Approved May 12, 2016
GOVERNING POLICIES OF THE CHIPPEWA VALLEY BIBLE CHURCH
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
NAME: The name of this church will be CHIPPEWA VALLEY BIBLE CHURCH (abbreviated "CVBC")
PURPOSE: Loving God, Loving People, and Changing Lives
a. GO to unbelievers winning souls to Christ
b. GATHER souls into a Spirit-led Christian community
c. DISCIPLE Christ-followers toward maturity and spiritual health
d. TRAIN and equip leaders
e. COMMISSION CVBC members collectively and individually to reach our mission field beginning in Chippewa Falls and extending everywhere the Spirit leads
(See also "CVBC Core Values")
PART 1 - ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES
We believe that essential Christian doctrines are more than a set of propositions to which we give mental assent. Paul instructed Timothy to "Watch your life and doctrine closely." Essential Christian doctrines are truths from Scripture that are meant to create the life of Jesus Christ inside each person in the way we think, believe and live.
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.
The Human Condition
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed. We believe that all men are sinners by nature and by choice and are, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, men repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus -- the promised Messiah -- was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
The Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins, giving us complete assurance of salvation from sin and death. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only grounds for salvation.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs into the family of God. He also illuminates, indwells, guides, equips, encourages and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. As God's children sealed by the Holy Spirit of God each believer is eternally secure in Jesus Christ.
We believe that the true Church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true Church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed of believers only. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the Church in genuine faith, these ordinances strengthen the believers as we cherish and celebrate the sacrifice and salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to resist the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.
We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
Response and Eternal Destiny
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving by faith the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in "the new heaven and the new earth" (Rev.20:1) to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.
PART 2 - MEMBERSHIP
The membership of this church will consist of those who give clear evidence of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, and a sincere desire to live a godly, Christian life. Each person desiring to unite with this church will be interviewed by one or more elders as to his/her Christian experience, and the basis of his or her salvation. Upon approval, the individual will be received and commissioned into the membership and ministry of the church. All applicants will be required to assent to the Basic Responsibilities for Members and Governing Policies of the church and attend a membership class. An individual must be at least 16 years of age to become a member.
See also the document "Basic Responsibilities for Members at CVBC"
Withdrawal or Removal:
1. Upon written request of any member addressed to the Elders, his or her name shall be removed from the church roll.
2. If a member should join another church without a written request for removal of his or her name from the church roll, his or her name shall be removed from the church roll.
3. Membership may be revoked, for any of the following reasons:
a. Belief in a false or heretical doctrine
b. A life inconsistent with a Christian profession
c. Continuous absence from the service for 12 months without satisfactory reasons
PART 3 - CHURCH GOVERNMENT
This church will be self-governing in all matters with the Council of Elders serving as the spiritual and administrative head of the church.
In Scripture the terms "elder," "overseer," and "bishop" are synonymous and used interchangeably. At CVBC, elders provide pastoral care, guidance, and shepherding to the congregation through shared leadership.
WHO ARE ELDERS?
Elders are individuals who meet the biblical qualifications of 1 Timothy 3. They have consistently displayed godly character, a willingness to serve others and the maturity to lead other Christians toward a new life and full Christian maturity.
WHAT ARE THEIR PRIMARY DUTIES?
The primary responsibility of the Council of Elders is prayer and ministry of the word of God. Out of the posture of prayer, elders serve the body and are responsible to discern, communicate, and guard the vision, mission, purposes and values of CVBC.
CALLING OF ELDERS
Elders are called by God as He matures them and burdens them to fulfill such a ministry. As overseers in their leading and protecting capacity, it is the responsibility of the Council of Elders to recognize the men whom the Holy Spirit appoints as elders (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:14). The process of recognition of elders at Chippewa Valley Bible Church is as follows:
1. Anyone in the church family may, after prayerful consideration of the scriptural qualifications, recommend one of the men of the church to the eldership for consideration as an elder. Each person so presented is given serious consideration by the current Council of Elders.
2. If the Council of Elders is unaware of any Scriptural reasons not to consider the man, they will commit to a period of time for interaction (see B-1 below) with the man in order to determine with him God's will in this matter (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Peter 5:2). With this information, the elders prayerfully decide whether the recommended man is a true candidate for the office of elder.
3. Once agreed that the man appears to desire the office under the Lord's direction, the Council of Elders will notify the congregation of the candidate under consideration. The church family is encouraged to pray and inform the Council of Elders of their input (either personally or in writing).
4. If the man is found lacking in any areas of life, an invitation is extended for a discipling relationship between a member of the Council of Elders and the candidate. In this way deficiencies are dealt with directly and the candidate may be considered for the eldership at a future time.
1. Following the identification of a potential elder, the Council of Elders take reasonable time (typically 6-18 months) to get to know the candidate. This time provides for:
o Prayer and fasting for God's will in the matter (Acts 14:23)
o A period to familiarize the man with the functions of an elder
o A sufficient opportunity for the Council of Elders to develop their relationships with the person and to evaluate his spiritual depth and character as one who might share in the ministry of equipping the saints (1 Timothy 5:22)
2. Any areas of life in which the man is found lacking are discussed lovingly, candidly and confidentially within the eldership. The candidate's continuation in the process of becoming an elder is determined by the circumstances of any deficiency that arises.
1. Following the period of consideration, the Council of Elders, by unanimous consent, formally commend the candidate as an elder.
2. The new elder is publicly affirmed by the Council of Elders in the presence of the congregation.
TERM OF SERVICE
An elder may serve for as long as he desires the work and meets the qualifications of Scripture.
At least once a year the Council of Elders will hold a time of reflection and evaluation. Each man's work and life are candidly discussed. The following issues will be considered for each elder:
· The continued qualification of a man to continue serving in the office of elder
· Any modifications to an elder's responsibilities appropriate for his current life circumstances
· Whether a man is in need of a season of rest from the responsibilities of the office
All decisions concerning a man's role and work as an elder are made by the unanimous consent of the Council of Elders. Any changes within the Council of Elders, including the duration and duties of an elder taking a sabbatical rest, are communicated to the congregation in a timely manner following the retreat.
The Scriptures instruct that the worker is worthy of his hire (1 Corinthians 9:3-14) and the hard-working elder is worthy of 'double honor' (1 Timothy 5:17). The elders at Chippewa Valley Bible Church follow the Scriptural pattern of never demanding the right to be paid for their services (1 Corinthians 9:12-19; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Therefore, they do not automatically receive any financial compensation from the church for their service as members of the Council of Elders.
As the particular needs of the church warrant, the church may provide a salary to a member of the Council of Elders to free the elder from the distraction of (or concern for) his financial obligations. The specific remuneration for paid staff elders (and all church employees) is established by the unanimous consent of the Council of Elders. Such information is available upon request to anyone in the congregation. It is the responsibility of the Council of Elders to evaluate the job performance of those elders who receive remuneration.
Every member is subject to accountability within the church and therefore the elder may be disciplined according to biblical principles (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15). Scripture does dictate that no accusation against an elder is to be taken seriously unless there are two or three witnesses to verify the charges. When a confronted elder "continues in sin," he is rebuked by the Council of Elders before the congregation, that "others may fear" (1 Timothy 5:19, 20).
An elder is subject to scrutiny in areas which call for church discipline (unrepentant sin) and circumstances which might affect his continuing qualification to serve as an elder. When an elder ceases to meet those qualifications, he is asked to remove himself from the office for a time so that he may put his life in order in that area. Such action is taken only by the unanimous consent of the other elders. If an elder himself feels unable to serve for any reason, he may request to be relieved from office either temporarily or permanently. The process of his possible reinstatement at a later time is determined by the elders in relation to the circumstances.
In carrying out his duties, the elder is immediately responsible to the Council of Elders, continually responsible to his brothers and sisters in the congregation, and ultimately responsible to the Lord Jesus Christ.
PART 4 - DEACONS
CALLING OF DEACONS
The recognition and confirmation of deacons will follow the same steps as the recognition of elders outlined earlier in this document.
ROLE OF DEACONS IN THE CHURCH
1. Deacons will recruit and train individuals to serve on or lead ministry teams.
2. Deacons will coach and equip emerging team leaders, establishing them in the faith and providing them practical ministry tools.
3. Deacons will organize and oversee the collection of offering money to maintain an accountability separation from collection (deacons) and daily accounting (staff).
4. Deacons will serve at the discretion of the Council of Elders.
5. Deacons will select from among themselves a lead deacon who will encourage and equip each deacon in his responsibilities as a member of the deacon team. The lead deacon will be affirmed yearly in his calling as lead deacon at an announced deacon meeting.
6. If no one volunteers for the position of lead deacon, theChurch Administrator or an Elder will assume the duties of the lead deacon until a qualified candidate can be identified.
The following teams are central to the vision and mission of CVBC and may be delegated to the deacons by the elders:
1. Fellowship fund (benevolence fund for individuals needing financial assistance)
2. Ministry of Mercy (practical help for widows, single moms and others in need)
3. Hosting teams including ushers, greeters and information center
4. Money collection and counting
5. Event team (organizing CVBC special functions such as banquets and praise gatherings where set-up and teardown are involved)
6. Facility care and grounds team
7. Hospital and nursing home visitation ministries
If, at some point, a staff person is hired and his or her job description includes oversight of a ministry team, the deacons involved in that ministry team will come under the oversight of that staff member. If an insufficient number of deacons are available to cover the oversight of ministry teams, the elders will direct individuals or teams to recruit, train and place rightly-gifted and called individuals into vacant positions.
PART 5 - OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES.
The elders will be responsible for appointing these and other officers and committees as needed. Anyone serving in the following offices shall be a member of CVBC:
ADMINISTRATOR -- The Administrative Director (also called "Administrator"), if we have one, will supervise the office manager, providing accountability for all aspects of financial management and accounting, and will work alongside the Administration Team. The job description and specific duties of the Administrator will be spelled out in detail in a ministry description separate from this document.
ADMINISTRATION TEAM -- The administration team (also called “Admin Team”) will serve at the discretion of the Council of Elders under the guidance of Administrator, if we have one. The purpose of the Administration Team is to act as advisors to the Council of Elders and for the Administrator as he/she guides the daily operations and ministries of CVBC. The Admin Team is central to developing practical solutions for making things work. The personnel on the Administration Team are determined by the Council of Elders, and includes the Administrator (if applicable), the Office Manager, and preferably one or more deacons and elders, with other ad hoc church members gifted and experienced in their respective areas. In the absence of an Administrator, the Admin Team will supervise the Office Manager.
OFFICE MANAGER -- The office manager will perform the duties of a Church Treasurer and Financial Secretary and will be responsible to the Administrator or the Admin Team for:
· Maintaining bank accounts in the name of the church, and making all payments by check or credit card
· Paying (from funds available for specified purposes) amounts designated by the approved budget; keeping an accurate account of receipts and disbursements of same (Requests that fall outside the approved budget will be brought to the Admin Team.)
· Making reports of the current financial conditions (including any overdue accounts) when requested
· Filing a written report of all monies received and disbursed during the year for the annual budget meeting.
· Sending a weekly budget summary to church leaders
· Serving as a member of the budget team
· Serving as a member of the administration team
· Compiling and reporting payroll to a payroll company
· Keeping confidential records of all contributors and sending out a year-end report to same, of total contributions to CVBC
A more detailed job description will be provided for the office manager separate from this
PART 6 - DISCIPLINE
The discipline of the church is entrusted to the Council of Elders and will be exercised according to the principle of Christian love, and as outlined in Galatians 6:1 - "Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted." All discipline must be conducted in Christian meekness and love with a desire to remove offenses and to restore offenders.
1. Personal grievances between members shall be reconciled according to the scriptural rule in Matthew 18:15-17.
2. Cases not settled by the rule of Matthew 18:15-17 shall be brought to the Council of Elders which will endeavor to resolve the problem with disciplinary procedures in the spirit of the Word of God.
3. The Council of Elders shall endeavor to resolve any grievance by, or unbecoming conduct on the part of, any member of this church, and shall have the authority to call members into conference when there is evidence that any member is no longer in accord with the doctrinal statement, as set forth in this Governing Policies.
4. If any member, thus having been dealt with, persists in his or her sinful course, it shall be the responsibility of the Council of Elders to carry out appropriate disciplinary action.
5. Dismissal from church membership shall be communicated to the church membership.
PART 7 - ANNUAL CHURCH MEETING
At least once a year, the entire Church family will be invited to meet for a time of prayer for the new year and sharing testimonies of God's faithfulness.
PART 8 - AMENDMENTS
Amendments to the GOVERNING POLICIES may be proposed and adopted by unanimous consent of the elders at any announced meeting of the Council of Elders. Members of the fellowship may propose amendments to the elders for consideration.
PART 9 - LEGAL PURPOSE
CVBC is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations described under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
PART 10 - LEGAL DISSOLUTION
No part of the net earnings of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member, director, or officer of the corporation or any private individual; and no donor, member, director, officer of the corporation or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any corporate assets. Upon dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by a court of competent jurisdiction in the county in which the principal office of the organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations as said court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.