Adopted January 27, 2010
Amended November 4, 2012
Amended September 21, 2014
Amended October 26, 2015
Amended January 24, 2016
Amended June 1, 2017
Amended September 8, 2019
Amended September 13, 2020
WELCOME TO BRIDGE COMMUNITY CHURCH
We are a fellowship of people who love the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been transformed by His love, His sacrifice for us, and His life in us. We welcome you to experience His life and power in you. We believe God has revealed Himself to us in His creation, in His written word, the Bible, and in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. We can know God and live in fellowship with Him.
The Purpose of Bridge Community Church is to glorify God by:
Participating in Christ-centered worship and fellowship. John 4:23-24
Promoting the growth of the body of Christ through teaching and preaching the Word of God and applying its truth in Christ to daily living and family relationships. Psalm 119:105
Promoting a community church character by maintaining a corporate worship and fellowship, bearing with one another in love and endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph.4:1-3
Ministering to needs of the community and sharing the love of Christ and the good news of abundant, eternal life in Christ. Matt. 28:18-20
Attached are our Affirmation of Faith, and Constitution.
We welcome all who love the Lord Jesus Christ and share our purpose to become members and share in the opportunities of service in this fellowship. We desire to build the kingdom of God in this community.
The Bridge Community Church Board of Elders
OUR CHURCH COVENANT:
This church covenant expresses our commitment to glorify God by encouraging, nourishing, correcting, and building up this local fellowship of the body of Christ.
1. I believe that Jesus Christ is my only hope of forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
2. I commit myself to love and obey Jesus Christ fully by abiding in Him continually.
3. I purpose to daily meet with God in His Word and in prayer and to apply His Word to all areas of my life. I desire to live a pure and fruitful life that pleases Jesus Christ.
4. I purpose to meet regularly with my fellow believers in the fellowship of His church, to pray for one another and to promote love and harmony in our relationships.
5. I purpose to promote true love for the Lord Jesus in any persons under my care by my example and instruction.
6. I will pray for the salvation of my loved ones and share the gospel of Christ by my life and word.
BRIDGE COMMUNITY CHURCH
ARTICLE I Name
This organization shall be known as Bridge Community Church.
ARTICLE II Foundation, Object, Priorities, Purpose of this Ministry
The Foundation of this Church is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3: 11), and its code of guidance in all its affairs is the Word of God. This Church does here affirm its faith that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of Almighty God (Mark 13:31).
The Object of this Church shall be to worship God according to the teaching of His Word, to practice the precepts and examples of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in the New Testament, to sustain its ordinances and doctrines and to preach and propagate among all peoples the Gospel of Salvation which is by personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Priorities of ministry of this Church flow from the vision of God's glory revealed in Jesus Christ. We exist to savor this vision in worship (John 4:23), strengthen the vision in nurture and education (1 Corinthians 14:26, 2 Peter 3:18), and spread the vision in evangelism, missions and loving deeds (1 Peter 2:9, 3:15, Matthew 5:16; 28:18-20).
The Purpose of this church: This church is formed and organized as a religious and non-profit corporation and does not intend to engage in any business, profession, avocation or trade for remuneration or profit for itself or its members. The charitable, religious, and educational purposes include, but are not limited to, establishing and maintaining religious worship, building houses of worship, evangelizing the unsaved by proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, the educating of believers according to the Scripture, supporting Christian camping programs, and maintaining missionary activities in the United States and foreign countries.
ARTICLE V Elders, Officers and Church Leadership
Organization of the Corporation
Board of Directors
All Officers must be voting members of Bridge Community Church. The Board of Directors of the corporation shall be composed of the Board of Elders. Each of the members of the Board of Directors is granted authority to act as an agent of the corporation and may sign documents as required on behalf of the corporation. However, the Board of Directors will meet, and document any decisions, prior to any agent of the corporation entering into any legally binding commitment.
The chairman of the Board of Elders shall be the president of the corporation and preside over all meetings of the corporation. The Board of Elders shall elect a chairman from among their number to serve as the chairman at their first regularly scheduled meeting each year.
The vice chairman of the Board of Elders shall be a vice president of the corporation. In those situations when the Chairman is unable to participate in a given meeting(s) the Vice Chairman shall preside. The Board of Elders shall elect a vice chairman from among their number to serve as the chairman at their first regularly scheduled meeting each year.
The Board of Elders may elect other officers, as it deems necessary.
The Board of Elders, acting as a Board of Directors, shall elect a secretary of the corporation from among the Board of Elders at their first regularly scheduled meeting each year.
The secretary shall serve as both the secretary of the Corporation and the secretary of the Board of Elders. The secretary shall keep accurate records of each meeting, along with a record of the decisions made. These will be typed by the secretary, or his delegate, and archived in the church office or other location designated by the Board of Elders for record retention until the Second Coming of Christ.
The Board of Directors shall appoint a treasurer for the church. The Treasure is responsible for overseeing the financial status of the corporation as the Church Treasurer.
An Assistant Financial Secretary shall be selected to work with the Financial Secretary and be able to assume the Financial Secretary's role whenever needed.
The chairman of the Board of Elders shall be the authorized managing agent of the corporation within the State of Washington.
The duties of the board of directors, officers, and agents of the corporation shall be to transact all legal business on behalf of the corporation, as provided for in the Constitution and Bylaws, governmental laws, and regulations.
Meetings of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors shall meet at least annually. The chairman of the Board of Directors may call special meetings of the Board of Directors as required, or as requested by the Senior Pastor. These meetings will be documented separately from the regularly scheduled meetings for the Board of Elders.
The Board of Elders shall have oversight of all non-affiliated organizations. Their constitutions and procedures shall be in harmony with the Constitution and Bylaws of the church.
Duties and Responsibilities: Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Board of Elders of Bridge Community Church is responsible to guide the church in sound doctrine and application to daily life, shepherd the flock of God, and oversee all aspects of the church as those who must give account to the Chief Shepherd.
Elders may be paid Elders (Pastors) or unpaid Elders. There shall be not less than three Elders, unless that number cannot be found to meet the Scriptural qualifications for Elders. The Elders shall lovingly govern, care for and equip the members to do the work of the ministry. Elders shall attend to the duties of spiritual ministry and preaching and teaching -- shepherding the flock of God, giving spiritual counsel and direction from the Scriptures for all areas of Christian living and service as God enables them, seeking always the preeminence of Christ, the salvation of the lost, the spiritual oneness of the believers, and restoration of the backsliders.
The Elders shall be assisted by Deacons, Deaconesses and other leaders as needed and deemed by the Elders
The Board of Elders shall meet not less than once per quarter. These meetings will be held in August, November, February, and May. The Board may meet as frequently as needed above these required meetings as determined by the pastor or any member of the Board of Elders. At least one-half of the Elders must be present at any meeting of the Board of Elders to transact business.
All additions to the Policy Manual shall be approved by the Board of Elders. Approval of all policies will be documented in the meeting minutes for the meeting of the Board of Elders. Once approved, the policy then becomes a part of how this congregation functions.
All approved policies will be maintained in a binder in the Church office and will be available to church members and visitors as needed or as requested.
Qualifications of Elders:
All Elders must meet the Scriptural qualifications for Elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9):
Be a Christian man who is in agreement with the Affirmation of Faith
Be honestly trying to live a holy Christian life.
Exhibit a sincere desire to grow as a Christian.
Be diligent to handle the word of God truthfully and skillfully.
Be faithful to his wife. He must have the support of his wife in taking the position of an elder, and in fulfilling his role as an elder.
Have a good testimony in the community.
Sense that God is calling him to the responsibility of an elder.
The consideration of a candidate for the position of unpaid Elder shall be initiated by the Board of Elders. A candidate shall be interviewed by the Elders regarding his personal walk with the Lord, biblical qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, agreement with the Affirmation of Faith, policies and practices of the church and vision for the fellowship. After interviewing the candidate, his wife, and some who know him well, and after prayer, a qualified candidate shall be recommended to the congregation by the Elders.
For one month the Elders shall receive comments and concerns from the congregation regarding the qualifications of the candidate. Any concerns shall be thoroughly investigated by the Elders, and determination made whether a concern is cause for delay or disqualification of the appointment to the position of Elder. After positive resolution of all issues that come to the attention of the Elders, the candidate shall be presented, during a business meeting, to the congregation for a vote of acceptance or rejection.
If accepted, the individual shall be installed as an elder during a morning worship service.
Elders will be reaffirmed by vote of the congregation after each term of three years.
Non paid elders shall serve for three year terms, staggered so the terms of individual elders end on successive years. The end date of each elder’s term shall be documented in the meeting minutes from the Board of Elders at the time of their election and be displayed alongside their name on the attendance list. Terms of service shall run from October 1st through October 1st of their third year.
Selection of a Pastor (who is a paid elder):
The Pastoral Search Committee members shall be composed of the Board of Elders, minus participation by the exiting pastor. If so desired by both the pastor and the Elder Board, the pastor may fulfill an advisory capacity.
A supplemental team may be formed which will include the chairperson of the Deacons, the chairperson of the Deaconesses, and two to four members of the congregation. The role of the supplemental team is to provide administrative support to the Search Committee for such tasks as checking on references. In particular, this group will serve to maintain communication with the congregation regarding the search status and pertinent information concerning the search process, status, and the candidates being considered. The members of the supplemental team, if they are not Deacons or Deaconesses, need not be voting members.
One member of the supplemental team will serve as the secretary to the Search Committee. This individual will be selected by the chairman of the Board of Elders.
The Search Committee shall prayerfully explore the field for godly men meeting the requirements of a pastor as defined in a current job description and whose intent is:
To continue the church as an independent New Testament body.
To continue to forward the goals of evangelism and discipleship.
To continue to support the doctrinal position of the church as stated in the Affirmation of Faith and Constitution.
Following the review of candidate resumes, a pastor candidate shall be interviewed by the Elders. The candidate’s personal walk with the Lord, and biblical qualifications as defined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, will be discussed at that time. This may be by phone or in person.
Upon successful completion of the interview, and a decision to proceed with a specific candidate, the Search Committee shall complete a careful investigation of the individual through background and reference checks, as well as prayerful consideration of the individual’s personality, strengths, and “fit” for this congregation.
If the Search Committee desires to proceed with the candidate, the Search Committee shall contact the candidate and schedule an in-person visit at the church.
During the visit at the church, the recommended candidate shall be brought for a hearing before the Board of Elders and afforded the opportunity to preach before the congregation. The candidate shall also be brought before the membership for the purpose of a public interview, with feedback from the congregation being provided to the Board of Elders. Travel and related costs incurred by the candidate for such a hearing or hearings shall be paid by the church.
For two weeks the Elders shall receive comments and concerns from the congregation regarding the qualifications of the candidate. Any concerns shall be thoroughly investigated by the Elders and determination made whether a concern is cause for delay or disqualification of the appointment to the position of pastor (paid elder).
Following the congregational interview and sermon, the Elders shall enter into a time of prayer and careful contemplation regarding the candidate and the feedback received from the congregation, understanding that once a recommendation has been made it is neither fair to the candidate nor to the congregation to withdraw a recommendation unless new and compelling information has come to light.
After interviewing the candidate, his wife, and his references, and fervent prayer, a qualified candidate shall be recommended to the congregation by the Elders. The Elders shall then make the determination for whether or not to call the candidate as pastor (paid elder).
The candidate shall be affirmed only by a 100% vote of the Elder Board. Terms of at will employment will be arranged by the Elder Board. By virtue of his office, the pastor (paid elder) and his wife automatically become members of the church.
Termination of a Pastor (Paid Elder):
A vote of confidence may be called to determine the future relationship of a paid Elder and the church, when the call for such a vote originates with the Elders. A 60 day notice shall precede a severance of relationship between the paid Elder and the church, unless waived by mutual consent. The decision to terminate the pastor’s (paid Elder's) position requires an affirmative vote by 75% of those present and voting at a duly called membership meeting. Should a situation arise where it is deemed necessary by the church to terminate their relationship with the paid Elder sooner than the normal specified time, the church may do so with a 60 day -severance pay.
Other Officers of the Church
The other Officers of the Church shall be elected from among the voting members for a one year term by the voting membership at the Annual Membership Meeting. These officers include the Board of Deacons and the Board of Deaconesses.
Terms of service shall run from October 1st through October 1st. The Chairpersons of each Board shall submit nominees for these positions in accordance with Article VII. Deacons and Deaconesses shall meet the qualification stated in I Timothy 3:8-13. They shall work under the leadership of the Elders so as to free the Elders to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word. Examples of such assistance could include managing and maintaining church property, assisting those in need, and other tasks assigned by the Elders.
Deacons and Deaconesses
Historically, the deacons took care of the material and financial side of the church’s programs, such as the collection and distribution of relief to those in need. The Board of Deacons is responsible for coordinating with the Treasurer for oversight of the church budget as well as the preparation/compilation of each annual budget. The Board of Deacons shall accept responsibility for the maintenance of the church property and buildings, including all housekeeping activities and schedules. They shall schedule work days as required and coordinate the efforts of the volunteers involved. Additionally the Deacons are responsible for the oversight and management of building use as defined in the current version of the Building Use Policy. Finally, the Deacons are responsible for the execution and management of the Church Safety Policy. The Board of Deacons may also accept responsibility of other activities as deemed appropriate so long as such activities do not interfere with the pre-existing efforts of other groups.
Historically Deaconesses served as helpers, able to carry the light and comfort of the gospel into the most private and delicate relations of life. The primary role of the Board of Deaconesses is to encourage the fellowship of women with each other and the Lord through personal contact, women's fellowship meetings, and other functions. The deaconesses are responsible for the hospitality ministries within the church which includes, but are not limited to, serving as hostesses for church potlucks, coordinating meals for those who are ill or bereaved, funerals/memorial services for church members, and care and management of the church kitchen. The Board of Deaconesses may also accept responsibility for other activities as deemed appropriate, so long as such activities do not interfere with pre-existing efforts of other groups.
ARTICLE VI Business Meetings
The vote of the voting membership of this Church at a duly called meeting, as provided by the Constitution, shall be required to effect the following actions:
Approve the annual budgets of the church;
Affirm election of Elders, Deacons, and Deaconesses recommended by the nominating committee;
Approve purchase, sale, lease, mortgage or other alienation of real property of Bridge Community Church;
Approve amendment of the Constitution of Bridge Community Church;
Approve dissolution of the church.
Business Meetings: The Chairman of the Board of Elders shall preside over the meeting, or designate another to do so. The chairman shall determine the rules of procedure according to his sense of fairness and common sense, giving all members a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter. Notice of meetings shall be given in two Sunday morning services immediately prior to the meetings.
Annual Business Meeting: The annual business meeting of the church voting membership shall be held in the month of September (except where extenuating circumstances necessitate its postponement). The agenda will include written reports for all departments of the church, the reading of financial reports, election/affirmation of church officers, and other business as would normally come before the congregation.
Other Business Meetings: Additional business meetings shall be held in January to approve the budget.
Special Business Meetings of the church voting membership may be called by the Elders, with announcement at two Sunday morning services prior to the meeting. Business shall be limited to the purpose stated in the meeting notice.
ARTICLE VII Polity
Voting -- Voting shall be limited to the voting membership, and shall be conducted by ballot unless otherwise agreed upon by the membership. Voting members sixteen (16) years of age and older shall have the privilege of voting, except in legal matters where the required age is eighteen (18) years or above. Voting by proxy or in absentia will not be permitted.
Quorums -- 40% of the eligible voting members shall constitute a quorum to transact business at a congregational meeting. This number is calculated based on the number of active members present. Active and inactive members, in terms of business meetings, are defined as:
Active Members:-voting members present for the meeting
Inactive Members: voting members not able to be present due to physical limitations which prevent their attending the meeting. Those who are practically unable to attend the meeting include those who are bed-ridden or who are unable, or unwilling, to drive at night. Inactive members also include those who may be out of the area, including missionaries, snow birds, or people on vacation.
Ministry Service Renewal –Each year those serving will be asked to confirm they would like to continue serving in that capacity for the coming year. This provides an annual opportunity to gracefully bow out if they feel it is time for a change. For the Elders, Deacons, and Deaconesses, the chairperson of each Board will be responsible for recruitment and maintenance of the Board. For these roles a vote is required, as noted elsewhere in these bylaws.
For non-elected positions, it is recommended that these volunteers also be polled to verify they would like to continue to serve in that capacity. These positions need not be voted on, but may be recorded in a roster noting what individuals are serving in what capacity.
Nominations by the membership: Other names may be brought for nomination by members (in writing, with a second, and with the consent of the nominee) to the voting membership during the annual meeting.
ARTICLE VIII Church Property
No real property, generally defined as land and the things permanently attached to the land, which can also be referred to as “improvements”, include wells, garages, and buildings, etc., of the church shall be purchased, sold, leased, mortgaged or otherwise alienated unless first approved by a vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the voting membership of the church present at a regular or special meeting of the church duly called for that purpose. The Chairman of the Elders and the Treasurer shall certify in such conveyance, lease or mortgage that the same has been duly recommended and authorized by the vote of the church.
ARTICLE IX Church Finances
This corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and shall be maintained by the free gifts and offerings of those persons, churches, and organizations who wish to contribute to its cause.
Contributions: All contributions made to Bridge Community Church shall be counted and deposited in the bank in as timely a manner as possible, and with maximum confidentiality. Moneys shall be counted as soon as possible after each service in which it was received by no less than two persons, and they shall sign the register of moneys received to certify accuracy. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions, but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory. Contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the control and discretions of the board of Elders. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any purposes stated in Article II. No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, officers or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of its stated purpose. An exception to this includes the use of fellowship funds or funds distributed to missionaries. Both of these activities are managed through the activities of duly recognized committees within the church body.
Payments and disbursements of funds shall be handled by the Church Treasurer or Financial Secretary. The Elders shall define when checks will require more than one signature. In general, normal monthly bills shall not require more than one signature. Non-routine expenditures in excess of $1000 shall require two signatures.
Records management: Records of all funds received and disbursed, bank accounts, investments, unpaid and paid bills, and other financial records shall be maintained in a secure place behind lock. Records of contributions must be stored separate from other financial records to guard confidentiality. Record of personal contributions are confidential and shall not be publicized or made available to members. All records must be labeled clearly, and be accessible for auditing when needed. All computerized records must be properly backed up to insure against loss due to equipment failure. Backup media must be stored away from the computer and other financial records.
Financial reports must be prepared monthly and annually, providing an accurate report of Income and Disbursements for each reporting period, and bank and investment balances and information at the end of each reporting period. The reports shall be submitted to the deacons for review. Financial reports will be made available to the elders, and church members, when requested.
Audit: Financial records should be audited at least every third year by a person qualified to perform such audit, and a report shall be submitted in writing to the Elders.
The Fiscal Year of this corporation shall be from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.
ARTICLE X Ministries, Committees
All ministries to be considered part of Bridge Community Church Activities shall be approved by the Elders prior to public announcement or recruitment of workers and member support. Elders will oversee each ministry and seek to equip them for best effectiveness.
Committees may be formed as needed to carry out specific tasks. All committees must be approved by the Elders, including the leadership structure of the committee and the plan for recruitment of workers. Committee chairpersons shall make a written report which is to be presented during the Annual Meeting. Additionally, committee chairpersons will periodically communicate the status of their committee’s activities, needs, and concerns to the elders. This need not be done formally.
ARTICLE XI Affiliation
This congregation, having been in fellowship with In Faith since April 17, 1997, shall remain so until said affiliation shall be terminated by a two thirds (2/3) majority vote, by ballot at a duly called meeting for that purpose, which has been announced three successive Sundays prior to said meeting.
ARTICLE XII Dissolution
In the event that this corporation be dissolved, all assets, after all obligations and liabilities of said corporation have been paid, satisfied, discharged, or adequate provision made therefore, shall be distributed to In Faith , a Pennsylvania corporation. In the event that In Faith is not in existence at the time this corporation is dissolved, all assets, after all liabilities of the corporation have been paid, satisfied, discharged, or adequate provision made therefore, shall be distributed to a non-profit evangelical Protestant religious corporation which has the same status in regard to federal income tax exemption that this corporation has set forth. The distribution shall be to such an organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue law as the Board of Elders shall determine.
ARTICLE XIII Amendments
Amendment of this Constitution may be made at any meeting of the church membership by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members voting at that time. Proposed amendments must be presented in written form to the membership and announced three successive Sundays prior to their adoption by the members at a duly called meeting.