Constitution

TWELVE ARTICLES OF
CHURCH GOVERNMENT

CONTENTS:

ARTICLE I NAME
ARTICLE II OBJECT AND PURPOSE
ARTICLE III RESIDENT OFFICE
ARTICLE IV AUTONOMY
ARTICLE V A BIBLICAL CHURCH
ARTICLE VI CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
ARTICLE VII LEADERSHIP
ARTICLE VIII ANNUAL and SPECIAL FAMILY MEETINGS
ARTICLE IX CHURCH FINANCE
ARTICLE X AMENDMENTS
ARTICLE XI POLICIES and PROCEDURES
ARTICLE XII DATE OF EFFECT

ARTICLE I  NAME

The name of this organization shall be THE CROSS CHURCH.
Section 1 Present Operation:
Presently operating at:
1484 SW 34th Street, Palm City, FL 34990
The parsonage being located at 1484B SW 34th Street, Palm City, FL 34990.

ARTICLE II OBJECT AND PURPOSE

The object and purpose of this organized body of believers is to glorify God. This is exemplified in gathering together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for: believers’ baptism, the Lord’s Supper, worship and praise, prayer, fellowship, testimony, ministry of the Word in preaching and teaching, repentance-restoration-reconciliation, the furtherance of the gospel, equipping and edifying of the saints for the work of the ministry so that we may present every man complete in Christ for the furtherance of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Examples of how this holy object and purpose may be met or achieved is by conducting: youth camps, Bible Conferences, a Festival of the Arts, community outreach projects, Christian school and Colleges of theological learning; and all other related works that will bless and help people turn to and/or grow in Christ Jesus so that we may present every man complete in Christ for the furtherance of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

ARTICLE III RESIDENT OFFICE

If ever The Cross Church should move from its present location, the Resident Office and principle place from which the affairs of this church shall be conducted, would be determined by the Elders.

ARTICLE IV AUTONOMY

The Cross Church remains independent and autonomous in areas of liturgy, order of service, and all local issues; yet all varied ministries shall remain unified in all areas of Polity and Doctrine. However, they may participate in activity with other churches and Para-church organizations of similar doctrine, for the promotion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in life and practice as long as it does not infringe upon the independence or autonomy of The Cross Church or violate the commands and prohibitions of God’s Word.

ARTICLE V A BIBLICAL CHURCH

1. A biblical church is governed by a plurality of qualified biblical male elders committed to the obedience, instruction, proclamation and fidelity of Scripture; and the biblical gospel of sola fide – the chief article upon which the church stands or falls (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Tim. 4:1-5; Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Cor. 5:21).

2. A biblical church exists for the worship of God and His glory alone. It is dedicated to present every man complete in Christ through the exposition of God’s Word rightly divided, disciple godly character, prayer, fellowship, benevolence, the breaking of bread, and the evangelization of the lost (the Lord alone adds to His church such as are being saved). (Acts 2:42-47; Col. 1:27-29; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Peter 1:3-12).

3. A biblical church faithfully practices and administers the two ordinances of the church, baptism and communion, by command of our Lord and the Apostles. It is also faithful in practicing church restoration: the grace of biblically restoring those who fall (1 Cor. 11:17-34; Mt. 28:16-20; Gal. 6:1-4; Mt. 18:15-20; 1 Thess. 5:14-15).

4. A biblical church is self-funded through the faithful giving of God’s people without the need of outside assistance through third-party fundraising, secular commerce, business, or trade. We are under the conviction that God’s work, done God’s way, according to God’s Word, will not lack God’s supply (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:32-37).

5. A biblical church reproduces itself through making disciples, missions, benevolence, and church planting (Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 15:20; Titus 1:5-16; Galatians 2:10; Matthew 5:40-44).

ARTICLE VI CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

The Cross Church believes that all born again children of God are members of the only true church – The Body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12:3ff)

Section 1 Qualifications for Membership:

A. A written testimony concerning the individual’s relationship to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is submitted to the Elders.

B. The perspective member must read, understand, agree with the membership form (which includes The Cross Church Constitution, Confession of Faith, and Church Restoration documents);

C. An Elder(s) and, if possible, their CrossLife Community Group leader(s) will meet with the perspective member(s) for a time of fellowship, to answer any questions about The Cross Church and what it stands for, and to encourage the perspective member(s) as to their gifting(s) and possible area(s) of service within the church body.

D. Membership will then be confirmed orally or in writing by the Elders.

E. The member(s) are then presented to the congregation on a Lord’s Day morning worship service to receive the right hand of fellowship and be welcomed by the entire church body.

F. The Elders reserves the right to request in writing a letter of recommendation from the prior church attended by all perspective members.

Section 2 Change of Membership Status:

Members in good standing seeking a change in membership status (i.e. for their departing the church for reasons other than unrepentant sin, in doctrine and/or life, currently under the care of the Elders – Mt. 18:15-20; Gal. 6:1-4) will be reviewed by the Elders eligible for a letter of recommendation.

Change of Membership Status Due to Errant Doctrine/Life:

A. Doctrine:

The Cross Church may cease to extend membership privilege to any member who is unrepentant in propagating unsound doctrine contrary to the Word of God and as explained and expounded in The Cross Church’s foundational documents (which includes The Cross Church Constitution, Confession of Faith, and Church Restoration).

The factious man (Titus 3:10-11) is one who actively participates in causing division in the church through teaching heresy and/or false doctrine (Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Tim. 6:3-5). Once warned a first and second time, and upon the unanimous determination of the Elders as to guilt, if that individual fails to cease and repent from such error, will then be treated as a false teacher and excommunicated straight-with from the fellowship of The Cross Church and from attending all ministry activities associated with the church.

B. Life:

The Cross Church may cease to extend the privilege of membership to any member found to be continually living in an unrepentant, unchristian manner (as clearly taught in Scripture and in our Christian Restoration document); and only after a prolonged loving pleading with that one to repent of their sin, that a member’s failure to respond in repentance to the grace-filled process of Church Restoration as Scripture instructs (Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-4) would they be asked to leave the church and treated, under command of Christ, as a nonbeliever.

Restoration of Membership:

Restoration of membership is subject to unanimous approval by the Elders; and depending on the severity and scope of the individual circumstances an oral confession and repentance before the entire The Cross Church may be needed. The Cross Church’s policy and doctrinal heart regarding biblical church restoration and repentance is stated and accepted in Addendum #1, “Restoring Those Who Fall”.

ARTICLE VII LEADERSHIP

Section 1 Leaders of The Cross Church:

There are two offices of biblical leadership The Cross Church affirms: Elders and Deacons.

Section 2 Elders:

“But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” –Acts 6:4

The Cross Church leadership, after thorough examination of the Scriptures, believe that the offices, qualifications, and responsibilities of Elder(s) are as follows:

Qualifications of Elders:

The qualifications of Elder(s) are as follows: They must be living above reproach, having taken care of all accusations either by showing that they are false or by taking corrective measures in their life. The husband of one wife (which interpreted to mean fidelity to one’s spouse, or if single, faithfulness to the Lord. Exceptions are: previous marriage(s) that ended by the death of their spouse, or by biblically mandated divorce. Each candidate will be considered individually with discernment, fasting, and prayer). Furthermore, an Elder must be temperate; prudent; respectable; hospitable; able to teach; not addicted to wine or pugnacious; not fond of sordid gain (a lover of money); the lover of what is good; sensible; just; devout; self-controlled; not a novice; holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and refute those who contradict the truth of the Scriptures (Titus 1:9; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). No one shall fill these offices unless he has been given, is aware of, and is practicing the gifts necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of these offices.

Responsibilities of Elders:

The main responsibility of the Elder(s) is to oversee the spiritual well being of the church by devoting themselves to the ministry of the Word and to prayer (Acts 6:4}. Elder(s) as spiritual leaders are to attend all services of worship on the Lord’s Day so as to shepherd and oversee the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-5) as servants of God to His people (1 Cor 4:1-2}. An Elder may be excused from such duty due to personal illness, family emergency or being out of town. Otherwise, Elder(s) are bound by Scriptural command and self-sacrifice to make the ministry of the local church a priority in their lives regarding time, talent and treasure considering others needs more important than their own. In order to accomplish this, Elder(s) must give themselves to the study of God’s Word and fervent prayer so that they may properly carry out their responsibilities. Elder(s) must preach and teach the Word of God for doctrine, instruction in righteousness, correction, to reprove, and to rebuke, that the Children of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works; and to guard the revealed truth of the Word of God from perversion and error. Not ruling over the flock of God as lords over God’s heritage, but by being examples of the flock as servant-leaders (1 Peter 5:1-4; Acts 6:1-6; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). All ministries and finances will be under the oversight of the Elder(s) (except as noted under Section 3, Responsibilities of Deacons). All of the Elder(s) are equal in authority, although one or more may be considered “first among equals” who labor hard in the duty of preaching and teaching; and/or is designated to follow the law of Scripture, and this state, in performing marriages with much counseling, prayer and discernment.

The Elder(s) are responsible for the overseeing of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, although upon their absence they may appoint someone else in the body to administer them.

The Structure and Function of the Elders:

The Elders shall consist of qualified men ordained in The Cross Church.

All decisions of The Cross Church shall be by unanimous consent of the Elders. Local operational issues (including issues of Church Restoration) shall be decided by unanimous consent of the Elders. Issues of Doctrine and Polity shall also be decided by unanimous consent of the Elders.

In the event of a lack of unanimous consent, the dissenting party(ies) (i.e. the dissenting minority) shall be granted the space of time until the next Elders meeting to prepare and present a Scriptural case supporting their dissenting viewpoint. If the Scriptural case in support of the dissenting viewpoint is not able to convince the majority of the Elders, the dissenting minority agrees to abide by the viewpoint of the majority. In the event a local Elders consisting of only two (or an even number of) Elders encounters an insurmountable dissent, Elder(s) from another local church maybe designated to hear and arbitrate the matter with binding arbitration.

In regards to issues that significantly affect an entire congregation (i.e. major purchases, relocations, etc…) the Elders shall consult with the congregation to gain their insight and counsel. Nevertheless, the final decision rests with the Elders and not by congregational vote.

The Elders shall meet together as often as is deemed necessary (at minimum once a month on the first Wednesday of each month). Minutes of each meeting of the Elders shall be kept and distributed to all Elders by the designated Secretary. Minutes of the previous month’s meeting must be read, approved and adopted by the Elders at the opening of each meeting following prayer.

Elders Meetings shall be open to all members of The Cross Church except where cases of Church Restoration and Repentance are being discussed.

Responsibility of the Congregation to the Elders:

Eldership is a plurality of godly men that the Elders and body of believers affirms meets the biblical criteria of life and doctrine (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:4-9) to serve as undershepherds of the Lord Jesus Christ to them. The office and role of the elder is one of servant-leadership. In 1 Corinthians 4:1, Paul uses a Greek word for servant (huperetes) that suggests he is an under-rower – subordinate to Christ; and appointed to the hardest of tasks, in the most difficult circumstances, away from the applause and adulation of men (1 Corinthians 3; 1 Peter 5:2b-3). IOW, he is in every sense of the word a slave to the Lord and His people (2 Cor. 4:5).

It is significant to note that a pastor of a church possesses no inherent authority over the church by virtue of office alone; it is only through that which Scripture affords him that gives him a position of authority.

Elders must not be authoritarian, which is incompatible with humble servant-hood. When we consider Paul’s example and that of our Lord’s, we must agree that biblical elders do not dictate; they direct. They must never think that they are unanswerable to their fellow brethren or to God.

We usually think only in terms of Pastors, Elders, and Deacons holding the congregation accountable before the Lord (and rightly they should); but the congregation has just as much a holy and necessary duty to hold the leadership of the church accountable to the Lord and His Word as well.

Therefore, as members of The Cross Church, I humbly and lovingly agree to:

1. Edify Through Prayer

a. Paul commands Timothy to pray “for all men.” This is the Apostolic instruction to young Timothy in fulfilling his biblical duty as a pastor to be given over to “the ministry of the Word and prayer” (Acts 6:4). But this also applies to the body of Christ in general. 1 Timothy is the handbook on ecclesiology – how we are to conduct ourselves in the house of God. Part of that public worship is for believers to offer prayers for all people, including:

1. Magistrates
2. All in authority
3. Church leaders
4. Our unsaved friends
5. Neighbors
6. Family members
7. Our enemies
8. Those who are persecuting us or harming us

b. Prayer is the life-breath of the Christian. It signifies great dependence on our Lord for all things; conforms our will to His; gives us strength in the journey; protects the unity of the Spirit; keeps guard over an anxious heart; causes us not to faint in service to the Lord; brings glory to God; honors the Lord’s command; and develops humility and meekness in the believer of Jesus Christ. We are to “with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

2. Examine Their Message

a. Another great honor for every Christian in holding the leadership of the church accountable is to examine what they are teaching with the Word of God. In other words, we should be discerning as God’s people with the words and content that anyone may teach. We should be effective “Bereans;” guarding the trust and truth by lovingly holding our elders accountable to its veracity. Loyalty should always first be to the Lord and His Word; never to the man, but always to the Master. But because we are fallen people saved by grace, we need to stay open to the constructive criticisms of others – especially those who are teachers of the Word (James 3:1-2). It is possible that a pastor might even unwittingly be skewed or abhorrent in what he is teaching from the Word and needs the gentle yet faithful evaluation from the congregation. Paul called the Bereans of “more noble character” because they examined “whether these things (what Paul taught) were so” through the lens of truth–the Word of God. Implicitly, he not only thanks them, but also admonishes them to do so. He strongly invites and welcomes scrutiny from those in the church. What humility; what teachability; what accountability. Remember beloved, error never wants to be challenged; truth will always desire examination. (Cp, Galatians 1:6-9)

3. Encourage Godly Character

a. Godly character in the ministry is essential and it is our duty to prayerfully be encouraging our pastors to live out by example all that the Holy Spirit has called and required them to be in their personhood daily. Pastors are sinners saved by grace; and it is only by grace that any of them can adhere faithfully to the qualifiers listed above. They are to be above reproach in life and doctrine. That means, free from accusation. It doesn’t mean perfect; sinless; without faults; without issues. But that they are free from accusations of a disqualifying nature. (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-8)

4. Entreat Their Shepherding

a. (Hebrews 13:17) Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.

b. By definition, one of the titles of the elder is overseer (1 Timothy 3:1). The Greek word, episkopos, literally means to “look intently into the life of another” (1 Tim. 3:1); or “the careful watching over the soul–tirelessly keeping to one’s post, forsaking rest or sleep to be a faithful watchman, as one who will give an account before the Lord of how they have looked after another believer in Christ” (Heb. 13:17).

c. “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

5. Exhort The Unfaithful

a. Elders are to be protected from false accusations, but are not to receive immunity from true ones. Those elders who continue in sin must bear the consequences.

b. Any sin or pattern of unrepentant sin that causes an elder to violate the qualifications listed in 1 Tim. 3:2-7 would be grounds for rebuke in the presence of all. There are no elaborate steps of discipline to be followed. An accusation is made and confirmed by two or three witnesses, then investigated; if found true, the elder is to be publicly rebuked. The Greek word for rebuke means to expose, to bring to open conviction, to correct, or to reprove. A sinning elder has nowhere to hide.

c. The ministry is thus a two-edged sword. Those who serve faithfully are to be honored and protected, but those who sin are to be publicly rebuked. One of the purposes for that public rebuke is so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.

d. Godly fear, along with love, is a proper motive for avoiding sin and obeying God (Deut. 13:6-11; 17:12-13; 19:16-20; Acts 5:5-11).

e. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

f. The church needs to decide whether to protect man’s reputation, or God’s? Those who repent are to be forgiven and accepted by the congregation. That does not mean, however, they are to automatically be restored to ministry. Depending on the severity of the sin, they may be permanently disqualified.

g. The church must maintain these principles regarding sinning elders without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. No one is to receive preferential treatment. The rebuke of sinning elders must be done with accuracy and integrity. There must be no effort to protect those who are famous, specially gifted, or popular, nor to expose those who are not.

Section 3 Deacons:

Ministers of Mercy: Servants of Charitable,
Compassionate Welfare in Word and Deed (Acts 6:1-7)

“whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God;
whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength
that God supplies—in order that in everything
God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.
To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.
Amen.” -1 Peter 4:11

The Cross Church, after thorough examination of the Scriptures, believe that the office, qualifications, and responsibilities of Deacon(s) are as follows:

Qualifications of Deacons:

They must be honest, not a liar, not addicted to wine. They must not be greedy or lovers of money. They must hold the truth of the Scriptures in a pure conscience, living above reproach, having taken care of all accusations, either by showing that they are false or by taking corrective measures in their life. The husband of one wife (which interpreted to mean fidelity to one’s spouse, or if single, faithfulness to the Lord. Exceptions are: previous marriage(s) that ended by the death of their spouse, or by biblically mandated divorce. Each candidate will be considered individually with great discernment, fasting, and prayer). Ruling their children and their own houses well, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. -1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13

Qualifications of Deacons’ Wives:

“Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.” -1 Timothy 3:11 “Wives” can also refer to “women in general” who faithfully serve within the church though not designating a new or seperate office. The emphasis and gratitude Paul is expressing is a devout recognition and appreciation of their sacrificial service to others for the glory of Christ.

But that the common interpretation, which makes it refer to the “wives of deacons”, as such, is to be adhered to, seems to be clear.

(1) it is the obvious and natural interpretation.
(2) the word here used – ” wives” – is never used of itself to denote deaconesses.
(3) if the apostle had meant deaconesses, it would have been easy to express it without ambiguity,
(4) what is here mentioned is important, whether the same thing is mentioned of elders or not.
(5) in the qualifications of elders, the Apostle had made a statement respecting his family, which made any specification about the particular members of the family unnecessary. He was to be one who presided in a proper manner over his own house, or who had a well-regulated family; 1Timothy 3:4-5.

So it is our conviction, that the context of 1 Timothy 3:11 best suits the translating of gunaikas as “the wives of…”

Therefore, her servant ministry of aid to church leaders, other women, children, the poor, those persecuted and suffering for the faith ought to be effectual, charitable, godly and above reproach bringing honor to the church and her family.

Responsibilities of Deacons:

The Deacons are a plurality of godly men that the Elders and body of believers affirms meets the biblical criteria of life and doctrine (1 Tim. 3:8-10, 12-13) and are primarily responsible for any physical or mercy ministration to the church body; the collecting and disbursing of funds; and with our C.P.A. Robert Guest, adopt and approve an annual budget at our yearly Family Meeting, set all pastors’ wages and benefits, and generally which is deemed necessary to afford the Elders the priority of time being given to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

Deacons also are responsible for the taking of the offerings, counting the offerings, copying of checks, and preparing an accurate list of names and contributions weekly after each worship service. This would also apply to conferences or other church sponsored gatherings.

No Elder may count the offering, handle the offering, or have knowledge as to what any individual gives as an offering to the church voluntarily and cheerfully as unto the Lord. But general knowledge of church finances, distribution of benevolence, building projects, maintenance, repairs, purchases, financial support for missionaries, provision for all Cross Church ministry(s), campus expansion, etc. falls under the general oversight of the Elders and Deacons jointly.

Section 4 Treasurer and Clerk:

Treasurer:

The treasurer shall be a Deacon or someone so designated by the Deacon(s). The Treasurer is responsible to keep orderly and accurate financial records for the safekeeping of The Cross Church’s funds under the general oversight of the Deacon(s).

Clerk:

At The Cross Church, we see the need for the position of Clerk. This will not be an Office of the church, but will be chosen by the Deacon(s). The Clerk shall be responsible for the accurate and safekeeping of all The Cross Church’s documents. The Clerk will have no authority to make decisions.

Section 5 The Calling of Elder(s) and Deacon(s):

The calling of Elder(s), and Deacon(s) shall be under the oversight of the existing Elder(s). They shall thoroughly and prayerfully consider the calling and qualifications of the person seeking this work.

All prospective Elders and Deacons shall serve a probationary period (1 Tim. 3:10) determined on a case-by-case basis by the Elders. During the probationary period all aspects of the prospective Elder’s or Deacon’s ability, qualification and initiative will be evaluated.

The offices of Elder and Deacon are ordained offices (without term nor limit). Upon the successful completion of the probationary period, the prospective Elder or Deacon will be ordained in an installation service before the entire congregation on the Lord’s Day.

The dismissal from either of these offices shall be for the failure to maintain the qualifications as outlined in Article VII, Sections 2 – 3 Additionally, Elders or Deacons who prove to not be faithful stewards of their office may be dismissed. Dismissal shall not occur until at least two (2) unsuccessful admonitions to restore the Elder or Deacon have been attempted. Dismissal from office does not equate termination of church membership.

Section 6 The Appointment of Spiritual Leaders:

All positions of spiritual leadership, such as teachers, youth leaders, etc., shall be filled by members in good standing, as appointed by the Elder(s) (after fasting, prayer, and discernment.) The Elder(s) also have the authority to dismiss (after fasting, prayer, and discernment) anyone from these positions whose life and/or doctrine becomes is not in accordance with the biblical standards those positions require.

Section 7 The God-Given Role of Women as Spiritual Leaders

Though women are used by the Lord in many ways and areas of ministry, God prohibits women from serving as pastors and teaching doctrine to men for two main reasons found in 1 Timothy 2:11-14:

  1. The creative order – man was created first.
  2. Eve was deceived and fell into transgression. 

Notice, the Apostle Paul never mentions a woman’s ability in teaching, her  intellect, her desire to teach, her exegetical skills, her commitment to proper hermeneutics, her communicative or oratory aptitude, or leadership abilities, etc. It was as simple and profound as to those two principles established by God that excludes women from pulpit ministry in preaching and teaching to the local church specifically and to the body of Christ generally and from the office of Elder/Pastor.

Some general clarifications on some contemporary misunderstandings:
1. Genesis 1:27-31, 2:18-25 in creation God created man in His own image; male and female He created them. Though in a state of innocence before The Fall (Genesis 3:1-19) there still was not complete equality as some liberal churches teach. Eve was taken out of man (the origin of her name Woman) and was made as a helpmate for Adam.

2. Galatians 3:28 the Apostle Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ.” Some have interpreted this to mean that there are no gender distinctions in ministry – “neither male and female.” Context has much in determining the meaning of a verse. This applies here. The context is the gospel and specifically the covenant of Abraham (Galatians 3:10-29). This is about the unifying aspect of the gospel and our God’s sovereign-electing privileges in the justifying righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ through the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7). All those who are one with Jesus Christ are one with one another. Whatever may have been there former differences, Christ alone is able to unify them all in Him! In other words, no human distinctions (race – no favoritism on account of birth, beauty or blood; civil rank – no proletarianism or capitalism; or gender – sexually rivalry) avail as advantages in the matter of salvation (Ephesians 2:14-16; Colossians 3:11). All are sinners by nature, all have fallen short of God and His glory, all who believe in Jesus are saved by the merits of the Savior, all have equal access to Divine ordinances (baptism and communion), all to learn the Word of God, to worship, to prayer, to growing in grace, to fellowship with the saints, given diverse spiritual gifts, living stones within the church and to being gospel witnesses (Acts 2:42-47).

This verse does not deny that God has designed distinctions among Christians, but it affirms that those do not imply a spiritual inequality before God by virtue of the gospel. Nor is the spiritual inequality incompatible with the God-ordained roles of headship and submission in the church, society or family (1 Corinthians 11:1-5; 14:34; 1 Timothy 2:11-14; Ephesians 5:23-33; 1 Peter 3:1-7)

3. The convictions expressed herein are not drawn from the extremes of culture. E.g., the prohibiting of women from the office of pastor or exercising authority over men by teaching the body of Christ the Bible in public worship is not a statement based upon sexism, misogyny or chauvinism. Likewise, the dissolving of the biblical standard for women in ministry cannot be concluded from a narrow interpretation of any passage culturally at the time of the Apostles which many liberals and denominations today use to evaporate all gender distinctive when it comes to the office of pastoral leadership.

4. The Examples in Redemptive History of how the One Triune Sovereign God of the Bible appointed leaders in the Old and New Testaments for His people. We thank the Lord for godly women who serve Him in the way that He has designed. But it warrants our attention and edification to consider these boundaries from the pages of biblical history:

  • No woman in the OT was ever in the line of the Levitical priesthood or was permitted to serve as a priest or High Priest. Ever.
  • No book of the Bible was ever written by a woman.
  • No woman was appointed by the Lord as an Apostle – one of the Twelve.
  • There are no women listed as pastors/elders/shepherds in the NT.
  • There are no biblical qualifications for women in the Bible to follow to become a pastor as there are for men.
  • There’s no command to “preach the Word” ever given to a woman in Scripture for public worship.
  • There’s no recorded sermon of any kind in the NT that a woman gave as instruction to the church at large that publicly involves teaching men.
  • Lastly, no Apostle ever appointed as their successors a woman to serve as an elder/pastor in any NT church.

We Affirm:
By God’s instruction through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) though the Apostle Paul forbids women from rising to the office and role of the pastor/teacher in the body of Christ regardless of denomination and/or exercising authority over men in the use of preaching/teaching gifts regardless of the venue, he is not prohibiting women from teaching and serving in other appropriate conditions and circumstances.

For example… qualified women in the church may:

  • Teach other women and the children (2 Timothy 1:5; Titus 2:3-5)
  • Be examples of sacrificial service to others: to the poor, needy, widows, persecuted, etc., as was Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2
  • Euodia and Syntyche labored side by side with Paul in the gospel (Phil 4:2-3)
  • Jesus used a Samaritan woman to impact her city for the gospel (John 4:1-39)
  • The Lord used Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as the first to herald the good
    news of His resurrection to the Apostles (Matthew 28:1-10)
  • Women may serve in a discipleship role as was Priscilla with her husband Aquila (Acts 18:24-28)
  • They opened their homes for fellowship or to use as a house-church in the practice of hospitality as did Prisca and Aquila in Romans 16:3-4
  • To be bold witnesses for the gospel, even suffering for their faith, as was Junia in Romans 16:7 with her husband Andronicus, who were well known for their faithful testimony among the apostles
  • Philip the evangelist, one of the seven in Acts 6:5, had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9) and friends with Agabus, one gifted as a prophet (Acts 21:10-14, Acts 11:27-30). Though we don’t have any of the daughters prophecies in Scripture, they were most likely approved by the church in Jerusalem in the use of their gifts (Acts 11:27)
  • Lydia, upon her belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, opened up her home to Paul, Timothy and Silas and cared for them (Acts 16:11-15)
  • Countless other examples can be found throughout the NT and in specific the sixteenth chapter of Romans
  • Even in the OT there are great examples of women serving the Lord. Deborah, for example, was an unusual woman: a prophetess, judge and wife (Judges 4:4). A woman of wisdom and influence who did the tasks of a judge, except for military leadership. God can use women mightily for civil, religious, or other tasks, e.g., Miriam, Exodus 15:20 and Huldah the prophetess (2 Kings 22:14). Deborah’s rise to such a role is the exception in the book of Judges because of Barak’s failure to show the courage to lead courageously (Judges 4:8,14). God rebuked his cowardice by the pledge that a woman would slay Sisera (Judges 4:9). Because we read nothing of Deborah’s miraculous actions as a prophetess, perhaps this meant she was a woman of holiness and knowledge of the Scriptures, by which she was singularly qualified for judging the people according to the laws of God.

All of us have been blessed by mothers, women missionaries, Sunday school teachers and many others who have taught us the Word without assuming the office of elder/pastor within the local church or violating the standard of a woman exercising authority over a man.

Let us thank God for the godly women in our lives and church used by the Lord for His divine purposes.

ARTICLE VIII ANNUAL and SPECIAL FAMILY MEETINGS

Section 1 Fiscal Year:

The fiscal year of The Cross Church shall begin on the first day of January and close on the last day of December.

Section 2 Moderator:

The Moderator should be one of the number of the Elders or Deacons, as determined by the meeting.

Section 3 Annual Family Meeting:

The annual family meeting of the church shall be held no later than the second Sunday in January annually. A designated Elder will keep minutes of the family meeting who is responsible for the Elders meeting minutes as well.

Section 4 Special Family Meetings:

Special Family Meetings:

Special family meetings shall be called as needed by the Elder(s). The meeting must be announced at least one week prior to the meeting.

Emergency Family Meetings:

Emergency family meetings shall be called as needed by the Elder(s). The Elder(s) shall make every effort to give prior notice but reserves the right to call one if notice cannot be given.

ARTICLE IX CHURCH FINANCE

Section 1 Offerings:

The work of the church shall be supported and self-funded through the faithful giving of God’s people without the need of outside assistance through third-party fundraising, secular commerce, business, or trade. We are under the conviction that God’s work, done God’s way, according to God’s Word, will not lack God’s supply (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 4:32-37).

Section 2 Methods of Raising Money:

The Elder(s) will not incorporate any methods of raising money to support the ministry of the church that would violate Scripture or compromise a witness for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Youth groups, individuals, or other groups serving within the church may only engage the means the Elders have approved in advance to raise funds.

Section 3 Expenditure of Funds:

Elders may spend or authorize spending of funds up to and not greater than $200.00 without unanimous approval of all the Elders. However, no Elder may spend, or authorize spending of funds up to and not greater than $200.00 individually. An Elder must consult with and receive approval by at least 1 (one) other Elder as a matter of accountability in the practice of biblical stewardship and benevolence.

Deacons may expend funds for benevolence as well with prior approval of at least 2 (two) Elders.

Amounts greater than $200.00 require the unanimous approval of all Elders. And if the funds required are exceeding the amount of $1,000.00, the Elders should consult with the Deacons and the church C.P.A. no later than at the following Elders Meeting. “There is safety in many counselors…”

ARTICLE X AMENDMENTS

Section 1 Procedure for Change to the Constitution:

All proposed changes to the Constitution shall be brought before the Elders for scriptural study and decisions of validity.

All proposed changes will be given expediency by the Elders that an answer may be returned at the fastest possible moment. No proposed changes should be circulated within The Cross Church for the purpose of gaining support, prior to the Elder(s) study and decision.

The decision of the Elders as to the scriptural validity of the proposed change will be considered as binding and no public maligning of that decision will be accepted.

Any change to the constitution shall be disclosed to the members for informational purposes.

ARTICLE XI POLICIES and PROCEDURES

All policies governing The Cross Church shall be drafted, published and altered (as needed) by unanimous approval of the Elders.

In regards to official Cross Church’s positions relating to theological and/or societal issues, position papers shall be drafted, accepted and amended (as needed) by the Elders; and shall be made available to the congregation(s).

No Elder(s), Deacon(s), Treasurer, Clerk, or one appointed by them, may enter into negotiation, arbitration, binding or nonbinding agreements or contracts, leases, letters of intent to either sell or purchase, whether written or oral, by any electronic communication (including, but not limited to email, texting, fax, video conferencing, IM, phone, etc.) with another party(ies), corporate or personal, that pertains to or affects the church’s integrity to biblical ministry, its standing financially, its members, property(ies), buildings, or assets, without written consent by unanimous approval from the Elders.

ARTICLE XII DATE OF EFFECT

This version of the Constitution of The Cross Church was revised and accepted by unanimous consent and approval of all the Elders on February 3, 2010, and supercedes any and all previous versions.