Function & Structure
Function & Structure
MONTAGUE COUNTY COWBOY CHURCH
OF COWBOY CHURCHES
Function & Structure
What is Cowboy church?
This is an overview of the Cowboy church model used by the Texas Fellowship of Cowboy Churches.
Mission- To reach the lost in the western/cowboy culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ and provide a church home where they can become more like Christ.
This is a narrowly defined mission to reach a people group that has not been reached in large numbers by the traditional church. The mission is narrow by design and without its tight focus we will not reach these people in large numbers.
Culture- Who is in the western culture?
1. Working Cowboys- makes all or part of their living horseback, they represent a small part of this population and they may be the hardest to reach.
2. Professional Rodeo Cowboys make all or a part of their living on the rodeo circuit and again are very few in number.
3. Arena Cowboys & Cowgirls- makes his or her living somewhere other than the ranch or rodeo but they love arena activities such as team roping, barrel racing, team penning, ranch rodeo, sorting, cutting, play day etc.
4. Cattle people- these may be large ranchers with hundreds or thousands of head or people who own a few cows or even one FFA steer. They may or may not use horses.
5. Horse people- these people love horses, they may trail ride, western pleasure, show horses, raise horses, race horses or just have a few nags in the pasture and they may or may not care anything about a cow.
6. Cowboys at heart- people who just love the cowboy and what he stands for. They wear boots, jeans and a cowboy hat, they listen to country music, have all of John Wayne’s movies on DVD and Capt. Augustus McCrae and Capt. Woodrow F. Call are their heroes.
7. Cowboy mentality people- these folks may be linked to the culture through their past, parents or family, they are people who live by a code, your word is your bond, a honest days word for an honest days pay, they may be electricians, carpenters, law enforcement officers, firefighters, business men, working folks, country folks, people who love the land, farmers, hunters fishermen.
The further you go down this list a larger number of these folks are in the population. These are the people God has called us to reach that traditional churches have failed to reach in large numbers
Focus- How do you reach this culture?
If you focus at the top of the list and you won’t leave anyone behind. The working cowboy may be the hardest to reach but if you can do church in a way that he will come, then you will reach everyone else on the list. If you can reach those that are die hard in the culture, they will draw others like themselves and they will draw those who admire their lifestyle. Again it is using the culture as a tool to reach more people for Jesus.
Even though there are more people at the bottom of this list, if you focus on those at the bottom, your cowboy church will look less and less like a cowboy church over time. No doubt all cowboy churches are different and will have a different mix of people within the western culture but if God called you to reach cowboys you will need some in your church to keep it focused on the culture.
Approach- How is Cowboy church different from traditional church?
Unlike most traditional churches where the focus is inward on Christians where the church provides a safe haven from the world where people with the same values and beliefs can grow to be more like Christ, the Cowboy churches focus is outward and actually does church for the lost and unchurched.
The goal of cowboy church is to do church in such a way that a lost cowboy can be comfortable enough to sit there long enough to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ while those around him are worshiping God. It is a non-judgmental approach that does not beat people down for what they have done or what they are, but provides hope and forgiveness, accepting people just as they are, in their sin, just as Jesus did. This means that you may have to rub elbows with people who do not believe like you or have the same values as you. That is why this church will not suit everyone.
Cowboy Church Structure- How is the structure of Cowboy church different?
The structure of the cowboy church is very different from the traditional Baptist church structure. The cowboy church uses the Elder Role Structure which includes Elders, Lay Pastors, Team Leaders and team members and revolves around three basic principles, lay empowerment with accountability, cultural relevance and pastoral care in small groups.
Building and grounds
The building needs to been relevant to the culture, a barn, an expo center, an open metal building with concrete floors with a rustic look. Building should be as open as possible with plenty of space and access to the outside. Parking should be large enough to accommodate trucks with stock trailers. If possible the church needs enough land for an arena, if not one that is relatively close in the community should be used for an arena ministry.
The music needs to be relevant to the western culture, country gospel, and bluegrass or cowboy music. Things to avoid when trying to reach lost unchurched cowboys are; southern gospel, traditional church piano, organ, choirs and praise music. Ninety percent of the cars and trucks in your parking lot will be tuned to country music radio stations, use what they already like to reach them for Jesus. If the base of your worship music is a band that is culturally relevant then you can certainly incorporate traditional hymns, an occasional contemporary solo or praise song. Just don’t let the latter dominate your worship service or your focus will become more like the traditional church where you are doing church for the churched and not the unchurched. If you use methods that are relevant to traditional church culture people then that is who you will reach.
Testimony needs to be a major part of the cowboy church worship experience. When a common man or woman from the congregation gets up and shares 5 to 7 minutes of what God has done for them it can be one of the most powerful tools the Lord has to reach others for Christ. Testimonies should be timed to avoid them hijacking the service, sometimes people can get on a roll and forget time or get sidetracked. It is good to let the person giving their testimony know where a timekeeper is sitting so they can wave a hat after 5 minutes. The pastor needs to have a good idea what the person is going to say before they get up in front of the congregation.
A cowboy church message needs to be relevant to the scriptures first off but also relevant to the culture. It needs to be spoken in easy to understand language and relate to everyday living. Using a bible translation written in modern English such as NIV can be less intimidating to unbelievers and new Christians.
Keep it short! A couple of hymns played in country tones, a few songs from the band, a testimony from someone in the congregation, a special song and a twenty minute message spoken in easy to understand cowboy language by a cowboy pastor and your done in an hour. If you do this they won’t leave the parking lot for an hour after church and it won’t be long before you will need a bigger building.
Elders should model what it means to be Christ like. Elders are an example for the congregation of how to live a Christian life, this includes how to relate to other Christians, how to relate to non-believers, how to be a godly husband and father, how to handle conflict and crisis and how to have an active personal relationship with Jesus.
Brotherhood of Support for the Pastor
Elders must be committed to the Pastor. Elders act as a buffer between the Pastor and his critics; they also are an accountability group for the pastor, prayer partners for the pastor and friends of the pastor. Elders should meet with the pastor on a consistent regular basis for consultation, prayer and fellowship.
Limited Decision Making Body
The only time when the elders become a decision making body is when called on by the Pastor, when a ministry team cannot reach consensus on an issue or fails to carry out its mission or in matters of church discipline.
Limited Visible Involvement
The elders have a more “behind the scenes role”, as opposed to the Lay Pastors who have “up front” roles that are highly visible to the congregation. Elders typically do not have ongoing roles in the worship service and are not overly involved in the various ministry teams. Elders are not an oversight body for the finances, personnel or pastor. They can be enlisted by the pastor, personnel team or the audit team if it is deemed necessary by any of these.
All discussions between the elders are strictly confidential; this includes not discussing elder issues with the spouses of elders or other church members. Breaking confidentiality is grounds for removal. Elders do not meet without all the elders present including the pastor if this is possible and absolutely never meet to discuss problems about the pastor or another elder without them present. The Pastor-Elder and Elder-Elder relationships must be 100% transparent.
Common Myths about the Elder role
Myth #1 Elders rule the church.
Many times new elders believe it is their job to run the church and its business. The elders are not a decision making body unless it is a matter regarding church discipline, the functional structure breaks down or they are enlisted by the pastor for specific decisions he would like help making.
Myth #2 It is the elders duty to make sure the pastor is doing his job.
The elders are not the pastor’s bosses. While the elders are an accountability group for the pastor and should help him recognize potential areas of weakness they are not to sit in judgment of the pastor. This can be a problem when new pastors come into an already existing Cowboy church.
Myth #3 The elders are there to listen to complaints from the congregation about the pastor and then relay them to the pastor.
This is where Satan can put a wedge between elders and the pastor. Elders should never listen to criticism about the pastor from church members without the pastor being present for the conversation, to do so is unbiblical. (See Mathew 18:15-18). This can apply to complaints in general about the church. Elders should direct concerned members either to the person they have the problem with or the ministry team they have the problem with or the leadership team.
Myth #4 The elders need to be involved in everything that is going on.
The elders are more “behind the scenes men”. The lay pastors have the more visible up front roles in the church.
Lay Pastor Role
Extensions of the Pastor
Lay Pastors serve at the Pastor’s good pleasure. They are appointed and replaced by the Pastor at his discretion. Lay pastors take the place of paid staff in the traditional church.
Lay Pastors can expect to be attached to one or more ministry teams. Lay Pastors do not run or lead the teams, each team has its own team leader, they resource the team and act as a liaison between the team and the pastor.
Active Roles in Worship
Lay Pastors can expect to 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.
Qualifications of Lay Pastor
Lay pastors should be growing in the Lord and have an active daily relationship with Jesus, however, they do not have to be bible scholars or the most spiritually mature, however, they should not be recent converts. In the cowboy culture, good, solid, highly motivated, dependable, still growing in the Lord, men can still be rough around the edges! While divorce is not grounds for disqualification, Lay pastors should have a stable home life and be respected by others in the culture and the community and not engage in activities that would bring reproach to the Lord or the church.
Role of the Leadership Team
The leadership team consists of: pastor, elders, lay pastors, staff and ministry team leaders.
The leadership team typically meets once a month in an open meeting. In this meeting the various teams give a report on their activities and what they are planning to do in the future. The calendar for the up coming month or months is put together at this meeting. Any activity that is church sponsored should be presented at the leadership team meeting in order to be placed on the calendar. While the various ministry teams make their own decisions about what they do within their budget, all major decisions should be brought before the leadership team before being implemented. This helps keep the leadership informed about everything that is going on in the church.
The leadership team meeting should be open and the congregation should be encouraged to attend and participate in open discussions. The leadership team can have special called meetings that are closed only if called by the pastor and or elders and should not take the place of the regular leadership team meeting that is open.
Role of Ministry Teams
The various ministry teams such as, children, youth, arena, fellowship, adult bible study, singles, etc, carry on the work of the church. Many of these teams will have their own budget and are responsible to work within their budget.
New churches may only start out with a children’s ministry, fellowship and arena team; as a church grows in number and needs teams can be added. Do not have a team for the sake of having a team. Any team that does not have enough people to make it function properly should be eliminated until it can function and serve a purpose.
Teams have a team leader. This person should be motivated and able to motivate others, have a passion for the team’s purpose and work well with others. While the team leader is responsible for planning and facilitating the team’s meetings, the leader is not ultimately responsible to carry out the team’s purpose. It is a team effort. The team leader is a part of the church leadership team and may be expected to work with a particular lay pastor or other team leaders.
Teams typically have around 7 members, no less than 5, no more than 10. This insures enough people to function but also makes it easier to work together and reach consensus.
Teams never vote. Teams work together until they reach consensus or they table whatever they are planning until they can reach consensus. If a team must make a decision about something and cannot reach consensus then the elders must be brought in and make the decision for the team.
Some ministry teams will have their own budget line. The team will make a budget request to the Audit or Finance Team for the annual budget. The ministry team should be prepared to make a case for their request and justify the budget they have requested. 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 need to hold firmly to the Mission Statement of the church and filter everything they do through this mission statement and each team should have its own Purpose Statement to help guide its direction.
Role of the Audit or Finance Team
The audit team is typically made up of no less than 3 members no more than 7. 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.
The only decision making authority the audit or finance team has applies to the budget. It is this 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 should take into account projected church income based on history and realistic growth potential, church mission statement, church needs and priorities. This role should be taken seriously with prayer, not every team will get all they ask for but it is the audit or finance team’s job to present a fair and balanced budget to the church for a vote. A sample budget should be presented at a monthly leadership team meeting before a vote is scheduled where church members and teams can review and discuss the proposed budget before a vote is taken.
The audit team is responsible for enlisting money counters and check signers and also monitors the various ministry teams and how they are operating within their budgets.
The audit team will give a financial report each month at the monthly leadership team meeting.
Any problems that the audit team finds with the finances should be taken immediately to the pastor and elders; this includes issues with the financial secretary, discrepancy in reports, budget concerns or any other area of financial concern.
The audit or finance team may be called on by the leadership team to come up with some policies related to finances.
PASTORAL CARE IN SMALL GROUPS
One of the barriers to reaching the western culture is the traditional Sunday school model of small group bible study. This requires people to commit an entire morning to church on Sunday which may conflict with the tending of livestock or other culturally related things.
It is not enough to just reach these people for salvation and not provide discipleship training for them. A small group ministry can fill several needs of the young and growing Christian cowboy or cowgirl.
Not only can a small group ministry provide a place for bible study it can also provide a small support and accountability group for Christians. People tend to be more open in intimate small group settings and will develop more deep and meaningful relationships with others as they grow together.
A small group ministry will take a tremendous load off of the pastor as members of the congregation get many of their spiritual and emotional needs met in small groups.
Small Group Ministry Model 1
Location: In home
Number in group: 4-10 adults
Frequency: Once a week
Duration: 3-4 weeks
Length of meeting: 1 hour-1 ¼ hour
Meeting structure: Equal division of time between fellowship, prayer and bible study
Material: Structured study, topical study (marriage, faith, etc.), book study (James, Romans etc.)
Format: Host family provides a place to meet, the group leader acts as facilitator, not teacher, growth occurs as the group interacts with one another.
The group leader will signal times to move from fellowship to prayer from prayer to bible study and guide the study to help keep it on topic and relevant.
Children: If children are present someone from the group should provide supervision and structure to their time to keep them from disrupting the group. Effort should be made to make this a fun time for the children. This duty can be shared and rotated.
Important points: Group leader: Should have adequate depth of knowledge of scripture to regulate discussion, should not dominate the study time by talking or teaching and should gently encourage participation without requiring it.
Duration: The study should have a set ending date before excitement and participation goes down. A short duration will encourage more people to join because the time commitment is low. Three to four weeks, once a week is recommended.
Length of Meeting: Set in stone ending time, set a timer! People live busy lives; they have work, children to put to bed and other responsibilities. They need to be able to plan their evening. If there is not set ending time group participation will suffer in the long run.
Small Group Ministry Model 2
Location: In home or other location (church classroom, work office etc.)
Number in group: 4-10 adults
Frequency: Once a week
Duration: 6-8 weeks or prescribed length
Length of meeting: 1 hour
Meeting structure: Bible study
Material:Prepared structured study with workbooks, videos (Saddleback small group series, Fresh Start w/God etc.)
Format:Group leader will administer the study according to the study guidelines. Other guidelines should be followed as outlined in small group ministry Model 1.
**It is understood that each Cowboy Church is autonomous and will develop this outlined model to meet specific geographic and ministry needs. However, history shows that this basic model outline works and needs to be followed to effectively reach the western heritage culture that God has called us to.
MONTAGUE COUNTY COWBOY CHURCH BYLAWS
ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. ESTABLISHING MEMBERSHIP
Membership in the Montague Cowboy Church is open to anyone who meets the following qualifications:
A. A personal commitment of faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
B. Scriptural baptism (by immersion) after faith in Christ as a testimony of salvation.
Membership may be established in the following ways:
Candidates who are members in good standing of another church of like faith and order may petition the Cowboy Church to acquire a letter of membership from their previous church.
Candidates who have previously been members of another church of like faith and order, but are unable to obtain a letter of membership from said church, may join by affirming that they are Scripturally baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, holding to the historic teachings of Christianity, and desiring membership in the Cowboy Church.
Candidates accepting Christ as their Savior and requesting Christian baptism by immersion will be accepted as members upon baptism.
All candidates for membership shall give a verbal testimony of their conversion, baptism, and walk with Christ to a pastor or elder.
SECTION 2. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
A person’s membership in the Montague County Cowboy Church may be terminated in one of the following ways:
A letter of dismissal for any member in good standing shall be granted to any church of like faith and order upon request from said church.
If a member conducts himself in a manner which brings the name of Christ and the church into disrepute, 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. If the member fails to respond positively to these attempts, exclusion will require a majority vote of the active resident membership present and voting at a called church conference.
If a member requests erasure or offers proof of membership in a church of another denomination, his/her name will be removed from the roll.
SECTION 3. RIGHTS OF MEMBER
Each active resident member present, 16 years of age and older, shall be entitled to one (1) vote on each matter submitted for a vote at any called church conference. An active resident member is one who lives in or around the Montague area and has attended the church’s regular worship services at least 6 times in the past 90 days. The right of a member to vote shall cease upon the termination of his/her membership in the church.
ARTICLE II. MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP
SECTION 1. PASTOR
Upon the pastor’s termination, a church conference will be called and the church will elect a pastor search team. This team will consist of no fewer than three and no more than five members. This team will seek out and evaluate prospective pastoral candidates until they achieve complete consensus on a single candidate. This process will include hearing the candidate preach, obtaining candidate’s agreement on the doctrinal statement, by laws and purpose of the church; and the candidate being willing to attend a minimum of two Texas Fellowship of Cowboy Churches’ church planting schools. They will then report to the elders who will set a time and date for the candidate to be received by the church. On that date, a church conference shall be called and after a full discussion, a vote will be taken. A majority vote of the active resident church members present and voting is required to extend a call. If a call is not extended by the church to the candidate, or if the candidate declines to accept, then the pastor search team will begin a new search and come before the church with a second recommendation. This method will proceed until a pastor is secured.
The pastor shall be the spiritual leader of the congregation. In that capacity, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, he shall preach and teach the Word of God, lead the church in regular worship services, administer the ordinances of the church, serve as moderator at church
conferences, provide leadership to the ministerial staff, serve as over all administrator of the church, and generally fulfill all his pastoral duties as set forth in Scripture.
The pastor’s duties with the church may be terminated by resignation, death, or dismissal. Such dismissal will require a majority vote of the active resident members present and voting at a called church conference. The moderator for such a meeting will be a disinterested third party appointed by the elders.
SECTION 2. PROFESSIONAL MINISTERIAL STAFF
Professional ministerial staff sufficient for fulfilling the church’s mission will be employed by the church. Such ministerial staff will be employed upon consensus of the Personnel team, pastor and elders.
Professional ministerial staff persons will have specific and written job descriptions as outlined by the pastor and Personnel Team.
The service of professional staff persons may be terminated by resignation, death, or consensus of the Personnel team, pastor and elders.
SECTION 3. LAY PASTORS
A. Purpose and Function
Lay pastors shall serve as an extension of the ministry of the senior pastor and in that capacity may serve as ex-officio members of teams, administer the ordinances of the church, assist in leading worship, and generally perform any other ministerial function of the senior pastor with his approval or at his request.
Since lay pastors represent the ministry of the senior pastor, they must be men beyond reproach, with a stable home life and a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Lay pastors shall be appointed as needed by the senior pastor.
Each lay pastor will have specific responsibilities as assigned by the senior pastor.
E. Term of Office
Lay pastors will be appointed to a one year term, but may serve multiple terms by mutual consent of the senior pastor, the elders, and the lay pastor involved.
A Lay pastor may be removed before their term of office expires by death, resignation, or by request of the senior pastor.
SECTION 4. ELDERS
A. Purpose and Function
Elders shall serve to provide spiritual leadership and accountability to the church 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 three elected elders plus the pastor, who is the lead elder.
Because elders may be called on to handle the weightiest matters of the church, they should above all be men filled with wisdom, love, and the Holy Spirit. All elders must meet the Biblical qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The senior pastor shall be the lead elder.
C. Selection and Term of Office
1. Once per year, the church will be asked to submit in writing the names of men to serve as elders. These names will be screened by the pastor and existing elders to ensure that the nominees meet the qualifications set forth above. If it is determined that a nominee is qualified, he will be interviewed by the pastor and existing elders and upon consensus be appointed church elder. However, if the elders, the pastor, or the nominee determine that he is not qualified, then he will not be a candidate.
An elder may not serve more than three consecutive terms.
Any member of the church may bring a written Scriptural reason for removal of an elder. Elders may be removed from office by their own decision or by consensus decision of the other elders (including the pastor). Removal shall be based upon being spiritually unqualified or the inability to serve.
Elder vacancies can occur by death, resignation, or removal. When a vacancy occurs, the existing elders (including the pastor) may select an interim to fill the vacancy until the next election.
ARTICLE III. SUPPORT STAFF
The pastor and Personnel Team will employ and terminate other employees as necessary for the efficient conduct of the business of the church.
ARTICLE IV. MINISTRY TEAMS
SECTION 1. GENERAL MINISTRY TEAMS
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.
Ministry teams will be made up of 4 – 10 people (typically) organized to carry out a necessary ministry or function of the church. Each team member will have individual functions and responsibilities as assigned by the team. A staff member or lay pastor will be assigned to each team to offer assistance and serve as a liaison between the team and the senior pastor and elders. One member of the team shall be designated by the lay pastor or staff member to be team leader and will be responsible for ensuring that the team functions properly. Teams will function by consensus, not majority vote. This means that teams must arrive at decisions that can be supported by each member of the team. If consensus cannot be reached, the matter shall either be tabled or placed before the pastor and elders for a final decision.
Team members must love the Lord and have a desire to see His kingdom grow; have credibility in the church, have a passion for the mission of the team, be determined to make the team a priority in their lives (this means that they are willing to rearrange their daily schedules to participate in team meetings and activities), and desire to use their talents and abilities to accomplish the team’s mission. In addition, the Team Leader must also be a member of the church in good standing.
D. Formation of Teams
General Ministry teams may be formed as needed by the pastor and/or elders, by the Leadership Team, or by any lay pastor, ministry team leader, or church member with the pastor’s approval.
E. Selection and Term of Office
Members of general ministry teams may be appointed by the pastor and/or elders, or be enlisted by a lay pastor or ministry team leader. Ordinarily members will be enlisted by the team leader or lay pastor directly responsible for the team. The term of office for general ministry team members will be one year, but members may serve multiple terms by mutual consent of the pastor, team leader, lay pastor, and team member involved.
If a team member causes conflict, fails to carry out his or her responsibility to the team, or otherwise hampers the work of the team, every effort should be made by the team leader and assigned staff person to rectify the issue in a positive redemptive manner. However, if the problem persists, a team member may be removed by the pastor or by consensus decision of the other team members.
SECTION 2. STANDING MINISTRY TEAMS
A. Purpose and function
Standing ministry teams shall provide oversight of the church’s regular ministry affairs and assist in finding and providing the tangible resources necessary to effectively carry out the church’s ministries.
Standing ministry teams shall be composed of 4 – 10 (typically) members serving a one year term. A staff member or lay pastor will be assigned to each team to offer assistance and serve as a liaison between the team and the senior pastor and elders. Each year, one member of the team shall be designated by the lay pastor or staff member to be team leader and will be responsible for ensuring that the team functions properly. Teams will function by consensus, not majority vote.
This means that teams must arrive at decisions that can be supported by each member of the team. If consensus cannot be reached, the matter shall either be tabled or placed before the pastor and elders for a final decision.
Qualifications for standing ministry team members will be the same as those of general ministry team members. (Article IV., Section 1.)
D. Standing Teams
The standing teams of the church shall be:
1. Personnel Team
The Personnel Team will be responsible to ensure that the church has adequate support staff to effectively carry out its ministries. They will, in conjunction with the pastor, fill staff vacancies as needed or as directed by the church and make salary recommendations.
2. Facility Team
The Facility Team will be 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 and grounds except the arena. They will also assist the pastor and elders with long range planning which will ensure that the church has adequate facilities to meet future needs.
3. Audit Team
The Audit Team will be responsible to ensure that the church has adequate financial resources to effectively carry out its ministries. They shall work cooperatively with the pastor, elders, lay pastors, professional staff, and team leaders to find maximum resources for meeting each ministry need. They shall also be responsible for the preparation of the annual budget, for the accounting of all financial records, and for assisting the pastor and elders with long term planning which will ensure that the church has financial resources to meet future ministry needs.
4. Arena Team
The Arena Team will be responsible for providing the tools, resources, and personnel necessary for the church to effectively carry out its arena ministry. They 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, and minister to, the cowboy/western culture for Christ.
E. Selection and Term of Office
Members of standing ministry teams may be appointed by the pastor and/or elders, or be enlisted by a lay pastor or ministry team leader. Ordinarily members will be enlisted by the team leader or lay pastor directly responsible for the team. The term of office for standing ministry team members will be one year, but members may serve multiple terms by mutual consent of the pastor, team leader, lay pastor, and team member involved.
If a standing team member causes conflict, fails to carry out his or her responsibility to the team, or otherwise hampers the work of the team, every effort should be made by the team leader and assigned staff person or lay pastor to rectify the issue in a positive redemptive manner. However, if the problem persists, a team member may be removed by the pastor and/or elders, or by consensus decision of the other team members.
SECTION 3. LEADERSHIP TEAM
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.
The Leadership Team will consist of the team leaders from each ministry team, the pastor, the elders, the lay pastors, and staff. In addition, its meetings will generally be open to the participation and input of the entire church membership. Leadership team meetings shall be moderated by the senior pastor or a person whom the senior pastor will designate.
The Leadership Team will meet as often as necessary to effectively plan and coordinate the activities and events of the church.
ARTICLE V. CHURCH BUSINESS
A. Fiscal year
The fiscal year of the church will be on a calendar year basis beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31 of each year.
B. Accounting Procedures
A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the Audit Team.
The Audit Team, in consultation with the pastor and ministry team leaders, shall prepare and submit a budget for congregational approval prior to the beginning of each fiscal year.
B. Checks, Drafts, Etc.
All checks, drafts or orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the church shall be signed by at least two people who have been designated by the Audit Team for that purpose.
All funds of the church shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the church in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as determined by the pastor, elders, and Audit Team.
SECTION 2. CHURCH CONFERENCES
A. Church Conferences
Church conferences may be called by the pastor, elders or by written petition of 25% of the active resident members and presented to the elders. An active resident member is one who lives in or around the Montague area and has attended the church’s regular worship services at least 6 times in the 90 days preceding the circulation of the petition.
Notices of the time and place of all church conferences shall be given not later than the Sunday prior to such meetings by publication in the church newsletter or worship program, or by public announcement at a regular Sunday morning worship service.
C. Place of Church Conferences
All church conferences shall be held on the premises of the church.
The church members present at any duly called church conference shall constitute a quorum.
Voting by proxy at any church conference shall not be allowed or recognized.
F. Will of the Church
All Ministry Teams, officers, and organizations of the church shall carry out the will of the church on any given matter, duly expressed by its vote.
G. Conduct of Church Business
All business of the church shall be conducted in a manner that honors Christ and respects others. The church shall strive to seek the will of God by prayerful deliberation and common consensus.
SECTION 3. CONTRACTS
The Elders shall execute and deliver any contract or instrument in the name of the church which may be authorized by the church to be so executed and delivered. In this connection, the church body as a whole shall be the ultimate authority for all actions taken by the church and no other person, organization or church officer shall have any authority to contract or otherwise bind the church without express authorization from the church body.
SECTION 4. BOOKS AND RECORDS
The church shall keep and maintain a complete and accurate record of all financial accounts, membership lists, and church conference minutes at its principle office. All books and records of the church may be inspected by any active resident member, or his/her agent or attorney, for any purpose with two weeks prior notice.
SECTION 5. PROHIBITION AGAINST SHARING IN CHURCH EARNINGS
No member, officer, or person connected with the church, or any other private individual shall receive at any time any of the net earnings of pecuniary profit from the operations of the church, provided that this shall not prevent the payment to any such person of a reasonable compensation for services rendered to or for the church in effecting any of its purposes as shall be fixed by the church; and no such person or persons shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the church assets upon the dissolution of the church.
All members of the church shall be deemed to have expressly consented and agreed that upon such dissolution or winding up of the affairs of the church, whether voluntary or involuntary, the assets of the church, after all debts have been satisfied, then remaining in the hands of the officers of the church shall be distributed, transferred, conveyed, delivered, and paid over, in such amounts as the church may determine or as may be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction upon application of the church, exclusively to charitable, religious, or educational organizations which would then qualify under the provisions of Section 501 (C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.
SECTION 6. EXEMPT ACTIVITIES
Notwithstanding any other provision of these by-laws, no member, officer, or representative of the church shall take any action or carry on any activity by or on behalf of the church not permitted to be taken or carried on by any organization exempt under Section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended, or by any organization contributions to which are deductible under Section 170 (C)(2) of such code and regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS
These Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the active resident members present at a church conference called for that purpose. Amendments may be proposed by the pastor, elders or by written petition of 25% of the active resident membership and presented to the elders. Proposed amendments for church consideration shall be announced in a regularly scheduled service at least 2 weeks prior to a church conference.
MONTAGUE COUNTY COWBOY CHURCH CONSTITUTION
Under the guidance and leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, we the members of the 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, located at 1600 FM 455 Montague, Texas is the Montague County Cowboy Church.
ARTICLE II. PURPOSE
Montague County Cowboy Church exists to glorify God by bringing the presence of Christ to the Western Heritage individual and family while providing a culturally relevant atmosphere for spiritual growth and service and to resource the Cowboy Church planting movement. The church will accomplish this mission by holding to these values:
Simplicity- The church will strive to keep all things it does as simple as possible.
Non-judgmental approach- The church will foster a non-judgmental atmosphere in all it does, accepting people just as they are, just as Christ Himself does.
Cultural relevance/Western Heritage- The church will make sure that all it does, including all of its programming and ministries will be geared toward reaching people in the western culture and those who love it.
Practice of Biblical Christianity- The church will practice biblical Christianity according to Matthew 18: 15-17. This will be practiced by the leadership and the congregation.
Elimination of barriers to the cowboy culture- The church will do all that it can to lower or eliminate the barriers preventing the Gospel of Jesus Christ from reaching the western culture.
Empowerment with Accountability- The church will strive to empower as many people as it can to serve Christ through the church and bring out the giftedness in them while holding them accountable for their actions and commitments.
Power of the Gospel- The church believes in the power of the gospel unto salvation of souls and healing of body, mind and spirit.
ARTICLE III. DOCTRINE
This church affirms the Holy Bible, the inspired word of God, as the authority in all matters of faith and practice.
SECTION I. STATEMENT OF FAITH
A. The Holy Scriptures.
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed and therefore, are the final authority for faith and life. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the pastor. (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21)
B. The Godhead.
We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 14:10, 26; II Cor. 13:14)
C. The Person and Work of Christ.
1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men, (Isa. 7:14, 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; II Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8)
2. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; I Peter 1:3-5, 2:24)
3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. (Acts 1:9-10; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25, 9:24; I John 2:1-2)
D. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.
1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Person Who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; I Cor. 12:12-14; II Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14)
2. We believe that He is the divine Teacher Who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 1:17-18, 5:18; I John 2:20, 27)
3. We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer. God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry. (Rom. 12:3-8; I Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12)
E. The Total Depravity of Man.
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his spiritually lost condition. (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23, 5:12, 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3, 4:17-19)
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7, 2:8-10; I Peter 1:18-19; I John 1:9)
G. The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers.
1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and thus secure in Christ forever. (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1, 38-39; I Cor. 1:4-8; I Peter 1:4-5)
2. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh and sin. (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)
H. The Church
1. We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons. (I Cor. 12:12-14; II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23, 5:25-27)
2. We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27, 20:17, 28-32; I Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
3. We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; I Cor. 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 13; I Peter 5:1-4)
4. We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age. (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:18; I Cor. 11:23-26)
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord. (Rom. 12:1-2, 14:13; I Cor. 6:19-20; II Cor. 6:14-7:1; II Tim. 3:1-5; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11)
J. The Second Advent of Christ.
We believe in that blessed hope, the personal, imminent return of Christ, Who will rapture His church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom which was promised to the nation of Israel. (Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; I Thess. 1:10, 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6)
K. The Eternal State.
1. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13)
2. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23, 3:21; I Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6)
3. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. (Matt. 25:41-46, Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; II Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15)
L. The Personality of Satan.
We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11, 25:41; Rev. 20:10)
We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)
N. Civil Government.
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Rom. 13:1-7, Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; I Peter 2:13-14)
O. Human Sexuality.
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a
marriage between one man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism,
bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s
gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by
surgery or appearance. (Gen. 2:24, 19:5, 13, 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1:26-29; I Cor. 5:1, 6:9; I
Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
2. We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:24;
Rom. 7:2; I Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)
P. Family Relationships
1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; I Tim. 2:8-15, 3:4-5, 12)
2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are a heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; I Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33, 6:1-4; Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7)
Q. Divorce and Remarriage.
We believe that God disapproves of divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. However, divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being.
(Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5, 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24, 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5, 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10, 17-21, 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; II Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I John 3:17-18)
T. Lawsuits Between Believers.
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander. (I Cor. 6:1-8, Eph. 4:31-32)
We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; II Cor. 5:20)
We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him/her, is obligated to financially support his/her local church. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving and that every Christian should give cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of his tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; I Tim. 5:17-18; I John 3:17)
SECTION II. AUTHORITY OF STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members.
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. The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose its membership and leadership. Persons meeting the membership requirements shall constitute the membership. All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall exist to further the purpose of the church. They will be accountable to the church. As an autonomous local church, this church is not subject to the control of any ecclesiastical body. However, it relates to and cooperates with the Wichita, Archer, Clay Baptist Association, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and other entities of like faith in sharing the Gospel with the whole world.
ARTICLE V. ORDINANCES
SECTION I. BAPTISM
A church is understood to be a fellowship of baptized believers brought together to carry out the work of Jesus Christ. A baptized believer is one who has been scripturally baptized and understands baptism to be a symbol of the salvation which has already been accepted in their life by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Montague County Cowboy Church practices baptism by immersion.
SECTION II. THE LORD’S SUPPER
The church will observe the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis as led by the Pastor. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act whereby the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of Christ and anticipate His second coming.
ARTICLE VI. AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be amended by a majority vote of the active resident members present at a church conference called for that purpose. An active resident member is one who lives in or around the Montague area and has attended the church’s regular worship services at least 6 times in the past 90 days. Amendments may be proposed by the pastor, elders or by written petition of 25% of the active resident membership and presented to the elders. Proposed amendments for church consideration shall be announced in a regularly scheduled service at least 2 weeks prior to a church conference.