POCONO EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH CONSTITUTION
(as amended on September 19, 2010)
We, the members of the Pocono Evangelical Free Church, in order to carry out more efficiently the commission given by Jesus Christ to His Church, do ordain and establish the following constitution to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of the congregation shall be: Pocono Evangelical Free Church, incorporated as such under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania, hereafter referred to as the “church”.
ARTICLE II – AUTHORITY
The congregation, at its annual, quarterly and special business meetings, is the legislative and governing body of this organization.
ARTICLE III – AFFILIATION
This Church shall be affiliated with the Eastern District Association and the Evangelical Free Church of America and shall send delegates to their conferences, support their Home Church Planting and Foreign Mission efforts and unite together for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the measure that the Church itself may officially decide.
ARTICLE IV – PROPERTY
1. This Church shall have the power to receive, either by gift or by purchase, and to such real, personal or mixed property as is authorized by the laws of the Sate of Pennsylvania, and as is deemed necessary for the business of the Church and shall have the power to dispose of such property by mortgage, deed or otherwise. All such property shall be held in the name of the Church. The corporate officers/trustees shall have the power to receive, purchase, acquire, sell, lease, convey, mortgage, deed or otherwise transfer property of the Church, but only after having been duly authorized by the Church at a regularly scheduled or specially called business meeting. All contracts, notes, mortgages, conveyances, assignments, leases, releases and other documents and paper on behalf of the Church shall be executed by the corporate officers/trustees.
2. Any member who has withdrawn or who has been excluded from the Church loses all rights of the Church. The private property of the individual members of this Church shall be exempt from corporate debt.
ARTICLE V – DISSOLUTION
If division occurs in the Church, the name and all property rights are retained by those adhering to the articles of Incorporation. If the Church ceases to function and its organization is dissolved, all property rights shall be assigned to the Eastern District Association of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The Church shall be considered dissolved if so decided by the organization, or when the Church has not had an annual meeting for three years, or when less than six members remain. Under no circumstances may either the real or personal property of the church come into the possession of any individual person.
ARTICLE VI – AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be amended by a ninety percent (90%) majority vote of the members present, providing there is a quorum (more than 50% of the active membership) at any regularly scheduled or specially called business meeting. Notice of such proposed changes must be made in writing to every active member of the congregation two (2) weeks prior to the meeting.
ARTICLE VII – THE PURPOSE OF POCONO EVANGELICAL FREE CHURCH
We devote ourselves to God’s Word (2 Peter 1:19-21) and to prayer (Col. 4:2) that we may be “of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose,” (NASV, Phil. 2:2) for God’s glory. (Rom. 11:36)
The Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned us to “make disciples.” (Matt. 28:18-20) The making of disciples begins with OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. We acknowledge that He is our sovereign Lord (Matt. 28:28-19a) and we identify ourselves with Him in outward baptism. (Matt. 28:19, Rom. 6:1-11) Discipleship continues in OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS. We teach others to observe Christ’s commandments (Matt. 28:20) by our instruction, (2 Tim. 2:2) by our example, (1 Tim. 4:12) and by our fellowship. (1 John 1:3-7) Our fellowship is with Christ, (Matt. 28:20) our Head, (Eph. 5:23) and with His Body, the Church. (Acts 2:42)
OUR CORPORATE WORSHIP INVOLVES:
1. Teaching: by giving “attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” (NASV, 1 Tim. 4:13, Acts 2:42)
2. Fellowship: by “encouraging one another.” (NASV, Heb. 10:25, Acts 2:42)
3. Communion: by remembering and proclaiming Christ. (1 Cor. 11:24-26, Acts 2:42)
4. Prayer: by the church body being a part of drawing near, “to the throne of grace.” (NASV, Heb. 4:16, Acts 2:42)
5. Music: by singing and playing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. (Eph. 5:19, Ps. 33:3)
6. Giving: by cheerfully giving what we have purposed in our hearts. (1 Cor. 16:2, 2 Cor. 9:7)
7. Children & Youth: by integrating them into our worship and ministry. (Matt. 19:14)
We declare God’s glory among the nations (Ps. 96:3) in doing all we can to obey the great commission by reaching out to all people groups. Our church encourages all, whether “goers” or “senders”, to declare the gospel, (Mark 16:15) to disciple others, (Matt. 28:18-20) and to be a part of establishing Christ’s church at home, in our country and in the remotest parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
1. We are burdened for the lost. (1 Tim. 2:4)
2. We continually pray that God will keep opening up to us doors of opportunities to share the gospel. (Col. 4:3, Matt. (9:38)
3. We are not ashamed (Luke 9:26, Rom. 1:16) to exalt Christ in our lives, (Phil. 1:20) and in our evangelizing, (2 Tim 4:5) so we may bear fruit for God’s glory. (John 15:8)
4. We are dependant upon God (Zech. 4:6) to open the hearts of the lost (Acts 16:14) to respond to the gospel. (Acts 2:47)
5. “We proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about Him, so that we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ.” (Phillips Modern English, Col. 1:28)
ARTICLE VIII – STATEMENT OF FAITH (amended on September 19, 2010 to reflect the revised Statement of Faith of the Evangelical Free Church of America and its Eastern District Association)
The Statement of Faith of this Organization shall be the same as that of the Eastern District Association and the Evangelical Free Church of America
ARTICLE IX – MEMBERSHIP
Membership is for the purpose of conducting official church business and for the protection of the Church in the case of church discipline. The pastors and elders, who are to, “be on guard…for all the flock,” (NASV, Acts 20:28) shall recognize as voting members those who meet the following:
1. Those who faithfully attend the Church. (Heb. 10:25)
2. Those who have been examined and found to confess Christ in their faith and conduct. (1 John 4:1-6)
3. Those who commit to submit themselves to church discipline. (Matt. 18:15-18)
A voting member must be at least eighteen years of age. Those under the age of eighteen are encouraged to participate and give their input into all church business. Removal of a voting member may take place when they resign, when they are under church discipline or when they have stopped faithfully attending the Church for more than six months.
ARTICLE X – GOVERNMENT
This Church shall function under a congregational form of government, as it is distinctive of the Eastern District Association and the Evangelical Free Church of America. This means that the highest authority, under Christ and His will, and the responsibility for ministry resides in the collective will of the local church membership. Regular congregational business meetings are to be held, as a minimum, once a year. Business meetings are generally called by the general church board and in special occasions may be called by the senior pastor or by the church chairman. Notice of all business meetings must by given by announcement at the regular Sunday service of the church or by written notice at least three days prior to the date of the meeting. Twenty five percent of the voting membership shall constitute a quorum. The rules of order contained in Robert’s Rules of Order (Revised) shall govern the congregational business meetings. The annual church budget, property purchases, building campaigns, capital improvements and any other large capital outlays shall be approved by the membership.
ARTICLE XI – THE GENERAL BOARD
1. The general board shall carry on the spiritual and functional operation of the Church between congregation business meetings as delegated by the membership.
2. The board shall consist of the church pastors, elders, deacons and deaconesses. All pastors are extended a call and, if the need arises, released from their call by a two-thirds vote at any regular or special business meeting of the Church. In either case, the Eastern District Association Superintendent should be notified at least one week in advance of such a vote. Elders are men of the quality of 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Candidates for elders will be recognized by the existing pastors and elders. The congregation must approve all elders by a two-thirds vote at the annual church business meeting and re-approve all elders with a two-thirds vote every two years. Deacons are men of the quality of 1 Timothy 3:8-10,12,13 and deaconesses are women of the quality of 1 Timothy 3:11. Deacons and deaconesses are to be elected for a two-year term at the annual church business meeting by a two-thirds vote.
3. The board will elect from its members the officers each year:
A Chairman who shall be the President of the Corporation;
A Vice Chairman who shall be the Vice President of the Corporation;
These will serve as the corporate officers/trustees of the Church. The pastors may not be elected to serve as officers/trustees of the Church.
4. The board shall appoint a treasurer, financial secretary, other committees and personnel needed to efficiently carry out the purpose of this Church.