HomeChurch Manual


A HomeChurch - WholeChurch Manual

[a guide to starting a HomeChurch]

by Jack M. Russell


DEDICATED TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE A HEART FOR
HomeChurch - WholeChurch


PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO COPY MATERIAL IN THIS BOOKLET



CONTENTS



  • Why Do People Home Church?
  • Getting Started
  • Purpose
  • Coming Together
  • Teaching
  • Worship
  • Meeting Needs
  • WholeChurch
  • Contributions
  • Children in HomeChurch
  • Starting a New HomeChurch
  • Other Helps
  • Incorporating
  • Table of Organization
  • Elders
  • Deacons
  • Mission Statement
  • Statement of Faith
  • Constitution and By-law's
  • Articles of Incorporation

  • WHY DO PEOPLE HOME CHURCH?

    -- by David M. Hebden

    The reasons that people "home church" are as diverse as the people who make up the gatherings. This is not an exhaustive explanation and will no doubt evolve as time goes on. These thoughts originated from responses to this question on HCDL.

    Some of us simply came to the conclusion that home church is the pattern as revealed in the scripture for the church to meet and were metaphorically dragged from the traditional "church" kicking and screaming by our conscience and understanding of the scripture.

    We found that we could no longer support being part of an organizational structure that was not supported in the scriptures. For instance there is no biblical support for the one pastor/minister denominations that we see all around us where believers gather once or twice a week generally on a Sunday, face forward as in a cinema, and watch what amounts to a performance which they might be privileged to have a small part in. This just does not exist in the New Testament, where believers gathered in homes in smallish groups and shared their life and faith with one another face to face.

    Not all of those who are lumped in with the "home church" label gather in a home. Some groups are a bit large for the average living room and so gather in a hall or some such. They don't call the building a church, however. Generally though we have few if any paid "ministers" and no one person takes a central position in our meetings. All are free, and encouraged to take part in the proceedings. This leads to another reason some of us are in home churches.

    Many of us over the years found that the established churches simply could not offer us real relationships and connectedness with other believers. (How can you fellowship with the back of someone's head while listening to someone up front conduct the service?) At best we found the relationships we were able to have (developed after the "service") to be superficial. We thirsted for more, but it was not to be found within the controlled structure of the service." (Just who was being "served" by whom anyway?)

    If we had something to share we were told to be quiet, and if we were actually permitted to share and it did not fit with the agenda of the minister or leaders we were in some cases simply ignored and in others all but destroyed by the attacks we endured in the name of "truth and unity" or whatever. All this because we simply wanted the opportunity to share with our brothers and sisters something of what the Lord was showing us or doing in our lives. We sadly, painfully left and have now found the delight of meeting face to face in homes or halls and sharing something of our lives and more especially His Life together.

    Imagine our delight when we found that this was not only real but scriptural too. (We had been taught that the Sunday morning service was "church" and, that if we neglected this "gathering together" we were in dire spiritual trouble.) We found that gathering together a pile of building materials in one place does not make a building, rather they need to be fitted together and joined one to another. Even neat structured piles cannot be lived in, at best they offer temporary protection.

    This leads us to another reason some of us gather in this way in homes. There is ample reason to do so basing our rationale on the scripture alone, for many this is sufficient reason alone and so it should be. For myself and many others this is not the reason that we stay. It is not that we are not convinced that it is scriptural, of this we are in no doubt. It is the fellowship and life that keeps us. Nowhere else have we found the safety and simple freedom to share our lives in our Lord with others.

    It is not always peaches and cream. Nothing ever is where sinful human beings are concerned. Indeed the organized traditional churches actually do a good job of protecting their adherents from one another simply because of the structure and the lack of opportunity for them to interrelate. This is not so in the home churches. We are eyeball to eyeball with one another. It can be very scary for the average person to find out that there is nowhere to hide. Yet we find out that while there is nowhere to hide, there is no need to do so because we are loved. Instead of defending ourselves from one another we learn to welcome each other into our hearts and in doing so become something more than a pile of building materials.

    We do not lose our individuality but rather our love binds us together as we recognize it and accept one another as His gift to each other. We are given the divine privilege of loving and caring for one another. The barriers of pain and hurt take time to come down, but as they do, we find healing and strength in Him as He gives us to each other and in the midst of it all, Himself.

    Here are a few Bible references to help along the way:
    --All of us minister, not just a particular person, and all are "priests": 1Cor. 14:26-33, 1Pe. 2.4-10, Rev. 1:6.
    --God has given multiple gifts and ministries: 1Cor. 12:7-31, Eph. 4:7-13.
    --We meet in homes, or wherever it's convenient: Col. 4:15, Rom. 16:3-5 and 1Co. 16:19 (same church), Philemon 2, Acts 2:46 (a convenient place that they could all get together until they were kicked out), Acts 4:31 (the place was just that, a place; the church was the people).
    [by permission - David M. Hebden - E-mail: dhebden@mail.island.net]




    GETTING STARTED


    What is HomeChurch? By definition, a church which meets in a home rather than a "church" building.

    First and foremost you must have a vision from God to start a HomeChurch. You need to have a heart for meeting in your home. Some think that having this type of fellowship is a part-time venture or a less substantial calling than having a traditional church. It is not. HomeChurch is very time consuming and not unlike overseeing a Traditional church. One qualification needed is to have the ministry of Hospitality, both you and your spouse. Most often HomeChurches start with just a few people. We suggest that you find a least one other family who is interested and committed to coming together at a set time. Some churches may opt to have meetings only when those who attend feel led to come together. This is all right, if that is what God laid on your heart when starting your fellowship.


    LETTERS FROM HCDL: http://www.home-church.org/whatishcdl.htm

    1. Prior relational ties: SCC did not start up as a bunch of strangers; rather, as 2-3 preexisting clusters of people that came together from Ohio and Vermont (later Kentucky[?]). There were already working ties to build on (so it only took 1 New Year's Eve party for people to feel really comfortable). And much identity-work had already been accomplished before anyone set foot in Salem.

    2. "Biographical availability" (sociological term): almost everyone involved was in their 20s, had no kids, and few career commitments (the first job landed of the group was Bill Lacey getting a job scraping barnacles off the bottom of boats). Lots of flexibility and free time.

    3. Residual pastoral and theological skills: even though all involved were viscerally opposed to paid clergy, the start-up group had ex-pastors involved who still functioned as such, and at least one theologian who devoted a great deal of time contributing his biblical/theological skills to the church.

    4. Critical mass of visionaries: there were more than a few yahoos with vision and energy and chutzpah.

    5. It was the 1970s--which provided fairly strong supportive cultural influences from the youth counterculture, charismatic movement, etc.--not the 1980s and 90s--with our own current cultural ontology: post-liberal, post-Reagan, resurgent New Right, a Michael Milkenizing economy, etc.

    6. Proximity to an evangelical theological seminary (Gordon Conwell): which provided more than a few drop-outs who joined up once they saw the vision.

    7. Oh, one more factor: not only were there preexisting relational ties, but the _number_ of people starting up was sizable: I believe in the teens. Not insignificant....
    I'm not denying the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome difficult odds; but I do think these situational/social factors significantly influence the experience of start-ups, and we need to take them seriously.
    Chris Smith E-mail: cssmith@gibbs.oit.unc.edu
    -----------------------------

    I have been asking other Canberra Home Church people about prerequisites for starting a home church and the advantages of having preexisting relationships. I was interested to find out if this was a characteristic of the successful home church start-ups in Canberra before my time. Apparently this wasn't always the case. A friend of mine, Ruth Monty, who has been part of a number of successful start-ups over 20 years said that none of them had preexisting relationships. I felt that was quite encouraging. The combination of no preexisting relationships plus some difficult little kids would probably make things much more difficult, however. One solution to this might be for adults to meet alone for a few months before the kids joined them.
    Stephen Crisp E-mail: scrisp@pcug.org.au
    -----------------------------

    It is quite surprising the kind of people with spare time who can keep a home church afloat. We have a retired motor mechanic in our Thursday night church who turns right off when we start talking theology (he says it is a load of rubbish). But he has kept us going when we have been in low periods. His wife says that it is the highlight of his week to see us all and he has a bath especially for us (he is English)! The thought of disappointing him after he has had a bath and put on a fresh shirt has often been the single thing that has got me to meetings. He is also a wonderful grandfather figure and I often go round to see him and his wife, during the day, when I am worried about things.

    Mothers who have a bit of spare time, because they don't go out to work, have also been really important to our churches. Since Robert and Julie Banks moved to USA a very large amount of the networking and organizing in Canberra has been done by such people.

    The 'costliness' of being in home church. As I talked to people about starting up, one idea kept coming up. This was, that home church is very hard work and takes a lot of time - - and as society changes it seems to be getting harder. My friend Ruth reckons that if you make home church too easy then you stop being on the cutting edge. I wonder which of the hard things we do keeps us on the cutting edge. Which things are just hard and which things a hard but to a purpose?
    Jill Crisp E-mail: scrisp@pcug.org.au
    ------------------------------

    Emily and I were talking in the car the other day, saying that probably the biggest flaw in our previous proto-house church experiment last year was that neither of the other two families was really committed to house churching. They were curious, interested, etc. But had lots of misconceptions, and ultimately either weren't committed or positively would rather have had a different kind of church. We were saying that if everyone would have been "on board," we probably could have managed the "destructive kids" problem.
    Christian S Smith E-mail: cssmith@gibbs.oit.unc.edu
    ------------------------------

    1. I would add to the list of criteria adding to viability of start-up: PROXIMITY. I understand that many from the Salem Church have chosen to live in close proximity to one another (how soon after start-up was this?) Many of us in the Pasadena churches have work+or study connections through Fuller. Having connections within the natural rhythm of one's life seems important in creating foundational relationship necessary to bring a house church organism to life.

    2. I would also add to the criteria NON-TRANSITORY. This has been a real struggle for us Pasadena HCers. Because so many of us have been Fuller students, many of us have moved after 2-3 years, which destabilizes the body. This is part of the negative side to the criteria you listed as proximity to an evangelical theological institution. In addition to the transitory nature of its constituency, having a critical mass from Fuller has also added more persons wanting to visit (This seems to be a great deal more than one would have in a non-seminary environment.) Some of this is great, but it doesn't make for consistency. Some folks are just theologically and practically curious, others are or may be interested in joining. It seems there needs to be some central sense of permanence for stability and security in forming a life in Christ together.

    3. Re: the critical mass of numbers involved. I think it follows from the previous point that there is some critical mass (more than half?) of fixed and committed persons necessary for a new HC to thrive. If I have the facts straight, didn't the Salem HCs form out of a larger community church, which then made for a greater critical mass for stability. I know I'm now feeling more secure in the Pasadena Churches since after five years we have a growing "cluster" of churches which adds a sense of stability. So, I would say, in addition to a critical mass within the HC of committed persons, I think it adds to the viability of the group for there to be a cluster of like folks in the area also.

    4. Finally, the whole discussion begs the question of the place of the leading and work of the Spirit in start-up of HCs. Certainly the factors discussed can facilitate the work of the Spirit. But certainly the Spirit could override such factors. And there could be other occasions where all factors are present and the group still flops.
    Katie Price Foster E-mail: kfoster@fuller.edu
    ------------------------------

    1. The existence, in a new home church of one or two people who can really love. This is a big one for me because of my previous experience in traditional church, where so many people pretending to love each other while nursing a lot of animosity and past disagreements. It wasn't till I joined home church that I saw people on a regular basis, moving forward from these things to real love. And the reason they did it was that there were a few shining examples in the network who found accepting people, forgiving people and understanding people very easy. They modeled love and we followed on behind. I still marvel at them and thank God for the fact that we can have honest relationships with each other and not just pretend ones.

    2. A real enthusiasm for God when we come together. I have been in some Christian groups who had it and some who had not (often because they had been Christians for a very long time). The former did so much better than the latter. It seems that if people are enthusiastic about discussing their relationship with God and they are believing that God will act in their church, then a whole lot more power is open to them. I guess this is the 'leading and work of the Spirit'. Sometimes our church gets too wrapped up in everyday life and forgets to relate it to God. This is a very Australian thing - Australians are so secular. We forget what a privilege it is to be among Christians and talk about where we are seeing God now, and where we are falling down and what God is doing about it. And when we forget to do this, we miss out on a lot of the spirit's power.

    3. Lots of independent thinkers within the group. I think you need these for two reasons. First of all you need people to think about what is going on in the group and 'judge for themselves if its right' (Luke 12:57 - authors paraphrase). You can't discern the spirit of a group and make corrections as you go along if you have got a fundamentalist philosophy lifted straight out of some book, be it the bible or any other helpful text. What you do now cannot be exactly the same as they did it in NT times, you have to look at the fruits of your collective actions and judge, together if they are good. Secondly you need independent thinkers so the church can hold its line when things get tough. If people are afraid to think for themselves they will often scurry back to 'big church' when home church experiences difficulties. Some people are born 'independent thinkers' but I have seen others grow to be like that. I have seen a certainty appear in them over the years: a sense that whatever 'the world' says, however small their church may be at the time or however much trouble their teenagers are giving them in home church, they know that their church is also giving them life and they are going to stick with it.

    4. A willingness within the core group of people, who got the church going, to step back and let it stand by itself. Home churches sometimes have within their ranks a group of providers and a group of receivers. But I feel that for a group to really become a church everyone has to be responsible for it and carry it as much as they can, given their circumstances. This requires the people who are good at organizing and teaching to be constantly 'leaving spaces' and 'standing back' so other people can develop their gifts. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't do what they do best (that is their gift and they should model their abilities to others) but they shouldn't ensure the success of church by always doing it. It's a bit like Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac. You have to be prepared to sacrifice the home church you value so much, to stand back and let it fall over a bit before it really comes to life as a cooperative, God-given effort.........Is this too melodramatic??
    --------------------------------

    What I value most, when it happens in home church, is guys taking the time to really consider what other members of the church think, to listen to them. This doesn't sound like much, but I reckon it's really important to the people whose opinions aren't usually thought to be very valuable - that is, women and young people. I don't think I can overestimate the importance that this act of listening has on the people who feel that their perspective isn't very important. It is so empowering! It is a hundred times more powerful than someone just being nice to you is. It makes you feel valuable and it lays the groundwork for real relationships. And it is what can bring home church alive because as soon as people really listen to each other and move someplace new, together in their thinking then they can start to see the value of conversation and relationship. It is a hard step, because it involves setting aside time to think about what other people say to you in church. I see people spending less and less time doing this in our churches, because or outside pressures. It is also difficult because substantial dialogue, where you talk and listen, will often show you where you are wrong and this is hard on the ego.
    Jill Crisp E-mail: scrisp@pcug.org.au
    ----------------------------

    In my experience, one of the saddest things is to see people with a vision of Jesus' church, trying to see that vision fulfilled in the system church. That vision, quite simply, will never come to pass. Its almost trite to say, but you really can't put new wine into old wineskins, wo/disastrous results. Many of my friends (and me) have in the past tried to go back and compromise with the system, and all we have succeeded doing is making ourselves miserable. The reason we try and go back is because its so hard to find/start a good house church. But once you've got a vision of this thing, you are hooked, because you can't go back to the system and be happy.
    Dr. Dan L. Trotter E-mail: trotter@coker.edu
    ------------------------------

    At Salem Community Church, we've noticed that when people leave us, they usually end up un-churched, often not by choice. We always say that we spoil people for anything else.
    Joann Hnat E-mail: jmh@shore.net
    ------------------------------

    It occurred to me that, if I were 'house-church-less' at present, I would begin by starting a Christian 'Search for Meaning' group for 6 weeks. It wouldn't be too difficult. I would just need to find a few people who were enthusiastic about Christianity, to help me. Then we would all need to think about people we know who seemed to be either interested in Jesus or searching for spiritual answers - people who would see value in talking about God and Jesus. They could be in 'big church' or outside. After we had found 10 or 12 people in all, we could get together and form our own agenda for each week - talking about the issues of spirituality that come up in our everyday life. All we would have to agree on was to share the time equitably and listen to people until we feel the pull of their argument. This last idea belongs to Karl Popper (you have probably heard of it before). I think it is important, if a really Christian tone of acceptance is to be set in a group. It would also be wise to have some outside advisers to talk about difficulties when they arose. Hcdl would be good for this.

    If all this were to happen then, my guess is that people would not want to stop after 6 weeks and I would have myself a new home church. (Both the 'searchers' groups I have been in over the last year have not wanted to stop.) Even if it did stop after 6 weeks it would have had value in itself as an experience very like home church.
    Jill Crisp E-mail: scrisp@pcug.org.au
    -------------------------------

    The institutional church has done a pretty good job of intimidating people from fellowship in Christ outside the headship of some "shepherd". We can get together for just about any activity under the sun -- but you had better not try fellow-shipping in Christ unless it is under the sanction and scrutiny of the pastorally gifted or his designee. If you are hungry for fellowship in Christ, why don't you just invite some friends in Christ over for some fellowship, bible study, prayer and sharing. As a suggestion, you might invite (corporately) Christ to take charge of the meeting, allow Him to set the agenda. It seems that people are so fearful of gathering in Christ unless it is highly organized according to someone's formula.

    If you are a new Christian, and do not feel very secure or grounded in the word -- seek to include one or more others who you discern to have attained some maturity to help keep the get-together in tune with the Holy Spirit. Relax, give it a try --- I am sure the Lord will honor your desire to invite other Christians into your home for the purpose of allowing Him to lead you all to a closer walk with Him and with each other through Him.

    And, assuming your experience is largely with the institutional church, it may be a strange thing to gather with friends and start a prayer, reading of the word, singing, or whatever unless it is being conducted by some "designated official" --- Please, get past this impasse -- no special gift (other than the Holy Spirit which we all receive when we accept and invite Jesus as our Lord and Savior) is necessary to get into some real meat through bible study. Simple open reading of some scripture and allowing people to freely express what it means to them -- can open the door to wonderful insights and a drawing closer to the relevancy of the Word and a closer relationship with our brothers and sisters.

    Please, get past any fear that you are not "called" -- we are all called -- at least sufficient to be able to fellowship deeply and meaningfully with others in Christ -- Nothing wrong with having an agenda -- in fact, it would be best to have some plan and preparation for what you intend to do when you get together -- but, be flexible, and foremost turn the true agenda over to Jesus. Most likely, as people relax and open up a bit, the actual course of the get-together will allow for welcome surprises for everyone. None of us are experts on getting together with other Christians in Jesus Christ -- but, hopefully we are His disciples, and He is teaching us. The greatest joys of home fellowship is that the Holy Spirit can reign more easily and fully than is generally EVER possible within the institutional setting with its agendas and its gifted pastoral crews.

    I am sure you will find that the Lord will provide a variety of gifts within those who attend. And, in regards to the gift of shepherding, most likely you have a significant gift in that direction also or you would probably not yearn to start a home fellowship.

    In regards to agreeing to commit to share a common life together -- this seems a rather unnecessary and burdensome prerequisite. Get together, learn to allow Christ to lead, allow yourselves to start growing in kinship -- the commitment will follow naturally as the love relationship develops over time. Most assuredly the composition of the group will change over time -- people drift out, others drift in. Leave it to God.
    Don Soegaard E-mail: donjulie@otn.net
    ---------------------------------




    PURPOSE

    The HomeChurch-WholeChurch Model
    As was normative for the Church in its first 300 years, Worship Center has organized itself as a city-wide cooperative of HomeChurches, each characterized by open, Spirit-led participation, while also exhibiting their own unique flavor. These local, energized buds of Christian life then join forces as a unitized WholeChurch -- a community expression of what God is doing in the smaller HomeChurches, through monthly gatherings, leadership collaboration, and corporate worship, vision, support, and accountability. We invite you to emulate this biblical, historical model.[See Acts 2:44, 46, 4:23, 31, 5:12, 20:7, Rom 1:7, 16:3, 5, 10-11, 14-15, etc.]

    There are several advantages to HomeChurch listed below:
    1.--HomeChurch lends to better [spontaneous] participation from those who attend. People are more open and comfortable meeting in a home.
    2.--Small groups encourages a closer relationship with Jesus and other saints.
    3.--One on one ministry is more readily accomplished.
    4.--People can't hideout in small groups.
    5.--Spiritual gifts are discovered and encouraged to be used.
    6.--More opportunity for those who want to minister and participate in leadership.
    7.--Prevents burnout; no one-man shows here.
    8.--Teaching is more readily accomplished in smaller groups. The California school districts have realized that smaller classrooms produce better students. Many colleges are now having discussions rather than lectures.




    COMING TOGETHER

    The practical dynamics of our assembly time

    -We have an open/participatory church. That means that all are loved, equipped, encouraged, and allowed to both give and receive the things of the Spirit. It is only as "the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, which causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love". [Eph 4:16]

    -We desire to come together in one accord and worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; entering the Holy of Holies through song, meditation, and ministering to God and to one another. [2Chron 5:11-14]

    -Each is to bring a psalm, hymn, teaching, revelation, tongue, interpretation, etc. Otherwise known as "spiritual potluck" [1Cor. 14:26]

    -We shall sing and pray with our spirits, and sing and pray with our minds. [1Cor 14:15]

    -Each is to move in the gift and /or ministry that God gives. [1Cor 12:4-7]
    It is imperative that the Holy Spirit guides and directs this time together. Each person should come prepared to worship through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, followed by quiet times so that the Spirit can minister to and through us. Feel free to minister both to the Lord and to each other as the Holy Spirit leads. Revelations, knowledge, and testimonies are to be shared. Requests for ministry and prayer are welcome. We may drift from quiet time to song and back. Each person is responsible to be sensitive to the Spirit and the ministries and needs of others. God is a God of order!

    We encourage all to prepare before they come. Preparation is a joyous and important part of fellowship.

    LETTERS FROM HDCL: http://www.home-church.org/whatishcdl.htm

    As we start groups we encourage folks to remember four 'R's: Relationship, Revelation, Reconciliation, and Rest. Since we like to eat together we have found that the "rest" part sometimes gets challenged. In order to simplify this part of our lives together we are constantly looking for ways to make our meals simple, simple, simple, without putting the burden on anyone. I am assembling a list of "on the spot" meals to help the home fellowships keep it simple. There are three suggestions:
    1. Full meal must be able to be prepared within the first 30 minutes of a gathering.
    2. Elements of the meal should be contributed by each member of the group.
    3. Components of the meal should require minimal advance preparation.

    We tried this with the host cooking up some rice and others bringing elements of a chicken soup. We called it "stoneless soup" since the host contributed rice instead of a stone (remember the children's story?) People brought broth, vegetables, chicken, and bread. It wasn't half bad!
    Dan Mayhew E-mail: Zootron@aol.com -- The Summit Fellowships - Portland, Ore.
    ------------------------------

    Our church used to have meals every meeting. We now only have them once a month, although our "refreshments" are substantial enough to be a light evening meal. Our people complained about all the work of it. Some of that may be connected to meeting on Sunday evening, and people being too tired to cook? -- Jeanne12@aol.com




    TEACHING

    Teaching has been one the most misunderstood ministries in the church. God has anointed some as Teachers. Not everyone who brings a teaching is a Teacher. We support those who are called of God to teach and also believe that God may put on another persons heart to bring a teaching. It is important to note that Elders must be able to teach, not that they have to, but that they are able to discern with their knowledge as to what is being taught. God has an order about what is taught and who teaches. All may share their revelations and even a teaching of another, but this does not qualify them as a Teacher. We encourage all who want to bring a teaching to do so. At present we have four who regularly teach in one particular HomeChurch, on a rotation basis, as to allow for a variety and an opportunity for all to minister. (We lend this latter comment only a as an example of what may be done -- if God supplies you with multiple teachers in a group -- use them! Let's not revert to the old' "one-man-show".)




    WORSHIP

    We strongly suggest that you find someone who can lead praise and worship. If that person is not available then use of tapes and/or singing acappella works well. Special song from those who sing with accompaniment tapes is always a blessing. When using overheads, copyright permission is necessary. There are companies who can give such permission such as Christian Copyright License at 17201 N. E. - Sacramento, Portland OR 97230 - 1-800-234-2446.




    MEETING NEEDS

    One of the main focuses of coming together should be ministering to God and to the Saints. Time to focus on our Heavenly Father and His Glory is the prime purpose of coming together. We suggest that you spend time ministering to Him and listening to what He has for you each time you come together. Also, the Saints seem to regularly have needs. It is crucial that we allow them to voice, and then attend to those needs, as God enables. A time of casual fellowship at the end or beginning is enjoyed by all who attend. Much ministering often occurs during this fellowship time, as the Saints reach out in word and encouragement to one another. This is a great time of learning to care for others and perfecting the ability to speak to and share with others. It prepares us to go and share with the world.




    WholeChurch

    WholeChurch, for us, consists of all the HomeChurches coming together on the first Saturday of each month for Praise and Worship, Teaching, Prayer, Fellowship and just hanging-out together for the day. We choose to meet in parks and at the lake as weather permits. This is a great time to evangelize [bring new people], meet those from other HomeChurches and fellowship with the children. Potlucks are the norm for this meeting. (As a note: We are not Sabbatarians. You, as we, may choose any day of the month you deem proper.)




    CONTRIBUTIONS

    While some HomeChurches only gather funds when there is a need, others may choose to be more traditional and accept contributions. If contributions are received and a receipt issued for income tax purposes, you may want to think about incorporating and receiving a tax identification number from the IRS. The information to do that can be found under the "Table of Organization" section in this manual.




    CHILDREN IN "HomeChurch"

    Excerpts from HCDL writers: http://www.home-church.org/whatishcdl.htm

    I think making things "work" for children is crucial - too many memories of the ridiculous and bland routines of my own childhood Sunday school experiences I suppose.

    We have between 4 and 6 children in our group, ages 2 - 9. We meet on Friday or Saturday night, a typical night looks like this: If we are having a meal it is at 5:30 or 6:00

    ----7:00 - casual activity, "catch up" conversation, a lot of interaction with the children. Kids may show a piece of artwork they created that week, or demonstrate a new dance they learned, or tell of an exciting experience, adults are sharing similarly at the same time and it just becomes an interesting whirlwind of related experiences and stories. We've really learned not to underestimate our children's ability to interact at a very mature level even as young as 4yrs old. The adult role is not non-sense kid gibberish or wind em' up with out-of-control rough housing and silliness. We actually interact on the same level with the kids as we do with each other. For example, we don't say to each other "...so John how was your week?" and then turn to a child and put on our "kid" voice and say "...and Danny did you do anything special with your little handsies this week?" We're careful about never "talking down" to the children. We can never thank our adult friends enough for truly being a close friend of our children as well.
    ----8:00 - singing on a fun, light hearted level, every child usually has some type of small percussion instrument and as adults we use whatever talents we have. We sing funky little "kids" songs (the kids are really just a good excuse for us to sing a lot of the songs that we enjoy as much as they do). Sometimes we dance around or see if we can get into a groove with various instrumentation and voice parts. The songs we sing range from folk, to contemporary, original compositions, and classic hymns. We want the children (and ourselves) to appreciate music and we involve all ages in our musical extravaganza.
    ----8:30 - An adult will read something describing or relating to God's character or works as an "intro to worship". The singing continues with a transition to slower praise songs and more reflective, and prayerful songs. Sometimes an older child will then read a selection from the Bible and the adults will then raise questions for the children to participate in discussing, or a child will raise a question that might stump the adults. Actually, we've found that if you can phrase an answer in a way that it makes sense to a child, you may understand it a whole lot better yourself. We take children's questions very seriously. Have you ever had a child ask you why God doesn't talk back when they talk to Him?
    ----9:00 - Children go to bed with lots of hugs and kisses, visiting children sleep in spare rooms. Adults go for a cup of coffee and get ready to hear what one member has prepared to share and discuss. When the discussion is complete (yeah right!) someone reads an introduction to communion, we sing some appropriate songs and share bread and wine. Prayer is part of or may follow the bread and wine. It seems at times to be a burden for visiting families to then haul sleeping or very tired kids back home. I'm not sure how this may evolve as the youngest children grow older and others have children. For now the children are an integral part of the first part of the evening and once in a while we allow them to stay up for the whole night when they beg to sit in on the adult time. I think that the passionate discussion is very intriguing to them and the mysteries of prayer and communion are a good experience at any level of comprehension.
    Tim Evans E-mail: TimTJE@aol.com
    ------------------------------

    Here's what our home church looks like . We've found that there are a few activities that we can easily do together and there are a few activities where our interests (that is, the kids' interests and the adults') diverge so widely that we need to just respect each other and not bother trying to understand it. Examples? Of the former, singing. Our kids and our adults can happily sing together for quite a while, so long as we adults can accept substantial variations in the emotional direction of things (happy to quiet to laughing, etc.).
    Another example: we can also pray together IF we don't require prayer to be done in a specifically grown-up way. Our kids seem to like their prayers to be more rote than our adults do. They also like them to be, um, to the point. If our adults subject our kids to long complex prayers we have usually stopped praying _with_ them and started praying by ourselves while they wait for us to finish.
    But there are some things where our kids and our adults have just had to accept each other without trying to do it together. We enjoy each other in very different ways, for instance. Our adults enjoy each other by sitting around and talking, an activity that our kids simply cannot comprehend. Our adults sit and talk about issues and our lives and what God is doing or what we want God to do.
    Our kids just shake their heads. They don't even believe that doing that is an activity at all! Our kids would much rather do something exciting like play with each other. Maybe it's that our adults are "reality" driven and our kids are "fantasy" driven. I don't know. I do know that in our home church we've had to agree to disagree about that.
    We've also come to do a lot of activities together that we do in different ways. An example of this is our meals together. Mostly our adults do the food preparation and our kids do the space preparation, setting and clearing. Our adults have insisted that we get to make the food. But our kids have insisted that they define the menu ("What's that stuff? Chicken cordon what? Yuk! _I'm_ not eatin' it!")
    Let me bring all this rambling down to a single point. At my current level of confusion, I believe strongly that _churches_ must do-about-the-kids. And _churches_ must do-about-the-adults. We need to jettison the idea that _adults_ need to do-about-the-kids and then present that doing-about to them for their consumption (like it or not!). That mode of doing-about-the-kids will only leave them pushing their plates away and saying "Yuk!"
    One reason I'm in home church rather than grown-up church is that I have a real voice in what we are and where we go. Most of our adults are like that. And so are most of our kids. Doing-about-the-kids is something we all do together.
    Hal Miller E-mail: hmiller@tasc.com
    ------------------------------

    Last fall, Chris & I and 2 other couples ran a "house church experiment." (For the other 2 couples, their first experience with anything like house church.) After several months, we decided to call it a day. There were several reasons why we stopped, but probably the primary one was that we had 6 kids under the age of 6 and only 6 adults. Generally, our meetings were chaos. Now, part of this had to do with the fact that two of the boys in question were pretty wild ones... but anyway, I guess it just seems to me that all philosophy about this issue aside, sometimes you just don't end up with the right mix of people, kids and/or adults!! Or, you just have too many kids.
    Emily Smith E-mail: ESmith1025@aol.com
    ------------------------------

    I have enjoyed the postings on the "kids issue" and having 3 teenagers I have been through a lot of stages with them. It seems to me that a practical way to describe my/our HCs approach to the kids is - - "Start with the end in mind". Ask ourselves, what do we want our kids to take away from the HC experience after x years? Then be sure to include activities in HC that work toward those goals. Here are a few (two) examples:
    ----1.For us one of the goals has been to form relationships between the adults and kids that will stand the test of time and be a support in times of need. This has proved especially helpful when the primary relationship between the parents and children is being stressed. Therefore, the kinds of things that occur in HC have to do with building _real_ relationships between the kids and the other adults. One-on-one or small group activities work well here and it turns out it doesn't really matter what the activity is, as long as the adult and child are relating on an honest/authentic level. Kids are real good at telling the difference between an adult's "good intentions" and a real interest. Over time, special relationships will grow between adults and kids, but not between every adult and every kid, so don't force matches that don't work.
    ----2.The strength of these relationships can be substantial. This has been driven home particularly hard this week as Craig one of our long time HCers is leaving to move to KY. Our daughter Elizabeth (14) has been crushed that he will no longer be a part of her life. He has been a wonderful example of a strong Christian man (warts and all) that has cared a great deal for her. It provides her with a role model that is different and hopefully complementary to the one I try to provide.
    Another goal we have is to help the children grow in their understanding of God and the role that He plays in their day-to-day lives. We have tried many things to make God real to the kids, story telling, acting out plays, sharing about needs and answered prayers and the like. We try to be open with the kids about how God deals with us and encourage them to share in these discussions.
    Our HC has mostly older kids (12-16) and teenagers are particularly vulnerable to "getting bored". So it is important to continue to touch base with them to see if what's going on is relevant to them. If it isn't then change the direction to pull them in or let them split off and do something they want to do.
    One Sunday I discovered a technique for pulling them in that worked unusually well. I was facilitating the meeting and got strong non-verbal messages from the kids that they were "getting bored". So I redirected the meeting to focus on them by discussing an issue that they would be interested in. I didn't know what would be a good issue so I simply posed the question to them, "Why are you here today?" and asked each of them explain to the group why they were there. The answers were fascinating and showed quite a depth of understanding. The ensuing discussion lasted over an hour. It allowed us as a group to discuss issues and feelings that were on the hearts of kids and relate them to ways that we as adults feel and how God ministers to us on a day-to-day basis.
    Other simple questions that can evoke discussion are "What do you worry most about?", "What would you like to change most about your mother/father/brother/sister/school/....", "What do you want to be when you grow up", etc. Discussing things in a supportive group environment will help the kids to understand the context of their lives and help them to work through some of the difficult issues.
    Rick Lobsitz E-mail: Richard Lobsitz rmlobsitz@tasc.com
    ------------------------------

    We have been meeting together for years with other believers and for many years, among our friends, we were the only ones with children. We both feel that it is important to remember "children will be children and we should let them be children". We shouldn't expect them to be "adults" or "theologians".
    From our experience, when we meet together, we start with a shared meal and prayer with all children and adults. After that we usually have a short time of "what's going on with everyone" as a group. After that we may do many different things (prayer, singing, reading the Bible, sharing, and (testimonies). Our meetings are usually different. So go the children. Sometimes the children stay in with us to sing and pray. Sometimes the children stay in with us all night. Most of the time, we let the children be children. They may all go outside and play together. They may go to another room we have (right off our living room) to play games, do puzzles, color, or just talk. Basically, they are off building relationships with their peers. Exactly what the adults should be doing together. Yes, it might not be as "spiritual" as the adults, but I think sometimes just as important.
    In our fellowship our normal mixture is 22 people with 9 of them being children and 3 of those being under the age of 16 months. This sometimes can be confusing. It sometimes can be hectic. But without doubt, it is always a blessing. The children fuss some, if they fuss to much we take them out for a while until they calm down.
    The blessing comes when we see our son Caleb, and his "buddy" Joshua (only two months younger than Caleb), kissing and hugging on each other, loving each other to death. They are building a loving relationship, from the way they share their toys to the way that they try to sing and dance with each other. They are worshiping Christ in the manner that they are able. Should we question their sincerity because of their lack of physical maturity? Of course not!
    I also think it is important for our children to build strong and loving relationships with those adults we fellowship with. Our children often call the others, uncle or aunt. It is wonderful to see them have such depth of relationship with other Christians. They also aren't afraid to call things the way they are and sometimes have a unique way of rebuking someone without them even knowing it. They are purely a joy to me in their simplicity of heart and lack of motives. They are truly a gift!! We have found that with the new arrivals, we as a fellowship, have had a special evening to thank the Lord for His gift in our midst. We also have had group picnics, bonfires, outings, weekends at the Holiday Inn, and almost anything else you can think of that's fun.
    Recently, something happened in our fellowship that took me by surprise. Someone we have known for awhile, but hadn't really seen much has started fellowshipping with us. He has been having a lot of difficulties. One night he was especially down, and as my husband was talking and praying with him on the phone, I found our oldest daughter very concerned about this persons welfare. She (in her own way) was making her request made known to God and praying for him to feel better. This is what can happen with children in home meetings.
    Lori and Chris E-mail: OIKOSKIRK@aol.com
    -------------------------

    We expect the group to divide sometime after the first of the year when a member gets his house ready for a group to gather there. That still means a large number of kids. As some others have commented, there is this tension between making the church "kid centered" and giving the parents a chance to "take a break" from parenting while interacting with the brethren. Larger numbers of kids only complicate the issue.

    Some things we've considered:
    1. Since we are a network, pray that one of the other churches might consider providing care for the kids as a ministry. Sounds like we are trying to get rid of them, huh?
    2. Rotate caring for the younger ones within the group. That's what we're doing, though the rotation is pretty one-sided among a willing (definitions of "willing" vary) few.
    3. After a time of gathered worship, release the kids to the great outdoors. This is Portland, Oregon. Here we have a generic forecast from October to June: mostly cloudy with frequent showers.
    4. The long awaited epiphany.
    Dan Mayhew E-mail: Zootron@aol.com -- The Summit Fellowships - Portland, Oregon
    ------------------------------

    A couple of weeks ago, in Price Club of all places, I bought a tape of 'Wee Sing Bible Songs', for the princely sum of $3:99. It comes with a book containing the music and the words. Maybe you wouldn't want to use all the songs but there is a large selection of 'standards' appropriate to the age group from 0-8 years of age.

    Songs like:
    Jesus loves the little children - Jesus loves me
    Deep and Wide - Silver and Gold Have I None
    Little David Play on your Harp - His Banner over me is Love
    Praise Him, Praise Him - Standin' in the need of Prayer
    He's got the whole world in His Hands
    Rejoice in the Lord Always - to name but a few.
    Julie Banks E-mail: JuliaBanks@aol.com
    ------------------------------

    Here's the caution for house churchers: treat one another with gentleness and compassion when poking into one another's family life. He who carelessly sticks his head into a lion's den may get it bit off! This is particularly true of brethren who conclude that parenting challenges must be the fault of parental failure of some kind, and then say so. Certainly we are to admonish one another and take a loving interest in one another, but tact and diplomacy are vital communication tools in the task.
    Dan Mayhew E-mail: Zootron@aol.com -- The Summit Fellowships - Portland, Or
    ------------------------------

    I think you can work on the disruptive behaviors by going at it from the point of etiquette, or "house rules", rather than directly addressing the root problems. For example, the host(s) can say things like, "I'm sorry, Billy, but in our house, we don't allow people to run up and down the stairs," "Sally, we don't like for people to yell and scream in our home. Would you please use your 'indoor voice'?" "Robin, we have a rule in our house that people must stay at the dinner table until they are excused."
    I'm sure that some people will think this approach is deceptive, or wimpy, or whatever. But I think it's perfectly valid. You're not telling the parents that the way they raise their children is wrong. You're simply pointing out that different people have different ways of living, and that they may have to adjust their behavior depending on where they are.
    Another reason I like this approach is that it treats the children as participants in the meeting, which they are. It allows you to address a child directly, rather than going through his or her parents. If we don't allow adults to consistently do things to disrupt our meetings (and I *hope* we don't), why should we allow children to do so? (I take it as a given, of course, that what counts as "disruptive behavior" from a child is different from that of an adult.)
    Joann M. Hnat E-mail: jmh@shore.net
    ------------------------------

    I have observed some parents in a house church setting who literally had almost no control over their kids (or failed to exercise what control they might have). The kids would listen to other adults for a while (which was embarrassing to the parents), but not too long before they would start again pushing toward destroying things and endangering other children. Virtually incorrigible 2 and 4 year olds. It appeared that, for that situation to work, it was going to take some real deep, heavy dealing with the situation; that's not what happened. Again, probably an outlier case, but real nonetheless. The "house rules" approach only made the situation all the more painfully difficult for the parents, who were really great people.
    Christian S Smith E-mail: cssmith@gibbs.oit.unc.edu
    ------------------------------

    Our children do not come to our meetings. I didn't say that they aren't allowed into our meetings. They simply don't come. They are given the choice, and seizing it, they choose to be with each other, and we cheer them on. We all live within two small blocks of each other, and the little'uns see each other umpteen times a week, and they never tire of each other. Talk about learning some socialization skills! They are allowed their conflicts up to that certain point, and then they get a little help working them out. Somehow through it all, they would still rather be with each other, than with us, and all our adult excitement and humor. It strikes us as healthy.
    About once a month, some one of the children will want to come, and he or she will, and then the poor little bugger is cured for another few months. Of course, one of the boys just reached 15, and decided that he wanted to start meeting with us, and he has been for two months now. His father once said, "If you give a child Christ in small enough doses for a long enough time, you will vaccinate him against the Lord." It would seem that his opinion has been validated. I certainly liked it.
    Kevin Knox E-mail: macknox@atlanta.com
    ------------------------------

    We actually had a 4-year-old in our group last year who never did a thing that his parents or any other adult told him to and he was noisy in the meetings. In our case, however, it didn't occur to us to question the parents about their parenting styles - I think that we just assumed that a certain amount of anti-social behavior is to be expected from a 4 year old. (we have seen some horrendous behavior in little kids, in our church - and simply ignoring what adults said didn't seem too bad too us. At 4 you can always bodily remove them from an activity, if they wont stop when you tell them to.)
    Anyway - our approach was to insist on house rules and church rules and to make sure that he was regularly taken out for a play by an adult other than his parents. This approach worked really well. The house rules and church rules meant that the adults still felt that they have some control over the meeting. The time-out with another adult had a number of good repercussions:
    ---The parents saw that we valued their child enough to give up adult-talking-time, to play with him. They were really touched and encouraged by this.
    ---It gave the opportunity to work on adult-child relationships across families, within the church. These kind of relationships are as scarce as hen's teeth in Australian society but we need them so much!
    ---It was a gift to the adults who spent time with the little boy. He was so cute when he was by himself!
    ---The little boy was happier to come to church and happier to leave his Mum and accept help from other adults. After a good play, his 'emotional tank' was full and he needed to act out a lot less.
    ---The only cost was that the adult that went out with the little boy did miss out on some adult time, but I think, on balance it was well worth it.
    Jill Crisp E-mail: scrisp@pcug.org.au (Stephen Crisp)
    ------------------------------

    Today we at Salem community church got to experience what it might have been like for those in the temple when 12 year old Jesus read from the scriptures. One of our children presented the days teaching. It was absolutely wonderful! One of the best yet! We hope a trend is set.
    Mark Retallack E-mail: markr@shore.net
    ---------------------------

    Today's teaching in our church by a 5-yr-old was priceless. An added blessing to this is that he, the little boy, volunteered by himself to teach! He was comfortable and confident enough to speak to a group of 35 or so adults and other children. His mother said he wasn't nervous the night before and he slept well.
    The teaching was the story of David and Goliath read from a children's Bible. The lesson from today's teacher was "David trusted in God and kids can win battles, too."
    What do we do with kids in our church? For one thing...we let them teach! Out of the mouths of babes...
    Doris-Ann E-mail: VOSSELER@gordonc.edu




    STARTING A NEW HomeChurch

    We suggest that a new HomeChurch is started when:
    - You out grow the one your in. [if you have about twenty people you should pray about splitting and starting another group]
    - When you have someone who wants to start their own group and can oversee it.
    - Location, if people have to travel to far.




    OTHER HELPS

    BOOKS AND MATERIAL

    "Restored Christianity" - "The Open Church"
    Open Church Ministries - 1624 So. 21st St. - Colorado Springs, CO 80904
    719/471-9191 Fax 719/471-9327 - E-mail: info@openchurch.com

    "Rethinking The Wineskins" - "Who is Your Covering" by Frank Viola
    Present Testimony Ministry - 1405 Valley Pl. - Brandon FL 33510
    E-mail: Fviola3891@aol.com

    WEB PAGES

    Association of Christian Web Authors
    http://acwa.hypermart.net/acwac.html

    Grimes, Dwaine M.
    http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/3162

    HDCL
    http://www.home-church.org/whatishcdl.htm

    Home Church page:
    www.homechurch-homepage.org/welcome.html

    Lindvall, Johnathan
    http://members.aol.com/Boldcl/articles.htm

    Present Testimony Ministry
    www.home-church.org/present/

    Servant, James
    www.theearlychurch.com

    Symbols Unveiled
    www.angelfire.com/biz/wcr6

    Tillman, Don
    www.crosspoint.org/

    The World Wide House Church Directory
    http://hccentral.com/directory/#view




    INCORPORATING

    Why Incorporate? There are numerous advantages in incorporating as a non-profit, tax exempt corporation. A few major reasons are as follows:
    --It establishes the church as a separate legal entity.
    --It enables the church to receive tax deductible gifts.
    --It limits the liability of the church leaders in the case of disaster or lawsuit.
    --It makes provision for the church to legally ordain individuals who are called by God into the ministry.
    --As stewards of our resources, it is important for us to take responsible legal steps to effectively expand the work of the church in this increasingly complex society.

    If you chose to incorporate you can do it yourself, there are self help books available, or contact an attorney. We have included some items in this manual which may help you if you chose to do your incorporation yourself.




    TABLE OF ORGANIZATION

    We have included our Table of Organization and other information to help those who are just starting a HomeChurch.

    TABLE OF ORGANIZATION
    A HomeChurch-WholeChurch

    The WholeChurch:
    The WholeChurch's name is "[Your Name]" which is recognize by Federal law and the laws of California as being a non-profit church organization.

    The HomeChurches:
    Each HomeChurch will have an elder and/or elders to oversee the group.

    Board of Elders:
    The Board of Elders* is made up of [2] men. Two of the [2] men are ordained pastors*.
    The function of the board of elders is to oversee the operation of the WholeChurch and the HomeChurches. They will be called WholeChurch Elders.

    Contributions:
    All contributions to Worship Center will be administrated by the WholeChurch Elders. It is our intention to use these funds to perpetuate any ministries that are established in the HomeChurches. Any funds that are not used by the HomeChurches will go into the general fund, and will be used by the WholeChurch Eldership to cover the expenses of the WholeChurch, i.e., Worship Center.

    *Elders: men who meet the criteria of 1Tim 3:1-7.
    *Pastors: men who have a certificate of ordination; who are then recognized by the State of California to perform marriages, funerals.




    ELDERS

    1. Elders
    The official board of Worship Center shall be invested in elders with the senior elder. The elders shall be composed of men who meet the Scriptural qualifications contained in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

    2. Selection
    The selection of elders will be determined by the senior elder in the council of the existing elders.

    3. Number
    The number of elders shall be determined by the discretion of the senior elder in the council of existing elders.

    4. Term
    Elders shall serve for as long as they are active in the fellowship and as long as they continue to fulfill the Scriptural qualifications for elders.

    5. Termination
    A person's position as an elder shall be terminated by:
    a. resignation;
    b. death;
    c. the advice of the existing elders;
    d. except for senior elder

    6. Hearing
    If requested by the elder whose membership is sought to be terminated, a hearing shall be held before the existing elders to determine if one or more grounds for removal exists. An elder shall not be removed except by the assent of the council of the remaining elders.

    7. Elections
    At the first meeting in January of each year, a Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be selected who shall serve for one [1] year term or until their successors shall have been selected. The Secretary shall keep detailed minutes of all meetings and official actions of the Board of Elders and preserve these minutes in permanent form.

    8. Meetings
    The Board of Elders shall meet as often as deemed necessary to discharge the responsibilities as spiritual leaders.

    9. The decision-making process of the church shall be made in the council of the elders.

    10. Charge
    The Board of Elders shall be charged with the over-all spiritual care.

    11. Committees
    The Chairman of the Board of Elders shall be an ex official member of all committees and he may appoint any elder to act as his representative in this regard.

    12. HomeChurch elders will attend WholeChurch meetings and training sessions.

    13. An ongoing process of recognition and establishing Eldership shall exist.

    14. Will bring contributions to the weekly leadership training meeting.




    DEACONS

    1. What is a deacon?
    A deacon is a servant. A servant who ministers to the everyday needs of the congregation. A deacon deals with the daily needs of living in this world, such as food and covering or want of same. Deacon's relieve the Elders of these worldly tasks so they might better perform their spiritual duties. Acts 6:1-6

    2. Qualifications
    Persons selected as deacons shall be men or women who meet the Scriptural requirements as contained in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. A person who is able to say "No," in love. 1Tim 3:8-13 8 Deacons likewise {must be} men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, 9 {but} holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons if they are beyond reproach. 11 Women {must} likewise {be} dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be husbands of {only} one wife, {and} good managers of {their} children and their own households. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

    3. Selection
    A candidate for selection as a deacon shall be recommended by the fellowship in recognition of a divine call of God to such position. Acts 6:1-3

    4. Powers
    A deacon shall have such authority, powers, duties and responsibilities as shall be vested in him by the HomeChurch elders, and he shall be subject to the direction of and be responsible to the elders.

    5. Term
    Deacons may serve for as long as they are active in the fellowship and as long as they continue to fulfill the scriptural qualifications for deacons.

    6. Termination
    A person's position as deacon shall be terminated by:
    a. resignation
    b. death
    c. the advice of the WholeChurch elders

    7. Charge
    Deacons shall be charged with such specific spiritual and temporal duties as may be delegated to them by the HomeChurch elders.

    8. Our desire
    It is our desire that every member of this body have their need's met, and that no one be or feel left out. It is our expectation that deacons will help fill this desire.


    DEACON'S FUND

    Distribution of funds: Recipients requirements:

    Participator in Your Church:
    The recipient shall be a participator in [Your Church] and attend a minimum of three (3) meetings a month. Gal 6:10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. 1 Tim 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. (NAS)

    Must work:
    2Thes 3:10-15 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. 15 And {yet} do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (NAS)

    Amount:
    The total amount a recipient family can receive in a twelve (12) month period is $50.00. Those who need more or continuous help shall be referred to the WholeChurch elders for consultation.

    Duties of Deacons:
    To evaluate each need fairly and according to priority, discerning in the Spirit as to how to meet the need presented. We encourage you to work in pairs. It shall also be the duty of the Deacons to track each family that receives help.

    Special needs:
    Any need that does not fit into the categories listed above should be referred to the WholeChurch elders.




    WORSHIP CENTER'S MISSION STATEMENT

    A Participatory Church, where each believer is loved, equipped, encouraged, and allowed to both minister and be ministered to according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and which holds to Scripture's HomeChurch- WholeChurch model.

    As it is "the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, which causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" (Eph.4:16).

    The mission of Worship Center can best be conveyed through the asking and answering of four basic questions:

    I. Who is the Church?
    II. What is the Church supposed to be doing?
    III. What are the particular emphases of this church?
    (i.e., What makes us special, unique, and needed?)
    IV. How can we actualize our mission?


    I. Who is the Church?
    By definition, the Church, or ecclesia (New Testament Greek rendering) consists of all born of the Spirit believers who have been called out from the world by Christ Jesus, and then called together as a body, for a purpose.

    The Church can be further identified via an examination of the Biblical metaphors used to describe her, the primary of which are:

    - the body of Christ (1Cor.12, Eph.4)
    - the people of God (2Cor.6:16, 1Pet.2:9-10)
    - the flock of God (Jn.10:16, 1Pet.5:2-3)
    - the army of God (2Tim.2:3-10, Eph.6:12-20)
    - the bride of Christ (Rev.19:7-9, Eph.5:22-37)
    - a royal priesthood (1Pet.2:9)
    - the temple/building of God (1Cor3:16, 6:19)
    - the pillar and support of the truth (1Tim.3:15)


    II. What is the Church supposed to be doing?
    Scripture reveals the purposes of the Church in the form of a hierarchy. That is, some purposes are more basic or important than others. These purposes can be well represented in the form of a tree -- the root representing the foremost purpose, the trunk symbolizing the second most important purpose, and the seven branches signifying the remaining major purposes of the Church.

    Accordingly, the Biblically relayed purposes of the Church are:

    Though represented in a distinct and systematic way in this model, it must be noted that just as a tree is both a collection of parts and a unitized whole, so also are the purposes of the Church. They are related to and are to varying degrees dependent upon each other.


    III. What are the particular emphases of this church?
    Those things which make us special, unique, and needed can be presented in two basic categories: 1) functional elements, and 2) structural elements.

    1) Functional Elements:
    - we encourage participation, not pew-potato-ism
    - we invest in people, not property
    - we nurture relationships, not ritual

    A) We encourage participation, not pew-potato-ism.
    The church today is to a large degree, a hollow shell of what God desires and intends it to be. Why? Because only a small percentage of its members are participating in an active and effectual manner. It has grown into perhaps the most prolific spectator sport in history. A few eloquent and charismatic performers take their place on stage and the rest of the body passively sits by and takes in the show. God did not intend His church to be so. He did not create church leaders to be one-man-shows, and He did not create non-leaders to be pew-potatoes.

    As "the body of Christ," the church is composed of individual members. Thus, it is only as each of us functions in that role for which God designed us that His body will operate as a healthy, effective, and efficient unit. A primary purpose of this church then, is to equip, encourage, and allow you to be all you can be for and in the Lord, both within the assembly and outside the assembly. It is only then that "the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the whole body for the building up of itself in love" (Eph.4:16).

    B) We invest in people, not property.
    "All they want is my money!" is a cry often railed against the church today. And who can argue against such a complaint? With constant pleas for money being aired on TV, radio, and from countless pulpits across our land.

    Statistics reveal that the vast majority (99%) of North American Christians' resources are spent on the Christian world -- a large portion of which goes to real estate. Yet, there are approximately 2.5 billion people in the world who have not yet heard the gospel -- even once -- and here we are spending all our resource on ourselves! This is an atrocity.

    God calls His children to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves (Mt.10:16). Thus, we are to wisely and expediently handle the resources He puts into our hands.

    As such, our King has given this church a strategy whereby we can fulfill His purposes, and at the same time spend a minimum amount of our resources on property.

    Does God care about buildings? No. He cares about people. So do we.

    C) We nurture relationships, not ritual.
    It is not difficult to choose virtually any church in the phone book, and without ever laying eyes on the church itself, determine exactly what happens on Sunday morning, and in what order!

    Is it any wonder that the church is perceived as boring? Is it any wonder that most churches are boring? They are as predictable as tax hikes.

    What's the problem? Ritual -- unbiblical ritual. What's a solution? Relationships. We must once again open the door to the establishing of significant relationships in our assemblies. Relationships are unpredictable and exciting; they are "the stuff of life." God desires an intimate relationship with us; we need one with Him. We desire and need relationships with each other as well.

    Let us be bound only by the constraints of Scripture, in the Spirit, not by man-hewn ritual. This church is not to be a center of ritual, but of relationships -- first with God, then with each other (Mark 7:1-8).

    2) Structural Elements:

    A) The HomeChurch-WholeChurch Model
    The predominant question posed by those presented with the Participatory Church model is: "Well, what if it grows and gets big? How could you possibly keep the doors open for full participation by everyone?"

    Fortunately, we didn't have to think of the answer, God already had. You see, the answer was formulated and practiced many years ago, in the earliest church. It is what we call "The HomeChurch-WholeChurch Model." As with the Participatory Church, it is not a new idea, but an old one rediscovered and redeployed.

    The HomeChurch-WholeChurch is a model of church structure which is most reflective of the early church, and which if replicated, can provide multiple practical and spiritual advantages to today's church, both as individual assemblies and as a whole body.

    The basic format, though variable to suit the parties involved, is this:

    a) Autonomous home-church assemblies exist within certain geographic parameters, usually a city, and function according to their perception of God's plan and purpose for them.
    1.- the visions and respective emphases of individual leaders and assemblies can be maintained
    2.- doctrinal and practical distinctives can be maintained (within the pale of accountability -- through common adherence to the statement of faith of the WholeChurch) without inciting division
    3.- the character, strengths, and "flavor" of individual assemblies can be retained (for the corporate good)
    4.- it is incontestably the home-church setting which is most conducive to full and open body life, personal ministry development, ministering and being ministered to, real relationship development, real discipleship, real honesty, and all other primary functions of the church
    5.- it is from these local, compact, and energized buds of Christian life that real outreach to the community can launch from, especially as typified by friendship/one-on-one evangelism, as well as more general ministry to the unchurched
    6.- it seems clear through literal experience, that God raises up many more church leaders than can be substantially activated within the traditional church structure. This leads to frustration and often disillusionment, apathy, and impotence, not only for the slighted budding leaders, but also to God and His church. Therefore the HomeChurch-WholeChurch model would accommodate both the raising up, training, and ministry of virtually all who are called to leadership

    b) These HomeChurch assemblies regularly gather together as a "whole church" (e.g., once a month).
    1.- to expand our respective perception of God's church and activity in a given area
    2.- to expand and enhance the perceived and literal unity of the body of Christ in a given area
    3.- to expand and enhance the "celebrative" experience of individuals and assemblies within the body of Christ
    4.- to loosen the fetters of competition, and strengthen the bonds of cooperation between assemblies
    5.- to help stave off unhealthy, excessive inward focus, as we are directed toward the "big picture" of what God is doing
    6.- as legal, financial, and governmental aspects of respective HomeChurches are integrated into the WholeChurch, perceived and actual unity and accountability are enhanced
    7.- the surrounding community, both Christian and non-Christian, will likely be positively impacted by our demonstration of unity and cooperation

    c) Leaders of home assemblies maintain open ties and consistent communication, offering prayer, support, and counsel to each other, as well as collaborating efforts toward the most efficient advance of God's kingdom.
    1.- we are co-laborers in Christ, and as such we have much to offer one another
    2.- we need to support one another, not compete with one another
    3.- as leaders in God's army, it is to our advantage and to our kingdom's advantage to collaborate our efforts, being aware of what God is doing through each of us; working as a finely tuned unit, not as disjointed ragtags
    4.- area evangelism and other outreach ministries can be optimized
    5.- this works toward building systems of accountability
    6.- can more ably serve our constituents by directing them to resources which match their needs or desires

    d) The HomeChurch-WholeChurch model, some may say, is simply a variation of the megachurch model, with its attending community and cell groups, yet there exist some very real and poignant differences:
    1.- in the HomeChurch-WholeChurch model the "church" is both the HomeChurch and the WholeChurch, unlike the megachurch model in which the "church" is only the large corporate body, with the cell groups being an adjunct
    2.- in the HomeChurch-WholeChurch model, the HomeChurch is emphasized in several real and important ways: it meets more times per month, the elder(s) of each HomeChurch is the elder of his church; it is the central focus, meeting ground, feeding ground, ministry ground, training ground and outreach ground of the body; while the WholeChurch is simply the community expression of what God is doing in the smaller HomeChurches, and a venue for corporate worship,vision, support, and accountability


    IV. How can we actualize our mission?

    Converting our mission to reality can be accomplished in only one way -- cooperating with our Lord and God.
    This cooperation shall be accommodated through the following means:

    Through the leading of the Spirit:
    The ultimate Christian life is a Holy Spirit directed life, Christ Himself serving as our archetype.
    Jesus lived the most meaningful, productive, fulfilling, and successful life in history because He walked in perfect communion with His Father through the Spirit. God desires and enables His Church and the individuals therein to know such a life. Accordingly, Spirit walking principles are taught and pursued in our church.

    Through God-guided goal setting:
    Via the God-guided mechanisms of mission establishment, goal setting, plan making, action taking, and assessment, virtually any worthy objective can be wondrously and expediently attained. We teach and utilize this process both as an assembly and as individuals, to the glory of God.

    Through the practical dynamics of our assembly time:
    worship and body life -

    -We have an open/participatory church. That means that all are loved, equipped, encouraged, and allowed to both give and receive the things of the Spirit. No one-man-shows here. As it is only as "the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, which causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" (Eph.4:16).

    -We desire to come together in one accord and worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; entering the Holy of Holies through song, meditation, and ministering to God and to one another. (2Chron.5:11-14)

    - Each is to bring a psalm, hymn, teaching, revelation, tongue, interpretation, etc.(1Cor.14:26).

    - We shall sing and pray with our spirits, and sing and pray with our minds (1Cor.14:15).

    - Each is to move in the gift and/or ministry that God gives (1Cor.12:4-7). It is imperative that the Holy Spirit guides and directs this time together. Each person should come prepared to worship through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, followed by quiet time so that the Spirit can minister to and through us. Feel free to minister both to the Lord and to each other as the Holy Spirit leads. Revelations, knowledge, and testimonies are to be shared. Requests for ministry and prayer are welcome. We may drift from quiet time to song and back. Each person is responsible to be sensitive to the Spirit and to the ministries and needs of others. God is a God of order!

    Note: We are Christ-centered, Bible-based, and non-denominational.
    A comprehensive statement of faith is available upon request.



    WORSHIP CENTER'S
    STATEMENT OF FAITH

    1. The Holy Scriptures
    We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, equally in all parts and in the whole and is totally inerrant in the original manuscripts. We further believe it is the supreme revelation from God and of God, superior to conscience and reason, though not contrary to them; and it is therefore our infallible rule in all matters. We further believe that all the Scriptures center about the Lord Jesus Christ and hence that no portion is properly read nor understood until it leads to Him.
    [Jn 5:39, 2Tim 3:16-17, 1Pt 1:23-25, Heb 4:12]

    2. The Godhead
    We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three manifestations; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that these three are one God, having the same nature, attributes, and perfection, and are worth of the same homage and obedience.
    [Mt 28:18-19, Mk 12:29, Jn 1:14, Act 5:3-4, 2Cor 13:14, Heb 1:1-3, Rev 1:4-6]

    3. The Lord Jesus Christ
    We believe in the pre-existence, incarnation and virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world to reveal the Father, and was the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person; that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Creator of all things, for by Him the worlds were made. We believe that in Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and that He was very God and very Man, the I AM, the YHWH of the Old Testament. We further believe in the sinless life of our Lord, His miracles, His vicarious and atoning death, His bodily resurrection, His bodily ascension into heaven, and His imminent return. We further believe that He is presently seated at the right hand of God the Father, interceding for His redeemed. We also acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord over all things in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth.
    [Jn1:1-2,14,1Tim 3:16, Act 7:37-38, Phil 2:9-10, Heb 7:25]

    4. The Holy Spirit
    We believe that the Holy Spirit, though omnipresent from all eternity, after the glorification of Jesus Christ was sent on the day of Pentecost, dwells in every believer, unites all to Christ in one body, and is the source of all power and all acceptable service. We believe that ministries are committed to the Holy Spirit including the restraining of evil in the world; the convicting of the world respecting sin, righteousness, and judgment; the regenerating of all believers; the sealing of all believers unto the day of redemption; and the continued filling for power and service of those among the saved who are yielded to Him and to His will. We believe that the fruit of the Spirit is the manifestation of the character of Christ in the believer's life. We further believe that all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to Christians today and that all of the gifts of the Spirit should be and must be operative in the church to manifest her full glory under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
    [Jn 3:6, 14:16-17, Rom 8:9, 12:1-11, 1Cor 6:19, 12:8-11, Gal 5:22-23, Eph 2:22, 4:11-13]

    5. Angels, Fallen and Unfallen
    We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless spiritual beings known as angels; the one "Lucifer, Son to the Morning", the highest in rank, sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall.
    [Isa 14:12-17, Ez 28:11-19, 2Pt 2:4, Jude 6]

    We believe that Satan is the originator of sin, and that, under the permission of God, he, through subtlety, led our first parents into transgression, thereby accomplishing their moral fall. God now allows Satan to extend his deluding influence over mankind, which establishes him as the enemy of God and His people. We also believe that Satan was defeated by Jesus Christ at Calvary and that He has delegated His authority over Satan to His body, the church. [Gen 3:1-19, Rm 5:12-14, 2Cor 4:3-4, 11:13-15, Eph 6:10-12, 2Thess 2:4, 1Tim 4:1-3, Col 2:15]
    We further believe that a great company of angels kept their holy estate and are before the Throne of God, from whence they are sent forth as ministering spirits to minister to those who are the heirs of salvation.
    [Lk 15:10, Heb 1:14]

    6. The Creation of the World and of Man
    We believe that God sovereignly created the world out of nothing, We further believe that man was created in the image of God and by a direct and immediate act of God. [Gen 1:1, 26-27, 2:4]

    7. Man's Fallen Condition
    We believe that man by willful transgression fell from a state of righteousness and holiness in which he was first created into spiritual depravity; a state of death in trespasses and sins in which he is held as a slave of sin and an enemy of God, being unable to attain divine righteousness by his own efforts, but must be redeemed and delivered by the power of the Gospel.[Rom 3:23-25, 5:12-21, 1Cor 15:1-4, 2Cor 4:3-4]

    8. Salvation Only Through Christ
    We believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and saving faith is evidenced by repentance, confession and regeneration. [Rom 5:1, Rom 10:9-10, Eph 2:8-9]

    9. The Walk of the Believer
    We believe that a continuous walk in grace should be the emphasis of heart righteousness and purity, believing in the keeping power of God, walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh, in conduct that demonstrates the character of Jesus Christ, not being conformed to the world but being transformed by the renewing of the mind. We further believe that each believer must lay a foundation of Biblical truth and experience upon which he builds his life through the Lordship of Jesus Christ. [Rom 4:1-5, 8:25, 12:1, 1Cor 3:11, Gal 5:16-25, Jude 24]

    10. The Doctrine of Baptisms
    We believe water baptism by immersion is for believers only. This ordinance of the church, unites the believer with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. [Mt. 28:19-20, Rm 6:3-6]

    There is therefore a baptism in the Holy Spirit by the Lord Jesus Christ, which may occur at or subsequent to conversion. We believe that speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance is the normative evidence of the baptism. Further, we believe that by the believer's continued yieldedness to the Holy Spirit, his very weakness is transformed into strength to witness for Jesus Christ in power and to live according to the will of God. [Act 1:5, 8, 2:4, 38, 10:46, 11:28, 19:6]

    11. The Church
    We believe that all who are united by the new birth to Jesus Christ are members of the universal Church, the body of Christ. We also believe that the local congregation of Christian believers is divinely instituted and is the chosen instrument of God for the furtherance of God's work upon the earth. We further believe in the spiritual unity of all believers and in working together for the cause of ministry to the church and unchurched.
    [Jn 17:21, Rm 12:5, Eph 1:20-23, 4:3-10, Col 3:14-15]

    12. Divine Healing
    We believe in divine healing for the whole man through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    [Isa 53:4-5, Mt 8:17, Act 4:30, 19:11, 1Cor 12:9, Ja 5:14, 1Pt 2:24-25]

    13. The Ordinances
    We believe that baptism is for believers only and should be administered by the mode of immersion and in the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We also believe that we are identified with Jesus Christ and participate in His death, burial, and resurrection through water baptism. [Mt 28:10-20, Act 8:38, Rm 6:4]
    We believe that through the Lord's Supper the believer renews and affirms the reality of the New Covenant. It is a memorial commemorating the death of Jesus Christ for us and a reaffirmation of His imminent return. The elements are to be received with joy, gratitude and sober self examination. We also believe that this ordinance is open to all Christian believers whose conscience is at peace with God. [Mt 26:26-29, 1Cor 11:23-24]

    14. Ministry to the Church
    We believe in the divinely called, commissioned and equipped five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers as given to the Church by the Lord Jesus Christ after His ascension for the equipping of the Saints. We further believe that all Christians are called to minister in the body according to God's giftings and callings. [Eph 4:11-13, 1Cor 12:4-11]

    15. Ministry to the Unchurched
    We believe that it is the explicit message of our Lord Jesus Christ to those whom He has redeemed, that they are sent forth by Him into the world to love, serve, bless, witness of His saving grace and to preach the Gospel to every creature. [Gen 12:2-3, Mt 22:39, 28:18-19, Mk 16:15, Act 1:8]

    16. The Eternal State
    We believe that at death the spirits and souls of those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ pass immediately into His presence and there remain in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the glorified body, when Jesus Christ comes for His own; but the spirits and souls of the unbelieving remain after death conscious of condemnation and in misery until the final judgment, when spirit and soul shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.
    [Lk 16:19-26, 23:42, 2Cor 5:8, Ph 1:23, 2Thes 1:7-9, Jude 6-7, Rev 20:11-15]




    CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

    ARTICLE I. PURPOSE

    The purpose of Worship Center shall be to establish a body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who will:

    1. Be governed by the Lord Himself in the council of the elders.
    2. Come together in one accord and worship the Father through Jesus Christ. Rom 15:5-6
    3. Equip the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ. Eph 4:12
    4. Recognize each person as an equal in the body of Christ and to encourage and exhort them to find their place of calling and give them an opportunity to minister in it. 1Cor 12:12-31


    ARTICLE II. OFFICERS

    The officers of the corporation shall be a President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

    1. President and Chairman of the Board of Elders:
    The President of the corporation shall be the Senior Elder and he shall also be an active member of the Board of Elders.

    2. Vice-President:
    Vice-President of the corporation shall act as Chairman of the Board of Elders in the absence of the President.

    3. Secretary:
    The Secretary of the corporation shall be the Secretary of the Board of Elders.

    4. Treasurer:
    The treasurer of the corporation shall be the Church Secretary or appointed administrator.

    5. Multiple Officers:
    With the exception of the President, any other two positions may be held by a single individual.


    ARTICLE III. ELDERS

    1. Elders
    The official board of Worship Center shall be invested in elders with the senior elder.
    The elders shall be composed of men who meet the Scriptural qualifications contained in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

    2. Selection
    The selection of elders will be determined by the senior elder in the council of the existing elders.

    3. Number
    The number of elders shall be determined by the discretion of the senior elder in the council of existing elders.

    4. Term
    Elders shall serve for as long as they are active in the fellowship and as long as they continue to fulfill the Scriptural qualifications for elders.

    5. Termination
    A person's position as an elder shall be terminated by:
    a. resignation
    b. death
    c. the advice of the existing elders
    d. except for senior elder

    6. Hearing
    If requested by the elder whose membership is sought to be terminated, a hearing shall beheld before the existing elders to determine if one or more grounds for removal exists. An elder shall not be removed except by the assent of the council of the remaining elders.

    7. Elections
    At the first meeting in January of each year, a Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected who shall serve for one [1] year term or until their successors shall have been selected. The Secretary shall keep detailed minutes of all meetings and official actions of the Board of Elders and preserve these minutes in permanent form.

    8. Meetings
    The Board of Elders shall meet as often as deemed necessary to discharge the responsibilities as spiritual leaders.

    9. The decision-making process of the church shall be made in the council of the elders.

    10. Charge
    The Board of Elders, with the ministerial staff, shall be charged with the over-all spiritual care.

    11. Committees
    The Chairman of the Board of Elders shall be an ex official member of all committees and he may appoint any elder to act as his representative in this regard.


    ARTICLE IV. DEACONS

    1. Qualifications
    Persons selected as deacons shall be men or women who meet the Scriptural requirements as contained in I Timothy 3:8-13.

    2. Selection
    A candidate for selection as a deacon shall be recommended by the fellowship in recognition of a divine call of God to such position. Acts 6:3

    3. Powers
    A deacon shall have such authority, powers, duties and responsibilities as shall be vested in him by the Board of Elders, and he shall be subject to the direction of and be responsible to the elders.

    4. Term
    Deacons may serve for as long as they are active in the fellowship and as long as they continue to fulfill the scriptural qualifications for deacons.

    5. Termination
    A person's position as deacon shall be terminated by:
    a. resignation
    b. death
    e. the advice of the Board of Elders

    6. Charge
    Deacons shall be charged with such specific spiritual and temporal duties as may be delegated to them by the Chairman of the Board of Elders in the council of the elders.


    ARTICLE V. PROPHET/ELDER

    1. Establishment of Worship Center is established as a sovereign work of God not acting through any existing denominational or local church structure.

    2. Call to Ministry
    " The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and to establish a center of worship".

    3. Removal
    The Prophet/Elder was not selected, elected or otherwise chosen by man, and accordingly may not be removed by election or other action of man.


    ARTICLE VI. SENIOR ELDER

    1. Selection
    The elders, with the exception of the Prophet/Elder, known also as the Senior Elder, for Worship Center, shall be recommended by the Board of the Elders.

    2. Function
    The Senior Elder, as President of the corporation, shall be the chief administrator of the affairs and activities of Worship Center in cooperation with the Board of Elders.

    3. Authority
    The Senior Elder shall have broad authority and responsibility to carry out the purposes and mission to the church. He shall administer the church with the council of the elders and administrators.

    4. Committee Membership
    The Senior Elder shall be an ex official member of all committees and he may appoint an elder or associate to act as his representative in this regard.


    ARTICLE VII. COMMISSIONING OF MINISTERS

    1. Ministers
    This church, dependent completely upon the Holy Spirit of God, may license, ordain and commission individuals whom God directs. Selection of individuals shall be conducted by the Senior Elder and Board of Elders in recognition of a divine call of God to such a position.


    ARTICLE VIII. CHURCH DISCIPLINE

    1. Discipline of Elders:
    a. The discipline of the elders shall be in accordance with I Timothy 5:19, "Against an elder receive not as accusation, but before two or three witnesses." [KJV]

    b. The two or three witnesses should bring the accusation before the Board of Elders.

    c. If the accusation is meritorious, the offending elder shall be brought before the Church body. "Them that sin rebuke before all that others may fear." 1Timothy 5:40 [KJV]

    2. Discipline of Church Body:
    a. Unscriptural conduct necessary for church disciplinary action shall include, but shall not be limited to:
    I. divisiveness
    II. fornication, adultery
    III. covetousness
    IV. raillery
    V. drunkenness
    VI. idolatry
    VII. extortion

    b. The discipline shall be administered by the elders after a full hearing of the case.

    c. The following steps shall be observed as the occasion requires. [Mt. 18:16-20, Rom 16:17-18, ICor 2:6, 2Thes 3:12].

    1. The offending individual should be confronted only by the one who has been offended and reconciliation attempted among themselves.

    2. If reconciliation is not achieved, then two or three, as the Scripture instructs, [Mt. 18], shall confront the offending individual to seek reconciliation.

    3. If reconciliation is not made at this point, the matter shall be brought before the entire Church body.

    4. The offending member who refuses to be reconciled is then called to be separated from the fellowship of the church until there is repentance and reconciliation.

    5. When there is repentance and reconciliation it shall be attested to by the elders.


    ARTICLE IX. BY-LAWS

    1. Amendment
    These by-laws may be amended by the Board of Elders at a meeting called for that purpose and upon a simple majority vote of the fellowship.

    2. To perpetually protect this local church organization in its ownership and control of its property and in its sovereignty under Christ, all ecclesiastical power and authority relative to this church and its property shall be exercised by this church assembly as a congregation and the decisions thus made are subject to no reversal or amendment by any other ecclesiastical body whatsoever.


    ARTICLE X. CHURCH MEETINGS

    1. Annual Meeting
    The church shall conduct an annual meeting on the last Sunday of January in which the senior elder or those delegated by him shall report on the church body concerning the yearly physical and spiritual growth of the church and any other matters requested or designated by the Board of Elders.

    2. Notice
    Notice of church meetings shall be given in such a manner and at such times as may be determined at the discretion of the senior elder, provided that such notices shall be designed to reach the largest number of church members feasible.


    ARTICLE XI. FINANCE AND PROPERTY

    1. Execution of Documents
    The corporation may borrow money and/or mortgage property only upon the approval of the Senior Elder and the Board of Elders and agreed upon by a simple majority vote of the congregation. The President and Secretary for the corporation shall execute all documents in this regard. All checks and drafts shall be signed by the church secretary, and/or by one of three that are appointed by the Elders.

    2. No church real estate can be sold without a simple majority vote from the congregation.


    _______________________________ PRESIDENT

    _______________________________ VICE-PRESIDENT

    _______________________________ SECRETARY-TREASURER




    ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION OF WORSHIP CENTER

    I

    The name of this corporation is [Your name and city].

    II

    A. This corporation is a religious corporation and is not organized for the private gain of any person. It is organized under the Nonprofit Religious Corporation Law exclusively for religious purposes.

    B. The specific purpose of this corporation is to operate a church.

    III

    The name and address in the State of Arizona of this corporation's initial agent for service of process is:

    John Doe
    11357 Everlasting Way
    Anywhere, Arizona 96000

    IV

    A. This corporation is organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes within the meaning of Section 501[c][3] of the Internal Revenue Code.

    B. No substantial part of the activities of this corporation shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or other wise attempting to influence legislation, and the corporation shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign [including the publishing or distribution of statements] on behalf of any candidate for public office.

    V

    The property of this corporation is irrevocably dedicated to religious purposes and no part if the net income or assets of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any director, officer or member thereof or to the benefit of any private person. Upon the dissolution or winding up of the corporation, its assets remaining after payment, or provision for payment, of all debts and liabilities of this corporation shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation or corporation which is organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes and which has established its tax exempt status under Section 501[c][3] of the Internal Revenue Code.

    __________________________________
    President



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