The Official Constitution of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church Of Newport, TN.
At Faith, Hope and Love, we believe the people we choose are as important as the system we will employ. This document outlines the guidelines Faith, Hope and Love Family Church employs in selecting key leadership and managing ongoing ministries. While it is impossible to anticipate all future needs, the intent of this document is to provide flexibility to meet our long-term changing needs.
At Faith, Hope and Love Family Church, we are Lead by our staff, Gifted by our Membership, and Guarded by our Elder’s.
Faith, Hope and Love Family Church is built around three teams of people:
- The Elders (Including the Senior Pastor)
- The Leadership Team (Including the Finance Team)
- FHL Team
“ Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”
The team of Elders will be comprised of no fewer than three men including the senior pastor. The maximum number should be determined by the size of the church and its current needs. This will be determined by the Leadership Team. The senior pastor is a member of the Elder Team.
The Purpose of Elders
The primary role of an Elder will be to function as a guardian of our church. Elders are not expected to oversee specific ministry projects. The Elders do not “run the church”. The Elder’s serve as overseers for the entire church and evaluate the direction of the church based on these criteria:
- The Vision, Values, and Mission Statement of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church
- The Church’s Resources
- The Church’s Doctrine
Elders of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church will also have responsibilities in oversight of the church including, but not limited to:
- Pray for Faith, Hope and Love Family Church, its leaders, and members on a regular basis.
- Be willing/able to teach in times of need or at the request of the Senior Pastor.
- Guide the Leadership Team when, requested by the pastor or Leadership team, in making Godly, Biblically accurate decisions.
- As an member of the Elders, it will the Senior Pastor’s responsibility to host discipleship meetings with the Elders where they will study the Bible together. This does not mean that the Senior Pastor must always lead these meetings, rather this will be our guideline for functioning as an Elder.
The Authority of an Elder
Elders are responsible for evaluating programming based on it’s effectiveness in furthering the overall mission of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. The Elders along with the Leadership Team will make decisions concerning major programming changes.
The Elders will be a part of the Leadership Team. For most practical purposes, the Leadership Team has the final say concerning the overall direction of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. Anything voted on by the Leadership Team requires a three-fourths majority of all in attendance in order to pass. A quorum of three-fourths must be present and voting at the time a vote is taken.
There are decisions the Elder’s and Leadership Team cannot make without membership approval. The below items require membership vote:
- The Leadership Team and Elders may not appoint a new senior pastor
- The Leadership Team and Elders cannot approve debt for the church
- The Leadership Team and Elders cannot change the denominational affiliation of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church
- The Leadership Team and Elders may not change the constitution.
The Election of Elders
When the Leadership Team feels there is a need, they will notify the congregation that they are seeking a qualified Elder(s) to join the Elder Team. Any member of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church may nominate a man who is a member of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. All nominations will be forwarded to the Leadership Team who will serve as the Elder Selection Team.
The Elder Selection Team will evaluate potential candidates by personal interview and group discussion. If no qualified applicants are found, the position will remain empty.
The decision of the Elder Selection Team is final.
The Qualifications of an Elder
A candidate for Elder must have been a member and regular attendee of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church for a concurrent twelve-month period prior to his election to office. He must be consistent in his Sunday attendance, and be actively involved in ministry prior to and after his election to this position. Elders are servants. He must accept the Vision, Mission, and Purpose of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. No candidates will be considered who has not met these qualifications.
An Elder candidate must receive a seventy-five percent majority vote from the Leadership Team in order to be approved as an elder.
Furthermore, all Elders are required to meet the qualification for Elder/Overseer as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-11, and Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5.
1 Timothy. 3:1-6
Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
The Vision, Values, and Mission Statement of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church
Our Elder’s are to help the senior pastor be “protectors of the vision.” They are to help in monitoring all components of Faith, Hope and Love to ensure we don’t wake up one Sunday and be miles away from the vision we had originally intended.
The Church’s Resources
The Elder’s will ensure that Faith, Hope and Love is being a good steward of God’s recourses that are entrusted to us. Our Finance Team has general direction over finances and our Elders will approve the budget and make recommendations when needed.
The Leadership Team
The Leadership Team is made up of the individuals who began as the launch team or Core Group for Faith, Hope and Love Family Church, the Elders, and the leaders of each sanctioned ministry in Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. The purpose of this group is to determine programming, give vision to the various ministries, to help guard against getting off track in our purpose, vision or mission, and to generally oversee the entire mission of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. A quorum consisting of seventy-five percent of the Leadership Team is required to make major decisions for the church. “Major” decisions will be determined by the Elders.
The Finance Team is part of the Leadership Team that oversees all financial maters related to Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. All staff is accountable to the finance committee in all matters relating to finances. The senior pastor may attend any finance committee meeting but has no voting privileges. The function of the finance committee will be to ensure the financial health of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. The senior pastor does not solely decide benevolence request. These are passed on to the Finance Team to determine.
The Finance Team is accountable to the Leadership Team/Elders of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. The Leadership Team/Elders have the authority to override any decision by the finance team. However, before this could occur every effort must be made for both teams to meet and find a workable solution.
If a member of the finance team fails to attend regularly, or personal issue arises that is not in the best interest of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church, this member will be removed from their position on this committee. New members will need the approval of the Leadership Team/Elders.
The Leadership Team/Elders will work with the finance team in determining a compensation package and expenses the pastor receives.
At FHL we want you to grow into a place of leadership. We were created by God to make a difference in the lives of other people. God has a place for you where your unique abilities and passions can touch the lives of others. We believe that your life will never make sense until you find, develop, and fulfill that purpose.
FHL Team Volunteer
A FHL Team Volunteer is an individual chosen from the leadership of a particular ministry to represent that group. A FHL Team Volunteer serves as a channel of communication from the Leadership Team/Elders and to their particular ministry. FHL Team meetings are held every fourth Sunday of each month and will serve as a means of communication to express needs, and exchange ideas and information.
The Leadership Team/Elders will determine which ministry areas are represented, as well as the number of representatives from each ministry.
The Church’s Doctrine and Statements of Faith
The Elder’s will safeguard what Faith, Hope and Love believes:
I. The Scriptures
We believe the Bible was written by men who were divinely inspired by God. Therefore, we believe the Bible is without error. We believe in taking the Words of Jesus Seriously.
Statement of Final Authority for Matters of Belief and Conduct
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. 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 Faith, Hope and Love Family Church’s faith, doctrine, practice, policy and discipline: our Pastors, Leadership Team, and Elders are Faith, Hope and Love Family Church’s interpretive authority of the Bible’s meaning and application.
We believe in one God who exists in three distinct persons (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit). We believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son who became flesh to reveal God to man and to become the Savior of a lost world.
We believe that man was created in the image of God to have fellowship with Him, but became separated from that relationship by sinful disobedience. As a result, man is incapable of coming back into a right relationship with God by his own effort.
We believe that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross provides the sole basis for the forgiveness of sins. Therefore, salvation only occurs when a person willingly places their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for sufficient payment for their sins.
VI. The Church
We believe that the church is the body of Christ of which Jesus Christ is the head. The members are those who have trusted by faith the finished work of Christ. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by worshipping Him and making Him known to a lost world.
VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior.
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and juice, memorialize the death of our Savior and anticipate His second coming.
VIII. The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
God’s intent for marriage and the family is the uniting of one biological man and one biological woman in a covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His Church.
Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Genesis 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning; the uniting of one biological man and one biological woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Genesis 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a biological man and a biological woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18, 7:2-5, Hebrews 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no sexual intimate activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a biological man and a biological woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and the use of pornography is sinful and offensive to God (Matthew 15:18-20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church as the local body of Christ, and to provide a Biblical role model to Faith, Hope and Love Family Church's members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Faith, Hope and Love Family Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement of Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matthew 5:16, Philippians 2:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 5:22).
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21, Romans 10:9-10, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
We believe that each person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31, Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines or beliefs held by Faith, Hope and Love Family Church.
Statement on the Sanctity of Life
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Psalms 139).
The Dismissal of an Elder/Leadership Team Member
If it becomes apparent that an Elder or Leadership Team Member should no longer serve in their position, he/she may resign, or by three-fourths vote of the Leadership Team, excluding the elder under consideration, he/she may be immediately removed from that position. Dismissal may occur from failure to regularly attend church, moral failure, or a reason deemed not to be in the best interest of the vision and mission of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church.
The Senior Pastor
The qualifications of the senior pastor will be the same as that of an Elder found in 1 Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Peter 5. The senior pastor will be a member of the Leadership/Elder Team.
Responsibilities of the Senior Pastor
The senior pastor’s primary responsibilities will be the teaching ministry on Sunday mornings, Leadership Development of leaders, planning, equipping members for their ministry, and guiding the church to grow and fulfill its purpose. The senior pastor is responsible for securing someone for the teaching time in his absence.
With the approval of the Leadership Team, the senior pastor is responsible for finding additional staff when needed to continue the mission and goals of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. This staff person will also be interviewed by and approved by the Leadership Team.
Faith, Hope and Love Family Church will not discriminate on any of the prohibited criteria when selecting full or part-time employees. However, being a religious organization, any potential applicant must believe and adhere to the beliefs and practices contained within this document.
Faith, Hope and Love Family Church Business Meeting
A Business meeting will be held annually if warranted. This will provide a forum for handling business of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church not otherwise reserved for the Leadership Team/Elders or Finance Team.
The Leadership Team/Elders will schedule the annual business meeting. The business meeting will be conducted and governed by items being placed on an agenda no later than one week prior to the meeting. Any votes taken in an annual business meeting require the presence of 25 percent of the total membership. This will constitute a quorum. All issues voted on in a business meeting require a two-thirds affirmative vote to pass.
The Leadership Team/Elders will appoint a moderator for the annual business meeting. The Leadership Team or two-thirds of the membership have the authority to call special business meetings. Those who are members of Faith, Hope and Love may also do so by presenting a petition to the Leadership Team/Elders, which includes the signatures of two-thirds of those who are currently members. The Leadership Team/Elders will then schedule the meeting and publish the agenda at least one week in advance.
Terminating the Senior Pastor
The Leadership Team/Elders may terminate the senior pastor by obtaining a two-thirds majority vote on the issues of sexually immorality, embezzlement, or documented inappropriate behavior. For all other purposes such as personality conflicts, or direction of the church, these would require a vote of the membership of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. This will be done by a special called meeting given at least two weeks in advance and requiring a two-thirds affirmative vote of the current membership to remove the senior pastor.
Electing a New Senior Pastor
When the position of senior pastor is vacated, the Leadership Team/Elder’s will take the necessary steps to secure a qualified candidate to serve as the interim pastor of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church. The Leadership Team/Elder’s will recommend one candidate at a time for the position of Senior Pastor to the membership. The Leadership Team/Elder’s should first look within the membership of Faith, Hope and Love, particularly within the Elders, for a suitable candidate. If a suitable candidate is not found within the church, they may continue to search outside the membership of Faith, Hope and Love for a suitable candidate. A quorum will consist of seventy-five percent of the total active membership. Approval by the quorum requires a minimum of seventy-five percent affirmative vote.
Statement on Church Discipline
The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6) to edify believers by deterring sin and promoting purity (1 Timothy 5:20) and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1).
The Lord Jesus Christ has entrusted the local church with the authority and responsibility to discipline members of willful sin or serious doctrinal error, with the goal of the restoration of the offender. This discipline is entrusted to the Pastoral Staff and Elders and is to follow the biblical pattern as outlined in Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5, 2 Corinthians 2:7-8; Galatians 6:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6; Titus 3:10-11; and 2 John 7-11. Any member of Faith, Hope and Love Family Church who practices or affirms a doctrine or conduct that, in the judgement of the Pastoral Staff and/or Elders, is opposed to the teaching of the Word of God, or is threatening the testimony of this church, or is acting in a divisive way in the body, shall be subject to church discipline.
Discipline, if warranted, will follow the above biblical pattern, and is an effort to bring the individual to repentance and protect the church from willful unrepentant sin. Discipline may involve exclusion from participation in ministry, as well as dismissal from the fellowship of the church. An individual may be disciplined by the Pastoral Staff and/or Elders short of dismissal from the fellowship, as they deem appropriate for the specific circumstance (for example, a member may remain a member of the church but be denied serving in ministry for a set period of time). The Pastoral Staff and/or Elders may report to the Leadership Team, Elders, and Congregation the name(s) of those individuals who have forfeited church membership by reason of church discipline, and the reason(s) for that discipline, as described in Matthew 18:15-20.
By agreeing to become a member, a member agrees that they cannot voluntarily withdraw or resign his or her membership in the midst of the church discipline process, and may only voluntarily withdraw or resign his or her membership if they are not the subject of a discipline proceeding at the time or only after a disciplinary process, of which they are subject, has been conducted as determined by the Pastoral