CENTRAL BIBLE FELLOWSHIP CONSTITUTION AND BYLAWS
This Constitution and Bylaws are made to:
- Preserve and secure the principles of our faith.
- Preserve the liberties of each individual member of the voluntary community organization.
- Ensure freedom of action of independence from any religious body or organization.
- Provide for orderly conduct of internal affairs, in dealing with others, and of governing members of the volunteer community organization.
ARTICLE I. Name
The name of this unincorporated Volunteer Community Organization is Central Bible Fellowship. It will further be referred to as “CBF.” It shall be non-denominational, and independent from any ecclesial governing body outside of the elders/pastors of CBF.
ARTICLE II. Business Location
The address of the principal office of this Church is: 205 S. 8th Street, #238 Fort Dodge, IA 50501.
CBF shall have full power and authority to change the principle office from one location to another.
ARTICLE III. Commission and Purpose
CBF shall be an unincorporated Volunteer Community Organization commissioned and appointed for the faithful ministry of the word of God, for the equipping of saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body, for the glory of God.
CBF shall be a fellowship of the body of Christ existing for the glory of God and fulfilling the Biblical commission of equipping the saints for service by the exegetical line by line teaching of the Bible.
The purposes of CBF are to promote:
- The study of God’s word.
- The doing of God’s word.
- The sharing of God’s word.
ARTICLE IV. Articles of Faith
Inspiration and Authority
The Bible in the original autographs is the verbally inspired (God-breathed) Word of God, inerrant, infallible, and the final authority for faith and life. We believe the written content of the Bible was revealed by God in order to unveil Himself and His eternal plan to mankind, and points to the Lord Jesus Christ and the only way of Salvation through Him, to the praise of His glory. The Scriptures are to be understood through the literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic, as modeled in Genesis 1-12. [Genesis 1-12; Mark 12:26, 36; 13:11; Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 1:16; 17:2-3; 18:28; 26:22-23; 28:23; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 10:11; Ephesians 1; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21]
The canon of Scripture is a closed collection of all and only those writings inspired by God. The 39 books of the Old Testament (or the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh) and the 27 books of the Greek New Testament comprise the whole canon of Scripture. Because Scripture affirms it is God’s only written revelation to men, it is the sole authoritative source of infallible guidance for faith and practice. The apocryphal books are not canonical. [Matthew 5:17–18; 2 Timothy 3:16; Jude 3; Revelation 22:18–22]
Scripture states that it is able to equip believers for every good work, and that God has given to believers all things that pertain to life and godliness through the body of knowledge wherein God’s great and precious promises are recorded. Consequently, the Bible is authoritative and sufficient to prepare believers for life in Christ. [2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Peter 1:3–11]
There are clear indications throughout Scripture that the literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic is the normative method of interpretation. Consequently, understanding the Bible requires (1) close observation of its grammatical and historical components, (2) recognition of but one sense or meaning for each passage of Scripture, (3) recognition of the use of poetry, figures of speech, illustrations, and symbols, in their contexts, and (4) an acknowledgement of the progress of revelation (that the New Testament is to be understood through the lens of the Old Testament, as the Holy Spirit revealed truths in a progressive fashion throughout Biblical history). [Luke 1:1-4; 24:35; 44-46, 48; John 21:20-23; Acts 10:8; 17:11-12; 26:6-7; 26-27]
The one Triune God exists in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are supremely holy, eternal in being, equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. [Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8; Deuteronomy 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14]
GOD THE FATHER
The Father is the first Person of the one, Triune God – a self-existent being, who shares essential unity with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and who possesses the same attributes of holiness, omniscience, omnipotence, love, truth, righteousness, and goodness. [Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8; 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 5:46; 6:26; 7:28; 14:9–10; 15:9; 17:11, 25; Matthew 6:8, 32; Ephesians 3:20; James 1:17]
The Father receives worship and is the One to whom human beings relate through Christ, having sent Jesus Christ and together with Christ sent the Holy Spirit to the earth (John 4:23; 8:42; 14:6, 26). The Father resurrects the dead, and that heaven belongs to Him (John 5:21; 14:2; Romans 6:4). He controls the timeline for eschatological events (Acts 1:6–7). He draws the elect to Christ, having chosen them before the foundation of the world (John 6:44; Ephesians 1:3). He predestines believers to adoption as sons and preserves them in their relationship to God (John 17:11; Ephesians 1:5). The Father is to be the focal point for believers in their Christian lives and in their fellowship (Romans 6:11; 1 John 1:3). He cares for them, comforts them, hears and answers their prayers, honors believers that serve Jesus Christ, leads them, and gives them gifts. [John 12:26; 15:1; 16:23; Romans 6:11; 2 Corinthians 1:3–4; 1 Thessalonians 3:11; James 1:17; 1 John 1:3]
The Lord Jesus Christ, eternally God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men (Luke 1:35; John 1:1, 2, 14). The Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; and our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. [Romans 3:24–25; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:3–5; 2:24]
The Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate. [Acts 1:9–11; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1–2]
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is a Person, sent to earth by the Father and Son, who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, revealing Christ to men and enabling them to believe. He is the supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption, and filling believers as they submit to His word. [John 16:8–13; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:12–14; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13–14, 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27]
CREATION AND MAN
The book of Genesis presents a historically accurate account of creation, of the origin of mankind, the fall of Adam and Eve – and consequently the entire human race, the worldwide flood, the call of Abraham, and the origin of God’s chosen people, Israel. Humanity was created in the image and likeness of God, but when Adam sinned the human race fell and became alienated from God. Consequently, humanity is utterly unable in its own power to remedy that lost condition. [Genesis 1:26–27; 5:2; Psalm 51; Romans 3:22–23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1–3, 12]
Satan was created as an angel, he sinned, and he tempted Eve to sin. He is the devil – the accuser, who roams about seeking to devour. He is the father of lies, the great dragon, the serpent of old. His works were defeated by Christ on the cross, and Satan will one day be cast into the lake of fire. [Genesis 3:1–4, 14–15; Job 1:6–7; Ezekiel 28:12–19; Matthew 4:2–11; 1 John 3:8; Revelation 12:9, 20:11]
Salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by belief in Jesus the Christ, who died to pay for the forgiveness of sins, who was buried, and who was raised from the dead. The believing one in Christ has eternal life. [John 6:47; 1 Corinthians 15:1–5; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8–10; 1 Peter 1:18–19]
THE ETERNAL SECURITY AND ASSURANCE OF BELIEVERS
It is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their certain salvation through the testimony of God’s word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. [Romans 13:13–14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11–15: 1 John 5:10–13]
THE TWO NATURES OF THE BELIEVER
The regenerated person retains the corrupt, sinful, depraved nature, but at the moment of salvation also becomes a partaker of the divine nature, capable of pleasing God through the ministries of the indwelling Holy Spirit. [Romans 6:13; 8:12–13; Galatians 5:16–25; Ephesians 4:22–24; Colossians 3:9–10; 1 Peter 1:14–16; 1 John 3:5–9]
THE CHURCH, MINISTRY, AND SPIRITUAL GIFTS
God is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts. Apostles and prophets were given as foundational to the church, and evangelists, and pastor-teachers are given to the church for the equipping of the saints today. For the purpose of ministry to others, each believer has a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, such as the gifts of ministry, helps, leadership, administration, exhortation, giving, mercy, and teaching. The gifts of prophecy, speaking in tongues, and the working of sign miracles ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established. [Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 2:20, 4:7–12; 1 Peter 4:10]
Plurality of male leadership (elders/pastors/overseers) under the singular headship of Christ is the Biblical model of government for the otherwise autonomous local church. [Acts 13:1–4; 20:28; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16; 5:4–7; 1 Peter 5:1–4]
Water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are scriptural means of testimony for the church today. [Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 2:41–42; 18:8; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26]
EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP
It is the obligation of the saved to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture, to proclaim the Gospel, and to be about the ministry of making disciples. [Matthew 28:19–20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:19–20; 2 Timothy 2:2]
THE RAPTURE, SECOND COMING, TRIBULATION, AND MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
Our blessed hope is the personal, imminent, pretribulational coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the air for His church; and in His subsequent premillennial return with His saints to the earth after the tribulation, to establish His Millennial Kingdom – which will begin only after His second advent. [Zechariah 14:4–11; John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13–18; 5:9; Revelation 19:11–16; 20:1–6]
THE ETERNAL STATE
All humanity will experience bodily resurrection: the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. The spirits of the saved are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where they consciously await the first resurrection, when spirit and body are reunited in order to be glorified forever with the Lord. The spirits of the unsaved are, at death, absent from the body and from fellowship with the Lord as they consciously await judgment at the white throne, and the eternal consequence of the second death, the lake of fire. [Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:47–48; Luke 23:43; John 5:28–29; 11:25–26; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 3:32; 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17; Revelation 20:4–6, 14–15, 22:12]
ARTICLE V. Government
The government of CBF is vested in its elders, who are also its pastors, and who are the Directors of the Volunteer Community Organization.
As soon as its maturity allows, CBF shall be governed by a plurality of elders/pastors. There shall be no provision or increased authority for a lead or senior pastor, as the elders shall collectively operate as the pastors in the Organization. At the discretion of the elder board, financial consideration may be made for one or more elders/pastors who are able to dedicate significant time to the teaching ministry.
The elder board shall consist of a minimum of three elders/pastors. Elder terms shall continue at the discretion of the elder board. Quorum for conducting business shall be two-thirds of the elder board. Decisions shall be made by simple majority vote, except for constitutional amendments and doctrinal statement alterations, which must be unanimous. The elder board shall meet quarterly, at minimum, and keep record of all meeting minutes. The elder board shall, as appropriate, appoint deacons to attend to the physical needs of CBF.
ARTICLE VI. Liquidation
Any property of CBF is irrevocably dedicated to educational purposes, and no part of the net income or assets of this organization shall ever inure to the benefit of a Director, officer or member of the CBF.
In the event of liquidation or dissolution of this CBF, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the Organization, all of its assets and property of every nature and description whatsoever shall be paid over and transferred at the direction of the elders/pastors to an educational organization that is compatible with the mission and statement of faith of CBF.
ARTICLE VII. Amendment
Amendments to this Constitution and Bylaws shall be by unanimous vote of the elders/pastors who are present at a business meeting with a quorum to discuss and vote for this matter.
Assignment, Rights and Duties of Membership
CBF is a local fellowship of the body of Christ, and an unincorporated Volunteer Community Organization, as such there shall be no formal membership, nor membership requirements other than profession of faith and the right to freely associate with persons of like faith. Membership shall be defined as a Right to Associate and shall be demonstrable by such activities as regular attendance, water baptism, participation in the Lord’s Supper, and edifying service and ministry. Persons making a profession of faith and engaging in such activities at CBF will be accountable, as members of the body of Christ, to the Biblical authority of the elder board. It shall be the duty of local members to uphold the Articles of Faith, Constitution and Bylaws of CBF.
Termination of the Right to Associate (membership)
In that CBF will hold no formal membership records, termination will be a matter of revoking the right to continue to associate with this local gathering of the body of Christ. Revocation of this freedom of association will be handled applying principles described in Matthew 18:15-17 and Titus 3:10-11. In such cases of revocation the individual will have relinquished their freedom to assemble with this local gathering.
Restoration of the Right to Associate (membership)
A person’s right to associate with this local gathering of the body of Christ (CBF) shall be restored by the unanimous agreement of the elder board and when appropriate, the affirmation of the church body, in application of 2 Corinthians 2:7-8.
Officers and Offices
All officers must be members of CBF in good standing.
Elders and Pastors
The qualifications for elders/pastors shall be consistent with those listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Training, skills, and experiences are needed in this area of leadership.
When an elder/pastor vacancy occurs, the elder board shall meet to discuss and nominate candidates. The duties, qualifications, and importance of the office of an elder/pastor will be interpreted to the candidates and be reviewed by the elder board prior to the appointment of any new elders/pastors.
The elder board shall vote by simple majority to appoint (ordain) elders/pastors.
Newly appointed elders/pastors shall be presented to CBF for acknowledgment and prayer.
These generally fall into the following areas: Teaching (believers), preaching (unbelievers), pastoral counseling, administration, planning, and guiding CBF to grow and fulfill its purposes.
Elders/Pastors shall collectively, as the elder board, lead CBF and all leaders of the Church in performing their tasks.
Elders/Pastors shall collectively, as the elder board, choose and appoint elders/pastors whenever a vacancy occurs or as there is need for an additional elder/pastor.
Elders/Pastors shall hold trust the property of CBF.
Elders/Pastors shall have authority to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property of CBF.
It shall be the function of Elders/Pastors to sign any, and all legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or lease of CBF property or any other legal documents requiring signature for and in behalf of CBF.
Elders/Pastors shall be the Directors of the Organization.
Terms of Service:
Elders/pastors shall serve until the relationship is terminated by the elder board. At least a thirty (30) day notice shall be given unless otherwise mutually agreed, or if the elder/pastor being terminated is no longer qualified to serve as an elder/pastor.
If there are financial remunerations for an elder/pastor, there shall be a written mutual contract/agreement made between that elder/pastor and CBF.
Number, term of office:
If possible, there shall be five (5) deacons for the first 100 resident members and one (1) for each additional fifty (50) of portion thereof. Deacons shall be appointed for a term of service of three years or longer term of service as determined by the elder board.
(a) A deacon must meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
When a deacon vacancy occurs, the elder board shall meet to discuss and nominate candidates. The duties, qualifications, and importance of the office of a deacon will be interpreted to the candidates and be reviewed by the elder board prior to the appointment of any new deacons.
The elder board shall vote by simple majority to appoint deacons.
The appointed deacon shall be presented to CBF for acknowledgment and prayer.
Appointed deacons shall assist elders/pastors in meeting the physical needs of CBF as directed.
Appointed deacons shall assist elders/pastors in administering the Lord’s Supper, and other ceremonial aspects.
The Secretary, shall be appointed by the elder board and be responsible for keeping an accurate record of all business meeting transactions of CBF and preparing the annual report for the elder board.
The Secretary shall prepare and issue written reports and communication representing the elder board.
The church treasurer, or Chief Financial Officer of CBF, shall be appointed as the custodian of all moneys of CBF and shall disburse these moneys by checks as authorized by the elder board.
The church treasurer, or Chief Financial Officer of CBF shall keep, at all times, an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements and shall render a monthly and annually written report of this account to the elder board.
The treasurer’s report shall be audited annually by an auditing committee as appointed by the elder board.
Corporate Gatherings: CBF shall meet regularly each week for worship, including the teaching and proclamation of God’s word, and fellowship.
Special Business Meeting:A special called business meeting may be called by the elder board to consider special matters of significant nature. A one-week written notice or announcement must be given for the especially called business meeting.
Quorum: As the membership of CBF is not involved in voting (except for restoration from church discipline) or electing, there is no need for a quorum of membership at any special business meetings.
Should any unhappy difference arise among members, the aggrieved member shall follow in a tender spirit, the pattern presented by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17.
Should any unhappy difference remain unresolved, the elder board shall endeavor to resolve the conflict; and if this effort fails, shall report the case to the Church.
All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance, but should an adverse decision be reached, CBF may proceed to admonish or declare the offender to be no longer free to associate with CBF.
Affirmation of Adoption of Constitution and Bylaws
The undersigned, certifies to be the initial Director of CBF, and as such affirm the above Constitution and Bylaws of Central Bible Fellowship as an unincorporated Volunteer Community Organization, founded April 19, 2023 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.