This church shall be called the Calvary Bible Church of Kezar Falls, Maine.
The object of this church shall be to teach the whole Word of God and to maintain a fundamental faith and holiness among its members. It shall also seek to bring the wandering to God for reconciliation; and by teaching purity and holiness through a daily dying to self and a life lived by faith in Jesus Christ, to prepare a people for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This document has been composed with the goal of bringing together in one place the vital truths of Scripture relating to the church and to insure church order in Calvary Bible Church. From the founding of this church, it has been our understanding that the Holy Scriptures, not tradition, are our sole guide in matters of faith and practice. This document is our attempt to implement in our changing culture the unchanging Bible truths concerning the church.
All that follows is of no value apart from the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the practice of biblical love. For Calvary Bible Church to glorify God, the members of this body must be continually seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit while striving to exercise biblical love for one another.
Another word of introduction is necessary. This structure of ministry has been composed in such a way as to sustain Calvary Bible Church. We anticipate the revision of this document at such times, as it becomes necessary.
- How Is The Church Led?
- The Biblical Role Of The Elders
1 Cor.3:9-10 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.
God's plan for leadership is revealed in Scripture. He launches the church by giving certain individuals specific gifts " apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers." These believers under the direction of the Holy Spirit initiated the Christian movement and brought local churches into existence through their teaching and preaching. Eph. 4:11-13; Rom. 15:20
Titus 1:5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.
As churches were established in the faith, and when more than one person became qualified, elders were appointed to continue the pastor-teaching ministry in each local church. To the elders was given the ultimate responsibility for the oversight of that particular church body, and the shepherding of its members. 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Pet.5:1-4; Acts 20:28-32
1 Tim. 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
Some elders would give more time to the spiritual leadership than others and would be called to fill more demanding responsibilities. They therefore would be worthy of "double honor" (usually understood as monetary compensation).
Acts 6:2-3 So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them."
As necessary, deacons were also appointed to serve the church, particularly in undertaking those areas of need that would otherwise prohibit the elders from performing their biblical responsibilities. Acts 6:1-7
These leaders, along with all members of each local body form a unique organism, a visible and functioning expression of the universal church. CBC recognizes this biblical pattern for the plurality of godly leadership, under the oversight and watchful care of elders.
Heb. 13:17 obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
In response to the biblical pattern of leadership, members of the body are taught in scripture to lovingly support their leaders and submit to their leadership 1 Cor.16:16; 1 Thess. 5:12-13
- Shepherd The Flock:
- Lead Through Example:
- Teach And Exhort:
- Refute Those Who Contradict:
- Manage The Church Of God:
- Pray For The Sick:
Serving in all humility, elders are to guide, direct, guard and protect the members of the body, seeking to meet their needs and assist in any way possible, warning against harmful influences and guarding against false teachers. Acts 20:28ff: 1Pet. 5:1-3
Elders are to provide a scriptural role model and are to set a pattern before the flock of a rightly ordered life – with a single purpose, to glorify God. 1 Pet. 5:3
Elders are to see that the flock is fed through insightful and accurate Biblical instruction and admonition. 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9
Elders are to confront those who are teaching what they should not teach or who are continuing in a pattern of behavior contradictory to Biblical truth. Thus, elders are to keep closing entrances for Satan, so that the truth of Christ will remain credible to both the congregation and the community. Acts 20:29; Titus 1:9
Elders are to oversee the life of the church, with the assistance of other godly leaders. They must be people who can "rule well." 1 Tim. 3:5; 5:17
Elders are to pray for the spiritual and physical well being of members of the congregation. James 5:14
- The Biblical Qualifications For Elders
1 Tim. 3:2-7 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devils' trap.
Titus 1:6-9 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable; one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
- Above Reproach - Elders must be blameless, presenting no patterns of Scriptural disobedience or grounds for accusation.
- Husband of one wife – Elders, if married, must be devoted husbands.
- Temperate – Elders must be self-controlled, enslaved to nothing, free from excesses.
- Prudent – Elders must be sober, sensible, wise, balanced in judgment, not given to quick, superficial decisions based on immature thinking
- Respectable – Elders must demonstrate a well-ordered life and good behavior.
- Hospitable – Elders must be unselfish with their personal resources. They must be willing to share blessings with others.
- Able to teach – Elders must be able to communicate the truths of God and exhort sound doctrine in a non-argumentative way. (2 Tim. 4:2; 2:24)
- Not addicted to wine – Elders must be free from addictions and must be willing to limit their liberty for the sake of others.
- Not violent but gentle – Elders must be gentle and characterized by forbearance and tenderness- not having a quick temper.
- Uncontentious – Elders must not be given to quarreling or selfish argumentation.
- Not a lover of money – Elders must not be stingy, greedy, or out for sordid gain. They should not be preoccupied with amassing material things, but rather should be a model of giving.
- Manage own household – Elders must have a well-ordered household, a healthy family life, and well- behaved children. (Pertains to those children still under the authority of the parents).
- Not a new convert – Elders must not be new believers. They must have been Christians for long enough to demonstrate the reality of their conversion and the depth of their spirituality.
- Good reputation with other – Elders must be well respected by unbelievers, and must be free from hypocrisy.
- Not self-willed – Elders must not be stubborn, insensitive, or prone to force opinions on others. They must be more interested in service than self-pleasure.
- Not quick tempered – Elders must be able to exercise self-control and patience in difficult situations.
- Loves what is good – Elders must desire the will of God in every decision.
- Just – Elders must be fair and impartial. Their judgments must be based on scriptural principle.
- Devout – Elders must be reverent, continually desiring to be separated from sin. They must be devoted to prayer, the study of Scripture, and the guarding of their own spiritual walk. ( Acts 20:28)
- Holding fast the Faithful Word – Elders must be stable in the faith, obedient to the Word of God, continually seeking to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
- The Biblical Role Of Deacons
- The Biblical Qualifications For Deacons
Deacons and deaconesses 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. No specific, on-going roles are mentioned in Scripture, probably because service needs change, and so the role of the deacons/deaconesses should be flexible. (Note: Perhaps this is why qualifications for deacons are stressed rather than specific tasks. In contrast the function of the elders is more stabilized for spiritual needs are relatively constant.)
While there is equality between elders, deacons, and all members of the body, for the purpose of order, Scripture indicates that elders, as overseers, are corporately entrusted with final authority within the local church. 1 Cor.16:16; 1Thess. 5:12-13; 1Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17
1 Tim. 3:8-12 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. In the same way, deaconesses are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.
- Worthy of respect - Deacons must be mature, of sound mind and character, yielded to the Holy Spirit.
- Sincere – Deacons must demonstrate verbal consistency. They must not be prone to saying one thing to one person and something else to another.
- Not addicted to wine – Deacons must be free from addictions and must be willing to limit their liberty for the sake of others.
- Not pursuing dishonest gain – Deacons must be purely motivated in their service.
- Keeping hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience – Deacons must have a sound knowledge of Christian truths and a lifestyle in accord with them. They must not be easily swayed from the truth.
- Nothing against them – Deacons must display a lifestyle free from on-going patterns of scriptural disobedience.
- First tested – Deacons must have proven over time that they are faithful and that their walk is credible.
- Women must be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers, but temperate and trustworthy – The deaconesses must also be devoted to the Lord and yielded to the control of the Holy Spirit.
- Husband of one wife – Deacons, if married, must be devoted spouses
- Mange household well – Deacons must have well ordered households, a healthy family life, and well-behaved children. (Pertaining to those children still under the authority of the parents).
The officers of this church shall be a College of Elders, a Board of Deacons and Deaconesses (1 board), and any other offices deemed necessary by the elders for such time as determined by the elders.
The College of Elders shall be one or more adult men who fit the biblical qualifications set forth in: 1Timothy 3, and Titus 1 (see Art. III, Sec.1C).
All officers mentioned in Article III, Sec. 2, shall be appointed by the College of Elders, unless otherwise stated in this document (see article 5).
New elders shall be ordained for indefinite terms, provided they do not resign or are unfrocked (see Article IV and V).
New elders shall be ordained to the College of Elders by unanimous vote of the college. All elders must be present for the vote to ordain a new elder.
An elder who has resigned or been unfrocked may be reinstated as an elder at any time in accordance with Article III, Sec. 3,6; Article IV, Sec. 4.
Impeachment of an Elder
Any two (2) elders in the College may cause any other elder to be impeached.
When an elder is under impeachment he shall have all his rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties, except financial compensation and other benefits, pertaining to his office as elder immediately suspended.
An elder under impeachment shall not be allowed to attend elder meetings, neither open forum nor executive section except for the sole purpose of discussing his own impeachment. He shall not be present when a vote of confidence is taken (Article VIII Sec.2).
After the College of Elders has investigated the situation and accusation(s) against the elder under impeachment they shall take a vote of confidence. In the case of a tie, the elder shall be unfrocked. All elders in the College, not under impeachment, must be present at the meeting to unfrock an elder.
An unfrocked elder shall no longer be a member of the College of Elders and all of his rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties, including financial compensation and other benefits pertaining to his office, shall be removed until such time, if ever, he is reinstated.
An elder who is acquitted in the vote of Article IV, Sec.4 shall be immediately reinstated as a full member of the College of Elders and all rights, responsibilities, privileges and duties pertaining to this office shall be immediately reinstated.
All decisions made by the College of Elders during an impeachment shall be reviewed by the College and voted on again, if necessary.
Fewer than Three (3) Elder Scenarios
If, at any time, there are only two (2) Elders in the College, all decisions shall be made by 100% majority.
If, at any time, there are only two (2) Elders in the College either one may bring the other under impeachment, with confirmation from the Board of Deacons, by majority vote. Both the elder and the entire Board of Deacons with each member present must take a vote of confidence. In case of a tie, the elder shall be unfrocked. Whether the elder is unfrocked or acquitted he shall abide by Article IV Sec. 5,6,7.
If, at any time, there is only one (1) elder, he shall possess all of the rights and responsibilities of the College.
If, at any time, there is only one (1) Elder in the College, he may be brought under impeachment by majority rule of the Board of Deacons. He shall be unfrocked or acquitted by a majority vote of the deacons. Whether the elder is unfrocked or acquitted he shall abide by Article IV Sec. 5,6,7.
If, at any time, there are no Elders in the College, the Board of Deacons shall assign one or more elders within six (6) months. If at the end of the six (6) months the Board of Deacons has not assigned any new elders, the congregation shall amend this document, by a majority vote, to do whatever is necessary to continue the ministry of the gospel in this area.
If, at any time, there are no Elders in the College and no Deacons on the Board, the congregation shall elect by majority vote a man to fulfill the responsibilities of the College of Elders as described in this document, within six (6) months. If more than six (6) months elapse the congregation shall amend this document by majority vote to whatever it deems necessary to continue the ministry of the gospel in this area.
Duties of the Officers
The College of Elders shall be the ultimate final authority in all matters of faith, practice and doctrine of this church.
The elders shall teach the flock, by word and deed, and shall have general spiritual oversight as Godly Shepherds.
They shall love the flock as Christ does (Acts 20:28) and not lord themselves over it (1 Peter 5:1-4).
An elder shall freely and quickly resign from office, if such a time comes, when he is unable to fulfill the requirements of this office. He shall step down in dignity and confidence recognizing that the office of elder is a function of responsibility before God, in His Church, not a title or achievement.
The elders shall continuously and actively seek and train other faithful men, in order to ordain them as elders.
The elders shall be ultimately responsible for and have authority to oversee all expenditures of the funds of the church and all uses of Church owned property, although, all expenditures shall be made by the Deacons of the Purse.
The College of Elders shall elect from their number a chamberlain, for a term determined by said College. The chamberlain shall record legal minutes of all open meetings. Minutes will not be recorded in Executive Sessions. The chamberlain shall also act as speaker of the College upon such occasions as one is needed.
The Deacons and Deaconesses of this church shall be the primary providers of care and relief to the flock. They shall also be cheerful servants to the elders in any way deemed helpful by the elders in accordance with the biblical responsibilities of this office.
The Deacons and Deaconesses shall be appointed and dismissed as deemed necessary by the College of Elders.
The Deacons shall have the exclusive responsibility to dispense the funds of the church under the direction of the College of Elders.
The Deacons and Deaconesses shall continually remind the church that the primary use of all of our resources shall always be to minister to others, most especially widows, orphans, the poor and sick, to extend the gospel to the world around us and to spiritually edify the church.
Three of the Deacons shall also be designated as Trustees, for such time as determined by the elders, to fulfill legal requirements.
All other officers shall be assigned by the elders and shall fulfill the responsibilities designated by said elders.
All persons desiring to unite with this fellowship shall fulfill the following requirements:
- Possess salvation.
- Successfully complete the "Discovering Church Membership Class".
- Be baptized.
- Interview with an Elder.
A person shall be considered a member upon signing the membership covenant after being accepted as such at an elders meeting maintaining a quorum.
Persons may resign their membership at their written request by a vote of the elders at any elders meeting maintaining a quorum.
Persons may be removed from this fellowship by vote of the elders at any elders meeting maintaining a quorum, only after the procedure described in Matthew 18: 15-20 has been exhausted.
A letter of transfer may be granted by the elders to a church of like faith for anyone who moves away from this area and closer to another congregation. This letter shall be composed and sent by the elder chamberlain upon written request of the member.
Congregational meetings shall be held in the months of January, April, July and October. The date and time of these meetings will be determined by the College of Elders. These meetings shall be for the purpose of financial reporting from the Board of Deacons, Progress reports from the College of Elders and an open forum for any questions that members may have for any of the leaders in the church. No business will be conducted at these meetings. These meetings shall be moderated by the elder chamberlain or his designee.
Elders meetings will be held when deemed necessary by the elders. Minutes of these meetings will be taken by the elders/ chamberlain or his designee (Article VI Sec.7), and the decisions made by the elders in these meetings, providing there is a quorum, shall be the official business decisions of the church. Any one is welcome to attend open meetings and may have input as deemed reasonable by the elders. Meetings in executive session shall only be for sensitive discussions. No minutes shall be taken, no official decisions will be made and only elders may attend executive sessions.
Two thirds of the Elders in the College shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, except as otherwise noted in this document.
No profit shall ever accrue to the benefit of any individuals from the assets, holdings or other transactions in which this corporation may become involved. In the event of the dissolution of this corporation, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied. None of its assets or holdings shall be divided among the members or other individuals, but shall be irrevocably designated by vote of the eldership prior to dissolution to such other non-profit religious corporations as are in agreement with the letter and spirit of the articles of faith adopted by this church, and in conformity with the requirements of the United States Internal Revenue Service Code of 1954 (Section 501 C-3).
These By-Laws and Covenant may be altered or amended at any open elders meeting provided all members of the College of Elders are present.
These By-Laws shall, upon their adoption, supercede and cause to become null and void, to the extent inconsistent with these by-laws, all other documents and votes of record formerly binding upon this church.