We, the undersigned charter members of Communion Chapel of San Antonio, Texas, do ordain and establish the following Constitution and By-laws, do declare this church an active member of the fellowship of the Evangelical Free Church of America, and do voluntarily submit ourselves to the following articles in order to more efficiently carry out the commission given by Jesus Christ to His church, this sixteenth day of September in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred ninety one (1991), and as amended this 6th day of January, 2019.
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of the church shall be:
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE & COVENANT
Section 1 – Purpose of the Church
The purpose of this church shall be:
1. To worship God and to glorify Him on the earth. (Ephesians 1:4-6)
2. To preach and teach the Word of God. (2 Tim. 4:2)
3. To evangelize the world with the gospel. (Acts 2; Acts 15:7)
4. To develop each individual Christian until he attains unto the fullness of the stature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-15; I Thess. 5:11)
5. To be a constant witness for Christ and His Word. (Acts 1:8; 8:1-4)
Section 2 – Covenant of Conduct
The fundamental principles of this church are based upon the Word of God, therefore, every member of the church is expected to live according to its teachings and avoid from that which is destructive of the Christian life and dishonoring to God. Every member is earnestly admonished to refrain from slander and evil speaking of one another; to pray constantly for the church, its members and its ministry; to support materially the church according to ability and necessity; to attend the services as far as possible; and to live a holy and Godly life in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
ARTICLE III – STATEMENT OF BELIEF
Section 1- The Scriptures
We believe that the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, are the Word of God; that they are inerrant in the original writings; and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and practice. (II Timothy 3: 16; II Peter 1:21; Luke 24:27, 44; 2 Peter 3:16)
Section 2 – Godhead
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfection, and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence, and obedience, each one executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. (Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17, 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; Titus 3:3-7; Hebrews 1:1-3; I Peter 1:2-3; Revelation 1:4-6)
Section 3 – Creation
We believe that God personally created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3); that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) and that he disobeyed God, bringing sin (total depravity) and its condemnation upon the whole human race (Genesis 3:17). We believe that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but essentially and unchangeably is evil apart from divine grace. (Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 1:24-32; Romans 3:10-19; Romans 5:12; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3)
Section 4 – The Person and Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, is true God and true man (John 20:28), and in the sacrificial and atoning death of Christ through His shed blood upon the cross (Job 19:25; Isaiah 53; Matthew 28; Luke 2; I Corinthians 15; I Peter 1:18,19; I John 1:7; Hebrews 9:14,22), in His bodily resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:10, 2:32-36) to Heaven where He sits (Hebrews 1:1-3; I John 2:1-2) as the mediator between God and man today, (I Timothy 2:5) and His literal future return to earth (Acts 1:11) as the greater son of David who shall sit upon David’s throne and establish an everlasting Kingdom (Luke 1:32,33).
Section 5 – The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, and to testify of Him (John 15:26). He is the infallible interpreter of the infallible Word. He convicts men, regenerates the believing sinner, indwells, guides, instructs, and empowers the believer for Godly living, service, and worship. (John 16:13-15; John 14:26; Romans 8:26-27; I Corinthians 2:14, 3:16, 6:19)
Section 6 – Salvation
A. Sanctification (Past) … We believe that when a unregenerate person (child of Adam) exercises that kind of faith in Christ which is illustrated and described by Abraham in Romans 4, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life (John 5:24; Acts 13:39; Romans 5:1, 8:35-39; I Corinthians 3:21-23; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 2:10; I John 4:17, 5:11,13), and from the old creation into the new, that he has been justified from all things, and is accepted before the Father according as Christ loved, having his place and portion linked to Him and one with Him forever; therefore, he is in no way required by God to seek a “second work of grace” for justification, nor to maintain his justification by his own works of righteousness.
B. Sanctification (Present) … We believe that God has already perfected our Sanctification because our position toward God is the same as Christ’s position (I Corinthians 1:30). However, we believe that we retain our sin nature (i.e. It is not eradicated in this life) and thus our present state is no more perfect in this life than our experiences in daily life (Philippians 3:12). We believe that if a person has experienced the assurance of salvation (justification), normally he shall demonstrate his faith by works; therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to “press on” in holiness of life (Romans 6:1,2).
The biblical motivation for faithfulness is not a threat to ones security but:
1. Love (I John 5:5)
2. Fear of standing before Him at the bema seat and being chided for useless deeds (2 Cor 5:10)
3. Rewards (I Cor 3:12-16)
The solution for waywardness (as with the tenor of the epistles) is to call individuals to “Walk worthy of their call”. This includes exhorting them via the biblical motivations.
We believe the means of experiencing daily victory over the flesh, world and devil, is through faith in appropriating His death and life, by learning the Word of God, by prayer, and by fellowship with other believers. (Luke 9:23,24; John 17:17; Ephesians 6:18; 2 Timothy 3:15)
C. Sanctification (Future) … We believe that our sanctification is made complete in experience when we partake of bodily resurrection, at which time our bodies become like unto His. (Romans 8:18-23; Philippians 3:20,21)
Section 7 – Satan
We believe that Satan is an actual person, and not an imaginary influence; that he once enjoyed high heavenly honors and glorious heavenly privileges; that he, through pride, ambition and self-will attempted to betray the Almighty and brought down upon his head the judgment of God (Job 1:6-12; Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:12-19) that he operates today as the power of the air (Matthew 24:11; Ephesians 2:2) that he is a diabolical inventor, an arch deceiver, and the father of all lies (Genesis 3:1-6; John 8:44; I Peter 5:8) that he is the greatest enemy, the mightiest tempter, and the most relentless accuser of the saints (Revelation 12:10); that he shall one day be incarnated in the person of the Anti-Christ (Revelation 13:1-9) and in that role will finally meet the Christ in the battle of Armageddon; that there “the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head” (Genesis 3:14,15; II Corinthians 4:4); and that he shall eventually be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20, 20:10), the eternal place of punishment prepared for the devil and his angels.
Section 8 – Church Ordinances
A. Communion … The Lord’s Supper is a memorial by which we commemorate together the dying love of Christ until He returns, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. (Acts 2:41,42; I Corinthians 11:23-34)
B. Baptism … We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, and Son and Holy Spirit, to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our father in the crucified buried and risen Savior, and that baptism is a symbol of our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. (Matthew 28:19; Acts 8:36-39; Romans 6:4)
Section 9 – The Rapture
We believe in the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ to receive to Himself all those who have believed in Him, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (Daniel 9; John 14:1-6; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 3:10-11)
Section 10 – The Pre-millennial Return and Reign of Christ
We believe in the bodily return of Christ with His saints as prophesied in the Davidic Covenant prior to the era of Israel’s restoration and universal peace for a thousand years, thus fulfilling the hopes and predictions of all the prophets. (II Samuel 7:14; Isaiah 2, 11, 65:17-25; Zechariah 14; Revelation 19, 20:1-6)
Section 11 – The Eternal State
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the just to everlasting blessedness of the saved, and the unjust to the everlasting condemnation of the lost. (Revelation 20:11-15, ch. 21)
Section 12 – Marriage
We believe that marriage is the exclusive, covenantal union of one man and one woman, which union was designed by God. Genesis 2:24 states, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Jesus Christ affirmed this in Matthew 19:4-6: “And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'” We will faithfully follow this scriptural definition of marriage in the teachings and practices of this church, and therefore, for example only this church will solely officiate, solemnize, perform, and host marriage ceremonies involving the union of precisely one man with one woman as instituted by God.
ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 – Qualification for Membership
The church shall welcome into its membership any person:
(a) who testifies to having a personal belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,
(b) who accepts and affirms the teaching of God’s Word as stated in Sections 1-7 and 11 of Article III hereof,
(c) who agrees to abide by the Constitution and By-laws of the church and to submit to the discipline of the church as provided in Section 6 of this Article,
(d) who is a minimum of 18 years old, and
(e) who has made application as provided in Section 2 of this Article.
Section 2 – Application for Membership
A person desiring to become a member of the church shall:
(a) attend a new member class.
(b) carefully read the Constitution and By-laws for the Church.
(c) then meet with three or more Church Elder Board members and/or pastor(s) whom the Elder Board designates for this purpose, to permit them to inquire into the person’s qualifications for membership as set forth in Section 1 of this Article. If such Elder Board members unanimously determine that the person meets the qualifications as set forth in Section 1 of this Article, the applicant is immediately accepted into membership and the name of the new member is placed on the church roll and announced in the weekly bulletin.
Section 3 – Privileges of Membership
Membership in the church shall entitle a person to:
(a) vote on all matters presented to the church for vote,
(b) hold office in the church, and
(c) hold a leadership position (i.e. teacher, ministry leader).
Non-members shall not exercise these privileges.
Section 4 – Letter of Recommendation
Any member in good standing who wishes to withdraw from membership shall, upon request, in writing, be given a letter of recommendation from the church unless he/she is in the process of Church discipline.
Section 5 – Termination of Membership
Membership in the church may be terminated in any of the following manners:
A. Voluntary … Any member may withdraw from membership in the church by submitting a written request to the Elder Board that their name be removed from the list of members. This withdrawal shall be effective the date of such request as long as the member is not in the process of church discipline initiated by the Elder Board.
B. Involuntary … Any member may be dropped from membership in the church without their consent, for good cause based on Scripture and/or the Constitution of the church, as determined by the Elder Board, upon a vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members present and eligible to vote at any business meeting of the church. A motion to involuntarily terminate the membership of any member may be made only by an Elder Board member and, to be considered, must be seconded by another Elder Board member. Involuntary termination shall be effective immediately upon conclusion of voting.
C. By Review … The Elder Board shall, at least annually, update the membership records to keep them current. Any member who fails to attend at least one (1) worship service of the church during any consecutive six (6) month period, for any reason other than military assignment, missionary work or prolonged illness, may be dropped from membership in the church by Elder Board action as of and effective at the end of such period. This provision shall not apply to a member who is temporarily absent from the San Antonio area for more than a consecutive twelve (12) month period and who notifies a Elder Board member of this fact before or during the twelve (12) month period.
Section 6 – Discipline of Membership
Any member of the church who is found to be living in clear and willful disobedience of Scripture shall be warned, corrected and dealt with by the Elder Board members in accordance to Scripture (Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 5:11-13; Galatians 6:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; and others) in the spirit of brotherly love and prayerfulness. Should such member continue living in such disobedience, the church shall, in accordance with Section 5B of this Article, dismiss them from membership. Upon sincere repentance the person may be accepted again for membership in the church, in accordance with Section 2 of this Article.
ARTICLE V – MEETINGS
There shall be an annual meeting of the church to be held in Bexar County, Texas on a date to be established each year by the Elder Board, and such other business meetings as may be provided in the By-laws. All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order or rules set by the church. Notice of each meeting, whether regular or special, shall be given in the weekly bulletin or by oral announcement at a regularly scheduled worship service at least two consecutive Sundays prior to such meetings.
ARTICLE VI – OFFICERS
Section 1 – List of Officers
The officers of the church shall be:
(1) The Elder Board Members, consisting of not fewer than three men;
(2) The Chairman, who shall be appointed by the Elder Board from its membership and who shall also serve concurrently as Chairman of the Elder Board;
(3) The Vice Chairman, who shall be appointed by the Elder Board from its membership and who shall also serve concurrently as Vice Chairman of the Elder Board;
(4) Deacons as appointed by the Elder Board
(5) Treasurer, who shall be appointed by the Elder Board from its membership.
(6) Secretary, who shall be appointed by the Elder Board from its membership.
(7) Committees, who shall be appointed by the Elder Board;
(8) Pastor(s) as determined by the Elder Board.
Section 2 – Qualifications of Officers
A. Elder Board Members … In accordance with 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, an Elder Board member shall be a man who is: (1) above reproach; (2) the husband of one wife; (3) temperate; (4) prudent; (5) respectable; (6) hospitable; (7) able to teach; (8) not addicted to wine; (9) not pugnacious; (10) gentle; (11) uncontentious; (12) free from the love of money; (13) one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity; (14) not a new convert; (15) of good reputation with those outside the church; (16) having children who believe; (17) not accused of dissipation or rebellion; (18) not self-willed; (19) not quick-tempered; (20) not fond of sordid gain; (21) living what is good; (22) sensible; (23) just; (24) devout; (25) self-controlled; (26) holding fast the faithful work which is in accordance with the teaching; (27) able to exhort in sound doctrine; (28) able to refute those who contradict.
B. Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Pastor(s) … The Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Pastor(s) shall meet the qualification of an Elder Board member, set forth above, and such other qualification, if any, as may be set forth in the By-laws.
C. Deacons… Deacons shall be members of the church and shall meet the qualifications of deacon as set forth in Scripture (e.g. I Timothy 3:8-13), and such other qualifications, if any, as may be set forth in the By-laws.
Section 3 – Function of Officers
The governing body of the church shall be the Elder Board. The church shall delegate to the Elder Board all its authority, within the limitations stated in the Constitution and By-laws, to be exercised between its business meetings. They shall be accountable to the congregation, who may overrule any decision made by the Elder Board. Officers of the Church shall perform such functions, duties, and responsibilities as may be set forth in the By-laws.
Section 4 – Terms of Office
A. An Elder Board Member shall be elected to a three (3) year term of office. At the end of his term, should he desire to serve a consecutive term, that elder shall be subject to examination again by the Elder Nominating Committee and re-election by the church as outlined in section 5, paragraph A of this article.
B. Pastors … The Senior Pastor shall be elected to an indefinite term of office.
C. Other Pastors … Other pastoral staff will serve an indefinite term of office.
D. Other Officers … All other officers shall be appointed to a one-year term of office.
Section 5 – Nomination of Elder Board Members
A. Nominating Committee … On or before June 15 of each year, the Chairman of the Elder Board, with the concurrence of the Elder Board, shall appoint a nominating committee, consisting of not less than three members, one of whom will be an Elder Board member, one of whom will be a member-at-large of the church, and the other member shall be a pastor. The nominating committee will:
1) Prayerfully seek nominees for church office who fulfill the qualification set forth in Section 2 of this Article and the By-Laws;
2) Interview and solicit the willingness of each nominee selected to serve;
3) Present their list of nominees to the Elder Board at the Elder Board meeting at least four weeks prior to the elections;
4) Insure that the church membership is presented with the names of the nominees at least three weeks prior to the date of the election of officers.
The committee should consider the following passages in their nomination process … I Corinthians 4:1,2; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10.
B. Nominations from the floor … The members present at the annual meeting of election shall have the right and privilege of making additional nominations for any office from the floor, providing that:
1) The member to be nominated meets the qualifications set forth in Section 2 of this Article
2) The nominator has previously checked with the entire nominating committee to insure that no proper objection has been offered to the committee concerning the individual; and
3) The nominee has been asked one week prior to the meeting to insure he had ample time to prayerfully consider serving in the position, and he determined that he would be willing to serve.
Section 6 – Election of Elder Board Members
Following nomination as provided herein, the Elder Board members shall be elected by the church members, voting by secret ballot, at the annual business meeting held during each September or at a special business meeting of the church called in accordance with the By-laws.
Section 7 – Selection of Pastors
A. Calling …
1) Senior Pastor… The calling of the Senior Pastor shall be initiated by the Elder Board. The Elder Board shall appoint a committee from the membership of the church to conduct a search for the Senior Pastor. The search committee shall contain at least seven (7) members, including at least one (1) but not more than two (2) elders. At the conclusion of their search, the committee shall recommend to the Elder Board a single candidate to be called as the Senior Pastor. Upon approval by the Elder Board, the calling of the Senior Pastor shall be consummated at a business meeting by secret ballot with a minimum of twenty- five percent (25%) of the voting membership present. A three-fourths (3/4) majority of the votes cast at the meeting shall be required before a call can be issued. Public notice of a business meeting to vote on a pastor, stating the purpose, must be given on two consecutive Sundays prior to such meeting. With a confirming vote, a letter of call shall be issued to the pastor specifying all details pertinent to this office. Only one candidate shall be presented to the church at one time. At the time of his acceptance of the call, the pastor and his wife are considered to be members of the church.
2) Other Pastors… A non-Senior Pastor shall be called by the Elder Board. The Elder Board shall appoint a committee from the membership of the church to conduct a search for a non-Senior Pastor. The search committee shall contain at least five (5) members, including the Senior Pastor and only one (1) other elder. At the conclusion of their search, the committee shall recommend to the Elder Board a single candidate to be called as a non-Senior Pastor. Upon approval by the Elder Board, the calling of a non-Senior Pastor shall be considered consummated. A letter of call shall be issued to the non-senior pastor specifying all details pertinent to this office. At the time of his acceptance of the call, the pastor and his wife are considered to be members of the church.
B. Termination …
1) Senior Pastor…
(a) The Senior Pastor’s voluntary resignation shall be presented to the Elder Board not less than two weeks prior to the termination of his ministry.
(b) The Elder Board may recommend to the congregation that the Senior Pastor’s ministry be terminated for substandard performance or other cause under the provisions of Article IV, Section 6, of this Constitution. In this instance, upon a congregational vote to terminate, the pastor shall be immediately terminated and will be given six weeks severance pay.
2) Other Pastors…
(a) A voluntary resignation of a non-Senior Pastor shall be presented to the Elder Board not less than two weeks prior to the termination of his ministry.
(b) Upon recommendation by the Senior Pastor, the Elder Board may terminate a pastor for substandard performance or other cause under the provisions of Article IV, Section 6, of this Constitution. Upon approval by the Elder Board the pastor shall be immediately terminated and will be given six weeks severance pay.
Section 8 – Other Incidence of Office
A. Church Year … Terms of office shall run from October 1 through September 30, which shall be the church year.
B. Vacancies … Vacancies in elective office shall be filled by special election as soon as reasonably possible in accordance with Article VI, Section 5, and the By-laws.
C. Tenure … Other than as required by Article VI, Section 4, there shall be no prohibition of successive terms in office.
D. Annual Financial Review …
1) The financial affairs and condition of the church, as recorded by the Church Treasurer, shall be independently reviewed without audit at least once each year, with the resulting statement and report being made available to the church membership.
2) A financial review or an audit of the financial books and records of the church by a Certified Public Accountant (who is not a member of the church) shall be preformed not less often than once every three (3) years, but may be initiated at any time and performed more often by direction of the Elder Board.
3) The new proposed annual budget shall be presented to the church at least two weeks prior to the annual business meeting for the church members to prayerfully consider.
E. Expenditure Limitations …
1) Each Ministry Leader, with the approval of the Elder Board shall have the authority to spend from the church funds all such sums as are reasonably necessary or advisable to carry on or expand the ministries (whether spiritual, material or otherwise) of the church without prior approval of the congregation, subject however to a per expenditure maximum set annually by the congregation or, in the absence of such setting, to be $2,000.00.
2) Each Ministry Leader shall have the authority to spend from church funds all such sums as are reasonably necessary or advisable to maintain and repair the property of the church, subject, however, to the prior approval of the Elder Board.
3) Only by authority of the membership shall the officers of the church exercise the authority to buy, sell or in any way obligate the church in any legal transaction.
ARTICLE VII – STANDING
This church shall remain free and independent and shall not join itself to any other denomination or synod. It shall remain its own highest authority and conduct its business through its business sessions. The church shall cooperate with the Evangelical Free Church of America and its branches, and with the Texas-Oklahoma District of the Evangelical Free Church of America by sending delegates to conferences, supporting home and foreign missions and uniting in any mutual effort for the furtherance of the Gospel as the church itself may officially decide.
ARTICLE VIII – PROPERTY
Section 1 – Ownership of Property
The church may buy, sell, lease, pledge, own and operate property, both real and personal, as may be necessary or advisable to carry out its purpose, as set out in Article II, Section 1, hereof.
Section 2 – Title to Real Property of the Church
A. Title to all real property owned, acquired or received by the church shall be taken in the corporate legal name of the church and shall vest and be held in the church corporation. Any such property shall be conveyed in the corporate legal name of the church by deed executed on behalf of the church corporation by its proper officers duly authorized hereunto as here-in provided.
B. The purchase, sale, lease, exchange or encumbrance of any real property owned by the church shall be authorized in the following manner:
1) The Elder Board shall adopt a resolution recommending such purchase, sale lease, exchange, or encumbrance and directing submission of such matter to a vote of the voting members of the church at a regular or special meeting of the members called for such purpose.
2) Notice of such meeting and purpose shall be given in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and the By-laws of the church pertaining to the call of meetings.
3) At such meeting any such action must be approved and authorized by the vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members present entitled to vote, in person or by proxy.
C. A deed of trust, mortgage, bill or sale or other written instrument conveying or transferring property, or a contract agreeing to do so, or creating a lien thereon, when properly authorized, shall be executed for and on behalf of the church by the Chairman or Vice-Chairman.
D. No real property of the church shall be mortgaged or encumbered to provide funds for the current operating expenses of the church nor shall the proceeds of the sale of any such property be so used, provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall prevent or restrict the right and power of the church to give, create or assume a lien on such property in connection with the purchase or acquisition of any real property or the construction, repair, remodeling or improvement of a church building, educational building, manse or other improvements to or upon any such real property, whether improved or unimproved.
Section 3 – Dissolution of Church
Should the church be dissolved or cease to function or operate according to this Constitution, all property and funds held by the church shall be vested in and conveyed to the Texas-Oklahoma District of the Evangelical Free Church of America or, in the event said organization shall have ceased to exist, to the Evangelical Free Church of America.
ARTICLE IX – BY-LAWS
As a supplement to this constitution, the By-laws set forth duties of officers and other procedures and regulations of the church.
ARTICLE X – AMENDMENTS
Section 1 – Restriction on Amendment
Neither Article II nor Article III hereof shall be amended or repealed, in whole or in part, in any manner which fundamentally or radically departs from or changes the stated purpose, covenant or statement of beliefs of the church; provided however, that either may be amended for a clarification or expansion which is not inconsistent with existing provisions.
Section 2 – Procedures for Amendment
Amendments to this Constitution may be introduced through formal motion at any business meeting, but shall not be acted on until the following business meeting at which a minimum of twenty-five percent (25%) of the voting membership shall be present. At least two-thirds (2/3) majority of the votes cast at the meeting shall be required for acceptance. The proposed amendment shall be posted in the church bulletin and proper prior notice of the meeting shall be given on at least two consecutive Sundays. A copy of the proposed amendment shall be mailed to each voting member at least two weeks prior to said meeting.