Article I: Name and Incorporation:
The name of this organization shall be CORNERSTONE BIBLE CHURCH. This church shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio, and its stated purpose is to provide a place of worship for its members, to receive and disburse gifts and bequests, and to do all things necessary or incidental to carrying on such purposes.
Article II: Purpose of Constitution:
- To provide a legal framework for the existence and governing of Cornerstone Bible Church.
- To provide a procedure for adding and removing members of the church
- To provide a procedure for selection of Pastors and Elders.
Article III: Authority:
This church shall be subject to the direction of Jesus Christ as His will is expressed in the Bible. A Board of Elders shall be the governing body of the church in seeking and interpreting the desire of the Lord for the congregation. The elders shall be diligent in serving and communicating with the membership and shall be sensitive to the needs and desires of the church body.
Article IV: Doctrinal Statement:
- We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in essence and having the same attributes, while distinct in personality and function. (Deuteronomy 6:4,5; Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3)
- We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (66 books) to be the inspired Word of God, inerrant, infallible and complete in the original writings, and the supreme and final authority for faith and life. (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:19-21)
- We believe in Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man. (John 1:1,14; Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; Hebrews 1:2,3)
- We believe in the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. By His gracious working the believer is born again into God’s Kingdom, indwelt, and empowered for holy living and fruitful service. He distributes gifts to build-up and equip the Church for ministry. (John 3:5; 16:8; Romans 8:9; Acts 1:8, 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Ephesians 4:11-12; 5:18).
- We believe that all human beings are created in God’s image and designed to walk in fellowship with Him. Yet every person is a sinner by nature and by choice thereby incurring both physical and spiritual death. (Genesis 1:26,27; 3:1-6; Romans 5:12,19; 3:23; 6:23)
- We believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice for sins, taking our penalty upon Himself. Christ rose from the dead bodily and ascended into heaven where He now reigns as Lord and intercedes for His people. (Isaiah 53:4-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6; Hebrews 10:10,25; Philippians 2:6-11; Romans 8:1)
- We believe that a Christian is one who acknowledges and turns away from his/her sin, trusts Christ for forgiveness, and by faith receives Jesus as personal Savior and Lord. To know Christ in this way is to become God’s child and have the assurance of eternal life. (Mark 1:l4,15; John 1:12; 3:16; 1 John 1:9; 5:11,12)
- We believe in the “blessed hope”, which is the personal, visible, and imminent return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13; John 14:1-3; Matthew 24:30,44; Acts 1:11)
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the Christian and the non-Christian, the eternal conscious suffering of the lost in hell, and the eternal blessed fellowship of the saved in heaven. (I Corinthians 15:50-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Hebrews 9:27)
- We believe that Satan is the primary enemy of God, His work, and His people. Nevertheless the devil is a defeated foe destined for eternal destruction in the lake of fire. (Colossians 2:15, Hebrews 2:14, 1 Peter 5:8,9; James 4:7; Revelation 20:10)
- We believe in the Church, the Body of Christ, whose mission is to make disciples of all nations, faithfully preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order that believers may have life in His name. Through the ministry of the local church God intends that every believer be strengthened in the faith and equipped for works of service. (Ephesians 1:22,23; 4:11,12,16; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:47)
- We believe that Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the Church: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
- We believe that God instituted marriage and ordained it to be between one man and one woman for life (Genesis 2:18–25; Ephesians 5:22–33).
Article V: Membership
Section 1: Eligibility
Candidates who are willing to (1) Make a confession of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; (2) Accept the Doctrinal Statement; (3) Abide by the Statement of Commitment; and (4) Abide by the constitution of this church, shall be nominated for membership by the Elders. After completing the membership application, each person shall meet with at least two elders for the purpose of hearing their commitment to Christ. Upon approval of the elders, their candidacy for membership shall be communicated to the church two weeks before they are brought forward for membership. These two weeks are for congregational feedback concerning their acceptance into membership. Upon elder approval, based on the feedback, they shall be received into membership at any normal worship service.
Section 2: Responsibilities
Church members who are 18 years and older have voting privileges. Additional responsibilities of church members are summarized in the following Statement of Commitment:
Having received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I do now in the presence of God and this church joyfully commit myself to one another in the Body of Christ. By the aid of the Holy Spirit, it is my desire . . .
A. To seek the unity of the Spirit in all things by avoiding gossip and other sins of the tongue (Eph. 4:3);
B. To resolve conflict biblically according to Matthew 18:15–17;
C. To be thoughtful and courteous to one another, to be slow to take offense, and to be quick to forgive and to seek forgiveness (Eph. 4:32);
D. To encourage and pray with and for one another, sharing my burdens, sorrows, and joys; and bearing others burdens, sorrows, and joys (Rom. 12:15; Jas. 5:16);
E. To honor and pray for the church leadership God has established, and to share my praises and concerns with them (1 Thess. 5:12–13; Heb. 13:17);
F. To engage regularly in personal Bible reading and prayer (1 Pet. 2:1–2; Matt. 6:9–15);
G. To use my spiritual gifts for the edification of the church (1 Pet. 4:10–11);
H. To contribute, as the Lord directs, to the financial support of the church (2 Cor. 9:6–15);
I. To bring up my children, as may be entrusted in my care, in the way of the Lord (Eph. 6:2–4);
J. To not forsake the assembly of myself together with other believers at Cornerstone Bible Church (Heb. 10:24– 25);
K. To endeavor by example and by prayer, to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the unsaved (Acts 1:8);
L. To purpose that when I remove myself from this place, I will as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where I can carry out the spirit of this Statement of Commitment and the principles of God’s Word.
Section 3: Discipline
The purpose of church discipline is to restore a member who errs to a Biblical standard of conduct and doctrine (Galatians 6:1); to maintain purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6); and to deter sin (1 Timothy 5:20). Any member of Cornerstone Bible Church who teaches or insists on holding false doctrine, and/or who persists in disturbing the unity or peace of the church shall be disciplined by the church accordingly. Scriptural guidelines establish sequential steps, which should be followed progressively until repentance and restoration occur (Matthew 18:15–18).
- It is the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or sin to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his/her repentance and restoration (Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3) and if he/she appropriately responds, forgiveness should be granted. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then . . .
- The warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his/her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent (Matthew 18:16). If he/she appropriately responds, forgiveness should be granted. But if the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then . . .
- It shall be brought to the attention of the Board of Elders. If the Board of Elders determines after thorough and prayerful investigation confirming the heresy or sin with the individual and the lack of appropriate repentance after confronted, the Board of Elders shall inform the congregation of the church thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance (Matthew 18:17). If he/she appropriately responds, forgiveness should be granted. But if the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then . . .
- The board of elders shall inform the congregation of the church at a regularly scheduled worship service that the erring member shall be dismissed from the church membership pursuant to the Scriptures and treated as an unbeliever (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:11–13).
The members of this church agree that there shall be no appeal to any court (1 Corinthians 6:1–8) because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third and fourth stages of church discipline. It is clearly understood that the discipline process will continue to conclusion even if the erring member leaves the church or otherwise seeks to withdraw from membership.
If the erring individual, after any such warnings or dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the Board of Elders, then he/she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership (2 Corinthians 2:5–11).
Section 4: Termination
Membership shall be terminated for any of the following reasons:
- By physical death.
- By Request. Based on a written request, the Elders may remove a member in good standing from the membership of the church. Termination of their membership will be effective upon the formal written response by the elders. This method of termination shall not be used as a way to avoid corrective discipline of the church, which is outlined in Article V, Section 3.
- By Inactivity. Termination by inactivity will be effective upon the completion of one year of non-attendance at the public meetings of the congregation. After six months of non-attendance, the individual may be placed on an inactive non-voting membership list and will be notified of that action.
- By Dismissal. As part of the final step of church discipline, the elders may remove a person from membership at any regular business meeting.
Article VI: Officers:
The government of the church, the conduct of its business, the supervision of its general work, its organizations and its spiritual life, shall, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, be vested in a plurality of Elders.
Section 1: Qualification
Elders shall be nominated from the church membership on the basis of their spiritual qualifications as described in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9. They are to be godly men who adhere to the doctrinal statement of Cornerstone Bible Church and whose faith and ability to serve have been examined and approved by the church body as further described in section 3.
Section 2: Official Duties
The duties of the elders shall be . . .
- To teach and exhort in sound doctrine as well as to refute those who contradict the truth of God (Acts 6:4; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9; Acts 20:28–31)
- To be devoted to prayer (Acts 6:4)
- To lead by Christ-like example (1 Timothy 4:6–16; Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:3;
- To shepherd the body of Christ at Cornerstone Bible Church (Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:1–3)
Section 3: Nominations, Elections, & Terms
Nominations for new elders may be submitted by church members to the Elders no later than four weeks prior to the election of new elders. The list of elder approved nominations will be submitted to the congregation two weeks before the business meeting at which the election is to be made. They will be elected to eldership by a two-thirds vote of the members at Cornerstone Bible Church present at any business meeting having a quorum. There will be no term stipulations for elders. The elder . . .
- Will be considered active as long as he feels he can fulfill the duties as described under Section 2.
- Will be considered in-active if, at his own discretion or the advise of the other elders, he feels he cannot fulfill the duties described under section 2. The details of this in-active status will be worked out between the man and the rest of the elders.
- Will be reaffirmed every four years in his role as elder by a two-thirds vote of the members of Cornerstone Bible Church present at any business meeting having a quorum. (Any pastoral staff will not be subject to reaffirmation every four years, but will continue to serve as an elder as he is able to do so).
A chairman and a vice chairman of the Board of Elders shall be elected by the elders at their first meeting after the annual meeting. The Chairman shall be a Board member other than a Pastor.
The Board of Elders shall consist of as many as are gifted and called by the Holy Spirit at Cornerstone Bible Church.
Section 4: Senior Pastor
We recognize within the elders, there will be those designated as pastoral staff (1 Timothy 5:17), with one being designated as the Senior Pastor.
When the senior pastorate is vacant, the Board of Elders may serve as or appoint a search committee to pursue a suitable pastoral candidate. The candidate must gain two-thirds approval from the elders before being recommended to the congregation.
The pastoral candidate for senior pastor shall be elected by a two-thirds of the membership present at a business meeting having a quorum. His tenure shall be for an indefinite period of time, subject to his ability and availability to serve. In the event the senior pastor is unable to carry out regular assignments, he may at the discretion of the other elders, be required to step down from service for a period of time, until he is able to once again fulfill his calling.
Section 5: Other Pastoral Staff
When any other Pastor’s position is vacant and/or deemed necessary by the Elders, the Board of Elders shall nominate an individual for the position, and he shall be elected by a two-thirds vote of the membership present at a business meeting having a quorum. This also includes any interim pastoral position deemed necessary by the elders.
Any other non-pastoral staff positions are at the discretion of the elders.
Section 6: Dismissal of Elders
Any elder, including the senior pastor or other pastoral staff, may be removed from their position for any of the following reasons:
- Resignation of their position as the Lord moves them to do so.
- Disqualification because of sin. Any elder, including the senior pastor or any other pastoral staff, may be removed from office, based upon the decision by the other remaining elders, at any time, based upon moral, doctrinal, or other biblical disqualification (1 Timothy 3:1–6; Titus 1:7–9). The elders are subject to the same process of church discipline as described in Article 5, Section 3:
- Failure to fulfill the biblical responsibilities of being an elder. After much prayer and discernment, an Elder may be removed from office by the other remaining elders if they feel he is not capable of fulfilling the responsibilities of being an elder.
Article VII: Business Meetings:
Section 1: Types of Meetings
An annual business meeting must be called by the Board of Elders during the month of February. A notice of this meeting and agenda must be distributed by the Board of Elders to all members at least two weeks prior to the meeting. The chairman of the Board or his designee shall chair all business meetings.
Other meetings may be called at any time by the Board of Elders at its own volition or at the written request of 25% of the membership. If Elders are being elected, two weeks notice is required.
Section 2: Quorum
At any business meeting, a majority of elders must be present as well as 50% of the voting membership.
Article VIII: Amendments to the Constitution
This Constitution, with the exception of the Doctrinal Statement, may be amended at a business meeting by a 2/3 vote of the total active membership. The Doctrinal Statement may be amended by an 80% vote of the total membership. Notice of the proposed amendment must be distributed by the Board of elders to all members at least 30 days prior to the business meeting.
Article IX: Settlement of Disputes
In any dispute arising between church members or leadership pertaining to any matter of spiritual teaching, the shepherding of the church, and/or practices or policies related to its government, this dispute shall be resolved by the Board of Elders or an independent Third Party committee selected solely for the purpose of resolving the dispute. A decision shall be reached after prayerful consideration of the concerns of the parties and issues involved, in a spirit of humility, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace (I Corinthians 6:1-2; Ephesians 4:1-3).
In case of division of the church caused by conflict (from which we pray God by His mercy to preserve us), all property and assets of the church shall belong to those who abide by its Constitution.
Article X: Miscellaneous
All matters not covered by this Constitution shall be the responsibility of the Board of Elders.
Article XI: Dissolution
The elders may upon prayerful consideration and a unanimous decision, dissolve the work of the ministry of Cornerstone Bible Church at any time deemed appropriate, sensible, and/or necessary.
Upon dissolution of this church organization, the elders shall cause the property and all assets herin to be sold, either through private or public sale. From the proceeds, firstly all current and long-term obligations of the church shall be paid. Secondly, all remaining funds shall be directed to such one or more Christian organizations, the benefit of the church’s supported missionaries, and/or such other Christian endeavors as the elders shall determine.