The Constitution & By-Laws of LifeBridge Community Lutheran Church
God requires that a Christian congregation shall conform to His divine Word in doctrine and practice (Psalms 119:105; Matthew 28:18-20; Galatians 1:6-8; II Timothy 4:1-5) and that all things be done decently and in order (I Corinthians 14:40); therefore, we the members of LifeBridge Community Church accept and subscribe to the following Constitution and Bylaws, in accordance with which all spiritual and material affairs of our Congregation shall be governed.
Article I. Name
The name of this Congregation shall be LifeBridge Community Lutheran Church, hereinafter referred to as the “Congregation.”
Article II. Mission
The purpose of this Congregation shall be: Connecting people to Jesus by reaching the lost, discipling the saved, and sharing the love of God with everyone.
Article III. Confession of Faith
A. This Congregation acknowledges and accepts all the Canonical Books of the Old and the New Testament as the revealed and inerrant Word of God, verbally inspired, and submits to them as the only infallible authority in all matters of faith.
B. This Congregation acknowledges and accepts all the confessional writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580, as true and genuine expositions of the doctrines of the Bible. These confessional writings include the three Ecumenical Creeds (The Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian), The Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, Luther’s Large and Small Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord.
Article IV. Synodical Affiliation
This Congregation shall be a member of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) so long as said Synod shall remain true to the confessional standard as set forth in Article III of this Constitution. In the event of a division in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Congregation will vote to determine future affiliations.
Article V. Individual Affiliation
Baptized Members shall be all persons in the Congregation who have been baptized in the name of the Triune God, whether children or adults, and who come under the pastoral care of this Congregation.
Communicant Members shall be all baptized persons in the Congregation who have received instruction on Christian doctrine, which meets with the approval of the Senior Pastor.
All Communicant Members are Voting Members and are eligible to vote at Congregational Assembly. Communicant members under 16 years of age may vote on topics not impacted by state legal requirements.
Members of the Congregation shall:
- lead a Christian life as taught in Galatians 5:19-26;
- attend worship services faithfully and regularly;
- partake of the Lord’s Supper frequently as commanded by Christ in Matthew 26:26-29;
- contribute, as God has blessed them, of their time, talents and treasure toward the maintenance of this Congregation and the extension of the Church at large (I Corinthians 16:2); and
- submit to brotherly admonition, according to Matthew 18, when having erred or offended;
- not be members of any organization conflicting with the Word of God (Matthew 10:32).
- Membership shall be terminated by transfer to another LCMS congregation, by death, by joining a congregation not affiliated with the LCMS, by whereabouts unknown, by excommunication, or by self-exclusion.
- Release from membership, for any reason, forfeits one’s claim to the property and privileges of the Congregation.
Article VI. The Offices of Pastor or Other Called Persons
A. The pastoral office of this Congregation as well as other Called positions shall be conferred only on such ministers and other Called candidates who profess and adhere to the confessional standard set forth in Article III of this Constitution and who are qualified for their work. Pastors and other Called persons shall be pledged to this confessional standard. All pastors and Called staff must be members of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
B. All Called workers shall be selected by a three-fourths vote of Voting Members at a Congregational Meeting. This right shall ever be vested in the Congregation and shall never be delegated to a smaller body or individual.
C. When a vacancy occurs in an office of an ordained or commissioned minister, the congregation shall notify the president of the district to receive assistance in temporarily filling the vacancy and to receive his counsel in calling a new pastor, teacher, or other church worker.
D. Removal from office: Any pastor or other Called worker may be removed from office by the Congregational Assembly by a three-fourths vote for one of the following reasons:
- persistent adherence to false doctrine;
- scandalous life;
- neglect of duties;
- inability to perform duties; or
- domineering in office.
Article VII. Authority of the Congregation
A. The Congregational Assembly of the Voting Membership shall decide all matters relating to the Congregation brought before it in accordance with this Constitution and the Bylaws. This Congregational Assembly is the final authority and has the sole responsibility which cannot be delegated for: amending the Constitution and Bylaws; purchase and sale of real property; approval of the annual operating budget, including incurring a substantial indebtedness and any indebtedness secured by Congregational property; approval of the Board of Directors; erection of facilities; adoption of the long range plan; and the Calling or release/removal of Pastor(s) and other Called staff.
B. All matters shall be decided by the Voters at the Congregational Assembly meeting unless otherwise specified by this Constitution or Bylaws. Matters of doctrine and conscience shall be decided only on the basis of the Word of God.
C. Right of Calling: The right of calling Pastors and Called Workers shall be vested in the Congregational Assembly and shall not be delegated to a smaller body or an individual.
Article VIII. Officers and Teams
A. This Congregation shall have a Board of Directors comprised of Elders and the Management Team.
B. The Congregational Assembly shall approve Voting Members to serve on the Board of Directors. The Congregational Assembly shall approve a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer to serve on the Management Team. The number of Elders shall be a minimum of four (4), but this number can be increased as needed by the Congregational Assembly. The Elders shall select their own chairman. The Senior Pastor serves on the Board of Directors with no voting privileges.
C. The right to elect, dismiss, and depose officers of this Congregation shall be vested in the Congregation and never be delegated to an individual.
Article IX. Elders
Elders are given responsibility and authority to see that the Congregation remains on a true course biblically and in accord with the Congregation’s Confession of Faith (Article III above), that the Congregation’s members are being well managed with the assistance of competent and Godly leaders. Elders shall care about the spiritual and physical well-being of Congregational members, regularly praying for the sick and all those in need. Elders shall guard the Congregation against harmful influences, confronting those who are contradicting biblical truth or who are continuing in patterns of sinful behavior, so that the truth of Christ will remain credible to both the Congregation and the community. Elders shall be male Voting Members of the Congregation.
Article X. The Management Team
A. The Management Team shall have the power to develop and implement those policies and procedures as required to execute the plans approved by the Congregational Assembly, in accord with the Congregation’s Confession of Faith (Article III above). The Management Team shall have no authority beyond that which has been conferred upon it by the Constitution, its Bylaws, or the Congregational Assembly. Powers delegated to the Management Team may at any time be altered or revoked by the Congregational Assembly.
B. The Management Team shall transact or supervise the transaction of all legal and general business of the Congregation (except that which is reserved for the Congregational Assembly), conduct business within the limitations of the annual financial operating plan approved by the Congregational Assembly, annually report to the Congregational Assembly on the organizational and financial condition of the Congregation, and recommend an annual financial operating plan at the annual Congregational meeting.
Article XI. Division and Property Rights
A. All property of this Congregation shall be held in the corporate name as stated in Article I. If at any time a division should take place on account of doctrine, the property of the Congregation and all benefits connected therewith shall remain with those Communicant Members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Article III of this Constitution.
B. If division takes place for any other reason, the property shall remain with the majority of the Communicant Members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Article III of this Constitution.
C. In the event the Congregation should dissolve, the remaining property and all rights connected therewith shall be transferred to designated 501(c)(3) charities as per majority vote at the final Congregational Assembly meeting.
Article XII. Congregational Assembly Meetings
A. An annual meeting of the Congregational Assembly shall be scheduled by the President during the month of October. Notice of the meeting, place, date, time and the primary agenda to be considered shall be published at least two weeks prior to the meeting date. Fifteen Voting Members present at a meeting shall constitute a quorum.
B. Special meetings of the Congregational Assembly may be called by the Senior Pastor, the President, the Elders, or the Management Team, or ten voting members, by announcing the purpose, date, time and place at least one week prior to the meeting. Only announced agenda items can be considered at special meetings of the Congregational Assembly.
Article XIII. Amendments
A. Amendments to provisions of this Constitution (except the Unalterable Articles below) may be adopted at a validly called meeting of the Congregational Assembly provided that:
- The proposed amendment has been submitted in writing at a previous meeting of the Board of Directors and a majority of those present has voted for its approval and the amendment has been published to the Voting Membership at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which the proposed amendment will be acted upon;
- An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Voters present.
- Upon adoption, such amendment shall be submitted to the Texas District LCMS Committee on Constitutions/Bylaws for approval.
B. Unalterable Articles: The content of the following Articles of this Constitution or Sections thereof shall not be altered:
- Article III. Confession of Faith;
- Article IV. Synodical Affiliation;
- Article VI. The Offices of Pastor or Other Called Persons;
- Article XIII. Section B.
Article I. Standing Task Forces and Officers
A. Nominating Task Force
The Vice-President shall annually appoint a Nominating Task Force of Voting Members whose responsibility shall be to develop a slate of Elders and Management Team members, to be approved each year to fill the vacancies created by expired terms of the Board of Directors. The Task Force shall consist of a majority of members who are not members of the Board of Directors, shall function for one year only, and shall report its nominations to the Congregational Assembly annual meeting. All nominees shall be Voting Members.
B. Approvals and Terms of Office
Members of the Board of Directors and Elders shall be approved by the Congregational Assembly. The term of office shall be for two years, with approximately one-half of each team being chosen and approved each year. Management Team and Elders shall be limited to two consecutive terms. Every term of office shall begin on the first day of the month following their election. In the event of a vacancy on either the Elders or Management Team, the Nominating Task Force shall provide the respective team with a list of candidates. Appointments to fill the unexpired terms shall be made from such list and shall be made by a majority vote of the Board of Directors. The appointed individual shall serve until the term for that particular position expires. In addition, any Voting Member may nominate a candidate for an Elder or Management Team position at the Congregational Assembly meeting with nominee’s approval.
The Board of Directors shall meet at least quarterly and may be called more frequently at the request of the Sr. Pastor or three Board Members. At the beginning of each year, a member of the Board of Directors will be elected by the board to preside over the meetings. Minutes of each meeting shall be kept and shall disclose all actions taken by the Board of Directors/Task Forces. Minutes of the meetings shall be available to Voting Members of the Congregation upon request. All copies of minutes, financial statements, insurance contracts, legal agreements, etc. will remain the property of LifeBridge Community Lutheran Church.
The presence of a majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for any Board of Directors/Team meeting. 50% of the elected board plus one vote is required to pass proposed motions.
Article II. Duties of the Officers
A. The President of the Congregation shall be the principal Officer of the Congregation, and subject to the direction and control of the Board of Directors, shall have general charge of the operational and administrative affairs of the Congregation. The President shall preside over the Congregational Assembly (in accord with Roberts Rules of Order) and the Management Team and shall sign all legal documents with the Secretary, on behalf of the Congregation.
B. The Vice-President of the Congregation shall perform those duties assigned by the President, and in the absence of the President, shall assume and perform the duties of the President. The Vice-President shall also chair and appoint the Nominating Task Force.
C. The Secretary of the Congregation shall keep accurate records of all Congregational Assembly meetings. Prior to all such meetings, the Secretary shall prepare for distribution at such meetings the agenda and the minutes of the previous meetings. The Secretary shall maintain an accurate list of all members of the Congregational Assembly and all Officers of the Congregation. The Secretary shall maintain an accurate copy of the Constitution and Bylaws of this Congregation, as amended, and any other documents vital to the legal and business interests of the Congregation. The Secretary shall sign all legal documents, with the President, on behalf of the Congregation.
D. The Treasurer of the Congregation shall oversee the financial assets of the Congregation as the principal financial and accounting officer of the Congregation. The Treasurer shall be responsible for seeing that the collection, receipt, custody, and disbursement of all funds and securities is properly managed and provided for, and that all moneys and other valuable effects in the name and for the credit of the Congregation are deposited in banks or other depositories. The Treasurer shall be responsible for seeing that the policies of the Congregation relating to the approval, grant, or extension of credit by the Congregation are carried out and that adequate insurance for the Congregation is procured and maintained. The Treasurer shall have charge of the persons responsible for the maintenance of adequate books of account for the Congregation, and shall monitor and ensure that accurate records of the financial position of the Congregation are kept on a fiscal year basis. The Treasurer shall make recommendations to the Management Team concerning financial trends and planning, and shall cause to be performed an annual audit by an independent auditor.
Article III. Amending the Bylaws
Amendments to these Bylaws may be adopted at a validly called meeting of the Congregational Assembly in accordance with the same procedures for amending the Constitution (see Constitution, Article XIII A.).
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