Proposed By-Law Revisions

 

Rev. #

Article & Section

Current wording contained within the By-Laws

Proposed wording

Explanation for the change/addition

1

Article V Section 1 (H)

Not currently in the by-laws

H) Upon the hiring of any ministry position, the minister and his family will automatically receive membership status provided they meet the qualifications outlined in Article X Section 1 (A).

This will allow for the new staff member to automatically become a member of HMCC without having to go through the steps outlined in the Membership Pathway.

2

Article IV Section 1 (F)

Not currently in the by-laws

F) The statement of faith of Hamilton Mill Christian Church does not exhaust the full extent of our faith.  The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe.  For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our elders are the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application

By stating that our elders are the sole governing authority on scriptural matters, this helps to protect the church in legal situations where interpretation of a scriptural passage may be challenged by an outside “expert”.  This allows our leadership to issue an interpretation of scripture whenever a dispute arises that cannot be questioned by the courts.

3

Article VII Section 3 (A)

Not currently in the by-laws

A) HMCC shall maintain an open records policy for members.  However, members’ right to access such records shall not include records containing personal information of a private nature about any specific individual.  Such limitations include, but are not limited to, ministerial, credential and personnel files, disciplinary records, individual giving or compensation records.

This protects the staff, leadership and members from having their private giving information exposed or being requested by subpoena.

4

Article X Section 1

Not currently in the by-laws

Section 1 Qualifications and Becoming a Member

A) Membership with HMCC will be open to all those who:

1) Are followers of Christ – Having confessed Him as their Lord & Savior.

2) Have been baptized by water immersion for the forgiveness of sins.

3) Are striving to live a life of following Christ (Matthew 22:37-39; Galatians 5:19-23). Any ongoing immorality condemned in scripture shall be grounds for refusing membership until repentance is assured.

4)Subscribe fully to the tenets of faith and HMCC’s beliefs as found on the “What we Believe” section of our website.

B) Placing membership shall be in accordance with the current “Membership Pathway” as stated on our website.

The need to include a spelled-out plan for joining the fellowship at HMCC is needed so to help identify those who are on mission with us and those who are under the umbrella of our fellowship.  There are certain protections under the law with regards to religious freedoms and liberties, but one must “unite themselves” with a religious organization.  All those already a member would be grandfathered in.

5

Article X Section 2

Not currently in the by-laws

Section 2 Rescinding Membership

A) A member may terminate his or her membership by informing the church office in writing of his or her desire to do so.  No further action from the elders or staff is needed.

It is important to know how a member can rescind their membership should they decide to move on from our fellowship.

6

Article X Section 3

Not currently in the by-laws

Section 3 Terminating Membership

A) The elders shall have the right to remove from membership any member who willfully and without good cause absents himself or herself from the regular services of the church for a period of 6 consecutive months (except for illness or disability) or who no longer abides by the qualifications outlined in Article X Section 1 (A) of these by-laws. In the case of the latter, the member must be disciplined in accordance with Article X Section 4 Church Discipline of these by-laws.

B) If the former member shall desire to be reinstated, he or she shall request in writing to have his or her name returned to the membership roster.

There are times that these membership records need to be assessed and adjusted based on current involvement.  Additional, if a person is out of harmony with the body here at HMCC it is the responsible duty of leadership to address it.

7

 

Article X Section 4

Not currently in the by-laws

A) All discipline shall be prayerfully administered according to scripture (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-15; Romans 16:17)

B) If a member of this church falls below the qualifications of membership set forth in Article X Section 1 (A); the member’s life hinders the influence of the church in the community; his or her spirit becomes contentious and discordant to the well-being of the church; then by consensus decision of the elders, his or her name may be removed from the membership of HMCC.

C) The discipline process shall begin with meeting the individual(s) and at least two elders to communicate the concern brought against them.  This can also take place via letter to initiate a meeting with at least two elders.

C) The disciplined member shall be notified by letter regarding the reason for the discipline.  Such letter shall be sent to the address on file in the church database.

D) A disciplined member may request to be reinstated in writing and after sitting with the elders at any meeting.

E) Once disciplinary actions have begun, a member cannot voluntarily rescind their membership as outlined Article X Section 2 (A).

Although not pleasant to think about, sometimes in the life of a church it is necessary for situations to be handled in such a way as to protect the over-all well-being of the church.

8

Article III Section 2 (B)

B) To be selected to serve as an elder, a person must have been a member of an Independent Christian Church for not less than three years.

B) To be selected to serve as an elder, a person must have been a member of a Restoration Movement Independent Christian Church for not less than three years.

There are a lot of so called “independent Christian Churches” out there right now that do not believe or practice the things that are consistent with the Restoration Movement. To clarify this point, assures we get good quality men with a firm foundation.

9

Article III Section 2 (C)

B) To be selected to serve as a servant (deacon), a person must have been a member of an Independent Christian Church for not less than three years.

B) To be selected to serve as a servant (deacon), a person must have been a member of a Restoration Movement Independent Christian Church for not less than three years.

Same as Revision # 8

10

Article IV Section 3 (C)

The trustees shall serve for terms of two years without limitation to the number of terms a man may serve.

The trustees shall serve for terms of at least two years without limitation to the number of terms a man may serve.  At the end of the two-year term, the term self-renews unless the trustee notifies the elders in writing or there is some other reason causing them to be removed

This will alleviate the need for additional votes within the congregation.

11

Article VII Section 3 (A)

Not currently in the by-laws

Section 3 Designated Funds

A) No designated funds shall be established except those approved by the elders of HMCC.  Hamilton Mill Christian Church reserves the right to refuse any donation for any reason. To ensure that all gifts are effectively used, no gift will be accepted which is unduly restrictive, likely to result in a net loss for the church or designated for a purpose outside of the mission of the church.   All designated gifts are given with the expressed understanding that the church elders have the authority to change the use of the gift in the event the designated purpose has already been achieved, is not a viable ministry of the church, or no longer fits the scope of the church’s mission.  If it is not possible to follow the donor request, the church elders will determine, at its discretion, an appropriate use for the gift – taking into consideration the donor’s ascertainable intent, and after having provided written notification and 90 days of response time.  If no response is received, these funds are then provided for the use of the general fund and subject to the current percentage set aside for missions.  If a response is received, the funds will be returned.

There are some opportunities that arise that would require the elders to override a designated fund that does not align with the church’s mission and vision.  Example: Upon the passing of a cherished church member, their will designates that $100 thousand dollars be used to start a K-12 school here at HMCC.  These funds would be forever “locked” in a designated fund that could not be used for actual ministry.  This clause allows the elders to make the decision regarding funds that are designated outside our vision.

12

Article IX

Method of Amending By-Laws

Any amendments or changes to these by-laws shall require an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose.  The meeting shall be held in harmony with the rules governing congregational meetings as set forth in Article II.

Section 1 Method of Amending By-Laws

A) Any amendments or changes to these by-laws shall require an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of all members present and voting at a meeting called for that purpose.  The meeting shall be held in harmony with the rules governing congregational meetings as set forth in Article II.

This is simply an organizational edit – no change to the content was made.

13

Article IX Section 2

Not currently in the by-laws

Section 2 Policy/Positional Statements

A) From time to time, as culture and current events of the church dictate, the elders will create policy or positional statements that clarify possible doctrinal positions, leadership positions, or organizational policies.  These policy/positional statement bear the same legal and doctrinal weight as the HMCC By-Laws but do not require a vote from the congregation.  These statements will be made available for the review of the congregation for two weeks following their adoption.  At any time, a member of the congregation may request (in writing) the current list of policy / positional statements and those will be made available to them.

These policy statements have been made in the past and need to be addressed in the by-laws so that they can be officially recognized should they be challenged legally.  These policy statements are important for the clarity of our mission and independence from other cultural trends and influences.  A copy of these previously approved statements are in print at Starting Point

14

Article V Section 1 (B)

In selecting a Senior Minister the elders shall appoint a search committee consisting of at least one elder, one servant leader and an active member from the congregation to assist the elders in selecting an individual to recommend to the congregation.

In selecting a Senior Minister the elders are responsible for recommending a candidate to the congregation. If a viable candidate is not available, the

elders shall appoint a search committee consisting of at least one elder, one servant leader and an active member from the congregation to assist the elders in selecting an individual to recommend to the congregation.

The formation of a selection committee would only be necessary if a viable candidate was not already known.  Should that candidate decline, or be found to be ineligible, then a search team could be appointed.

15

Article VII Section 2

Not currently in the by-laws

C) Unless otherwise approved by the elders, no money raising campaigns will be associated with the church's name, physical address, logo, or other digital assets.  All fundraising will need to be done off premises and separate from the ministries of the church, unless prior approval from the elders has been given.

Fundraisers can be tricky under the current wording.  By clarifying this position, it will help to better handle future situations.