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CONSTITUTION AND BY LAWS OF
LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD North Mankato, Minnesota
Whereas the Word of God demands that a Christian congregation not only conform to the Word of God in doctrine and practice (Ps. 119:105; Gal. 1:6 8; II Tim. 4:1 5) but that also all things be do decently and in order (I Cor. 14:40). Therefore, we the members of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd set forth by this present document, signed by ourselves, the Constitution and By laws in accordance with which our congregational affairs, spiritual and material, shall be conducted.
Article I. NAME
The name of this congregation shall be Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, North Mankato, Minnesota.
Article II. PURPOSE
The purpose of this corporate body shall be that of a religious organization; more specifically, that of a Christian congregation, established and maintained for the express purpose of disseminating the Gospel truth according to the confessional standard of the Lutheran Church, the Book of Concord of the year 1580.
It is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples should preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:18 20, Acts 1:8). That Christ's mission for His Church might be carried out according to His will, He has commanded that Christians unite in worship (Hebrews 10:24 25), practice fellowship with one another (Acts 2:42), witness to all (Acts 1:8), help each other grow in the Word (Ephesians 4:11 14), serve the need of all in Christian love (Ephesians 4:7 16, Mark 10:42 44, John 20:21 23, Matthew 15:15 20), and maintain decency and order ( I Corinthians 14:40) in the Church.
Article III. CONFESSION
This congregation accepts and acknowledges:
- The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and inerrant Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and practice;
- All the symbolic books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as contained in the Book of Concord of 1580, as the true, sound, and unadulterated statement and exhibition of Christian doctrine, to wit; The three Ecumenical Creeds (the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed); The Unaltered Augsburg Confession; The Apology of the Same; The Smalcald Articles; Luther's Small and Large Catechism; The Formula of Concord.
In this congregation no doctrine shall be taught or tolerated which is at variance it symbols of the Lutheran Church or contrary to the teachings of the Bible. All doctrinal controversies which may arise in this congregation shall be decided and adjudicated according to these symbols.
Article IV MEMBERSHIP
Anyone may become or be a member of this congregation and enjoy the rights and privileges of such membership on the following conditions.
Baptized members are all who have been baptized in the name of the Triune God and/or who are under the spiritual care of the pastor of this congregation, including children who have not yet been confirmed.
Communicant members are those baptized members who accept all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the only divine rule and standard of faith and conduct; are acquainted with, and accept Luther's Small Catechism; lead a Christian life and abstain from manifest works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19 21); attend divine services faithfully and partake of the Lord's Supper frequently; submit, for the sake of love and peace, to the regulations already made, or still to be made by this body, provided they do not conflict with the Word of God, and accept Scriptural admonition (Matthew 18:15 20) when having erred or offended; and are not a member of any secret or other organization conflicting with the Word of God, such as anti-Christian lodges.
When a member of this congregation fails to comply with the qualifications of membership listed above, and, after fruitless admonition in the various grades prescribed by the Word of God (Matthew 18:15 20), where the observance of such grades has been possible, shall have been expelled by two thirds majority vote from the congregation, such person shall have forfeited all rights of a member of the congregation and all claims upon the property of the congregation as such, or upon any part thereof, as long as s/he is not again received into membership by this congregation. The same shall apply to such members as refuse to submit to church discipline and thus excommunicate themselves, as also to those who voluntarily sever connection with the congregation.
Article V VOTING MEMBERSHIP
Voting membership of this congregation shall consist of all communicant members who have completed their eighteenth (18th) year and are not under congregational discipline. A minimum of fifteen (15) members must be present at a congregational meeting to constitute a quorum.
Article VI SYNODICAL MEMBERSHIP
In order to do the Lord's work more effectively, also beyond the confines of our own congregation, we maintain voting membership in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, as long as the latter body adheres to the confessional basis detailed in Article III. As a member of this Synod, we participate in its meetings and deliberations and help to bear its burdens.
Article VII RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE
Superseded by Article V.
Article VIII OFFICERS
The officers of this corporate body shall be: a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, a Treasurer, a Board of Elders of at least three members, a Board of Education of at least three members, a Board of Trustees of three members, and other such officers, boards and committees as the By Laws of this corporate body may prescribe or as this corporate body may elect , in accordance with its needs. The officers shall be elected at the election meeting of this corporate body, and the term of office of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary, and the Treasurer shall be specified by the By Laws of this corporate body. Women are eligible to hold all offices except Elder, President and Vice President, (1 Timothy 2:12; 1969 Res. 2-17; 1981 Res. 3-11).
Article IX (A) THE PASTORAL OFFICE
The office of Pastor can be conferred upon such ministers or candidates only, as (a) declare their acceptance of and adherence to all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and all the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church enumerated in Article III; (b) possess, in a sufficient measure, the qualification of a minister of the Word as set forth in Holy Writ (1 Timothy 3:1 7; Titus 1:5 9); (c) have been endorsed by and are members of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and (d) are properly and rightfully called by the congregation.
For the election of a Pastor a two thirds majority vote is required.
As the ministerial office in the church is the only divinely appointed office (see Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2; John 20:2123; 1 Cor. 12:25) and all other offices are humanly appointed to assist the ministerial office in the service of the congregation (Acts 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:17) and since, by virtue of the call, the Pastor is charged with the responsibility to do all that is possible to do, within the limits of his calling and ability, for the upbuilding of our congregation and for the general advancement of the Kingdom of Christ, therefore the Pastor shall be ex officio member of all boards, committees, etc., and all activities within the congregation pertaining to the ministry of the Word, including the various organizations and societies (Acts 6:4).
(The following article will apply if the congregation establishes a Christian Day School.)
Article IX (B) THE OFFICE OF TEACHER
The establishment of and maintenance of a Christian Day School is not by divine command, but by congregation arrangement, as an agency for the Christian instruction and training of children.
The office of teacher in our Christian Day School is an auxiliary office to the Ministry of the Word.
Only such persons shall be called as teachers of the school as: (a) possess the necessary Christian and secular knowledge and prescribed qualifications; (b) declare their acceptance of and adherence to all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and all the Symbols of the Evangelical Lutheran Church enumerated in Article III; (c) have been endorsed by and are members of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and (d) live a Christian life and enjoy a good reputation.
The congregation, in addition to the called teacher or teachers, may elect, or give authority to appoint one or more teachers for the Christian instruction of the children upon such condition as the congregation may specify.
For the election of a teacher a two thirds majority of the vote is required.
Article IX (C) REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
Any pastor, called teacher or officer may be removed from office for sufficient cause by the voters assembly with a two thirds majority vote. Sufficient causes for the removal are: persistent adherence to false doctrine, ungodly conduct, willful neglect of duty, unfaithfulness and permanent inability to perform the required duties.
Article X. POWERS VESTED IN THE CONGREGATION
The Voters of the congregation shall decide all matters relating to the church or church affairs, and has authority over every organization within the congregation. Every member may appeal to it in regard to any matter relating to the affairs and government of said church, and its decision shall be final and binding; but such decision shall always be in accord with the Word of God and the Symbolic Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and, unless it is so, shall be null and void.
Article XI. PROPERTY RIGHTS OF THE CONGREGATION
- This corporate body may receive, acquire, hold title to, and manage, such real estate and other property as it may need to accomplish said purpose and may sell, or dispose of such real estate, and other property or any part thereof; and this corporate body shall have all the rights and powers that are granted by the laws of the State of Minnesota to a religious corporation, i.e., Articles of Incorporation 317. (Appendix A)
- It is the intention in perpetuity of the framers of this document, that this organization remain on a Confessional Lutheran Basis, i.e., Article III of this Constitution. If at any time a division should take place on account of doctrine, or any other reason, the property of this congregation, and all benefits connected therewith shall remain with the majority of those voting members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Article III of this Constitution, as determined by the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
- In the event that this congregation should dissolve, the property, and all rights connected therewith shall be transferred to that District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in which the congregation held membership at the time of dissolution.
- Persons who are excommunicated, self-excommunicated, transferred, released or have died, retain no legal right in this congregation.
Article XII. MEETINGS
Regular and special meetings of the Voter's Assembly, and the Church Council, shall be held as determined in the By Laws.
Article XIII. BY LAWS
This congregation may adopt such By laws as the accomplishment of the purpose of its organization may require.
Article XIV. AMENDMENTS.
Amendments made to this Constitution must be made in writing, presented at a regular Voter's meeting, and then presented at a second Voter's meeting for action, with the exception that Article III Confession and Article XIV Amendments cannot be altered. A two-thirds majority of the voting members present is required for passage. The quorum requirements in Article V of this Constitution must be met.
Last amended: Oct. 29,2006
BY LAWS TO THE CONSTITUTION of LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Paragraph 1. Admission of new members.
Application for church membership shall be made to the Board of Elders or the Pastor. The application shall be presented to the Church Council for action. Articles IV & V shall be the basis of membership into Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
Baptized and communicant members are received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, through the consent of one or both parents in the case of children who have been baptized in another Christian congregation, through the rite of confirmation, through transfer from a sister congregation, through profession of faith or by reaffirmation of faith.
Membership shall be terminated by transfer to a sister congregation, by death, by joining a congregation outside the fellowship of this congregation, by excommunication, or by self-exclusion.
Paragraph 2. Meetings.
There shall be five regular voters meetings. The four quarterly meetings will ordinarily be held on the third Tuesday of the following months: January, April, July and October. The fifth voters meeting will be the election meeting to be held as early as possible in December, the date to be selected by the Church Council and the Pastor.
Meetings require advance notice on at least the two previous Sundays or notification by mail and announcement on one previous Sunday. Special meetings may be called by the request of three officers, and shall be called if no less than ten voting members request a special meeting in writing. The purpose of a special voters’ meeting shall be identified when it is announced.
In all meetings of the congregation, the majority of all votes cast shall decide all questions, except when the constitution and bylaws or prior decision of the voters require a two thirds majority of the votes cast.
All meetings shall be conducted according to the principles of Scripture and follow the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order.
Paragraph 3. Calling of a Pastor.
In the calling of a pastor, the church council shall appoint a call committee. The President of the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod or his representative will meet with the congregation for a pre call meeting.
Any voting member of the congregation can nominate a Pastor on the LC MS clergy roster. The names of all nominees shall be submitted to the district President for information and evaluation. Candidates and Vicars need to be cleared by the district President. The district President may also add names to the call list.
The call committee shall develop a list of prime candidates on which background checks shall be done. A list of at least four qualified nominees shall be submitted to the congregation. The public information will then be made available for a period of at least two weeks. If any voting member of the congregation has a valid objection to any nominee, it shall be submitted to the call committee.
At a constitutionally qualified meeting, the circuit counselor or district President will present the call list. A two thirds majority is needed to call a pastor.
Paragraph 4. Officers.
In addition to those officers specified in the Articles of Incorporation and in the Constitution, the congregation shall elect a Financial Secretary, a Finance Board of at least eight members, a Chief Usher, a Director of Music and a Sunday School Superintendent. Voting members are eligible for nomination to a church office as stipulated in the constitution, Article VIII.
Paragraph 5. Terms of Office.
The terms of office for the President and Vice President shall be for one year. Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Director of Music, and Chief Usher shall be for one year. The Vice President shall be President Elect and auto¬matically succeed to President. Members of the Finance Board shall be elected for two year terms, half rotating off each year. All other officers and board members shall serve a term of two years with part of each board being elected each year. They shall not be elected for more than two consecutive terms.
Paragraph 6. Election.
All elections shall be by ballot. Terms of office expire when new officers commence their office upon installation as soon as possible in the year. If a vacancy occurs during the year, that office shall be filled by an election by the congregation at the next regular meeting.
Elections shall be made from a slate of candidates presented by the Nominating Committee. Additional nominations may be made for any office at the election. No person shall be nominated without his or her consent. Those serving the congregation in paid positions shall not be nominated to boards responsible for supervising the positions in which they serve.
A majority of all votes cast shall decide the election. No member may be elected to more than one office.
Paragraph 7. Church Council.
The President of the congregation shall be Chair of the Council. Other members of the Council shall be the Vice-President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Financial Secretary, at least two members of each of the boards and other officers as necessary or requested by the council.
Paragraph 8A. Duties of the Officers.
Each Officer, Board and Committee shall have the responsibility and authority specifically delegated to it by these Bylaws, the Voters or Church Council. Boards shall have the authority, subject to the review and approval of the Council and Voters, to expend funds approved for the use of that Board in the budget, to hire staff for which there is approved funding, and to supervise hired, volunteer or elected workers who work with programs or funds supervised by that board. Committees and individual officers or staff may be delegated responsibility or authority by the Board with which they work, including the authority to expend designated funds subject to the approval of the Board.
- President. The President shall preside at the meetings of the Congregation and Church Council. He shall perform such duties as the congregation may require of him.
- Vice President. The Vice President shall perform the duties of the President in the latter's absence. He shall be Chairman of the Stewardship Committee and Chairman of the Budget Committee.
- Secretary. The job description for the secretary shall be in the office in the filing cabinet. It is the responsibility of the Church Council to maintain a current job description. The secretary is both secretary of the congregation and secretary for the meetings of the congregation.
- Treasurer. The Treasurer shall make such disbursements by check as directed by the Council or Congregation. He shall keep such records of all transactions as are usually required of a Treasurer in books supplied for that purpose by the congregation. These books may be audited at any time and shall be audited at the close of each fiscal year. The Treasurer shall carry sufficient bond, the expense of which shall be carried by the Congregation. The Treasurer is a member of the Board of Finance. Quarterly annual reports are required.
- Financial Secretary. The Financial Secretary shall keep proper records of all church offerings in record books/computer, provided for that purpose by the congregation. Quarterly and annual reports are required. The books may be audited at any time and shall be audited at the end of every fiscal year. The Financial Secretary is a member of the Board of Finance. The Financial Secretary shall provide all communicant members of the congregation with offering envelopes. He/she shall provide quarterly statements to each communicant member showing their contributions.
- Chief Usher. It is the responsibility of the Chief Usher to have available at all services sufficient and trained ushers so that the service shall be conducted in an orderly fashion. The Chief Usher shall see that attendance records are kept for all services.
- Sunday School. Superintendent. The Sunday School Superintendent shall be responsible for the Sunday School program of the congregation, seeing that it is functioning correctly and recruiting teachers. The Sunday School Superintendent shall report to and work with the Board of Education.
- Music Director. The Music Director shall coordinate a program of music for the church year. The music provided shall be consistent with the teachings of the holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. The Director shall organize the choir, schedule performances of special music, schedule organists for worship services as needed, and encourage greater use of musical talent in the congregation. Use of the organ is cleared through the Music Director.
Paragraph 8B. Duties of Boards and Committees.
- Church Council. The Church Council may meet once a month on a date selected by the Council. Special meetings may be called by the Chairman of the Council or the Pastor. They shall pass on all bills of the congregation or delegate this to individual boards, carefully study all business of the congregation and make recommendations to the congregation. They shall appoint an auditing committee whenever needed, except that all financial books of the congregation must be audited at the end of the fiscal year.
- Board of Elders. An elder who has served at least one year shall be Chairman of the Board. They shall be concerned that the activities with the congregation are conducted decently and in good order; assist the Pastor in mission cases, in admonishing delinquent members, and in cases of church discipline; concern themselves with the care of the needy within the congregation; to the best of their ability prevent and abate public offenses; and make report of their activities, that are appropriate for a public meeting, at each regular meeting of the congregation. In particular, they shall oversee and promote true and genuine faith, moral relationships, and participation in worship, Holy Communion and prayer. The Board of Elders shall work cooperatively with the Pastor and Music Director and Head Usher and have overall supervision of the funds, staff and volunteers for worship and music ministry.
- Trustees. A trustee who has served at least one year shall be Chair of the Board. They shall have charge over all the property of the congregation, make contracts relating thereto, and appear in Civil Court, and perform all acts which the congregation needs to be performed pertaining to the preservation, protection and improvement of the congregations property. They shall inspect all buildings of the congregation and see that they are kept in proper condition and repair. They may administer the property of the congregation only in accordance with valid resolutions and enactments of the congregation. For all such acts the congregation shall be liable. The Board of Trustees shall work cooperatively with the Church Secretary and have overall supervision of the funds, staff and volunteers for the church office and maintenance of the building and grounds. For acts assumed without authority of the congregation they shall be personally liable. They shall be empowered to make expenditures not exceeding the sum of three hundred dollars without first obtaining permission of the congregation. However, all expenditures are to be reported to the Church Council. They shall make a report of their activities at each regular meeting of the congregation.
- Board of Evangelism. A member who has served at least one year shall be chair of the Board. They shall develop and encourage a mission attitude by the congregation; coordinate outreach and in-reach calling programs in the congregation, assist the Pastor on special evangelism projects and in publicizing the mission and ministry of the congregation, and promote a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
- Board of Education. A member who has served at least one year will be Chair. They shall be responsible for the church library. They shall facilitate the coordination of all educational programs of the congregation including Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Adult Bible Classes, group Bible study and personal devotions. The Sunday School Superintendent shall work together with the Board of Education on addressing and solving problems related to Sunday School activities. The Board of Education shall work cooperatively with the Sunday School Superintendent and have overall supervision of the funds, staff and volunteers for non-tuition based educational programs.
- School Board. A member who has served at least one year will be Chair. The School board shall be responsible for supervising and promoting the programs of the preschool and elementary school. The principal or another representative of the staff shall participate in meetings of the Board. The Board may delegate administrative or other duties and authority to members of the school staff. The Board shall have authority to hire staff and workers, within the limits of the approved budget. The School Board shall serve as the call committee in recommending a qualified called teacher to the voters. The School Board shall work cooperatively with the Teachers and have overall supervision of the funds, staff and volunteers for tuition based educational programs.
- Board of Fellowship. A member who has served at least one year shall be chair. The Board of Fellowship shall meet at least twice per year and shall be responsible for promoting Christian fellowship and service activities involving church members, including coordinating the programs of societies within the congregation. The board shall facilitate volunteer involvement in the work of the church and the development of group activities. A Youth Counselor and a representative of each of the organized societies in the congregation shall participate in meetings of the board. The Board of Fellowship shall work cooperatively with the Youth Counselors and have overall supervision of the congregation funds, staff and volunteers for youth ministry.
- The Board of Finance. The Finance Board will receive the offerings from all services and shall count this money with at least two members of the Board being present. As soon as possible, they shall deposit it in a bank designated by the congregation. They shall receive all other money of the congregation and deposit it unless otherwise directed in writing by the congregation. The Finance Board shall consist of at least eight persons half of whom shall be elected each year. They shall carry sufficient bond, the expense being carried by the congregation. They shall assist the Financial Secretary as needed. They shall gather special collections authorized by the congregation. One person serving their second year is to be Chair of the Board.
- Stewardship Committee. The Vice President shall be chair of the Stewardship Committee. Other members of the Board shall be a representative from each of the Boards and the Financial Secretary. The Stewardship Committee shall meet at least twice per year. Their responsibility shall lie in time following areas: analysis of the congregations financial situation; year round teaching and training of membership in Scriptural principles of giving in the area of time, talents and treasure; approval or recommendations regarding special offerings or financial appeals in the congregation.
- Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the outgoing members of the Church Council who are not eligible for re-election. The retiring President of the Congregation shall serve as Chairman of the Nominating Committee. The members of this committee shall serve for one year. There shall be at least three members on the Nominating Committee. If there are not three retiring members of the council, The Chairman shall fill the same by appointments. The committee shall carefully select at least two candidates for each elective office with their permission. The slate of candidates shall be published at least one week prior to the election.. The Committee shall supervise the election, distribute, gather and count the ballots, and be concerned that all elections are conducted in Christian order.
- The Budget Committee. The Vice President of the congregation shall be Chairman of the Budget Committee. Other members of the Committee shall be the President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Financial Secretary, and a representative from each of the boards. They shall prepare the budget for the fiscal year, which shall then be presented to the Church Council at the October Council meeting.
Paragraph 9. Youth Ministry -Youth Counselors.
The congregation shall have at least two couples in the congregation who will serve as youth counselors. They shall be selected to serve in this capacity by the Pastor in consultation with the Board of Fellowship, the youth, and the Church Council and shall be approved by the voters.
They shall represent the youth in an advisory capacity at meetings and facilitate involvement of youth in church meetings. Their duties shall be to assist the Pastor, and the youth in Youth Ministry activities. They shall not be recognized by the congregation as "transportation providers" but will solicit the help of the congregation in such matters and help to create an awareness of the needs of our Youth Ministry.
Paragraph 10. Constitution and By Laws Revision.
The Constitution and By Laws shall be reviewed for necessary revision every two years at the end of the odd year.
Paragraph 11. Order of Business of council and voters’ meetings.
1. Opening prayer 2. Reading of minutes 3. Quorum established (Voter's) 4. Reports 5. Old business 6. New business 7. Adjournment with prayer
Paragraph 12. Amendments.
Suggested amendments to these By-Laws must be presented in writing at a regular meeting. They shall then be brought up for vote at the next regular Voter's meeting.
Last amended: April 11, 2006
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