ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. ESTABLISHING MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the Church is open to anyone who meets the following qualifications:
A. A member must be a born-again believer in Jesus Christ that by the grace of God through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ has received salvation.
B. A member must have been baptized by immersion after faith in Christ as a testimony of salvation.
C. Membership may be established in the following ways:
Candidates may join by affirming that they are baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, holding to the basic doctrinal teaching of this church. Members joining by statement of faith that hold membership in another church are responsible for notifying their former church of their new membership in Church.
Candidates accepting Christ as their Savior and requesting believer’s baptism by immersion may be accepted as members upon baptism.
D. All candidates for membership shall give a verbal testimony of their conversion, baptism, and current relationship with Christ and acceptance of the church’s mission statement and doctrinal teaching to the pastor or designated member of leadership.
SECTION 2. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
A person’s membership may be terminated in one of the following ways:
B. Transfer of Membership
If a member conducts himself in a manner which brings the name of Christ and the church into disrepute, or is found to be undermining church unity, it will be the responsibility of the elders under the guidance of the pastor to attempt to restore the member in a spirit of love according to the guidelines set forth in Matthew 18:15 -17 and other scriptures. If the member fails to respond positively to these attempts or vocally espouses a belief system or doctrinal interpretation that is contrary to what is taught in this church and it is deemed, by the elders, to be detrimental to the spiritual health of the congregation, exclusion will require a consensus of the elder body.
SECTION 3. RIGHTS OF MEMBER
Each member present, 18 years of age and older has the right vote on any issue put forth by the elders for a vote or that this document specifies. Members have the right to be considered for church leadership positions that they are qualified to hold and a right to all of the benefits of church fellowship outlined in scripture.
ARTICLE II. MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP
SECTION 1. PASTOR (Ephesians 4:11-13, I Timothy 5:17)
Upon a vacancy in the pastorate the Elders are responsible for determining the process for calling a pastor. In accordance with Acts 14:23 the Elder body must be in consensus on a single candidate before he is presented to the church for affirmation. Spiritual authority will be given to the new pastor by appointment of the elder body. The congregation will affirm his appointment and submission to his spiritual authority by extending a call.
The pastor, along with the counsel of the Elder’s, shall be the spiritual leader of the congregation. He shall preach and teach the word of God, lead the church in a regular worship services, administer the ordinances of the church, serve as moderator at church conferences, provide leadership to the ministerial staff, serve as overall administrator of the church with counsel and accountability of the elders, work to implement the model of church structure and function laid out in this constitution and generally fulfill all his pastoral duties as set forth in Scripture.
The Pastor’s duties may be terminated by consensus of the elder body, excluding the pastor if the pastor has engaged in immoral, unbiblical or unethical behavior that brings reproach on the church or Christ, if these issues cannot be resolved through biblical intervention. If the elder body fails to resolve any matters relating to pastor biblical accountability, the active resident members can call for a vote of removal by a written petition 50% of members presented to the elders. After receiving a petition for removal with 50% of members as signatures the elders will call for a vote of removal. The pastor may be removed by a vote of 50% of active resident members.
SECTION 2. ELDERS (Acts 14:23, 15:2, 20:17, Titus 1:5, James 5:14, I Peter 2:25, 5:1-4)
A. Purpose and Function
Elders shall serve to provide spiritual leadership and accountability to the church and fulfill elder duties in accordance with scripture. They will provide a brotherhood of support and accountability for the pastor, assist the ministry teams with difficult issues, serve as arbiters in matters of conflict or church discipline and in general provide spiritual leadership, guidance, and assistance wherever and whenever appropriate. The elder body shall be made up of no less than two and no more than four appointed men including the pastor, who is the lead elder.
Spiritual authority comes from God through His Holy word and through his calling of men. Once an elder’s calling has been recognized, upon his appointment to the elder position in the church he will assume all spiritual authority granted to him through scripture. This authority will cease upon his leaving of office at the appointed time.
Decision Making Body
Elders use their spiritual authority to empower the congregation to make ministry decisions though teams within scriptural and constitutional guidelines. Elders are a decision-making body in matters related to administration, church direction, when a ministry team cannot reach consensus on an issue, when the functional structure does not exist or breaks down and in matters of church discipline or pastoral accountability.
All discussions between the elders regarding church discipline or other accountability matters are strictly confidential; this includes not discussing confidential elder issues with the spouses of elders or other church members. Breaking confidentiality is grounds for removal.
An Elder must be someone who the existing elder body believes has a true calling from God that has been demonstrated by service. Elders need to meet a minimum level of the scriptural qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-12. An Elder must a have an understanding and desire to see that the Mission of the church and its values are upheld. Elders must be willing to rearrange their daily schedules or do whatever it takes to ensure the Mission of the Church and any business necessary is fulfilled. Elders must be men of spiritual maturity. An Elder must preclude his role and authority in any situation that is or could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
C. Selection and Term of Office
Thereafter on or about January 1st of each year, in accordance with Acts 14:23, the elder body will appoint the new elder(s). All terms will be three years. Which elders will serve short terms, to keep open offices staggered, will be determined by lottery among the elder body. The congregation will affirm the elder selection. Best practice would be: after an elder has rotated off for a year he will be eligible to be a candidate for elder again if it is determined that he is still qualified, however if there are no scripturally qualified men to serve in the elder role the elder can serve multiple terms by mutual consent of the pastor and elders.
Elders other than the Pastor may be removed from office by their own decision or by consensus decision of the other elders. Removal shall be based upon being spiritually unqualified, the inability to serve or as a result of the process laid out in Matthew 18:15-17 and other scriptures or failure to fulfill their commitments as an elder. If the elder body fails to resolve any matters relating to elder biblical accountability, the members can call for a vote of removal by a written petition 50% of members presented to the elders. After receiving a petition for removal with 50% of members as signatures the elders will call for a vote of removal.
Elder vacancies can occur by death, resignation, or removal. When a vacancy occurs, the existing elders shall appoint a replacement, if warranted and qualified replacement is able and willing to serve.
SECTION 3. PROFESSIONAL MINISTERIAL STAFF
If it is determined by the consensus of the elder body that additional professional ministerial staff other than the pastor is needed for fulfilling the church’s mission, they may be employed by the church after the position is funded by the budget. The elders will seek out candidates to fill the position. The pastor will make the final selection for the staff position.
Specific and written job descriptions will be outlined by the pastor.
The minister’s duties with the church may be terminated by resignation, death, or dismissal. Dismissal can be made by the Pastor or the elders.
SECTION 4. LAY PASTORS
A. Purpose and Function
The Lay Pastors will serve in the Biblical role described in scripture as Deacon (Acts 6:1-4, I Timothy 3:1, 8-10). They are directed by the pastor and elders with pastor’s consent, to help carry out ministry duties. They are appointed and replaced by the pastor, with consensus of elders, at his discretion.
Lay Pastors may be attached to one or more ministry teams. Lay Pastors do not run or lead the teams, they resource the team and act as a liaison between the team and the pastor.
Ministers in Worship
Lay Pastors may be called on to participate in the worship service, i.e. announcements, prayer requests, administering ordinances, assisting in baptism etc. Lay Pastors may also be called upon to bring devotions, preach, pray or lead bible studies depending on their gifts, talents and spiritual maturity.
Ministers to the Congregation
Lay Pastors help the pastor minister to the needs of the congregation in many ways, such as, visitation, meeting member’s physical needs as well as the physical needs of the church. B. Selection
B. Term of Office
The term is one year but multiple terms may be served by mutual consent.
A Lay pastor may be removed before their term of office expires by death, resignation, or dismissal by the pastor and or elders with pastor’s consent.
ARTICLE III. SUPPORT STAFF
The pastor and or elders determine the need for support staff. Once a need is determined, budget approval by the church must be in place before a position can be filled.
Support staff persons will have specific and written job descriptions as outlined by the pastor and elders.
Dismissal may be made by the Pastor and the elders.
ARTICLE IV TEAMS
SECTION 1 GENERAL MINISTRY TEAMS (Mark 3:13-18, 6:7-13, Luke 6:12-16, I Corinthians 12:17-31)
A. Purpose and Function
Ministry teams shall be organized to carry out the specialized ministries of the church. Each ministry team shall have specific functions and responsibilities as assigned or approved by the pastor and/or elders.
The Team Leaders are to appoint members of the congregation to a team and empower them to make ministry decisions for a specific area of ministry. Those empowered to make decisions are called consensus members. The best practice is to have no less than 4 no more than 10 consensus members and as many supporting members as needed to carry out the mission of the ministry team. Teams will function by consensus, not majority vote. If consensus cannot be reached, the matter must either be tabled or prayed about before being addressed again or placed before the elder body for a final decision. Ministry teams that have their own budget line must make a justified budget request to the Audit Team for the annual budget. The ministry team is responsible for staying within their budget and giving an account of all of their activities at the monthly leadership team meeting. The teams make their own decisions about what they will do in their particular areas of ministry and they will choose how to allocate their budget dollars, however, all major decisions that could affect church direction or church sponsored activities should be brought before the leadership team before being implemented. Teams will hold firmly to the Mission Statement of the church and filter everything they do through this mission statement and each team will have its own Purpose Statement to help guide its direction.
Consensus members must be members of the church in good standing Non-Church members can be active on ministry teams as supporting team members but cannot be consensus members. Team representatives are members who represent the team in reaching consensus about decisions, team representatives must be members of the church in good standing, love the Lord and have a desire to see his kingdom grow, have credibility with other church members, have a passion for the mission of the team, be determined to make the team a top priority in their lives (this means that they are willing to rearrange their daily schedules or do whatever it takes to participate in team meetings and activities), and desire to use their talents and abilities to accomplish the team’s mission. Team members must be willing to practice biblical Christianity. Non church members can be active on ministry teams but cannot be representatives that reach consensus on decisions.
D. Formation of Teams
General Ministry teams may be formed as needed by the pastor and elders.
E. Selection and Term of Office
Consensus members of general ministry teams are appointed by the pastor and elders or by someone they enlist to appoint members. The term of office for general ministry team members will be one year, but members may serve multiple terms by mutual consent.
If a team member causes conflict or fails to carry out his or her responsibility to the team they may be removed from the team by the elders.
SECTION 2 STANDING TEAMS
A. Purpose and function
Standing teams shall be in place to assist in finding and providing the tangible resources necessary to effectively carry out the church’s ministries and business.
Standing teams are structured the same as ministry teams.
Qualifications are the same as those of general ministry consensus members.
Removal process is the same as general ministry teams.
The standing teams of the church shall be:
1. Facility Team
This team is responsible to ensure that the church has adequate facilities to effectively carry out its ministries. They will oversee the care, maintenance, and use of all facilities except the arena. They will not oversee paid staff.
2. Audit Team
The Audit Team is made up of no less than 3 no more than 7 members. They meet once a month to audit the financial records. They only verify and report. They have no decision making authority about how money is spent. It is the Audit Team’s responsibility to get budget requests from all of the various ministry teams and church administrators and put together an annual budget to be presented to the church for a vote. When putting together the budget the team will take into account projected church income based on history and realistic growth potential, church mission statement, church needs and priorities. A proposed budget will be presented at a monthly leadership team meeting for discussion before being put up for a vote. The budget will then be put up for a vote at a called business meeting where it will be voted on by the congregation. The budget can only be adopted by a 2/3 majority vote of the congregation. The Audit Team may be enlisted by the Pastor and Elders to come up with some policies related to finances, these polices can only be adopted by a 2/3 majority vote of the congregation.
3. Arena Team
The arena team shall be responsible for the oversight, care, maintenance, and use of the arena. They will work with the Leadership Team as well as other ministry teams to develop strategies and plan events that will utilize the arena to effectively reach the cowboy/western culture for Christ and provide the hub for family life in the church. The Arena Team will be structured and function the same as a general ministry team as described in Article IV, Section 1, B. Any financial accounts are subject to the audit team and finance secretary and all financial activity is subject to the policies and procedures set forth by this church for the handling of finances.
The qualifications for the arena team will be the same as for the general ministry teams as described in Article IV, Section 1, C.
Formation of the arena team will be the same as for a general ministry team as described in Article IV, Section 1, D.
Selection and Term of Office
Members of standing ministry teams may be appointed by the pastor and/or elders, or be enlisted by others who have been given that authority by the pastor and elders and do so under their supervision. The term of office for standing ministry team members will be two years with two members rotating off each year. Multiple terms may be served with mutual consent of team members and elder body
SECTION 3. LEADERSHIP TEAM (Mark 6:30-31)
A. Purpose and Function
The Leadership Team will serve to provide a forum in which the various ministry teams can brainstorm, coordinate activities and events, share resources, and generally work together to enhance the overall effectiveness of the church’s ministries. It will be responsible for setting the church calendar and holding all ministry teams accountable to the church’s mission statement, values and constitution.
The Leadership Team will consist of the pastor, the elders, the lay pastors, team leaders and staff.
The Leadership Team will meet as often as necessary to effectively coordinate the activities and events of the church to ensure cooperation between teams, to give reports on finance and other church issues, as well as reports of various ministries in the church. The leadership team is not a decision-making body unless empowered by the elders for specific issues not covered by other teams. All regularly scheduled leadership meetings are open.
MCCC COWBOY CHURCH CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
Revised Oct.17, 2021
Under the guidance and leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the members of Montague County Cowboy Church adopt the following constitution in order to declare and preserve the principles of our faith, the freedom of our church, and the rights and responsibilities of our individual members.
ARTICLE I NAME
The name of this church is Montague County Cowboy Church and incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas.
ARTICLE II PURPOSE
(The church is organized exclusively for the advancement of religious purposes under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Service Code. The Church will fulfill the following Mission Purpose Statement. The church is to be a fellowship of baptized believers brought together to carry out the work of Jesus Christ. It is organized and maintained to fulfill the following Mission Purpose Statement: The mission of the Church is to reach the lost and unchurched people in the cowboy culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and provide a church home where they can become more like Him. The church will accomplish this mission by holding to these values: simplicity, a non-judgmental approach, and practice of biblical Christianity, empowerment of members with accountability and the elimination of barriers to the cowboy culture.
ARTICLE III DOCTRINE
I. The Scriptures
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
A. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
B. God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord.
C. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration, He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.
A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior. B. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God. C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
V. God’s Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.
All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
VI. 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. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Ref: Baptist Faith and Message
ARTICLE IV. POLITY AND RELATIONSHIP
Jesus Christ is the head of the church; the true source of all that the church is and does, and His glory is to be the objective of every act, function, and motive of the body, both individually and corporately. It is before Him that all other leadership must bow. He communicates his will for the church through His word, the Bible. He gives additional guidance by means of the specific leading of the Holy Spirit who indwells the heart of each believer. He calls forth elders in accordance with Acts 14:23 for the church to whom He gives responsibility for the oversight of the church body and the shepherding of its members. Persons meeting the membership requirements and making a written request for membership shall constitute the membership. As an autonomous local church, this church is not subject to the control of any ecclesiastical body.
ARTICLE V. ORDINANCES
SECTION I. BAPTISM (John 3:13-17, I Peter 3:21, Romans 6:4)
A baptized believer is one who has been scripturally immersed and understands baptism to be a symbol of the salvation which has already been accepted in their life by the grace of God through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ.
SECTION II. THE LORD’S SUPPER (Luke 22:17-20, I Corinthians 26)
The church will observe the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis as led by the Pastor and Elders.
This observance is open to anyone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior and is seeking His righteousness.
ARTICLE VI. AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended by consensus of the elder body after being presented to The Leadership Teams for discussion and a nonbinding vote of affirmation by the congregation. In the absence of an elder body this Constitution may be amended by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the active resident members present at a church conference called for that purpose.
ARTICLE VII. DISSOLUTION
Upon dissolution of the cowboy church organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or a state or local government, for public purpose.