To establish a system of church governance based on Biblical principles and in the spirit of unity and cooperation, the Church Council of Trinity Evangelical Church, as representatives of the congregational members, adopts the following bylaws.
ARTICLE 1. GENERAL
The name of this organization shall be “Trinity Evangelical Church of Upper Sandusky” (“Trinity Evangelical Church” or “Trinity” or "Church"). Trinity's address is 108 Malabar Drive, Upper Sandusky, Ohio 43351. Trinity is an autonomous, self-governing body and not a member of any church denomination.
ARTICLE 2. MISSION AND VISION
Our Mission: "To Know Christ and Make Him Known"
Our Vision: "To Be and Build Fully Devoted Followers of Jesus Christ."
ARTICLE 3. BELIEFS
We believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant and
authoritative Word of God. We believe the Bible is the final authority in every
area it addresses for every individual Christian, as well as for the church
collectively (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21; John 10:35).
We believe there is one God who eternally exists as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We believe that all things were created by Him and for Him (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:21-22; Matthew 28:19; Colossians 1:16).
We believe that God the Son became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life (for He was without sin), died a substitutionary death for all mankind, was raised from the dead the third day, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God until His enemies are made His footstool (John 1:1; 14, Matthew 1:18-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 10:12-13).
We believe the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. We believe the Holy Spirit regenerates, indwells and seals believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He empowers them to live as His witnesses (John 14:16-17; John 16:7-11; Titus 3:5-6; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 1:13-14; Acts 1:8; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We believe that, as a result of the Fall, all people are sinners by nature and in need of a Savior, and that Jesus Christ is the one and only Savior of the world. We believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus and that all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved eternally (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:18-19; Matthew 1:21; 1 John 4:14; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9).
We believe there is one church, the body of Christ, consisting of men and women from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. We believe that each local congregation is an expression of that universal church. We believe in the spiritual and common body of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Revelation 5:9; Acts 2:42-47).
We believe that the pursuit of unity within the body of believers is critical to the well-being and growth of the body of believers (1 Corinthians 1:10, Romans 15:5-7, Acts 4:32, John 17:21, Romans 14:19, Romans 14:1).
ARTICLE 4. CHURCH GOVERNANCE
- A. Church Council and Committees
- 1. The overall policy, control, direction and management of the ministry, operations and finances of the Church shall be vested in the Church Council as the ultimate governing authority of the Church as authorized and limited by these bylaws. The Church Council is responsible for being obedient to the Scriptures in the doctrine of the Church.
- 2. Regular Committees shall operate within their defined areas of responsibility, mission, their Church Council approved budgets and answer to the Church Council. Activity outside their mission and/or budget must be approved by Church Council.
- 3. Ad hoc committees may be appointed by and report to either the Church Council or the Regular Committee from which they were appointed, but ad hoc committee members do not vote in the appointing Church Council or Regular Committee unless they are already a member preceding the appointment of the ad hoc committee.
- 4. Regular committees include FEAST (Fellowship-Evangelism-Adoration-Service-Teaching), Finance, Missions, Trustee, Human Resources, and Nominations.
- 5. Meetings are open to other Church Members except Human Resources and Church Council or other committees while discussing personnel issues. Church Council, and all Committee and staff members must ethically and legally keep personnel and personal information private and confidential.
- B. Quorum
- 1. The quorum for approving a motion shall be a simple majority of the voting members of the Church Council or other Committee present at the time of the vote.
- 2. A Church Member Meeting quorum is the Active Members present.
- C. Voting
- 1. Voting Church Members must be at least 18 years of age.
- 2. A motion cannot be passed and become effective without a quorum being present.
- 3. A seconded motion along with discussion is voted on and carried/affirmed by a simple majority of the voting members present unless a 2/3 majority is specified otherwise by these bylaws or the Chair.
- 4. Voting is generally by a voiced Aye or Nay, but a member can call for a hands-up or secret vote.
- 5. A tie vote is not a majority, and the motion has failed. The Chair votes in the event of a tie.
- 6. The following motions require a 2/3 majority of all members of the Church Council: (1) to adopt or change these Bylaws, (2) to call a Church Member vote to make an expenditure greater than 50% of the current annual Church budget, (3) to call a Church Member vote to make any loan that results in cumulative indebtedness exceeding 50% of the current annual Church budget (4) to call a Church Member vote to hire a Lead Pastor (outlined in the Lead Pastor Selection Procedure approved by the Church Council), or (5) to call a Church Member vote to join or disaffiliate from a denomination.
- D. Congregational and Church Member Meetings
- 1. An annual Congregational Meeting shall be called and held in January for the purpose of the presentation of the Church Council and Committees and their members for the new year, by the Lead Pastor and the Chair of Church Council. Church staff leaders and Regular Committee Chairs will give a report of activities in their area of responsibility for the past year and present their goals and plans for the new year.
- 2. A special Church Member Meeting may be called with notice and as addressed in paragraph C.6. When a vote is required, the vote by secret ballot must be affirmed by a 2/3 majority of the Active Members physically present to pass. Church Members shall have an advanced opportunity to submit questions, comments and concerns to be considered by the Church Council.
- E. Notice of Meetings
- 1. Most Church Council or Committee meetings have a regular schedule and notice is not required.
- 2. If a regularly scheduled meeting date and time is changed for later date and time, the Chair or their designee must give the Church Council or Committee members notice of the new date and time by email, phone or text message in a manner appropriate to assure a quorum.
- 3. A committee without a regularly scheduled meeting date and time shall be scheduled by the Committee Chair in a manner appropriate to assure a quorum.
- 4. In the rare event that a special or emergency Church Council or Regular Committee Meeting is necessary, the Chair can give notice in a manner appropriate to assure a quorum.
- 5. Church Council or Committee Meetings for debate and voting purposes can be held with members who are present in person or who are present virtually via telecommunication system(s) only if all members both in person and virtually can hear each other. The Chair may call for an email vote if there is no member objection.
- 6. Notice of a vote of the Active Church Members shall be announced from the pulpit and included in the weekly bulletin stating the date, time and subject of the vote two Sundays in advance of the Church Member Meeting. In the case of voting on a new Lead Pastor, notice of the date, time and purpose of the vote shall be announced from the pulpit at least 7 days in advance beginning on a Sunday, from the pulpit, in advance of the Congregational Meeting.
- F. Church Council
- 1. The term of the Chair is 3 years as Chair. Member(s) at Large term limits are 2 consecutive 3-year terms.
- 2. The Church Council is composed of the following members except as noted. All voting Church Council members must be Active Members of Trinity:
a. Chair, Church Council
b. Lead Pastor (Chair of the Nominations Committee)
c. Chair of the Finance Committee
d. Chair of the Trustee Committee
e. Chair of the Human Resources Committee
f. Chair of the FEAST Committee (Fellowship, Evangelism, Adoration, Service, Teaching)
g. Chair of the Missions Committee
h. Members at Large – 3 (For the years following 2023, only one new Member at Large will be added)
- i. Church Council Secretary (Non-voting, no term limit)
j. Financial Secretary (Non-voting, no term limit)
k. Church Historian (Non-voting, no term limit)
- G. Regular Committees
- Each Regular Committee has a Chair nominated by the Nominations Committee and Approved by Church Council, who then becomes a Church Council member. Committee Chair term limit is 3 years as Chair. Other Committee Members may serve 2 consecutive 3 year terms. After a one-year break following the completion of the second term, they may be nominated and elected to serve another term.
- 1. Finance Committee
- a. Stewardship and oversight of the budget, funds, and giving process
- b. Members
- 1) Chair
- 2) Pastor
- 3) Church Council Chair
- 4) Human Resources Chair
- 5) Trustee Chair
- 6) FEAST Chair
- 7) Missions Chair
- 8) Financial Secretary(ies)
- 9) STEPS Representative
- 10) Members at Large -3
- 11) Church Administrator (non-voting)
- 12) Bookkeeper (non-voting)
- 13) Auditor (non-voting)
- 2. Trustee Committee
- a. Stewardship and oversight of the buildings, land and physical assets
- b. Members
- 1) Chair
- 2) Pastor
- 3) Members at Large - 9.
- 3. FEAST (Fellowship, Evangelism, Adoration, Service, Teaching) Committee
- a. Stewardship and oversight of volunteer led ministry and their budgets, special events fund, and requests from outside ministry groups
- b. Members
- 1) Chair
- 2) Pastor
- 3) Members at Large – 9
- 4. Missions Committee
- a. Stewardship and oversight of the church tithe for the support of missionaries and mission projects
- b. Members
- 1) Chair
- 2) Pastor
- 3) Financial Secretary
- 4) Members at Large - 9
- 5. Human Resources Committee
- a. Stewardship and oversight of paid ministry staff, their evaluations, professional development, recommended compensation, hiring, and termination
- b. Members
- 1) Chair
- 2) Pastor
- 3) Members at Large - 9
- 6. Nominations Committee
- a. Stewardship and oversight of preparing the nomination report to Church Council for the selection of those who serve on Church Council and Regular Committees
- b. Members
- 1) Pastor (Chair)
- 2) Members at Large - 9
- H. Additional Church Council and Regular Committee Notes
- 1. After 2023, three new Regular Committee Members at Large will be added annually except the Finance Committee where one will be added annually. Current 2023 Church Council and Regular Committee Members will continue their term.
- 2. Church Council and Regular Committees will meet at least four times a year. The Chair or the Lead Pastor may call an additional meeting as needed.
- 3. The Lead Pastor is automatically a non-chair member of Church Council and Regular Committees, except being Chair of the Nominations Committee.
- 4. When a new Lead Pastor takes office, the prior Lead Pastor, if he chooses to remain a Trinity member or otherwise a congregate, will no longer be a member of Church Council or any Regular Committee for a period of three years.
- 5. Roberts Rules of Order are generally used in the format of affirming a motion and can be invoked by any Member during a motion under consideration. Good decorum including Biblical manners of grace, respectfulness, encouragement, achieving unity and not argumentative is expected in all meetings and interactions of members.
- 6. In the absence of the Chair, the Chair, or then, the Pastor will designate a Chair pro-tempore.
- 7. Church Council or Committee membership ends when a member resigns, fails to attend three consecutive meetings unless excused by the Chair for health or certain personal reasons, or is removed by vote of the Church Council or Committee (which is recommended). A replacement may be appointed by the applicable Chair for the remainder of the year, or the Chair may decide to not replace the member for the balance of the year, in which case the Nominations Committee will nominate a candidate for the balance, if any, of the departing member’s term following that year.
- 8. Prior to a vote to remove a member, the Chair or his designee and another member must meet with the individual to discuss the problem and provide an opportunity for corrective action. If, in their judgement, corrective action will not be or is not effective, a majority vote of the attending affected Church Council or Committee members will make the removal official.
- 9. The member under consideration for removal is not included in the Church Council or Committee discussion and vote.
- 10. Church Council may remove a member of any Committee independently of the Committee in the same manner as described in H.7. to H.9.
- I. STEPS (Serving Trinity Evangelical Preschoolers) Board
- Accountable to the Finance Committee
- 1. Director
- 2. Teacher
- 3. Staff Liaison
- 4. President
- 5. Secretary
- 6. Treasurer
ARTICLE 5. EXPECTATIONS
A. Church Member
- 1. Has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his/her life.
- 2. Understands the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
- 3. Demonstrates the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
- 4. Is celibate single living in his/her biological gender; or lives in a committed, faithful, lifelong marriage as one biological man and one biological woman.
- 5. Is in agreement with and supportive of the beliefs and organization as outlined in these Bylaws.
- 6. Observes Baptism and Communion as important sacraments in Christian living.
- 7. Contributes his/her attendance, time, talents, and gifts to the ministry of the Church.
- 8. Is classified as an Active Church Member and a qualified voting member.
- 9. A Member on Sabbatical is a member who will be absent for more than six months but is expected to return as determined by the Lead Pastor or the Church Council Chair but is not a voting member until having returned and declared his/her intention to stay.
- 10. An Inactive Member is a member who 1. relocated out of the area, 2. joined another church or, 3. Has been placed on inactive status for disciplinary reasons as determined by the Lead Pastor or the Church Council Chair, supported by Church Council, and whose status will be re-evaluated after a period of time. An Inactive Member is a non-voting member and may be deleted from membership rolls as determined from time to time by the Church Council.
- 11. A Member may be subject to church discipline as applicable in Mathew 18:15-19. Church Council may agree to remove a Church Member.
- B. Church Staff and Leadership Volunteers
- 1. Paid church staff and those who serve as teachers, coordinators, small group or other leaders or facilitators, etc. must understand and agree to the Church Member expectations A1 to A5 as well as these Bylaws and complete the Volunteer Covenant form, whether they are official Church Members or not.
- C. Committee Member or Officer in addition to Church Member expectations:
- 1. Serves others in an official capacity in the church. Acts 6:2
- 2. Jesus defined servant leadership: ‘Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ Matthew 20:26–28
- 3. The Lord incarnate bent down and washed their feet, teaching them the true measure of leading by first serving others. John 13:12–17
- 4. Worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much alcohol/substances, and not pursuing dishonest gain, keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience, first be tested, not malicious talkers, temperate, trustworthy, manage household well. Note: A1-A5. 1 Timothy 3:8–12
- 5. ‘Do nothing from selfish ambition but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ‘Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ Philippians 2:3–4
- 6. 'To equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.’ Ephesians 4:12.
- 7. Additional consideration should be given to the candidate’s spiritual gifts, church participation, temperament/personality, natural talents and learned skills, life experiences, and his/her heart’s call for the particular task to be assigned.
- D. Church Council Member in addition to Committee Member expectations:
- 1. Rule over the church to lead or to attend to, a diligent caretaker, reprove those who err from the faith. 1 Timothy 5:17
- 2. Accountable for the spiritual life of the church. Hebrews 13:17
- 3. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God. Acts 20:17–35
- 4. Feed the flock and watch out for the church in humility. 1 Peter 5:1-4
- 5. Pray for the sick. James 5:14
- 6. Devoted to prayer and to the ministry of the word. Acts 6:2-4
- 7. The Lord Jesus Himself is “Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” 1 Peter 2:25
- 8. Help settle disputes in the church. Decision makers. Acts 15:1-2
- 9. A position of responsibility, not to be taken lightly. James 3:1
- 10. Things that he should command and teach. 1 Timothy 4:11- 6:2
- 11. Handling of finances within the church. Acts 11:30
- 12. Appoint elders in every city. Titus 1:5-9
- 13. Church Council members are peacemakers, prayer warriors, teachers, leaders by example, and decision makers.
- 14. Above reproach, faithful, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent, gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, manage his own family well, in a manner worthy of full respect, not be a recent convert, have a good reputation with outsiders. Note: A1-A5. 1 Timothy 3:1–7
- 15. Blameless, faithful, control of family, not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain, hospitable, one who loves what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, hold firmly to the Word, encourage others, and refute those who oppose sound doctrine. Titus 1:6–9
- 16. Experience in teaching, leading, facilitating, mentoring, e.g., small group, class, mentorees, etc.
- 17. Has served on a Regular Committee.
- E. Pastor in addition to Church Council Member expectations:
- 1. To govern the church along with the elders (or overseers) focused primarily on spiritual matters, edifying believers and equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12
- 2. A double honor especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. The pastor is first a Church Council Member. 1 Timothy 5:17
- 3. Teaching to the committed and faithful who would teach others also. Preserving the integrity of the gospel is one of the pastor’s highest callings. 2 Timothy 2:2
- 4. Feed the church, “feed the flock” with God’s Word and lead them in the proper way. The word pastor means “shepherd.” 1 Peter 5:2
- 5. To be an example of truth, love, and godliness for God’s flock to follow. Titus 1:7
- 6. The steward of God, He is answerable to God for his leadership in the church. 1 Timothy 4:12
- 7. Handling of finances within the church. Acts 11:30
- 8. The hiring of a Lead Pastor is outlined in the Lead Pastor Selection Procedure approved by Church Council.
ARTICLE 6. PURPOSE
The purpose of Trinity is “To Know Christ and Make Him Known” by building fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ of all ages through evangelism and discipleship in our wider community and around the world. Trinity is organized primarily to conduct religious services and religious education, as well as to assist in community services and any other activities consistent with the biblical mission of a Christian church.
Trinity is organized exclusively for religious and charitable purposes as such purposes are defined by section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, as amended. No part of the net earnings of Trinity shall inure to the benefit of any individual, and no member, director, officer or employee of the church shall receive any pecuniary benefits of any kind except reasonable compensation for services in effecting the organization purposes. No substantial part of Trinity's activities shall consist of carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, nor shall Trinity participate or intervene in (including publishing or distributing statements of) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these bylaws, Trinity shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a church exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax law, or (b) by a church, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended.
dissolution of Trinity, voluntarily or involuntarily, by judicial order or
otherwise, all its unencumbered assets, or the residue of its assets after
paying or providing for all debts and obligations, the net assets, or the
residue of the assets shall be transferred or conveyed to any qualified tax
exempt charitable or religious organization or organization under Section
501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as shall be selected by a
majority vote of the Church Council as the governing body of Trinity.