Church Constitution


We, the members of GRACE BIBLE CHURCH in accordance with Paul’s exhortation in I Corinthians 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order,” do hereby agree to be governed by the following principles which we hereby establish as the Constitution of this church.

Article 1 – Name

The name of this church is GRACE BIBLE CHURCH, Lansing, Michigan, and is an incorporated entity in the State of Michigan

Article 2 – Purpose

The purpose of this church, as outlined in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21; Acts 1:8), shall be: to promote the evangelization of the unsaved at home and abroad and to see the spiritual improvement of its members through the gospel of Jesus Christ; to fulfill the second aspect of the Great Commission by baptizing those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; to fulfill the third aspect of the Great Commission by teaching the Word of God and by providing a Christian education consistent in all respects with those principles set forth in the scriptures.

Article 3 – Autonomy (Self-Government)

GRACE BIBLE CHURCH of Lansing, Michigan, shall be independent and autonomous. However, it may participate in fellowship and activity with organizations of like doctrine for the promotion of the gospel of Jesus Christ so long as they do not infringe upon the independence or autonomy of this church. We believe in the separation of the Church and State with each having definite and distinct spheres of responsibility.

Article 4 – Membership

Section 1 – Qualifications (Subject to “Restrictions” in Section 2 below) Any person(s) desiring membership must:

  1. Profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, testifying of their new birth experience through repentance of sins and faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Be baptized by immersion, after salvation, by the authority and administration of this church or one of like faith. Be at least thirteen (13) years of age or must present consent of parent or guardian.

Section 2 – Restrictions. In addition to the above qualifications, each applicant must:

  1. Uphold the Christian work ethic in word and deed.
  2. Honor the marriage relationship, rejecting communal living, common-law relationships, and the commission of fornication and adultery.
  3. Hold no part in the distribution or use of pornographic materials, alcohol or unlicensed drugs. See Article VI, Section 3 (for disciplinable offenses).

Section 3 – Methods of Membership

  1. Profession of faith and baptism in accordance with Article IV, Section I.
  2. The granting of a transfer of membership from another church of like doctrine and practice.
  3. The statement of an individual who has held membership in an acceptable church, but for legitimate reason cannot obtain the transfer mentioned in Item 2 above.
  4. Reinstatement of excluded members on confession of their error and evidence of their repentance, and upon recommendation of the Board of Deacons and congregational vote.
  5. An inactive member may reactivate his membership upon consultation with pastor or deacons, written affirmation of the constitution, and vote of the congregation in a regular service.

Section 4 – Procedure of Admission

  1. Request for membership should be indicated to the pastor staff member or deacon.
  2. Review of the Church Covenant, Constitution, and Articles of Faith, and affirmation of same by signature of the Membership Agreement except for children under sixteen (16) or others with inability.
  3. Those children holding membership must, upon reaching age sixteen (16), fulfill step 2 above.
  4. The individual must be presented for affirmation by the church in a regular church service at the direction of the one officiating.
  5. A new Christian must comply with Sections 1 – 4 and attend one membership class session.

Section 5 – Types of Membership

  1. Active in Good Standing. Those who have been accepted into membership in a public service and are regularly attending services and supporting the church in prayer and finances and are not under any disciplinary measure of the church, and those who because of sickness, infirmity, or other acceptable reasons cannot attend the services, but maintain prayer and financial support.
  2. Active Under Discipline. Those who have had corrective disciplinary measures imposed by the deacons may actively participate in the services, but forfeit office holding and voting rights.
  3. Inactive. Those who for a period of more than six months are absent without reasonable excuse. Inactive members cannot hold office or vote.

Section 6 – Duties of Membership

  1. Esteem the church covenant and uphold it in action.
  2. Attend the Lord’s Day services each week.
  3. Faithfully support the church financially.
  4. Faithfully pray for the welfare of the church.
  5. Uphold the church in the community.
  6. Love and pray for the members of the church and help them in time of need.
  7. Observe Matthew 18:15-17 in the case of personal offense.
  8. Honor and obey the presiding church leaders in every function of the church.
  9. Participate in the government of the church as provided in the Bylaws.

Section 7 – Termination

  1. Death of the church member.
  2. Transfer of letter to a church of like faith.
  3. Joining another church without request of letter.
  4. Expulsion through proper discipline. See Article VI, Sections 3 and 4.
  5. One year of inactive standing. The final action of termination of membership must be preceded by a two week notice to the congregation and a first class letter to the last known address of the individual two weeks prior to the proposed action.
  6. Circulating of any subversive petition, or attending or participating in a subversive meeting.

Article 5 – Meetings

Section 1 – Worship

Meetings for worship should be on Sunday and other days as arranged by pastor and deacons.

Section 2 – The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper shall normally be commemorated on the first Sunday of the month.

Section 3 – Regular Worship Meetings

A regular worship meeting, as used in this Constitution, shall be either the Sunday morning or Sunday night worship service or the Wednesday evening service.

Section 4 – Business Meetings

Business meetings in which a report of finances, missions, and church progress is given may be held at the Wednesday service, with notification to the members, shall be called as deemed necessary by the Deacons.

Section 5 – Special Meetings

The Board of Deacons may call for special meetings as provided in the Bylaws.

Article 6 – Discipline of Church Members

Section 1 – Definition

In the restrictive sense of corrective discipline as intended in this section, discipline is the employment of biblical principles. Discipline involves elements including Christian teaching, training, admonition and rebuke, both public and private, with the view to helping the individual Christian grow in grace, preserve an attitude and demonstrate an effort to refrain from worldliness, and to live for the glory of God.

Section 2 – Order in Church Services and Functions

The purpose of discipline is to uphold the holiness of God, maintain righteousness and orderliness in the corporate life of the church and the individual life of the believer. The pastor or appointed leader (teacher, superintendent, et al) has the duty to maintain righteousness and order in all church gatherings, and as such, may impose corrective disciplinary measures.

Section 3 – Occasion for Corrective Church Discipline

  1. Objectionable doctrine. Any position that causes disruption concerning the Articles of Faith of this church.
  2. Any serious violation of the spirit of the Church Covenant.
  3. Sin, as defined by scripture, including areas such as adultery, homosexuality, drunkenness, theft, civil crimes, bearing false witness, incest, child abuse, abortion, and polygamy.
  4. The circulating of a petition, or participating in a secret meeting (in or outside church facilities) to subvert the church program or leadership, or to conduct services.

Section 4 – Procedure for Corrective Church Discipline

  1. In case of an offense, the offender having been summoned before the Board of Deacons, given a fair hearing, and counseled by the deacons, measures of discipline may be imposed by the Board of Deacons including placing the person in “Active under Discipline” standing. Article IV, Section 5, Item 2.
  2. In accordance with the above, the Board of Deacons may deem it necessary to recommend to the congregation the termination of church membership.
  3. The church body of eligible voters meeting in any regular church service may act upon the recommendation of the board for termination of membership of any member, and their majority vote is binding and final. Article IV, Section 3, Item 4. Article IV, Section 7.

Article 7 – Organization

Section 1 – Authority

The instruments of the government of this church shall be the sixty-six (66) books of the Holy Bible as contained in the arrangement of the typical order of Genesis through Revelation, the Covenant, Articles of Faith, Church Constitution, and Bylaws.

Section 2 – Government

The government of this church is vested in the qualified voting membership by its vote, as designed and provided in the Bylaws, at a duly-called meeting, which vote shall determine the instruments of church authority, any amendment to the Constitution, the acquisition and sale of real properties, the selection and termination of leadership, the addition, discipline, and dismissal of members, any affiliation or association with other churches, associations, or fellowships of churches, and approval of the annual church budget. The implementation of any item in the above stated authority shall be by means of a bona fide recommendation of the Board of Deacons.

Section 3 – Leadership

The acknowledged biblical officers in this church shall be pastor and deacons. See Article VIII. The deacons will serve as a Board of Deacons, and as such will carry out the intent of this section of the Constitution.

Article 8 – Officers

Section 1 – Pastor

  1. Nature of the Officer. The pastor is the earthly shepherd of the local church. He is the elected officer bearing the New Testament titles of bishop, elder, shepherd, teacher, preacher, servant and minister (Acts 14:23). As such, he is the preacher-teacher, administrator, moderator of meetings, and servant of the local church.
  2. Qualifications. The pastor must meet the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

Section 2 – Deacons

  1. Definition. A deacon is a biblical officer (I Timothy 3:8-13) elected by the people to serve in spiritual and temporal matters.
  2. Qualifications. The deacon must meet the qualifications of I Timothy 3:8-13. He must be at least age 21 and have been in active membership for one year the deacon shall adhere to existing leadership guidelines.
  3. Duties. The deacons shall serve by helping the pastor in the general supervision of the church. The deacons shall meet once each month and each deacon is expected to be present unless there is reasonable excuse. They shall assist the pastor as the discipline committee. They shall elect a chairman each year for a one year term. The chairman, in the absence of a pastor, would supervise the moderation of meetings and services. They shall elect a vice-chairman for the same term and succession as the chairman, and shall function as chairman in the chairman’s absence. They shall elect a secretary of the board for a one year term, with possibility of succession. They shall elect a treasurer. They shall appoint a deacon as liaison to each major area of the ministry. They shall make nomination for board vacancies including term and interim vacancies. The deacons shall have authority to appoint temporary committees. The deacons shall have authority to recommend to the congregation establishment of any standing committee. They shall annually present nominations to the congregation for officers and other needed positions. They shall have authority to establish leadership guidelines in cooperation with the pastor, They shall have
  4. Authority. The deacons shall have authority with the pastor to recommend to the congregation paid ministerial staff positions. They shall determine the pulpit committees, with the option of including other laymen voted by the congregation. They shall have authority to grant church letters through the church clerk.
  5. Term of Office. A deacon is elected for a term of three years.
  6. Number of Board Members. The number of board members shall be not less than three and not more than ten.

Section 3 – Associate Minister

This office may include assistant pastor, youth minister, Christian education minister, et al. They should be considered God-called ministers and as such fill the New Testament concept of elders. Their qualifications are generally the same as that of pastor. Candidates for these positions are recommended by the pastor to the board, which submits recommendations to the congregation. They, if necessity, shall be required to join the church on the first Sunday of their service. Their job description and leadership guidelines are to be given by the pastor and deacons. They report to the pastor as their sole supervisor.

Section 4 – Treasurer

The treasurer shall keep an accurate record of all church receipts and expenditures. He shall make all disbursements only by check as approved by the Board of Deacons according to the church budget. He shall present a written monthly statement of finances to the deacon board, and a minimum of one statement quarterly to the church. A copy of same shall be read at the monthly deacons meeting. An annual financial report of receipts/disbursements and a balance sheet must be submitted to the board and congregation.

Section 5 – Financial Secretary

It shall be the duty of the financial secretary to have charge of distributing offering envelopes and to keep an accurate record of individual contributors and present to each an annual report of his giving upon request. This report of receipts will serve for income tax purposes. The annual report of the financial secretary is not to include the names of individual contributors, but a summary of giving.

Section 6 – Church Clerk

The church clerk shall:
  1. Act as secretary of all business meetings of the church and determine if there is a quorum when necessary.
  2. Be responsible for keeping a register of the church membership.
  3. Prepare all letters of termination of membership and all letters of commendation.
  4. Correspond with other churches concerning the above.
  5. Perform such other duties as may be reasonably require of such office.

Section 7 – Trustee

  1. Definition: A trustee is an elected officer of the church to serve in the temporal matters of the church including the maintenance of the building and property and the execution of legal instruments of the church.
  2. Qualifications. A trustee must be a member of the church in good standing who is faithful to the services of the church and who evidences a commitment to the Lord.
  3. Duties. The trustees shall function primarily to care for the maintenance of the building and properties. They shall act will the approved budget of the church and exceptions shall be approved by the deacons. Individual trustees shall be appointed by the deacons as signatories for legal documents.
  4. Authority. They shall direct any work regarding repairs and maintenance to the church building or properties. They shall from time to time execute legal documents in behalf of the church.
  5. Election. Trustees shall be nominated by the deacons at the annual meeting or in case of emergency at any officially called Special Business Meeting.
  6. Term of Office. A trustee is elected for a term of three years by vote of the congregation.
  7. Number of Members. There shall be a minimum of three members. There may be more as deemed necessary by recommendation of the trustees to the deacons who will forward additional nominations to the church body.

Article 9 – Non-Ministerial Staff and Employees

Positions such as office employees and custodian shall be appointed and guided by the pastor in consultation with the deacons. They, as other staff, should recognize that their conduct reflects upon the testimony which the church maintains for the Lord, and, therefore should be discreet in all their dealings.

Article 10 – Standing Committees

Standing committees are elected by the congregation upon the recommendation of the deacons. A standing committee functions until such time that the congregation terminate the committee.

Section 1 – Mission Committee

This committee serves to promote the interest of home and foreign missions. Its members are elected in the annual nomination of church officer. This committee serves under the pastor and deacons to facilitate the church missions program.

Article 11 – Temporary Committees

The deacons may appoint temporary committees as the practical needs of the church dictate.

Article 12 – Elections

The election of deacons shall be by vote of the congregation as nominated by the deacons.

Article 13 – Philosophy of Finance

It is the conviction of this church that God’s work is to be financed solely by faith giving on a freewill basis. This prohibits sales or commercial ventures for the operating revenue of the church. Any ministry such as bookstore, tape ministry, or such shall operate by its own revenue, and if any profit is ever extracted, it cannot be placed into the operating budget of the church. Any fund-raising project must be approved by the deacons.

Article 14 – Emergency Conditions

Section 1

In the event of natural disaster or political upheaval, this church shall continue to fulfill its biblical responsibilities, practice its discipline, and remain true to its doctrine.

Section 2

If such circumstances should make it impossible to hold services or business meetings in accordance with the constitution, the pastor and all available deacons shall call, give notice, and conduct meetings in the best manner possible.

Section 3

In such times, a member’s loyalty to Christ and his church should be intensified. Circumstances do not release a member from his church responsibilities or government obligations. Any member who fails to fulfill his obligations or who compromises the doctrinal position of this church in obedience to any government shall be subject to discipline.

Article 15 – Church Properties

We believe that the church properties belong to the Lord and are entrusted to the membership of this church, and consistent with the principles of Scripture, they should be prayerfully and carefully used. Permission for use will be granted only to those who are official members of Grace Bible Church. In the event of the dissolution of this church, after satisfying all financial obligations, all monies, chattels, and unencumbered real properties shall be donated to another independent Bible Church, mission cause or other Christian cause of like consistent with the Articles of Faith in this Constitution.

Article 16 – Dissolution

If the number of eligible voting members is reduced to then (10), this church shall be dissolved.

Article 17 – Marriage and Sexuality

Section One

According to the Bible, marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race. We believe that sexual intimacy is a wonderful gift of God that is only to be expressed between one man and one woman (as genetically defined), within the love and bonds of marriage. (Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Ephesians 5:21-33, I Corinthians 7:3-5; Hebrews 13:4.)

Section Two

We believe that any form of sexual intimacy outside of marriage is both immoral and a perversion of God’s gift (Leviticus 18:1-30; Proverbs 6:32; I Corinthians 6:18; Romans 1:26-27; I Thessalonians 4:3-8). Furthermore, we believe that homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, cohabitation (regardless of the age of the individuals with one’s genetically defined gender, is sinful and offensive to God (Leviticus 18-20); Romans 1).

Section Three

We believe that in order to preserve the function, unity and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly whether at church, home, or in the community.

Section Four

In light of our biblical commitments, the pastor of Grace Bible Church of Lansing, Michigan will perform no same gender weddings or any other anti-biblical weddings or ceremonies at the church or at any other location. Furthermore, no member or non-member parties will be allowed to use any facilities of the church for same gender and/or sexually immoral weddings, wedding receptions, or other functions.

Section Five

We do believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Romans 8). And we believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior, attitude, or speech directed towards any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Grace Bible Church of Lansing, Michigan (I Peter 2:13-25; I Thessalonians 4:11-12).