Battle Creek Bible Church Constitution
Name and Purpose
The name of this organization shall be: Battle Creek Bible Church (formerly known as
the Gospel Center). We are committed to glorify God through the fulfillment of the Great
Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in the spirit of the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39).
The commission is fulfilled as disciples of Jesus Christ are made. God is glorified as we manifest
His presence in doing so (II Timothy 2:2; I Corinthians 10:31).
Battle Creek Bible Church recognizes four pillars as the Biblical priorities for this ministry.
- Believing in the power of prayer. (Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16)
- Proclaiming the authority of God’s Word without apology. (II Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 4:12)
- Boldly sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 9:36-38; Romans 1:16; Ephesians 6:19-20)
- Lifting high the name of Jesus Christ in worship. (Mark 12:30; John 4:23-24; John 12:32)
SECTION A. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe in the Scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament as verbally inspired by
God and inerrant in the original writing. We believe the 66 books of the Old Testament and the
New Testament are God’s complete and sufficient revelation and therefore carry God’s authority
for the total well-being of mankind (Psalm 119:97-104; Psalm 119:160; Matthew 5:18 John
5:46-47; John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:15-16).
SECTION B. GOD
We believe in the only true God (John 17:3), the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew
28:19-20). He created all things (Revelation 4:11) and upholds all things by the Word of His
power (Hebrews 1:3). In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). He is the God
of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He (Deuteronomy 32:4) and He shall judge the
world (Psalm 9:8).
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit; and that these three are one God, having precisely the same nature, attributes, and
perfection’s, and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence, and obedience (Mark 12:29;
John 1:1-4; Matthew 29:19-20; Acts 4:3-4).
SECTION C. JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the total deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe He is the manifestation of God
in the flesh. We believe He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. We
believe Him to be true God and true man (John 1:1, 14, 18; John 14:8, 9; I Timothy 3:16).
SECTION D. HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ during this age.
He convicts us of sin and regenerates the sinner upon believing on Christ, baptizing the believer
into one body of which Christ is the head. He indwells, guides, instructs, fills, comforts, and
empowers the believer for godly living and service through individually bestowed spiritual gifts.
While the Scriptures do not teach that certain gifts have ceased, it does seem to indicate that their
usage would vary according to the need that each gift is designed to meet. Battle Creek Bible
Church does not encourage the use of the ‘sign gifts’. Instead we choose to emphasize the more
excellent way of love and zeal for the more edifying gifts (John 16:8; 13:15; Titus 3:5; Ephesians
1:22; 4:11-12; Romans 8:9-17; 12:4-8; I Corinthians 3:16; 12:4-5, 11-13, 19; Galatians 5:25;
Hebrews 4:1-4; II Corinthians 12:12).
SECTION E. MAN
We believe that man, originally created in the image and after the likeness of God, fell from his
sinless and happy state when he ate the forbidden fruit. As a result of his disobedience, all are
born into this world as sinners, totally depraved and in need of a Savior. (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans
3:10-19; Romans 1:18, 32).
SECTION F. SALVATION
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a
representative and substitutionary sacrifice. We believe that all who by faith receive Him as their
personal Savior are justified on the basis of His blood shed on Calvary. They are born again of
the Holy Spirit and thereby become eternally secure as children of God. We believe the Holy
Spirit baptizes a person who believes into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation (Romans
8:37-39; II Corinthians 5:21; I Corinthians 12:13).
SECTION G. RESURRECTION
We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ, His ascension into
heaven, and His present life for us as High Priest and Advocate (Acts 1:3, 9; Hebrews 7:25, 26).
SECTION H. HEAVEN, HELL AND THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe in the “blessed hope”: the personal, imminent and premillenial return of the Lord
Jesus Christ, to earth, to establish His Kingdom reign of peace and righteousness. His return has
a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). We
believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost. The saved are raised to eternal,
conscious bliss in heaven (Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 2:7) the lost
are raised to eternal torment in hell in conscious separation from God. (Matthew 8:11; Matthew
10:28; Matthew 13:49-50; Mark 9:47-48; Luke 12:5; Revelation 21:8).
SECTION I. BAPTISM AND COMMUNION
We believe that Christian baptism is a public declaration of and identification with Christ in
His death, burial, and resurrection signified by immersion in water. The Lord’s Supper is the
commemoration by believers of Christ’s death until He comes and should be preceded by a
careful self-examination (Acts 4:13; Romans 6:3-6; I Corinthians 11:20-29).
SECTION J. THE CHURCH
Upon accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, all believers have therefore become part of
His body, the church. There is one church universal, composed of all those who acknowledge
Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scriptures command believers to gather together to devote
themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the ordinances (baptism and
communion), fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and
gifts, and outreach to the world in fulfillment of the command of Christ to make disciples of all
believers (Ephesians 5:23; Romans 12:1; Acts 2:42-46; I Corinthians 14:26; Matthew 28:18-
20). Wherever God’s people meet regularly in obedience to this command there is the local
expression of the church – under the watch-care of Elders and other supportive leadership. Its
members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying
Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
SECTION K. MISSIONS STATEMENT
Realizing that the cause of Christ extends beyond any one local fellowship, we commit ourselves
to an ongoing ministry of extending the call of Christ to make disciples around the world
(Matthew 28:19-20). To this end a Missions Leadership Team will meet regularly under the
direction of a member of the Elders. The purpose of the Missions Leadership Team will be to
administer and develop the missions ministry of Battle Creek Bible Church in agreement with
the missions policy statement which is available upon request.
SECTION L. CHRISTIAN LIVING (CONCERNING CONDUCT)
The Bible teaches that all believers are saints, set apart unto God and are thus responsible to live
in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord (Romans 21:1-2; I Peter
1:14-19; II Timothy 2:19; Titus 2) lest the Word of God be blasphemed (I Timothy 6:1; Titus
2:5). As Christians we should obey the Word of our Lord, seek the things which are above, walk
as He walked, and accept as our responsibility the duty and privilege of bearing the Gospel to
a lost world (I John 2:3; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 5:23; Matthew 29:19-20). A victorious and
fruitful Christian life is possible only for those who have presented themselves wholly to Christ
and walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, which all believers are called to do (Romans 12:1,2;
Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18; Romans 6, 7).
“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living
sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
“Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
“Be not drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit.” Ephesians 5:18
SECTION A. NATURE OF MEMBERSHIP
The New Testament clearly indicates that groups of people who were followers of the Lord Jesus
Christ identified themselves with and committed themselves to a particular local body. In order
to implement the principles of accountability and commitment to the local body of Christ, as
defined in the New Testament and practiced in the early churches, Battle Creek Bible Church
recognizes the need for formal membership. Membership at Battle Creek Bible Church is for
all who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and have visibly demonstrated that commitment
through believer’s baptism by immersion.
SECTION B. MEMBERSHIP COMMITMENT
The effectiveness of joining together will be determined by the level of the commitment we
make. In a society where so few make commitments and fewer still keep them, Battle Creek
Bible Church is seeking a group of people who are determined to know the joy Christ intended
for His body, the church. To this end members of Battle Creek Bible Church must be willing to
live in submission to the doctrinal statement. Further, they must be willing to abide by the entire
- I have, by faith, become a follower of Jesus Christ and I have been baptized as a visible way of demonstrating that commitment.
- I will, with God’s help, seek to maintain my consistent disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and evangelism.
- I will neither criticize nor listen to criticism concerning any member(s) of this body and will, when personally offended, speak directly and lovingly with those involved.
- I will financially support the ministries of Battle Creek Bible Church by faithfully giving back to the Lord a Biblical portion of my increase.
SECTION C. QUALIFICATIONS, ADMISSION AND REMOVAL
The Elders will establish the qualifications and administer the procedure for admission of
members to the Church. The Elders may suspend, or remove, any member for cause after
conducting an appropriate hearing on the matter. The procedure is as follows.
- Persons who have accepted Christ as their Savior, have been baptized by water immersion, desire to live a consistent Christian life based upon Biblical standards, and who abide by the Constitution and agree fully with the doctrinal standards of this church shall be eligible for membership.
- All applicants for membership shall attend a New Members Class, complete an application form, and meet with 2 or more Elders who will hear their testimony. Recommendations for membership are to be made by the Elders at regular meetings.
- The prospective members name will then be placed in the bulletin for a period of two weeks. During this period members will be encouraged to clear up any relational or other difficulties which could hinder ministry among us. This is done in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17 so that both the candidate and the Battle Creek Bible Church family will benefit.
- At the end of the two week period those who remain as candidates will be welcomed into membership on the next Sunday set aside for that purpose.
SECTION D. CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Battle Creek Bible Church is a body of Christian believers who hold certain beliefs and standards
in common. On occasion, members of the Church may conduct themselves in a manner contrary
to the Statement of Faith and unworthy of membership at the Church. It will be a high priority
for the Church to restore such persons into conformity with the fellowship as outlined in
Matthew 18:15-17. However, because of God’s holy nature and the believers’ high calling,
Scripture teaches and commands personal and ecclesiastical separation from religious apostasy
(II John 7-11; Romans 16:17; Titus 3:10), from all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and
associations (I John 2:15-17; James 4:4; II Timothy 3:1-5), and from professing believers living
in willful disobedience to the Word of God (II Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6, 14, 15; I Corinthians 5).
This does not include separation from unbelievers who need the Word of God to penetrate their
world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“...note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned and
avoid them.” Romans 16:17
“... that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the
tradition which he received from us.” II Thessalonians 3:6
“And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company
with him that he may be ashamed.” II Thessalonians 3:14
Should the need for Biblical discipline arise, any such authority will be entrusted to the Elders;
they will have the authority to place individual(s) under church discipline (including suspension
of membership if necessary). Any member who is absent for all services of the Church
without giving a satisfactory reason for a period of one year may be removed from the roll of
membership by the Elders.
SECTION E. RESIGNATION OF MEMBERS
Any member may resign by filing a written resignation with the Elders.
SECTION A. TWO CHURCH OFFICES
The Biblical teaching on the subject of two church offices, Elders and Deacons, is found in I
Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:5-9. Though there are three terms used for the offices of the church,
i.e. bishop, Elder, and Deacon, a careful analysis of these terms indicates that bishop and Elder
are used interchangeably, with the bishop simply being the ‘ruling’ or leading Elder. The pastors
of the church have the spiritual authority of the Elders. However, with the exception of the
Senior Pastor, they will serve as Elders only as needed and at the request of the Elders.
SECTION B. WOMEN IN MINISTRY
Battle Creek Bible Church affirms the God-ordained and significant role that women should
play in establishing and leading the local church. Every leadership opportunity is open to women
except those that are excluded by Scripture. The Scriptures clearly state that men are to serve in
the office of Elder and that women are not to serve in church positions in which they exercise
authority over men or in which they teach doctrine to men (I Timothy 2:12; I Timothy 3:1-2;
Titus 1:6-9). We do not see this as an issue of equality, for men and women are equal under God.
The Bible is clear that men and women do not have the same roles. Qualified women should
serve in any leadership position that is not forbidden in the Scriptures.
SECTION A. GENERAL POWERS
The business, legal, and spiritual matters of the Church will be managed by its Elders. All
decisions affecting the overall doctrine, direction, and discipline of the church will be the
responsibility of the Elders. The Scriptures are clear that the Elder’s responsibility is the spiritual
oversight of the congregation. The Elder’s responsibility can be broken down into three main
- Ensuring that the doctrine of the church remains purely Biblical; all doctrinal issues in the church will be settled by the Elders.
- Ensuring that the direction of the church remains consistent with the statement of purpose and the four pillars statement as outlined in the Constitution.
- Administering in love and humility the Biblical process of church discipline as outlined in
Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-4.
SECTION B. STRUCTURE
The Scriptures teach that a plurality of Elders governed individual New Testament churches
(Acts 14:23; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1). The Scripture does not mention any
congregations featuring a stand-alone pastor and leader. A plurality of godly Elders, exercising
their individual giftedness, squares with the Scripture's teaching that wisdom is found in a
multitude of godly counselors (Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 19:20;
Proverbs 24:6.). This truth does not eliminate the possibility and likelihood that one or more
Elders will stand out from the others as more public in their ministries or more influential in their
workings as Elders. All Elders will have equal authority, but not necessarily equal influence.
The Senior Pastor will work in cooperation with the Chairman of the Elders to ensure healthy
ministry development and strong accountability. Agenda items for the Elder meetings must be
submitted to the Chairman of the Elders prior to the Elders’ meeting. An Elders’ meeting may
not be held without a majority of the Elders present and the entirety of the Elders informed. The
Chairman of the Elders will be selected by consensus decision of the Elders with no fixed term
and may not be one of the pastors. The Elders will consist of the Chairman, the Senior Pastor, the
Chairman of the Deacons and additional Elders, who will assume responsibility as agreeable and
SECTION C. NUMBER AND TENURE
The number of Elders serving is to be a minimum of three (3) and may vary from time to time up
to fifteen (15) by resolution of the Elders without amendment of these bylaws. In no case will the
number of Elders serving be less than three if at all possible. The term of office for Elders is to
be consistent with the fiscal year of the Church.
When the need arises for additional Elders, a nominee will be recommended by the existing
Elders. In keeping with the clear Biblical injunctions regarding authority structures within the
church, only men will be considered for the office of Elder. An in-depth interview will ensue to
determine if the nominee is Biblically qualified. The congregation will then be reminded of the
Biblical requirement for Elders and given 30 days to speak personally with the nominee if they
are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains unresolved, the nominee
or church member should approach the Elders and request that their name be withdrawn from
The Elders is to be composed of the following appointed persons:
- The Battle Creek Bible Church Senior Pastor automatically serves as an Elder for as long as he remains employed by the Church and, because of his public presence and responsibility before the congregation, may be considered "first among equals" as a member of the Elders.
- Although Scripture indicates no fixed terms for Elders, we ask Elders to serve for a two-year commitment. At the end of two years the commitment will be reviewed, along with a possible recommitment and reaffirmation by fellow Elders. During the review, both the individual and the other Elders will evaluate his continued service, again considering the Biblical qualifications, as well as any personal factors that might affect his service.
SECTION D. QUALIFICATIONS
Qualifications for the office of an Elder include that each person must be (Titus 1:6-9):
- Above reproach
- Able to teach
- Husband to one wife
- Not addicted to wine
- Not antagonistic
- Free from the love of money
- Manages own household well
- Not a new convert
SECTION E. RESIGNATION AND REMOVAL
An individual’s service as an Elder may be discontinued by his own decision or by a consensus
decision of the other Elders. A person leaving the Elders would not preclude his service as a
future Elder, subject to the regular selection process.
SECTION F. VACANCIES
Any vacancy occurring in the Elders to be filled by reason of any increase in the number of
Elders, members, or resignation or termination of a Elders member, is to be filled by the Elders
as soon as practical.
SECTION G. COMPENSATION
Elders will not receive any stated salaries for their services as Elders. Nothing herein contained
will be construed to preclude any Elder serving the Church in any other capacity and receiving
reasonable compensation for that service. This Section will not preclude the Pastors receiving
compensation as pastors, which will be determined by the remaining Elders.
SECTION A. SELECTION
The Elders shall supervise the candidate selection process and recommend a candidate to the
congregation. The Senior Pastor and any members of the pastoral staff may be called, upon
a favorable vote of three-fourths of the voting members present at any regular or special
business meeting, after published announcements for two Sundays preceding the meeting. Upon
acceptance of the call, the Senior Pastor and/or Pastoral staff and their wives shall become
members of this church.
SECTION B. TERM
All pastoral staff members will serve at will for an indefinite period of time. The Senior Pastor
is responsible and accountable in the performance of his duties to the Elders. All other staff
members are responsible to the Elders through the Senior Pastor. A staff member may only be
dismissed by a consensus decision of the Elders.
SECTION C. DUTIES
The responsibility of the Senior Pastor will be to faithfully preach God’s Word and model the
priority of discipleship within the church. He will give oversight and direction to all ministry
staff and work with the Elders in carrying out the overall vision of Battle Creek Bible Church.
SECTION D. QUALIFICATIONS
The qualifications are equivalent to the Biblical qualifications of an Elder.
SECTION E. ADDITIONAL PASTORAL STAFF
Ministry descriptions for the remaining pastoral staff will be established by the Elders in keeping
with the giftedness of the individual and agreed upon at the time of hiring.
SECTION A. SPECIAL MINISTRY TEAMS
The Elders will have power to appoint ministry teams for the purpose of conducting certain
aspects of church business or ministry not otherwise delegated.
SECTION A. DEACONS
The Bible teaches that Deacons "lead by serving" (Acts 6). The Deacons serve under the
authority of the Elders in various capacities within the church.
SECTION B. SELECTION
When the need arises for Deacons, the Elders will recommend a nominee. Following an
independent interview to determine if the nominee is Biblically qualified, the congregation will
be reminded of the Biblical requirements for Deacons and given 30 days to speak personally
with the nominee if they are aware of any disqualifying characteristics. If the matter remains
unresolved, the nominee or church member should approach the Elders and request that their
name be withdrawn from consideration.
During the review, both the individual and the other Deacons will evaluate his continued service
as a Deacon, again considering the Biblical qualifications as well as any personal factors that
might affect his service. An individual’s service as a Deacon may be discontinued by his own
decision or by the consensus decision of the Elders. Upon their request, the Elders will have the
opportunity to participate in the review process. A person leaving the office of Deacon would not
preclude his service as a future Deacon, subject to the regular selection process.
SECTION C. TERM
Since Scripture indicates no fixed term for Deacons, no specific term of office is recommended.
Instead, each Deacon, upon appointment, will be asked for a two-year commitment of active
service. At the end of two years the commitment will be reviewed, along with a possible
recommitment and reaffirmation by fellow Deacons.
SECTION D. DUTIES
The Deacons, working under the authority of the Elders, will be responsible for the oversight of
all financial, benevolent, ordinance, and facility operations of the church.
SECTION E. STRUCTURE
The Deacons will consist of a chairman, who will be a member of the Elders. The remainder of
the Deacons will assume responsibilities as agreeable and as needed.
SECTION F. MEETINGS OF DEACONS
All meetings of the Deacons will be convened by their designated Chairman. Minutes of each
meeting will be maintained by a Recorder who is to be appointed by the Chairman. Meetings
will be conducted under the same rules of notice, quorum and action as prescribed for by the
SECTION G. QUALIFICATIONS FOR DEACONS
The Deacons are to be “able and proved as servants” and should demonstrate the following
qualifications (I Timothy 3:8-12):
- Individual of dignity
- Above reproach
- Not double tongued
- First tested as servants
- Not addicted to wine
- Spouses must be faithful
- Not fond of sordid gain
- Holding to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience
- Husband of one wife
- Manages household well
SECTION H. RESIGNATION AND REMOVAL
An individual’s service as a Deacon may be discontinued by his own decision or by the
consensus decision of the Deacons. Upon their request the Elders will have the opportunity to
participate in the review process. A person leaving the office of Deacon would not preclude his
service as a future Deacon, subject to the regular selection process.
SECTION A. FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the Church is to begin on the first day of January each year.
SECTION B. PROPERTY
The church may receive, accept, buy, own and operate such buildings, real and personal property
and equipment as are required or deemed necessary or advantageous in carrying out its purposes
as stated in Article I.
The Elders shall have management and control of all property belonging to the church but shall
not encumber with loan, transfer, sell or purchase any real estate for the church except by express
authorization conveyed through a majority vote of the voting membership present and voting at a
duly called congregational meeting.
SECTION C. DIVISION
In the event the church should divide, from which may the Lord spare us, the property and
all funds shall remain with those abiding by this constitution and doctrinal statement who are
willing to continue the work for which this church was originally formed.
SECTION D. DISSOLUTION
Upon dissolution of the corporation, the Elders shall, after paying or making provision for the
payment of all of the liabilities of the Corporation, distribute all assets, both real and personal,
to an organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes
as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3)
of the Code, and shall use said assets exclusively for the purposes of the corporation in such
manner, or as the Board of Directors shall determine. Any such assets not so disposed of shall
be disposed of by the appropriate court of law located in the county in which the principal office
of the corporation is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or
organizations, as said court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the voting members present and voting
at a duly called congregational business meeting.
Proposed amendments must be distributed to the membership and posted conspicuously in the
church for four Sundays prior to the congregational business meeting at which they are to be
The secondary rules by which the principles and requirements of this constitution are carried out
are known as the by-laws.
These by-laws may be amended at any regular Elder meeting provided written notice is provided
to the congregation two weeks prior to the meeting at which the change will be acted upon. A
two-thirds affirmative vote of the Elders is required to adopt by-law changes.