received God's salvation will spend eternity with Him in Heaven. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:25; Colossians 1:5; John 14:1-4; Luke 12:5; Luke 16:2-25; Revelation 20:15)

About the Church

It is our belief and desire that the church be a community of authentic, meaningful relationships and a movement of restoration and hope in the world. Therefore, our heart is to be church (not do church) through an atmosphere of love, relationships and service; and it is our hope that through our church-community, the love and acceptance of God would be experienced in a real, fresh and unique way. We value the teachings and the Way of Jesus, Whom we profess to be the Son of God. And though we may fail at times to live a life truly reflective of who Jesus is, we are committed to being a community on a spiritual journey together, learning what it means to live life as a Jesus-follower (disciple).

Ecclesiology

The Church can be understood in two predominant and unique ways. First, the Universal Church is composed of all believers everywhere who acknowledge Jesus Christ as God, Savior and Lord. Second, the local church is anywhere followers of Jesus meet together regularly who are working together in love and unity – under the watch and support of its leaders – for the purpose of ultimately bringing glory and honor to Christ. Life Church is a local church part of this greater Church we know as the universal church.

The Greek word for church is "Ecclesia" or assembly. The church, therefore, is the assembly of believers who collectively have been called to be the physical manifestation (flesh and blood) of Jesus Christ and agents of His redemptive mission in the world today. The local church is not a building or a program, but rather a group of imperfect people who have been redeemed and are being restored who desperately want to know God and follow Him, and who are called into a community for the sake of His mission. (Matthew 16:18; 28:18-20; Acts 14:27)

In the Scriptures, the Church is often referred to as the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27) This comes from our understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus' body, who paid the price for our sins and restored our relationship with God. Once we accept this sacrifice we are ushered into "His body." We are made heirs and co-heirs of God's kingdom, a royal-priesthood of believers. The body of Christ, therefore, refers to the universal group of people who have accepted this sacrifice and who follow Him – "You are the body of Christ." Everyone who follows Jesus forms a community that is called the church. (Titus 3:7, Romans 8:17,1 Peter 2:9)

Baptism

Baptism is the Christian act of immersing a believer in water and then bringing him/her forth out of the water. It is a symbolic, practical representation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the person being baptized is immersed beneath the waters and brought forth, symbolic of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection on their behalf for the forgiveness of their sins (Romans 6: 1 – 10; Colossians 2:12). Baptism identifies a Christian with Jesus (Acts 10:48; Romans 6: 3; Galatians 3:27), the universal church (1 Corinthians 12:13), and the local church (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2: 41).

In ancient times, baptism was a purification ritual. To be submerged in water and then brought back up was a sign that you were washed clean. It was an act of repentance. When we are baptized today, it is also symbolic of repentance. We are saying that the work of Jesus to free humanity from sin has freed us as well. In actuality, we are being submerged with Jesus in His death and raised with Him in His life. Baptism is a symbolic act of the repentance that unites us with the death and resurrection of Christ. It is important to note that one's baptism does not "save" an individual nor secure eternal life. Baptism is an outward confession of our inward beliefs. It is a way to announce to the world that we are dedicated to God's will and to His ministry.

Jesus commanded that disciples should be baptized (Matthew 28:19). His apostles also commanded that all Christians be baptized (Acts 2:38). Therefore, Christians should be baptized because their God and His servants command it. (Matthew 3:13-17; Acts 8:12-13, 35-39)

Lord's Supper

Communion is an act of remembrance. We pause in the midst of our busy lives to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It reminds us of His death because of our sin. But it does not leave us there; it is also an act of celebration because Jesus was raised from the dead. We take communion on a regular basis to thank Jesus for His actions and remember the saving effect this sacrifice has on our lives. We also remember that just as Jesus' body was broken and poured out so that we might have life, we too as His followers and His Body (the Church) are called to be broken and poured out so that the world around us might know Jesus and claim life through Him. (Matthew 26:26-28; John 6:22-59; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29)

Meeting Together

The early church gathered daily for prayer, worship, teaching, and communion. The Apostle Paul warned the future church not to forsake meeting together. Our times together are meant to lead followers of Christ into deeper walks with Christ and to lovingly draw people outside our community to Him. We live this out primarily through our home gatherings and our weekend worship celebrations, as well as other gatherings, whereby we recognize that meeting together is an essential practice of the church. (Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:23-25)

Marriage and Sexuality

» We believe that Jesus loves and is accepting of ALL people- right where we are - and His immeasurable grace and relentless pursuit of us through the Cross is the grounds on which we base this conviction and firmly stand.

We believe the church, which is the visible, active, living, breathing representation of Jesus in the world today, is to extend this same, unconditional love and grace to all.

We believe the church is a place/a gathering of people where everyone belongs. Therefore, we are loving, open, hospitable and accepting of people from all walks of life, regardless of religious backgrounds, personal struggles (both private and public), sexual orientation or identification, addictive behaviors, etc. All are welcome to attend worship gatherings and to participate in all church events and activities, as long as there are no issues (criminal background, legal or pending) that would jeopardize the safety of any individual.

We believe that the Gospel is for all,that all are sinful and in need of forgiveness which is found through faith in Jesus Christ, who came to redeem and to reconcile us to God.

We specifically do not and will not condemn those who are openly or privately homosexual, including those who identify as a different gender (transgender). We refuse to preach against anyone who is loved by God and created in His image and likeness, and we refuse to condemn the world around us and the people He came to save. (John 3:16-17) We acknowledge that the church, other Christians, and those claiming to be Christians, have done great harm and caused great confusion in this area out of their own sinfulness, insecurities, and misinterpretation of the Scriptures, and have therefore misrepresented God on this issue among those both outside and inside the church.

We do believe that homosexuality is a sin, and like all other sins, including sins of sexual immorality, is the choice of the individual which goes against God's creational design for our lives and His intent for our good. All sin is offensive to God, creates damage in us and the world around us, and creates separation from Him. We also believe all sin is forgivable under the grace of God found in Jesus. Furthermore, we do not believe that homosexuality is more sinful or less sinful than other sins, but like all sin, is equally offensive to God. (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:16-2:4, 1 Corinthians 6:9-20)

We believe that the fall of man has led to the brokenness of all creation, which includes our personalities, genetics, and minds. Because of our sinful nature, sin can often be confused with things that feel natural, innate and instinctual. However, we believe just because we feel something is natural, innate and instinctual does not excuse nor justify our sin before a Holy God. In view of God's mercy, we acknowledge our brokenness, confess our sinfulness, and rely on the power of God's Spirit as we choose to avoid acts of (including temptations that lead to) sexual immorality, which includes homosexual behavior. (Genesis 3-4, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Galatians 5:16-26)

We believe that sexuality is a gift from God, given for our enjoyment, and is intended to be shared between one man and one woman within the covenant of marriage.Therefore, based on our Biblical beliefs, values and convictions, we do not acknowledge, support nor perform marriages between couples of the same sex. (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:21-25; Matthew 19:4-6)

We believe that in love, it is our responsibility to truthfully point out, correct and admonish sin among fellow-followers of Jesus, with the goal of gently restoring one another in the process. At the same time, we do not believe it is our responsibility to judge or to specifically point out a sin (such as homosexuality) in the lives of those outside the church and the fellowship of Christ. (1 Corinthians 5:12)

While we welcome the participation of all people in the life of the church, we do limit opportunities to serve in certain areas of the church based on our Biblical beliefs and values.This includes all areas of teaching, leading worship, serving as a Life Group leader, and leading a ministry team.

Article X. Membership

What is Church Membership?

Church membership is a formal, exclusive relationship between a local church and a follower of Jesus characterized by the church's affirmation and oversight of the member's discipleship and submission to living-out his or her discipleship under the care of the church. Church membership is a declaration of Kingdom citizenship and a covenant community on earth.

10.1 Requirements

  • A member of Life Church shall have been baptized. If, at the time of signing the Membership Covenant (Appendix), he/she has not been baptized, he/she shall be willing and ready to be baptized.
  • A member of the Church shall be in agreement with the vision, mission (Article II), beliefs (Article IX), strategy and structure (Article XI) of Life Church.
  • A member of Life Church shall be at least 18-years-old.

10.2 Covenantal Commitments

Members of Life Church commit themselves to the spiritual disciplines and godly pursuits as outlined in the Membership Covenant. (Appendix A, Membership Covenant)

10.3 Voting by Members

Members of the Church have the right to vote on three issues: appointment of a Lead Pastor, the annual operating budget and the purchase of real property. A vote is determined to have passed when no less than 80 percent of all votes cast are in the affirmative. Votes will not be accepted by proxy or in absentia. Members must be present to vote and votes of abstention will not be calculated in the determining of a passing vote.

10.4 Removal of Membership

  • Members of the Church shall be removed from formal membership upon request.
  • Members of the Church shall be removed from formal membership upon death.
  • Members of the Church shall be removed from formal membership by a decision of the Elder Team as a result of the disciplinary process.

10.4.1 Disciplinary Process

The disciplinary process shall be codified by the Elder Team according to Biblical principles for the purpose of the spiritual restoration of fallen members and the consequent strengthening of the church and glorifying of the Lord.

Article XI. Leadership: Elders, Deacons, Staff

11.1 Elders

11.1.2 Definition

The Elder Team of Life Church is the supreme governing body of the Church, subject to the qualifications of Scripture, shepherding members with love and grace, compassion and truth. In accordance with biblical teaching, Life Church shall be led by a plurality of elders, consisting of men meeting no less than the qualifications as set forth in Scriptures (Appendix B, Qualifications of Elders). Additionally, Elders must be members who fully subscribe to Church's statement of beliefs and are actively involved in the ministry of the Church.

11.1.3 Duties

Church elders shall oversee, lead and participate in the godly teaching, protecting, leading, disciplining, equipping and caring for the corporate Church body and its individual members as well as the oversight of all ministry, operations and finances of the Church. The Elders are also responsible for being obedient to the Scriptures in the doctrine of the Church, establishing the overall vision of the Church, providing accountability to the Lead Pastor and appointing new Elders. The Elder Team shall bring about defining consensus on matters of (a) appointment of any Elder, (b) doctrinal issues, (c) removal of any Elder, (d) church discipline and (e) any other actions deemed major and extraordinary by the Elders. Elder decisions on any matter may be communicated to the Church at the discretion of the Elders.

The Elders shall make the final determination in regards to any ecclesiastical questions. The Elder Team shall be the express and final arbiter of ecclesiastical polity, religious doctrine and questions of Church property, and shall make the final decision with respect to any other matter that shall arise concerning the Church, its internal workings and its governance in every respect, consistent with these Bylaws. In deciding such matters, the Elders shall use the standards of: (a) the best spiritual, financial and operating interests of the Church in light of the Bible and the tenets of faith of the Church; and (b) the furtherance of the religious purposes of the Church as discerned by the Elders according to the teachings of the Bible. The Elder Team provides leadership for the overall church, entrusting the implementation of that direction to Deacons, ministry leaders and Staff, under the leadership of a Lead Pastor. This system of organizational leadership allows the Elders to focus their gifts and time on the biblical mandate to lead and shepherd the church, while allowing ministry leaders and staff the opportunity to maximize their gifts and talents as they lead their ministries and make practical decisions regarding implementing and carrying out the direction provided by the Elders.

11.1.4 Expectations

To accomplish the duties of the Elder Team, elders are expected to attend regular meetings of the Elder Team, church business meetings, called Elder Team meetings, outside the normal and regularly scheduled meetings and interact with the church membership in such a way as to become familiar with the needs, desires and personality of individuals and as a body. Further expectations of Elders are included as Appendix C, Elder Ministry Description.

11.1.5 Composition and Number

The Elder Team shall comprise no less than three (3) members (to establish the biblical precedent of plurality) and shall always include the Lead Pastor as an ex officio member, or the acting Lead Pastor (appointed by the lay members of the Elder Team) should such an occasion arise (e.g. suspension, sabbatical, leave of absence) that would preclude the Lead Pastor from performing his duties as an ex officio member. Paid employees of Life Church (excepting the Lead Pastor) shall not be eligible to serve as part of the Elder Team, nor shall spouses, siblings, parents or children of employees of Life Church.

11.1.6 Elder Selection Process

Elders of Life Church shall be nominated by members (not to exclude Elders themselves). Those nominated for the position of Elder shall undergo a prayerful screening, interview and approval process by the sitting Elder Team and, if so desired by the Elder Team, their appointed advisors. The candidates who meet the biblical and super-biblical qualifications as determined by the Elder Team will be asked to again prayerfully consider serving as an Elder of Life Church. When the nominees and the Elder Team have agreed to pursue the process to its end, the Elder(s)-elect will be presented to the church membership and the community in which it lives to affirm the choice(s) made by the Elder Team. Following the presentation of the Elder(s)-elect, the church membership and members of the community in which it lives are allowed a period of than seven (7) days to dispute the appointment of the Elder(s)-elect on biblical grounds. Any disputes will be swiftly addressed and taken into account by the Elder Team and their appointed advisors. Following the seven (7) day period, the Elder(s)-elect will serve as a de facto member of the Elder Team while awaiting appointment and ordination.

11.1.7 Elder Terms of Service

Once appointed to the Elder Team, Elders are expected to serve in this capacity for a minimum of four years, but no more than eight years per turn. Elders may be re-appointed following a one-year absence from the Elder Team and successful completion of the selection process. This re-appointment may last for a single term not to exceed five years.

11.1.8 Removal of Elders

Any Elder may be removed from the office of Elder for a valid cause. The Elder Team shall determine the specific procedure for Removal of an Elder from the Elder Team. The Elder Team shall have the sole authority to remove an Elder from the Elder Team.

11.2 Staff

All personnel employed by the Church shall act in accordance with the current Personnel Policies and Procedures document, as it may be revised, amended or restated from time to time. The Church will reserve employment for men and women who believe and confess essential biblical convictions and act in accordance with such. Additionally, the Church reserves the right to terminate the employment of any existing employee who fails to meet this general standard of faith and practice.

Article XII. Ordination and Licensing

The Church will consider ordaining duly qualified pastoral, ministerial and executive staff positions as determined by the Elder Team in accordance with the guidelines of Scripture.

The Church reserves the right to revoke ordination in cases such as moral failure or termination of employment. The decision to rescind or extend ordination shall be at the discretion of the Elder Team. The Church will consider licensing select individuals on a case-by-case basis for various aspects of ministry and mission. Licenses can be issued for a specific term or indefinite periods at the discretion of the Elder Team. The Church also reserves the right to revoke a license at the discretion of the Elder Team. The Church's ordination and licensing processes shall be determined by the Elder Team.

Article XIII. Finances

Financial policies and procedures shall be determined by the Elder Team in cooperation with Church staff and volunteers. Said policies and procedures shall be included as an appendix to the bylaws. See Appendix D.

Article XIV. Indemnification

The Church may indemnify and hold harmless to the full extent permitted by applicable law each person who was or is made a party to or is threatened to be made a party to or is involved (including, without limitation, as a witness in any actual or threatened action, suit or other proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, and whether formal or informal) hereinafter a "proceeding," by reason of the fact that he or she is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Church or, being or having been such a director, officer, employee or agent, he or she is or was serving at the request of the Church as a director,officer, employee, agent, trustee or in any other capacity of another corporation or of a partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, including provision of services with respect to any employee benefit plans, whether the basis of such proceeding is a legend action or omission in an official capacity or in any other capacity while serving as a director, officer, employee, agent, trustee or in any other capacity, against all expenses, liability and loss (including, without limitation, attorneys fees, judgments, fines, ERISA or PPACA excise taxes or penalties and amounts to be paid in settlement) actually but reasonably incurred or suffered by such person in connection therewith. Such indemnification may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a director, officer, employee or agent of the Church and shall inure to the benefit of his or her heirs and personal representatives.

Article XV. Dissolution and Mergers

"Dissolution" means the complete disbanding of the Church so that it no longer functions as a congregation or as a corporate entity. Upon the dissolution of the Church, its property shall be applied and distributed as follows: (1) all liabilities and obligations of the Church shall be paid and discharged, or adequate provision shall be made therefore; (2) assets held by the Church upon condition requiring return, transfer, or conveyance, which condition occurs by reason of the dissolution, shall be returned, transferred, or conveyed in accordance with such requirements; (3) assets received and not held upon a condition requiring return, transfer, or conveyance by reason of the dissolution, shall be transferred or conveyed to one or more domestic or foreign corporations, societies, or organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), and are engaged in activities substantially similar to those of the Church; this distribution shall be done pursuant to a plan adopted by the Elder Team by passing vote; and (4) any assets not otherwise disposed of shall be disposed of by a court of competent jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the Church is then located, for such purposes and to such organizations as said court shall determine, provided such organizations are in agreement with the Church's Values and Beliefs. In the event of a merger of the Church with another church, the net assets of the Church shall be contributed to the surviving entity.

Appendix A

Membership Covenant

A covenant is a voluntary agreement based on a meaningful relationship between two parties. The purpose of this covenant is a declaration that you have joined with others in membership with Life Church in order to fulfill God's purpose your life and to accomplish God's mission in the world together.

In becoming a member of Life Church, I affirm the following:

  • I have put my faith in Jesus Christ, have surrendered my life to Him as Lord and trust in Him alone for my salvation.
  • I have been baptized. (Please share date/location) or I have not been baptized, but am willing and ready to be baptized.
  • I am in agreement with the vision, mission, beliefs, strategy and structure of Life Church.

As a member of Life Church, I commit myself to the following.

  • I commit to pursue growth in my relationship with Jesus by:
    • Walking with Jesus daily, striving and learning how to spend time with Him regularly through prayer, Bible reading, worship, and other spiritual disciplines.
    • Seeking to grow into my full potential by discovering my gifts and embracing my uniqueness.
    • Being an active part of His Church by regularly attending and actively participating in the life of the church, as this is critically important to my spiritual growth.
  • I commit to grow in relationships with others by:
    • Making myself available to others, which includes proactively seeking others out and building relationships.
    • Involving myself in a Life Group and/or similar gatherings where I can connect relationally, grow spiritually, find accountability, and experience Gospel Community alongside others.
  • I commit to invest in the life of the church by:
    • Serving others at Life Church, offering my time, talents, strengths, abilities, passions to serve and contribute to the overall growth, health and mission of the church. (i.e.: Ministry Teams)
    • Giving a portion/percentage of my income (tithes, offerings, gifts) regularly, sacrificially and joyfully, as an act of worship to God and an eternal investment in His Kingdom.
  • I commit to be a messenger of God's love by:
    • Reflecting Jesus in my relationships, at work/school, in the community, etc.
    • Sharing my faith with others who may not know Him by building relationships outside the church and inviting them to attend church with me.
    • Serving in the community and abroad, regularly pursuing opportunities to be a light in the world both individually and alongside others at Life Church
  • I commit to protect the unity of the church by:
    • Supporting, praying for and following our leaders (elders, pastors) as they follow Jesus.
    • Demonstrating and relentlessly upholding an atmosphere of love, acceptance and grace, being a source of encouragement to others, avoiding gossip and inappropriate talk, quickly resolving conflicts and misunderstandings in a Biblical manner.
Appendix B

Qualifications for Elders

All elder nominees should reflect and meet the biblical qualifications for elders outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Before nominating someone or accepting a nomination to be considered as an elder, please prayerfully consider the following qualifications from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:

  • Above reproach (blameless)
  • Husband of one wife
  • Lives wisely (sober-minded)
  • Self-controlled, self-restrained, disciplined (temperate)
  • Good reputation, well-respected BOTH within and outside the church
  • Hospitable, enjoys having people in the home
  • Able to teach
  • Not given to drunkenness
  • Not violent or quick-tempered, but gentle
  • Not quarrelsome or divisive, but peaceable
  • Not a lover of money or dishonest gain
  • Manages family well, children are respectful » ability to care for the church
  • Not a new believer
  • Sincere, full of integrity
  • Loves what is good, upright and holy

The following qualifications for deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13) would also apply to elders:

  • A clear conscience
  • Tested
  • A wife worthy of respect, not a slanderer, self-controlled and faithful

In addition, candidates for elders should also meet the following requirements:

  • A member of Life Church, fully embracing the vision/mission of the church
  • Ability to work in unity with others
  • No immediate relation to a current staff member or elder
  • Availability to devote necessary time to serve as an elder
  • Faithful in attendance, consistently serves, gives financially regularly and is involved in gospel-centered community (Life Group)
  • A consistent devotional and prayer life and knows the Scriptures
Appendix C

Elder Ministry Description

To lead, shepherd and protect the flock of God at Life Church - Salisbury

  1. LEAD under the authority of Christ: (Acts 6:1-7, 20:28-32; Hebrews 13:17)
    • Faithfully oversee and support the spiritual life, effectiveness and fulfillment of the mission and values at Life Church alongside other elders and staff.
    • Lead by means of plurality. Each elder shares equally the authority and responsibility in decision-making processes, always striving to build consensus, serving as checks and balances for each other, including submitting and/or deferring to one another. Once a decision(s) are made, all elders will support it publicly.
    • Wisely steward the resources (financial, legal, people) of Life Church. Be involved in decision- making of major financial, personnel, and property decisions, including the approval of the budget and any fiscal activities beyond the budget.
    • Delegate to qualified teams/individuals whenever needed or possible.
    • Attend and participate in regular meetings.
    • Share the responsibility for decisions and the work that follows.
    • Guide, train, and direct ministry leaders within the church.
    • Be involved in decision-making of major financial, personnel, and property decisions
  2. SHEPHERD the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12-13; James 5:14;           1 Peter 5:1-4)
    • Faithfully provide spiritual oversight that supports the care and nurturing of believers (as well as non-believers) toward spiritual growth and health.
    • Pray for the church-body and the individuals who make it up, including laying hands on the sick and the spiritually oppressed.
    • Actively pursue and develop personal relationships with other church-Body members.
    • Reach out to, welcome and be part of the process of orienting new members to church-life.
    • Exhort and admonish the Body to fulfill responsibilities and grow spiritually. Guide members into discipling relationships, Life Groups, and/or other community-centered gatherings.
    • Aggressively and viciously protect the unity of the church, including:
    • Providing mediation and counsel to resolve conflicts. (as appropriate)
    • Handling and leading in matters of church discipline according to Matthew 18.
  3. TEACH God's Word: (1 Timothy 3:2, 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus             1:9)
    • Faithfully and prayerfully study, discern and communicate God's will for the church, especially as it relates to key decisions, initiatives, beliefs, values and the mission and vision of Life Church.
    • Be a part of a mutual learning process among fellow elders.
    • Train and equip others for leadership.
    • Correct false doctrine and refute false teachers.
  4. MODEL the Character of Christ: (John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Ephesians 5:1-2)
    • Faithfully set an example that others can imitate as they grow to become faithfully committed
    • Support and encourage fellow elders, staff and ministry leaders.
    • Commit to continual study of the Bible, including reading of current books regarding church issues and Christian living.

Qualifications & Expectations:

Elders should reflect, meet and uphold the biblical qualifications for elders outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and: 

  • Above reproach (blameless)
  • Lives wisely (sober-minded)
  • Self-controlled, self-restrained, disciplined (temperate)
  • Good reputation, well-respected BOTH within and outside the church
  • Hospitable, enjoys having people in the home
  • Not given to drunkenness
  • Not violent or quick-tempered, but gentle
  • Not quarrelsome or divisive, but peaceable
  • Not a lover of money or dishonest gain»
  • Manages family well, children are respectful » ability to care for the church
  • Loves what is good, upright and holy

The following qualifications for deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13) would also apply to elders:

  • A wife worthy of respect, not a slanderer, self-controlled and faithful

In addition, all elders should also meet the following requirements:

  • A member of Life Church, fully embracing the vision/mission of the church
  • Availability to devote necessary time to serve as an elder
  • Faithful in attendance, consistently serves, gives financially and is involved in gospel-centered
  • A consistent devotional and prayer life, consistently in the Scriptures

Additional Responsibilities:

  • Be intimately familiar with, uphold and protect the vision, mission, strategies, values, policies and procedures (as described in the Church Constitution and Bylaws) of Life Church.
  • Oversee church policies and procedures. Elders will also be responsible to make changes and amendments whenever necessary.
  • Evaluate the Lead Pastor annually, including the removal of the Lead Pastor or other leaders:
  • Administer the elements of communion and perform baptisms when needed.

Elders will serve a two year (minimum) to four year (maximum) term.

For Elders who are married:

We believe that the fulfilling of the office of elder is a role reserved for men. However, we also believe that the calling of an elder deeply involves both husband and wife. This philosophy is rooted in God's description of marriage as one flesh, and two becoming one in life's affairs.

We affirm the gifting and effectiveness of women and hold no views of the superiority of men. It is our desire to promote the work of the Holy Spirit in leading the church thus we seek to encourage, affirm, appreciate, and empower women to serve as God has called and prepared them. We recognize that wives are an integral part of the very character qualities that qualified her husband for service. Their position as the wife of an elder carries the added responsibility expected of any leader in the church.

  • Be invited to at least one meeting per quarter, and more than likely be invited to special meetings of an urgent nature when called.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality standards since we would not expect husbands to withhold information from their wives about church issues.
  • Actively support the ministries of the church and strive to maintain qualities of character that define spiritual leadership,
  • Be free to minister, serve, lead, and teach in the Body of Christ in any way they are convicted, gifted, led by God, and the leadership deems appropriate.
Appendix D

Finances

*Note: Finances and financial policies represent mostly administrative functioning and may change from time to time as deemed necessary by church staff and/or the Elder Team. A change in financial policies based on efficiency and/or efficacy may occur without formal vote by the Elder Team or affirmation by the church. Financial policies will be available by request and updated in the bylaws as necessary.

Finance Team

The Finance Team at Life Church consists of both staff and non-staff members, but shall always have more non-staff members than staff members.

The Life Church staff is responsible to take care of all invoices, reimbursements, and check requests on a day-to-day basis. However, each check has to be signed by non-staff member. The Finance Team is copied on all expenses that go through the Life Church's CPA.

The Finance Team will give input and oversight to the yearly budgets, the quarterly updates to the church, and general bigger picture financial decisions. Ultimately, the elders approve the budget, but the finance team will help to update and inform the elders. At any time, the Finance Team can ask questions about what's going on with the finances.

Sunday Offering

Sunday offerings will be counted and verified by two unrelated and approved people at each service. The designated counters will take the offerings immediately after the service to a designated area. The two counters will then tally all cash and coins and fill out a tally sheet (Form B). Both counters will sign off on the tally sheet in ink. All Checks will be ignored and left in their envelopes by the counters. The offerings will be secured in the safe on Sunday.

Any offerings that are hand delivered or mailed to the church will be placed in the safe until the next deposit is made.

All contributions are to be counted and entered into Life Church system of record by Life Church staff within 5 calendar days. All of the contributions will be counted and verified by two staff members. The two staff members will then verify the cash and coins total on the tally sheet and record the total amount of the checks on the tally sheet. Both counters will sign off on the tally sheet in ink.

Once counted and entered, all contributions should be deposited at the bank. The deposit slip needs to match the tally sheet and the deposit slip should be stapled to the tally sheet and kept in the appropriate binder. Ideally, the deposit will be made on Tuesday of each week.

© 2017 Life Church Salisbury