Constitution And By-Laws
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd
THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
GREENVILLE SOUTH CAROLINA
The Constitution and By-laws contained herein were adopted by this congregation
on December 10, 2006 and supersede all documents of similar nature previous to this date.
As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, and out of love and respect for one another, we, the members of the EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD, Greenville, South Carolina, accept and subscribe to the following Constitution and By-laws. They shall administer and govern the corporate life of this congregation in truth and light.
The name of this congregation shall be THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD (Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd), Greenville, South Carolina.
- Mission and Ministry Statement
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd: a forgiving, spiritually growing, liturgically celebrating, mission motivated, and serving community.
We, the children of God at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd believe:
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son to die for us and our salvation.
Therefore, through the power of the Holy Spirit we will share Gods love and gifts for us by:
The joy of His love through worship and praise as a congregation, families and individuals.
By following Christ’s example in reaching out to others with His love and message of Salvation.
Gods people in all their needs.
Through providing opportunities for spiritual growth.
Through involving and energizing Gods people to manage and use his gifts of time, talents, resources and creation.
Through sharing our faith and love, and caring for each other.
So that, through the Holy Spirit ALL may come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and grow in His love and service.
- CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT
This congregation acknowledges and accepts:
- All the canonical books of the Old and New Testament as inspired Word of God.
- All the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, contained in the Book of Concord of 1580 AD as a true exposition of the Holy Scriptures.
- The three Ecumenical Creeds (Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian)
- The Unaltered Augsburg Confession
- The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
- The Smalcald Articles
- The Large Catechism of Luther
- The Small Catechism of Luther
- The Formula of Concord
- SYNODICAL AFFILIATION
This congregation shall be a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, so long as the confessions and constitution of said Synod are in accord with the confession and constitution of this congregation.
- The following are welcome as members in this congregation:
- Baptized Members
All those who are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and who are under the spiritual care of the pastor of this congregation, including children who have not yet been confirmed.
- Communicant Members
Communicant members are those baptized members who have been in the Lutheran faith, accept the confessional standard of this constitution, are familiar with the contents of Luther’s Small Catechism, and are not members of organizations whose principles and conduct conflict with the Word of God.
- Voting Members
All communicant members who have accepted the Constitution and by-laws of this congregation. In legal matters the voting age is 18 years.
Baptized and communicant members are received through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, through the consent of one or both parents in the case of children who have been baptized in another Christian congregation, through the rite of confirmation, through transfer from a sister congregation, or through profession of faith or reaffirmation of faith. The reception shall be approved by the voters meeting. Eligible communicant members may be received as voting members upon application for such privilege, upon approval by the voters meeting, and upon approving the constitution.
Members of the congregation shall conform their entire lives to the rule of God’s Word and to that end make diligent use of the means of grace, exercise faithful stewardship of God’s many gifts and talents, impart and accept fraternal admonition as the need of such admonition becomes apparent, and be readily available for service in the kingdom of Christ within and beyond the congregation.
- Membership shall be terminated by transfer to a sister congregation, by death, by joining a congregation outside the fellowship of this congregation, by excommunication, or by self-exclusion (by not partaking in the Lord’s Supper and hearing God’s word for at least one year). In cases of excommunication or self-exclusion, each case shall be presented individually to the voters meeting for a decision.
- Communicant members who conduct themselves in an un-Christian manner shall be admonished according to Matthew 18:15-20. If they remain impenitent after proper admonition, they shall be excommunicated. In all disciplinary cases, the congregation will follow its stated and adopted guidelines.
- AUTHORITY IN THE CONGREGATION
- The voters meeting shall be the governing body and shall administer all congregational affairs within the confessional statement as outlined in this constitution. Directions regarding the work of the congregation will be set at meetings of the voters. The elected officers and boards are charged with carrying out congregational policy as determined by the constitution, bylaws and the voters meeting.
- Matters brought before the voters meeting shall be decided by a majority vote unless otherwise specified by this constitution or bylaws.
- The right of calling ordained and commissioned ministers shall be vested in the voters meeting and shall never be delegated to a smaller body or individual.
- Any officer, teacher, or pastor may be removed from office by a 2/3 majority vote of the voters meeting in Christian and lawful order, for one of the following reasons: persistent adherence to false teachings contrary to the Confessional Statement of the congregation, scandalous life, inability to perform, or willful neglect of responsibilities.
- This action shall be taken only after the individual has been advised of the charges preferred against him or her and given the opportunity to answer such charges.
- The Circuit Counselor and District President shall have full knowledge of removal procedures when they are preferred against an ordained or commissioned minister, and all such actions shall be taken in full consultation with said officials.
- OFFICERS AND BOARDS
This congregation shall have the following officers and boards.
- A President
- A Vice-President
- A Recording Secretary
- A Financial Secretary
- A Treasurer
- A Superintendent of Christian Education
- A Board of Elders
- A Board of Trustees
- A Board of Finance
- The voters meeting may establish and elect other officers and boards to carry out specific functions. The terms of these positions must be renewed annually by the voters.
- PROPERTY RIGHTS OF THE CONGREGATION
All property of this congregation shall be entrusted to its voters, who shall administer the same in the name and according to the instructions of this congregation. If at any time a separation shall take place in this congregation, the property of the congregation and all benefits connected therewith shall remain with those members who continue to adhere to the Confessional Statement of this constitution.
- CALLED CHURCH WORKERS
- The pastoral office of this congregation as well as that of other ordained and commissioned ministers shall be conferred upon such ministers, teachers and candidates whose beliefs are in accord with the Confessional Statement of this constitution.
- Regular voters meetings shall be held as determined in the bylaws. Special meetings require announcement in services in the two previous Sundays or notification by mail and announcement in the services of one previous Sunday. Such special meetings may be called at the request of the Pastor, president, church council, or ten voting members.
- Twenty voting members shall constitute a quorum.
This constitution may be amended at any regular Voters meeting by a two-third-majority vote of those present. The by-laws may be amended by a simple majority of those present. In either case, the amendment must be submitted at a previous voters meeting and advertised to the entire voting membership at least two weeks in advance. The proposed amendment(s) shall be presented in the context of the complete text of the then valid constitution.
- CALLING ORDAINED AND COMMISSIONED MINISTERS
At the time of vacancy in the office of pastor or teacher the voters meeting shall notify the District President and Circuit Counselor, and shall request the suggested procedure for filling the vacancy.
- VOTERS MEETINGS
- Four regular meetings shall be held each year. These meetings shall be held on the second Sunday of February, September, and November, and the first Sunday of May.
- The President shall communicate the agenda at least one week in advance of each voters meeting.
- All reports shall be submitted in writing to the Recording Secretary at least one week in advance of each meeting.
- The suggested order of business is:
- Opening Prayer
- Approval of the minutes
- Recognition of new members
- Reports of boards and committees
- Reports of the financial secretary and treasurer
- Unfinished business
- New business
- OFFICERS AND ELECTIONS
- Term of office
- The term of office of all elected officers shall be two years. The Vice President, after having served a term of one year shall serve his or her second year as President of the congregation. Therefore each year a new Vice President will be elected.
- No officer shall succeed himself or herself more than once in the same office. He or she shall become eligible to serve again in the same position after an interim period of one year.
- Mode of Election of Officers
- Election takes place at the May voters meeting. The church council shall appoint a nominating committee consisting of the Pastor, President, and two voting members prior to the February voters meeting. The church council shall approve a single slate of candidates for all elective offices. A simple majority of votes cast shall be necessary for election.
- The Financial Secretary shall assume his or her duty on January 1 following the election. All other officers shall assume their duties on September 1, following their election.
- Duties of Officers
- The President shall
- Be the executive of the congregation.
- Preside at all meetings of the Church Council and voters meeting.
- Perform such duties as pertain to his or her offices.
- Be a non-voting member of all boards and committees.
- The Vice-President shall
- Assume the duties of the President if the President is unable to fulfill those responsibilities.
- Assist the President whenever called upon.
- Serve as the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees.
- The Recording Secretary shall
- Keep and sign the minutes of all meetings of the voters and of the Church Council and enter them in a permanent record.
- Publicize the unratified voters or council minutes at least one week before the next voters or council meeting.
- Conduct all authorized correspondence and issue all official notifications.
- Have custody of the seal, books and other documents and papers of the congregation.
- Keep a record of voting members present at all meetings and determine if a quorum is present.
- The Financial Secretary shall
- Receive all offerings, contributions, and other income of the congregation.
- Keep a complete record of the individual contribution of all members.
- Send out quarterly statements, and make weekly transfers of all monies to the Treasurer.
- The Treasurer shall
- Receive all monies from the Financial Secretary, keep a correct account of all financial transactions, and pay all bills and indebtedness as authorized by the voters meeting.
- Provide the congregation with quarterly and annual reports.
- Serve as the Chairperson of the Board of Finance.
- The Superintendent of Christian Education shall
- Conduct the Sunday school of this congregation in a Christian and orderly manner.
- Appoint the necessary teachers with the approval of the pastor.
- Work with other departments to coordinate the program of Christian education.
- THE CHURCH COUNCIL
- The President shall
- Term of office
The Church Council shall
- Consist of all elected officers, appointed officials, and the past president. The pastor is a non-voting member.
- Meet during months not scheduled for a Voters Meeting or as determined by the President and Pastor.
- Appoint two qualified voting members to serve on the Board of Finance.
- Appoint and specify the duties of other officials and committees as needed for the work of the congregation.
- Accept reports from all board Chairpersons, committees and organizations.
- Oversee all boards, committees, and organizations, and approve their new business transactions in advance.
- Act in behalf of the voters between voters meetings in accordance with the directions set by the voters meeting.
- BOARDS AND THEIR DUTIES
- All Boards shall consist of at least 3 elected members.
- The Board of Elders shall
- Elect one member to serve as chairperson.
- Assist the pastor in the spiritual care of the congregation,
- Promote of the general welfare of the congregation and Christ’s Kingdom at home and abroad.
- Encourage faithful attendance at divine services and at the Lords Supper.
- See that services are conducted regularly, even in case of pastoral absence.
- Admonish ordained and commissioned ministers in case of unfaithful performance of their duties, teachings or conduct.
- Promote evangelism and stewardship.
- The Board of Trustees shall
- Administer all property of the congregation in the name of, and as stewards of the congregation.
- Initiate repairs or maintenance without prior consent of the voters meeting in situations where there is imminent danger to the health, safety, or well being of the congregation or occupants.
- Secure and review insurance policies annually on all congregational property.
- The Board of Finance shall
- Consist of the Treasurer as Chairperson, the Financial Secretary, the Vice-President and two other voting members.
- Keep the financial affairs in good order.
- Prepare and submit the annual financial plan for adoption at the November voters meeting. The financial planning meeting will be chaired by the previous year’s Treasurer.
- Annually appoint a person or committee to perform an internal review of all financial books and submit a report at the May voters meeting.
- Legal Trustees
- The President, Vice President, and Treasurer shall be designated Legal Trustees of the congregation.
- They shall represent the congregation as the owner of the property in all legal matters.
- SAMARITAN TRUST FUND
- The purpose of the Good Samaritan Trust Fund (the fund) is to establish a vehicle for receiving money donations and for distributing such donations according to instructions (if any) of the donor.
- A committee consisting of the Pastor, the President, the chairperson of the board of elders, the chair lady of the Lutheran Woman’s Missionary League and the president of the youth group will administer the fund.
- This committee shall invest the donations in an interest bearing account with the LCMS extension fund.
- The committee shall have the sole and exclusive responsibility for distributing monies from the fund to needy persons according to the instructions (if any) from the donor or according to the judgment of the trustee.
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd (LCMS)
The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd.
All Rights Reserved.