BYLAWS OF CALVARY CHURCH
The purpose behind this ministry structure is to have a flexible, yet accountable system, to provide for maximum effectiveness of ministry, to allow more people to be involved in ministry, and yet be faithful to a biblical model.
Section 1: The Church
Calvary Church operates according to a congregational form of government. In this form of church government, ultimate authority for governing the church resides in the members of Calvary Church. This authority comes from Christ who is the head of the body. However, we also accept the New Testament plan for Church Officers, consisting of the Pastor, Associate Pastor(s) as necessary, and Deacons to assist and serve the Church. Ministry Teams are also a vital part of fulfilling the purpose of Calvary Church.
The structure of congregational government is supported by a number of New Testament principles:
Priesthood of All Believers – 1 Peter 2:5, 9; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 10:19; Matthew 28:19-20
Spiritual Gifts in the Body – 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 12, 21-27; Romans 12:4-5
Election of Officers – Acts 1, 6:3
Sending Missionaries – 1 Corinthians 16:4; Acts 14:27, 18:22-23
Doctrinal Disputes – 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, 14:29
Church Discipline – Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5; 2 Corinthians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15.
Scripture makes it clear that the Church, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is always the authority as the body of Christ, and not a “board” of Pastor(s), Deacons, or any other body. The Church is the final authority to call Pastors, Deacons, Ministry Team Leaders, and other elected officers yet paradoxically, should willingly submit to their leadership and care. Ultimately, however, even the leadership submits to the Church’s authority. This means that the Church should study the Scriptures as they discern the will of the Lord in important congregational matters.
Section 2: Ministry Defined
The following diagram presents a balance of decision making and power in the form of an equilateral triangle. The Church, or the Bride of Christ, is placed at the center of all church life. The Pastor(s), Deacons, and the various Ministry Teams are interconnected with each other and with the congregation. The Leaders at each end of the triangle coordinate their work toward achieving the same goal: To fulfill the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) - We are to Love God and Love People.
Ephesians 4:11-13; Acts 20:28; 1Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3
Servant Leadership Steward Leadership
Acts 6:1-7; 1Timothy 3:8-13 Luke 12:42-43; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
1 Peter 4:7-11
In this ministry structure, the roles of all leaders are clearly defined. The Pastor is a shepherd leader, a teacher, and an equipper. The Pastor is to be a student of the Word, studying and teaching the Scriptures in order to help the church become mature in Christ. The Pastor is the main communicator, the lead teacher, and the example for the church to follow in Christian conduct. Open communication, along with a true love for one another in Christ, allows a church to be open to the Pastor’s leadership as he leads and teaches according to the Word of God.
The role of the Deacon is that of a servant leader. The Deacons are to be servants of the church, caring for the individual family concerns, ministering to benevolence and bereavement needs, and sharing needs and spiritual concerns of people within the church with the Pastor.
Ministry Teams are also a vital part of the church’s ministry. The Ministry Teams function both inside and outside of the church. Each Ministry Team Leader is a steward leader and is responsible to guide the ministry teams to fulfill goals through healthy team dynamics, open communication, clear planning, and commitment to the Scriptures.
With the shepherding leadership of the Pastor, the servant leadership of the Deacons, and the steward leadership of Ministry Teams, the membership of Calvary Church can successfully respond to ministry needs and thus fulfill the vision of the Church. With a heart for God, obedience to Christ, and guidance by the Spirit, Calvary Church will see the Great Commission realized and the Great Commandment practiced – ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD!
SECTION I: Qualifications for Membership
The basic and general qualifications for membership shall consist of all the following:
1. A personal commitment of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
2. Baptism by immersion as a testimony of salvation.
3. Completion of the Church’s membership class.
4. A commitment to abide by the membership covenant.
SECTION II: Member Responsibilities
In order to be a responsible member of Calvary Church, members must:
1. Be in basic agreement with the Church’s statement of faith and purpose.
2. Be diligent to live according to the statements of the Church covenant.
3. Be faithful in attendance to worship services and Bible study.
4. Discover, develop and deploy their spiritual gifts in the ministries of the Church.
5. Encourage scriptural stewardship of time, talents, tithes, and offerings.
Section III: Rights of Membership
Every active adult member, who is 18 years or older, shall have the right to participate in the following matters: The approval of the annual budget of the Church, the election of the Trustees, Deacons and Officers, the acquisition of real property and related indebtedness, the amending of the Constitution or Bylaws of the Church, the calling or removal of a Pastor, the disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Church, and the merger or dissolution of the Church.
Section IV: Membership Status
Membership in this Church shall consist of all persons who have met the qualifications for membership, listed above in Article II, Section I, and are listed on the membership roll. In an effort to properly reflect the membership of the Church, two rolls shall be maintained. These rolls shall be updated periodically.
1.Active Members: All individuals who regularly attend worship services and support the ministry of the Church through tithing, volunteering, regular prayer, or participation in a ministry program (i.e. Sunday School Class; Small Group; Children, Adult or Music ministry, usher, clerical). Individual exceptions will be granted for those who have had a history of participation, but are unable to attend due to medical reasons, age, military service, or extenuating circumstances as determined by the Deacons.
2.Non-active Members: A non-active member is defined as a member who has not attended the Church in six months with exceptions to those members who are homebound due to medical reasons or age, members of the military or extenuating circumstances, as determined by the Deacons.
Persons who are moved from the Active Member List to the Non-Active List will be notified and encouraged to become active in this or another Christian Church. Voting rights shall be reserved for those members on the active member list only.
Section V: Termination of Membership
Members shall be removed from the Church roll for the following reasons:
2.Transfer of membership to another church.
3.By personal request of the member.
4.Dismissal by the Congregation according to the following:
a. Reason: The member’s life and conduct is not in accordance with the Statement of
Faith or Membership Covenant in such a way that the member hinders the ministry influence of the Church in the community.
b. Procedure: Procedures for dismissal of a member shall be according to Matthew 18:15-17 and Titus 3:10-11 and overseen by the Pastor(s) and Deacons.
Section VI: Restoration of Members
Members dismissed by the Church shall be restored only after an evaluation of all relevant facts have been completed by the Deacons, in concert with the Pastor, and a unanimous agreement reached and then approved by the membership according to the spirit of 2 Corinthians 2:7-8.
Meetings of Members
Business Meetings of the members shall be held in the times, manner, and purpose set forth below:
1.An annual Business Meeting of the Church shall be held the first week in October, the beginning of the Church calendar year. The primary purpose of the meeting is to receive and adopt the Church Budget, and to elect Trustees, Deacons, and Church Officers.
2.The Church may change the dates of the annual Business Meeting by notifying the active adult members at least 14 calendar days in advance by one of the methods listed in subsection 4 below.
3.A special Business Meeting of the Church may be called at any time by:
a. The Pastor, or
b. A two-thirds vote of the Deacons.
4.Active adult members, 18 years of age and older, shall be notified of the intent to hold a Business Meeting no less than 21 calendar days prior by at least one of the following methods:
a.Distribution of written material to the congregation in attendance at two consecutive Sunday services.
b.Announcement of the meeting in the Church newsletter.
c.By first-class letter to active adult members
5.A quorum shall consist of those active adult members, 18 years of age and older, present and voting. Voting by proxy is prohibited.
6.Those active adult members who are unable to attend may request an absentee ballot from the Church Secretary at any time prior to the Business Meeting. All such completed ballots must be received by the Church Secretary no later than noon on the date of the Business Meeting.
Records and Reports
The Church will maintain the following records and reports:
1.Adequate and correct records of all Church financial accounts, contractual agreements, insurance coverage and real property holdings
2.The minutes of all official proceedings held by the Members, Trustees and Deacons
3.A record of all members, active and inactive, listing their names and addresses
4.The contribution record of each member and nonmember
5.Reports of all official Church actions
6.Reports of the annual audit findings of all Church finances
A more detailed list of the qualifications of the Pastor, Deacons and Ministry Team Leaders is outlined in Appendix I (attached).
Section I: Pastor
The Pastor is responsible for leading the Church to function as a New Testament Church. The Pastor’s primary tasks grow out of the instructions in Ephesians 4 to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, and Acts 20:28, to be the overseer and shepherd of the Church. As such he works with the Church staff, Deacons, and Ministry Team Leaders to: (1) lead the church in performing its tasks; (2) lead the Church to engage in EVANGELISM / MISSIONS, EDUCATION, WORSHIP, MINISTRY / SERVICE, AND FELLOWSHIP; (3) proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; and (4) care for the Church members and other persons in the community.
Selection of the Pastor shall be conducted as outlined in Article VII of these Bylaws using the qualifications listed in Appendix I. The Pastor will lead all Church Members, Officers, Staff employees and volunteers strictly following the ministry beliefs and objectives set forth in the Church Constitution and Article I of these Bylaws. This purposeful leadership is provided through preaching, teaching, directing, guiding the Ministry Team Leaders, and through counseling with persons and groups in the Church.
The Pastor will serve as the Moderator of the Church. In the Pastor’s absence, the Deacons will select an appropriate interim Moderator.
The Pastor will participate in the selection, hiring, disciplining and dismissal process for all Church Officers, Staff employees and volunteers as outlined in these Bylaws.
Section II: Associate Pastor(s)
The Church shall determine the need for and duties associated with each new Associate Pastor position created. The specific duties shall be based on the needs of the Church, the desires and qualifications of the candidate and other related factors. The same spiritual qualifications required of the Pastor shall also be required of other Associate Pastor(s) as outlined in these Bylaws and Appendix I. An Associate Pastor’s duties may be changed during his time of service if mutually agreeable to the Associate Pastor, the Pastor and the Church.
The Associate Pastor will work under the supervision of the Pastor and will perform as the acting Pastor as needed. The hiring, disciplining or dismissal of an Associate Pastor shall be approved by the Pastor and Deacon body.
Section III: Deacons
As New Testament officers of the Church, the Deacons are responsible before God to serve the membership of the Church. The qualifications, and/or functioning of the Deacons, shall be in accordance with the following scriptures: Acts 6:1-15; 1 Timothy 3:8-13; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13;
and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15. Based upon scriptural doctrine, only males may hold this position.
They are to be zealous to guard the unity of the Spirit within the Church in the bonds of peace. They shall be men of prayer, striving continually to understand and apply more fully the scriptures through Bible study. They shall serve as a council of advice and confer with the Pastor(s) and Ministry Team Leaders in matters pertaining to the welfare, work, and purpose of the Church by fulfilling the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
They shall assist the Pastor in the ordinances of Baptism and Lord’s Supper. They are to seek to know the physical needs and the moral and spiritual struggles of the members, and to serve the whole Church in relieving, encouraging and developing all who are in need. In council with the Pastor, and by such methods as the Holy Spirit may direct in accordance with the New Testament teachings, they are to have oversight of discipline within the Church.
NOMINATION/SELECTION PROCEDURES: In July of each year, forms for nominating Deacons shall be made available to all adult active members of the Church. To provide for a manageable procedure, the maximum number of nominees under consideration will be limited to the number of current Deacon vacancies, plus three. Should more candidates than this total number be nominated, continued participation in the selection process will be determined based upon the number of nominations each nominee receives. The resulting men nominated by the Church shall be interviewed by the Pastor and Chairman of Deacons, and the names of those men who meet the scriptural requirements as outlined in these Bylaws and Appendix I, and who indicate their willingness to serve, shall be presented to the Church for a ballot vote at the annual Business Meeting in October. Completed ballots shall be tallied by a committee consisting of three randomly selected Deacons and the results announced at the next regularly scheduled Sunday service.
Based upon the number of available vacancies, those men receiving the most votes will be selected annually. Once elected, the newly selected Deacon(s) will be commissioned before the Church congregation.
Each Deacon may serve a full term of three years, and may be re-nominated to serve one additional three-year term. Following two full terms of service (six successive years), there must be at least a one-year period before a person can be nominated again. Upon formation, the Deacon body shall meet and select a Chairman and Co-Chairman who will each serve a one-year term.
A Deacon may voluntarily step down from his position at any time he so chooses. The Deacon should prayerfully reflect on his decision and seek counsel from the Deacon body and the Pastor before making a final decision.
Involuntary dismissal of a Deacon shall be in accordance with the procedures for Church discipline. If the situation is such that it necessitates dismissal from office, the Deacon body may suggest voluntary resignation by the person involved. If he refuses, the Deacon body may remove him from office, but only after the principles for Church discipline have been prayerfully considered and followed. The position will remain vacant until the church nominates and elects a replacement.
The Deacons will participate in the hiring, disciplining or dismissal of any Church member, Officer, Staff employee or volunteer in concert with the Pastor.
Section IV: Ministry Team Leaders
The Team Leader of each Church ministry is responsible for directing certain programs of the Church, i.e. Evangelism/Missions, Education, Worship, Ministry/Service, Student Ministries, Fellowship, and Stewardship Ministries.
The Pastor may appoint ad hoc or permanent Ministry Team Leaders, as needed, from the Church membership. As a steward leader, each Ministry Team Leader must meet the qualifications as outlined in Appendix I and will be asked to adhere to the ministry objectives outlined in Article I, Section II of these Bylaws. The Pastor may dismiss a Ministry Team Leader with the approval of the Deacon body.
Section V: Trustees
Three (3) Trustees, elected annually by the Church, will hold in trust the Church property and perform such administrative duties as requested by the Church membership, Pastor or Deacon body to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the Corporation. Trustees shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any property without a specific vote of the Church authorizing such action. It shall be the function of the Trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents where the signatures of Trustees are required.
Selection of the Trustees will be consistent with the Nomination/Selection, replacement and removal process and term used for Deacons as outlined in Article VI, Section III above. Upon formation, the Trustees shall meet and select a Chairman who will hold this position for a one-year term. The Chairman of the Trustees shall serve as the President of the Corporation and the Church Moderator. As the Church Moderator, the Trustee will conduct all Business Meetings. In case a Trustee is no longer able to serve, the Pastor may appoint an interim Trustee to serve until the next annual election. Both male and female active adult members, of sound moral character and standing, may hold this position.
Section VI: Chief Financial Officer
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Corporation will oversee and cause to be kept and maintained, adequate and correct books and records of accounts of the Corporation. This person shall also oversee the reception and disbursement of all funds. The CFO’s actions are subject to the review and approval of the Pastor and Stewardship Ministries Team. The CFO shall ensure that audits of all financial accounts are conducted annually and that the results are made available to the membership as outlined in Article IX of these Bylaws.
The Pastor, in partnership with the President of the Corporation, will nominate a CFO. Subject to the approval of the Church membership, the CFO will serve a one-year term. This term will coincide with the Church calendar year. In the CFO’s absence the President may appoint an acting CFO to complete the current term as necessary.
Section VII: Church Clerk
The Church Clerk will serve as the Secretary of the Corporation. The Clerk shall be responsible for keeping an accurate record of all Business Meetings of the Church and for filing a typed copy in the Church Office as a permanent record. The Clerk shall maintain a complete roll of active, non-active, and former Church members, showing dates of admission and termination; request and forward letters of membership transfer and render membership reports to the Church as needed. The Clerk shall prepare the Annual Church Profile, and sign all official documents certifying action taken by the Church Corporation. Some of the responsibilities of the Clerk may be delegated to other volunteers or paid secretarial staff with the Pastor’s approval.
The Pastor, in partnership with the President of the Corporation, will nominate a Clerk. Subject to the approval of the Church membership, the Clerk will serve a one-year term. This term will coincide with the Church calendar year. In the Clerk’s absence the President may appoint an acting Clerk to complete the current term as necessary.
In order to perform the Church’s ministry needs and objectives salaried employees/volunteers must be retained. These include, but are not limited to:
Children’s Ministry Director
Director of Music and Worship
Christian Education Coordinator
Custodian and Gardener
The Church shall determine the duties associated with each new Staff position created. The specific duties shall be based on the needs of the Church, the desires and qualifications of the candidate and other related factors. A Staff member’s duties may be changed during their time of service if mutually agreeable to the employee, the Pastor and the Church.
The Pastor will participate in the selection, hiring and dismissal process for all Staff employees and volunteers. Any final recommendation made by the Pastor to hire, discipline or dismiss shall be with the concurrence of the Deacon body. Such decisions shall utilize spiritual principles and be conducted with professionalism and strict confidentiality.
Pastor Search Team
When it is necessary to select a new Pastor, the Leadership Team consisting of the Deacons, Trustees, and Ministry Team Leaders will recommend that a Pastor Search Team be elected by the Church. The Pastor Search Team shall consist of a minimum of five (5) members with two (2) alternates. The Leadership Team will seek nominations from the church body for consideration to serve on the Pastor Search Team. Those nominated, male or female, must be current active members. Names collected will be placed on a ballot for a vote of the Church membership and those receiving the most votes will be selected to serve. The elected team will choose a Chairman, an Assistant Chairman, and a Recorder-Secretary. The Pastor Search Team will consult with the California Southern Baptist State Convention concerning the Church’s pastoral needs and recommended procedures for calling a pastor. The Pastor Search Team shall bring to the consideration of the Church only one man at a time. When the Pastor Search Team finds a suitable Pastoral candidate he will be presented to the Deacons, Trustees, and Ministry Team Leaders in a joint meeting. If approved by the Leadership Team by a two-thirds majority vote, a recommendation for selection shall then go before the Church for action. The affirmation of the Pastoral candidate by the Church shall be at a duly called meeting in accordance with Article II of these Bylaws.
Selection shall be by secret ballot with an affirmative vote of seventy-five (75%) of those active members present being necessary for a call. After obtaining such an affirmative vote the Pastor Search Team shall proceed with the call of the newly selected Pastor. The Pastor, thus selected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated either at his request or the Church’s dismissal. Once this process has been concluded the Pastor Search Team shall be dissolved.
Any adult active member may propose that these Bylaws be amended by submitting a written request to the President of the Corporation. Such a request should outline the suggested alteration and provide any necessary justification and documentation. In concert with the Pastor, the proposed change shall be reviewed by the Board of Trustees. If approved by majority vote of the Trustees, the appropriate changes will be prepared and submitted to the Church membership for approval. If adopted, the proposed changes will be officially incorporated into these Bylaws.
Once each calendar year an audit shall be conducted of select Church procedures to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and adherence to the provisions of these Bylaws. This may include, but not be limited to, an examination of records retention, financial controls and fund disbursement practices. Such an audit will be completed by a volunteer committee of two active adult members from the Church membership or a paid outside auditor, if deemed necessary. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, all Church Staff members and Church Officers are specifically prohibited from conducting any audit. All audit findings shall be thoroughly documented along with any recommended changes in procedure, if appropriate, for the review of the Pastor and Church Officers. Once adopted, the audit report’s contents will be revealed to the membership at the Annual Business Meeting for discussion and final approval.
Every Pastor, Staff Member and Church Member, by virtue of their membership, affirms their agreement with the Bylaws as stated above and agrees to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with them.
The Leaders Defined
There are two types of official leaders in a church. The Apostle Paul speaks to both of them in Philippians 1:1 when he says,
Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and Deacons . . . (NASB) Philippians 1:1
In God's plan for the church there are overseers and Deacons. But what is an overseer, elder, or a pastor?
A. PASTORS - SHEPHERD LEADERS
1. Who are they?
Elders and Overseers
The first clue comes in the book of Titus where we discover that elders are also overseers. These two words refer to the same person.
For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you…a bishop must be blameless… (NASB) Titus 1:5, 7
The Greek word for elder is presbuteros, and the Greek word for overseer is episkopous. The word "elder" refers to the leader's character while "overseer" refers to his oversight duties or responsibilities. An overseer is an elder.
Elders and Pastors
In 1 Peter we find another connection between elders and pastors.
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion . . . (NASB) 1 Peter 5:1-2
Peter is speaking to the elders when he encourages them to pastor or shepherd the flock. The Greek word for pastor or shepherd is poimaino. We also find that these men are to oversee the church. An elder is the person who has two types of responsibilities: oversight and shepherding.
We find episkopous, presbuteros, and poimaino used again in Acts 20.
And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church. . . . Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (NASB) Acts 20:17, 28
Acts 20:17 tells us that the apostle Paul called for the elders (presbuteros) of Ephesus. Upon arriving in Ephesus, Paul meets these men. While speaking with them (verse 28), he tells them that the Holy Spirit has made them overseers (episkopous) and commands them “to shepherd” or pastor (poimaino) the congregation.
Elder = Overseer = Pastor
These terms are used for the same individual. The elder is a pastor. The elder is an overseer. The overseer is a pastor. A pastor is an overseer who is an elder! They are different terms for the exact same person describing a different phase of the job description.
2. What are a pastor’s qualifications?
Qualifications For A Pastor
1Timothy 3:2-7 Titus 1:6-9
1. blameless – v. 2 blameless – v. 6
2. husband of one wife – v. 2 husband of one wife – v. 6
Just – v. 8
Holy – v. 8
Self-controlled – v. 8
3. temperate – v. 2 not self-willed – v. 7
4. sober-minded – v. 2 sober-minded – v. 8
5. of good behavior orderly – v. 2
6. able to teach – v. 2 holding fast the faithful word – v. 9
A lover of what is good – v. 8
7. hospitable – v. 2 hospitable – v. 8
8. not give to wine – v. 3 not given to wine – v. 7
9. not violent – v. 3 not violent – v. 7
10. gentle – v. 3
11. not quarrelsome – v. 3 not quick tempered – v. 8
12. not covetous – v. 3 not greedy for money – v. 7
13. rules his own house well – v. 4-5 having faithful children – v. 6
14. not a novice – v. 6
15. a good testimony outside the church – v. 7
3. What are a Pastor’s duties?
a. “Shepherd and care for the flock” (1 Peter 5:2; 1 Timothy 3:5; James 5:14-15). This means he takes responsibility for their spiritual care.
b. “Be an example to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3) – This means he consciously models and disciples others in the Christian life.
c. “Teaching God’s Word” (Acts 20:20; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17)
d. “Guard against false doctrine” (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:9)
e. “Rule” (1 Timothy 5:17) - This means to direct the church’s affairs.
B. DEACONS – SERVANT LEADERS
1. Who are they?
The Greek word that is translated as “Deacon” in the New Testament is ‘diakonos’. In most English translations, ‘diakonos’ is translated as “Deacon” only in 1 Timothy 3:8-12 and Philippians 1:1. The word ‘diakonos’ occurs 30 times in the New Testament. (Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Colossians 1:7; 4:7; 1 Timothy 4:6; Hebrews 13:10).
The word “Deacon” is most often translated “servant” and can be used of any servant (Ephesians 6:21; 1 Corinthians 3:5, etc.). But in Acts 6:1-6 a group of men were officially designated as servers/Deacons for a specific physical need in the Jerusalem church. Later, Paul used the word “Deacon” in the official sense of a church office and described their qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
‘Diakonos’ occurs in the feminine gender only once in the N.T. “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.” (Romans 16:1, NIV) Only one major English translation (RSV) translates the word as “Deaconess”. It seems that Paul was commending Phoebe for her exceptional serving of those in the church in Cenchrea, and not for serving in the office of a “Deaconess”.
2. What are a Deacon’s qualifications?
Each Deacon should be an active member of the church and possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The qualifications for Deacons can be divided into two different categories: personal character and spiritual character.
(a) Men of dignity, reverent, they must be worthy of respect, serious minded, not treating serious things lightly (1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:2).
(b) Not double-tongued; not a malicious gossip (1 Timothy 3:8)
(c) Not addicted to much wine; they are noted for their sobriety (1 Timothy 3:8)
(d) Not fond of gain nor greedy for money (1 Timothy 3:8, 6:9)
(a) Must hold “to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience,” must have convictions based on the knowledge of true biblical doctrine (1 Timothy 3:9).
(b) Must be men already tested and proved to be faithful (1 Timothy 3:10).
(c) Morally pure in every way (1 Timothy 3:10, 12).
(d) The husband of one wife and leads his family well (1 Timothy 3:12).
A Deacon’s Wife:
(a) Reverent, serious in mind and character; not silly or flippant about important matters (1 Timothy 3:11).
(b) Not slanderers, must not be malicious gossips (1 Timothy 3:11).
(c) Temperate, alert, vigilant, clear-headed, sober (1 Timothy 3:11).
(d) Faithful in all things, absolutely trustworthy in all aspects of their lives and ministries (1 Timothy 3:11).
3. What are a Deacon’s duties?
There is only the general indication that Deacons serve to meet physical needs in order to free up other spiritual leaders to focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4). But that does not limit Deacons. They have spiritual qualifications and may have other spiritual gifts for significant personal ministry. One Deacon, Philip, was an outstanding evangelist and preacher (Acts 8:4-8, 26:40, 21:8). Stephen, another Deacon, is noted for his faith and his preaching (Acts 6:5, 6:8-7:60). So it seems that Deacons are formally established as church officers. They are to assure particularly that the physical needs of the church body are met.
C. MINISTRY TEAM LEADERS – STEWARD LEADERS
1. Who are they?
A Ministry Team Leader is like the steward of a household. The Bible has much to say about effective stewardship, and a good Ministry Team Leader is like a faithful steward who manages the household and business affairs of his master (Luke 12:42-47). A steward does not own but manages all that his master puts into his hands. Perhaps the most famous steward in the Bible is Joseph, who had complete control over all of Potiphar’s business (Genesis 39:19).
2. What are Ministry Team Leaders qualifications?
The steward is the trusted overseer of members of the household, administrator of household affairs, and manager of the master's resources. The most important characteristic of a steward is faithfulness (Matthew 25:21; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2). He must use what his master gives him for the good and the glory of his master, and not for himself personally (Luke 16:1-13). The steward is both a faithful servant and a wise overseer of the household (Luke 12:42-43). The steward is responsible for how he conducts himself in relation to things and other persons (Luke 12:45-46). As is expected of all church members…
(a) Ministry Team Leaders have accepted Christ as Savior and intentionally surrender to Him as Lord. John 1:12, 3:3, 16; Romans 10:9–10; James 4:7–8
(b) Ministry Team Leaders are grounded in the Bible and believe it is the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16–17; Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17
(c) Ministry Team Leaders exercise faith. Hebrews 11:1, 6; 2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:7; Matthew 8:5–13; Proverbs 3:5–6
(d) Ministry Team Leaders communicate with God. Matthew 6:9–13; Mark 11:24; James 1:5–8;
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18; Philippians 4:6–7; James 4:2; Ephesians 6:
(e) Ministry Team Leaders are faithful stewards and exercise their spiritual gifts. Matthew 25:14–30; Luke 12:48; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 4:10; Malachi 3:8–10
(f) Ministry Team Leaders accept responsibilities as a leader and servant. Isaiah 6:8; Mark 10:43–45; Philippians 2:3–17
(g) Ministry Team Leaders are relationally oriented. John 4:4–26; Ephesians 4:15, 29
(h) Ministry Team Leaders regularly fellowship and worship with other believers. Hebrews 10:24–25; Proverbs 27:17; Galatians 6:2; Ecclesiastes 4:9–12
(i) Ministry Team Leaders possess a heart for evangelism and a vision for disciple-making. Matthew 28:16–20; 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:2
(j) Ministry Team Leaders are consistent in walking with the Lord and applying His principles. Hebrews 5:14; Romans 12:1–2; Galatians 5:22–26; 2 Peter 1:5–9
(k) Ministry Team Leaders are committed to continual growth in Christ.
Galatians 2:20–21; 1Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 5:11–6:3; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Peter 1:6–7
(l) Ministry Team Leaders love others. 1 Corinthians 13:1–8; 1 Peter 4:8
3. What are Ministry Team Leaders duties?
As a steward of the household, we see from the biblical accounts that the steward is faithful to follow the master’s desires, safeguard the master’s property, handle the financial resources, and create a return on his assets.
Stewards must manage wisely and responsibly whatever the Master entrusts to them. In the New Testament, stewards were responsible for managing their lives, others, the gospel, spiritual gifts, and material things.
The Ministry Team Leader will be faithful stewards of Christ, responsible to lead one of Calvary’s ministries that help the church accomplish one or more of its purposes:
WorshipCelebrate..................................the presence of God
Evangelism/MissionsCommunicate...............................reach new people
FellowshipConnect........................love and care for each other
Discipleship/EducationCultivate................................grow in Christ-likeness
Ministry/ServiceContribute.......................exercise their spiritual gifts
Baptist Faith And Message
I. The Scriptures
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11, 89, 105, 140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
A. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
B. God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord.
Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46;
John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
C. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32;
Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18, 29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.
V. God's Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.;
Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48;
John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.
VI. The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and Deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21;11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
VIII. The Lord's Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.
IX. The Kingdom
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
X. Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31;
Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14;2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.
XI. Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness under girded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people.
In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtor ship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.
Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5;
Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.
XV. The Christian and the Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.
Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8;
Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
XVI. Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9, 38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36, 38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.
XVII. Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.
XVIII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.
Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15;
1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.