5 Solas Church
This church’s location shall be movable
until we have proper provisions to find a permanent location.
Foundation, Object, and Priorities of Ministry
1. The foundation of this Church is the Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Corinthians 3:11) and its code of guidance in all its affairs is the Word of God. This Church does here affirm its faith that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of Almighty God. (Mark 13:31)
2. The object of this Church is to worship God according to the teaching of his Word, to sustain its ordinances and doctrines, to practice the precepts and examples of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in the New Testament, and to preach and propagate among all peoples the gospel of salvation which is by personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
3. The priorities of ministry of this Church flow from the vision of God’s glory revealed in Jesus Christ. We exist to savor this vision in worship, (John 4:23) strengthen the vision in nurture and education, (1 Corinthians 14:26; 2 Peter 3:18 ) and spread the vision in evangelism, missions, and loving deeds. (1 Peter 2:9, 3:15; Matthew 28:18-20, 5:16)
We exist to bring about the obedience of faith
for the sake of Christ’s name among all the nations
Confession of Faith
The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
The membership of this Church shall consist of persons who have made a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who have given evidence of regeneration, who have been baptized by immersion into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who have been instructed in and hold to our church’s Confession of Faith, and who have been received into it’s membership according to the By-Laws of this Church.
I, ____________________________________, having been made a member the universal church at the moment of my conversion, and having been baptized by immersion into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, I do now, in the presence of God, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant membership with this local church to live as one body in Christ. As a member of this church I will seek to: (1) live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; (2) proclaim, defend, and uphold the doctrines taught in our church’s Confession of Faith; and (3) advance the truth of the gospel among my family, my local community, and to the ends of the earth. If I choose to depart from covenant membership with 5 Solas Church at any time, unless providentially hindered, I will diligently seek another healthy local church which proclaims the true gospel of Christ. So help me God. Amen.
Leadership and Organization
1. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Congregation of the Church is the final authority within this local Church. This authority is normally exercised through the election of Officers (Elders and Deacons) to govern the Church. We would call this form of church government, “Elder Lead Congregationalism.”
2. The only two Offices of the Church shall be Elder and Deacon. The purpose of the Officers of the Church is to lovingly govern, care for, and equip the membership to do the work of the ministry. The Elders and the Deacons shall be composed of men only.
3. The Elders are responsible for preaching the Word, intercessory prayer, and governing the Church. The Elders shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function. The Elders shall teach sound doctrine that accords with our church’s Confession of Faith. The Elders are to exercise humble oversight as loving shepherds who oversee the affairs of the Church.
4. Deacons shall assist the Council of Elders by serving in a variety of ways, performing administrative duties, helping facilitate ministries, and similar things as needs arise in the church.
1. We believe that there are two ordinances that Christians are commanded to observe, namely, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; that Baptism has no saving merit, but that after one believes and is saved, Baptism is the next step to show the world that he is now identified with Christ, who died, was buried and rose again; that whereas Baptism is observed once and is a sign of identification and a testimony to newness of life, the Lord’s Supper is commemorative and is to be observed as a memorial to the broken Body and shed Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. We believe that baptism is of believers by immersion into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and we require obedience to this ordinance as a prerequisite for church membership or for communion at the Lord’s Table.
3. We believe those eligible to commune at the Lord’s Table are believers who have been baptized by immersion into the name of the triune God upon a credible profession of faith. While no un-baptized person can be a regular communicant, the Elders can admit to the Lord’s Table an un-baptized visitor who is a consistent member of a properly constituted gospel church.
Revisions, Additions, and Amendments
Revisions, additions, or amendments of this Constitution may be introduced by any member of the Council of Elders at any properly called for meeting, and any such revision, addition, or amendment shall only be instituted following the Voting Procedure as provided in the By-Laws of this Church.
Instruction to New Members
All persons who are seeking to unite with this Church in covenant membership shall be made acquainted with the doctrine and practice of this Church as expressed in the Constitution of this Church by the Council of Elders. Upon their being received into membership they shall make a public profession of faith, state their commitment to the Church Covenant, and join the church.
Admission By Baptism
Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving evidence of a regenerate heart, and having accepted the doctrine and practice of this Church as expressed in the Constitution of this Church, as well as having signed the Church Covenant, thus making a lawful oath to God to fulfill it’s commitments, may be received into membership by baptism.
Admission By Experience or Restoration
All applicants for membership who have been previously baptized by immersion as a believer, or who are being restored to membership, shall be received into the Church in the same way as those by baptism, except the ordinance shall not be administered.
Termination of Membership
a. By Dismissal. Members who are in good standing shall be granted upon request a letter of recommendation to unite with a likeminded church of their choosing. Such letter of recommendation shall be sent to a Pastor or Elder of the church the member intends to join.
b. By Exclusion. If a member is habitually absent from the stated meetings of this Church without just cause, or requests severance of membership, he may be excluded from the membership upon the approval of the Council of Elders.
c. By Excommunication. It is right and in harmony with the Scriptures for the Congregation, upon recommendation of the Council of Elders, to exclude from this fellowship any person who (1) persists in holding to heretical beliefs; or (2) who persists in a lifestyle of unrepentant sin.
a. Officers. The Officers of the Church shall be Elders and Deacons. All Officers of the Church shall be members of this Church who are in good standing.
Elders and Deacons
a. Definition. Elders are those, who in response to God’s call, have devoted their lives to the ministry of the Word and prayer in the service of the Church of Christ. Deacons are those, who in response to God’s call, serve the Church of Christ.
b. Call. The Congregation may call when necessary an Elder or Deacon. The Council of Elders shall recognize, nominate, interview, and investigate candidates for Elder and Deacon. In no instance shall any individual be considered a nominee for the Office without the nominee’s consent. In order for a nominee to be appointed to the Office of an Elder or Deacon, there shall be a congregational vote as provided in these By-Laws.
c. Termination of Call.
1. Resignation. The question of terminating the call of an Elder or Deacon shall be considered at any time by the Council of Elders upon the presentation their resignation.
2. Grievance. Where a grievance exists against an Elder or Deacon, either due to his preaching or teaching contrary to the beliefs of the church’s Confession of Faith, or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting an Elder or Deacon, such grievance may be brought before the Council of Elders by any two members in good standing, following the procedure prescribed in these By-Laws. If the grievance is against one of the members of the Council of Elders, then the grievance shall be brought before the remaining members of the Council of Elders who are to judge the matter without partiality. If the Council, after thorough investigation and consideration, believes the grievance to be true and substantial, then the call of the Elder or Deacon may be terminated at any meeting after following the Voting Procedure as provided in these By-Laws. In the case that the accused member is an Elder, he shall be excluded from the vote.
e. Ordination. The Council of Elders may ordain any Elder in the church or any man who is being sent out by the church as a missionary or church planter. This shall be done publicly as part of the corporate worship of the church in public recognition of those who God has especially set apart as ministers of the gospel.
Council of Elders
Qualifications. Elders and nominees for Eldership shall be qualified for the Office as specified in the Bible. (Relevant texts include: 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Peter 5:1-4.) All Elders are required to be in complete and joyful agreement with the church’s Confession of Faith.
Qualifications. Deacons and nominees for Deacon shall be qualified for the Office as specified in the Bible. (Relevant texts include: Acts 6:1-6, 1 Timothy 3:8-12.)
No method of raising funds shall be entertained which is in conflict with the Scriptural ideals.
The financial planning of the Church shall be carried out through the medium of annual budgets. Each year an annual budget shall be adopted following the Voting Procedure as provided in these By-Laws.
a. Every need of this local church will be obtained through prayer. We may share the vision that the Lord has laid on our hearts with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we will not attempt to raise money through any form of persuasion or manipulation. If God is with us, then he will direct his people to give, and all of our needs will be met. If he is not with us, we will not and should not succeed.
b. We will never enlarge or sustain this ministry by contracting debts. Indebtedness is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the New Testament. We will bring the needs of this church before the Lord in secret prayer, and in humble submission we will act according to the direction and help which he gives us.
c. This church’s vocational elders and deacons are worthy of their labor. They should be supplied with enough money to live with dignity and to demonstrate that the Lord is gracious to supply the needs of his servants. To neglect their welfare would give excuse for the ungodly to bring unjust accusations against the Lord, that he is either uncaring or unable to meet the needs of his servants. However, they should not be given so much as to waste the Lord’s resources, acquire luxury, or live above those who so graciously give to the Lord’s work. To seek wealth, luxury, or ease of life in the ministry is to deny the call.
d. We will not measure the success of this church by the amount of money given or the number of people in membership. We will judge our usefulness to the kingdom of God only by our faithfulness to the Scriptures in doctrine and practice.
Church discipline shall be guided by a spirit of prayer, Christian kindness, forbearance, and holy firmness under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The discipline of the Church shall be exercised according to the following principles:
The sanctifying influence of formative discipline as taught in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 should be well understood. Every member will then be satisfied with his place in the body of Christ, and we shall all grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. By such observance can the Church build up its members and use the talents and gifts of both the young and the old. Formative discipline equips the Church to live for the glory of God and the good of others.
Corrective discipline implies disorderly conduct or heretical doctrine that is opposed to the church’s life and faith. Reasonable efforts shall be made to clear up difficulties and remove offenses before any action is taken. No offense shall be brought before the Church until the instructions of Christ have first been followed. (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-16) Corrective discipline has for its aim the glory of God, the welfare and purity of the Church, and the spiritual growth of the offender.
Excommunication from Church Membership
Procedure shall be in the following manner. The suspected person shall first be interviewed as directed in Matthew 18:15-18. If this does not lead to restoration of fellowship, written charges shall be filed with the Council of Elders. After a fair and impartial hearing of all the witnesses accessible and all the facts ascertainable, if the majority of the Council of Elders believes the accused to be guilty, then the Elders shall make an appropriate recommendation to the Congregation for their action at a regularly called Congregational meeting. The Congregation shall have the right to excommunicate by following the Voting Procedure as provided in these By-Laws.
Restoration to Church Membership
The right to exclude or excommunicate persons or the withdrawal of fellowship
(2 Thessalonians 3:6) is in accord with the teaching of the New Testament. (Matthew 18:16-17) The Apostolic church also had a right to restore those persons who gave satisfactory evidence of being penitent. (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) The object of the discipline having been accomplished, the Congregation shall have the right to restore the penitent member to full membership by following the Voting Procedure as provided in these By-Laws.
Council of Elders
The voting procedure for the Council of Elders may be conducted at any meeting in which all of the Elders are present. Before any vote takes place the Council of Elders shall pray in order to give thanks to God, and in order to seek wisdom and guidance and blessing from Jesus Christ, who is the head of the Church. For the subject matter of any vote to be acted upon or instituted, it must be agreed upon by a unanimous vote by the Council of Elders.
In the event that a decision must be made but unanimity does not occur among the Council of Elders, this procedure shall be followed: The meeting is to adjourn, there is to be a period of fervent prayer and diligent study of the Scriptures. After a reasonable period of time, if unanimity still does not occur among the Council of Elders, then no action shall be taken.
Non-Authoritative Congregational Votes
At times the Counsel of Elders may freely choose to take a non-authoritative congregational vote in order consult with the Congregation before making a major decision. However, in such cases, the Council of Elders still remains fully responsible for making the final decision.
Authoritative Congregation Votes
a. Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Congregation of the Church is the final authority within this local Church. The Congregation exercise that authority through: (1) the election of Elders and Deacons to govern the Church; (2) approving an annual budget; and (3) the excommunication and restoration of those under church discipline.
b. In order for an authoritative congregational vote to take place, the Council of Elders must give proper notice of the vote either in writing or from the pulpit at least two Sundays prior to the vote. The Council of Elders must call for an official meeting of the Church at which time a confidential written voting ballot shall be presented to the Congregation. Any member of the church who is in good standing (and who is 14 years of age or older) may vote. The Elders are a part of the Congregation, and therefore they may vote as equal Members of the Church.
c. A vote shall only be enacted on provided that:
1. At least fifty percent (50%) of the membership of the Church is present.
2. There is a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of those members who are present.
d. After a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote at an official meeting with at least fifty percent (50%) of the membership of the Church present, the Council of Elders is to announce publicly the outcome of the vote. Then, within a reasonable period of time, appropriate action must be taken in accordance with the outcome of the vote.
e. If the vote was for the election of an officer and a nominee is voted in, the Council of Elders is to publicly present and appoint the new Elder or Deacon to Office before the corporately gathered church at any of the regular meetings for worship. At that time, a new Elder shall be solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with the laying on of hands by the Council of Elders. A new Deacon shall be set apart by prayer and the laying on of hands.
Revisions, Additions, and Amendments
Revisions, additions, or amendments of these By-Laws may be introduced by any member of the Council of Elders at any properly called for meeting, and any such revision, addition, or amendment shall only be instituted following the Voting Procedure as provided in these By-Laws.