BY-LAWS OF HAMILTON MILL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
Adopted August 22, 2004
Revised December 15, 2019
ARTICLE I. PURPOSE OF THE BY-LAWS
The purpose of these by-laws shall be to outline the procedures for conducting the affairs of the Hamilton Mill Christian Church. It is not intended that these by-laws conflict with or supersede any of the teachings contained in the New Testament. Should there be any conflict between these by-laws and the New Testament, the New Testament teachings shall prevail.
ARTICLE II. MEETINGS OF THE MEMBERS
OF THE CONGREGATION
Section 1 – Place
All congregational meetings shall be held in the place of worship of Hamilton Mill Christian Church.
Section 2 – Annual Congregational Meetings
The annual congregational meeting shall be held immediately after the morning worship service the first Sunday of December. Should it become necessary to change the meeting date, members will be duly notified as provided for in ARTICLE II, Section 2 (C).
The purpose of the meeting shall be that of approving the annual church budget and any other relevant business matters.
Notice of this meeting shall be communicated to the members, either orally from the pulpit or through a church publication at least two weeks preceding the annual meeting.
Section 3 – Other Meetings of the Members of the Congregation
Other meetings of the members of the congregation may be called by the elders or upon request signed by not less than twenty-five percent of the active members. Notice of said meeting, together with a statement as to the nature of the business to be transacted, shall be communicated to the members either orally from the pulpit or through a church publication at least two weeks preceding the meeting.
These congregational meetings will be held to vote on the following issues:
The hiring of a senior minister
Land procurement or sale
Monetary loans being taken out in the name of Hamilton Mill Christian Church
Changes to these by-laws
Other purposes as determined by the Leadership Team of Hamilton Mill Christian Church
Should it become necessary to take care of some matters of business on shorter notice than provided in paragraph A, a meeting may be called by the elders, provided the meeting is held immediately following the regular Sunday morning service and that announcements of said meeting be made from the pulpit during the service immediately preceding the meeting.
Section 4 – Presiding Officer
Business meetings shall be presided over by the Chairman of the elders or by another elder in the event of the Chairman’s absence.
Section 5 – Franchise
The privilege of voting shall be limited to the active members of the congregation.
Absentee ballots shall not be allowed.
The church office shall maintain a current active membership list and in case of doubt with reference to the privilege of voting, the decision of the elders as shown by the list shall prevail.
ARTICLE III. SELECTION OF ELDERS AND SERVANT LEADERS (Deacons)
Section 1 – Time of Selection
All congregational offices shall be filled by a selection process at any time during the calendar year. The elders having duly interviewed and mentored a candidate may present the candidate to the congregation and begin the selection process at any time deemed appropriate by the elders.
Section 2 – Personnel
A person must have been a faithful member of Hamilton Mill Christian Church for not less than six months to be eligible to serve as an elder or servant leader (deacon) in the congregation.
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.
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.
Section 3 – Selection Process
The sitting elders will act as the selection team. They will seek out men who they feel are well enough grounded to be elders or servant leaders for Hamilton Mill Christian Church. They will then work with the candidate(s) in interviews and nurturing sessions.
Once the elders have determined the candidate is ready for service they will submit the name(s) to the congregation for consideration.
The consideration process will consist of a three week review by the congregation. During this time any member knowing of a scriptural reason why the candidate should not serve can submit that reason, in writing and signed, to the current elders. The elders in turn will review and investigate the issue brought forth and make a determination based on what is found. If, indeed, there is a scriptural reason found, the candidate’s name will be removed from consideration.
The elders will, in any event, report their findings and decision to the person who has submitted the concern.
Once the review period has been completed and no scriptural grounds are found to hinder the candidate from serving he will be introduced to the congregation as a new elder or servant leader and will be ordained to that position.
ARTICLE IV. CHURCH OFFICERS
Section 1. Elders
Hamilton Mill Christian Church shall have a plurality of elders.
The elders shall carry the responsibility for the Spiritual oversight of the congregation, with all that entails.
The elders shall be those men who desire to serve. They are to be Spiritual men who are earnestly striving to attain in full measure all the scriptural qualifications as presented in the New Testament and who have been interviewed, mentored and passed through the congregational review process.
The elders shall serve for terms of two years. At the end of each two year term the elder will be offered the opportunity to take a six month to one year sabbatical – time off from the sometimes demanding schedule of an elder. Following the sabbatical, should he choose to take it, the elder will automatically resume his position and responsibilities and will not be required to repeat the review process.
Any elder who shall at any time become disinterested in serving or absent himself from the regular worship services for a period of three months, shall automatically be relieved of his responsibilities.
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
Section 2 – Servants Leaders
The servant leaders shall serve under the direction of the elders.
The servant leaders shall be those men who desire to serve, and are spiritual men who are earnestly striving to attain in full measure all the scriptural qualifications for the traditional position of deacon as presented in the New Testament, in I Timothy 3, and who have been interviewed, mentored and passed through the congregational review process.
The servant leaders will serve a term fitted to the need of the ministry area they lead, but no more than two years. Any servant leader’s term may be extended at the discretion of the elders and as the need dictates.
Any servant leader who shall at any time become disinterested in serving or absent himself from the regular worship services for a period of three months, shall automatically be relieved of his responsibilities.
Section 3 – Trustees
Hamilton Mill Christian Church shall at all times have a Board of Trustees.
The trustees shall be those men who desire the office and who have passed through the congregational review process.
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
The trustees of Hamilton Mill Christian Church shall be entrusted and empowered to act for Hamilton Mill Christian Church in all business matters concerned therewith. They shall derive their power to act in cases relating to a transfer, sale or acquisition of real property, or securing of monetary loans as these needs arise and as they are directed by a majority vote of the members of Hamilton Mill Christian Church who are present and voting in a meeting called in accordance with the provisions of Article II of these By-Laws.
Section 4 – Teachers
All those who will hold a teaching position in the Hamilton Mill Christian Church must be approved by the elders, as spiritual leaders of the congregation.
The terms of office shall be for one year unless specified otherwise by the elders.
Section 5 – Begin Term of Service
Selected elders and servant leaders shall begin their period of service immediately upon completion of the congregational review process.
Section 6 – Leadership Team
Elders and servant leaders shall constitute the official church Leadership Team and shall meet as necessary to conduct the routine affairs of the church.
ARTICLE V. CHURCH STAFF
Section 1 – Selection
The Senior Minister shall be elected by the congregation on recommendation of the elders.
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.
Formal consideration may be given to only one candidate at a time.
The election shall be held in harmony with the rules of governing congregational meetings as set forth in ARTICLE II.
A seventy-five percent affirmative vote of the active members present and voting at the meeting shall be necessary before a call is extended.
Other ministerial staff positions shall be filled in the following manner:
The elders and Senior Minister shall seek out, interview and recommend a candidate for said position.
The congregation will have ample opportunity to meet and interact with candidate.
The congregation will then be given a two-week review and reflection period during which they may offer concerns about the candidate to the elders, in writing and signed. Any unsigned communication will not be considered.
Following the two-week review and reflection period the elders and Senior Minister will determine either to call the candidate or to continue the search. There will be no congregational vote.
All non-ministerial staff positions shall be filled as directed by the elders as they determine the need.
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).
Section 2 – Written Agreement
A written agreement of duties (job description) shall exist between the senior minister and Hamilton Mill Christian Church. Said agreement shall be prepared by the elders.
Removal of the senior minister of this congregation for cause shall be by the recommendation of the elders by a majority vote of the total membership of the elders and a ratification by the congregation by a majority vote in a meeting called according to the provisions of ARTICLE II. In the event of the dismissal or resignation of a minister, a thirty day notice will be given.
Termination of other staff members shall be directed by the elders.
ARTICLE VI. MINISTRY TEAMS
Section 1 – Appointment of Ministry Teams
All Ministry Teams, standing or special, shall be appointed by the elders.
Section 2 – Ex-Officio Members
The Chairman of the elders and the senior minister shall be ex-officio members of all Ministry Teams except as they are appointed or selected to function as regular members.
Section 3 – Ministry Team Functions
The Ministry Teams of Hamilton Mill Christian Church are empowered to make decisions and “do ministry” within their prescribed areas, taking into consideration their budgetary constraints and working within the scope of the overall church vision – “Loving People Into Christ-likeness.” These teams are ultimately under the authority of the church eldership. Ministry Teams will come into existence as a need is perceived and will continue to function as long as the need remains. Each Ministry Team area will be reviewed at least every two years to determine if that particular ministry should continue, be changed or discontinued.
ARTICLE VII. INCOME
Section 1 – Gifts and Contributions
The source of income for Hamilton Mill Christian Church will be gifts and contributions.
Section 2 – Money Raising Campaigns
Selling merchandise or food for profit will not be a source of income for this congregation.
All money raising campaigns sponsored by the congregation or any of its auxiliaries must be approved by the elders.
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.
Section 3 – Privacy
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.
Section 4 – 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.
ARTICLE VIII. FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the Hamilton Mill Christian Church shall be from January 1st through December 31st.
ARTICLE IX. METHOD OF AMENDING BY-LAWS
Section 1 – 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 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.
ARTICLE X. MEMBERSHIP
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.
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.
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.
Section 4 – Discipline
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.
D) 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.
E) A disciplined member may request to be reinstated in writing and after sitting with the elders at any meeting.
F) Once disciplinary actions have begun, a member cannot voluntarily rescind their membership as outlined Article X Section 2 (A).