Austin Church Of Christ (Christian)

Constitution

I. Name.

A. The name of this organization is: Austin Church of Christ (Christian).

B. The address is: 103 Second Street Southwest, Austin Minnesota, 55912.

C. The words "church" and "congregation" in this document are synonymous.

II. Purpose.

A. The purpose of this organization is to be the kind of congregation (church) designed and described by Christ and the Apostles in the New Testament, and shall not be for the profit of itself, nor of any individual, nor of any organization.

B. In carrying out the above-mentioned purpose, this congregation shall have an entirely autonomous status. It is not subject to, and neither shall it be controlled by, any state or national religious or missionary organization, nor by any external body or group.

C. The congregation shall be limited to religious, charitable and educational activities within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.

D. The purpose and specifics in this article are not intended to be and shall not be held in limitation of the powers now or hereafter granted to this non-profit congregation under the laws of the State of Minnesota, but are intended to be and shall be in furtherance thereof.

III. Duration.

The period of duration of existence of this congregation shall be perpetual.

IV. Membership and Fellowship.

A. Only God can set the terms for membership in His church. Based on the New Testament, we believe those membership terms are: persons who believe Jesus is the Christ begin a process of reforming their lives (repentance), professing such belief publicly, are baptized (immersed), and commence participation in the life of the church as persons intending to obey God’s commands.

B. An “active member” of this congregation shall fulfill the terms stated in IV, A. above and declares an intention to be a member of this congregation. Active membership shall be retained by continuing with frequent attendance and financial support and participation in the ministry and work of this congregation for the most recent six-month period of time.

C. We recognize that not all individuals have come to a point of faith as to be considered “active members.” But no person will be excluded from fellowship in this congregation who desires to participate in the activities and ministries of this church.

D. Notwithstanding the foregoing, a person may be removed from membership in… or fellowship with… this congregation by the process stated in Matthew 18 for causes such as, but not limited to, prolonged or sustained disruptiveness to the church, misbehavior that brings dishonor to the church, misbehavior toward other members of the church, participation in a legal proceeding against this church or any of its members.

V. Governance.

A. Under the spiritual guidance of the Elders, the Core Group shall be responsible for the general business of the congregation. The By-laws shall contain the conditions of membership in the Core Group and the procedures for the operations and continuation of the Core Group, its members and officers.

B. Trustees shall be accountable to the Core Group to be the legal representatives of the congregation to the State, and to perform specific functions, such as, but not limited to, oversight of the physical plant and facilities and certain funds as directed by the Core Group.

VI. Spiritual Leadership and Ministry-Service.

A. Elders shall provide spiritual leadership that is consistent with the mission of the church. The qualifications and responsibilities of Elders shall be the same as are outlined in the New Testament. Equivalent Scriptural words are: presbyter-elder, pastor-shepherd-teacher and bishop-overseer.

B. Deacons perform ministry-service that is consistent with the mission of the church. The qualifications and responsibilities of Deacons shall be the same as are outlined in the New Testament. Equivalent Scriptural words are: deacon, deaconess, and servant.

C. The church may employ persons to perform spiritual leadership and/or ministry-service for the church. These persons shall meet the same Scriptural qualifications as Elders or Deacons, as appropriate for their type of employment.

D. The By-laws shall contain the conditions for the appointment of, and terms of service for, Elders, Deacons, Trustees, and employed persons.

VII. Permitted Activities of the Congregation.

A. Not withstanding any provisions of these articles, the congregation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on, (a) by a congregation exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), or (b) by a congregation the contributions to which are deductible under Section 107 (c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).

B. No substantial part of the activities of this congregation shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation and the congregation shall not participate in or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

C. This congregation shall have no capital stock.

D. No Core Group officer, Core Group member, Trustee, Elder or Deacon, nor any leadership or ministry person, nor any member shall have personal liability for the congregation’s obligations.

VIII. Dissolution.

A. Upon dissolution of the congregation, the Core Group shall, after paying or making provisions for the payment of all of the liabilities of the congregation, dispose of all the assets of the congregation exclusively for the purposes of the congregation in such a manner, or to such organization or organizations organized and exclusively for charitable, educational, religious or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law) as the Core Group shall determine. Any of such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the District Court of the county in which the principal office of the congregation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said court shall determine, which are organized and open exclusively for such purposes.

B. Core Group shall notify the IRS and the State of Minnesota that it is going out of existence.

IX. Congregational Meetings.

A. Annual Meeting. The Core Group shall call at least one meeting of the congregation during the early part of each calendar year with a posted written agenda. The meeting shall include a written summary report of the Core Group's actions for the prior year including summary financial reports.

B. Other Meetings. The Core Group, for any purpose it deems expedient, may call additional meetings of the congregation.

C. A duly called meeting is one for which the Core Group posts a written notice of that meeting’s date, time, place, and its agenda in an easily read position in the narthex with an announcement of the posting of such notice made during at least two consecutive Sunday morning services the first of which is at least fourteen days prior to that meeting. Longer notice and more announcements are preferred when it is practical to do so.

D. “Voting members” are all the “active members” of the congregation who are at least sixteen years old and present at a duly called meeting. The “voting members” present and voting at a duly called meeting constitute a quorum.

E. Participation and decorum:

1. During any congregation meeting, a place in the agenda shall be provided for “voting members” to speak in an orderly manner for up to two minutes each per major topic. No more than two additional persons shall speak on a point of view already presented. Those who attempt to exceed this limit may be declared “out of order” by the chairperson of the meeting.

2. The chairperson of the meeting in his/her sole discretion that certain conduct at the meeting is out of order or disorderly may ask any person to cease such conduct or to dismiss them from the meeting if they don’t cease their conduct, or may terminate the meeting.

X. By-Laws and Amendments.

A. Any and all amendments to this document or the By-laws shall be adopted by at least a two thirds majority of “voting members” at a congregational meeting duly called by the Core Group, the posted agenda for which includes the purpose of adopting or amending this certificate or adopting or amending By-laws to this certificate and the text of the proposed changes.

B. This meeting and the prior notification shall be according to terms specified in IX. C.

By-laws

I. Purpose.

By the words of the gospel we will strive to reach the people of the community and the world to bring them to Jesus Christ and his kingdom. We will nurture, support and encourage each other's walk with the Lord through prayer, witness, and loving concern. We will encourage concern for missions and support of missions throughout the world.

II. Core Group.

A. The Core Group consists of no less than twelve members of the congregation and not more than about twenty members. The term of service is two years, beginning in January with approximately half the terms commencing in alternate years. Persons employed for spiritual leadership (ministers) are members of the Core Group. Any person attending a Core Group meeting may be asked to leave the meeting during the time there is a discussion concerning them personally.

B. People desiring to serve on the Core Group shall make that desire known during the month of November for service to begin the following January. The officers of the Core Group shall serve as a committee to gather names of those willing to serve on the Core Group. They shall place the names of prospective new members before the Core Group no later than the December meeting. If there are more than twenty persons desiring to serve on the Core Group the officers shall meet with all prospective members to come to a consensus on which people shall serve. Preferably some members who have already served at least two years will yield to persons who are requesting new terms of service. Core Group members who have served a 2-year term may volunteer to serve one consecutive 2-year term provided the Core Group agrees. After that, at least one year off the Core Group is required.

C. Every voting member of the Core Group shall be an active member of at least one Ministry Group (section G, below) and participate in the work and ministry of the church.

D. Core Group Officers shall be from the membership of Core Group:
 Chair - each new year the previous Vice Chair typically will become the Chair.
 Vice Chair - each year a new Vice Chair is elected.
 Past Chair – after the year’s service as Chair, the person takes this title.
 Secretary - records the minutes of the Core Group and Congregational meetings.
 (This person may serve consecutive years if willing and nominated.)

E. Election of Officers - All officers will be elected by the Core Group for a one-year term.

F. Regular meetings of the Core Group shall usually be held on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:03 PM unless changed by a two-thirds vote of the Core Group. A quorum is two-thirds of the members.

G. Ministry Groups: The chairman of the Core Group shall appoint these Ministry Groups from among the congregation provided at least two members and usually the committee chairman are from the Core Group. Some of the major areas of responsibility for each committee are listed.

1. Spiritual Direction (Employed Leaders & Elders)
a) Preaching and worship calendar
b) Shepherding and member concerns
c) Evangelism and church growth
d) Coordination with all the other functions & committees

2. External Ministries
a) Foreign and non-local church growth enterprises
b) Foreign and non-local benevolence enterprises
c) Development of membership commitments to these programs
d) Coordination with Local Service Ministry Group

3. Worship & Music
a) Plan and execute music portion of worship ministry
b) Plan and execute audio-visual support
c) Coordinate with preaching and worship calendar

4. Stewardship & Finance
a) Keep records of all expenditures with monthly reports to the Core Group
b) Approves/disapproves all spending requests except for capital expenditures, which are decided by the entire Core Group
c) Provides a spending plan to the Core Group prior to a new fiscal year
(If none is submitted Core Group may use the totals expended from the previous year as a guide for the succeeding year.)

5. Education & Youth
a) Children and youth education
b) Children and youth development, camp, fellowship, activities
c) Adult education
d) Coordinate with week-day programs

6. Local Service Ministry (Deacons/Deaconesses)
a) Dinners and other social gatherings
b) Ministry to shut-ins and persons in need
c) Hospital & nursing home visitations
d) Coordinate with women’s organizations

7. Property and Legal Matters (Trustees)
a) Monitor building and equipment
b) Repairs and replacements
c) Cleaning & facilities maintenance
d) Safety inspections and requirements

H. Other Ministry Groups may be created and staffed as decided by the Core Group.

III. Elders, Deacons, and Trustees.

A. Any “active member” of the church who wishes to become an Elder, Deacon, or Trustee may express the desire to become a candidate to a Core Group officer or to an Elder. Commonly such persons will have served on the Core Group.

B. The Elders review the candidates as to their qualifications according to Scripture. [Added by Core Group, 1Mar06, "Qualified candidates will be presented to the Core Group for review."] The candidates who pass the review are presented to the congregation who shall have at least 4 Sundays to review the candidates. Any person wishing to express their concerns or objections about a candidate may do so to one of the Elders.

C. The Elders, upon determining there is a consensus of the congregation about the candidates, may present those who are accepted by the congregation for dedication to a two-year appointment (term).

D. Successive terms shall be limited to a total of three consecutive two-year terms providing that at the start of each new two-year term the person is approved by the same process (A., B., C., above) as for any new candidate. After three consecutive terms (six continuous years) in such service, every Elder, Deacon, or Trustee shall take a sabbatical year before commencing any new two-year term.

E. The term of an Elder, Deacon, or Trustee may cease by the person's resignation, or it may be terminated by the Core Group at a special meeting called for that purpose after at least 10 days personal notification to all Core Group members. At least two-thirds majority of the entire current membership of the Core Group is required to terminate.

F. Dedication of Elders, Deacons, and Trustees. Annually at a Sunday morning worship service, persons newly appointed along with those continuing for the second year of their term will be presented in person in front of the congregation.

IV. Employed Persons for Spiritual Leadership and Ministry-Service

A. If persons are to be employed to perform spiritual leadership or to provide ministry–service, the method of appointment and the terms of employment shall be:

1. Each person appointed for spiritual leadership (commonly called Pastor, Preacher, or Minister) shall be reviewed and approved by at least two-thirds majority of the Core Group and then recommended to the congregation for an indefinite term of service subject to approval by at least a two-thirds majority of “voting members” who are present and voting.

 Employment may cease by the person's resignation, or may be terminated by the Core Group at a special meeting called for that purpose after at least 10 days personal notification to all Core Group members. At least two-thirds majority of the entire current membership of the Core Group is required to terminate a person employed for spiritual leadership.

2. Each person appointed for ministry-service shall be reviewed and approved by at least two- thirds majority of the Core Group and announced to the congregation.

Employment may cease by the person's resignation, or may be terminated by the Core Group at any meeting by at least a two-thirds majority of the entire current membership of the Core Group.

3. The church may terminate an employed person at will or without cause.