Constitution of New Covenant Community Church
Originally Adopted on November 17, 1987
by the Board of Deacons
Includes all amendments through June 12, 2011
Article I: The Church as a Corporation
Section 1: Name
The name of this corporation is “New Covenant Community Church” incorporated under the laws of the State of California on August 20, 1987. The terms “Church,” “Corporation,” and “New Covenant Community Church” refer to the same body when mentioned in this document.
Section 2: Office
The principal office of the Church, for its transactions of business is at 1744 East Nees Avenue, Fresno, California.
Article II: Statement of Faith
Section 1: Affirmation of Faith
The Church has adopted the following statement of faith as a statement of its beliefs (“Statement of Faith”), and the beliefs of its members. The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible is the sole and final authority on matters of faith and belief.
- The Word of God
We believe the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
- The Trinity
We believe there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons, that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption.
- God the Father
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love. We believe He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of man, He hears and answers prayer, and He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ.
- Jesus Christ
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for his people, and personal, visible return to earth.
- The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who comes forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher and guide.
We believe all men are sinners by nature and by choice and are, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
- The Church
We believe in the universal Church, a living spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local church, consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith and associated for worship, work and fellowship. We believe God lays upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.
- Christian Conduct
We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the wellbeing of his fellowman, that his conduct should be blameless before the world, that he should be a faithful steward of his possessions and that he should seek to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ.
- The Ordinances
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water into the name of the triune God. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Religious Liberty
We believe that every human being has direct relations with God and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith, that each church is independent and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority and that, therefore, Church and State must be kept separate as having different functions, each fulfilling its duties free from dictation of patronage of the other.
- Church Cooperation
We believe that local churches can best promote the cause of Jesus Christ by cooperating with one another in a denominational organization. Such an organization, whether a regional or district conference, exists and functions by the will of the churches. Cooperation in a conference is voluntary and may be terminated at any time. Churches may likewise cooperate with interdenominational fellowships on a voluntary, independent basis.
- The Last Things
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal felicity of the righteous, and the endless suffering of the wicked.
We believe in God as the Creator of all things. We believe that God created man and that He created them male and female. As such He created them different so as to complement and complete each other. God instituted monogamous marriage—between male and female only—as the foundation of the family, the basic structure of human society. Accordingly, this church will only recognize, condone or perform marriage ceremonies between individuals of the opposite biological sex. Same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships are not in keeping with God’s design and plan for marriage and relationships or the church’s beliefs, despite what the laws of the state may establish.
We believe that marriage is exclusively the legal union of one genetic male and one genetic female and evidenced by a marriage ceremony. We also believe that legitimate biblical sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage. Sexual behavior and activities beyond the biblical mandate are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the church, and are incompatible with a true biblical witness.
Article III: Purposes
Section 1: The purposes of New Covenant Community Church are as follows:
- To preach and expound the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures through the formation and operation of the church and such outreach ministries as the Board of Deacons may deem appropriate from time to time.
- To obey the great commission as stated in the Bible: to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15), to make disciples by teaching and baptizing (Matthew 28:19-20), and minister healing (Luke 9:1-2).
- To collect funds and to receive gifts and legacies as it may judge necessary for the attainment of these objectives.
- To establish, maintain and use such departments, institutions, installations, and media equipment as may be considered necessary for the furtherance and maintenance of this corporation.
- To support and maintain all the benevolent, charitable, educational, or missionary undertakings of the church.
- To ordain, license, and/or commission and send forth any missionary or minister who has proven his/her divine gift and calling of God, to the satisfaction of the Board of Deacons.
- To ordain, license, and/or commission pastors and elders and to establish churches to expound the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- To make contributions to, or receive contributions from any organization described in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or its successor; and,
- In furtherance and not in limitation of the ends and purposes herein stated, it is expressly provided that the corporation is organized for its purposes and ends in order to engage in any lawful act or activity for which nonprofit corporations may be organized under the Nonprofit Religious Corporation Law.
Article IV: Membership
Section 1: General
This church shall receive as members those applicants who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord and are manifesting a true Christian life as set forth in the Scriptures. All applicants must comply with all procedures and meet all prerequisites for admission to membership. The membership of the church shall have final authority in all matters of church governance, as set forth and described in this Constitution.
Section 2: Classification of Members
- Active Members:
Active members are those who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, sincerely seek to live the Christian life in daily experience, regularly attend and support the services of the church, have reached their eighteenth birthday, and have been baptized. These are the only members with voting rights at all general business meetings.
- Associate Members:
Associate members are those who have met all of the qualifications of active members, except that they are under eighteen years of age.
- Inactive Members:
Inactive members are those who have met the requirements for membership, but are no longer able to regularly attend services of the church. Active members who move from the area may be reclassified as Inactive Members if they desire to continue association with the church. They shall be returned to Active Member status upon their return to and involvement with this church.
- Junior Members:
Junior members are children who regularly attend New Covenant Community Church but have not been baptized and have not reached the age of eighteen. To become a Junior Member, a child must have at least one parent, grandparent, or guardian who is an Active Member in the church.
Section 3: Admission of Members:
- Active Members
- Prospective members shall apply for membership by preparing and submitting the appropriate application form approved by the Senior Pastor and the Board of Deacons.
- The prospective member shall be interviewed by the Senior Pastor, other members of the pastoral staff, or a member of the Board of Deacons. When approved, that person’s name shall be added to the list of proposed members.
- The Board of Deacons shall vote their approval of the proposed members submitted and then publically publish the list for two weeks. This two-week period will give members the opportunity to review the list and also inform the Board of Deacons of any reason(s) a person or persons may be unacceptable for membership. If any member feels that a proposed member is unacceptable, that member should present any reason(s), in writing, to the Board of Deacons prior to the end of that two-week period. At the end of the two-week period, the membership of those applicants will become effective.
- Active members who are eighteen years of age or older shall gain voting rights immediately upon acceptance into membership.
- Associate Members
- Associate Members shall apply for membership and be accepted in the same manner as Active Members.
- Junior Members
- Prospective Junior Members may apply for membership at the time a parent, grandparent, or guardian becomes a member or some time after they have become a member.
Section 4: Membership Requirement for Positions in Church:
Church membership is required of anyone holding a position as Deacon, Officer or committee Chairperson.
Section 5: Discipline of Members:
If any member is living or teaching contrary to the Word of God and the Statement of Faith of this church, he or she shall be admonished in love. This will be the responsibility of the Board of Deacons with the counsel and help of a member of the pastoral staff. If there is no repentance, membership shall be terminated according to the Scriptures (Matthew 18:15-18 and Galatians 6:1-2.
Section 6: Cessation of Membership:
- Termination: A member’s membership will be terminated if that member is found to be living or teaching contrary to the Word of God and, when admonished, still fails to repent.
- Cancellation: Any member absent from services in excess of six months who shows no interest in church activities shall be contacted personally by two Deacons, if possible, to determine the problem. If no change or desire to change results, the member shall be sent a letter detailing and announcing the cancellation of membership.
- Withdrawal: Members may withdraw their membership by requesting so, in writing, to the church. Members may request and receive a letter of recommendation when moving to another locality.
Article V: Board of Deacons and Officers
Section 1: General Statement:
The activities and affairs of New Covenant Community Church shall be conducted and all corporate powers shall be exercised by or under the direction of the Board of Deacons. The term Deacons, as used in this document, refers to both men and women.
Section 2: Number:
The number of Deacons shall be not less than seven nor more than eleven, including the Senior Pastor serving as one member of the Board of Deacons. Within that range, the Board of Deacons may fix the exact number of Deacons. Any reduction in the number of Deacons shall not remove any Deacon prior to the expiration of his/her term of office.
Section 3: Term of Office:
Deacons are elected annually to replace the retiring Deacons and will be elected to serve three years. A Deacon who has served a three-year term shall be ineligible for reelection until the lapse of one year.
Section 4: Qualifications of Deacons:
In order to serve as a Deacon, one must be a member in good standing, have attained the age of twenty-one, demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:22, and fulfill the biblical qualifications for leadership (Titus 1:5-9, I Timothy 3:1-10, 5:8, 22). These Scriptures should not be interpreted to exclude women or unmarried individuals.
Deacons must unequivocally agree with the Statement of Faith and must live and teach in a manner consistent with the Word of God and the Statement of Faith.
Section 5: Election of Deacons:
A Nominating Committee composed of a Deacon and two church members at large shall present names to be placed in nomination for election by the congregation. Names submitted by the congregation shall be presented to the Nominating Committee, in writing, two weeks before the general meeting at which they are to be placed in nomination.
Section 6: Duties of the Deacons:
The Deacons shall watch over the spiritual life of the church and perform all functions necessary to the discharge of this responsibility, including:
- All corporate and financial responsibilities.
- Assisting in church observance of the ordinances of baptism and communion.
- Evaluating and making appropriate recommendations concerning applications and termination of church membership.
- Implementing church care for the poor, sick, bereaved, aged and otherwise needy.
- Making all records of the church and minutes of meetings available to any member upon request; and,
- Promoting church participation in prayer, Bible study, and other means to spiritual growth.
Section 7: Compensation:
The Deacons shall serve without compensation. However, the Board of Deacons may authorize the reimbursement to any Deacon of any actual and necessary expenses incurred in the activities and affairs of the church and authorize the payment to any Deacon for services actually rendered to the church by such Deacon.
Section 8: Termination or Removal:
A Deacon’s term of office shall terminate for any of the following reasons:
- The resignation or death of the Deacon.
- Incapacity, inactivity, or any other reason as determined, upon noticed hearing, by a vote of 2/3 of all of the authorized Deacons, excluding the vote of the Deacon in question.
- By dismissal by a 2/3 vote of the Active members present at a special meeting called for that purpose.
Section 9: Vacancies:
Vacancies on the Board of Deacons shall exist when:
- There is a death, resignation, or removal of any Deacon.
- The number of Deacons authorized is increased; or,
- The members in any election fail to elect the full number of Deacons authorized.
In the event of a vacancy, a majority of the Board of Deacons then in office may fill such vacancies, whether or not there is a quorum or by the sole remaining Deacon. A Deacon may not resign where New Covenant Community Church would then be left without a duly elected Deacon in charge of its affairs.
Section 10: Selection of Officers:
The Board of Deacons shall elect a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. These Officers will serve as Officers of the Board of Deacons as well as officers of the church.
Section 11: Duties of Officers:
- The President:
- Shall be responsible for presiding over congregational meetings and meeting of the Board of Deacons.
- Shall act as the President of the Corporation.
- Shall recommend, with the approval of the Board, individuals to fill any vacancies of the Board or church committees for the unexpired portion of the term; and,
- May be an ex-officio member of all church committees.
- The Vice-President:
- Shall serve as President when the President is unable to serve; and,
- Shall carry out the responsibilities delegated to him by the President.
- The Secretary:
- Shall be secretary of the Corporation.
- Shall keep accurate records of meetings of the Board of Deacons, emergency meetings, and congregational meetings.
- Shall make all minutes of all meetings of the Board of Deacons available upon request to interested members.
- May make church documents available to nonmembers with the approval of the Board or the Senior Pastor; and
- Shall carry out the duties of the President in the absence of the President and Vice-President.
- The Treasurer:
- Shall oversee maintaining the financial integrity of the church through the collection, counting and depositing of money collected from the offering and the distribution of money as specified by the Board of Deacons.
Section 12: Regular Meetings of the Board of Deacons:
- Must be held at least once a month.
- May be held whenever it is deemed necessary.
- May be called by the individual Deacons or upon the request of the Senior Pastor.
- Shall be announced publicly.
- Shall be open to all Active Members, unless specified as “closed” by the Board of Deacons; and,
- Shall require a quorum of a simple majority.
Section 13: Emergency Meetings:
- Need not be announced, but the actions of such meetings must be recorded in minutes of that meeting and made available upon the request of any Active Member of the church.
- May be called by the individual Deacons or upon the request of the Senior Pastor; and
- Shall require a quorum of a simple majority.
Section 14: Action Without Meeting
If time or circumstances do not permit a meeting, action may be taken by the Board of Deacons without holding a meeting. Contact may be made by phone or in writing. Any decision made by the Deacons must be put in writing and signed by those agreeing Deacons as soon as possible. Each signature shall constitute a vote and the action shall be considered approved if the number of signatures is a majority of the members of the Board of Deacons.
Article VI: The Pastoral Staff
Section 1: The Senior Pastor
- The Senior Pastor shall be a licensed/ordained minister, shall subscribe to the Statement of Faith of the church, shall support the church’s affiliation with the Baptist General Conference, and shall support and not circumvent the intent and purposes set forth in this Constitution.
- The Senior Pastor shall serve as a member of the Board of Deacons with the right to vote and may serve as a voting member of any church committee.
- The Senior Pastor shall have charge of all church services or be responsible for supplying an appropriate minister of the Gospel to preach in his place during a temporary absence from the church. The Senior Pastor shall notify the President of the Board of Deacons of his decision.
- The Senior Pastor shall be called by a secret ballot vote of 2/3 of the qualified voting members at a general or special congregational meeting. Upon being called, the Senior Pastor will automatically become an Active Member of the church.
- The salary of the Senior Pastor shall be set by the Board of Deacons.
- If the Senior Pastor desires to resign or the congregation desires his resignation, three months notice shall be given in writing, unless waived by mutual consent. The termination of the Senior Pastor’s ministry shall be decided by 2/3 of the votes cast by Active Members present at a regular or special business meeting.
- The Senior Pastor shall be subject to the authority of the Board of Deacons.
Section 2: Associate Pastors and Staff
- Associate Pastors shall be called by the Board of Deacons after having been recommended by the Senior Pastor or the Board of Deacons. Upon being called, Associate Pastors will automatically become Active Members of the church.
- Associate Pastors must meet the requirements set forth in this Constitution for Senior Pastor.
- Staff shall be hired by the Senior Pastor, at the Senior Pastor’s sole discretion, and must fulfill the requirements set forth by the Senior Pastor.
- Associate Pastors and Staff shall be subject to the authority of the Senior Pastor.
- Salaries of the Associate Pastors and Staff shall be set by the Board of Deacons.
Article VII: Congregational Business Meetings
Section 1: Regular Business Meetings:
The annual business meeting of the membership shall be held as near as possible to the last Sunday of the fiscal year.
The purpose of the business meeting shall be the approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, the adoption of the budget, the election of Deacons, the hearing of reports, and the transaction of any other business that has been listed in the agenda. Items to be listed in the agenda must be presented to the church office two weeks before the meeting.
Section 2: Special Business Meetings:
A special business meeting may be called at anytime by the Board of Deacons or upon petition by fifty (50) Active Members of the church.
Section 3: Notice of Meetings:
Regular business meetings must be announced to the church on each of the two Sundays preceding the meeting. Special meetings may be announced but need only one week’s notice.
Section 4: Meeting Protocol:
- The President of the Board of Deacons shall serve as the chairman of general business meetings and special meetings.
- Voting Rights: Only Active Members shall have the right to vote at general business meetings.
- Quorum: A quorum shall consist of all Active Members in attendance.
- Parliamentary Procedure: Any parliamentary procedure not specified in this Constitution shall be carried out in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.
Section 5: Fiscal Year and Fiscal Responsibilities:
- The fiscal year for New Covenant Community Church shall be from July 1 to June 30.
- The Board of Deacons shall commission a financial review to be conducted by a Certified Public Accountant, which shall be approved and accepted by the Board at its September meeting and then placed on file for public inspection by October 1 of the same year.
Article VIII: Committees
Section 1: Formation:
Corporate committees are formed and administered by the Board of Deacons .
Section 2: Members
- The Chairperson shall be recommended by the Board of Deacons.
- Members of the committee shall be selected by the Chairperson and submitted to the Board of Deacons for approval.
Section 3: Term of Operation
The Board of Deacons may set a period of time for which the committee may work to carry out a specific task. The Board of Deacons has the authority to disband a committee when its work is completed or it is found that the committee is not serving the purpose for which it was formed.
Article IX: Church Property and Property Rights
Section 1: Property Transactions
- Acquisition of real estate, whether by purchase or donation, shall be approved by a majority vote of all Active Members present at a regular meeting or a special meeting called for that purpose.
- Acquisition of other property, whether by purchase or donation, shall be approved by a majority vote of the Board of Deacons.
Section 2: Title of Property:
The title of all property of this church shall be in the name of New Covenant Community Church and no member or group of members shall have any individual property rights in the assets of the Corporation.
Section 3: In Case of Corporate Dissolution:
The property of this church is dedicated to the furtherance of Christianity and, upon dissolution, no part of the income or assets of this organization shall ever benefit any director, officer, pastor, deacon, or member thereof, or any private persons. In the event of dissolution of this Corporation, assets remaining after payment of all debts shall be distributed to the Baptist General Conference for distribution to churches in need.
Section 4: Access to Church Property and Church Functions
The church is private property, not a place of public accommodation, existing to be an extension of our beliefs and we therefore have the right to ask disruptive people to leave to maintain the integrity of the body.
Article X: Amending this Constitution
Section 1: Recommendation by the Board of Deacons:
Recommendations for amendments to this Constitution may be made at a Deacons meeting by a 2/3 vote of the total number of Deacons on the Board. The proposed recommendation must be presented in written form and discussed at a previous meeting of the Board of Deacons prior to being presented to the congregation for adoption.
Section 2: At a Regular or Special Business Meeting:
Recommended amendments to this Constitution may be made at any regular or special business meeting by three-fourths of the votes cast. The said proposed amendment must be presented in written form and displayed for at least two consecutive Sundays prior to the meeting.
Section 3: Recording and Reporting:
Amendments to this Constitution, which change the original text, shall be incorporated into the text and not simply added to the end of this document. Records of these changes shall be kept in the minutes of the meetings in which they are adopted. Copies of newly adopted amendments shall be put on display (within 10 days) at a Church service and mailed to the Secretary of State of California for proper filing.