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This agreement can be used by a church to set forth operational rules and guidelines. This operating agreement contains sections on the qualifications, duties, and rights for church membership, guidelines for church staff and committees, and guidelines and rules for church meetings including worship. In addition, you can easily add or remove language to this agreement as necessary. This agreement is ideal for churches that want to establish uniform rules for operations.
Church Operating Agreement This agreement can be used by a church to set forth operational rules and guidelines. This operating agreement contains sections on the qualifications, duties, and rights for church membership, guidelines for church staff and committees, and guidelines and rules for church meetings including worship. In addition, you can easily add or remove language to this agreement as necessary. This agreement is ideal for churches that want to establish uniform rules for operations. Church Operating Agreement 301c The membership of this church shall consist of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together for mutual encouragement in the faith, for instruction in righteousness and for the evangelization of the lost, and who shall regard the Holy Scriptures as the primary guide in all matters of faith and practice, both corporate and private. © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 2 3 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. Church Operating Agreement Article I: Church Membership Section 1: Qualifications The membership of this church shall consist of baptized believers who have voluntarily joined themselves together for mutual encouragement in the faith, for instruction in righteousness and for the evangelization of the lost, and who shall regard the Holy Scriptures as the primary guide in all matters of faith and practice, both corporate and private. Section 2: Reception of Members Candidates for Membership may be received at any worship or evangelistic service of the church in any one of the following ways: 1. Upon a public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, thus becoming a candidate for New Testament baptism; 2. By petition to this church that it contact another church of like faith and order and request a Letter of Dismissal to unite with this church; 3. By a statement satisfactory to this church, to the effect that the candidate has previously been a member in good standing of another church of like faith and order; 4. From churches of differing faith and order, but New Testament baptism shall be required of all such candidates; or 5. By restoration. When an individual seeks to become a candidate for membership, any member of the church may make a motion to accept the individual under the watchcare of the church for a period of four weeks and a vote of the body shall be taken. After being received into the watchcare of the church, the candidate will receive a New Member Packet containing the following materials: ______ Constitution and By-Laws, _____ Faith and Message, and other information concerning the rights, privileges and obligations of members of _________________ Church. This church shall make a definite and perpetual effort to maintain a program of initial instruction during the watchcare period. After the period of watchcare and initial instruction, the right hand of fellowship shall be given along with full and active membership at a regular worship service of the church. At that time, the church clerk will enter the new member’s name into the church roll. Section 3: Responsibilities of Membership Members shall be expected to submit to the control of the Holy Spirit through their lives, in being faithful to the teachings of the Bible, to attend regularly the services of the church, to contribute to the support of the church, to share in its organized work, and to conduct themselves toward one another in the spirit of the Church Covenant. 4 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. Section 4: Rights Such members as are in full and regular standing may act and vote in the business transactions of the church. All members upon the floor of the body have equal rights, and are entitled to equal privileges and consideration from all officers and other members. Every member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church in accordance with the qualifications relating to these offices. Section 5: Inactive Membership During each calendar year, the Church Clerk, in consultation with the Church Council shall review the membership roll of the church. Any member who has been absent from the church for a period of one year without manifesting an interest therein by communication with the church, shall after reasonable attempts to contact the member in question, and on the recommendation of the Church Council, be placed on the inactive roll by vote of the church membership. This shall not affect the sick, homebound, nursing home residents, or those away at school or in the armed forces. Persons so carried on the inactive roll shall not be permitted to participate in church business meetings. The Right Hand of Fellowship shall not be affected by such a change in status. When the church is needed, it will be there to minister to its members. Any member who wishes may be reinstated as an active member by vote of the church membership after an eight-week watchcare period, upon the recommendation of the Church Clerk, after consultation with the Church Council Section 6: Termination of Membership This church shall dismiss from its membership and remove from its membership roll the name of: 1. Any member who shall die; 2. Those who unite with churches of other faiths and which we do not regard as being New Testament churches, and therefore, with whom we do not exchange regular letters of church membership. (Those churches shall be notified, however, when one comes from a church of another faith, in order that his name may be removed from the roll of that church.); 3. Those who request a Letter of Dismissal in order to unite with another church of like faith and order; 4. Those who may request that their membership in this church cease; or, 5. Those who shall be dealt with for words or deeds unbecoming a Christian, thus casting a shadow of reproach on the name of Jesus Christ and His Church, and who refuse to repent and mend their ways, but only after such member shall have been dealt with as provided in Section 7. Section 7: Discipline All matters of discipline shall be in a spirit of Christian love, rather than in a 5 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. legalistic manner, considering ourselves, lest we too be tempted at some future time. The following procedure shall be followed in this matter: The deacons and/or pastor shall first deal with such member personally and privately in an effort to bring about reconciliation and to be helpful in bearing another’s burden. The member shall be informed of the specific charge(s) against him. If this attempt shall prove successful, we shall all rejoice and give thanks to God. But if it shall prove unsuccessful, the member shall be offered the opportunity to appear before a full meeting of the Church Council to defend himself. But if he shall fail, neglect or refuse to be cooperative, and thus disrupt the fellowship of the church, as well as bring reproach on the church and the name of Christ, then his name shall be put before the church at a regular business meeting, and the church shall vote to exclude his name from the membership of the church until such time as he makes amends. Article II: Church Staff, Officers, and Committees Section 1: General Qualifications All church officers, teachers, and leaders elected by the congregation shall be supporters of the overall church program and shall have been active members and supporters of the church program in which they will be serving. All officers and committee members, except deacons and the pastor, shall be elected for a one- year term at a time. No officer, committee member, or teacher shall serve in the same capacity for more than three consecutive years unless by majority agreement of the Nominating Committee and elected by vote of the church. It is always preferred that any member serving in the same capacity for three consecutive years leave that capacity for at least one year. Section 2: Staff A. The Pastor 1) Selection A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least two week’s notice shall be given from the pulpit. The Pastor Search Committee shall seek out a suitable pastor, and their recommendation will constitute a nomination; any member has the privilege of making suggestions to the committee. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one man at a time. An affirmative secret ballot vote of three-fourths of those present is necessary for a candidate to be elected. The pastor, thus elected shall serve until the relationship is terminated by mutual consent. 6 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. 2) Duties a. The pastor shall have a general oversight of the total work of the church, and shall be assisted by the deacons, other officers, and members of the church. Though the leader, he shall not assume that he is also dictator over the church. b. The pastor shall secure evangelists for all revivals. c. In his absences, the pastor shall be responsible for pulpit honorarium to the supply preacher. However, honorariums will be provided through the church budget during the pastor’s vacation, when he is away on church business, or when he is unable to serve due to sickness (up to a maximum of three months). d. The pastor shall have the liberty to attend two revivals or other engagements which would cause him to be away from his church field during the year. e. The pastor shall be a spiritual overseer of all organizations and committees of the church. He shall not be a voting member. 3) Termination a. When it becomes necessary for the advancement of God’s Kingdom to consider the dismissal of a pastor, the matter shall be presented to the church by the active committee of deacons. b. The office of pastor will be declared vacant for the following reasons: i. If he resigns ii. If he retires iii. If he dies iv. If he does not perform the duties of the pastor v. If he becomes an offense to the Name and cause of Jesus Christ by his conduct. vi. If he consistently fails to meet and uphold the Biblical qualifications of a pastor. c. Should the church move to declare the office of Pastor vacant, such action shall take place only at a meeting of the church called for that purpose. The meeting will be called upon the recommendation of a majority of the active deacons. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by secret ballot. A vote of three-fourths of the members present and voting shall be necessary to declare the office vacant. d. When the office of pastor becomes vacant due to termination by the church, his services shall terminate immediately and pastor’s salary shall be continued for two weeks. If he resigns, he shall not be compensated. All monies shall be rendered within thirty days of vacancy. 7 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. A. Interim Pastor When the office of pastor is vacant, a man of God will be needed to minister to the church during the transition period from one pastor to another. After a Pastor Search Committee is put in place, it will be responsible for finding a man to fill the office of Interim Pastor. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one man at a time. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least two weeks’ notice shall be given from the pulpit. An affirmative secret ballot vote of three-fourths of those present is necessary for a candidate to be elected. The interim pastor, thus elected shall serve until the office of pastor is filled. Section 3: Deacons A. Qualifications A deacon should have a definitive and matured experience as a Christian disciple. These men shall faithfully and actively support the activities of the church; shall meet the requirements laid out in 1 Timothy 3 and Acts 6. He should show evidence of commitment as a disciple of Christ through actions of love toward others. Deacons shall have been ordained by this church or by a _______ Church of similar faith and practice before serving. B. Duties 1) They are to be zealous to guard the unity of the Spirit within the church in bonds of peace. 2) The deacons shall cooperate in their church’s programs of education, evangelism, missions and stewardship. 3) The deacons shall seek to be an example to others in religious matters. 4) A deacon shall be expected to exercise faithful Christian stewardship of his time, talents and possessions in support of the church. 5) They shall serve as council of advice and conference with the pastor in all matters pertaining to the welfare and work of the church. With the pastor they are to consider and formulate plans for the constant effort and progress of the church in all things pertaining to the saving of souls, the development of Christians, and the extension and growth of the Kingdom of God. 6) By proper organization and method among themselves, they are to establish and maintain personal fraternal relations with, and inspiring oversight of all the membership of the church. They are to especially seek to know the physical needs and the moral and spiritual struggles of the brethren and sisters, and to serve the whole church in assisting, encouraging and developing all who are 8 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. in need. 7) The deacons may initiate matters of business and shall study matters of business referred to them by the committees and members of the church, and make recommendations to the church regarding these matters. 8) Any Deacon who is unwilling or unable to serve the church faithfully shall be expected to submit his resignation to the church. 9) The deacons shall have at least one meeting each month. C. Composition and Method of Selection There shall be as many deacons as the Holy Spirit and wisdom shall deem necessary for carrying on the work of the church. 1) Nominations for deacons shall be by the pastor through the active deacons. The initial list of nominations shall be checked by the pastor and active deacons as to the scriptural qualification of each individual. 2) After due consideration, counsel and prayer, the nominations shall be presented publicly to the church no less than two weeks before election. D. Election The election of deacons shall be held at a meeting of the church called for that purpose. The election shall be by secret ballot, and the votes counted by the deacons then in office and published. A vote of three- fourths of the members present and voting shall be necessary for a nominee to be elected. E. Terms of Deacon Service A man may not serve as an active deacon of the church for more than three consecutive years, after which at least one year shall lapse before he becomes eligible for reconsideration for another term as deacon. The procedure for such a rotation is to be decided by the active deacon body. Section 4: Church Council A. Role The mission and ministry of the church shall be led by the Deacon body and the Church Council to provide ministry and administrative leadership in partnership with the pastor of the church. B. Responsibilities The responsibilities of the Church Council are to: 1) Coordinate church and Committee activities. 2) Maintain the church calendar. 3) Maintain the list of Standing and/or Special Committees. 4) Foster long range planning. 9 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. 5) Engage in other administrative activities as they see fit. C. Composition The Church Council will be made up of: 1) The Committee of Deacons 2) The Sunday School Director 3) The ____ Director 4) The Youth/Children Coordinator 5) The Men’s Ministries Director 6) The ___ Director 7) Committee Chairpersons 8) Clerk 9) Treasurer Section 5: Other Elected Officers A. Sunday School Director The Director shall have the oversight of the entire school and shall administer it with aid of the Pastor and the Sunday School Teachers. B. ____ Director The Director shall have the oversight of Family Development and shall administer it with aid of the Pastor and ____ Workers. C. Youth/Children Coordinator The Coordinator shall plan ministry and social activities that will foster the Christian growth of the church youth and children. D. Men’s Ministries Director He shall have the oversight of the entire Men’s Ministries organization and shall administer it with the aid of all Men’s Ministries Officers. E. ____ Director She shall have the oversight of the entire ______________ organization and shall administer it with the aid of all ____________________________ Officers. F. Treasurer It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out all monies, or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. Payment of bills for local work and expenses shall be made promptly by check, and all funds received for denominational or other causes shall be remitted at least monthly by check. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church an itemized report of receipts and disbursements for the preceding months, and this report shall be presented in printed form to the church in 10 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. the regular business meeting. All books, accounts and records kept by the treasurer shall be considered the property of the church. The books shall be open to inspection at all times by any member of the church. The Treasurer shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the Finance Committee. G. Clerk The church clerk shall keep a suitable book of all the action of the church, including a register of current church fellowship. When requested and voted by the church, the clerk will issue letters of recommendation. Section 6: Standing Committees This church shall have the following standing committees: Finance, Nominating, Building and Grounds, Lord’s Supper and Baptism, Hospitality, and Bereavement. A. Finance Committee 1) Composition The Finance Committee shall be composed of at least five members. The Treasurer shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the finance committee. Committee membership shall elect their chair, vice-chair, and secretary each year prior to August 1. 2) Duties a. Prepare a proposed Church Budget. Estimate anticipated income based on previous year’s church income, prevailing economic conditions, past year’s giving record of membership and anticipated plans for its growth. Prior to first meeting of the Finance Committee request church leaders to submit an itemized list of budget needs for the year. Bring all these lists together for the first meeting of the committee and if it is necessary notify church leaders to be present at a subsequent meeting to speak to their request. After evaluation and necessary adjustments are made prepare budget for presentation to the church for approval. b. Consider all requests for expenditures for budget items when money is not currently available in any given section. c. Hear requests for extra-budgeting financial expenditures and budget revisions and make recommendations as necessary to the church. d. Advise the church on financial undertakings as to soundness and effect on financial structure and credit standing of the church. 11 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. e. Review and audit the monthly financial report submitted by the Treasurer, which report will subsequently be prepared and presented to the church. Make any recommendations necessary. f. Consider all requests to receive additional special offerings and make the recommendations. B. Nominating Committee 1) Composition The Nominating Committee, consisting of three (3) members, shall be elected each church year and shall serve for a one-year term. This committee shall be nominated by the current Nominating Committee and presented to the church for approval. The Nominating Committee shall nominate and present to the church at a special called business meeting by _____ __ the head of each of the auxiliary church organizations. Upon their election by the church, they shall become a part of the Nominating Committee. 2) Duties The Nominating Committee shall nominate all church officers and committee members except salaried persons and deacons. However, the floor shall be open for nominations for all officers and committee members, except salaried employees of the church. The Nominating Committee shall recommend only those church members who are qualified, willing to accept nomination, and who have agreed to serve if elected. The Nominating Committee may receive nominations from other nominating committees within the various organizations. All church workers shall be selected and elected by _____ __. If vacancies occur during the year, the committee shall convene to make recommendations to fill the vacant position. C. Building and Grounds Committee 1) Composition The Building and Grounds Committee shall be composed of at least 5 members. Committee membership shall elect their chair, vice-chair, and secretary each year prior to August 15. 2) Duties The Building and Grounds Committee shall: 1) Be responsible for the safekeeping, protection, maintenance, and repair of the buildings, grounds, operating facilities, and attached equipment including 12 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. heating, cooling, and lighting. 2) Be responsible for seeing that all the equipment is properly operating. 3) Make recommendations or take actions should emergency necessitate, regarding: replacement of worn out items or equipment, landscaping and care of grounds, maintenance of safe conditions, and parking facilities. 4) Prepare an annual budget for the committee functions and recommend it to the Finance Committee. D. Lord’s Supper and Baptism Committee 1) Composition The Lord’s Supper and Baptism Committee shall be composed of the Deacons and their wives. 2) Duties a. Meet with the candidates for baptism for instructions prior to each baptismal service. b. Prepare the baptismal pool for service. c. Assist the candidates for baptism before, during, and after baptism. d. Assist the Pastor in any way requested. e. Prepare the table prior to the observance of the Lord’s Supper. f. Train new deacons as to the procedures to follow in serving the Lord’s Supper. E. Bereavement Committee 1) Composition The Bereavement Committee shall be composed of at least 5 members. Committee membership shall elect their chair, vice- chair, and secretary each year prior to ______ ___. 2) Duties a. The committee will inform church members when a death occurs in the church family. There will be a meal furnished by the church upon the death of a church member, their spouse, children, parents, or grandparents. b. The committee will be responsible for sending a spray of flowers upon the death of an active church member, their spouse, or children. A pot plant will be sent at the death of a church member’s parents, grandparents or grandchildren. c. When sending a flower is not an option, Gideon bibles will be purchased and the family will be notified. Eight bibles will be purchased upon the death of a member or their spouse. Five 13 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. bibles will be purchased upon the death of a member’s children, parents, grandparents, or grandchildren. F. Hospitality Committee 1) Composition The Hospitality Committee shall be composed of at least 3 members. Committee membership shall elect their chair, vice- chair, and secretary each year prior to _______ ___. 2) Duties a. Keep an inventory of kitchen supplies. b. Prepare fellowship hall for fellowship/special events. c. Clean kitchen after fellowship/special events. G. Special Committees This church shall have such other committees as the Holy Spirit and wisdom shall show to be wise and necessary for carrying out the purpose of the church as stated in Article II of the Constitution. These committees shall be formed by vote of the church. Article III: Meetings Section 1: Worship This church shall conduct regular worship services each Lord’s Day and on Wednesday evenings, unless otherwise agreed by the church. Other hours shall be set for services necessary for the educational, stewardship, missionary, evangelistic and promotional functions of the church and for fellowship. Section 2: Regular Business Meetings This church shall conduct its regular business meeting on the second Sunday morning of every quarter. All officers and organizations of the church shall have opportunity to submit a report of work done. The pastor, ordinarily, shall serve as moderator of all business meetings of the church. In the absence of, or at the request of the pastor, the chairman of the deacons shall serve as moderator. Otherwise, in case of absence of both these, and with a quorum present, the church clerk shall call the meeting to order and a moderator pro tem shall be elected. Section 3: Special-Called Business Meetings A special-called business meeting shall be called by the pastor whenever necessary, or upon the request of the deacons or a favorable vote of the church. In the event the pastorate of the church is vacant, the chairman of the deacons shall call such special business meetings. Such meetings should always be announced publicly for two weeks prior to the meeting. If two weeks cannot be given, written notices must notify the active resident membership unless the church with a 14 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. unanimous vote of members present shall set this rule aside. No matter may be considered at these special business meetings except that for which it was announced. Section 4: Rules of Order for Business Meetings The business meetings of this church shall be conducted in accordance with the latest available edition of Robert’s Rules of Order unless otherwise provided for in this Constitution and By-Laws. A quorum, consisting of 20% of the active membership, must be present to conduct the business of the church. Article IV: Financial Policies The church, under the leadership of the Finance Committee shall initiate and have general oversight of a sound financial program for receiving, disbursing and accounting for the monies of the church at all times. A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds, including individual records kept for church donors, will be the responsibility of the Finance Committee. Section 1: Fiscal Year The Fiscal year of the church shall be ________ 1 through ______ 31. Section 2: Depositories and Checks All funds and credits of the church shall be deposited to the credit of the church ____________. Funds of the church shall be subject to withdrawal by checks or drafts signed by the Treasurer. Section 3: Offerings Members and visitors shall be given the opportunity to give to the church each Sunday. The Church Council and Finance Committee will determine the need for special offerings and the method used in receiving them. Section 4: Disbursements Each disbursement shall be charged against the appropriate account in the church’s record of accounts. No disbursement may be made unless authorized by contract, purchase order, invoice, or other written authorization signed or approved by a duly authorized representative of the church as determined by the Finance Committee. Section 5: Reimbursements In order to receive a reimbursement, a receipt and a completed reimbursement form must be given to the treasurer. Section 6: Budget Development An annual church budget shall be made and adopted by the church, upon presentation of the budget by the Finance Committee. At least four weeks prior to the beginning of the fiscal year, the Finance 15 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc. Committee shall request a list of anticipated expenses from all church committees and organizations. Within ten days from the date of the request, those to whom the request is directed shall advise the Finance Committee of items and expenditures they wish included in the budget for the coming year. The Finance Committee shall prepare a proposed budget for recommendation to the church. After adoption by the church in a special-called business meeting, the proposed budget will be the church’s approved budget for the coming fiscal year. Section 7: Annual Report At a regular meeting of the members held after the end of each fiscal year, the Finance Committee shall submit, or cause to be submitted, to the members a financial report for the preceding fiscal year. Article V: Amendments and Additions Section 1: Adoption This constitution shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the business meeting at which the vote is taken shall be in favor of the same. Section 2: Amendments This constitution may be amended, altered or repealed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at any regular business meeting or the church, provided that such proposed amendment, alteration or repeal shall have been announced and posted publicly to the church at least two full weeks prior to the time the vote is taken. Section 3: Conclusion Upon adoption of this Constitution, on _______________, all previously adopted policies and procedures in conflict are repealed. ________________________ Chairman ________________________ Deacons & Elders ________________________ Deacons & Elders ________________________ Deacons & Elders ________________________ Deacons & Elders 16 © Copyright 2013 Docstoc Inc.
"Church Operating Agreement"