The Gateway Church
Constitution & Bylaws


General Provisions

Non Profit Status

This church shall be organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue law in order to:

  1. Minister the Word of God;
  2. Conduct regular religious worship services through various forms of ministries;
  3. Promote and encourage, through the ministries of the organization, cooperation other organizations ministering within the community;
  4. Spread the Gospel by ministering to all through seminars, radio, television, and other forms of mass media;
  5. Conduct a local and international church by the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ and under the leadership of the Holy Spirit in accordance with all the provisions as set forth in the Bible;
  6. Maintain local church and missionary facilities;

The church received this status from the Internal Revenue Service. Copies of the filings are maintained in the church offices.

This church is not organized, nor shall it operate, for pecuniary gain or profit, and it does not contemplate the distribution of gains, profits, or dividends to its members and is organized solely for non-profit purposes. The property, assets, profits and net income of this church are irrevocably dedicated to charitable, educational, and religious purposes and no part of the profits or net income of this church shall ever inure to the benefit of any individual.

Prohibition against sharing in corporate earnings

No member, trustee, officer, employee, committee member, or person connected with the church, or any other private individual shall receive at any time any of the net earnings or pecuniary profit from the operations of the church, provided that this shall not prevent the payment to any such person of such reasonable compensation for services rendered to or for the church in effecting any of its purposes as shall be fixed by the church leadership, and no such person or persons shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the church assets upon dissolution of the church.

Exempt Activities

Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, no member, trustee, officer, employee, or representative of this church shall take any action or carry on any activity by or on behalf of the church not permitted to be taken or carried on by an organization exempt under Section 501 (c)(3) or the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended, or by an organization, contributions to which are now deductible under Section 170 (c)(2) and 509 (a)(1) of such Codes and Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended. 

Preamble

Recognizing that God has called His people to meet, worship, and serve together in structured ways which the New Testament refers to as local churches, and that it is God's desire that all things be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40), we, the members of The Gateway Church, have set forth the following Bylaws as a basis for that structure and order. 

Our paradigm for function is like that of a family. While we recognize that Bylaws are necessary for proper order, we also affirm that the attitudes of love, honor, and respect are the true foundation for any healthy group of people who seek to fulfill God's purpose. 

Article One
Purpose

The Gateway Church is a contemporary expression of the New Testament Church. Our desire is to imitate, experience, and live out the reality of Christ's presence in the way the 'Acts' church did. Scripture paints a picture of a church committed to five primary purposes: worship, fellowship, discipleship, evangelism, and service. These purposes are drawn from the two directives given by Jesus Himself, the Great Commandment (Mark 12:28-34) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Great Example of the early church (Acts 2:42-47). 

It is our stated objective to love God and to love people, joining God in the renewal of all things. We want to exhibit and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in our world, to call people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus, and through our love and service to work for the common good. 

Article Two
Name

The name of this organization is The Gateway Church.

Article Three
Prerogatives

The Gateway Church shall have the right to govern itself and conduct its own affairs according to the standards of the New Testament and the values of healthy family function. Our objective, as an organization, is to follow Jesus in a unified and effective way. 

These rights for self-governance shall include such matters as the calling of a Lead Pastor, selection of a Board, discipline of members, and the conduct of all its services, ministries, and initiatives. 

It shall also have the right to purchase, acquire by gift, own, use, sell, mortgage, lease, or dispose of any real estate and/or property as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes. 

Article Four
Affiliation

The Gateway Church shall have perpetual existence and is a sovereign assembly. As such, The Gateway Church maintains the right to govern its own affairs. 

Article Five
Statement of Faith

The Gateway Church is a non-denominational church that believes in the authority of the Christian scriptures for our life and practice. We hold to the essential orthodox Christian beliefs as best expressed in the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed.

Article Six
Ordinances

We believe and practice two primary New Testament Ordinances. First, Baptism by immersion in water is administered to all who profess faith in Christ. It is an outward declaration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the new life that becomes ours as a result of faith in Him. Second, we regularly celebrate the Lord's Supper as taught by the Scriptures. 

Article Seven
Governance

The Gateway Church seeks to be led by the Holy Spirit in all its decisions. The Lead Pastor, the Elders, Covenant Members, the Overseers, and the Board of Stewardship (BOS), all have a role in the body's leadership. The ultimate goal of the leadership process of The Gateway Church is the implementation and obedience to the specific will of Jesus defined through the Bible, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and the agreement of this community of faith. 

The Lead Pastor's office is responsible for developing and communicating vision, in consultation with the BOS, overseeing the day-to-day ministry of the church and developing the proposed budget of the church to be adopted by the BOS. The goal of Pastoral Leadership is to equip the church for ministry in keeping with the purpose of the ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-16. When those with ministry gifts are empowered to lead, the entire body is built up, unified, and reaches the fullest measure of its potential in Christ. 

The Elders serve as the spiritual overseers of the church, teach and preach the Word, protect the church from false teachers, exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine, pray for the sick and judge doctrinal issues. 

The Covenant Members influence the spiritual tone, strength, and direction of the church by wisely selecting the Lead Pastor, by voting on recommended BOS members and other matters at the annual Covenant Membership Meeting, and by affirming the proposed budget. 

The Overseers are to protect the church through counsel, prayer, and if required, the discipline of the Lead Pastor, as described in Article Ten. 

The Board of Stewardship (BOS) is to serve the church as described in Article Eleven. The BOS shall serve as the board of directors of the corporation and exercise all corporate powers. The BOS shall work in cooperation with the Lead Pastor and the Elders for the overall governance of the church. 

Article Eight
Lead Pastor of the Church/President of the Corporation

Section 1. Qualifications & Responsibilities

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The Lead Pastor shall meet the requirements of the New Testament leadership and be licensed or ordained as a minister of the Gospel. 

(Paragraph 2) The Dual Responsibilities
The Lead Pastor is uniquely called to be the primary visionary and apostolic leader of The Gateway Church family. Because the church has two complimentary branches - the spiritual Body of believers and the legal Corporation - it is the Lead Pastor who administratively bridges the gap between the two branches. The Lead Pastor is primarily responsible for the spiritual life of the church, therefore, he must be in a position corporately to ensure that financial strength is directed toward the ministries of his choice. Therefore he shall serve as Lead Pastor of the Church and President of the Corporation.

Section 2. The Office of the Lead Pastor

(Paragraph 1) Responsibilities of the Lead Pastor
It is the Lead Pastor's responsibility to: 

  1. Provide biblical vision and direction for the congregation;
  2. Define and communicate the church's purpose;
  3. Oversee and coordinate the day-to-day ministry of the congregation and administration of the church, including, but not limited to: 
  4. All employment decisions
  5. Delegation of responsibilities to all staff
  6. Day-to-day opperations
  7. Serve as Lead Elder;
  8. Serve as official spokesman for The Gateway Church;
  9. Serve as ex officio member of all committees, teams, groups, and ministries; 
  10. Recognize and enlist apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral and teaching ministries, along with elders and additional staff members as he deems biblical and necessary for the healthy spiritual development of the body of believers;

(Paragraph 2) The Pastor's Spiritual Leadership
The Lead Pastor may work with the Elders, Overseers, BOS, or anyone serving in the functions or offices as outlined in Ephesians 4:11-13 in whatever way he determines is biblical to serve the spiritual needs of the congregation. Additionally, the Lead Pastor may budget monies, hire staff, develop projects, create small groups, programs or other ministries according to his convictions and biblical understanding. He shall have the authority to appoint and approve any assistants necessary to properly carry on the church. 

(Paragraph 3) The Pastor's Responsibilities for Services
Times, order of services and the leadership of services are to be determined by the Lead Pastor or by the spiritual church structure he establishes. No person shall be invited to speak, teach or minister at a service held in church owned facilities, or in the name of the church, without the approval of the Lead Pastor. 

Section 3. The Office of the President

(Paragraph 1) The President
The Corporation defines its leadership under the Lord Jesus Christ and in its President. The lead pastor shall serve as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation. He shall participate in all meetings of the BOS and shall see that all orders and resolutions of the board are put into effect. He shall execute in the name of the Corporation all deeds, bonds, mortgages, contracts and other documents authorized by the BOS. He shall be an ex-officio member of all standing committees, and shall have the general powers and duties of supervision and management usually vested in the office of the President of the Corporation. 

(Paragraph 2) The President's Administrative Role
The President is the senior administrator of the church. He is ultimately responsible for day-to-day administrative decisions of the church. 

(Paragraph 3) The President's Role With Staff
The President hires, directs and dismisses staff. As the Lead Pastor, his call is confirmed to the church through the congregation, and those hired by him are to assist him in fulfilling this calling. 

(Paragraph 4) The President's Role in Establishing Salaries
The President determines all salaries and writes pay scales for full-time salaried employees. Pay scales shall be explained to new full-time salaried employees. Changes in pay scales will be given in writing to the affected employees. In addition, all part-time salaries and hourly wages are variable and are to be determined between the president and the employee. 

(Paragraph 5) Budget
An annual budget must be prepared. The budget is to be set by the President to be adopted by the BOS.

(Paragraph 6) Expenditures
Budgeted amounts are not to be considered actual moneys available. The President can only spend actual funds that are available, and those moneys are to be spent according to the budget. The President may not borrow money, sign leases, buy or sell real estate, or may any agreements that could force indebtedness upon the church. Should the church borrow, the BOS shall give the President authority to spend those moneys on the project for which the funds were borrowed. All undesignated moneys available to the Corporation above budgeted amounts are deemed discretionary and are available to be spent by the president, but he may only obligate funds currently on hand. 

Section 4. Manner of Election

The Lead Pastor shall be recommended by the Lead Pastor Search Team. Election for a new Lead Pastor shall be by secret ballot of all the members present at a special Covenant Membership meeting duly called for that purpose. A two-thirds majority of all votes cast at a meeting with a quorum of Covenant Members present, shall be required to constitute selection. 

Section 5. Term of Office

The Term of the Lead Pastor's office shall be for an indefinite period. The term will expire upon thirty days written notice given either by the resignation of the Lead Pastor or by action of the BOS in consultation with the Overseers. 

Section 6. Confrontation and Discipline

The Lead Pastor is morally, theologically, and ethically accountable to the Board of Stewardship and the Overseers. Confrontation and discipline for the Lead Pastor should follow the principles outlined in Matthew 18:15-20. 

  1. A member of the Board of Stewardship (BOS), or here to referred as board member, should initiate the process of Matthew 18 and hold a one-on-one session with the Lead Pastor to confront the issue. 
  2. If there is no resolution, the board member should bring a second board member with him to hold a mediation session and attempt to resolve the issue. 
  3. If there is no resolution, the board members previously involved should contact a member of the Overseers to assist in resolution of the matter. 
  4. If there is still no resolution, the Overseers should convene a meeting of the BOS and Overseers to decide together upon a course of action. 
  5. The BOS has the authority to ask for the resignation of the Lead Pastor by a majority vote of the BOS in consultation with the Overseers. 
  6. If such a request for the resignation is refused, the Lead Pastorate shall not be considered vacant until the action of the BOS has been confirmed by a majority vote of the active members present at a duly called Covenant Membership Meeting where a quorum of members is present.
  7. Such a meeting shall be presided over by a member of the Overseers. 

When a vacancy shall occur, candidates for the Lead Pastor position shall be arranged for by the Lead Pastor Search Team (see Article Thirteen, Section 1). 

Article Nine
Elders

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The Elders shall consist of no less than one and no more than seven persons. Members of the Elders may consist of key paid staff or lay ministry leaders. 

The qualifications include: 

  1. Theological agreement with the core beliefs and values of The Gateway Church.
  2. Philosophical agreement with the vision of the Lead Pastor.
  3. Signed The Gateway Church Covenant Membership Commitment. 
  4. A minimum of 2 years attendance at The Gateway Church. 
  5. A proven track record of wisdom and effective results-based leadership.

A member of the Elders, whose employment with The Gateway Church family is terminated for any reason, shall be automatically removed as a member of the Elders. 

(Paragraph 2) Duties
The Elders serve as the spiritual overseers of the church, teach and preach the Word, protect the church from false teachers, exhort and admonish the saints in sound doctrine, pray for the sick and judge doctrinal issues. 

(Paragraph 3) Terms and Conditions
All the members of the Elders shall be selected by the Lead Pastor, affirmed by the BOS, and they shall serve at his pleasure and discretion. Elders have no term limits and can be appointed or removed at any time as needed. Each Elder shall serve one year at a time and the relationship shall be reviewed annually. In the event that are not enough qualified leaders to serve in the role of Elder, the Lead Pastor shall occupy and fulfill all said functions. 

(Paragraph 4) Removal
Any Elder can be removed at any time by action of the Lead Pastor, in consultation with the BOS. 

Article Ten
Overseers

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The Overseers shall consist of no less than three and no more than five. Members of the Overseers must include senior pastors of respected congregations who know and love The Gateway Church and the Lead Pastor. The Overseers will:

  1. Agree to make themselves available to serve The Gateway Church if requested by the BOS;
  2. Be willing to provide spiritual protection to The Gateway Church through prayer and by exemplifying honorable Christian lives;
  3. Be in a mentoring or an accountability relationship with the current Lead Pastor;
  4. Be committed to the vision and long-term success of The Gateway Church;
  5. Be affirmed by The Gateway Church Elders and the BOS.

(Paragraph 2) Biblical Qualifications for Overseers
"Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgement as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap" (1 Timothy 3:2-7). 

(Paragraph 3) Duties
The Overseers serve as an external source of support, wisdom, ministry, and encouragement to the Lead Pastor and overall leadership of The Gateway Church. They will be asked to serve in the following ways: 

  1. Provide personal mentoring and encouragement to the Lead Pastor;
  2. Speak into the life of The Gateway Church through regular visits, consultations, and prayerful input;
  3. Provide a place of appeal and mediations regarding conflicts that are unresolved in The Gateway Church family (specifically where the Lead Pastor is concerned);
  4. Work with the Lead Pastor Search Team to identify a candidate to recommend as Lead Pastor during a time of vacancy and transition;
  5. Stand in support of The Gateway Church family during moments of crisis and need. 

(Paragraph 4) Terms and Conditions
The Overseers shall be selected by the Lead Pastor and affirmed by the BOS. They will serve in that capacity indefinitely and without term limitation. Each Overseer shall serve one year at a time and the relationship shall be reviewed annually.

(Paragraph 5) Removal
At any time, a member of the Overseers can be removed by recommendation of the Lead Pastor and the affirmation of a majority of the BOS. 

Article Eleven
Board of Stewardship (BOS)

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The BOS shall consist of no less than three and no more than nine. Board members must be people of mature Christian experience and knowledge, sound in faith and of good report, according to the spiritual standards of Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13. They shall have been a Covenant Member of The Gateway Church for a minimum of one year. The BOS shall elect from among its members, a Chairman. The Chairman shall serve as moderator for all business meetings and will work in conjunction with the Lead Pastor to set the agenda for each meeting. The Term of office for the Chairman shall be for a period of one year. 

(Paragraph 2) Duties
The BOS oversees all financial matters related to The Gateway Church. The Lead Pastor is accountable to the BOS in all matters relating to finances. The BOS shall act in advisory capacity to the Lead Pastor in regard to the strategic planning and ministry development of The Gateway Church. They shall act on the applications for Covenant Membership, as well as the administration of the discipline. In the event The Gateway Church family is temporarily without a Lead Pastor, or the Lead Pastor is unable to be present, the BOS in cooperation with the Overseers shall be empowered to select and Interim Pastor and a Temporary Board Chairman to continue the ministry of the church and oversight capacity of the Board. 

(Paragraph 3) Manner of Election
Board members shall be recommended by the BOS Selection Committee and affirmed by a majority of the Covenant Membership of The Gateway Church at a duly called Covenant Membership Meeting. 

(Paragraph 4) Term of Office
BOS members will be selected for a two-year term with a maximum of three consecutive terms. 

(Paragraph 5) Removal
In the event that a BOS member is not fulfilling the duties of his office, is not being effective, or is acting in a way that is immoral, unethical, or divisive, recommendation can be made by the Lead Pastor for his removal from office. Such action shall be ratified by a majority of the Elders. Any steps of removal must follow the attitude and principles of Matthew 18:15-20. 

(Paragraph 6) Meetings
A meeting of the BOS shall be held at least twice a year. The Lead Pastor or any board member may call a meeting at any time, under the condition that the Lead Pastor and a majority of the board members attend the meeting. Written notice is required to be given to all board members and the Lead Pastor. Such notice will require a minimum of four days notice. 

(Paragraph 7) Compensation
BOS members shall not receive any salaries for their services. 

Article Twelve
Officers

Section 1. Board Chair

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The Board Chair shall: 

  1. Be spiritually minded, of mature age and of sound business judgment
  2. Be capable of moderating meetings and overseeing the business of the corporation
  3. Have the same spiritual qualifications as the other Board members

(Paragraph 2) Duties
The Board Chair shall:

  1. Work with the Lead Pastor to develop an agenda for all meetings of the BOS
  2. Moderate all business meetings of The Gateway Church and the Board. 
  3. Ensure that all board members' views are heard with respect to significant matters under consideration

(Paragraph 3) Manner of Election
The Board Chair shall be elected by members of the BOS by a majority vote of those present at the first meeting of the BOS following the annual Covenant Membership meeting. 

(Paragraph 4) Term of Office
The term of office shall be for a period of one year. 

Section 2. Board Secretary

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The Secretary shall: 

  1. Be spiritually minded, of mature age and of sound business judgment
  2. Be capable of recording the minutes of business sessions and of doing all correspondence necessary in the conduct of official church business. 
  3. Have the same spiritual qualifications as the Board members. The secretary does not have to be a Board member in order to serve. 

(Paragraph 2) Duties
Oversee the keeping of records of all business meetings of The Gateway Church and the Board. 

(Paragraph 3) Manner of Election
The Secretary shall be elected by members of the BOS by a majority vote of those present at the first meeting of the BOS following the annual Covenant Membership Meeting. 

(Paragraph 4) Terms of Office
The term of office shall be for a period of one year. 

Section 3. Treasurer

(Paragraph 1) Qualifications
The Treasurer shall: 

  1. Be spiritually minded, of mature age and of sound business judgment
  2. Be capable of doing the accounting required to maintain the books. 
  3. Have the same spiritual qualifications as the Board members. The treasurer does not have to be a Board member in order to serve. 

(Paragraph 2) Duties
The Treasurer shall: 

  1. Oversee the disbursement of all funds as authorized by the BOS. 
  2. Participate in the presentation of an itemized financial report at the regular meetings of the BOS. 
  3. Oversee the presentation of a summarized report to The Gateway Church at the regular business meetings. 

(Paragraph 3) Manner of Election
The Treasurer shall be elected by the members of the BOS by a majority vote of those present at the first meeting of the BOS following the annual Covenant Membership Meeting. 

(Paragraph 4) Term of Office
The term of office shall be for a period of one year. 

Article Thirteen
Selection of Leadership

Section 1. Lead Pastor Search Team
In the event that the office of Lead Pastor is vacated, the Elders and the BOS shall serve as the official Lead Pastor Search Team in consultation with the Overseers. 

(Paragraph 1) Responsibility
The Lead Pastor Search Team will carry out the following responsibilities: 

  1. Appoint an interim pastor (if that option is available) and a Temporary BOS Chairman, until a new Lead Pastor is selected. 
  2. Interview, research and recommend any candidates for Lead Pastor. 
  3. Communicate with the entire church family regarding the progress of the search. 

(Paragraph 2) Lead Pastor Selection
The Lead Pastor must be elected by secret ballot and by 2/3 of the members present at a duly called Covenant Members Meeting. 

Section 2. Board of Stewardship Selection Committee
Board Members shall be recommended by the BOS Selection Committee. The BOS Selection Committee shall consist of the Elders, two current BOS Members, and the Lead Pastor. The Lead Pastor shall chair this team and its function. 

(Paragraph 1) Responsibility
The responsibility of the BOS Selection Committee is to review the Covenant Membership lists for all qualified candidates. The BOS Selection Committee shall consider the following qualifications for Board Members in their recommendation: 

  1. Active in small group leadership and/or ministry. 
  2. Positive attitude. Ability to keep confidence. 
  3. Active in tithing and giving.
  4. Meets the Biblical characteristics of 1 Timothy 3 and Acts 6 
  5. Current Covenant Membership
  6. Provides some needed competency of expertise to assist the church in its function. 

(Paragraph 2) Board Member Selection
Board Members shall be recommended by the BOS Selection Committee. Their names shall be presented to the Covenant Membership in writing at least 14 days prior to the annual Covenant Membership Meeting

Covenant Members who have a concern about the qualifications regarding any of the recommended candidates shall have the opportunity to express in writing their concern to the BOS Selection Committee prior to the annual Covenant Membership Meeting. Board Candidates who have been duly presented, and have no valid objection to their qualifications, shall be affirmed by a majority of the Covenant Members present at a duly called Covenant Membership Meeting. 

Section 3. Other Pastors, Staff, and Employees
All other pastors, staff, and employees shall be appointed by or released at the discretion of the Lead Pastor. 

Section 4. Volunteer Leadership
Small Group Leaders, Teams, Committees, Task Forces, and any other ministry positions shall be appointed by or released at the discretion of the Lead Pastor and the Elders. 

Article Fourteen
Indemnification

Section 1. General
Except for responsibility or liability of a Pastor or Board pursuant to any criminal statute or the liability of a Pastor for the payment of taxes pursuant to federal, state, or local law, a Pastor shall not be personally liable for monetary damages for any action taken unless a Pastor breached of failed to perform the duties of his office or the breach or failure to perform constitutes self-dealing, willful misconduct or recklessness. 

Section 2. Third-Party Actions
The corporation shall indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (other than action by or in the right of the corporation) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a representative of the corporation, against expenses (including attorneys' fees), judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection with the action or proceeding, if such person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the corporation, and, with such care, including reasonable inquiry, skill and diligence, as a person or ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances, and with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement or conviction or upon a pleas of nolo contender or its equivalent shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner which the person reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the corporation, and, with respect to any criminal proceeding, that the person had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful. 

Section 3. Mandatory Indemnification
To the extent that a representative of the corporation has been successful on the merits or otherwise in the defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in Section 2 of this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, such person shall be indemnified against expenses (including attorneys' fees) actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection therewith. 

Section 4. Supplementary Coverage

The indemnification provided by the Section 2 of this Article shall not be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification may be entitled under the Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1988, any other provision of law, the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws or any agreement, vote of disinterested Directors and Elders or otherwise, both as the action in person's official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding such office, and shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a representative, and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors and administrators of such a person. 

Article Fifteen
Covenant Membership

Section 1. Qualifications
Membership of this local assembly consists fo those who have: 

  1. Professed faith in Jesus Christ and decided to become His disciple
  2. Signed the Covenant Membership Commitment as set forth herein
  3. Been baptized in water following their decision to choose Christ
  4. Demonstrate a willingness to be governed by the church and it's leaders. 

Section 2. Covenant Membership Commitment
The following represents the Covenant Membership Commitment Form and each new member shall sign and date their commitment by signing the form that follows: 

Section 3: Covenant Membership Commitment Form
To be a member of a church is to make a public promise to live according to scripture and to support the work of the congregation. At Gateway, membership happens within the idea of covenant. In Scripture of covenant, or public promise, was the basis for all society including marriage, employment and citizenship. A covenant implies a meaningful, accountable relationship. In the Scriptures, covenant meant an agreement that lasted for life. At Gateway we're attempting to use this meaningful term while recognizing that membership at a local church is often not for life. 

The apostle Paul says that in Christ's body, "each member belongs to all the others" (Romans 12:5). Membership is a church is not like membership in a social club or other organizations. Most organization members are consumers; the organization exists to serve them The Church of Christ is a completely different community. Covenant membership means ministry and service, going from being a consumer to becoming a provider of God's love and care to others. 

Covenant membership at Gateway is not so much about signing on a dotted line of beliefs, but rather joining a family that is seeking to share Christ with the world and with each other. The Gateway Membership Covenant is a stated commitment that we are living in community together and seeking to embody the values of our church in active expression of love and service. 

Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and been baptized in water, and being in agreement with The Gateway Church's vision, values, beliefs, and structure, I covenant to embody our shared values and together join God in the renewal of all things. 

__________________________________
(Signature)

__________________________________
(Print Name)

__________________________________
(Date)

 

Section 4. Procedure
Individuals interested in becoming Covenant Members must: 

  1. Complete an application
  2. Attend required classes
  3. Complete a Covenant Membership interview with designated leaders and/or staff
  4. Sign the Covenant Membership Commitment Form

Once these steps have been completed, the names of prospective Covenant Members shall be presented to The Gateway Church BOS for affirmation. All persons who meet the qualifications shall be received into Covenant Membership. 

Section 5. Covenant Membership Meetings
An annual Covenant Membership Meeting will be held no later than March 30th. Special Covenant Membership Meetings may be called by the Lead Pastor or by the BOS with the affirmation of the Overseers. 

Section 6. Notice
Any Covenant Membership Meeting must be duly called and notice given to the Active Members no less than 10 days prior to the proposed Meeting. 

Section 7. Quorum
A quorum exists when at least 20% of the active Covenant Membership are present at any duly called Covenant Membership meeting. 

Section 8. Rights and Responsibilities
Covenant Membership is calling to function actively as a committed part of this local body, rather than simply joining a club or merely affiliating with an organization. Those who are actively contributing as members also have the right and responsibility to: 

  1. Affirm prayerfully or provide caution regarding the Board candidates presented to them by the Board Selection Team. 
  2. Participate prayerfully in the decision-making process regarding the filling of the vacancy of the Lead Pastor, as well as any large fiscal decision as described in the fiscal definitions portion of these Bylaws. 
  3. Continually protect the unity of the Spirit and maintain the bond of peace. 
  4. Serve in Leadership. Only Active Covenant Members are eligible to serve on the BOS, as elders, or in other leadership functions of the church. 

Section 9. Categories: Active and Inactive

(Paragraph 1) Active Covenant Membership
Shall be open to anyone thirteen years or older who meets the qualifications for Covenant Membership as stated by these Bylaws. Active members are those who have signed and are actively seeking to fulfill the actions stated in the Covenant Membership Commitment. 

(Paragraph 2) Inactive members
Shall consist of Covenant Members who have ceased to act in accordance with the Covenant Membership Commitment: 

  1. By being absent from church services for three consecutive months
  2. By ceasing to contribute regularly through tithes and offerings for a period of a year
  3. Or by currently being under discipline outlined in these Bylaws. 

Inactive members may still attend Covenant Membership Meetings but will have no voice in the meeting and no voting privileges until they are again placed on the active membership list by action of the BOS. 

Article Sixteen
Discipline

Section 1. Values
We believe that God has given the leadership of the church responsibility for the care and welfare both of the overall body and also for the individual soul. Our desire to provide effective shepherd-like care for both, even in moments of discipline. The purpose of discipline is to protect the church-at-large and to promote repentance in the person involved. Discipline is redemptive, corrective, and protective in nature. 

The Gateway Church reserves the right to exert discipline in matters of theological or ethical/moral indiscretion as it relates to every official church function, event, or activity endorsed by The Gateway Church, including and not limited to small group meetings, retreats, missions trips, weekend services and any other duly recognized church function. 

The Gateway Church will follow the disciplinary procedure set forth in Matthew 18:15-20: 

  1. Private personal confrontation with the Lead Pastor or designated leader of the BOS in an effort to resolve the matter privately.
  2. If the first step does not resolve the matter, then the Covenant Member shall meet with at least two members of the Elders or BOS, in an effort to resolve the matter. 
  3. If not resolve, the BOS has the right and power to terminate their Covenant Membership. 
  4. Written notice of the charges and opportunity to defend the charges shall be given to the member to be disciplined at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting with the BOS.
  5. The decision of a majority of the voting members of the BOS present at such a meeting shall be final and thus, the Covenant Member found guilty of unrepentant and continuing sin may be dismissed from Covenant Membership in the church (Matthew 18:17). However, lesser disciplinary sanctions may be imposed as appropriate, depending on the circumstances of each case. 

Section 2. Dismissed Covenant Members
May be restored to Active Covenant Membership in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 2:7-8 and Galatians 6:1-2 when their attitude and lifestyle are judged to be again in accordance with the qualifications for Covenant Membership. 

Section 3. Transfers
A letter of transfer will be granted by request to those active Covenant Members who desire to be transferred to another congregation. 

Article Seventeen
Biblical Resolution of Disputes

In any dispute arising between or among church leaders, pastors, or staff, the dispute may be resolved by the BOS according to the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation of the Institute for Christian Conciliation, a division of Peacemaker® Ministries (complete text of the Rules is available at www.HisPeace.org). All employees, contractors and vendors of the church shall be asked to sign policies or contracts with the Christian Dispute Resolution clause in it. A decision shall be reached after prayerful consideration, in a spirit of humility, with each Conciliator seeking that which most glorifies God and regarding one another before himself. Any claim or dispute arising between or among church leaders, pastors or staff and the church and its Covenant Membership shall be settled by mediation and, if necessary, legally binding arbitration in accordance with the Rules of Procedure for Christian Conciliation. Judgment upon an arbitration decision may be entered in any court otherwise having jurisdiction. Covenant Members, pastors and staff shall understand that these methods shall be the sole remedy for any controversy or claim arising within the church or against the church and expressly waive their right to file a lawsuit in any civil court against one another for such disputes, except to enforce an arbitration decision. In that case, judgement upon an arbitration award may be entered by any court having competent jurisdiction, in conformity with the state laws. 

Article Eighteen
Dissolution

Upon the dissolution of The Gateway Church, none of its funds or assets shall be distributed to any Pastor, Officer, Board Member, or any other individual. The BOS, after paying or making provision for the payment of all liabilities of The Gateway Church family, shall dispose of all the funds and assets of the church by conveying the same to an organization operated exclusively for religious purposes with tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

Article Nineteen
Fiscal Definitions

Section 1. General
The Gateway Church, through its BOS, shall create and maintain such departments and sub-organizations as may be necessary and advisable for the extension of its financial work. All such departments and organizations shall be subordinate to The Gateway Church and shall contribute to the harmony and development of the whole. They shall be under the general supervision of the Lead Pastor and BOS. All significant contracts should be reviewed by a competent attorney and the BOS prior to the signing. 

Section 2. Budget & Audits
The Lead Pastor shall prepare and present, and the BOS shall approve annually a unified budget for the Church. Said unified budget shall include all monies received or expended by or for any and all departments of The Gateway Church family. The BOS shall conduct and arrange for an annual financial review or audit of a type and nature they deem appropriate. 

Section 3. Property
All property of The Gateway Church shall be deeded to The Gateway Church and held in it's incorporated name. No property valued at more than 20% of the previous year's disbursements shall be sold, leased, mortgaged or otherwise disposed of without being presented to the Covenant Membership at a duly called meeting and approved by at least 2/3 of the members present at the Covenant Membership Meeting. 

Article Twenty
Order

In order to facilitate the conduct of business in an orderly and satisfactory manner, then Covenant membership Meetings shall be governed by the accepted rules of Parliamentary Procedure in keeping with the spirit of Christian love and fellowship. 

Article Twenty One
Admendments

These Bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the Covenant Membership of The Gateway Church who are present and voting at a duly called regular or special Covenant Membership Meeting.