This Constitution was adopted on April 30, 2018, and supersedes any and all constitutions previously adopted. [NOTE: This is intended for reference purposes only and is not the actual constitution itself since this facsimile is not signed by the Chair of the Elder Board or the Secretary of the Elder Board.]
We, the Members of Harbour Shores Church of Hamilton County, Indiana, desiring to serve faithfully the Lord Jesus Christ, to foster the spirit of harmony, to promote good order in the church, and to set forth our position before the world, do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
This assembly is incorporated as Harbour Shores Church, Inc. We shall be known as Harbour Shores Church (“HSC” or “the church”).
A. To glorify God as He has revealed Himself: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; John 5:19-23; Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 3:21; 1 Peter 1:2)
B. To exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as God the Son, the Savior of the world, and the Head of HisChurch (Matthew 16:13-18; Romans 10:8-11; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:15-19; 1 John 4:14).
C. To establish and maintain a local congregation of believers obedient to the teaching of Scripture (Acts 14:23; Romans 6:17; 2 Timothy 4:1-2).
D. To build and advance the Church of which Christ is the Head: 1. By proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). 2. By assembling together to worship the Lord (Acts 2:46-47; Acts 5:14; Hebrews 10:25). 3. By teaching believers the doctrines of Scripture and equipping them for every good work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2:15; 3:16-17; Jude 3).
E. To administer the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper as set forth in the New Testament (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to repent of our sins and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and on the public confession of our faith, having been obedient in believer’s baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and His assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ. We covenant, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit: to give supreme allegiance to Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture; to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this local church body in Biblical knowledge, sound doctrine, and personal and corporate holiness. We further covenant: to promote the well-being and spiritual growth of HSC; to attend its services regularly; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give faithfully of time and talent in its activities; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, to the relief of the poor, and to the spread of the Gospel. We further covenant to encourage one another in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return; to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense but always desirous of conciliation and harmony.
The HSC Statement of Faith summarizes the tenets of the Christian Faith. The Beliefs and Practices and Core Values articulate the distinctives and focus of HSC. The Statement of Faith and Beliefs and Practices do not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. The Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and the Core Values are presented to all applicants for Membership in the church. For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Elder Board is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. The Statement of Faith and Beliefs and Practices are ratified by the church and are on file in the church office.
This church, recognizing Christ as its Head, shall not be subject to other ecclesiastical authority. It may associate in fellowship with those of like faith and practice and may declare itself in agreement with others in a common cause, but under no circumstance shall such association or agreement ever be construed as bringing this church under the authority of those persons, groups, or bodies
A. Biblical Foundation for Church Membership
Scripture makes it clear that God is the One who calls individuals, though spiritually dead, into new life and fellowship with Himself through the pouring out of His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the indwelling with the Holy Spirit, and places them into membership of His universal Church. The New Testament requires of all Christians their formal, public, solemn, voluntary and enduring love for Jesus Christ, His truth, and His people. A true Christian’s love for the Lord Jesus Christ includes, and is inseparable from, his commitment to Christ’s truth and to Christ’s people (Colossians 2:2-3; 1 John 4:7-21). This commitment to Christ, His truth and His people ordinarily requires a corresponding commitment of church affiliation in a local church. A gathering of believers is referred to in Scripture as the ekklesia (church); formal commitment to the church is commonly termed membership. Membership in the local church is a joy, a privilege and a responsibility, and is warranted for the following Biblical reasons:
1. According to the Great Commission of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) there is an inseparable connection between making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them. The Apostles implemented this commission by gathering baptized disciples into local churches. It was therefore in local churches that baptized disciples were taught all that Christ commanded (Acts 2:38-42; 1 Corinthians 4:17). Almost without exception, the New Testament describes believing men and women as being joined to a local church.
2. The New Testament presents the local church, ekklesia, as a distinct group of individuals which:
a. Could be counted (Acts 2:41-42; 4:4) and added to (Acts 2:47; 5:14)
b. Receives and recognizes the whole counsel of God, including the letters to the New Testament churches (Acts 20:26-27; Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 5:27; 2 Peter 3:15-16)
c. Selects leaders and representatives from among itself (Acts 6:1-6; 2 Corinthians 8:19, 23; Acts 15:22)
d. Officially gathers together (Acts 14:27; 15:22; Hebrews 10:25)
e. Submits to Biblical authority (Hebrews 13:17)
f. Carries out church discipline by vote (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:4,13; 2 Corinthians 2:6)
g. Observes the Lord’s table (1 Corinthians 11:17-20, 33-34)
B. Applicants for Membership
1. To qualify for Membership in the church, a person must be a confessed believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been baptized by immersion in obedience to Christ following his or her regeneration (Acts 2:41; Acts 8:12; Romans 6:4), and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. If an applicant has come from another church, an attempt shall be made to notify the church where the applicant has been a member.
2. Each applicant must agree to submit to the authority of the teaching of Scripture, as well as, agree with the Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and the Core Values of this church. Each applicant must further agree to be subject to this Constitution. The Constitution, Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and the Core Values are presented to all applicants for Membership in the church.
3. The Elder Board shall be responsible to communicate clearly the expectations for Membership and for determining each person’s qualifications for Membership. Applicants for Membership shall give their testimony concerning their assurance of salvation and baptism to the Elders.
4. The names of the applicants preliminarily approved for Membership by the Elder Board shall be presented to the Members for two consecutive Sundays. Any objection to an applicant must be brought to an Elder privately within 14 days of the first presentation of his or her name.
5. If no objections are received, or if such objections, after inquiry and evaluation, are found to be invalid by the Elder Board, new Members shall be received by the church at a Members’ meeting or worship service.
6. If an objection is considered to be valid by the Elder Board, the applicant’s name shall be withdrawn. The Elder Board may proceed with any necessary actions.
C. Privileges and Responsibilities
Responsibilities of membership go hand and hand with its privileges. When Members join this church, they voluntarily make an enduring commitment in accordance with the teaching of Scripture.
1. All who come into the Membership of this church are expected to walk worthily of the Lord, that His name and Word are not blasphemed, but rather that His excellencies are displayed through us (Ephesians 3:10; 1 Peter 2:9), and that the good name of His Church be not damaged but rather enhanced.
2. Each Member agrees to walk personally with the Lord including: habitual prayer (Matthew 6:6, 10; Daniel 6:10); habitual reading and meditating on God’s Word (Psalm 1:2; 119:11, 97); diligent instruction of his or her children in the Word of God (Deuteronomy 6:7; Ephesians 6:4); and continual maintenance of a good conscience in light of the coming judgment day. (Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:19; Hebrews 10:22; 13:18).
3. God never intended the glorious blessing of Christian liberty, which we enjoy, to become an excuse and covering for worldliness (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 2:16). Therefore, the Members of this church will separate from any wicked practices and attitudes of society while still living in and ministering to society (Romans 6:1-18; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11).
4. We who have been joined to Christ by faith and are Members of this church are also members one of another (Romans 12:5). With this privileged relationship come particular responsibilities. Out of love for Christ and one another, we: maintain mutual respect and honesty (Ephesians 4:25); rejoice in each other’s honor and bear one another’s sorrows (1 Corinthians 12:26); discreetly confess our faults one to another (James 5:16); faithfully admonish and encourage one another (Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 14-15); avoid all backbiting and gossip (Proverbs 26:20-24); keep in strict confidence all matters which are of private concern to the church (Proverbs 11:13; 25:9-10; Matthew 18:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12); and when necessary, help meet the material needs of our brethren (Galatians 6:10; James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:16-18).
5. As part of maintaining a healthy church body united in Christ, Members of this church who have conflict with other Members have the responsibility to attempt to resolve such conflict in a God-honoring manner (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Philippians 4:2-3).
6. Members of the church are expected to participate actively in the church. Active participation includes, but is not limited to:
a. Attendance at Worship and Members’ meetings (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:24-25), and voting in accordance with Article X Section E.
b. Financial support (Genesis 14:17-20; Malachi 3:8-10; Luke 8:1-3; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Hebrews 7:1-4; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)
c. Promotion of edification and peace (see Section C(4) above)
d. Personal and corporate evangelism (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 1:16-17; Romans 10:1; 1 Peter 3:15-16)
e. Support of, and submission to, leadership (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:19; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
f. Testing all teaching and conduct by the standard of Scripture (Acts 17:11; 1Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:19-21)
g. Maintenance of a godly Christian life (Ephesians 4)
h. Use of spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 14:12; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Galatians 6:6; 1 Timothy 6:18; Hebrews 13:16)
i. Commitment to prayer for the church Members (James 5:16), including its leaders (Acts 2:42; Ephesians 6:18-20)
7. Only Members are entitled to lead or teach regularly in the ministries of the church.
8. If a Member of the church at any time concludes that he or she no longer satisfies the requirements for Membership, he or she is under obligation to seek counsel from the Elders.
D. Member in Good Standing
Each Member is considered to be a Member in good standing unless the individual is under church discipline as set forth in Section E(2) below, is suspended by the Elder Board under Section E(4) below, or has demonstrated a pattern of prolonged absenteeism from services and activities of the church in accordance with Section F(2) below.
E. Church Discipline: Confrontation of Sin for the Purpose of Repentance and Restoration Church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and lovingly to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a Biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
1. Membership in the church includes mutual accountability and a humble commitment to encouragement and exhortation. (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 3:13; James 5:16, 19- 20).
2. Any Member of the church who habitually promotes error in the essential doctrines of the Christian faith (Romans 16:17-18; 1 Timothy 1:3-4; Titus 1:10-11; 2 Peter 2:1), who habitually causes or encourages divisiveness within the church (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10–11), or who habitually and unrepentantly engages in sinful conduct (2 Timothy 3:1-5) shall be subject to church discipline, including removal from Membership and forfeiture of the right to participate in all church activities (Matthew 18:15–18).
3. The purposes of such discipline are:
a. For the confrontation of sin, repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined (1 Corinthians 4:14; Hebrews 12:1–11; Psalm 119:115; 141:5; Proverbs 17:10; 25:12; 27:5; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Matthew 18:15–17; Luke 17:3; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 6:1–5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14–15; 1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 1:13–14)
b. For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them (Proverbs 13:20; Romans 15:14; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 15:33; Colossians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:11; Hebrews 10:24–25)
c. For the purity of the Church as a whole (1 Corinthians 5:6–7; 2 Corinthians 13:10; Ephesians 5:27; 2 John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21:2)
d. For the good of our corporate witness to the world (Matthew 5:13–16; John 13:35; Acts 5:1–14; Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Peter 2:2; 1 John 3:10)
e. Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (Exodus 20:7; Isaiah 6:1-7; 52:11; 59:1-2; Habakkuk 1:13; Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; Romans 2:23-24; 15:5–6; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:12)
4. In extreme cases established by compelling evidence, the Elder Board may suspend immediately the Membership of an erring Member. Such cases may include:
a. Scandalous and/or public sin that openly brings reproach to Christ and His Church (1 Corinthians 5:1–5)
b. Extreme inappropriate behavior, including, but not limited to, egregious instances of divisiveness or sexual misconduct (Ephesians 5:3-6) The Elder Board may then recommend removal of Membership from the church in accordance with Article X Section E(5). The erring Member shall be notified of such action.
5. Since the disciplinary process laid out above is intended lovingly to restore erring individuals into full fellowship with the church, Members acknowledge their responsibility to remain under the authority of the Elder Board and the church throughout the disciplinary process.
F. Termination of Membership
1. Members in good standing who wish to terminate their Membership shall notify the Elder Board requesting that their name be removed from the Membership rolls.
2. Members demonstrating a pattern of prolonged absenteeism from services and activities of the church shall be contacted by an Elder regarding their absence to determine the reasons for absence and to encourage faithfulness in attendance (Hebrews 10:25).
a. A Member who cannot be contacted after reasonable efforts or who is unwilling to resume regular attendance shall be presented for removal from Membership in accordance with Article X Section E(5). The aforementioned Member shall be notified of such action when reasonably possible.
b. A Member who is unable to resume regular attendance due to illness, infirmity, missionary or Christian service, military service, school, or other situations deemed appropriate by the Elder Board shall remain a Member in good standing.
3. When appropriate, Membership may be terminated by removal as outlined in Section E above.
4. The Elder Board may, at its discretion and when appropriate, disclose to other persons the circumstances under which a person’s Membership was terminated (Leviticus 5:1; Proverbs 29:24; Titus 3:10-11).
5. In all cases pertaining to church order and discipline, the Elder Board must endeavor to follow Scriptures.
G. Records of Membership
The Elder Board shall maintain a roll of current Members in good standing.
The primary purpose of Harbour Shores Church is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in Article II. As such, all paid and volunteer positions, and qualifications and performance of duties for such positions, are primarily religious in nature and must be defined in terms consistent with the Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values of HSC. For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline as it relates to the hiring/appointment or dismissal of an individual in a paid or non-paid position at HSC, our Elder Board is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Constitution, the Elder Board has exclusive authority to dismiss any individual from any paid or unpaid position with HSC. Candidates for paid positions at HSC whose function would be to provide spiritual leadership (such as through teaching, shepherding, counseling, music ministry, etc.) are to be interviewed by the Elder Board. After evaluation, prayerful deliberation and unanimous affirmation by the Elder Board, the approved person’s name shall be submitted to the Membership of HSC for two consecutive Sundays prior to a vote of confirmation by the Members in accordance with Article X Section E. The requirement for Membership confirmation does not apply to short-term internships, such as summer interns or those not exceeding 90 days.
A. General Statement
Jesus Christ alone is the Head of His Church (Colossians1:18). Through Paul, Christ has ordained that local churches are to be administered by elders and deacons. (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13).
B. The Office of Elder and the Elder Board
1. Those men, who have been called of God to lead and teach in the church (1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:17), are referred to in Scriptures as elders, overseers, or bishops, who are to shepherd or pastor the church. These are interchangeable terms designating one and the same office in a New Testament church (Acts 20:17, 28; Ephesians 4:11-12; Titus 1:5-7).
2. All Elders of HSC must be Members in good standing.
3. Any man set apart to the office of Elder must be able to affirm his submission to the church’s Constitution, and his agreement with the church’s Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values. If, at any time he moves from these positions, he would be under spiritual and moral obligation immediately to make that fact known to the Elder Board in an orderly manner.
4. Any man desiring the office of an Elder must evidence to God’s people the personal, family, and ministerial qualifications that are set forth in the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). He must be a man of unquestionable character as determined by careful search into his past history prior to extending the call to minister at HSC.
5. Any man desiring the office of an Elder must also evidence to God’s people by his conduct the philosophy of ministry characteristic of Paul’s example in 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
6. Each Elder must continuously meet the Biblical qualifications of an elder in order to remain an Elder (see verses Section B(4) and B(5) above). If, at any time he no longer meets the qualifications, he would be under spiritual and moral obligation immediately to make that fact known to the Elder Board in an orderly manner.
7. Each Elder is expected to devote himself to prayer and reading and studying the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15).
8. Elders are expected to shepherd the Members of HSC and manage the church body.
9. Each Elder is expected to support by word and deed the ministry of Harbour Shores Church.
10. Elders are expected to perform faithfully the duties and responsibilities assigned to each individual Elder by the consensus of the Elder Board.
11. Each Elder shall be diligent to remain familiar with the HSC Constitution, as well as the church’s Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values.
12. All Elders of HSC shall serve together as the Elder Board.
C. The Organizational Structure of the Elder Board
1. Harbour Shores Church shall have a plurality of Elders consistent with the New Testament pattern (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5).
2. The authority of every Elder is the same although some will be financially compensated and receive other benefits as defined by church policy. Compensated Elders may be referred to herein as Staff Elders and are expected to serve in a vocational capacity (1Timothy 5:18).
3. Though gifts possessed and functions performed will vary from Elder to Elder, this diversity must not undermine real parity among the Elders. The Elder Board may assign functional areas of ministries for which individual Elders will be primarily responsible. Functional areas of ministry may include, but are not limited to: Preaching, Teaching, Youth Ministries, Worship, and Counseling (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2; 1 Timothy 5:17).
4. The Elder Board shall meet on a monthly basis and may hold additional meetings as the Elders determine to be necessary.
5. The Elder Board shall annually select in January from its number both a Chairman and Secretary. The Chairman may serve no more than two consecutive years.
a. The Chairman shall provide leadership to, and oversight for, the Elder Board and their meetings.
b. The Secretary shall record and distribute the minutes of the Elder Board meetings to the Elders. Minutes shall be reviewed and approved at the next Elder Board meeting.
c. The Chairman shall also act as the Registered Agent with the Indiana Secretary of State for the church. The Chairman shall have signatory authority for legal documents unless otherwise delegated by the Elder Board in writing.
d. The Elder Board shall provide an update of the ministry to Members at least three times annually.
6. Except as addressed elsewhere, the Elder Board is responsible for establishing and following its own procedural rules as to the manner of meetings, the number required for a quorum, and other internal procedural matters. Such procedures shall be written and distributed to all Elders.
D. The Authority of the Elder Board
1. God has granted specific authority and responsibility to Elders for the leadership of His Church (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17). Therefore, Elders are obligated to discharge the duties specified by God in the Scriptures (Acts 20:28-35; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17).
2. The authority of every Elder is the same. Though gifts possessed and functions performed will vary from Elder to Elder, this diversity must not undermine real parity among the Elders (see verses Section C(3) above).
3. Any proposed changes to the Constitution, Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values must first be decided by unanimous vote of all Elder Board members and secondly must be confirmed in accordance with Article X Section E.
4. As referenced in Article IV, for purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our HSC Elder Board is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
5. The Elder Board has authority in any area involving the teaching and practical application of Scriptural truth for the church and its ministries.
6. The Elder Board shall exercise oversight and approval of all ministries and committees of the church.
7. The Elder Board shall be responsible for developing goals, projects, and ministries for HSC. The Elder Board shall also develop direction to implement the plans it suggests.
8. If the Elder Board is notified pursuant to Article VI Section E of a Member of this church who continues to err habitually in doctrine or conduct after the Biblical confrontation described in Matthew 18:15-18, the Elder Board shall have the exclusive authority to take the matter before the church.
9. The Elder Board shall serve also as the Board of Directors in order to satisfy any requirement of the Articles of Incorporation filed May 5, 1980, as subsequently amended.
E. The Limits of the Elder Board
1. The authority of Elders is conditioned by the fact that they are themselves Members of the church. While Elders are shepherds over the flock, they are also Members of the flock. Therefore, each individual Elder is entitled to the same privileges, is obligated by the same responsibilities, and is subject to the same discipline as are all the other Members of the church as discussed in Article VI Sections C, D, and E.
2. Elders must provide definitive leadership to the church in the making of decisions. The authority of the Elders, however, does not include the right to make certain decisions unilaterally. Decisions which the Elders must present to Members for ratification include: changes to the Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, Core Values, and Constitution; appointment or affirmation of Elders; appointment of Deacons; the dismissal of a church Member; setting of the annual budget; and the purchase, sale, or transfer of church real estate, in accordance with Article X Section E. (Other property may only be purchased, sold, or transferred if included in the approved budget or as approved by both the Elder Board and Finance Committee) (Acts 6:2-6; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5,13; 2 Corinthians 2:6).
3. The authority of the Elders is limited to the sphere of the local church (Matthew 22:21; Luke 12:13-14; Acts 20:28).
1. The Members of HSC may present recommendations of men to the Elder Board for the office of Elder.
2. When the need arises to add or replace a Staff Elder, in addition to the process outlined below, before offering employment, the finances needed for compensation and benefits must be approved by the Members either through the annual budgetary approval process or through an amendment to the budget in accordance with Article X Section E.
3. A recommended man must be called of God to serve as an Elder, desiring a good work and must meet the Scriptural qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4.
4. If deemed appropriate, the Elder Board, will interview the recommended man and his wife, if married, and after evaluation, prayerful deliberation and unanimous affirmation, shall present to the Members approved men for confirmation to the office of Elder. Each approved man’s name shall be submitted to the Membership of HSC for two consecutive Sundays prior to a vote of confirmation by the Members in accordance with Article X Section E.
5. Prior to the vote of confirmation, Elders shall present the man’s qualifications to serve and the Members shall be given the opportunity to hear the man’s testimony of his Christian life and his desire to serve as an Elder.
6. Any objection to the man’s appointment should be brought to an Elder privately. If no objections are received or if such objections are found to be invalid by the Elder Board, a vote of confirmation shall be scheduled in accordance with Article X Section E.
7. Following the confirmation of a man to the office of Elder, there shall be a portion of a worship service set aside at which time the confirmed Elder shall be commissioned by the laying on of hands of Elders. This solemn act will always be accompanied by a time of prayer (Acts 13:1-3). The laying on of the Elders’ hands shall signify the church’s approval of the confirmed Elder.
1. We affirm that Elders are called by God. That call does not dictate the length of an Elder’s term of office. As such each Elder shall serve an indefinite term as long as he continues to meet the requisite qualifications for the office and continues to be called to serve (see verses Section B(4) and B(5) above).
2. In order to confirm the ongoing call, HSC Members shall be asked to reaffirm Elders every three years based on the anniversary year of their initial confirmation at HSC. An Elder must receive reaffirmation in accordance with Article X Section E(5) to be reaffirmed to the office of Elder. The reaffirmation vote shall be held no later than May 31st. If an Elder does not receive 60% in favor of reaffirmation, that Elder may continue to serve for a period of six months, during which time his service will be reviewed by himself and the Elder Board, and to the extent appropriate, with the Members. Following the review period, and no later than November 30th of that same year, a second vote shall be held, in accordance with Article X Section E(5). If the Elder is not reaffirmed by 60% on the second vote, the Elder shall be relieved of his duties and responsibilities. In the case of a Staff Elder, his employment shall be terminated, and he shall be given 30 days severance pay. The Members shall be notified of such action.
3. An Elder may honorably resign from his office. He may terminate his ministry by submitting in writing his resignation to the Elder Board no less than 30 days, and no more than 60 days, prior to the effective date. The Elder Board shall announce the resignation to the Members.
4. An Elder’s ministry may be terminated under the following circumstances:
a. Definite and Deliberate Sin
1) Two or more witnesses who believe that an Elder is involved in definite and deliberate sinful activity should submit to the Elder Board a written statement regarding the accusation supported by their reasons for such an accusation. (1 Timothy 5:19).
2) The Elder Board shall fully investigate the accusation which shall include interviewing the involved parties, including the accused Elder, and examining available relevant evidence. The Elder Board shall require the accused Elder’s recusal at any time during the process should the Elder Board deem it necessary.
3) If the Elder is determined to be practicing definite and deliberate sinful activity, which would Biblically disqualify him from serving as an Elder, he shall be relieved immediately of his Eldership duties. In the case of a Staff Elder, his employment shall be immediately terminated by the Elder Board, and he shall be given 30 days severance pay. The Members shall be notified of such action at the earliest possible date. The terminated Elder also may be subject to church discipline as a Member as discussed in Article VI Section E (Matthew 18:16; 1 Timothy 5:20).
4) If, upon completion of the investigation, the accusations are found to be without merit, the Elder Board shall respond in writing to the Elder and the parties directly involved.
b. Performance of Duties and Responsibilities
1) Two or more Members who believe an Elder is failing to perform adequately his Biblical and/or assigned responsibilities shall submit to the Elder Board a written statement regarding the accusation supported by their reasons for such an accusation (1 Timothy 5:19).
2) The Elder Board shall fully investigate the accusation which will include interviewing the involved parties, including the subject Elder, and examining available relevant evidence. The Elder Board shall require the Elder’s recusal at any time during the process should the Elder Board deem it necessary.
3) If the Elder Board finds the accusation to be substantiated, the Elder Board shall counsel with him to attempt to correct the situation. The Elder shall be given specific goals and a timeline to correct the situation. If the situation is not corrected or sufficient progress is not made as determined by the Elder Board within the established time frame, the Elder shall be relieved of his duties and responsibilities. In the case of a Staff Elder, his employment shall be terminated by the Elder Board, and he shall be given 30 days severance pay. The church shall be notified of such action at the earliest possible date. If appropriate, the terminated Elder also may be subject to church discipline as a Member as discussed in Article VI Section E (Matthew 18:16; 1 Timothy 5:20).
4) If, upon completion of the investigation, the accusations are found to be without merit, the Elder Board shall respond in writing to the Elder and the parties directly involved. H. Relationship Between Elder Board and Deacon Board
1. The Scriptures set forth two offices within the local church: Elders and Deacons.
2. The office of Deacon exists, in part, to allow the Elders to devote themselves to the unique responsibilities of an Elder (Acts 6:1-6).
3. The Elder Board has oversight of the Deacon Board. The Elders and the Deacons have a shared ministry and responsibility to know and care for the spiritual growth and well-being of individuals and families within the church (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12; 1 Timothy 3:1-13).
A. General Statement
Jesus Christ alone is the Head of His Church (Colossians 1:18). Through Paul, Christ has ordained that local churches are to be administered by elders and deacons. (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13).
B. The Office of Deacon and the Deacon Board
1. Those men, who have been set apart to assist the Elders within the church, are referred to in Scripture as deacons or “servants” (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
2. A Deacon of HSC must be a Member in good standing. As a Member, each Deacon is entitled to the same privileges, is obligated by the same responsibilities, and is subject to the same discipline as are all the other Members of the church as discussed in Article VI Section C, D, and E.
3. Any man set apart to the office of Deacon must be in submission to the Constitution, and agreement with the church’s Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values. If, at any time he should move from this position, he would be under spiritual and moral obligation immediately to make that fact known to the Deacon Board in an orderly manner. (1 Timothy 3:8-9)
4. A Deacon must evidence to God’s people the personal, family, and ministerial qualifications that are set forth in the Scriptures. He must be a man who has already demonstrated godly character while serving faithfully at Harbour Shores Church (see verses paragraph B(1) above).
5. A Deacon must continuously meet the Biblical qualifications of a deacon in order to remain a Deacon (1Timothy 3:8-13).
6. A Deacon is expected to support by word and deed the ministry of Harbour Shores Church.
7. A Deacon is expected to serve faithfully under the oversight of the Elder Board.
8. Deacons shall serve together as the Deacon Board.
C. The Organizational Structure of the Deacon Board
1. The Deacon Board shall annually select a Chairman and a Secretary from among their number.
a. The Chairman shall provide oversight for the Deacon Board in the conduct of meetings. The Chairman may serve no more than two consecutive years.
b. The Chairman shall serve as liaison with the Elder Board and shall meet with the Elder Board at the discretion of the Elder Board.
c. The Secretary shall record and distribute the minutes of the Deacon Board meetings to the Deacons. Minutes shall be reviewed and approved at the next Deacon Board meeting.
d. The Chairman shall be responsible for submitting the approved minutes to the Elder Board.
2. The Deacon Board shall meet regularly and whenever requested by the Chairman of the Deacons or by the Elder Board.
3. The Deacon Board shall meet with the Elder Board in joint session as needed to confer on matters of common interest.
4. The Deacon Board is responsible for establishing and following its own procedural rules as to frequency and manner of meetings, the number required for a quorum, and other internal procedural matters. Such procedures shall be written and distributed to all Deacons and to the Elder Board. The Deacon Board shall approve and/or amend the procedures no later than January 31st each year and at such additional times as the Deacons may deem necessary in accordance with their current procedural rules.
D. The Role of the Deacon Board
1. The Deacon Board acts under the authority of the Elder Board.
2. The Deacons shall administer the benevolent needs within the church as well as assist the Elders in managing the business affairs of the church (Acts 6:1-4). They must fulfill the duties of their office in cooperation with, and in subjection to, the Elder Board.
3. The Deacons shall serve in additional functions as requested by the Elder Board or as assigned by the Deacon Board.
1. A man recommended to serve as Deacon must meet the Scriptural qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-6.
2. The Members of HSC may present recommendations of qualified men to the Elder Board for the office of Deacon.
3. If the recommendation appears to be appropriate, the Elder Board shall investigate and interview the man to confirm his qualifications. As part of this process, the Elder Board shall also interview his wife, if married.
4. The Elder Board, after prayerful deliberation and unanimous affirmation, shall present to the Members approved men for confirmation to the office of Deacon. Each approved man’s name shall be submitted to the Membership of HSC for two consecutive Sundays prior to a vote of confirmation by the Members, in accordance with Article X Section E.
5. Prior to the vote of confirmation, Members shall be given the opportunity to hear the man’s testimony.
6. Any objection to the man’s appointment shall be brought to an Elder privately. If no objections are received or if such objections are found to be invalid by the Elder Board, a vote of confirmation shall be scheduled in accordance with Article X Section E.
7. Following the confirmation of a man to the office of Deacon, there shall be a portion of a regular worship service set aside at which time the confirmed Deacon shall be commissioned by the laying on of hands of Elders. This solemn act should always be accompanied by a time of prayer (Acts 6:6). The laying on of the Elders’ hands shall signify the church’s approval of the confirmed Deacon.
1. By Member vote, a candidate is confirmed to serve as Deacon as long as he continues to meet the scriptural requirements for the position. Scripture does not address a specific term nor an indefinite term for a man to serve as Deacon.
2. Absent extenuating circumstances, a term of three years is the expectation; however, a Deacon may serve for a longer period. At the end of each three-year term, the Deacon shall meet with an Elder to discuss his service and his future plans.
3. Recognizing that life events may require such, a Deacon may step out of service for any period of time by notifying the Chairman of the Deacons of his intent.
a. If the individual desires reinstatement and the period is less than one year, his reinstatement shall be subject to the review of the Elder Board.
b. If the period were to exceed one year, the individual shall be required to go through the selection process in Section E above before serving as a Deacon again.
4. Should a Deacon appear no longer to meet the Biblical qualifications of a Deacon, the Elder Board shall fully investigate the situation. If warranted, the Elder Board shall remove the Deacon from his position. If appropriate, the terminated Deacon also may be subject to church discipline as a Member as discussed in Article VI Section E.
5. Whenever a man ceases to be a Deacon, the Members shall be notified promptly.
A. Worship Meetings
Worship meetings, also referred to as worship services, shall be held each Sunday morning except when extreme weather or other circumstances prohibit such services (Acts 20:7).
Other worship meetings may be held at such times as the Elder Board may announce.
B. Members’ Meetings
1. Only the Elder Board shall be authorized to call Members’ meetings. Members’ meetings shall be held at least two times per year at times apart from public worship meetings and at other times determined by the Elder Board.
2. Elders must also call Members’ meetings when a minimum of one-third of the voting Members in good standing make a written request to the Elders for such a Members’ meeting. This request must state the reason for the meeting and be signed by a minimum of one-third of the Members in good standing. Each signature page must include the stated reason for the requested meeting. When the Elders receive such a request, they shall notify Members of the meeting to be held within six weeks to address the issue raised, and notice provided in accordance with paragraph (5) below.
3. In every Members’ meeting, each Member shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:25-32; Galatians 5:22-23; Romans 12:10).
4. The Chairman of the Elder Board, or another Elder designated by the Elder Board, shall preside as moderator at all Members’ meetings of the church. The Elder Board shall set the agenda for each Members’ meeting and govern the conduct of business in Members’ meetings.
5. Members’ meetings shall be announced at worship meetings for at least two consecutive Sundays, with the meeting not being held prior to the third Sunday. The Elder Board, at their discretion, may call a Members’ meeting without such notice under extreme circumstances.
6. Attendance at Members’ meetings may be restricted to Members in good standing and their dependents. The Elders may advise when Members’ meetings would be inappropriate for minor children and/or other dependents to attend.
C. Special Open Meetings
The Elder Board may also call special open meetings which may be attended by Members of this church, and/or regular attendees, and/or invited guests.
For a Members’ meeting, a quorum is met by those Members present, except as noted in Section E(5) below.
1. Voting on any matter shall be initiated with a duly called Members’ meeting.
2. Members in good standing are eligible to vote except for those under the age of 18. A Member attaining the age of 18 shall be eligible to vote upon completion of membership training, affirming of his or her agreement with the Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values of this church, and agreeing to be subject to this Constitution.
3. Members are expected to take the time to be informed about the issue(s) being voted upon. Voting may be done by methods approved in advance by the Elder Board for each vote. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of yes or no votes cast by Members.
4. For changes to the Constitution, Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values; for appointment of Elders; for appointment of Deacons; for setting of the annual budget; and for the purchase, sale, or transfer of church real estate, a “yes” vote by two-thirds of Members in good standing eligible to vote is required to carry the motion.
5. For other matters not addressed specifically, a simple majority of “yes” votes cast at a duly called Members’ meeting with a quorum of 25% of Members in good standing eligible to vote will carry the motion.
6. For each vote, the number of “Members in good standing eligible to vote” may be adjusted as follows:
a. At the time of each vote, Members who are unable to attend worship services and activities at this church for an extended period of time (i.e. due to attendance at college, military service, missionary service, seasons out of state, residents of nursing homes, etc.) may be excluded from the total of Members in good standing required to carry the motion.
b. Paragraph (a) does not preclude a Member to vote by means of one of the approved methods as established in accordance with Section E(3) above. In this case, the Member shall be included in the total of Members in good standing required to carry the motion.
A. The fiscal year shall be from January 1st through December 31st.
B. The primary means of disbursement shall be by check or electronic funds transfer. All cash disbursements shall be properly receipted and reported.
C. Revenues for the church shall be raised primarily by voluntary tithes and offerings from the congregation. Members shall be encouraged in Scriptural, cheerful, sacrificial giving. Special offerings may be taken by recommendations of the Elder Board (2 Corinthians 9:7).
D. Methods of raising funds shall not be in conflict with the scriptural ideals of the church (1Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7).
E. Raising full funding prior to commencing any project is recommended. Before financing a project, the Members must vote to approve the financing. No Member(s) shall have the authority to obligate the church to loans of any kind without the prior approval of the Members in accordance with Article X Section E. Contractual obligations or other forms of indebtedness greater than $10,000 must be recommended by the Elder Board and approved by the Members in accordance with Article X Section E(4). Approval may be within the annual budget process or separate vote.
F. The financial planning of the church will be carried out through an annual budget, recommended by the Elder Board and approved by a Members’ vote in accordance with Article X Section E.
G. The Elder Board shall establish and oversee a Finance Team who shall manage and monitor the receipt and disbursement of all funds of the church in accordance with the approved budget.
H. Designated gifts will be accepted only toward projects and missionaries approved by the Elder Board and are encouraged to be over and above the tithe.
I. Any overspending on a budget item must be approved by the Elder Board. Overspending of total budgeted expenses by more than 2% must be approved by Members’ vote in accordance with Article X Section E.
J. If giving exceeds actual expenditures by 5% or more of the total annual budget, use of excess funds must be approved by Members’ vote in accordance with Article X Section E.
K. The Elder Board and Finance Committee shall receive monthly financial reports.
The primary purpose of Harbour Shores Church is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in Article II. Harbour Shores Church serves as a steward of the property that God has entrusted to us. The facilities and all property of Harbour Shores Church are private property and are to be used primarily for religious purposes, including the exercise of religion and speech pertaining to, and consistent with, its Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values. In all matters pertaining to the use of the facilities of Harbour Shores Church, including but not limited to its buildings, outbuildings, parking lot, and grounds, and any other property, whether real, personal, tangible, intangible, intellectual, or other property of Harbour Shores Church, the only activities or uses allowed shall be those that are consistent with the Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values of Harbour Shores Church. All property of Harbour Shores Church is primarily for use by the church and its Members consistent with its purposes. All individuals or groups seeking to use HSC property for non-official HSC purposes must complete the application form(s) required by the Facility Usage Policy. Approval or denial of requests shall be consistent with the Statement of Faith, Beliefs and Practices, and Core Values of Harbour Shores Church. For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Elder Board is the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application. Subject to the discretion of the Elder Board, any individual may be notified that he or she is not to be present upon church premises for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others on church premises.
A. The church shall promote (Luke 10:2) and support (1Timothy 5:18) selected missionaries whose stated doctrine is in substantial agreement with the Statement of Faith.
B. The church shall endeavor to designate not less than 10% of its annual operating budget toward mission work.
C. All committed ongoing missionary support shall be approved through the budgetary process.
The Constitution of this church may be amended at a duly called Members’ meeting in accordance with Article X Section E(4). Any proposed amendment shall be announced at worship meetings for at least two consecutive Sundays and wording made available to Members, with the Members’ meeting for the vote not being held prior to the third Sunday.
In the event of the dissolution of this corporation, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied to the extent possible. None of its remaining assets or holdings shall be divided among its Members or other individuals, but shall be irrevocably designated by Members’ vote prior to dissolution to such other nonprofit religious entities as are in agreement with the letter and spirit of the Statement of Faith adopted by this church, and in conformity with the requirements of the United States Internal Revenue Code Section 50l(c)(3).