These are the bylaws of Restoration Church of Christ. This document is a guiding document for the internal governance of the congregation, both spiritually and as a not-for-profit corporation.
Last updated 28 July 2022
Article I - Polity, Beliefs, and Practices
1.1 Congregational Autonomy
This congregation recognizes a single authority, that of the one true and living God Most High. This congregation is not subject to any ecclesiastical hierarchy, but is entirely autonomous. This congregation does not accept any doctrine, creed, or canon of scripture as authoritative for all its members, but recognizes the ordination to priesthood of all Christians, and the individual revelation of the Holy Spirit.
1.2 Recognition of Scripture
This congregation recognizes as scripture those texts considered scripture by Jesus, works which can be reliably considered original teachings of Jesus, or which can be reliably attributed to original Apostolic authorship. Such works are considered inspired by and bear witness to the infallible Word of God. The extent to which the Bible is considered to fulfill these requirements is a matter of individual faith.
1.3 Statement of Belief
This congregation comes to understand the will of God by the teaching of his son, Jesus, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. All matters of doctrine are considered to be between each individual and God alone. For this reason, no human tradition is recognized as comprising a doctrine for universal acceptance.
Article II - Congregational Fellowship
2.1 Community Space
This congregation is a community space for all people to pursue the leading of the Holy Spirit, to experience God's sanctifying purpose, to be inspired by the teachings of Jesus and of the scriptures. The congregation is a safe place for spiritual exploration, and its purpose is to encourage and facilitate its members to creatively explore their faith.
2.2 Inclusive Fellowship
This congregation is proud to celebrate the diversity of its fellowship and welcomes all people regardless of age, race, color, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or veteran status.
2.3 Ensuring the Safety of Fellowship
No person may be turned away from fellowship except in exceptional cases where the safety of the congregation is endangered, or the mission of the congregation is put in jeopardy, or the peaceful assembly of the congregation is made impossible. Only in such dire of circumstances may the Elders turn someone away from fellowship with the congregation.
2.4 Policy on Abuse
Any leader within the congregation, including any member of the Board of Directors, and any staff shall report any suspicion or witness of abuse of children, elders, or dependent persons in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws. Report by telephone or in person must be made to the local police or Child Protective Services within 24 hours followed by a written report within 48 hours.
2.5 Policy on Sexual Harassment and Misconduct
Accusations of sexual harassment and misconduct which falls short of criminal abuse will be discreetly investigated by the Elders. Written statements may be taken as part of this investigation. If an Elder is accused of sexual misconduct, that Elder must be excused from involvement in the investigation and decision-making in the case. Following their investigation, the Elders will decide if the accusation has merit and will discipline the accused as they see fit. The Elders may require the accused to be removed from an office within the congregation or terminate employment of staff, may censure the accused or place restrictions on activities within the congregation, the Elders may even terminate the membership of the accused and bar them from fellowship with the congregation.
Article III - Membership
3.1 Inclusive Membership
This congregation welcomes into its membership all persons who choose this congregation's ministry as their own and intend to actively participate in, and contribute to, the life of the congregation. Any person may request membership in the congregation and will not be turned away. No person may be barred from membership on the basis of any status including age, race, color, religion, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or veteran status.
3.2 Termination of Membership
Membership with the congregation may be terminated at any time by the member, by the congregation's Elders, or automatically after non-participation in any activities of the congregation for fifty-two consecutive weeks. Termination of membership does not exclude a person from fellowship with the congregation, they are as welcome as any other non-member, and are welcome to renew their membership at any time.
Article IV – Leadership
4.1 Definition of Leaders
Leaders of the congregation include its Pastor, Elders, and Deacons.
4.2 Qualifications for Leaders
Anyone in the role of Pastor, Elder, or Deacon must be qualified for leadership. A person is considered qualified for leadership if they meet all of the following criteria.
They must be an adult (18 or older).
They must have completed a High School level of education. While not required for a Deacon, an Elder, Pastor, or staff Preacher must also have completed some form of religious education resulting in a degree or certificate.
4.2.3 Good Character
Leaders of the congregation must be of good moral character. In this they must be tested and proved. They must be temperate, modest, self-controlled, gentle, sincere, and trustworthy. They must be above reproach and of good reputation both inside and outside of the congregation. They must be given to hospitality, able to teach, and they must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must not be given to drunkenness, not greedy, not violent, not a brawler, not covetous, and not a gossip. They must abhor dishonest gain.
4.3.1 Creation of the Interim Role of the Pastor
In the event of low membership (fewer than 50 members) and/or a lack of qualified leadership, the congregation may be led by a single individual, designated the Pastor.
4.3.2 Role of the Pastor
The Pastor's primary duty shall be to grow the membership of the congregation and the Pastor's secondary concern should be to elect Elders from the congregation's membership. The Pastor shall be given the authority to fill the roles of President and Vice President with a member or members serving as Secretary and Treasurer until such time as there are three Elders and three Deacons in number.
4.3.3 Dissolution of the Role of Pastor
Once the requisite number of Elders and Deacons has been reached, the office of Pastor shall be dissolved and the Deacons shall take up the roles of Secretary and Treasurer previously held by members at the conclusion of the next regular or special meeting of the Board of Directors. Should the Pastor wish to remain as an Elder or Deacon, the Pastor shall not be excluded from the selection process and may be elected to the final position of Elder or appointed by the Elders as a Deacon.
4.4.1 Role of the Elders
The Elders guide and support the congregation's members in their spiritual growth, teach from the scriptures, and assist in resolving disputes between members.
4.4.2 Number of Elders
The Elders shall be at least three in number. They may decide to open a vacancy by adding to their number or remove a vacancy by reducing their number, so long as their number is not reduced below three.
4.4.3 Election of Elders
Elders are elected from the members of the congregation. After a vacancy has been announced, the Elders shall choose a number of members to be considered for election and any member of the congregation may submit their name for the election as well. The election of a new Elder shall be held in the regular meeting, on the nearest Sunday to forty days after the announcement of the vacancy. Every member in attendance shall receive one vote, and the candidate which receives the most votes shall be interviewed by the Elders and considered for appointment. If confirmed by the Elders, the elected candidate shall be appointed as an Elder. If the candidate is not confirmed by the Elders, the vacancy will be announced and another election shall be held on the nearest Sunday to forty days after the announcement.
4.4.4 Term of Service
An Elder's term ends when the Elder chooses to retire, or is deemed unfit to serve by a majority vote of the Elders, or at the end of the Elder's lifetime.
4.5.1 Role of the Deacons
The Deacons are appointed by the Elders to see to the legal, business, and humanitarian needs of the congregation.
4.5.2 Number of Deacons
The Deacons shall be at least three in number. The Elders may decide to appoint more or fewer Deacons, so long as there are always at least three Deacons.
4.5.3 Term of Service
A Deacon's term of service ends when the Deacon chooses to retire, or is deemed unfit to serve by a majority vote of the Elders, or at the end of the Deacon's lifetime. No person may be both an Elder and a Deacon at the same time.
Article V - Civil Structure
5.1 Offices of the Corporation
The civil officers of the corporation shall be a President, Vice‐President, Secretary, Treasurer, and may include other offices as the corporation shall establish. The President may alternatively be referred to as the Chief Executive Officer. The Treasurer may alternatively be referred to as the Chief Financial Officer.
5.2 Corporate Offices Filled by Elders and Deacons
The corporate offices of President and Vice President must be filled by the currently serving Elders, so long as there are Elders of the congregation. The corporate offices of Secretary and Treasurer must be filled by the currently serving Deacons so long as there are Deacons of the congregation. In the absence of Elders and/or Deacons, these roles may each be held by any member of the congregation with the limitation that the President and Vice President may not also be Treasurer or Secretary.
5.3 President and Vice President are Elders
The Elders may choose who among them shall fill the roles of President and Vice President. The President and Vice President shall serve a term of one year, from the end of the annual meeting of the Board of Directors to the end of the next annual meeting of the Board of Directors.
5.4 Secretary and Treasurer are Deacons
The Deacons may choose who among them shall fill the roles of Secretary and Treasurer. The Secretary and Treasurer shall serve a term of one year, from the end of the annual meeting of the Board of Directors to the end of the next annual meeting of the Board of Directors.
5.5 Term of Office
The officers of the corporation shall hold offices until their successors are duly elected and qualified.
5.6 Establishment of the Board of Directors
Collectively, the Pastor, the Elders and Deacons, as well as those serving in the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, shall comprise the Board of Directors.
5.7 Powers of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors shall have the power to exercise all powers necessary for the operation of the corporation, expressed or implied, which shall be necessary and proper to carry out all the executive functions, and all other powers as it may determine. The Board of Directors may adopt such rules of procedure and regulations governing the conduct of its business and the organization of the corporation as they may deem necessary, proper and expedient. There can be no appeal from the decisions and determinations of the Board of Directors.
5.8 Role of the President and Vice President
The President shall preside at all meetings and shall make an annual report to the status and condition of the corporation to this Board of Directors. The President shall sign all certificates, contracts, deeds and other instruments of the corporation. During the absence or disability of the President, the Vice‐President shall exercise all the powers and discharge all the duties of the President.
5.9 Role of the Secretary
The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings: shall have charge of the seal and corporate books and shall make such reports and reform such duties as are required of the office by the corporation, and shall sign all certificates, contracts, deeds and other instruments of the corporation.
5.10 Role of the Treasurer
The Treasurer shall have custody of all monies and securities of the corporation and shall keep regular books of account. The Treasurer shall disburse the funds of the corporation in payment of the just demands against the corporation or as may be required. The Treasurer shall make an accounting of all transactions as Treasurer and of the financial condition of the corporation. For the purposes of this reporting, the accounting year shall be the calendar year.
5.11 Frequency of Meetings of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors shall meet at least once each year, either in person or electronically, but special meetings may be called if and when the same may become necessary.
5.12 Time of the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors
The annual meeting of the Board of Directors shall be held on Pentecost Sunday of each year. At that meeting, a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be appointed to serve until the end of the next annual meeting.
5.13 Special Meetings
Special meetings may be called by the Board of Directors as they deem necessary. Notices for the calling of such special meetings shall be given to all board members in writing with seven days prior written notice.
5.14 Modification of the Bylaws by the Board of Directors
The provisions of the Bylaws may be modified, altered, or amended by two‐thirds majority vote of the Board of Directors at a regular or special meeting. As soon as the proposed amendments have been adopted as herein provided, results of the vote shall be announced by the President and declared adopted by the Secretary, whereupon such amendments shall be in full force of effect.
5.15 Articles of Incorporation
The statements of the Articles of Incorporation, filed with the California Secretary of State, shall be given equal weight of force as these bylaws. The Articles of Incorporation shall be reviewed by the Board of Directors anytime the bylaws are reviewed. The Articles of Incorporation may be amended by two‐thirds majority vote of the Board of Directors at any meeting in which the bylaws are being reviewed. As soon as the proposed amendments have been adopted as herein provided, the amendment to the Articles of Incorporation will be filed by the Secretary with the California Secretary of State, and the President will announce the changes in the next regular meeting of the congregation, whereupon such amendments shall be in full force of effect.
5.16 Affiliated Transactions
No contract or other transaction between the congregation and an Interested Person (as defined below), including the sale, lease or exchange of property to or from an Interested Person, the lending or borrowing of monies to or from an Interested Person by the congregation or the payment of compensation by the Church for services provided by an Interested Person, is void or voidable merely because of the relationship or interest between the congregation and the Interested Person or because an Interested Person is present at the meeting of the Board of Directors or a committee thereof which authorizes, approves or ratifies the transaction or because his, her, or their votes are counted for that purpose if: the fact of the relationship or interest is disclosed or known to the Board of Directors or committee which authorizes, approves or ratifies the contract or transaction by a vote or consent sufficient for that purpose without counting the votes or consents of an Interested Person(s); or the contract or transaction is fair and reasonable to the congregation at the time the contract or transaction is authorized, approved or ratified in light of circumstances known to those entitled to vote at that time. Any person seeking to establish that a contract or transaction is void or voidable must first prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they do not constitute an Interested Person as defined in this article.
5.16.1 Definition of an Interested Person
The term “Interested Person” means: participants in congregational fellowship, members of the congregation, members of the Board of Directors, employees, agents, volunteers, or a company (corporation, LLC, association, etc.) in which one or more of the foregoing is a Director, officer or member or owns more than 10% of the equity therein or who stands to receive a material financial benefit from the transaction.
Articles of Incorporation
In order to operate as a 501(c)(3) religious not-for-profit corporation (aka. a church), we have established the following in our Articles of Incorporation.
Restoration Church of Christ is a religious corporation, dedicated to exclusively religious purposes within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).
It is not organized for the private gain of any individual.
The specific purpose of this corporation is to be the kind of church congregation envisioned and described by Christ Jesus and established by the Apostles in the New Testament of the Bible.
No substantial part of the activities of this corporation shall consist of carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and this corporation shall not participate or intervene in any political campaign (including the publishing or distribution of statements) on behalf of any candidate for public office.
The property of this corporation is irrevocably dedicated to religious purposes and no part of the net income or assets of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any private person.
Upon the dissolution or winding up of this corporation, its assets remaining after payment, or provision for payment, of all debts and liabilities of this corporation shall be distributed to another 501(c)(3) corporation.