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CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
FIRST FAMILY CHURCH, INC.
Article 1: Authority
The following is established as a guide for the orderly functioning of the corporation, hereinafter called the church. Since the Holy Scriptures are ultimately binding on this church the following By-Laws are to be open for review so that they may be transformed: (1) when any of them is seen to conflict with God’s Word in any way; and (2) when any of them appears to be hindering the fulfillment of the stated principles of His church.
Article 2: Name
The name of the corporation, a church incorporated under the laws of the State of California, shall be First Family Church, Inc.
Article 3: Purposes
First Family Church exists so as to turn ordinary people into extra-ordinary disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. We will fulfill this purpose through:
- Celebration...worship - The church exists to worship God, and this means that, as a congregation, we are committed to corporate worship, individual praise and a lifestyle of genuine thankfulness (Psalm 95:6, 7a; John 4:23.)
- Communication...teaching - First Family Church is committed to sound, biblical teaching that will result in a significant life change (Colossians 1:28; II Peter 3:18)
- Commission...evangelism - We, as a corporate body and as individuals, are committed to reaching the unsaved and bringing to Jesus. The great commission is still our mission (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16: 15; Luke 24:47-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).
- Community...fellowship - First Family Church is committed to developing strong, caring, authentic relationship (Acts 2:42; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 13:16).
The purpose and strategies of First Family Church are educational, charitable, and religious. Any one, or more, of these will motivate decisions of the governing body at any given time.
Article 4: Doctrinal Statement
The church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, revised 7/12/2000, See Addendum A (the printed version of this document has "Addendum A" at the bottom of the document. This online version does not, but you can find the statement here
Article 5: Membership
Section One: Present Membership
All those whose names appear on the church membership roster of this church are members.
Section Two: Member Qualifications and Admission
To qualify for membership at First Family Church, an individual must have completed the following:
Section Three: Voting Member Qualifications
- Profess to and give evidence of a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Have been baptized by immersion in water as a public announcement of putting his faith in Jesus Christ.
- Attended a special membership class to become acquainted with the doctrines and practices of First Family Church.
- Agree to and sign a membership covenant consisting of biblical statements describing someone’s relationship to the church.
- Be interviewed by two or more Elders.
- Be accepted by the Current Board of Elders.
Members who have attained the age of 16 years old on or before a matter comes to the general membership of the church for vote or election, shall be eligible to vote.
Section Four: Termination of Membership
Members are expected to conduct their lives in accordance with biblical standards of holiness as they grow in Christian maturity. When a member knowingly ignores the direct commands and prohibitions of Scripture, he shall be dealt with according to the principles of discipline and restoration contained in Scripture (e.g. Matt. 18:15-17; Gal. 6:1; I Cor. 5:1-13).
No member shall be expelled from this church because of sinning. Members shall be expelled for being unwilling to repent of their sin when it is made known to them.
Members who unite with another church shall inform First Family Church so that their names may be dropped from the membership roll. When the church is not informed of this, the member may be dropped after he has been absent from the services of the church for one year. Members who move away from the area may also be dropped after a letter has been sent informing them of this action. Decisions to drop members from the roll shall rest upon the Board of Elders.
Members who have moved away temporarily such as missionaries, members of the armed services, and students, may be continued as members in absentia.
Article 6: Leadership and Offices
Section One: The Senior Pastor
The senior pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Article 6, Section 2, below, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and commissioned to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching. His office shall not be subject to the term limitation set out in Article 6, Section 5, for the office of elders. He shall preach the Word of God, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the constitution. In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastor the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated. He is excluded from holding the position of Chairman, Secretary, or Treasurer within the elder board.
Section Two: The Elders
During the physical absence of the pastor, the pastoral care of the congregation shall be committed to the hands of the Elders. Their duties will be, in general, to equip all believers in the assembly for the work of the church’s ministries. (Eph. 4:11-16) and to lead and give direction to the church (I Tim. 5:17)
Section Three: Qualifications for Elders
In order to accomplish the above-mentioned duties, the Elders must be men who meet, and are striving to meet the qualities described in I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
Any member of the congregation of First Family Church may present a male member for consideration as a Elder by completing and signing an evaluation form and submitting it to the Board (or Executive Committee). Each man so presented will be prayerfully considered. If recommended to the Congregation, the Congregation shall then vote on the Elder at the annual meeting or at a special meeting to be set from time to time.
Section Four: Interim Leadership
In the event at least four men qualified as Elders according to the biblical standards cannot be found in the congregation, an Executive Committee shall be formed of neither less than three nor more the nine men who most closely approximate the biblical qualifications for Elders. These leaders will be appointed by majority vote of the membership and will relinquish their duties to a duly qualified Board of Elders as soon as four or more such Elders are installed and recognized by the congregation.
Section Five: Term of Office
Elders are expected to serve on the Elder board until the due providence of God mandates otherwise. An Elder may be disciplined according to Biblical principles, although no accusation against an Elder is to be taken seriously unless there are two or three witnesses (I Tim. 5:19). An Elder will be subject to scrutiny not only in the areas which might require discipline as an ordinary member, but also as to his continued meeting of the qualifications for Eldership. If an Elder ceases to meet those qualifications, he shall be ministered to through the discipline process outlined in Scripture. During that process, the Elders may advise him to step aside from his office for a time so that he may put his life in order. An Elder may of his own will request to be relieved from office either temporarily or permanently, if he feels unable to serve for any reason. Should that situation arise, the remaining Elders, according to sound wisdom, will determine possible reinstatement at a later time.
Article 7: Official Meetings
Section One: Annual Meeting of the Congregation
The congregation shall meet at least annually for the purpose of evaluating the progress of the church toward meeting its stated objectives (given in Article 3), and at other times as needs may arise. The Elders shall give notice of such meetings at least two weeks in advance. The evaluation is to be for the purpose of giving informal direction and encouragement to the programs and work of the church, and not for the formal transacting of business. The annual meeting shall take place no later than March 1 of each calendar year.
Section Two: Membership Voting
The membership of First Family Church may be called on for the purposes of voting on qualifying matters such as hiring of Pastors, purchase or sale of property, and non-budgeted items exceeding $25,000.00. In each case a majority vote of the membership quorum is necessary. Two thirds of all members of First Family Church constitute a quorum.
Section Three: Meetings of the Elders
The Elders of the church shall meet each January for the purpose of selecting officers among the Elders for the coming year. These officers will include a president, a secretary, and a treasurer. Any Elder may hold more than one office, except that the same person may not hold the office of president and secretary. All officers of the Church shall also be Elders.
Notice of other meetings of the Elders shall be given to each Elder at least five days in advance. Notice may be oral and the minutes of the Elders meeting shall so indicate. Elders may meet anywhere. When an emergency or impromptu meeting is required, those Elders attending so long as a quorum of Elders is present, may transact the required business. Minutes shall be taken at all Elders meetings. Minutes shall be made available to all Elders within 72 hours of the meeting and sent via email. The Secretary of the Corporation shall maintain minutes of all Elders meetings.
The following business matters require (2/3) two-thirds vote of all active Elders: (1) matters of salary; (2) discipline of an Elder or the members of his immediate family (in such case, the Elder in question must abstain); (3) voting for potential Elder candidates; and (4) amendments to the By-Laws. Amendments to By-Laws must also be confirmed by a (2/3) two-thirds vote of all active members. All other matters before the Elders will be determined by a prayerful and majority agreement of the Elders quorum. Two-thirds of the Elders of the church shall constitute a quorum."
Article 8: Financial Policies
The ministries and programs of First Family Church shall be funded by the voluntary gifts and offerings of God’s people.
The treasurer of the church shall arrange for a written account of receipts and disbursements. The treasurer shall submit a annual report of the finances to the church, or more frequently as requested by the Elders, so that all might be aware of how God’ work is being carried out in the area of finances.
When a need arises that requires a non-budgeted expenditure of greater than $1,000.00 a meeting of the Elders shall be called for the purpose of discussion, approval, or rejection of the expenditure. Non-budgeted expenditures in excess of $25,000.00 shall be approved by a majority of members eligible to vote in a special ballot called for that purpose. A non-budgeted expense under $1,000.00 shall be approved by the Elder in charge of the budgeted line-item in addition to the treasurer. The purchase or sale of any interest in real property shall be with the majority approval of the eligible voting membership. The acquisition by gift, bequest, or testamentary disposition of all other tangible property, with an equity value in excess of $25,000.00, either real or personal, shall be promptly reported to the membership.
An annual budget for the following year shall be presented to the congregation for its information and advice. This shall be presented at the annual official meeting of the congregation (See Article 7, Section 1).
The Board of Elders shall make decisions in all financial matters and investments. Any decisions pertaining to financial matters and investments will require a 2/3 majority vote by the Elder Board with the expressed understanding that all funds belong to God and are thereby being used for his glory towards the goal of reaching people for the gospel and raising up disciples. No member of the board of elders shall be the investment agent or profit in any way from investment decisions made either directly or indirectly in the form of a commission or any other compensation.
Amended on February 22, 2015, by a vote of the membership