Statement of Faith and Covenant

ARTICLE 1

 NAME AND PURPOSE

SECTION 1.01 – NAME

 This congregation of believers shall be known as Grace Baptist Church, located in Dubuque, Iowa. Founded March 17, 1977.

 

SECTION 1.02 – PURPOSE

This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Revenue Law), including, but not limited to, for such purposes, the establishing and maintaining of religious worship, the building of churches, print shops, and camps; the evangelizing of the unsaved by the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; the educating of believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture; and the maintaining of missionary activities in the Unites States and any foreign country.

Our commission is summarized as follows: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the World. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20); and also “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  (Acts 5:29).

ARTICLE 2

STATEMENT OF FAITH and  COVENANT

 SECTION 2.01 – STATEMENT OF FAITH

The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members:

(A)      The Holy Scriptures: We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and plenary 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 Testaments 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. The King James Version of the Bible is the preserved Word of God and shall be the official and only translation used by the church (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21; Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:89; Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5-6).

(B)       Dispensationalism:  We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life which define man’s             responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but       rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose.  Three of these dispensations – the law, the church, and the kingdom – are the       subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (Genesis 1:28; I Corinthians 9:17; II Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10, 3:2-10; Colossians 1:24-25, 27;  Revelations 20:2-6).

(C)       The Godhead:  We believe that there is one and only one living and true God, the maker and supreme ruler of heaven and earth – inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love, that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each Eternal in being, identical in nature, equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; John 14:10, 26).

(D)      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 (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; II Corinthians 5:19-21; Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-8).
  1. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; that His death made a full atonement for our sins; that His atonement was not merely a death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of himself in the sinner’s place, the just dying for the unjust, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:18-36; Romans 3:24-25; I Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:3-5).
  1. 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; Hebrews 9:24, 7:25; Romans 8:34; I John 2:1-2).

(E)       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; John 14:16-17, 26; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 12:12-14; II Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14).
  1. We believe that He is the divine teacher who assists believers to understand and appreciate the scriptures; that He seals, endues, guides, sanctifies, and helps the believer; and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 1:17-18, 5:18; I John 2:20, 27; Romans 8:14-16).
  1. 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 to do the work of the ministry (Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:7-12).
  1. We believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues and the gift of healing, were temporary. Speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit, and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (I Corinthians 1:22, 13:8, 14:21-22).
  1. We believe that the Holy Spirit is active in the world, restraining the work of Satan until God’s purpose is fulfilled (II Thessalonians 2:6-7).

(F)       The Total Depravity of Man:  We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s voluntary transgression, 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 lost condition.  All mankind are sinners, not by constraint, but of choice, and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:22-23, 5:12, 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:17-19).

(G)      Salvation:

  1. We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man wholly by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, are forgivable (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10; I Peter 1:18-19; Matthew 12:31-32; I John 1:9).
  1. We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life (John 1:12-13; John 3:3-7; Romans 6:23; II Corinthians 5:17,19;  Galatians 5:22;  Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 5:9; Colossians 2:13).
  1. We believe that Repentance and Faith are solemn obligations, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God, thereby being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior (Acts 20:21, Mark 1:15, Acts 2:37-38, Luke 18:13, Romans 10:9-13, Psalm 51:1-7, Isaiah 55:6-7, Luke 12:8).
  1. We believe that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent, and an obedient faith; and nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; and that very rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation (Isaiah 55:1,6-7; Matthew 11:28; John 3:15-18; John 3:36; Acts 2:38; Romans 10:13; Hebrews 10:29).

(H)      The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers:

  1. We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39; I Corinthians 1:4-8; I Peter 1:4-5).
  1. 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 satisfy the flesh (Romans 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).

(I)        The Church:

  1. We believe that a Baptist Church is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; that the church is commissioned by God first to make individual disciples, then to build up the church, and also to teach and instruct as He has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 2:41-42, Romans 14:19, I Corinthians 14:12, Ephesians 4:11-12).
  2. We believe that the church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons (I Corinthians 12:12-14; II Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27).
  3. 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 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11).
  1. We believe in the autonomy of the local church on all matters of membership,   policy, government, discipline, and benevolence, free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; I Corinthians 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 13; I Peter 5:1-4).
  1. We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, with the authority of the local church. Baptism is a prerequisite for the privileges of church membership and of the Lord’s Supper, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of bread and the fruit of the vine are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ; preceded always by solemn self-examination (Matthew 3:6, 28:19-20; John 3:23, Acts 2:41-42, 8:36-39, 18:18; Romans 6:3-5, I Corinthians 11:23-26, Colossians 2:12).

(J)        Separation:  We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord.  God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances, including immodest and immoderate piercings and bodily markings (Romans 12:1-2, 14:13; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1; II Timothy 3:1-5; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11; Leviticus 19:28; I Corinthians 6:19-20).

(K)      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 (Psalm 89:3-4; Daniel 2:31-45; Zechariah 14:4-11; I Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-6).

(L)       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 (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29, 1:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13).
  1. 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 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 20:4-6).
  1. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when, with the soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne of Judgment, and shall then be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but rather to suffer everlasting, conscious punishment and torment (Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; II Thessalonians 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Revelation 20:11-15).

(M)      The Personality of Satan:  We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man; that he was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors, but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell from his position and drew after him a host of angels; that he is now the malignant prince and power of the air, and the unholy god of this world; 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; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

(N)      Creation:  We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24 hour periods.  We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, the Big Bang Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11).

(O)      Civil Government:  We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home, 2) the church, and 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. We believe that earthly magistrates are to be prayed for, consciously honored and obeyed, save in things opposed to the will of the Lord (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 2:13-14).

(P)       Human Sexuality:

  1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage between a man and a 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 (Genesis 2:24, 19:5, 13, 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1, 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
  1. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; I Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23).

(Q)      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 leaders (pastors, deacons and trustees) of the church.  Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; I Timothy 2:8-15, 3:4-5, 12).
  1. 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 examples and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12;  Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; I Corinthians 7:1-6; Ephesians 5:21-33, 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; I Peter 3:1-7).

(R)       Divorce and Remarriage:   We believe that marriage is a divine institution and God intends that the marriage relationship last until one of the spouses dies.  We believe divorce is destructive to the family unit and distorts God’s intention for marriage.  We also feel compassion for those who have gone through the experience of divorce and desire to lovingly minister to the needs of both the adults and children of that experience.   Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they cannot be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3- 12; Romans 7:1-3; I Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

(S)       Abortion:  We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being.  Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of an unborn human life.  Abortion is murder.  We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well-being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Psalms 51:5, 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24, 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5, 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).

(T)       Euthanasia:  We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention.  Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death.  Thus, we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God.  Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment (Exodus 20:13, 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28).

(U)      Love:  We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only towards fellow believers, but also towards those who are not believers and those who oppose us.  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 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 (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:9-10, 17-21, 13:8-10; Philippians 2:2-4; II Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; I John 3:17-18).

(V)      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.  However, we do believe that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company so long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander (I Corinthians 6:1-8, Ephesians 4:31-32).

(W)     Missions:  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 (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20-21; Acts 1:8; II Corinthians 5:20).

(X)      Giving:  We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially.  We believe that God has established tithing as the basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and 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 the tithe or offering once the gift has been made (Genesis 14:20; Proverbs 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 9:6-7; Galatians 6:6;  Ephesians 4:28; I Timothy 5:17-18; I John 3:17).

SECTION 2.02 – 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.  However, we do believe that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teachings of the Bible, and therefore, is binding upon all members.  All literature used in the church shall be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith.

SECTION 2.03 – COVENANT

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, the angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith; to seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from worldly amusements such as watching ungodly movies, gambling, rock music and dancing; to be free from all oath bound secret societies and partnerships with unbelievers; to abstain from the sale or use of tobacco in any form, illegal drugs, or intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, and to secure reconciliation without delay.

We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with a church of like faith and practice where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s word.

ARTICLE 3

MEMBERSHIP

 SECTION 3.01 – QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP

Upon a majority vote of the members present at any church service or meeting, membership will be extended to all who have had and whose lives evidence a genuine experience of regeneration through faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior; who renounce sin; who endeavor to live a consecrated life wholly unto the Lord; who fully subscribe to the Statement of Faith contained herein; who enter into the church covenant contained herein; who agree to submit to the authority of the church and its leaders as set forth herein; and upon compliance with any one of the following conditions:

(A)      By baptism (immersion) as a true believer in Christ Jesus as personal Savior.

(B)       By letter of transfer from another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice, or other written statement of good standing from the prior church if the applicant has been baptized by immersion subsequent to a profession of faith.

(C)       Be testimony of faith, having been baptized by immersion; or

(D)      By restoration, if having been removed from membership, upon majority vote of the congregation after confession of the sin or sins involved is made publicly before the church membership, and satisfactorily evidencing repentance to the pastor (or the board of deacons if the office of pastor is vacant).

SECTION 3.02 – DUTIES OF A MEMBER

On becoming a member of this church, in addition to the covenant contained in Article 2, Section 2.03, each member further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the pastor and the pastor’s staff; to pray for them; to recognize the pastor’s authority in spiritual affairs of the church; to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the church; to support the church in prayer, tithes, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and in accordance with Biblical commands, to support through a lifestyle walk affirming the beliefs and practices of the church.

SECTION 3.03 – PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP

(A)      Only members at least eighteen years of age who are physically present at a duly called meeting of the church shall be entitled to vote.  There shall be no proxy or absentee voting.  The eligible membership of the church has certain limited areas to exercise vote.  Members may not vote to initiate any church action, rather the vote of a member is to confirm and ratify the direction of the church as determined by the pastor and the board of deacons.

(B)       This congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the pastor as the under shepherd with the counsel of the board of deacons.  Determinations of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures.  The pastor shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church.  The board of deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor as requested by him.

(C)       Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government.  Although the general public is invited to all of the church’s worship services, the church property remains private property.  The pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the board of deacons) has the authority to suspend or revoke the right of any person, including a member, to enter or remain on church property.  If, after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, that person may, in the discretion of the pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the board of deacons), be treated as a trespasser.

(D)      A member may inspect or copy the prepared financial statements of the church and the minutes of the proceedings of church meetings and of board meetings, provided he shall have made a written request upon the church and the church has received the written request at least five business days before the requested inspection date.

  1. A member may not, under any circumstances, inspect or copy any record relating to individual contributions to the church, the list of names and addresses of church members, or the accounting books and financial records of the church.
  1. The church may impose a reasonable charge to cover the costs of labor and material for copies of any documents provided to the member before releasing the copies to the member.

SECTION 3.04 – DISCIPLINE OF A MEMBER

 (A)      Purpose:  The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (I Corinthians 5:6); to edify believers by deterring sin (I Timothy 5:20); and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a Biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (restoration) (Galatians 6:1).

(B)       Discipline Committee:  There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the pastor and the board of deacons.  These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the church covenant. If the pastor or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee.  The pastor and deacons shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline.

(C)       First go alone:  Members are expected to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another.  When a member becomes aware of any offense of such magnitude that it hinders spiritual growth and testimony, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother.  Before he goes, he should first examine himself.  When he goes, he should go with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration.

(D)      Next go by two:  If reconciliation is not reached, a second member, either a deacon or the pastor, is to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter.  This second step should also be preceded by self-examination and exercised in a spirit of humility with the goal of restoration.

(E)       Discipline Committee hears matter:  If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (C) and (D) above, the discipline committee, as the church representatives Biblically responsible for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter.  If the matter is not resolved during the hearing before the discipline committee, the committee shall recommend to the members of the church that they, after self-examination, make an effort personally to go to the offending member and seek that member’s restoration.

(F)       Church hears matter:  If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (C), (D), and (E) above, such members who refuse to repent and be restored are to be removed from the membership of the church upon a majority vote of the membership present at a meeting called for the purpose of considering disciplinary action.

(G)      Sequence of steps:  No matter may be heard by the discipline committee or the church unless the steps outlined in subsections (C) and (D) have been taken, except in the case of a public offense.

(H)      Church contact with removed member:  If an unrepentant offending party is removed from the church membership, all contact with him from that point forward (except by family members) must be for the sake of restoration.

(I)        Biblical basis for church discipline:  The procedures provided in this section are based on the following Scriptures:  Matthew 18:15-20; Romans 16:17-18; I Corinthians 5:1-13; II Corinthians 2:1-11; Galatians 6:1; I Thessalonians 5:14; II Thessalonians 3:6, 10-15; I Timothy 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.

SECTION 3.05 – TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP

Members not under the disciplinary process of Section 3.04 may request that letters of transfer be sent to another church of like faith and practice.

SECTION 3.06 – TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP

(A)      Absence: The membership of any individual member shall be automatically terminated without notice if the member in question has not attended a regular worship service of the church in the preceding one month.  Upon good cause being shown to the pastor, this provision for termination may be waived in the case of any individual member at the discretion of the pastor.

(B)       Membership in another church:  No member of this church may hold membership in another church.  If any member unites with another church, that person is automatically terminated without notice from membership in this church.

  1. The only exception that may be made to Section 3.06(B) is for a member who is a student in a college or university out of the area of Grace Baptist Church who wishes to come under the “watch-care” of a Baptist church of like faith and practice near their school. The purpose for this exception is to allow the student to be involved in the ministry of a local church during his/her college years.

(C)       Flagrant immorality and lawsuits:  The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member states that he or she is actively involved in any conduct described in Section 2.01(P) or files a lawsuit in violation of Section 2.01(V).

(D)      Discipline procedure invalidated:  No provision contained in this section shall be subject to or governed by the procedures regarding discipline of members set forth in Section 3.04.

(E)       Resignation:  A member may resign at any time, but no letter of transfer or written statement of good standing will be issued upon such resignation, except at the discretion of the pastor.

ARTICLE 4

 OFFICERS

SECTION 4.01 – CHURCH OFFICERS

 The church officers are the pastor (see Section 5.01), deacon (see Section 5.02), trustee (see Section 5.03, church clerk (see Section 5.04), and treasurer (see Section 5.05). One person may hold two or more offices, except that of pastor.  The pastor, from time to time, as he deems appropriate, may appoint other church officers, subject to a confirmation vote of the church membership.

SECTION 4.02 – ELIGIBILITY FOR OFFICE

 (A)      The church shall not install or retain an officer who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.  All church officers, upon request of the pastor, shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith (as set forth in Article 2).

(B)       All church officers must be approved initially and thereafter annually by the pastor in order for them to commence or continue in their offices.

(C)       Only church members are eligible for election or appointment to any church office or position.

(D)      Only the pastor and board of deacons may nominate deacons for church approval.  All other officer nominations, except the office of pastor, shall be presented by the nominating committee for church approval.  Any member of the church may make officer recommendations to the nominating committee.

SECTION 4.03 – TERMS OF OFFICE

(A)      The relationship between the pastor and the church shall be permanent unless dissolved at the option of either party by the giving of one month’s notice, or less by mutual consent.  The calling of a pastor or severance of the relationship between the pastor and the church may be considered at any regular church business meeting, provided notice to that effect shall have been given from the pulpit to the church two Sundays prior to said regular church business meeting.  A three-fourths majority of the eligible members present and voting shall be required to call a pastor or to sever the relationship between the pastor and the church.  Disciplinary removal of the pastor from office automatically terminates his membership.  A restoration to membership after disciplinary removal will be subject to the requirements of Section 3.01(D).

(B)       The term of service for deacon, trustee, and all other offices and positions in the church, except the pastor, shall be one year.  At the expiration of term of service they may be re-elected or re-appointed.

(C)       A vacancy occurring in any office or board, except in the case of the pastor, may be filled at any regular church business meeting.

(D)      All elected and appointed officers shall serve in their respective offices until their successors are duly elected or appointed.

(E)       Members of the board of deacons may be removed from office for unbiblical conduct, as determined by the other board members, upon a majority vote of the remaining members of the board of deacons.

SECTION 4.04 – ELECTION OF OFFICERS

The regular election of officers by the church membership shall occur during the annual church business meeting except as necessary per Section 4.03(C).

ARTICLE 5

 DUTIES AND POWERS OF OFFICERS

SECTION 5.01 – THE PASTOR

(A)      The pastor shall preach the Gospel regularly and shall be at liberty to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God as the Lord leads him.  He shall administer the ordinances of the church, act as moderator at all church meetings for the transaction of church matters, supervise the teaching ministries of the church, and tenderly watch over the spiritual interests of the membership.

(B)       The pastor shall appoint the members of the various committees at his discretion.  He shall be an ex officio member of all committees and church related organizations.  He shall determine the number of deacons and trustees based on the needs of the church.  He shall publicly inform all newly elected officers of the particular function and the responsibilities of their respective offices.  He shall extend the right hand of fellowship to all new members on behalf of the church and perform such other duties as generally appertain to such a position.  The pastor shall be free to choose the means and methods by which he exercises the ministry that God has given him.

(C)       All appointments for public worship and Bible study and the arrangements thereof, including time and place and the use of the property belonging to the church for purposes other than the stated appointments, shall be under the control of the pastor.

(D)      The pastor shall meet the qualifications and duties of I Peter 5:1-4; I Timothy 3:1-7; and Titus 1:6-9.

SECTION 5.02 – THE BOARD OF DEACONS

 (A)      The board of deacons shall assist the pastor, in such manner as he shall request, in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, in conducting the religious services, and in performing all other work of the church.  They shall make provision for the observance of the ordinances of the church.  If requested by the pastor, they shall consider applications for church membership.  In cooperation with the pastor, they shall disburse the benevolence fund.  They shall assist the pastor in visitation and all other evangelistic efforts of the church.  The board of deacons shall assist the pastor in caring for the administrative needs of the church’s various ministries as requested by the pastor.  They shall provide the pulpit supply and choose a moderator for church meetings if the pastor is unavailable or the office of pastor is vacant.  Upon the death, resignation or dismissal of the pastor, the board of deacons may appoint a pulpit committee.

(B)       At the next scheduled deacons meeting following the annual church business meeting, the board of deacons shall elect from their own number, a chairman and a secretary of the board of deacons.

(C)       A quorum of the board of deacons shall be 50 percent.

(D)      A deacon shall meet the qualifications and duties of I Timothy 3:8-13.

SECTION 5.03 – THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

(A)      The board of trustees shall exercise only the following specific powers, upon authorization by the church at a duly called church business meeting.

  1. To purchase, hold, lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and to take real and personal property by will, gift, or bequest on behalf of the church.
  1. To sell, convey, alienate, transfer, lease, assign, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, and to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the real and personal property of the church; to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose and the use of the church; to cause to be executed, issued, and delivered for the indebtedness, in the name of the church, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness; and to secure repayment by deeds of trust, mortgages, or pledges; and
  1. To exercise all powers necessary for the dissolution of the church.

(B)       Once a trustee has been elected, his name shall be filed and confirmed by the court under the laws of the State of Iowa.

SECTION 5.04 – THE CHURCH CLERK

Please refer to Section 5.06 and Section 6.03 concerning the responsibilities and duties of the Church Secretary.

SECTION 5.05 – THE TREASURER

 The treasurer shall have the following duties within the church:

(A)      Have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds of the church, and depositing said funds of the church in banks, trust companies, or other depositories,  as shall be selected by the pastor or the board of deacons; and have control over all banking transactions, including online banking transactions.

(B)       Receive, and give receipt for all contributions, gifts, and donations to the church.

(C)       Disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the church as may be directed by the pastor, the board of deacons, or the budget adopted by the members of the church at the annual church business meeting, taking proper vouchers for the disbursements.

(D)      Keep and maintain, or cause to be kept and maintained, adequate and correct accounts of the church’s properties and business transactions including account of its assets, liabilities, receipts, disbursements, and capital.

(E)       Make, or cause to be made, all expenditures of the church (except miscellaneous petty cash disbursements) by check or credit card, including online banking.

(F)       Present financial reports at the regular church business meetings and make a general report for the year at the annual church business meeting.

(G)      Keep all church financial records at the church office and deliver them to any successor upon leaving office.

(H)      Oversee the preparation of a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year to be presented at the annual business meeting.

(I)        When, and as requested, render, or cause to be rendered, to the pastor and/or the board of deacons, an accounting of all the aforementioned transactions as treasurer, and of the financial condition of the church.

SECTION 5.06 – THE CHURCH SECRETARY

The church secretary shall take the minutes of all church business meetings. The minutes shall then be properly filed and distributed, as necessary.  The church secretary shall appoint a substitute if she/he will be absent at a business meeting.

SECTION 5.07 – DUTIES OF ALL OFFICERS

(A)      All officers shall prepare a written report of their work for the annual church business meeting and shall surrender any records in their possession to the church secretary at the close of their term of office, to be filed as permanent record of the work of the church.  All records are the property of the church and must be kept in the church office.

(B)       Any officer who neglects his duties as outlined in the bylaws for a period of one month may be removed from his office at the discretion of the pastor, and another may be appointed by the pastor to serve the un-expired term.

SECTION 5.08 – INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS

A public installation service in which all newly elected officers of the church are to be dedicated to their respective offices and the installation of newly elected deacons shall be held at a public church service following their election at the annual church business meeting.

ARTICLE 6

 STAFF DUTIES

SECTION 6.01 – PASTORAL OVERSIGHT OF STAFF

 (A)      On the condition that they shall become a member of the church upon assuming their duties, the pastor may hire staff to assist him in carrying out his God-given responsibilities.

(B)       All church staff, whether paid or volunteer, shall be under the supervision of the pastor who has the sole authority to dismiss the same.  No employee or volunteer shall be hired, appointed, or retained who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.

(C)       The church will approve salaries for church staff.

SECTION 6.02 – ASSOCIATE PASTORS

Under the direction and guidance of the pastor, the associate pastor of the church shall assist the pastor in carrying out the ministries of the church.

SECTION 6.03 – CHURCH SECRETARY

Unless otherwise assigned by the pastor, the church secretary shall:

(A)      Certify and keep at the church office the original bylaws or a copy, including all amendments or alterations to the bylaws.

(B)       Keep at the place where the bylaws or a copy are kept a record of the proceedings of meetings of the board of deacons, with the time and place of holding, the notice of meeting given, and the names of those present at the meetings.

(C)       Keep a record of all church business meetings.

(D)      Sign, certify, or attest documents as may be required by law.

(E)       See that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws. (In case of the absence or disability of the secretary, or his/her refusal or neglect to act, notice may be given and served by the pastor or by the chairman of the board of deacons).

(F)       Be custodian of the records of the church, including the membership roll, baptisms, and certificates of ordination, licenses, and commissions.

(G)      See that the reports, statements, certificates, and all other documents and records required by law are properly kept and filed.

(H)      Exhibit at all reasonable times to proper persons on terms provided by law the bylaws and minutes of proceedings of the board of deacons or the minutes of the meetings of the church members.

(I)        Keep an account of any special events in the life of the church which are of historical interest and give a report at the annual church business meeting of the status of the church membership roll in the past year.

(J)        Keep all records at the office of the church and deliver them to any successor upon leaving office.

ARTICLE 7

 MEETINGS

 SECTION 7.01 – MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP

 Unless otherwise determined by the pastor, the church shall meet each Sunday for public worship, both morning and evening, and at least once during the week for Bible study and prayer. Except when circumstances forbid it, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed at the request of the pastor.

SECTION 7.02 – MEETINGS FOR CHURCH BUSINESS

(A)      The annual church business meeting shall be held on the second Wednesday in December.

(B)       Regular business meetings shall be held monthly unless the pastor determines otherwise when appropriate.

(C)       All church business meetings shall be opened and closed with prayer for divine guidance and blessing.

(D)      The moderator shall determine the rules of procedures according to his sense of fairness and common sense, giving all members a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter.  The moderator is the final authority on questions of procedure, and his decision is final and controlling.  The following order shall be observed at the regular church business meetings:

  1. Devotions and prayer
  2. Reading of minutes
  3. Dismissal of members/transferring of letters
  4. Report of officers
  5. Reports of standing committees
  6. Reports of special committees
  7. Unfinished matters
  8. Election of officers
  9. New matters
  10. Adjournment
  11. Benediction
  • No matter will be considered as an item of business that has not first been considered and discussed in a regularly called meeting of the board of deacons. No matter that is brought up randomly at any congregational meeting by any member will be put to a vote until it has been considered and discussed in a regular called meeting of the board of deacons.  All business items presented to the church shall be brought as recommendations from the board of deacons and/or the pastor.

(F)       For any meeting under this Article, the moderator, in his sole discretion, shall have full and unilateral authority to require nonmembers to leave the meeting room and to order the immediate removal of any member or other person present who is deemed by the moderator to be disruptive to the proceedings by act or presence.  The moderator shall have full authority to order the removal of all children ages seventeen and younger if the moderator determines, in his sole discretion, that circumstances so warrant.  If the moderator determines that compliance with his order of removal is unsatisfactory, the moderator may, in his sole discretion, revoke the disruptive person’s right to remain on the premises in accordance with Section 3.03(C) and treat the person as a trespasser.

SECTION 7.03 – SPECIAL MEETINGS

(A)      The pastor (or deacons if the office of pastor is vacant or the pastor is the subject of possible disciplinary action) may call a special meeting by giving notice of such a meeting and the purpose for which it is called to the church from the pulpit at least one Sunday and not less than one week prior to said meeting.  A meeting for the calling of a pastor, or the severance of the relationship between the church and pastor, shall be called in accordance with the provisions of Section 4.03(A).

(B)       Bible conferences, missionary conferences, and revivals may be held as the pastor deems beneficial.

SECTION 7.04 – QUORUM

At all meetings of the members, whether regular, annual, special, or adjourned, the members present shall constitute a quorum.

SECTION 7.05 – FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year of the church shall begin January 1 and end December 31.

ARTICLE 8

 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

SECTION 8.01 – PURPOSE

The church believes that it is to provide the members and their children with an education which is based upon and consistent with Biblical teachings. The church believes that the home and church are responsible before God for providing a Christian education.  To this end, the church shall engage in ministries in education in keeping with the following dictates.

SECTION 8.02 – CHURCH PARTICIPATION

All educational programs or courses of instruction formulated and offered by the church shall be primarily for the benefit of the members of the church; however, the pastor may permit non-church members to participate in church educational programs or courses of instruction if he deems it in the best interest of the church.

SECTION 8.03 – STAFF MEMBERSHIP

All instructors, teachers, and administrators shall be members of this church. This provision shall not apply to visiting missionaries, evangelists, or preachers engaged for the purpose of delivering sermons, conducting revivals, or other special meetings on a temporary basis.

SECTION 8.04 – STATEMENT OF FAITH ACCORD

 All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be taught and presented in full accord with the Statement of Faith of the church. The church shall not hire, appoint, or retain any employee or volunteer for its educational programs who fails to adhere to, or expresses disagreement with, the Statement of Faith.

SECTION 8.05 – UNITY

All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted as an integral and inseparable ministry of the church.

SECTION 8.06 – TEACHING

All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted consistent with the teaching of the inerrant Word of God. Any assertion or belief which conflicts with or questions a Bible truth is a pagan deception and distortion of the truth which will be disclaimed false.  It is the responsibility of every instructor or teacher to present the inerrant Word of God as the sole infallible source of knowledge and wisdom.

SECTION 8.07 – CHRISTIAN WALK

All administrators, instructors, and teachers shall continue or adopt a lifestyle consistent with the precepts which they teach, whether in or out of the classroom

ARTICLE 9

 LICENSURE AND ORDINATION

SECTION 9.01 – LICENSURE

(A)      Any member of this church or its mission churches, who give evidence of a genuine call of God into the work of the ministry and possesses the qualifications stated in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, may be licensed as a minister of the Gospel.

(B)       A license to preach the Gospel may be granted by the church only upon the recommendation of the pastor and board of deacons to the church.

(C)       A license to preach is usually a temporary document granted to a man of God who is preparing for ordination.  The license gives the ordination candidate the full authority of the ministry to exercise his gifts in the work of the ministry.

SECTION 9.02 – ORDINATION QUALIFICATIONS

Any member of this church or its mission churches, who give evidence of a genuine call of God into the work of the ministry and possesses the qualifications stated in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, may be ordained as a minister of the Gospel.

SECTION 9.03 – ORDINATION PROCEDURE

(A)      Upon a conference with the pastor and after the pastor has approved the candidate for ordination, the pastor shall call a council to examine and pass on the qualifications of the candidate.  The ordination council shall consist of ordained ministers of like faith invited to participate in the examination of the candidate.

(B)       If the candidate is found worthy of ordination by the council, the ordination council may ordain the candidate on behalf of the church.

(C)       The pastor and the chairman of the deacons shall arrange for the ordination service.

ARTICLE 10

 INDEMINIFICATION

SECTION 10.01 – ACTIONS SUBJECT TO INDEMNIFICATION

 The church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, deacon, trustee, officer, employee, or agent of the church, against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him/her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he/she reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his/her conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he/she reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that his/her conduct was unlawful.

SECTION 10.2 – EXPENSES SUBJECT TO INDEMNIFICATION

To the extent that a pastor, deacon, trustee, officer, employee, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in that action, suit, or proceeding, he or she may be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.

SECTION 10.03 – LIMITATIONS OF INDEMNIFICATION

Any indemnification made under this Article, may be made by the church only as authorized in the specific case on a determination that indemnification of the pastor, deacon, trustee, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he/she has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Section 10.01. The determination shall be made:

(A)      By a majority vote of a quorum consisting of the pastor and deacons who were not, and are not, parties to, or threatened with, the action, suit, or proceeding.

(B)       If the described quorum is not obtainable or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested deacons so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion; or

(C)       By a majority vote of the members of the church.

 SECTION 10.04 – TIMING OF INDEMNIFICATION

Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article, may be paid by the church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the board of deacons in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the pastor, deacon, trustee, officer, employee, or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he/she is not qualified to be indemnified by the church.

SECTION 10.05 – EXTENT OF INDEMNIFICATION

The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the church, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under this Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a pastor, deacon, trustee, officer, employee, or agent, and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person.

SECTION 10.06 – INSURANCE

The church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a pastor, deacon, trustee, officer, employee, or agent of the church against any liability asserted against him/her and incurred by him/her in that capacity, or arising out of his/her status in that capacity, whether or not the church would have the power to indemnify him/her against liability under the provisions of this Article.

ARTICLE 11

 COMMITTEES

SECTION 11.01 – STANDING COMMITTEES

The pastor (or the board of deacons if the office of the pastor is vacant) shall appoint standing committees and designate a chairperson for each standing committee and, except when otherwise specifically provided in these bylaws, shall determine the membership of each standing committee. In addition to the discipline committee, the pastor may appoint other standing committees as he deems appropriate.

SECTION 11.02 – SPECIAL COMMITTEES

The board of deacons, in its discretion, may create special committees to provide the board with advice and information regarding matters submitted to the committee by the board for consideration. The committee shall have no authority to act on behalf of the church.  The members of the committee shall be chosen by a majority vote of the board of deacons and shall serve solely at the pleasure of the board of deacons.  The special committee shall be subject to the control and direction of the board of deacons at all times.

ARTICLE 12

 DESIGNATED CONTRIBUTIONS

From time to time, the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions, but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature.  All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the pastor and the board of deacons.  No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Section 1.02.

ARTICLE 13

 BINDING ARBITRATION

SECTION 13.01 – SUBMISSION TO ARBITRATION

Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of this church agree to submit to binding arbitration, any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bringing any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

SECTION 13.02 – NOTICE OF ARBITRATION

In the event of any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement arising out of or relating to these bylaws or another church matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions, or disagreements as befits Christians. To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and, recognizing their mutual interests do not disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution.  If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions, or differences shall be finally settled by arbitration as described in Section 13.01 above, and such Arbitration Procedures are adopted pursuant to Section 13.04 below.

SECTION 13.03 – LIMITATIONS ON ARBITRATION DECISIONS

(A)      Should any dispute involve matters of church discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures for church discipline, as outlined under Section 3.04, were followed.

(B)       Should any dispute involve the removal from office of the pastor or any church officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures set forth in Sections 4.03 or 5.06 were followed.

SECTION 13.04 – ARBITRATION PROCEDURES

The Procedures for Arbitration shall be adopted by the pastor and the board of deacons.

ARTICLE 14

 TAX-EXEMPT PROVISIONS

 SECTION 14.01 – PRIVATE INUREMENT

No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Section 1.02 hereof.

SECTION 14.02 – POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT

No substantial part of the activities of the church shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. The church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

SECTION 14.03 – DISSOLUTION

Upon the dissolution of the church, the trustees shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the church, dispose of all the assets of the church to such organization(s) formed and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall, at that time, qualify as an exempt organization(s) under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or the corresponding provision of any future Unites States Internal Revenue law), as the trustees shall determine. Assets may be distributed only to tax-exempt organizations which agree with the church’s Statement of Faith.

SECTION 14.04 – RACIAL NONDISCRIMINATION

The church shall have a racially nondiscriminatory policy and, therefore, shall not discriminate against members, applicants, students, and others on the basis of race, color, or national or ethnic origin.

SECTION 14.05 – LIMITATION OF ACTIVITIES

Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, the church shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes stated in Section 1.02.

ARTICLE 15

 AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be revised or amended by a majority vote of the members present and voting at any regular church business meeting, provided that said revision or amendment has been submitted in writing and announced from the pulpit fourteen (14) days before the vote is taken.

ADOPTION

This constitution and bylaws, consisting of thirty-three (33) typed pages, and three (iii) Table of Contents pages, were adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called meeting of the church in which a quorum was present.

This constitution and bylaws supersede any other constitution and bylaws of Grace Baptist Church, Dubuque, Iowa.