ARTICLE V – CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 1. Purpose of the Fellowship

The congregation of Christian believers who have applied for membership and have been duly accepted shall constitute a spiritual body, united for the spiritual purposes set forth in Article II of these Bylaws.

Section 2. Active Membership

Active membership in Potter Valley Bible Church shall be open to all persons who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior and who have been baptized.

Section 3. Voting Privileges

Membership in this church shall not vest in any member any proprietary rights in the Corporation, but shall only entitle the member to vote at a meeting of the members on those matters that the Board of Elders chooses to submit to the church membership for affirmation. In such cases, voting privileges are restricted to members who are in good standing, who are not under any disciplinary action, and who have passed their sixteenth (16) birthday. Membership shall not be assignable or transferable.

Section 4. Applications for Membership

All requests for membership shall be made to a Pastor, Elder, or Deacon. Upon making such a request, the person shall be given an application for membership, along with a copy of the Doctrinal Statement and a copy of the Bylaws. A Pastor or Elder shall meet with the applicant following receipt of the application. Each applicant shall assent to the Doctrinal Statement, subscribe to the Bylaws, and shall testify publicly before the Elders.

Section 5. Denial of Membership

Upon review of an application for membership and/or after meeting with a prospective member, the Elders may deny membership to an applicant for any substantive, spiritual reason; for example, when an applicant (1) does not confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; (2) clearly and consistently lacks evidence of a godly lifestyle indicative of true conversion in the estimation of the Elders; (3) gives reasonable doubt as to their willingness and desire to abide by the church’s Bylaws; (4) disagrees with one or more doctrines contained in the Doctrinal Statement which the Elders deem essential; (5) is a member of, or participant in, a fraternal or secret organization which is contrary to, or not open to, the evaluation of the Scriptures (freemasonry, new age groups, et al.); (6) is under the discipline of another local church. The decision of denial of membership made by the Elders shall be final, and there shall be no appeal to any court from that decision.

Section 6. Admission of Applicants

Applicants admitted to membership shall present themselves at a worship service designated by the Pastor-Teacher and Board of Elders, at which service such applicants shall publicly affirm their membership commitment and be publicly acknowledged as members.

Section 7. Responsibilities of Members

Members shall seek to exercise their spiritual gifts for the mutual benefit of all the church body and shall submit to the loving rule of the Elders. Every member shall endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and if at any time they find themselves opposed to the fundamental doctrines or policies of this church, they will not seek to disrupt its fellowship. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:1-3; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 4:10-11)

Section 8. Church Discipline

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

(b) Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine, or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture as determined by the Board of Elders, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18. Before such dismissal, however:

1. It shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then

2. The warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. The first and second warnings may occur with no specified time interval. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then

3. It shall be brought to the attention of the Elders. If the Elders determine after thorough investigation in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19 that there is corroborating evidence that the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then

4. He or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the Elders, then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.

(c) Notwithstanding the foregoing, the elders in the exercise of their discretion may proceed directly to the third stage of church discipline, (i.e. the informing of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance) or to the fourth stage of church discipline, (i.e. the dismissal from the fellowship and/or membership of the church) when one or more of the following have occurred:

1. Where the transgression and the refusal to repent have been public, i.e. openly and to the offense of the whole Church (1 Corinthians 5:1-5);

2. Where the disciplined party has taught or otherwise disseminated doctrine deemed false or erroneous by the elders, then chosen to disregard the direction and reproof of the elders (Romans 16:17); or

3. Where the disciplined party has been warned twice to cease from factious and divisive conduct and has chosen to disregard that warning (Titus 3:10-11).

(d) The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any court because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraphs, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.

(e) Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly constituted subcommittee thereof), a member, non-member regular attender, or other individual may be notified that he or she is not to be present upon church premises for such a period of time as is deemed necessary for the safety and well-being of others on church premises. Such required absence may, but need not, be concurrent with church discipline of that person.

(f) Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the elders (or a duly constituted subcommittee thereof), the names of any members who have not attended a worship service, Sunday School class session or weekly Bible Study of Potter Valley Bible Church for a period of six months or longer may be removed from the membership rolls.

Section 9. Regular Meetings

A regular annual meeting of the church members shall be held at the principal office of the church (as the same shall be from time to time designated in the minutes of the Elders) in January of each year. At such regular annual meeting, the members shall consider reports of the affairs of the Church, and transact such other business as the Elders determine shall be brought before the meeting.

Section 10. Special Meetings

Special meetings of the members may be called at any time by the Pastor-Teacher, the Chairman of the Board of Elders, or by a majority of the members of the Board of Elders. The Elders shall determine the agenda and chairman of any special meeting.

Section 11. Notice of Meetings

Notice of regular meetings shall be given from the pulpit by the Pastor for two successive Sundays prior to the date of the meeting. In addition, notice shall be published in the regular church bulletin for two successive Sundays prior to such meeting. Notice of special meetings shall be given from the pulpit at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting and shall also be published in the regular church bulletin on the Sunday immediately preceding the meeting.

Section 12. Quorum

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

Section 13. Voting Rights

Those admitted to church membership do not constitute a legislative body, nor do they constitute members of the Corporation, and they cannot vote, pass resolutions binding upon the Corporation, nor shall they have any equity in the real property of the Corporation, or rights to vote on its disposal.