Bylaws approved May 21, 2017 | View our Church Constitution & Membership Covenant
Article 1 – Church Membership
Section 1: Reception of Members
A. A membership candidate must be an adult (at least 18 years of age) who has been baptized as a believer. Any membership candidate who has not been baptized as a believer shall be baptized by immersion prior to reception into membership. Prior to recommendation for membership, all candidates must complete a course of instruction in church doctrine, distinctives, and ministry philosophy; demonstrate their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to the satisfaction of the Council of Elders; and subscribe to the Cherrydale Covenant.
B. Candidates who are recommended by a vote of the Council of Elders will be received for membership at a member meeting.
Section 2: Responsibilities and Privileges
In accord with the duties enumerated in the Cherrydale Covenant, each member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the life and ministry of the church, in accordance with God’s leading and provision of time, material resources, and spiritual gifts.
Therefore, it is the privilege and duty of members to attend all member meetings and, after prayerful consideration, to participate in the following responsibilities:
A. affirming elders, deacons, and missionaries of the church;
B. receiving members into the church;
C. disciplining members for unrepentant sin and disciplining elders and deacons for unrepentant sin or disqualification from their office;
D. approving the annual budget of the church, expenditure of funds, and transactions regarding real property;
E. accepting, rejecting, or otherwise disposing of any matter submitted to the membership of the church; and
F. adopting, amending, or repealing the Constitution—including the Statement of Faith—and the Bylaws of this church.
Section 3: Church Discipline
The ultimate goal of church discipline is to restore an unrepentant member to a right relationship with God and His church. Christian discipline in the church is necessary for four reasons: to promote the growth of disciples of Christ; to protect this flock of God; to maintain our congregational witness to unbelievers; and, most importantly, to uphold the reputation of Christ.
A. All disciplinary proceedings in this church shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance with a view toward reconciliation and restoration. Members shall follow, in gracious spirit, the procedure commanded by our Lord in Matthew 18:15–20. In short, a concerned member shall go privately to the member who he/she believes has sinned against God, and if founded, shall urge him/her to repent. If repentance is not forthcoming, then the member shall take one or two witnesses who will confirm the sin and urge the individual to repent. If he/she still refuses to repent, the concerned member shall refer the matter to the church through the Elder Council (Matthew 18:15–20; Ephesians 4:25–32; Galatians 6:1–5; Titus 3:9–11).
B. The Elder Council shall be responsible to investigate and establish the facts related to a referred complaint. If the complaint is founded, the Council will urge repentance and work with the offending party to attain a repentant heart. There may be circumstances where an egregious sin comes to the attention of the Elder Council that requires immediate action by the congregation. In the case of a clear failure by the offending party to repent after sufficient time, the Council will present the matter to the church body at a regular meeting or other gathering as the Council determines. If the offending party fails to repent by the next member meeting, the Council may move to recommend excommunication (i.e., exclusion from membership and the Lord’s Supper). Excommunication shall occur upon a vote of 2/3 of the membership present and voting in a membership gathering or other meeting called according to these Bylaws (Matthew 18:15–20; Romans 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 5:1–13; 1 Peter 5:1–4; Hebrews 13:17).
C. This entire process has as its goal the restoration of the member to a right relationship with God and His church. The church’s elders and members shall remain open to repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation during the disciplinary process, even subsequent to the unlikely event of excommunication. In the case of excommunication, restoration to full participation in the congregation shall be granted upon the recommendation of the Elder Council to membership, who shall affirm restoration by a vote of 2/3 of the membership present and voting in a membership gathering or other 65 meeting called according to these Bylaws (Luke 17:1–4; 2 Corinthians 2:5–11; Hebrews 12:4–10).
Section 4: Termination of Membership
The Council of Elders may recognize the termination of a person’s membership after he or she has moved out of the area, joined with another church, or is otherwise not attending the services of the church. Membership may also be terminated as an act of church discipline by the Council of Elders according to the biblical principles outlined in Section 3 above. The Council of Elders shall have the authority to postpone action on 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.
Article 2 – Elders
Section 1: Role, Qualifications, and Responsibilities
A. Role. Elders shall be responsible for leading the church, teaching the Word and shepherding the flock of God in this church. Elders shall consist of both lay people and pastors, who together form a Council of Elders. Pastors are those specific elders who, in response to God’s call, have devoted their vocation to pastoral ministry.
B. Qualifications. Elders and nominees for elder shall be men who are qualified for the office as specified in 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9; and 1 Peter 5:1–4. Elders are also required to subscribe to the Constitution including the Statement of Faith.
C. Responsibilities. The responsibilities of the elders shall include the following, without limitation:
Section 2: Pastors
A. Pastors are those specific elders who, in response to God’s call, have devoted their vocation to pastoral ministry. Pastors are supported financially by the church in return for their vocational labors (1 Timothy 5:17–18).
B. Responsibilities. In addition to the responsibilities of their office as described in Section 1 above, pastors shall perform the responsibilities determined by the Council of Elders and approved by the church membership. The responsibilities shall be in writing at the time of the call to service, and substantial changes shall be approved by the church membership. The church’s call of a pastor is a call to the eldership of the church. Therefore, all pastors shall be members of the Council of Elders and demonstrate all the biblical qualifications of an elder. Specialized functions among the pastors shall include the following:
C. Vocational Call by the Church. The members shall affirm the call of pastors (1) by ballot upon recommendation of the Council of Elders and (2) by at least a two-thirds majority of those members voting at the member meeting. Notice of any such meeting, stating its purpose, shall be given from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting. A pastor (and, if married, his wife) shall become a member when the pastor is called by the church.
D. Termination of Vocational Call by the Church.
Section 4: Council of Elders
A. Composition. The Council of Elders shall be composed of at least three men with the number of elders at any time determined by the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of men in the church. A majority of the elders shall be lay elders.
B. Organization. The Council of Elders shall organize in whatever manner is necessary to fulfill the purpose of the church. Meetings of the elders may be held at any location and may be conducted by means of electronic communication through which the elders may simultaneously hear each other. Meetings of the Council shall be called by or at the request of the Chairman or any elder on at least twenty-four (24) hours’ notice to each elder, either personally, by telephone, or by electronic transmission; provided that (1) such notice may be waived by all elders either prior to, at, or following such meeting and (2) such notice shall not be required if there is an imminent threat to life or property, which requires the Council’s action. A quorum for meetings of the Council is defined as at least seventy percent of the elders, except for matters pertaining to pastoral compensation in which only lay elders are entitled to vote; in such meetings, at least seventy percent of the lay elders shall constitute a quorum. The Council shall select annually its Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary from among its lay elders, and shall determine the responsibilities of these positions.
C. Delegation of Authority. The Council of Elders has the authority to:
D. Licensing and Ordination to Gospel Ministry. The Council of Elders will license and ordain members for ministry according to standards and procedures adopted by the Council.
Article 3 – Deacons
A. Role and Composition. Deacons shall assist the Council of Elders by serving to support ministries of the church, to care for the church, and to perform certain administrative functions. The number of deacons shall be determined by the Council of Elders based on the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of men and women in the church.
B. Qualifications. Deacons and nominees for deacon shall be men or women who are qualified for the office as specified in the Scriptures (Acts 6:1–4; 1 Timothy 3:8–13).
C. Responsibilities.The deacons shall advise and be ready to assist the elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the Word, in new and existing ministries of the church, and in care for the members of the church. Their responsibilities may include the following:
D. Organization. The Council of Elders may designate any specific deacon or group of deacons to specialize in some particular deacon function, or may delegate such authority to deacons, as provided in Article 2, Section 4C of these Bylaws. Meetings of deacons may be held as needed to best fulfill their responsibilities.
E. Clerk, Treasurer, Missions Treasurer, and Financial Secretary. The church membership, upon nomination by the Council of Elders, shall affirm members to specific deacon positions of Clerk, Treasurer, Missions Treasurer, and Financial Secretary, who shall be accountable to the Council of Elders. The Treasurer, Missions Treasurer, and Financial Secretary shall be bonded by the church in a suitable amount. The Council of Elders shall provide a written description of duties for each of these positions, including the following:
F. Calling. The Council of Elders shall recognize, interview, and investigate candidates for deacon. The Council shall provide for individual members of the church either to nominate candidates or to present themselves to the Council as candidates for further investigation. In no instances shall any individual be considered a nominee without the nominee’s consent. In those cases where the Council of Elders concludes that a nominee is not qualified they shall so inform the nominee stating the reasons for this conclusion. The Council of Elders shall present a ballot of candidates to the congregation at a member meeting in July to affirm their call as deacons. A written ballot of nominees shall be distributed at the prior member meeting and the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the July meeting. The call of these deacons shall be affirmed by two-thirds vote of those members present and voting at the meeting. The Council of Elders may also nominate candidates for affirmation t any regular meeting, provided that a written ballot of nominees is distributed at the prior member meeting and the meeting is announced from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting. Such nominees shall be affirmed in their call for the remainder of that fiscal year. Deacons shall be affirmed in their call by the membership of the church to a normal term of three years. They may serve consecutive terms as needed and reaffirmed.
G. Termination of Call by the Church.
1. Resignation. A deacon may resign at any time if he or she is no longer able to discharge the duties of the office.
2. Grievance. When a grievance exists against a deacon of the church either due to the adherence to and propagation of beliefs contrary to the beliefs of the church as set forth in Article 3 of its Constitution or to alleged conduct unfitting a deacon, such grievance may be brought before the Council of Elders by any two members. If the Council, after thorough investigation and consideration, believes the grievance to be true and substantial, then the Council may recommend to the members of the church that the deacon be removed from office. A thorough investigation and consideration of a grievance must include a reasonable opportunity for the accused deacon to present facts and/or arguments in defense. Removal is possible when the Council of Elders recommends removal and the recommendation is supported by a closed ballot of a majority of those members of the church present and voting at any regular or special meeting. Notice of any such meeting, stating its purpose, shall be given from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting.
Article 4 – Church Employees
In addition to pastors, the church may employ additional personnel. The funds for such personnel must be approved by the membership either through the annual budget at the Annual Meeting, or at a properly called business meeting. The Council of Elders shall be responsible for determining the duties and hiring of such personnel.
Article 5 – Meetings
Section 1: For Worship
Public services shall be held on Sunday. The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month or at such other times as the Council of Elders may determine. Other religious services may be appointed as the advancement of the work of the church may require.
Section 2: For Business
A. The Fiscal Year. The fiscal year of the church shall be October 1 through September 30 for the purposes of budgeting, accounting, and ministry planning.
B. Calling of Elders and Deacons. A member meeting shall be held sometime during the month of July to affirm the call of elders and deacons. Notice of this meeting shall be announced from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting. Those affirmed at this meeting shall assume their duties at the beginning of the next fiscal year.
C. Annual Meeting. The annual meeting shall be held sometime during the last month of the fiscal year of the church for the purpose of reviewing the proposed budget and other business. Notice of this meeting shall be announced from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting. In the event that an annual budget has not been approved by the commencement of the fiscal year, the most recently approved budget shall be used until a new annual budget is approved. A written Annual Report shall be prepared by the Council of Elders including reports on ministries of the church, the annual budget, and the budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
D. Regular Meetings. Meetings of the church members shall be announced from the pulpit on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting.
E. Special Meetings. The Council of Elders, or any ten church members in good standing, may call for a special meeting. Notice of the meeting shall be given from the pulpit or by other notification, the purpose of such meeting being clearly stated in the notice. In the calling of special meetings for purposes where an interval after advance notice is required by provision in these Bylaws, such provisions shall be observed. Notice shall be given at least one week in advance for meetings on important matters not otherwise addressed in these Bylaws.
F. Quorum. Quorum for all business meetings of the church shall be 20% of the current membership of the church.
G. Rules Governing Business Meetings. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be recognized as the general pattern for the conduct of the business meetings of the church. Seeking the Lord’s wisdom and blessing through thankful prayer shall be a part of every meeting. A simple majority vote is required to approve recommendations unless otherwise required in these Bylaws.
Article 6 – Organization of Members for Ministry
Members of this church shall have the liberty to participate in and organize themselves for ministry, provided that such participation and organization does not conflict with Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. Any such organization may seek church sanction from the Council of Elders as an official ministry of the church. Such sanction shall be granted provided that (1) the object, purpose, belief, and conduct of the organization and its members is consistent with Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution; and the primary officers of the organization are members of the church who have been approved under guidelines established by the Council of Elders. Sanction by the Council of Elders does not necessarily imply support of the organization by the church with personnel or finance. Such support may be requested of and considered by the Council of Elders.
Article 7 – Finances
Section 1: General Guidelines
No method of raising funds shall be entertained that is in conflict with the scriptural ideals of the church. All funds donated shall be processed by the Financial Secretary and the Treasurer in order that due record may be made and credit given to the church. The deacons shall provide assistants for the Financial Secretary in accounting for funds donated in accordance with specific policies relating to the financial accounts and managements of the funds approved by the Council of Elders.
Section 2: Contributions
It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligations to support the church and its causes with regular and proportionate giving. Each member shall be encouraged in scriptural giving (2 Corinthians 8-9). Special offerings may be sought by the church, or by any of its organizations, with the approval of the Council of Elders. Contributions may be designated for particular purposes, programs, or projects of the church that have been authorized in advance by the Council of Elders. Designated gifts not previously approved by the Council will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Council approval is based on the following criteria: priority in fulfilling the church’s purpose and wise stewardship of resources. If a contribution is given for a purpose other than what has been approved, the donation will be returned to the donor along with a written explanation.
All undesignated funds will be deposited into the General Fund for general church purposes. To the extent permissible under the law, the Council of Elders shall have the power to modify any previously approved restriction or condition on the distribution of funds for any specified purposes or to specified organizations if, in the judgment of the Council, such restriction or condition becomes, in effect, unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment, or inconsistent with the purposes of the church.
Section 3: Financial Planning and Approval of Major Expenses
Financial planning for the ministries of the church membership shall be conducted through the annual budget and recommended to the church by the Council of Elders. Matters involving staff compensation shall be the responsibility of the lay members of the Council of Elders. The Council of Elders may delegate this responsibility provided such delegation is to deacons or other lay members of the church. Any single expenditure that exceeds $50,000 and any expenditure from the missions fund that exceeds $20,000 shall require recommendation by the Council of Elders and approval of the membership.
Section 4: Accounting
Financial receipts from all sources shall be accounted for by the Financial Secretary according to the purposes for which contributions are designated. The Treasurer shall disburse these funds promptly according to the financial program of the church as detailed in the annual budget or other authorized designations.
Article 8 – Amendments
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at a member meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous member meeting and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.