We the members of Faith Bible Church of Sanford, North Carolina do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily and solemnly submit ourselves. This constitution supersedes any constitution written for Faith Bible Church under any name.
Article I – Name
1.1 The name of this church shall be FAITH BIBLE CHURCH of Sanford, North Carolina. Current location: 210 Amos Bridges Road, Sanford, NC 27330.
Article II – Purpose & Vision
2.1 The purpose of this
congregation shall be to glorify the Triune God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures
by maintaining and promoting Christ-centered worship both individually and
corporately, by evangelizing the lost, and by edifying His saints. We will prayerfully attempt to accomplish this
mission and vision by the following means:
2.1.1 Maintain a strong teaching pulpit through expository preaching.
2.1.2 A ministry of Christian education for all ages to promote the steady growth of our church family to spiritual maturity.
2.1.3 Promote fellowship among the body of believers by offering large and small church sponsored gatherings aimed at meeting individual needs.
2.1.4 Obedience to the Great Commission by advancing the Kingdom of God through evangelistic outreach as well as home and foreign missions.
ARTICLE III – Covenant
3.1 Introductory Statement:
3.1.1 God has graciously entered into a covenant relationship with all true believers (Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:40; Hebrews 8:7-13, 10:16-17, 13:20-21).
3.1.2 Jesus Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6). His blood is the blood of the New Covenant, which infallibly secures all the benefits of the new covenant for all of God’s elect throughout all the ages (Matthew 26:26-28; Hebrews 13:20-21).
3.1.3 God has in this New Covenant made us members one of another (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 4:25). Therefore, we have covenant responsibilities to each other, as well as to God.
3.1.4 God has promised in this covenant to write His law in our hearts and to cause us to walk in His ways (that is, to enable us to keep our covenant responsibilities – Ezekiel 11:19-20). The motivation and ability to obey God’s laws spring from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who, by His death, satisfied the holy wrath of God that was against us due to our sin. It is by the enabling of the Holy Spirit that we obey, in loving gratitude for Christ’s righteousness, which has been imputed to us, and not to establish our own righteousness before God (John 15:4-5; Romans 2:25-26; 2 Corinthians 3:5-6; Hebrews 9:14).
3.1.5 We obey with the confidence that the purpose of Christ’s death will be realized in us (that is, “that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:1-4) and that we should be a people “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14)).
3.2 Summary of Our Covenant Responsibilities (the law written in our hearts) – The following statements are a summary of what we believe are our covenant responsibilities toward God and toward one another. This summary forms the basis for our giving and receiving instructions for ourselves and for our families.
3.2.1 We agree to worship only the one true and living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has revealed Himself to us in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. We will declare His glory to the nations. We will have no other gods before Him.
3.2.2 We agree not to use the name of our God emptily or to take it upon ourselves carelessly, but to walk in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
3.2.3 We agree to submit ourselves first and foremost to God our Father, and all governing authorities placed over us in the home, church, government, and our professions. If placed in a position of authority, we will administrate that position in a Christ-like manner to glorify Him and teach those placed under our stewardship by living example and in biblical practice to love, honor, and obey the Lord with all of our heart, mind, body, and soul.
3.2.4 We agree to avoid whatever tends to destroy us or our neighbors and to engage vigorously in all lawful endeavors to preserve our own lives and the lives of others, especially by ready reconciliation and faithful exhortation in the church.
3.2.5 We agree to possess our bodies in holiness as vessels joined to Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit and to avoid all uncleanness of thought, speech, or action.
3.2.6 We agree to be diligent in our vocations, that we may provide for our own households, avoid theft of time, money or goods, and to have to give to him who has need.
3.2.7 We agree to earnestly promote truth among men and to avoid anything that would prejudice the truth or injure our neighbor’s good name.
3.2.8 We agree to be fully content with our own condition in life, to rejoice in the advancement of our neighbor, and to avoid envying him or coveting anything that is his.
3.2.9 It is the duty of every member of this church to be faithful in attending to the means that God has given us to grow in Christ. This is to be done by:
22.214.171.124 Regular and faithful attendance at the meetings of this church with joyful and hearty participation in the worship services each Lord’s Day, unless providentially hindered
from attending by sickness or other necessities.
126.96.36.199 Diligent study of the Holy Scriptures, publicly, privately, and in our families.
188.8.131.52 Constant prayer, in private, in our families, and in the corporate gatherings of our church.
184.108.40.206 Participation in the administration of the ordinances in the public gatherings of the church.
220.127.116.11 Cheerful giving of money, time, and talents for the maintenance of the ministries of the church, support of missions, and relief of those members of the body of Christ who may suffer physical and material needs.
Article IV – Doctrine
4.1 We are essentially reformed in our theology, which means that we embrace those great doctrines that made a resurgence during the Reformation that began in the 16th century. We also adhere to the Apostles’, Nicene, and Chalcedonian Creeds (Appendix A). Our complete doctrinal statement can be found in a separate document entitled “Doctrinal Statement of Faith Bible Church of Sanford, North Carolina.”
ARTICLE V – Church Government
5.1 General Statement – The appointment of elders and deacons is the prerogative of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. However, He has ordained that each local church exercise the responsibility of recognizing those whom He is appointing to be elders and deacons in that particular church. Men are to be recognized as elders and deacons by the laying on of hands by the eldership (1 Timothy 4:14). This is an expression of approval for which the elders are responsible (1 Timothy 5:2). Therefore, each elder and deacon must have the approval of the church as a whole and of the eldership in particular.
5.2 Office of Elder
5.2.1 Plurality of Elders – By definition, the elder structure of government is a collective form of leadership in which each elder shares equally the position, authority, and responsibility of the office (Biblical Eldership, Strauch: Lewis & Roth Publishers, 1995, page 39, Second Edition). Some elders give more time to the spiritual leadership than others and are called to fulfill more demanding responsibilities. They are worthy of "double honor" (monetary compensation - 1 Timothy 5:17). All elders must hold to the doctrinal statement of the church (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5; James 5:14).
5.2.2 Selection of Elders – Will be based on: Desire, Qualification, and Examination
18.104.22.168 Desire – Prospective elders need to have a desire to serve in the office as seen in 1 Timothy 3:1. Such a person should approach an elder or the elder board expressing his desires.
22.214.171.124 Qualification and Examination – Upon being made aware of their desire, the elder board will begin by meeting with the potential candidate to discuss the opportunity. The elder board will then begin comparing the candidate's life to the qualifications outlined in Scripture. If, in the opinion of the existing elder board, he appears qualified, his name will be presented to the congregation for further examination. This will be accomplished by the announcement of his candidacy during regularly scheduled worship services on the Lord’s Day. If the candidate is found to not be qualified, the elder board will explain to the candidate which qualification or qualifications were found lacking and provide recommendations for personal and/or spiritual development, which could be a basis for reconsideration.
126.96.36.199 Compensation – The body of elders shall be composed of only men, both vocational elders and non-vocational. Though the qualifications and most of the duties of elders are the same, there is some warrant for a distinction of role and relationship due to specific degree of gift. There should be an attempt, if possible, to maintain a majority of non-vocational elders so as to prevent vocational elders from directly making compensation decisions for themselves. Non-paid elders should be the primary decision makers concerning monetary compensation for vocational elders.
5.2.3 Elder-Congregation Relationships – The eldership as a body is authorized and responsible to give comprehensive oversight to the church (Acts 20:17-35; 1 Peter 5:1-2), including the preaching and teaching of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20-21,27; Titus 1:9); the watching out for the welfare of the soul of every member of the church (Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 1:28; I1Thessalonians 2:11; Hebrews 13:17); and the directing of the church in all its tasks by setting general policy and by making specific decisions (1 Timothy 3:4-5; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1-2). Nonetheless, the elders must exercise this authority with sensitivity to the consensus of the congregation in the posture of servants and examples to the congregation (Matthew 20:25-28; 1 Peter 5:3). Therefore, the elders should seek the advice and support of the congregation respecting any major endeavor or large expenditure and should be willing to yield to the congregation when appropriate (Acts 19:30, 21:11-14).
188.8.131.52 Furthermore, the Lord has ordained that congregational approval or suffrage is mandatory in the recognition and confirmation of church officers (Acts 6:1-6) and the exercise of the most serious acts of church discipline, namely suspension and excommunication (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:14).
184.108.40.206 Congregational Responsibilities to the Elders – The authority of the elders is a very real authority. God's people are, therefore, required to submit when it is biblically exercised (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
5.2.4 Relationships Among the Elders
220.127.116.11 Elder Responsibilities to Fellow Elders – The authority of every elder is the same. Thus, every elder has equal rule in the church. Though gifts possessed and functions performed will vary from elder to elder, this diversity must not undermine real parity among the elders. Each elder has the responsibility to hold each other accountable and lift each other up in prayer (Proverbs 27:17).
18.104.22.168 Decision-Making Process – Elders must have unanimity in all major decisions, doctrinal or otherwise. In lesser matters, it should be possible for individuals to allow their preferences to be over-ridden by the majority without feeling that some great personal or theological cause has been sacrificed (A Noble Task, Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1987, pages 83, 84 - Strauch - pages 126, 127, Second Edition).
22.214.171.124 Single Elder Contingency – As we believe it to be the God ordained standard, maintaining a Plurality of Elders is the desire of the Elder Board of Faith Bible Church. If, however, the situation arises where only one qualified, recognized elder is serving locally at Faith Bible Church, the following guidelines will be observed.
126.96.36.199.1 That elder will meet regularly with the Deacon Board to promote fellowship, accountability, and encouragement.
188.8.131.52.2 That elder will keep the Deacon Board informed of the status of the ministry regarding routine operations.
184.108.40.206.3 That elder will meet regularly with the Deacon Board to discuss the state of the flock.
220.127.116.11.4 That elder and the members of the Deacon Board must be particularly devoted to prayer regarding the raising up of additional qualified men to aid in the shepherding of this local assembly.
18.104.22.168.5 The standards for qualification and recognition of elders as set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, as well as the established policy of Faith Bible Church for these processes, must not be compromised for the sake of realizing plurality.
22.214.171.124.6 Prior to any major shifts in doctrine or policy, that elder will consult with and obtain unanimity between himself and all qualified, recognized, non-active, and/or transferred elders until a plurality of active elders is realized at Faith Bible Church. In the event no such men can be reached or none consider themselves familiar with current events at FBC, that elder will consult with the members of the Deacon Board and the decision will be a joint effort between the remaining elder and the members of the Deacon Board.
126.96.36.199 Pulpit Vacancy
188.8.131.52.1 Pulpit Committee – Should the pulpit become vacant, the remaining elders of the church will begin a search for a new elder to serve as the primary teaching pastor for the congregation.
184.108.40.206.1.2 The elders will consult with the congregation and seek their input on potential candidates.
220.127.116.11.1.3 Once a candidate is selected, the elders of the church will present him to the congregation for consideration. The elders will allow the potential pastor to fill the pulpit for a period of time while the elders and the congregation evaluate his gifts and the potential fit with the church.
18.104.22.168.1.4 Once the elders are agreed on a candidate, they will ask the members of the church to vote for or against the potential candidate. The results of the vote will not finally determine whether to call the candidate as pastor, but will be used by the elders in the decision making process. The elders will make the final decision on whether to call the candidate as pastor, but not without seriously considering the input of the membership.
22.214.171.124 Removal of an Elder
126.96.36.199.1 Church officers are subject to the same rules of discipline as the other members. In addition they are subject to public reprimand by the elders (Galatians 2:14; 1 Timothy 5:20) and/or removal from office (1 Timothy 3:1) under two conditions. This may occur if they are no longer qualified for their office or capable of fulfilling its functions and refuse to resign their office voluntarily. This may occur also if their behavior is disorderly or scandalous, thereby bringing reproach to Christ and the church and setting a bad example before the brethren.
188.8.131.52.2 Any elder may be removed involuntarily from office by the decision of the other elders in the church. The elders will only make this decision after seriously considering the counsel of the members of the church. If there are no other elders, the removal of an elder will require a 2/3 majority vote from the membership.
184.108.40.206.3 Removal will be effective immediately following the decision of the elders. In the case of a paid elder, a minimum thirty-day compensation package will be provided.
5.3 Office of Deacon
5.3.1 Definition – Deacons are to serve under the direction of the elders, undertaking those areas of service necessary for the church’s functioning that would otherwise prohibit the elders from performing their biblical responsibilities. All deacons are subject to the church’s disciplinary procedures.
5.3.2 Appointment and Qualifications – Deacons shall be appointed from the men of this church, and shall meet the spiritual qualifications set forth in the Word of God (1 Timothy 3:8-13). All deacons will hold to the doctrinal statement of Faith Bible Church.
5.3.3 Evaluation and Approval – Deacon candidates will be evaluated and approved per the above procedures outlined for elder candidates. The only exception being that the elders may approach a potential candidate to consider serving in the office.
ARTICLE VI – Church Membership
6.1 Defined – The membership of FBC shall be made up of born-again children of God whose lifestyle reflects their profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Although the practice of local church membership as we now know it is not expressly taught in the Bible, it is a consistent application of the biblical principles of fellowship, accountability, discipleship, discipline, and a joint cooperation in advancing the kingdom of God throughout the world through missions. Membership is required for anyone holding any office in the church and anyone involved in teaching and outreach ministries. Exceptions to this can be approved on a case-by-case basis by the elder board.
6.1.1 Requirements for Membership
220.127.116.11 All persons who, in the discernment of the elders, are capable of mature, independent judgment as appears sufficient to obey the Gospel and participate in the broad responsibilities of membership, may apply for membership. Such persons shall be eligible for membership as they profess repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:37-42, 5:14, 8:12, 16:30-34, 20:21), manifest a life transformed by the power of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:1-2, 6:11; Galatians 1:1-2, 4:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-9), are baptized upon professed faith in Christ (Matthew 20:18-20; John 4:1-2; Acts 2:41, 8:12, 16:31-34, 18:8), and are willing to submit to its government (1 Corinthians 14:40; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 13:17) and discipline (Matthew 18:15-18; Acts 5:13-14).
18.104.22.168 New converts will be asked to agree to the basic doctrines of the Christian faith. Mature believers who come from other congregations will be asked to review the doctrinal statement of the church and express substantial agreement with it. Full agreement to the doctrinal statement will not be required, but the elders will evaluate whether exceptions to the doctrine of the church should exclude someone from church membership. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
22.214.171.124 Potential members will also be asked to read the Constitution of the church and if there are any disagreements, to make those known to the elders. The elders will decide if any disagreements with the contents of the Constitution should exclude someone from church membership.
126.96.36.199 A willingness to use one's spiritual gift(s) in the building up of the local church.
188.8.131.52 A willingness to prayerfully and financially support this work as God so prospers.
184.108.40.206 Candidates for membership will be personally interviewed by at least one elder prior to public reception.
220.127.116.11 Public reception before the congregation.
6.1.2 Types of Membership
18.104.22.168 Regular Members – Those who are received into this membership according to the procedures outlined above, and are in good standing, shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the church.
22.214.171.124 Associate Members – Are members of other churches who come to live in our area for a limited period of time (i.e. students, military personnel, persons on special work assignment) may be received into this fellowship in the same manner as persons who have permanent residence in our geographical area. Such Associate Members need not be released from the membership of their “home church.” Associate Members will enjoy all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of Regular Members. When such a person terminates their period of temporary residence, they will be released to the fellowship of their "home church" and will no longer be regarded as a member of this church.
126.96.36.199 Children of Regular and Associate Members
188.8.131.52.1 All children of Regular and Associate Members will be cared for by the church in a way very similar to members. However, children are not officially considered members until they make a valid profession of faith in the gospel and are baptized.
184.108.40.206.2 Children will be permitted to participate in the Lord’s Supper once they have made a valid profession of faith and have been baptized.
220.127.116.11.3 One must be eighteen years of age in order to participate in matters that require a church vote.
6.1.3 Termination of Membership
18.104.22.168 Types of Termination
22.214.171.124.1 By death.
126.96.36.199.2 By erasure.
188.8.131.52.2.1 Any member permanently uniting with another church thereby ceases to be a member of this church and their name shall be dropped from the role.
184.108.40.206.2.2 Any member, for any reason, may request to have their membership cancelled and their name erased from the role.
220.127.116.11.2.3 After repeated and prolonged absence and inquiry by the elders, a member shall be dropped from the role.
18.104.22.168.2.4 By church discipline (See Article VIII).
6.1.4 Records of Membership – The elders shall maintain a file of all past and present members. This file shall have three divisions: Regular Members, Associate Members, and Former Members. The file of former members shall include the date and reason church membership was terminated and a copy of a letter sent to any Former Member terminated by erasure per Article 22.214.171.124.2.
ARTICLE VII – Trustees
7.1 Defined – The office of Legal Trustee is a perfunctory office, necessary to satisfy the laws of the State of North Carolina. Legal Trustees (minimum of three required) are appointed by the Elder Board to legally own the church's assets for the congregation, and their signatures are required on certain documents of the church. They act only as directed by the Elder Board and have no personal liability, so long as they are executing their office as Legal Trustee. The Board of Trustees will consist of the members of the elder board and any other men appointed by the elder board.
ARTICLE VIII – Church Discipline
8.1 Defined – To safeguard the testimony of this church, any person who has submitted to the authority and spiritual leadership of this church, and whose life or teaching is in continual disobedience to the Word of God, shall be subject to discipline by the church. The disciplinary process, described herein, shall be conducted under the oversight of the Elder Board.
8.2 Purpose – The purpose of discipline shall be to remedy the wrong, restore the erring one, preserve the purity and testimony of the church, and maintain the blessing of God upon the endeavors of this church.
8.3 Administration – All discipline shall be administered according to the pattern established in the Bible (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 2 Corinthians 2:3-11, and Galatians 6:1).
8.4 Erasure – Any member terminated by erasure per Article 126.96.36.199.2.4 who genuinely repents shall be restored to the fellowship, and reinstated to their previous membership status.
ARTICLE IX – Finances
9.1 Defined – All financial matters, including the drafting and approval of an annual budget, are the responsibility of the elder board.
9.1.1 Treasurer – The elder board will appoint the Treasurer.
188.8.131.52 Duties of the Treasurer
184.108.40.206.1 Maintain a balance sheet of the funds brought in and disbursed through the General Account.
220.127.116.11.2 Pay all accounts payable (including compensation for paid pastor(s)) in a timely manner.
18.104.22.168.3 Maintain the checking account for the General Account.
22.214.171.124.4 Provide a copy of the balance sheet to the elders at the end of every month and post a copy in a conspicuous location in the church.
ARTICLE X – Disposal of Assets
10.1 If grounds for dissolution of the church exist, the elders, or other remaining leadership shall propose to the membership the pursuit of dissolution.
10.1.1 Approval from the majority of the members of the church, at a duly called congregational meeting for that purpose, is necessary for the dissolution process to begin.
10.1.2 Upon congregational approval of the leadership's recommendation to pursue dissolution, the members of the church shall decide on the receiver or receivers of its assets, make arrangements for, and actually dispose of the same within the guidelines defined in the following section of this paragraph.
10.1.3 The last act of the congregation shall be to acknowledge and certify that all its assets have been disposed as specified herein. The dissolution shall proceed within these guidelines, which shall not be violated.
10.1.4 All assets are to be disposed, and all just debts paid. No member is to take possession of any assets or profit from their liquidation. The disposition of all assets, or the proceeds from their liquidation, shall be given to a church or churches holding to our doctrinal distinctives. If no such church can be found, then the proceeds should be distributed to spread the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, which we know shall exist somewhere according to God's promise until Christ returns (Matthew 16:18).
ARTICLE XI – Amendments
11.1 Since this Constitution is the product of fallible men, living in a changing world, we may desire from time to time to revise or amend it. This process should be undertaken cautiously, and prayerfully, and never done in a hasty manner.
11.2 The elders will take the oversight of the process of amendment, but will also carefully consider the counsel of the members of the church. The elders must reach a unanimous decision before presenting the proposed constitutional amendment to the congregation.
11.3 Any proposed revision or amendment must be distributed to the members of the church in written form prior to its public consideration and adoption. And, since this process of revision recommendation concerns the entire church, the Constitution may only be amended by a 2/3 majority vote of the members voting at a duly convened business meeting of the congregation.
11.4 Any future amendments to this Constitution shall be listed in writing at the conclusion of this Constitution, and subsequently published along with it as part of our polity commitment.
11.5 No amendment may be proposed which precludes further amendment.
APPENDIX – Creeds
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven; and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
(Note – The phrase, “He descended into hell” is not included, as it is not included in the earliest versions and due to the obvious doctrinal difficulties it presents.)
THE NICENE CREED
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.
Adopted on June 15th, 2014