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					A Primer for Congregation
Council Members
     or
10 Things That Every Congregation
Council Member Should Know!
Hendrickson’s Law

   If you have enough meetings over a
   long enough period of time, the
   meetings become more important
   than the problem the meetings were
   intended to address.
  What is a congregation’s
constitution?

                 It is a
   MISSIONAL DOCUMENT
1. What is the Church?
Matthew 16:18

   Jesus said to Peter: "And I tell you,
   you are Peter, and on this rock I will
   build my church, and the gates of
   hades will not prevail against it."
I Corinthians 4:17

   "I sent you Timothy, who is my
   beloved and faithful child in the Lord,
   to remind you of my ways in Christ
   Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in
   every church."
ELCA Constitution 3.01
Model Constitution for Congregations *C3.01

    All power in the Church belongs to
    our Lord Jesus Christ, its head. All
    actions of this church are to be
    carried out under his rule and
    authority.
ELCA Constitution 4.01
Model Constitution for Congregations *C4.01

    The Church is a people created by
    God in Christ, empowered by the
    Holy Spirit, called and sent to bear
    witness to God’s creative, redeeming,
    and sanctifying activity in the world.
ELCA Constitution 3.02
Model Constitution for Congregations *C3.02
    The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship
    and as local congregations gathered for worship and
    Christian service. Congregations find their fulfillment
    in the universal community of the Church, and the
    universal Church exists in and through
    congregations. This church, therefore, derives its
    character and power both from the sanction and
    representation of its congregations and from its
    inherent nature as an expression of the broader
    fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges
    itself to be in the historic continuity of the communion
    of saints; in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of
    believers and congregations in our day.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
ELCA Constitution Chapter 2
Model Constitution for Congregations Chapter 2


    2.01. This church confesses the
    Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy
    Spirit.

    2.02. This church confesses Jesus
    Christ as Lord and Savior and the
    Gospel as the power of God for the
    salvation of all who believe.
ELCA Constitution 5.01

   The Evangelical Lutheran Church in
   America shall be one church. This
   church recognizes that all power and
   authority in the Church belongs to the
   Lord Jesus Christ, its head.
   Therefore, all actions of this church
   by congregations, synods, and the
   churchwide organization shall be
   carried out under his rule and
   authority . . . .
ELCA Constitution 7.01

   This church affirms the universal
   priesthood of all its baptized
   members. In its function and its
   structure this church commits itself to
   the equipping and supporting of all its
   members for their ministries in the
   world and in this church. It is within
   this context of ministry that this
   church calls some of its baptized
   members for specific ministries in this
   church.
ELCA Constitution 4.02

   To participate in God’s mission, this
   church shall:
   a.Proclaim God’s saving Gospel . . .
   b.Carry out Christ’s Great Commission. . .
   c.Serve in response to God’s love . . .
   d.Worship God . . .
   e.Nurture its members . . . .
   f.Manifest the unity given to the people of
   God by living together in the love of Christ . . .
ELCA Constitution 3.02
Model Constitution for Congregations *C3.02
    The Church exists both as an inclusive fellowship
    and as local congregations gathered for worship and
    Christian service. Congregations find their fulfillment
    in the universal community of the Church, and the
    universal Church exists in and through
    congregations. This church, therefore, derives its
    character and power both from the sanction and
    representation of its congregations and from its
    inherent nature as an expression of the broader
    fellowship of the faithful. In length, it acknowledges
    itself to be in the historic continuity of the communion
    of saints; in breadth, it expresses the fellowship of
    believers and congregations in our day.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
ELCA Constitution 8.11

   This church shall seek to function as
   people of God through congregations,
   synods, and the churchwide
   organization, all of which shall be
   interdependent. Each part, while
   fully the church, recognizes that it is
   not the whole church and therefore
   lives in a partnership relationship with
   the others.
ELCA Constitution 8.16
   In faithful participation in the mission of God
   in and through this church, congregations,
   synods, and the churchwide organization –
   as interdependent expressions of this
   church – shall be guided by the biblical and
   confessional commitments of this church.
   Each shall recognize that mission efforts
   must be shaped by both local needs and
   global awareness, by both individual
   witness and corporate endeavor, and by
   both distinctly Lutheran emphases and
   growing ecumenical cooperation.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
ELCA Constitution 8.14
   The churchwide organization shall
   implement the extended mission of
   the Church, developing churchwide
   policies in consultation with the
   synods and congregations, entering
   into relationship with governmental,
   ecumenical, and societal agencies in
   accordance with accepted resolutions
   and/or in response to specific agreed-
   upon areas of responsibility.
ELCA Constitution 11.12
   The churchwide organization shall be an
   instrument for accomplishing the purposes
   of this church, as defined in Chapter 4 of
   this constitution, that are shared with and
   supported by the members, congregations,
   and synods of this church. In keeping with
   this church's purposes, it shall develop
   churchwide policy, set standards for
   leadership, establish criteria for this church's
   endeavors, and coordinate the work of this
   church. It shall be a means for the sharing
   of resources throughout this church, and
   shall provide programs and services as
   determined by this church.
Priorities of the Churchwide
Organization 2011-13
   The churchwide organization, working
   collaboratively with congregations, synods,
   agencies and institutions and other partners,
   will give priority to:
   1.accompanying congregations as growing
   centers for evangelical mission; and
   2.building capacity for evangelical witness
   and service in the world to alleviate poverty
   and work for justice and peace.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
5. What is a synod?
ELCA Constitution 8.13

   The synod shall provide for pastoral
   care of the congregations, ordained
   ministers, associates in ministry,
   deaconesses, and diaconal ministers
   within its boundaries. It shall develop
   resources for the life and mission of
   its people and shall enlarge the
   ministries and extend the outreach
   into society on behalf of and in
   connection with the congregations
   and the churchwide organization.
Constitution for Synods +6.02

   To participate in God’s mission, this
   synod shall:
   a. Proclaim God’s saving Gospel . . .
   b. Carry out Christ’s Great Commission. . .
   c. Serve in response to God’s love . . .
   d. Worship God . . .
   e. Nurture its members . . . .
   f. Manifest the unity given to the people of
   God by living together in the love of Christ . . .
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
5. What is a synod?
6. What is a congregation?
What is a congregation?

   A congregation is:
        part of the one holy catholic and
        apostolic Church

        an expression of the ELCA,
        interdependent with the churchwide
        organization and the synod

        a place of worship, nurture, outreach,
        and service

        a nonprofit corporation
ELCA Constitution 8.12

   The congregation shall include in its
   mission a life of worship and nurture
   for its members, and outreach in
   witness and service to its community.
Model Constitution for Congregations
*C4.02

   To participate in God’s mission, this
   congregation as a part of the Church
   shall:
   a.Proclaim God’s saving Gospel . . .
   b.Carry out Christ’s Great Commission. . .
   c.Serve in response to God’s love . . .
   d.Worship God . . .
   e.Nurture its members . . . .
   f.Manifest the unity given to the people of
   God by living together in the love of Christ . .
   .
Model Constitution for Congregations
*C4.03

   To fulfill these purposes, this congregation
   shall:
    a. Provide services of worship at which the Word of God
       is preached and the sacraments are administered.
    b. Provide pastoral care and assist all members to
       participate in this ministry.
    c. Challenge, equip, and support all members in
       carrying out their calling in their daily lives and in their
       congregation.
    d. Teach the Word of God.
    e. Witness to the reconciling Word of God in Christ,
       reaching out to all people.
Model Constitution for Congregations
*C4.03
       To fulfill these purposes, this congregation
       shall:
                              ***
         f. Respond to human need, work for justice and peace,
            care for the sick and the suffering, and participate
            responsibly in society.
         g. Motivate its members to provide for financial support
            for the congregation's ministry and the ministry of
            other parts of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
            America.
         h. Foster and participate in interdependent relationships
            with the other congregations, the synod, and the
            churchwide organization of the Evangelical Lutheran
            Church in America.
         i. Foster and participate in ecumenical relationships
            consistent with churchwide policy.
Model Constitution for Congregations
Chapter 5
Powers of the Congregation


    *C5.01. The powers of this congregation
     are those necessary to fulfill its purpose.

    *C5.02. The powers of this congregation
     are vested in the Congregation Meeting
     called and conducted as provided in this
     constitution and bylaws.
Model Constitution for Congregations
*C5.03
   Only such authority as is delegated to the
   Congregation Council or other organizational units in
   this congregation's governing documents is
   recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the
   congregation.

   The congregation is authorized to:
     a. call as pastor as provided in Chapter 9;
     b. terminate the call of a pastor as provided in Chapter
        9;
     c. call or terminate the call of associates in ministry,
        deaconesses, and diaconal ministers in conformity
        with the applicable policy of the Evangelical Lutheran
        Church in America;
     d. adopt amendments to the constitution, as provided in
        Chapter 17, and amendments to the bylaws, as
        specified in Chapter 16;
Model Constitution for Congregations
*C5.03 (cont’d)
   Only such authority as is delegated to the
   Congregation Council or other organizational units in
   this congregation's governing documents is
   recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the
   congregation.

   The congregation is authorized to:
                     ***
     e. approve the annual budget
     f. acquire real and personal property for any and all
        activities consistent with its purpose;
     g. hold title to and use its property for any and all
        activities consistent with its purpose;
Model Constitution for Congregations
*C5.03 (cont’d)
   Only such authority as is delegated to the
   Congregation Council or other organizational units in
   this congregation's governing documents is
   recognized. All remaining authority is retained by the
   congregation.

   The congregation is authorized to:
                      ***
     h. Sell, mortgage, lease, transfer, or otherwise dispose
        of its property by any lawful means;
     i. Elect its officers and Congregation Council and
        require them to carry out their duties in accordance
        with the constitution, bylaws, and continuing
        resolutions; and
     j. Terminate its relationship with the Evangelical
        Lutheran Church in America as provided in Chapter
        6.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
5. What is a synod?
6. What is a congregation?
7. What are the responsibilities of a Congregation
   Council?
Model Constitutions for
Congregations
C12.04
   The Congregation Council shall have
   general oversight of the life and
   activities of this congregation and in
   particular its worship life, to the end
   that everything be done in
   accordance with the Word of God and
   the faith and practice of the
   Evangelical Lutheran Church in
   America . . . .
Model Constitutions for
Congregations
C12.04
   . . .The duties of the Congregation Council shall
   include the following:
    a. To lead this congregation in stating its mission, to do long-
       range planning, to set goals and priorities, and to evaluate its
       activities in light of its mission and goals.
    b. To seek to involve all members of this congregation in
       worship, learning, witness, service, and support.
    c. To oversee and provide for the administration of this
       congregation to enable it to fulfill its functions and perform its
       mission.
    d. To maintain supportive relationships with the pastor(s) and
       staff and help them annually to evaluate the fulfillment of their
       calling or employment.
    e. To be examples individually and corporately of the style of life
       and ministry expected of all baptized persons.
    f. To promote a congregational climate of peace and goodwill,
       and, as differences and conflicts arise, to endeavor to foster
       mutual understanding.
Model Constitutions for
Congregations
C12.04 (cont’d)
   . . .The duties of the Congregation Council shall
   include the following:
                         ***
    g. To arrange for pastoral service during the sickness or
       absence of the pastor.
    h. To emphasize partnership with the synod and churchwide
       organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
       as well as cooperation with other congregations, both
       Lutheran and non-Lutheran, subject to established policies of
       the synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
    i. To recommend and encourage the use of program resources
       produced or approved by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
       America.
    j. To seek out and encourage qualified persons to prepare for
       the ministry of the Gospel.
Other Responsibilities of the
Congregation Council
   • financial and property matters (C12.05)
   • following the constitution, bylaws, and
     continuing resolutions (C12.06)
   • review of the membership roster annually
     (C12.07)
   • employment and supervision of salaried
     lay workers (C12.08)
   • comprehensive report to the annual
     meeting (C12.09)
   • meeting regularly (C12.11)
Model Constitution for Congregations
C12.05.a

   The Congregation Council shall be the
   board of trustees of this congregation, and
   as such shall be responsible for maintaining
   and protecting its property and the
   management of its business and fiscal
   affairs. It shall have the powers and be
   subject to the obligations that pertain to
   such boards under the laws of the State of
   _____, except as otherwise provided herein.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
5. What is a synod?
6. What is a congregation?
7. What are the responsibilities of a Congregation
   Council?
8. What are the responsibilities of a member of the
   Congregation Council?
Fiduciary Responsibilities

        Fulfill corporate purposes
        Act prudently
        Act loyally
        Maintain confidentiality
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
5. What is a synod?
6. What is a congregation?
7. What are the responsibilities of a Congregation
   Council?
8. What are the responsibilities of a member of the
   Congregation Council?
9. What type of leadership is required?
ELCA Constitution 5.01.h

   Leaders in this church should
   demonstrate that they are servants by
   their words, life-style, and manner of
   leadership. Leaders in this church
   will recognize their accountability to
   the Triune God, to the whole Church,
   to each other, and to the organization
   of this church in which they have
   been asked to serve.
1. What is the Church?
2. What is this church?
3. What are the constituent parts of the ELCA?
4. What is the churchwide organization?
5. What is a synod?
6. What is a congregation?
7. What are the responsibilities of a Congregation
   Council?
8. What are the responsibilities of a member of the
   Congregation Council?
9. What type of leadership is required?
10. What does stewardship have to do with it?
Psalm 24:1

   The earth is the Lord's and all that is
   in it, the world, and those who live in
   it.
Constitutional Mandates
   ELCA 4.03.p: "[T]his church shall: . . . Support the mission
   of this church by arranging for and encouraging financial
   contributions for its work . . . .

   S15.11. "Since congregations, synods, and churchwide
   organization are interdependent units that share
   responsibility in God's mission, all share in the
   responsibility to develop, implement, and strengthen the
   financial support of the whole church. The gifts and
   offerings of the members of the Evangelical Lutheran
   Church in America are given to support all parts of this
   church and thus partnership in this church should be
   evidenced in determining each part's share of the gifts and
   offerings. . . .

   *C4.03.g.: "[T]his congregation shall: . . . Motivate its
   members to provide financial support the congregation's
   ministry and the ministry of other parts of the Evangelical
   Lutheran Church in America."
Signs of a Healthy Congregation

       Passion for the gospel
       Shared leadership
       Support for ministry in the wider
       church
2 Corinthians 5:20

   “We are therefore Christ’s
   ambassadors, as though God were
   making his appeal through us.”
THE END

(or, actually, the beginning . . . .)

				
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