Church Covenant

Northwood

Longview, Texas

CHURCH COVENANT

June 16, 2011

 

Article I:  Name

The name of this church shall be “Northwood Baptist Church” of Longview, Texas. It shall be generally referred to as Northwood.

 

Article II:  Purpose

Northwood is a local body of believers in Jesus Christ.  Its primary purpose is to know Christ and to make him known.  Romans 15:20-22   It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. Rather, as it is written: “Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”

 

Therefore the mission of Northwood is to reach out with the gospel to members of society with the goal of making disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

Our strategies are:

To relationally and intentionally reach out to:

  • those who would not normally attend a religious gathering and who desire to see and learn about our faith.
  • youth and their families through the use of creative strategies that appeal to their interests.
  • visitors by providing a comfortable atmosphere where they are welcome from the auditorium to the parking lot.

 

To encourage discipleship by:

  • edifying believers through our regular worship meetings.
  • fostering small group attendance and one on one relationships.
  • having intentional plans for fun so that we are getting to know each other and building true fellowship together.
  • challenging one another to grow and mature in the Lord.

 

 

Article III: Statement of Doctrine

Purpose

This doctrinal statement expresses the beliefs of Northwood Baptist Church and is the basis for theological qualifications of elders, deacons, staff members, teachers, missionaries, and men seeking ordination.  We hold to the historic Christian faith as expressed in significant creeds of the church, such as the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed.  We believe that the Bible stands as the final and sole authority over our lives, our faith and the direction of our church.

 

 

The Bible

We believe that the words of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God and without error in the original manuscripts. We believe the Bible is to be interpreted in a normal and literal way and that it is understood as the believer is guided by the Holy Spirit of God. (Matthew 5:18; John 10:35; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

 

God

1. We believe in one God eternally co-existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:18-19; 2 Corinthians 13:14)

 

2. We believe that God the Son became flesh in Jesus Christ. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, and is both 100% God and 100% man. (Matthew 1:1; 8-25; 26:38-41; John 1:14; 11:33; Hebrews 4:14-15)

 

3. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person possessing all the distinctively divine attributes. He is God. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He regenerates, seals, and sets apart the believer to a holy life. At regeneration He baptizes the believer into the body of Christ and comes to indwell him permanently. (Psalm 139:7; John 3:5-7; 14:16-17; 16:8; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 12:11, 13; Ephesians 1:13; Titus 3:5)

 

Man

1. We believe that the first man and woman were created in the image of God and thus all men have great value in God’s sight. But man sinned and consequently experienced not only physical death, but also spiritual death (separation from God). The consequences of this sin affect the entire human race. All human beings are born with a sinful nature and, in the case of those who reach the age of moral responsibility, commit willful acts of sin. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:17; 3:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:20-23; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19; 6:23)

 

2. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men. Believers will be resurrected to be judged for their service with a view to rewards and to enjoy eternal life with God. Unbelievers will be resurrected to experience judgment for their sin with certain condemnation and then eternal suffering in hell apart from God. (Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 15:52; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, Revelation 20:4-6; 12-15; 21:1-8)

 

Marriage

This church believes in the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is defined as a permanent bond between one man and one woman. God instituted marriage so that man and women might complete one another and share in God’s creative work through the procreation of children.  Illicit sexual unions are deemed reprehensible in that they temporarily and superficially establish a one-flesh relationship. Adultery and or abandonment are the only grounds for dissolution of a marriage.  Marriage is brought about as the result of a declaration of desire of mutual intentions of sole and enduring fidelity and responsibility toward the other, under girded by self-giving love. It is made in the presence God and of accredited witnesses in a legal marriage. Believers should not be bound together with unbelievers. Marriage relegates other human ties to a secondary role. (Genesis 2:24, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16, I Corinthians 6:18-20, Matthew 5:32, 1 Corinthians 7:15)

 

The Past, Present and Future Work of Christ

1. We believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of all humanity as a substitution-ary sacrifice and that all who believe in Him are declared righteous on the basis of His shed blood. (Mark 10:45; Romans 3:24-26; 5:8-9; 10:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 3:18; 1 John 2:1-2)

 

2. We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, and in His ascension into heaven. Jesus now serves as high priest, intercessor, and advocate on our behalf with the Father. (Mark 16:19; John 20:25-27; Acts 1:9-11; 1Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 7:25-27; 1 John 2:1)

 

3. We believe in the personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ, in the glory of His Father, to set up on earth a kingdom in which He shall reign in righteousness and peace. (Isaiah 9:6; 11:2-5; Matthew 24:30; Acts 1:11; Revelation 20:4-6)

 

Salvation

1. We believe that all who come to God must come through the gift of true repentance whereupon the individual turns to God for forgiveness of sin. (Luke 18:13-14; 24:46-47; Romans 3:23; 2 Peter 3:9)

 

2. We believe that whoever through faith alone receives Jesus Christ as God and personal Savior is born again and becomes a child of God. This salvation is not the result of any human effort or merit, because the full price of redemption was paid by Jesus’ blood, which was shed for us. (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 7:26-27; 9:11-12, 28)

 

3. We believe that all who are born of God have become a new creation according to holiness and righteousness. This new life that abides in a believer will oppose fleshly desires and bear fruit which is of the Spirit of God. (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 5:17, 22-25).

 

Life as a Christian

1. We believe that the power of God through the new birth, the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit, and the intercession of Christ keeps all true believers secure in the promise of eternal life. (John 10:28-30; 14:16-17; Romans 8:38-39; Ephesians 4:30; Titus 1:2-3; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 5:13).

 

2. We believe that sin continues to plague all believers in this life, but that God has made full provision for believers to resist temptation, we live by faith as sons of God through: abiding in Christ, a knowledge of the Bible which, renews one’s mind, and walking in the power of the indwelling Holy spirit. (Romans 6:6, 11-12; 8:14-15; 12:2; Galatians 5:24-26).

 

3. We believe that all believers are to make progressive steps of growth toward spiritual maturity. True spiritual growth requires the believer to die to self, forsaking sin as a way of life, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and to allow Christ to live in him for the purpose of being one with Christ and with His body, the church. This growth is fostered by private and public worship, regular, frequent study of God’s Word, prayer, fellowship with believers, personal evangelism, the exercise of faith and obedience in daily living, and the loving discipline of the Holy Spirit. (Proverbs 28:13; Isaiah 55:7; Galatians 2:20; 5:25-26; Ephesians 2:10; 6:18; Hebrews 10:24-25; Matthew 28:18–20,1 Peter 2:1-2; 1 John 3:8-9)

 

4. We believe that in order for the church to fulfill its God ordained mission of edification and evangelism, all believers have been given spiritual gifts. God sovereignly bestows these gifts so that each believer employs his or her spiritual gifts for the church to accomplish its mission. (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:11-16)

 

The Church, The Body of Christ

1. We believe that the church in its invisible form is universal, the true body of Christ. All believers from the day of Pentecost until the church is caught up into heaven are members of the universal church, regardless of organizational affiliation. We believe that Christ ordained the local church to observe believer’s water baptism by immersion as a one time expression of public obedience and the regular celebration by believers gathered as the church of the Lord’s Supper until He returns. (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26; 12:13; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

 

2. We believe that the purpose of the church, in addition to building up every member of the body, is to make Christ known to the whole world. Every member of the body shares in this purpose. In relation to the world, believers are sent by Christ to communicate to unsaved people that God reconciles the world to Himself in Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Romans 10:12 -15; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16)

 

3. We believe in the imminent return of Christ for the church. All members of the body of Christ, living or dead, will at that time be caught up to be with the Lord forever. (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

4. We believe that the local church is to be shepherded by a plurality elders having equal authority. The elders are assisted by deacons to carry out the ministry. Elders and deacons are selected according to standards expressed by the New Testament. (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9)

 

5. We believe that members of the church who disgrace the name of Christ through conduct grossly unbecoming of a child of God should be confronted according to biblical procedures with the goal being their repentance and return to a Godly lifestyle. (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8)

 

Article IV:  Government

Section 1: The Board of Elders

The government of this church, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is vested in the Board of Elders who shall appoint the Board of Trustees.

 

A. Selection of Elders.

 

The Elders are the spiritual overseers of the church. They shall be responsible under God for the spiritual welfare of the church. A Board of Elders shall be established to consist of a minimum of three. The number will be based on the availability of qualified, willing men, and the current need. Any man in the church may be considered to serve as an Elder if he has been a member in good standing for at least one year, has demonstrated a pastor’s heart, is considered sufficiently mature, and meets the Biblical requirements for spiritual leaders as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

 

1. Elder nominees shall be generated and reviewed by the current Board of Elders.

 

2. Upon a unanimous consent of the Board of Elders, the nominee shall be invited to be examined privately as to his desire and biblical qualifications to serve as an Elder.

 

3. Candidates approved by the interviewing Elders, shall be presented to the church verbally and in writing for a period of one month to solicit and encourage congregational input on each candidate’s qualification for the job of Elder.

 

4. Upon completion of the one month, the candidate may be elected to the board with a unanimous vote from the Board of Elders.

 

B. Officers of the Board of Elders

The Board of Elders shall elect the officers of the Board of Elders to a term of one year. The officers shall consist of the following:

 

1. The Chairman shall preside over the meeting of the Board of Elders.

 

2. The Secretary shall maintain accurate records of the minutes of the Board of Elders meetings. He shall distribute copies of the minutes to all members of the Board of Elders.

 

C. Conduct of Meetings

The Board of Elders shall meet at least once a month, or more often as needed. Reasonable attempts shall be made to notify all elders in advance of any regular or called meetings. Meetings shall be conducted according to Biblical principles of love and order along with sound business practices. A quorum shall consist of at least 51%, or no fewer than three members. Reasonable attempts shall be made to resolve all differences and reach a unanimous decision; however, final decisions shall require a unanimous vote of those present, less one.

 

D. Duties

It shall be the responsibility of the Board of Elders to:

1. Shepherd and care for the flock.

 

a. By praying regularly for the general needs of the church ministry and individuals in the body.

 

b. By attending to the personal needs of the congregation such as visiting, counseling and comforting those in the church as need arises.

 

c. By providing spiritual oversight for each person in Northwood Church through the mentoring of ministry leaders who in turn provide hands on care for those involved in their ministry.

 

 

2. Oversee the ministry of the church.

 

a. By overseeing the assimilation of new people into the church body.

 

b. By discipling, and keeping open communication with the congregation.

 

c. By overseeing but not necessarily executing the business affairs and all the programs of the church.

 

d. By overseeing the missions committee including the approval of Missionaries and Missions policies.

 

e. By developing and reviewing ministry and staff job descriptions for approval.

 

 

3. Teach and guard the truth.

 

a. By being able and available to teach or preach.

 

b. By supervising the activities and teachings of the various ministries of the church.

 

c. By establishing and periodically evaluating goals and objectives for the various ministries of the church.

 

E. Removal of an Elder

No accusation against an elder shall be addressed except two or more witnesses accompany it. Upon the event that an elder is found to be unqualified for his position by both of the two other elders in the case of a minimum board or by a unanimous, less one, vote of the rest of the Board of Elders the elder shall be removed from his office.

 

Section 2. Board of Trustees

 

The Board of Elders will meet annually as a Board of Trustees to fulfill any legal and financial requirements

 

A. Officers of the Board of Trustees

The officers of the Board of Trustees shall be as follows:

 

1. The Chairman of the Board of Elders shall serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He shall be responsible for setting agendas, as well as calling and presiding over meetings. Reasonable attempts shall be made to contact every member when a meeting is called.

 

2. The Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Elders shall serve as Secretary/ Treasurer of the Board of Trustees. He shall be responsible for the corporate records, dispensing of minutes to all board members, and for the accounting of all corporate funds.

 

 

B. Duties

The Board of Trustees shall meet yearly, or as often as necessary to accomplish the following responsibilities:

 

1. Evaluate the ministries and operations of the church.

 

2. Establish long and short-range plans for future ministries and operations of the church.

 

3. Evaluate the ministries of the ministry leaders.

 

4. Authorize staff additions or dismissals.

 

5. Approve and amend the annual budget.

 

6. Approve any real property transactions and/or the incurrence of debt.

 

7. Approve any amendments to the Church Covenant of the corporation (See ARTICLE IX).

 

8. Approve pastoral staff job descriptions, policies, compensation and benefits.

 

C. Conduct of Meetings

Meetings shall be conducted according to Biblical principles of love and order along with sound business practices. A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of the membership of the board. Reasonable attempts shall be made to resolve all differences and reach a unanimous decision; however, final decisions shall require approval by a minimum of two-thirds of those present.

 

D. Resignation of a Trustee

Trustee may step down from his position with submission of a letter of resignation and acceptance of the resignation by the necessary vote of the Board of Elders.

 

 

Section 3. Deacons

 

Deacons shall be responsible for the physical welfare of the church as directed by the Board of Elders.

 

A. Selection of Deacons

Any man or woman in the church may be considered to serve as a deacon if he or she has been in regular attendance in good standing for at least six months, has demonstrated a servant’s heart, and meets the Scriptural qualifications of 1Timothy 3:8-13.

The procedure for selecting Deacons is:

 

1. Nominees shall be generated and reviewed by the current Board of Elders according to established procedures.

 

2. Upon a unanimous consent of the Board of Elders, the nominee shall be invited to be examined privately as to his desire and biblical qualifications to serve as a Deacon.

 

3. Candidates approved by the interviewing Elders, shall be presented to the church verbally and in writing for a period of one month to solicit and encourage congregational input on each candidate’s qualification for the job of Deacon.

 

4. Upon completion of the one month, the candidate may be elected with a unanimous vote from the Board of Elders.

 

 

B. Duties

 

The Board of Elders will assign specific duties to the deacons.

 

C. Removal of a Deacon.

No accusation against a deacon shall be addressed except two or more witnesses accompany it. Upon the event that a deacon is found to be unqualified for his position he may be removed from his office by the necessary vote of the entire Board of Elders.

 

Section 4. Committees

Committees may be established at the discretion of the Board of Elders. It is the responsibility of the Elder board to clearly communicate any responsibilities and authority the committee might have.

 

 

Article V: Northwood Church staff

Section 1. Elder pastor

The Elder pastor of this church along with the other Elders shall have general oversight of the work of the church. He shall have the primary responsibility of ministering the Word of God at the regular public services of the church. He shall spend his time as a servant to the members of the church and shall give leadership to any other pastoral and office staff.

 

Section 2. Elders who are employed by the church.

Additional staff positions may be created at the discretion of the Board of Elders. Elders employed by the church are ultimately responsible to the Board of Elders. Elders employed by the church function under the immediate supervision of the Elder Pastor.

 

Section 3. Appointment

Paid staff to be employed by the church shall be examined by the Elders for Biblical and personal qualifications. With the approval of the Board of Elders, they must be presented to the members of the church for a set period of time. During this time the elders should earnestly seek counsel from the church members. After this period, a candidate may be appointed by the necessary vote of the Board of Elders.

 

Section 4. Dismissal

Paid staff who are employed by the church can be removed from their position only by the necessary vote of the entire Board of Elders. The Board of Elders will consider such a vote only upon the recommendation of two elders.

 

Article VI: Membership

Section 1. Qualification

Membership, though not mandated by scripture, is an appropriate cultural expression of commitment to a local church. Any  person who has personally trusted in and received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and God (as set forth in John 1:12; 3:16, and Acts 16:31), whose life and conduct give evidence of being born again into the family of God, and who is willing to be governed by this covenant is eligible for membership in this church. Membership in Northwood shall in no way be communicated as a means of Divine grace or exceptional standing in God’s family. However, we at Northwood want to be responsible to those who commit themselves to our fellowship. Therefore, membership will be a matter of the elders and a professing Christian mutually committing themselves to the following covenant:

 

A. The member agrees to support the work God has given to Northwood through:

 

1. Regular attendance in the worship services including the Lord’s supper.

 

2. Regular prayer and personal Bible study.

 

3. Regular responsible giving.

 

4. Regular participation in Christian service through activities inside and outside of the church.

 

5. Participate in an annual congregational meeting and any other called meeting for the purpose set forth by the Elder board.

 

 

B. The church as represented by the elders agrees to support the member through:

 

1. Providing for the teaching of God’s word.

 

2. Regular communication regarding major decisions on the part of the boards.

 

3. Direction and training in Christian service.

 

4. Help in time of genuine physical or financial need.

 

C. All potential members will be interviewed by an elder for the purposes of hearing the candidate’s testimony of faith in Christ and their commitment to the above covenant. Believer’s water baptism shall be considered a prerequisite for membership in Northwood.

 

Section 2. Termination of Membership or Discipline

Members who cease to attend and support the church may be removed from church membership by the necessary vote of the Board of Elders. Any member whose conduct or attitude is a reproach to Christ shall be counseled and if necessary disciplined according to Biblical principles with the goal of restoration and if necessary may have their membership terminated by the necessary vote of the Board of Elders.

 

Article VII: Ordinances

Section 1. The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, shall be administered as frequently as the Elders shall schedule. All Christians are welcome to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

 

Section 2. Baptism

All Christians are expected to bear witness to their love for and commitment to Jesus Christ through believer’s water baptism.

 

Article VIII: Church Services And Meetings

The Board of Elders shall establish and publish a schedule of regular worship services. (The services are primarily for the members and friends of the church, but the public is invited and welcome). All services and meetings of this church are intended for the glory of God and the edification of those who attend.

 

Article IX: Amendments

The covenant of this church may be amended at any time by the necessary vote of the Board of Elders. Before final approval, any amendments shall be presented to the members of the church for a set period of time for their input. After this period a meeting of the Board of Elders shall be called to decide on the proposed amendments.

 

Article X: Finances and Budget

The Board of Trustees is vested with the authority to approve the budget. The Board of Elders in accordance with this covenant and the Article of Incorporation shall oversee all financial matters. The church Treasurer shall be under the supervision of the Board of Elders. The Treasurer shall submit his records annually to the Board of Trustees for audit.