Today we are going to be looking at a few passages that discuss this section of our proposed By-laws.
Open your Bibles to Acts 6, and then put something there to hold your place and then turn to Hebrews 10:19
Today we are going to look at how we meet as a family, and more importantly why we meet together as a family.
Section 1 – Worship Meetings
- Worship services shall be held each Lord’s Day, and may be held throughout the week as the church determines.
Let me ask you a question, and be honest with me and yourself. Why do you come to church on Sundays? There can be lots of good reasons to come to our weekly worship meeting every week. It may be because you are here to see friends, or to hear the preaching of the word, or to hear the worship. maybe its because you have been fighting sin all week, and you know you need to spend time worshipping the Lord. Maybe you need to be refreshed from a challenging week, or several weeks.
Hebrews 10:19-31 gives us a great picture of why we meet together every week.
1. To worship the Lord for His work of Salvation.
2. To encourage one another in Fellowship.
3. To hold one another accountable.
Section 2 – Membership meetings
(a) Congregational Meeting: A meeting of the Members of Emmaus Christian Church for discussion and for the transaction of any business not otherwise provided for shall be known as the Congregational Meeting, The Congregational Meeting should be scheduled for the month of December.
(b) All church Members should be apprised and have an involvement in decisions that call for widespread Church spiritual and financial support.
(c) A Congregational Meeting shall be called at least annually to hear from the (paid Elder / Pastor), the Chairperson of the Elders, Treasurer, and the Deacons that oversee the
church’s ongoing Ministry Teams as to the Lords work in our midst during the past year and the program and ministry goals for the coming year.
(d) The Church Membership shall be informed of all Congregational Meetings by paper mail or electronic mail no later than two weeks prior to the said meeting date.
(e) Notice of Congregational Meetings for discussion or the transaction of business, may be called at any time by the Elders or by a petition of 10 members. Special members’ meetings may be called as requested by the elders, or at the written request, submitted to the elders, of one-third of the membership. In the event of a written request from the members, the elders shall call a special meeting to be held within one month after receiving the request.
(f) The Presiding Officer of the Congregational meeting shall be the Chairman of the Board of Elders, or another elder if he cannot be present. The Secretary of the combined Board of Elders and Deacons shall be the Secretary of all Congregational Meetings. In his/her absence a Secretary pro tempore shall be appointed by the Elders.
Now Turn to Acts 6:1-7
So, here we see the church Gathering not for a worship service, but to deal with a “buisness” issue.
The Hellenists were a group of Greek speaking Jews who had been dispersed and living outside of Palestine. The hebrews were native, Aramaic speaking people who lived inside of palestine. it seems that the hebrews had overlooked the Hellenist widows in their daily distribution of goods for those in need.
You will note that at this time, the church was growing. many people were becoming Christians and being added to the church. Now, let me stop for a minute to recognize something important. When churches grow, it always creates issues to deal with. Just like when a family grows with a new child, there are issues to be overcome and dealt with as a family.
Let me name a few of the issues I have seen in the times this church has grown. Now hear me, we are not anywhere close to the growth rate of the early church. could you imagine if every week there were a couple hundred new people in the church? What kinds of issues would that cause?
But in our little family, I have seen several things happen as we have experienced several times of growth as a church.
1. More children to train and manage: requires more teachers, shifting classes, changing ages. Also, it is more opportunities to train young people in the Word.
2. More hospitality: whenever new people come into the church, our goal is to welcome them and help them to determine if this is the local body that God is calling them to. This requires getting to know them personally and theologically. Now, I will be honest, this falls primarily on the shoulders of my family. now, if you will, please raise your hand if you have been to my house, or met with me personally in the past 6 months. I am not trying to make myself or my family out to be some kind of superstars, what I want to point out it that if you have not been to my house in recent months, it is most likely that you have been here for a while. What I want to point out is actually that when there are lots of new people at the church, the people who have been here for a while can begin to feel overlooked and taken for granted.
3.That is a problem to be sure. I have heard it. Now, let me ask you this. If you feel neglected by me because you see me meeting with and getting to know the “newer” people at the church it reveals to me something. The first thing is that one person is not capable of meeting all of the felt needs of a whole congregation, no matter how small. Someone will be overlooked, just like the Hellenists. Second, it makes me wonder how you view your role at ECC. If my role is to pursue you and take care of you, you view this very differently than Hebrews 10 lays out. You know what I know. if everyone came to church looking to serve and encourage and build up other people in the body, I doubt anyone would go away feeling neglected, but if everyone came here and looked to me to encourage them and build them up, most of us would go away feeling neglected.
There are many other problems that arise from a growing church, those are just a few, but the point is that when those problems arise, we need to meet together to figure out solutions as a church body.
Section 3 – Leadership Meetings
(a) The Elders that are currently serving shall meet twice each month. One meeting shall be the Elders only. The Elders will choose a Chairman who will preside over all meetings of the leadership and congregation.
(b) The Deacons should meet once a month with the Elders, Secretary and Treasurer to support one another by celebrating victories and sharing challenges of the ministries of the church.
(c) The Elders and Deacons are to vote on a budget for the coming year presented by a team consisting of the Treasurer, Financial Secretary, and a serving deacon selected by the Elders and Deacons. The church’s fiscal year begins January 1. This budget must be presented to the Members no less than one month prior to the annual Congregational Meeting.
(d) In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(e) Meetings shall be run according to Robert’s Rules of Order. On any matter that is brought to vote, a majority vote is needed for it to pass (unless this constitution specifies otherwise), recognizing that members of Christ’s church should strive for unity in all things (Eph. 4:1-6). Abstentions will not be considered as votes cast. Only votes cast by members present at the time of the meeting or by proxy will be counted.