On March 3 2019, Emmaus Christian Church Voted 37-5 to institute a new set of By-laws that will move us from a Board of Stewards model to an Elder and Deacon model of Church governance. Here is the Audio of the meeting as well as my notes for what I shared as we took the vote:
As a reminder, the congregation voted in July of 2017 to move to an elder and deacon model of polity, so this vote is not about whether we will have elders and deacons, it is about wether we will use these by-laws to function as elders and deacons. We have given ample time for feedback and input on these bylaws and have taken many of the suggestions that have been given to us. Many of the suggestions made their way into the final draft. We are grateful for all of the insight and wisdom provided by so many.
I want to affirm my belief that the congregation speaks God’s will over our Church. What I mean by that is that as a member of Emmaus, as well as pastor, I am trusting that as the believers in this church seek Him in prayer and then make their beliefs known through a vote, God is speaking through the majority. So, if things don’t go the way I think God is leading me to vote, my assumption is not that I was right and everyone else was wrong, but I may have missed something. We are all fallible in our judgements and our feelings, and so we submit to the Lord as He speaks through His people. When I preached on Church membership one of the things I brought out was that becoming a “member” of a church is in effect saying “these are the people I will submit to.” That is a bold proclamation, and is put to the test in times of trial and times of major decisions.
Lastly, I wanted to clarify something that has come up a number of times in my time at ECC. Do minor children of members of the church automatically become members when they become 18?
The simple answer is no. When a child of a member of the church becomes an adult, they must go through the membership process as their parents did. I hope the following gives an explanation.
“A Member at Emmaus Christian Church is a person who has made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and has acknowledged a call by God to be joined with ECC”. (current ECC Articles of ministry) They must affirm our statement of faith and commit to serve the Lord at ECC through active participation in the church activities, including giving their time, talents and treasure to the Lord as outlined in our current Articles of Ministry. Each member must go through the current membership process. When we receive families into membership who have children under 18, it is the parents who go through the process and who sign our membership forms. Every member of the family is given the care and nurture that members receive, but not every child will make a profession of faith and feel called to be joined with ECC. Therefore, when a child of a member becomes 18, they are not automatically members of ECC.
A minor child may make a profession of faith and go through the process of membership and be a member. They may serve in various areas of ministry, but they will not be able to vote in congregational meetings until they reach 18 years of age.