Purpose of the Church
Church of the Word exists to bring glory and honor to God’s name by making disciples of all men. The Church is formed under the authority of Jesus Christ and is called to worship, love and serve God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
(1 Peter 2:4-5)
Jesus Christ is the Source of All Legitimate Authority
Jesus Christ is the head over the Church. He rules over heaven and earth from His Father’s right hand. His infallible Word is revealed in the Holy Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, which is the standard of faith and conduct. He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us into truth. God is one and exists in three persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He does not change.
(Matthew 18:18-20; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:14-15; Hebrews 13:8)
God has ordained representative governments as an expression of His rule on the earth. We at Church of the Word are submitted to Jesus our High Priest, and a council of elders as His under shepherds.
The elders’ primary responsibilities are to lead the body, to shepherd the flock, to teach (publicly from the pulpit or privately one-on-one), and to pray. An elders’ specific responsibilities will vary based on his emphasis of God given skills and spiritual gifts, and on the needs of the church body.
(Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-4; 1 Timothy 5:17; Acts 6:4)
The elders will make all final decisions in matters pertaining to Church of the Word within the bounds of this constitution. The elders will make these decisions after diligently searching the Scriptures and after appropriate consultation with members of the church.
(Acts 15:22; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)
The Elders act by simple majority vote, unless the Articles or Constitution require otherwise. The elders may also act by unanimous written consent.
The elders are the only authorized representatives of the Church of the Word to outside individuals or organizations unless this authority is delegated to a deacon or church member for a specific task or project.
In the Bible, Deacons serve under the authority, leadership, and supervision of the elders. Their responsibilities are to assist with different physical needs of the church to allow the elders to focus on shepherding the body.
Membership in the universal church is an accomplished fact for all individuals who have exercised faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Membership at the Church of the Word, involves a member of the universal church coming under the biblical authority of the elders at Church of the Word. The elders have a responsibility before God to shepherd the flock and watch over their souls. In light of this great responsibility, it is important for the elders to know for whom it is they will be held to a higher account before God.
(James 3:1; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17)
Becoming a Member:
Prior to becoming a member of Church of the Word, individuals shall have an interview by the elders of Church of the Word. The elders shall make appropriate inquiries, including if possible contacting past church leaders, to determine if there are any biblical obstructions to their becoming members. In addition to an interview by the elders of Church of the Word, the applicant must:
- Have been baptized into the Christian Church following a profession of faith.
- Demonstrate an understanding of and agree to the Statement of Faith.
- Agree to attend regularly.
- Commit to a scriptural practice of tithing.
- Be able to comprehend what being a member entails.
- Commit to living a life pleasing to the Lord.
(Acts 20:28-31; Romans 12:4-5)
Members must be 20 years of age and have attended regularly for 12 months in order to vote.
You must be a member of the Church of The Word for an elder of the church to officiate the wedding.
Termination of membership:
Membership terminates in one of the following ways:
- Dismission to another church of like faith and order
- Exclusion by action of this church
- Request by member for their name to be removed from the roll. However, the Church may refuse a member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, for any Biblical reason, including but not limited to a church discipline proceeding.
Selection of Elders and Deacons
Elders will be chosen from among those men who feel a personal call to the office. First, candidates shall be nominated by members of the congregation. Upon nomination by the body, diligent inquiry shall be made by all those of the congregation and elders as to the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. The current elders shall take any concerns into consideration. In the absence of biblically disqualifying sin or lack of experience, and after praying and fasting, the elders shall lay their hands on them establishing them as elders.
(Acts 6:3; 1 Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 5:22)
In response to the needs of the body, deacons will be chosen from among those who feel a personal call to this ministry. Candidates’ conforming to the deacon qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3 will be nominated by the congregation and then confirmed by the elders.
(Acts 6:1-4; 1 Timothy 3:8-13)
Removal of an Elder from Office
First an accusation needs to be brought against an elder by two or three witnesses and diligent inquiry needs to be made.
(1 Timothy 5:19-20)
If the elder is found guilty as charged and refuses to repent and fails to resign, he will be removed from office by a clear accord of the members of the church.
We do acknowledge that some sins, because of their greater consequences may require an elder to step down for a time even though he may be repentant. If the remaining elders believe this to be the case, the elder in sin shall be required to step down. He would have to re-qualify in the future to again be an elder.
Any member who does not uphold their duties, or acts in a way that dishonors Jesus Christ is opposed to the welfare of the Church and is subject to discipline. The elders will exercise church discipline in accordance with God’s Word to preserve the sanctity of Church of the Word.
(Titus 3:10; Matthew 18:15-19; 1 Corinthians 5:11)
The church should take every reasonable measure to assist troubled Members. Following the instructions of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-17, disciplinary action should ordinarily be taken after efforts to give a private admonition have failed. Reconciliation and restoration should guide the attitude of members towards each other.
If the member continues to walk in unrepentant sin, the Elders may terminate the membership of that individual. Termination of membership must be approved by at least two-thirds vote of the Elders and voting at a properly called meeting where advance notice is given for the Elders to be present. The Elders may then proceed to declare the offender to no longer be in the Membership of the church.
Any person whose membership has been terminated may, upon request, be restored to Membership by a vote of the Elders upon evidence of his or her repentance and reformation. The restoration of the member must be approved by at least two-thirds vote of the Elders and voting at a properly called meeting where advance notice is given for the Elders to be present. The Elders may then proceed to reinstate the member.
Flexibility of this Statement of Church Government
We recognize that this document does not cover every situation that may arise, but it lays the foundation for the resolution of problems and the facilitation of ministry.
An amendment to the constitution can be proposed by either the elders or church members. That proposal shall be first approved by a majority of the elders of the church and then approved by a majority of the church members at a member’s meeting.