Constitution

PREAMBLE:

We, the members of Grace Community Church voluntarily submit ourselves to the following articles:

ARTICLE 1: Name

The name of our church is: GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH of AUSTIN, TEXAS

ARTICLE II: Foundation, Purpose and Priorities of Ministry

A. The foundation of this church is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), and its infallible rule for guidance in all its affairs: the Word of God (Psalm 119:89). This church does here affirm its faith that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of Almighty God (2 Timothy 3:16).

B. The purpose of this church shall be to glorify and enjoy the God of the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 10:31; Philippians 4:4) according to the teaching of His Word.

C. The priorities of ministry of this church flow from the worth and beauty of Jesus Christ, Who is the full expression of God’s glory (Revelation 5:12; John 1:18; 2 Corinthians 4:6). We exist to exalt Him in worship (John 4:23), increase our perception of His glory through the preaching and teaching of His Word (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18), and spread the knowledge of Him by evangelism, missions, and loving deeds (1 Peter 2:9; 3:15; Matthew 28:18-20; 5:16).

ARTICLE III: Articles of Faith

Our Church has defined our doctrinal beliefs in a document we have entitled “Statement of Faith”, subtitled “Doctrinal Foundations Prepared by the Men of Grace Community Church.” We accept this document not as an infallible rule or code of faith, but as an assistance to us in doctrinal definition.

ARTICLE V: Congregational Voting

Although the Lord has ordained pastoral leadership as the norm within His churches, it is both Biblical and desirable that the congregation of this church take part in expressing themselves through common suffrage or consent when deemed appropriate by the elder(s) for expressing unity. Voting shall be required for the selection of church officers (Acts 6:3-5; 14:23); any change to the “Statement of Faith” held to by our church, the amendment or alteration of this constitution in any fashion; the initiation or termination of the support of missionaries, pastors, deacons, and any other church employee; and any other matter deemed as appropriate by the elder(s) for expressing unity within the church. All voting will be previously announced and performed at regularly scheduled church meetings with the elders of this church present or represented at the time of vote. All members in attendance may vote if they so desire.

ARTICLE VI: Membership

Any person who professes repentance toward God and faith in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21), who has been baptized as a believer by immersion and who expresses a willingness to identify as “one of us” (Colossians 4:9, 12), who is committed to the doctrines, aims and mission of this church, and who is willing to submit to the government of this church, shall be gladly accepted into our church.

A. Reception into Membership: Any person desiring to become a member of this church is asked to submit a written testimony to the elder(s) describing how the Lord saved him/her. If no legitimate objections are brought forth, the applicant shall be immediately added to the assembly. It is important to note that the early church did not require new converts to wait during a season of proving before being added to the church (Acts 2:41).

B. Termination of Membership: Membership may be terminated when physical death requires it; when a member transfers to another church; when a member voluntarily desires to have his/her membership terminated; when it is found that a member is lost; or when disciplinary measures demand that a member be excommunicated.

ARTICLE VII: Church Officers

A. Elders:

1. Qualifications – The qualifications for a man chosen to fill the office of elder are clearly set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and various other portions of Scripture. Any man called to the eldership must be able conscientiously to affirm his agreement with and support of the “Statement of Faith” and the constitution of our church.

2. Responsibilities – All elders are pastors of the flock (Acts 20:28). They are responsible for the oversight and shepherding of the flock. They shall give account to God for the performance of their ministries (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2-3). While every elder must be able to teach (1Timothy 3:2), some will be more engaged in formal and public teaching while others will be more engaged in private teaching, admonishing and governing (1 Timothy 5:17).

3. Selection – The normal procedure in the New Testament for the selection of elders is the process of recognition (Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-13). Consent must be secured from any individual being considered for the eldership before his name is presented to the congregation for consideration. The nominee and date of the vote will be announced on at least four consecutive weeks at regular meetings prior to a congregational vote. At least three-fourths or 75 percent majority will be required for approval of the nominee to take up the office.

4. Ordination – In a regular or specially scheduled meeting of the church, the individual having received the confirmation of the congregation shall be ordained by the existing eldership of the church and/or elders from other churches. The hands of all participating elders shall be laid upon the new elder and prayer offered in his behalf (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).

C. Deacons:

1. Ministry of Mercy – The ministry of mercy in our church and community is the responsibility of all members of our congregation (James 1:27), however, this is a special responsibility of the deacons (Acts 6:2-3).

2. Business Affairs – The deacons shall carry the responsibilities of administering the business affairs of the church (1 Timothy 3:8). It shall be the responsibility of the deacons to prepare the church budget, annual financial reports and any other necessary business reports and receipts. Account balances, revenues and expenses shall be monitored and maintained by the deacons of the church and compiled into an annual financial report that shall be presented to the church at an annual business meeting. It shall also be the responsibility of the deacons to care for and maintain the church’s properties.

3. Selection – The normal procedure in the New Testament for the selection of deacons is the process of recognition (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). According to Acts 6:3, which is generally recognized as pertaining to deacons or at least a precursor to this office, deacons are to be men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and full of wisdom. While physical abilities and skills may be an important characteristic for those holding this office, the scriptures clearly reveal that the candidate’s spiritual qualifications are of supreme importance. Consent must be secured from all individuals being considered for the diaconate before being presented to the congregation for consideration. Those who are possible candidates and the planned date of the election will be announced on at least four consecutive weeks at regular meetings prior to a congregational vote. Acts 6:3 shows the pattern of the church leaders designating the number of individuals to be selected and then looking to the brethren who make up the church to look out among themselves and designate qualified individuals. Our practice will involve a recommendation by the elders as to the number of deacons desired and the church will look out among themselves for qualified individuals to satisfy this number. The membership of the church shall express their selections for the diaconate by way of vote. The candidates receiving the most votes by those present and voting, and receiving the approval of the eldership shall be ordained to this office.

4. Ordination – In a regular or specially scheduled meeting of the church, the individual(s) having received the confirmation of the congregation and elder(s) shall be ordained by the existing eldership of the church and/or elders from other churches. The hands of all participating elders shall be laid upon the new deacon and prayer offered in his behalf (Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).

ARTICLE IX: The Church Property and Assets

Should circumstances arise at any time when for any reason it becomes necessary to discontinue this church, the remaining members still loyal to our church’s statement of faith shall be free to decide by majority vote [more than 50%] how and to whom the church’s assets shall be transferred, so long as the organization to whom the assets are to be transferred is a church of like faith and practice, and is actively carrying out the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ.

ARTICLE X: Revisions, Additions and Amendments

A. Revisions, additions or amendments of this constitution may be made only in the following manner:

1. At a specified business meeting where the intent and scope of the change has been publicly announced at least two consecutive Lord’s Days prior to the stated meeting; and

2. By a three-fourths (75%) majority of those members present and voting at such meeting.

3. With the elder/elders present or represented.

B. Article II and Article X Section B of this constitution shall not be repealed, amended or revised.