Orchard Assembly of God Church Constitution and By-Laws

Revised:  February, 2013

PREAMBLE

For the purpose of establishing and maintaining a place for the worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father; to provide for Christian Fellowship for those of like precious faith, where the Holy Ghost may be honored according to our distinctive testimony; to assume our share of responsibility and the privilege of propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ by all visible means, both at home and in foreign lands (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 8:4, 5, 25, 35-40; 13:1-4; 16:6, 10; Romans 15:18-21; II Corinthians 10:16; Romans 10:12-17); we, whose names appear upon the assembly roster under above date, do hereby recognize ourselves as a local assembly in fellowship with, and a part of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, and adopt the following articles of church order, and submit ourselves to be governed by them.

CONSTITUTION

ARTICLE I

NAME

The name of this assembly shall be The Orchard Assembly of God Church, a Religious Corporation located, 6750 Howells Ferry Road, Mobile, Alabama.

ARTICLE II

PREROGATIVES

Section 1. Right to Govern – This assembly shall have the right to govern itself according to the standards of the New Testament Scriptures, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…till we all come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:3-13.

Section 2. Property – In accordance therewith, or incidental thereto, it shall have the right to purchase or acquire by gift, bequest, or otherwise, either directly, or as trustee, and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of any real estate or chattels as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes; all in accordance with its Constitution and By-Laws for as the same may be hereafter modified or amended.

ARTICLE III

AFFILIATION

While maintaining its inherent rights to sovereignty in the conduct of its own affairs, this assembly shall voluntary enter into cooperative fellowship with the assemblies of like precious faith associated in the Alabama district council and the general Council of the Assemblies of God with headquarters at Montgomery, Alabama and Springfield, Missouri, respectively, and shall share in the privileges and assume the responsibilities enjoined by said affiliation, namely, the Orchard Assembly of God agrees to conform to the standards of membership and qualifications for deacons and pastors as set forth by the General Council and District Council.”  Furthermore, the members and Pastor of this assembly shall recognize and respect the officers of the District and General Council.

ARTICLE IV

TENETS OF FAITH

This assembly shall accept the Holy Scriptures as the revealed will of God, the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice, and for the purpose of maintaining general unity, adopts the Statement of Fundamental Truths approved by the General Council of the Assemblies of God.

1.  The Scriptures Inspired

This Bible is the inspired Word of God, a revelation from God to man, the infallible rule of faith and conduct, and is superior to conscience and reason, but not contrary to reason.  II Tim. 3:15-17; I Peter 1:23-25; Heb. 4:12; II Peter 1:21

2.  The One True God

The One True God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent, self-revealed “I AM”, and has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association; i.e., as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Is. 43:10; Matt. 28:19

THE ADORABLE GODHEAD

  1. Terms Defined

The terms “Trinity” and “Persons” as related to the Godhead, while not found in the Scriptures, are words in harmony with Scripture, whereby we may convey to others our immediate understanding of the doctrine of Christ respecting the Being of God, as distinguished from “gods many and lords many.”  We, therefore, may speak with propriety of the Lord our God, who is One Lord, as a Trinity or as one Being of three Persons, and still be absolutely scriptural (examples, Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; John 14:16,17).

(b) Distinction and Relationship in the Godhead

Christ taught a distinction of Persons in the Godhead which he expressed in specific terms of relationship, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but that this distinction and relationship as to its mode is inscrutable and incomprehensible, because unexplained.  (Luke 1:35; I Cor. 1:24; Matt. 11:25-27, 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; I John 1:3-4).

(c) Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Ghost

Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Ghost which constitutes Him the Holy Ghost and not either the Father or the Son.  Wherefore the Father is the Begetter; the Son is the Begotten; and the Holy Ghost is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son.  Therefore, because these three Persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.  (John 1:18; 15:26; 17:11, 21; Zech. 14:9).

(d) Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead

The Father, and Son and the Holy Ghost are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation.  The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship.  The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship.  The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority.  The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority.  Hence, no Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others (John 5:17-30, 32, 37; John 8:17, 18).

(e) The Title “Lord Jesus Christ”

The appellation “Lord Jesus Christ” is a proper name.  It is never applied in the New Testament either to the Father or the Holy Ghost.  It therefore belongs exclusively to the Son of God (Rom. 1:1-3, 7; II John 3).

(f) The Lord Jesus Christ, God with us

The Lord Jesus Christ, as to His divine and eternal nature, is the proper and only Begotten of the Father, but as to His human nature, He is the proper Son of Man.  He is, therefore, acknowledged to be both God and man; who, because He is God and man, is “Immanuel,” God with us (Matt. 1:23, I John 4:2, 10, 14; Rev. 1:13, 17).

(g) The Title “Son of God’

Since the name “Immanuel” embraces both God and man in the one Person, our Lord Jesus Christ, it follows that the title “Son of God” describes His proper deity, and the title “Son of Man” His proper humanity.  

Therefore, the title “Son of God” belongs to the order of eternity, and the title ”Son of Man” to the order of time (Matt. 1:21-23; II John 3:1; I John 3:8; Heb. 1:1-13, 7:3).

(h) Transgression of the Doctrine of Christ

Wherefore, it is a transgression of the Doctrine of Christ to say that Jesus Christ derived the title “Son of God” solely from the fact of the incarnation, or because of His relation to the economy of redemption.  Therefore, to deny that the Father is a real and eternal Father, and that the Son is a real and eternal Son, is a denial of the distinction and relationship in the Being of God; a denial of the Father and the Son; and a displacement of the truth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (II John 9; John 1:1, 2, 14, 18, 29, 49; I John 2:22, 23; 4:1-5; Heb. 12:2).

(i) Exaltation of Jesus Christ as Lord

The Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, having by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels and principalities and powers having been made subject unto Him.  And having been made both Lord and Christ, He sent the Holy Ghost that we, in the name of Jesus, might bow our knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father until the end, when the Son shall become subject to the Father that God may be all in all (Heb. 1:3; I Peter 3:22; Acts 2:32-36; Rom. 14:11; I Cor. 15:24-28)

(j) Equal Honor to the Father and to the Son

Wherefore, since the Father has delivered all judgment unto the son, it is not only the express duty of all in heaven and on earth to bow the knee, but is an unspeakable joy in the Holy Ghost to ascribe unto the Son all the attributes of deity, and to give Him all the honor and the glory contained in all the names and titles of the Godhead (except those which express relationship, see paragraphs b, c, and d) and thus honor the Son even as we honor the Father (John 5:22,23; I Peter 1:8; Rev. 5:6-14; Phil. 2:8, 9; Rev. 7:9, 10; 4:8-11).

3.  The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God.  The Scriptures declare:

(a) His virgin birth.  Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31, 35

(b) His sinless life.  Hebrews 7:26; I Peter 2:22

(c) His miracles.  Acts 2:22; 10:38

(d) His substitutionary work on the cross.  I Cor. 15:3; II Cor. 5:21

(e) His bodily resurrection from the dead.  Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39;

I Cor. 15:4

(f) His exaltation to the right hand of God.  Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; 

Phil. 2:9-11; Hebrews 1-3

4.  The Fall of Man

Man was created good and upright, for God said, “let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”  But man by voluntary transgression, fell and his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ the Son of God.  Gen. 1:26-31; 3:1-7; Rom 5:12-21

5.  The Salvation of Man

Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

(a) Conditions to Salvation

The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men through the preaching of repentance toward the Lord Jesus Christ, man is saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, and being justified by grace through faith, he becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life.  Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Rom. 10:13-15; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7; 

(b) Evidences of Salvation

The inward evidence to the believer of his salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit, Rom 8:16.  The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness.  (Eph. 4:24; Titus 2:12)

6.  The Ordinance of the Church

(a) Baptism in Water

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded in the Scriptures by all who have really repented and in their hearts have truly believed on Christ as Savior and Lord.  In so doing, they declare to the world that they have died with Jesus and that they have also been raised with Him to walk in newness of life.  Matt. 28:19; Acts 10:47, 48; Rom. 6:4

(b) Holy Communion

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements, bread and fruit of the vine, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, a memorial of His suffering and death and a prophecy of His second coming, and is enjoined by all believers “until He comes.”  John 6:48; 51, 53-57; Luke 22:19; II Peter 1:4; I Cor. 11-26

7.  The Baptism in the Holy Ghost

All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church.  With it comes the endument of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; I Cor. 12:1-31).  This experience is distinct from and subsequent of the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9).  With baptism in the Holy Ghost comes such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39, Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Heb. 12:28), intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost (Mark 16:20).

8.  The Evidences of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The Baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance, (Acts 2:4).  The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (I Cor. 12:4-10, 28), but different in purpose and use.

9.  Sanctification

Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God, (Rom. 12:1, 2; I Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:12).  The Scriptures teach a life of “Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord,” (Heb. 12:14).  By the power of the Holy Ghost we are able to obey the command:  “Be ye Holy, for I am Holy” (I Peter 1:15-16).

Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.  Rom. 6:1-11; 13; 8:1, 2, 13; Gal. 2:20; Phil. 2:12, 13; I Peter 1:5

10.  The Church and Its Mission

The Church is the body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments of the fulfillment of her great commission.  Each believer, born of the Spirit is an integral part of the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which are written in Heaven.  Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; Heb. 12:23

Since God’s purpose concerning man is to seek and to save that which is lost, to be worshiped by man, and to build a body of believers in the image of His Son, the priority reason-for-being of the Assemblies of God as part of the Church is:

  1. To be an agency of God for evangelizing the world (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15, 16).
  2. To be a corporate body in which man may worship God  (I Cor. 12:13)
  3. To be a channel of God’s purpose to build a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Eph. 4:11-16; I Cor. 12:28; 14:12).

The Assemblies of God exists expressly to give continuing emphasis to this reason-for-being in the New Testament apostolic pattern by teaching and encouraging believers to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.  This experience:

  1. Enables them to evangelize in power of the Spirit with accompanying supernatural signs (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 4:29-31; Hebrews 2:3,4).
  2. Adds a necessary dimension to worshipful relationship with God (I Cor. 2:10-16; I Cor. 12, 13, and 14).
  3. Enables them to respond to the full working of the Holy Spirit in expression of fruit and gifts and ministries as in New Testament times for the edifying of the body of Christ (Gal. 5:22-26; I Cor. 14:12; Eph. 4:11, 12; I Cor. 12:28; Col. 1:29).

11.  The Ministry

A divinely called and Scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for a three-fold purpose.  (1) the evangelization of the world (Mark 16:15-20), (2) worship of God (John 4:23, 24), (3) building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son (Eph. 4:11-16). 

12.  Divine Healing

Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel.  Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.  Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matt. 8:16, 17; Mark 16:18; John 5:14; James 5:14-16).

13.  The Blessed Hope

The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation, together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, is imminent and is the blessed hope of the church.  I Thess. 4:16, 17; Rom. 8:23; Titus 2:13; I Cor. 15:51, 52

14.  The Millennial Reign of Christ

The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on the earth for one thousand years, (Zech. 14:5; Matt. 24:27, 30; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-14; 20:1-6).  This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel (Ezek. 37:21-22; Zeph. 3:19-20; Rom. 11:26-27), and the establishment of universal peace (Is. 11:6-9; Ps. 72:3-8; Micah 4:3-4).

15.  The Final Judgment

There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works.  Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the Beast and the false prophets, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.  Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Rev. 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8

16.  The New Heavens and the New Earth

“We according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”  II Peter 3:13; Rev. 21, 22

ARTICLE V

ORDINANCES AND PRACTICES

Section 1. Ordinances

(a) Water Baptism – The ordinance of Baptism by immersion in water (Matt. 28:19) shall be administered to all those who have repented of their sins and who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls, and who give clear evidence of their salvation.  Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12

(b) Lord’s Supper – The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed regularly as enjoined in the Scriptures.  Luke 22:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-26

Section 2.  Practices

  1. Infants and small children may be dedicated to the Lord in the assembly whenever requested (Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-16).
  2. The sick shall be prayed for, with the anointing oil and laying on of hands, upon their request (Mark 16:18; James 5:14).

ARTICLE VI

MEMBERSHIP

The members of this assembly shall consist of those who have met the requirements of membership as stated in the by-Laws (See Article I of the Bylaws), having been duly received into membership, and have not been removed from the membership roll.  They shall be classified as active and inactive as defined in the By-Laws.

ARTICLE VII

GOVERNMENT

Section 1.  Constituency – The government of the assembly shall be vested in the active membership of the assembly, whose action by the majority vote (except when otherwise specified in the By-Laws), shall be decisive in all matters, its decisions to be executed by its duly elected officials.

Section 2.  The Pastor – The Pastor, under Jesus Christ, is recognized as the head of the Church.  He is responsible both to the District fellowship and to the Church which he serves, and as long as he conforms to Scriptural order and complies with the Constitution and By-Laws of the local Church, he shall be respected in his office.

Section 3.  Church Boards – No Boards, committee, or group may take to themselves the right to supersede the authority vested in the Scriptural office of the Pastor, nor come between the Pastor and his relationship to the congregation itself.  Boards, or other church committees, are chosen to serve the Church in conformity to simple New Testament order, and are directly responsible to both Pastor and Church for their actions and conduct.  No minister shall be eligible for any office on the Board.

ARTICLE VIII 

OFFICIAL BOARD AND OFFICERS

Section 1.  Pastor – There shall be a pastor who shall serve as President of the Corporation.  He shall be the general overseer of all the activities of the Church and shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees.

Section 2.  Deacons – There shall be a Board of Deacons elected by the Assembly in Odd number increments (3, 5, 7, etc.) and not less than three members.

Section 3. Secretary – There shall be an Official Board Secretary appointed by the Pastor from the Board of Deacons and approved by the same.

Section 4. Treasurer – There shall be an Official Board Treasurer appointed by the Pastor from the Board of Deacons and approved by the same.

Section 5.   Nominating Committee – The sitting Board of Deacons shall serve the Body as the Nominating Committee.

Section 6.  Official Board – The Official Board of The Orchard Assembly of God Church shall consist of the Senior Pastor, as chairman and the Board of Deacons.

ARTICLE IX

 MEETINGS

Section 1.  Public Worship – Meetings for public worship shall be held on each Lord’s Day and during the week as may be provided for under the direction of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons.

Section 2.  Business Meetings – There shall be an annual congregational meeting of the Assembly at which time the election of officers shall take place and the reports of officers and Ministry Department leaders shall be presented.  This annual Congregational meeting shall be held on the second Wednesday night of the month of February.  Due notice is to be given on the two Sundays prior to the date of the meeting.   

Section 3.  Special Meetings – As need shall arise, shall be held in pursuant of notification of membership two Sundays prior to said meeting.  No special meeting shall be called without two-thirds majority of the Official Board in agreement to said meeting.

(a) Special business meetings of the assembly may be called when necessary after proper notice has been given by the Pastor or by the appointed chairman of the Official Board if the pastorate is vacant, provided the meeting has been agreed upon by two-thirds majority of the Official Board.

(b) The right of initiative in the matter of calling a special business meeting 1) The right of initiative in the matter of calling a special business meeting belongs to any active member of the assembly when occasion demands, provided a request in writing has been made to the Pastor and Church Board (The Official Board) setting forth the reason for the special business meeting.  If the Official Board refuses to honor this request, he may then furnish a statement setting forth the reasons for the special business meeting, signed by not less than one-third of the active membership of the assembly, to the Pastor and Church Board who may, if deemed advisable, call a special business meeting of the assembly.  The decision of the Pastor and Church Board shall be made known to the persons signing the petition not later than ten days after receipt of petition.

2) If the Official Board does not deem it advisable to call the special business meeting of the assembly, the petition may be presented not laterthan thirty days after date of petition to the Sectional Presbyter for consideration of the Sectional Committee, who in turn shall meet with the Pastor and Church Board to further determine the advisability of calling the special business meeting. If the Sectional Committee and Church Pastor and Board cannot reach an agreement on this matter, the Sectional Presbyter shall request that the District Executive Committee meet with the Sectional Committee and Church Board and Pastor to determine whether the special business meeting of the assembly shall be called.  Their decision shall be final in this matter.

3) In the event the Sectional Presbyter is the Pastor of the church being petitioned for a special business meeting, the petition shall be presented to the District Superintendent, who shall serve on the Sectional Committee in the place of the Sectional Presbyter, or if any other member of the Sectional Committee is the Pastor of the church being petitioned for a special business meeting, the Sectional Presbyter shall ask that the District Superintendent serve on the Sectional Committee in the place of the Assistant Presbyter or Sectional Secretary, as the case may be.

Section 4.  Quorum – No record of any special or Annual Business Meeting of The Orchard Assembly of God Church shall be made unless one-fifth or more active members shall be present to constitute a quorum.

Section 5.  Official Board Meetings – The Official Board (consisting of Pastor and Deacons) shall meet at least ten times per calendar year for the transaction of routine business for the Assembly, time and place to be announced by the Pastor.

ARTICLE X 

 DEPARTMENTS AND COMMITTEES

This Assembly hereby provides for the establishment of any department or the appointment of any committee that may be needed.  All such departments or committees shall be subordinate to the Assembly and shall contribute to the harmony and development of the whole.  They shall be under the general supervision of the Pastor and Board of Deacons, and the Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and departments of the Church.

ARTICLE XI

PROPERTY

Section 1.  This assembly shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Alabama.  All property of this Assembly shall be deeded to The Orchard Assembly of God Church. and held in its corporative name by its Official Board and their successors in office.  No property of the Assembly shall be sold, leased or mortgaged, or otherwise disposed of without the same shall have first been recommended by a vote of at least a two-thirds majority of the voting membership who are in attendance at a regular meeting or a special meeting of the Assembly which has been called for the consideration of the proposal.

The Pastor and Official Board Secretary of The Orchard Assembly of God Church shall certify in such conveyance, lease, or mortgage, that the same has been duly authorized and recommended by a vote of the assembly.  Such certificate shall be held in the conclusive evidence thereof. 

Section 2.  In the case of a defection from the faith as set forth in the Statement of Fundamental Truths in the Constitution of the Alabama District Council of the Assemblies of God or from affiliation with the Assemblies of God, any portion of the membership subscribing to and practicing the above mentioned Tenets of Faith, and retaining their affiliation with Assemblies of God shall hold possession of and full title to all property of the assembly with full rights under the provision of this Constitution and By-Laws.

Section 3. In the event the assembly herein mentioned ceases to function as a body, then the said property, real or chattel, shall revert to the Alabama District Council of the Assemblies of God, Inc., whose headquarters are located in Montgomery, Alabama.  The Alabama District Council of the Assemblies of God shall forthwith have full authority to use or dispose of the property to their discretion.  In the event of the sale of the property by the Alabama District Council of the Assemblies of God, the proceeds derived therefrom shall be used by the said Alabama District Council in furtherance of the Gospel of Christ.

ARTICLE XII

FINANCES

Section 1.   Receipts and Disbursements – All funds for the maintenance of the Assembly shall be provided by the voluntary contributions of the tithes and offerings of the members, adherents and friends of the Assembly.  Offerings shall be accepted and disbursements by the Assembly at such times and in such ways as agreed upon by the Official Board.  Funds shall be administered by the Senior Pastor or by a duly authorized person.  The Official Board will authorize all fund administrators.  The Official Board on a monthly basis will review all financial transactions.  Ma. 3:10; Luke 6:38; I Cor. 16:1-2; II Cor. 9:6-8

Section 2.  Salaries – The amount of support for the Senior Pastor, Ministerial Staff, and support personnel (i.e., Nursery Attendants, Custodian, Lawn Care, etc.) shall be set and agreed upon by the Official Board.  Effort should be made to evaluate job performance, need, and compensation of Executive Pastor and Staff on an annual review basis.  This review will correlate with the annual preparation of the succeeding year’s budget.

ARTICLE XIII

AMENDMENTS

This Constitution may be amended or changed by a two-thirds vote of the membership of the Assembly who are in attendance at any regular or special called meeting, provided due notice of such proposed change shall have been made at all services on at least two Sundays preceding the time of such meeting.

BY-LAWS

ARTICLE 1. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1.  Qualifications – The standard of membership for this assembly shall be:

(a)Evidence of genuine experience in regeneration or the New Birth (John 1:12, 13; 3:8; I Peter 1:18-25)

(b)Baptism in water by immersion (Matthew 28:19)

(c)Evidence of a consistent Christian life (Rom. 6:4; 8:1-4; 13:13-14; Eph. 4:17-32; 15; 1 John 1:6-7)

(d)Fully subscribe to the tenets of faith as set forth in the Constitution

(e)Readiness to be governed by the Constitution and By-Laws adopted by this Assembly, a willingness to contribute regularly to the support of the Assembly, according to the Scriptures

(f)Members are expected to support the Church with their finances (Mal. 3:10; I Cor. 16:12; II Cor. 9:6-9)

(g)Abstaining from the sins of the flesh as outlined in I Cor. 5:11 and Gal. 5:18-21

(h)Be at least 18 years of age

(i)Should complete New Membership Orientation classes provided by the Pastor

(j)Pastoral staff members and their families are afforded membership privileges provided:

1.  They meet age criteria and all other standards of membership.

2.  They complete New Membership Orientation classes.

Section 2.  Reception of Members 

(a)Persons desiring to become active members of the Assembly shall make the fact known to the Pastor, who shall examine the applicant according to the standard of membership.

(b)The Pastor shall present the names of those who apply for membership with his recommendation to the Board of Deacons, who shall act upon said recommendation to the Board of Deacons and render a final decision.

(c)All persons who shall have met the membership requirements and have been passed on favorably by the Official Board shall be received into the Assembly publicly at any of the regular services and their names inscribed on the roster.  

NOTE:  No person coming from other affiliated assemblies shall be received as a member of this Assembly without a letter of transfer unless otherwise approved by the Official Board.

Section 3.  Active Members – Active membership shall consist of those who meet the qualifications for membership as stated in Section 1 of this article.  They shall include those whose names appeared on the original membership roll of this Assembly at the time this Assembly was first organized and/or those whose names shall be added from time to time.  All active members shall regularly attend and participate in the services and shall regularly contribute to the financial support of the assembly with their tithes and offerings in accordance with the Scriptures.

Section 4.  Junior Membership – There shall be a non-voting Junior Membership for young people under eighteen years of age who give evidence of the new birth, having received Christ as their personal Savior and who meet the usual qualifications for membership established by this Assembly.  These shall automatically become full members with voting privileges at the age of eighteen.

Section 5. Inactive Members 

(a)Those who fail to meet any of the aforementioned qualifications for active membership.

(b)Those who shall have moved from the community, but have not yet transferred their membership to another church, together with those who for any other cause (except physical disability or temporary absence from the community) shall have absented themselves from the regular services of the assembly for a period of 90 days or more, shall be classified as inactive members and shall not be qualified to participate in the business of the Assembly.  If such inactive member shall have become active again by resumed attendance at church services, and if he has not departed from the standard of membership of the assembly, the Official Board may return his name to the active list without formal reception into membership again.  If the member remains inactive for a period of one year his/her membership shall be revoked, and name purged from Official Membership Roster.

Section 6.   Honorary Members – Honorary members shall consist of those members who have entered the ministry as district officers, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, religious education, credentialed ministers, or those who serve in the Armed Services, making it impossible to serve as active members.  Honorary membership recognition shall continue as long as the member maintains a consistent Christian life, remains sound in doctrine, and maintains a cooperative attitude toward the home assembly.  This is a non-voting membership.

Section 7.  Discipline 

(a)Any member of the assembly, who shall willfully absent himself from the regular services for a period of 90 days or willfully depart from the standard of membership of The Orchard Assembly of God Church, shall be temporarily suspended from active membership pending investigation and final decision in his/her case.  

(b)Unscriptural conduct or doctrinal departure from the Tenets of Faith held by this assembly shall be considered sufficient grounds upon which any person may be disqualified as a member. Matt. 18:15-18, I Cor. 5:11, Galatians 1:8-9, Titus 3:1-5, Romans 16: 17-18  

Section 8. Revision of Membership Roll – The Official Board shall be authorized to revise the membership roll of the Assembly annually, and to remove from the list of active members all names of those who have deceased during the year, together with the names of those who may have withdrawn from the fellowship, or who may have fallen into sin and whose lives may have become inconsistent with the standards and teachings of the Assembly.  It is understood that no such action shall be taken unless and until patient and persistent effort shall have been made to win such individuals back to the standard of faith and conduct of this Assembly.  If a name is removed for cause, the one whose name is removed shall be notified of the action of the Official Board through the secretary.  If appeal is made to the Board for reconsideration of their action and reinstatement is not granted, the dismissed member may appeal to the congregation.  The action of the Assembly by a two-thirds majority shall be considered final.  Matt. 18:15-17; Romans 16:17-18, I Cor. 5:1-5, II Thess. 3:6, 15

Section 9. Transferal of Membership – A letter of transfer, signed by the Pastor and secretary, shall be granted upon request.  Such letter shall be addressed to the Pastor or secretary of the receiving church and shall state whether the member is classified as an active or inactive member.

Section 10.  Upon written request to the pastor (or acting chairman of the board), any active member in good standing with this Assembly shall have the right to request a meeting with the Official Board to discuss the business matters and/or financial status of this Assembly.  

  ARTICLE II.  MARRIAGE

We believe that Biblical marriage is defined as a sacred bond between one man and one woman.  We adhere to the Word of God, which clearly disapproves of same sex marriages.  The Biblical marriage covenant between a man and a woman will be honored, observed, and celebrated in the body and life of this assembly.  Because of the sanctity of marriage, the Orchard Assembly of God Church disapproves of cohabitation outside the bonds of marriage.  (Matthew 19:4, 5; Genesis 2:18, 23; I Cor. 6:9)

ARTICLE III. QUALIFICATIONS AND DUTIES OF OFFICERS

Section 1.  Pastor

A. QUALIFICATIONS – The Pastor of this Assembly shall be a recognized minister of the Assemblies of God with an up-to-date fellowship certificate.  Any exception to this qualification must have the written approval of the Executive Committee of the Alabama District Council.

B.  DUTIES OF THE PASTOR – The Pastor shall be considered as the spiritual overseer of the Assembly and shall direct all of its activities.  He shall be the president of the corporation and shall act as chairman of all business meetings of the Assembly and of the Official Board.  He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees or departments.  He shall provide for all the services of the Assembly and shall arrange for all special meetings, conventions, or revival campaigns.  No person shall be invited to speak or preach in the Assembly without his approval.

Section 2.  Qualifications for Official Board and Ministry Department Directors. – Inasmuch as the Deacon Board, Officers and Department Heads of various departments represent the local church in spiritual, moral and business matters, each member serving in these offices should reflect a high moral and 

spiritual standard and should be an example of stewardship by faithfully attending all services of the local assembly and consistently supporting the Assembly with their tithes and offerings as well as promoting a harmonious fellowship among its members,

Section 3.  Deacon Board.

A.  QUALIFICATIONS – The Deacon Board shall consist of men of mature experience, sound judgment, recognized ability, and Christian character according to I Tim. 3:1-13 and Acts 6:3, and shall have the baptism in the Holy Ghost.  They shall be chosen from the active membership of the Assembly, having maintained active membership for a minimum period of one year, and shall be in full agreement with all the doctrines of the Assembly as set forth in the Assembly’s Tenets of Faith.

B.  DUTIES – The Deacon Board is chosen to serve the church and the Pastor in the facilitation of the ministries of the church.  They shall act in an advisory capacity with the Pastor in all matters pertaining to the assembly in its spiritual life and in the ministry of its ordinances.  They shall act in the examination of applications for membership and in the administration of the discipline of the Assembly.  They shall be charged with responsibility of the Policy creation and implementation, shall be custodians of all of the property of the Assembly and shall provide for the maintenance of the same.  They shall, upon request of the pastor, serve in the ministry to the church in the following capacity:  Prayer for the sick, visitation, ministry to the shut-ins of the membership, and other areas deemed necessary by the pastor.

C.  CHAIRMAN OF OFFICIAL BOARD – Since the Official Board is composed of the Pastor and Deacon Board, the Pastor shall be chairman of the Official Board.  No meeting of the Official Board shall be called in the absence of the Pastor.  In the event the Assembly is temporarily without a Pastor, the Deacons of the Official Board shall be empowered to provide a temporary chairman from its membership in order to transact business of the Assembly.

D.  QUORUM OF OFFICIAL BOARD MEETINGS – A majority present at any meeting of the Official Board shall constitute a quorum provided all the members have been notified to be present.

Section 4.  Official Board Secretary – The Secretary shall keep minutes of the annual and special business meetings of the Assembly and meetings of the Official Board.  He shall keep a record of the membership of the Assembly and perform any other clerical work necessary to the proper discharge of his duties.  He shall be the custodian of all legal documents and be in possession of the corporate seal.  

Section 5.  Official Board Treasurer – The Treasurer shall be responsible to review all receipts and disbursements administered by the Pastoral Staff member authorized for such duties.  He will reconcile monthly bank statements, examine records and prepare monthly financial statements for the Official Board and Annual Statements for the congregation in correlation with the Pastoral Staff member executing day-to-day expenditures and management.  He will maintain consistent observation of member and adherents contributions and will evaluate statements of giving provided to contributions.  In the event the Assembly is without a Pastoral Staff member (i.e., Business Pastor/Administrator) or other appointee, the Treasurer shall be entrusted with the finances of the Assembly and will administer them as authorized by the Official Board.

ARTICLE IV. VOTING CONSTITUENCY

The voting constituency shall consist of all active members, 18 years of age and over, who are in good standing as recognized by the Official Board.

ARTICLE V. ELECTIONS AND VACANCIES

Section 1. Election of Pastor – The pastor shall be called for an indefinite period of time (unless otherwise stated at the time of election).  After consultation with the District Officials regarding available candidates, the official board shall interview and present to the congregation their nomination for pastor.   Only one name shall be voted upon at a time.  Election shall be by secret ballot at the Annual Business Meeting of the Assembly or at a special meeting called for that purpose.  A two-thirds majority vote of all votes cast shall be required to constitute an election.

Section 2. The Deacon Board – Nominations for the office of Deacon shall be solicited and received by the Pastor from the membership within no less than 30 days prior to the Annual Business Meeting.  The nominees will be reviewed for qualifications by the Official Board and subsequently interviewed by the Senior Pastor.  The Pastor will submit all interviewed candidates with his recommendation to the Official Board.  As the nominating committee, the Official Board will then submit the approved nominees to the congregations for vote.  Nominees shall be submitted for congregational consideration with a two-thirds majority vote of the Official Board.

TERMS:  At the initial election of the Deacon Board, 2 members of the board shall be elected for a period of three years; two members shall be elected for a period of two years; one member shall be elected for a period of one year.  Thereafter, at the Annual Congregational Meeting of the Assembly, members of the Deacon Board shall be elected or re-elected by secret ballot, and a majority vote shall be necessary for election.  All Deacons will serve three-year terms.  After which they may be eligible for re-election.  

All names thus presented shall be balloted upon until a candidate shall have received a majority of the votes cast.  If no such majority shall have been received by the first three electoral ballots taken the two candidates having the highest number of votes in the third electoral ballot shall be the only nominees to be further voted upon and all other names shall be eliminated.

NOTE:  In the event a Deacon is unable to complete his term for whatever reason, the Pastor will appoint a replacement with Official Board approval to serve until the next Annual Business Meeting.  At that time the body will elect a Deacon or Deacons.

Section 3.  Official Board Secretary – The Secretary shall be appointed by the Pastor and approved by the Official Board for a period of three years.

Section 4.  Official Board Treasurer – The Treasurer shall be appointed by the Pastor and approved by the Official Board for a period of three years.

Section 5.  Vacancies

A.  PASTORATE

(1) In the event a pastor has serious charges preferred against him or his ministry has ceased to be effective, or no provision has been made for the termination of his ministry, power is vested in the Official Board to ask for the resignation of the Pastor at any of its regular business meetings.  The reason(s) for their request shall be given in writing and signed by the Deacons of the Board.  If such resignation is refused, the pastorate shall not be considered vacant until the action of the Official Board has been confirmed by a majority vote of the Active Membership at a meeting called for that purpose; such meetings will be presided over by a District Officer.  In such event, it will be necessary for all complaints against the Pastor to be made public prior to the vote of the body attending said meeting.  When a vacancy in the pastorate shall occur, a supply shall be arranged for by the Official Board until a pastor shall be chosen as prescribed in section 1.  In the case of a pastor’s removal from office, a report of such action shall be made to the district officiary. 

(2)It shall be agreed between the Pastor and the Assembly at the time of this election that, should he resign, he will give the Assembly at least thirty days notice before vacating the pulpit.  It shall be further agreed that, should the Assembly request the Pastor’s resignation, they will grant him (except in cases involving moral turpitude) at least thirty days in which to vacate the pulpit or else pay him thirty days salary in advance.

B.  OTHER OFFICES OR DEPARTMENTAL MINISTRIES 

    1. Any office, department or committee may be declared vacant or dissolved by an act of a majority of the membership of the Official Board at any regular or special business meeting.
    2. Grounds for such action shall be:  (a) Unscriptural conduct, (b) doctrinal departure from the Tenets of Faith, (c) incompetency in office, (d) for other good and sufficient cause.
    3. Any incumbent under charges shall have the opportunity for a fair and impartial hearing of his/her case before the assembly if approved by the Official Board.

C.  ABSENTEE BALLOTS – The Orchard Assembly of God Church will not accept absentee ballots.

ARTICLE VI. DEPARTMENTS

Section 1.  Christian Education – The Pastor may appoint the Director of Christian Education with Official Board approval, for a term of one year.  The Christian Education Director shall have the right to appoint all departmental offices, teachers and workers of the Sunday School and overall Christian Education ministry with the approval of the Pastor.  Teachers will be asked to serve for a period stipulated by the Christian Education Director.

Section 2.  Women’s Ministries – There shall be a Women’s Ministries Department, which shall be under general direction of the Pastor.  The Pastor shall appoint the coordinator for a stipulated term.  The Women’s Ministry shall be conducted as a branch of the activities of the Assembly and shall have the right to elect its own Assistant Coordinator, Secretary and Treasurer.  

Section 3.  Men’s Ministries – There shall be a Men’s Ministries Department, which shall be under general directions of the Pastor.  The Pastor will appoint a coordinator for a stipulated term.  The Men’s Ministry shall be conducted as a branch of the activities of the Assembly.  

Section 4.  Other Departments – All Departments/Departmental Ministries, existing or created shall be under the general direction of the Senior Pastor.  The Department Directors/Pastoral Staff Members will serve as his appointments with approval of Official Board.

ARTICLE VII. ORDER OF BUSINESS

All business meetings of the assembly shall be conducted according to accepted rules of parliamentary procedure in keeping with the spirit of Christian love and fellowship.  The order of business for the Annual Meeting of the Assembly shall be as follows:

(1)Devotion

(2)Reading of Previous Minutes

(3)Report of Treasurer

(4)Report of Committees

(5)Unfinished Business

(6)Election of Officers

(7)New Business

(8)Adjournment

This order may be altered by a majority vote of the voting membership present.

ARTICLE VIII AMENDMENTS

These By-Laws may be amended at any regular or special business meeting of the Assembly by a majority vote of the membership present.