Faith Lutheran Church
Serving Eldersburg, Sykesville, Carroll County & Beyond
A member of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Faith Lutheran Church

Bylaws (Approved 06/12/2013)

ARTICLE 1 - BAPTIZED MEMBERSHIP

 

A.   Baptized Members

Baptized membership shall be defined as all those on the membership list 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 this congregation.

 

ARTICLE 2 - CONFIRMED MEMBERSHIP

 

Confirmed members shall be defined as those who have been accepted into membership by one of the following methods:

 

A.    Profession of Faith or Confirmation

All those who are baptized in the Christian faith, and have been instructed in Lutheran Doctrine, and have given evidence of their faith shall be received in a public worship service after meeting requirements established by the Pastor and the Elders.

 

B.   Transfer and Release

All those who indicate their desire to transfer their membership from other Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations shall present a letter of release or transfer to the Pastor.  They shall be received in a public worship service.

 

C.   Reaffirmation of Faith

All those who were once members of this congregation, but whose membership was terminated, may again become members by indicating their desire to the Pastor or Servant Leadership Team (SaLT).  They shall reaffirm their faith in a public worship service.

 

ARTICLE 3 - TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP

Membership in this congregation may be terminated by any of the following methods:

 

A.   Transfer to Other Congregation

A communicant member, upon their request to the Pastor or SaLT, shall be granted transfer to another church which is in fellowship with this congregation.

 

B.   Joining Other Churches

Where a communicant member has joined a congregation other than those in fellowship with this congregation, he/she shall be considered to have terminated their membership in this congregation.

 

C.   Whereabouts Unknown

The name of any member whose whereabouts is unknown, and with whom contact cannot be established after a period of one year, shall be removed from the membership.

 

D.   Self Exclusion

A member who refuses to live under the discipline of love, and persistently rejects fellowship and worship, as offered by the Church, and disregards his or her responsibility as a communicant member, shall be declared as having excluded himself or herself from the membership of this congregation. Any member who has not worshipped or communed within a twelve-month period shall be considered to have self-excluded, unless away at school, serving in the military or missionary service, institutionalized, or otherwise unable, though willing, to attend and commune.

 

E.   Excommunication

When a member persists in living openly and freely a life-style which is contrary to God's will and exhibits conduct in opposition to the influence of God's Holy Spirit, all the while claiming membership in the congregation, he or she shall be disciplined in Christian love. If all attempts fail to bring about a God pleasing change, the individual shall be excommunicated. The final determination will be by unanimous agreement of the Pastor, the Elders, and the SaLT, and shall be affirmed by the Voters .

 

F.    Removal

No member shall be removed from the communicant roll under Article 3 Sections C or D until at least two efforts in writing have been made to bring the member back to fellowship.

 

G.   Status

A person whose membership has been terminated forfeits all rights of a member of this congregation and all claims upon the property of their congregation as such, or upon any part thereof, so long as he or she has not been reinstated into membership.

 

H.   Procedure

The Pastor shall report all membership changes to the SaLT.  All membership changes, in and out of the congregation, shall be brought to the attention of the Voters' Assembly for ratification, prior to action being finalized.  A list of baptized, communicant, and voting members shall be maintained in the Church office by the Pastor and shall be periodically reviewed by the SaLT.

 

ARTICLE 4 - VOTING MEMBERSHIP

 

A.   Eligibility

Any confirmed member of this congregation age 18 or older shall be eligible to become a member of the Voters' Assembly.  

 

B.   Process to become a Voter

A person becomes a voting member upon request at a regular or special Voters' Assembly meeting, and shall have voting privileges at the next regular or special meeting.    

 

C.   Removal from Voter Roster

Any voting member who misses two consecutive voters meetings, without an excused absence, shall be removed from the roster of Voting Members.  An excused absence must be provided to the Recording Secretary at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.  Acceptable excuses include

employment, military service, illness, and any other reason deemed valid by the Recording Secretary.  Voters removed from the roster shall be notified.

 

D.   Voting Privileges

Only those members present at the meeting have voting privileges.

 

ARTICLE 5 - VOTERS' ASSEMBLY

 

A.   Meetings

The Voters' Assembly shall meet at least semiannually.  The day and hour of the meetings, and the agenda, shall be set by the SaLT and publicized at least two weeks in advance.  The meeting and agenda shall be announced in all church services the two Sundays prior to the meeting. 

 

B.   Special Meetings

Special meetings of The Voters' Assembly may be called by the SaLT, the Pastor, or at the written request of at least 7 voting members.  The day and hour of the meetings, and the agenda, shall be set and publicized at least two weeks in advance.  The meeting and the agenda shall be announced in all church services the two Sundays prior to the meeting. 

 

C.   Quorum

One third of the voting members shall constitute a quorum, except as otherwise provided in this constitution and bylaws.

 

ARTICLE 6 - CALLED WORKERS

 

DEFINITIONS

      Called workers shall be defined those persons holding rostered positions from the LCMS.

 

SECTION 1 - ELIGIBILITY OF CALLED WORKERS

 

  1. The office of pastor and other called staff in this congregation shall be conferred only upon Ministers and candidates who profess and adhere to the Confession of the Church and who have been declared eligible by the LCMS.  Pastors and other called staff shall in the call extended and accepted by them, be pledged to this confessional standard.

 

  1. Approval to establish any new position shall require approval of the voters.

 

SECTION 2 - RIGHT OF CALLING

 

  1. The right of calling Pastors shall be vested in the congregation acting through its Voters' Assembly, and shall never be delegated to a smaller body of members or to an individual.

 

SECTION 3- CALLING A CALLED WORKER

 

  1. After authorization is received from the Voters' Assembly, the SaLT shall create a Call Committee.  No more than half of the Call Committee shall be members of the SaLT.

 

  1. The Call Committee shall consult with those in the affected ministry area and with the district office as part of their efforts to secure names of candidates.  The Call Committee shall follow all call processes established by the Southeastern District.

 

  1. The Call Committee will present a final list of candidates to the Voters' Assembly for issuance of the call.  The call document must be approved by the Voters' Assembly.

 

 

SECTION 4 - CALL OF A PASTOR

 

A.   The list of candidates and the specific call meeting date of the Voters' Assembly shall be publicly announced to the congregation and printed in the Church bulletin for two consecutive Sundays prior to the scheduled election meeting date.  Members may also be notified by mail.

 

B.   The election shall be by written ballot of eligible voters present.  When one candidate receives a two-thirds majority vote from the total number of voters present and eligible to vote, the balloting is complete.  If this is not achieved on the first or successive ballots, the candidate who receives the least number of votes on each ballot shall be dropped from the next ballot until a two-thirds majority vote is obtained.  At the conclusion of the balloting a resolution may be requested to make the selection unanimous.  If a two-thirds majority is not obtained on the last ballot, the election process shall end and the call process shall be repeated.

 

C.   The Pastor elect shall be notified immediately of his selection, and the proper call documents shall be forwarded to him.

 

D.   If the call is returned, the process shall be repeated in its entirety or in part as is required at the discretion of the Voters' Assembly.

 

SECTION 5 - REMOVAL OF A CALLED WORKER

 

  1. In Christian love and lawful order, any called worker may be removed from office by the Voters' Assembly for any of the following reasons: persistent adherence to false doctrine, scandalous life, willful neglect or inability to perform the duties of office as included in the Bylaws and the applicable Call document.

 

  1. The SaLT and Elders shall carefully investigate charges on any of these counts.  Should such charges be substantiated by clear evidence, and after consultation with the District President or his designated representative, the SaLT shall notify the Voting Members of the situation and submit the matter for action at a special meeting of that body.  Such meeting shall be announced by mail to Voting Members at least two weeks in advance of the meeting and at regular worship services on the preceding two weekends.  

 

  1. One half (1/2) of the voting members shall constitute a quorum at a Voters' Assembly where a removal of a called worker is to be voted upon. 

 

  1. A simple majority of the Voting Members present (provided there is a quorum as outlined in Section 5C) shall be required to remove any divinely called servant from office. 

 

ARTICLE 7 - SERVANT LEADERSHIP TEAM AND MINISTRY STAFF

 

DEFINITIONS

      Ministry staff shall be defined as the Senior Pastor and all those reporting to him.

 

SECTION 1 - MEMBERSHIP OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP TEAM (SaLT)

 

  1. The SaLT shall be comprised of the officers and two (2) other voting members elected by the congregation (or appointed to fill vacancies as provided in the Bylaws).  To the extent that they are empowered by the Constitution (Article 4) and Bylaws the SaLT shall conduct and perform the acts and affairs of the congregation in its stead between meetings of the Voters' Assembly.

 

SECTION 2 - SaLT MEETINGS

 

  1. The SaLT shall meet a minimum of quarterly.  Additional meetings may be called as required.

 

  1. A majority of members shall constitute a quorum.  SaLT decisions will be made by a simple majority of those present. 

 

SECTION 3 - DUTIES OF SaLT

 

The SaLT shall:

A.   Be responsible for recommending policies to be established by the Voters, necessary to direct the overall program of the congregation for the furtherance of Christ's Kingdom in our midst;

 

B.   Maintain the financial integrity of the congregation, and make regular reports of same for ratification by the Voters;

 

C.   Encourage the Ministry Staff in their work through prayer, word and action and provide for the spiritual and physical health and welfare of the Ministry Staff and their families;

 

D.   Authorize the Ministry Staff to administer the day-to-day operations of the congregation in accordance with the policies and directives established by the congregation through its Voters' Assembly;

 

E.   Direct the calling of special meetings of the Voters' Assembly as requested by the Pastor(s) or voting members;

 

F.    Be responsible to receive and act upon, if necessary, feed-back and/or complaints from members of the congregation regarding aspects of SaLT operations;

 

G.   Establish appropriate Policy, Advisory and Ad hoc (i.e., Nominating, Auditing, etc.) committees and approve the appointment of members;

 

H.   Be available for any additional functions that the Voters' Assembly may confer.

 

 

SECTION 4 - AUTHORITY OF SaLT

 

  1. The SaLT will be responsible for maintenance of a manual of congregational policies to assist in the uniform and consistent administration of affairs of the congregation.  The manual shall not include any provision contrary to this Constitution and Bylaws concerning membership in the congregation; the rights and duties of persons holding office, SaLT and pastors or other called servants.  It shall not create any contractual rights not otherwise authorized in the Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and Bylaws.  Only the Voters' Assembly shall have the power to modify the manual with respect to sections dealing with functions of Pastor, officers, and SaLT and qualifications for membership.

 

 

SECTION 5 - MINISTRY STAFF

 

A.   The SaLT responsibility is generally confined to establishing prevailing policies, leaving implementation and subsidiary policy development to the Senior Pastor or to appropriate committees.  All activities delegated by committees to ministry staff should be delegated through the Senior Pastor.  The Senior Pastor is to provide regular reports to the SaLT on the status of the ministry staff operations.  As authorized by the SaLT, the Ministry Staff shall conduct the day-to-day operations.

 

 

 

ARTICLE 8 - OFFICERS

SECTION 1 - OFFICERS

 

  1. The officers of the congregation shall consist of a President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer.

 

SECTION 2 - DUTIES OF OFFICERS

 

A.   Duties of President

The President shall:

a.    Preside at all meetings of the voters' assembly and shall call and preside over meetings of the SaLT;

b.    To the best of his/her ability, enforce the Constitution and Bylaws of the congregation and carry out the expressed will of the congregation as embodied in the resolutions of the Voters' Assembly and sign all legal documents on behalf of the congregation;

c.    With the approval of the SaLT appoint members of policy, advisory, and ad hoc committees as established by the Voters' Assembly or the SaLT;

d.    At the direction of the SaLT, call special meetings of the Voters' Assembly.

e.    Serve as a Trustee of the corporation of Faith Lutheran Church Eldersburg.

B.   Duties of Vice President

The Vice President shall:

a.    Act for and in the stead of the President in his/her absence, and shall be available for whatever duties the President may assign.

b.    Serve as a Trustee of the corporation of Faith Lutheran Church Eldersburg.

 

  1. Duties of Secretary

The Secretary shall:

a.    Perform those duties commonly required of that office, especially the keeping and preserving of accurate records of all Voters' Assembly meetings and handling such correspondence as the congregation may require;

b.    Maintain the Voter Roster

c.    Keep minutes of all SaLT meetings;

d.    Serve as Trustee of the corporation of Faith Lutheran Church Eldersburg.

 

  1. Duties of Treasurer

The Treasurer shall:

a.    Assure prompt payment of all expenditures authorized by the Voters' Assembly or the SaLT, and coordination of such payments to maintain the financial integrity of the congregation;

b.    Assure accurate record keeping of all congregation receipts and disbursements;

c.    Furnish periodic financial reports to the Voters' Assembly and SaLT;

d.    Serve as Trustee of the corporation of Faith Lutheran Church Eldersburg.

 

ARTICLE 9 - BOARD OF ELDERS

 

DEFINITIONS

The Elders are the representatives of the Priesthood of all Believers who work cooperatively with the Pastor on all spiritual matters of the congregation.  The Board of Elders shall consist of at least five men of the congregation noted for their Christian knowledge, zeal, and experience in the spiritual work of the Kingdom of Christ .  Elders are appointed by the Senior Pastor, and presented by the President to the Voters for affirmation..  The size of the Board of Elders is determined by SaLT in consultation with the Senior Pastor and the Board of Elders.  The Board shall concern itself with the spiritual health of the congregation and its members. 

 

SECTION 1 - DUTIES OF BOARD OF ELDERS

 

The Board of Elders shall:

  1. Nurture and encourage the spiritual health and growth of the congregation.
  2. Serve as advisors and assistants to the pastor(s) in the duties he is called to perform for the congregation.
  3. Serve as congregational representatives monitoring and advocating for the spiritual and emotional well being of the Pastor and his family, as well as that of the professional staff of the congregation.
  4. Along with the Pastor be the trustees of the spiritual values of the congregation.
  5. Provide at least quarterly a report of activities to the SaLT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARTICLE 10 -  ELECTIONS, REMOVALS, VACANCIES

 

SECTION 1 - TERMS OF OFFICE

 

SECTION 1 - TERMS OF OFFICE

 

A.   The term of office for every elected official (Officers, SaLT members at large, shall be 3 years.  1/3 of the members of each group shall be elected each year.  The following will be elected in the same year: 

 

         President, 1 At Large Member of SaLT

         Vice President, Secretary of SaLT

         Treasurer, 1 At Large Member of SaLT

 

B.   All terms of office shall begin January 1 following the election.  All persons filling elected offices shall be duly installed at the first regular worship service in January.  Those elected or appointed to fill unexpired terms shall be installed as soon as possible following their election or appointment.

 

C.   Persons elected to these offices shall not serve more than 2 full terms in the same office without vacating the office for at least 1 year.

 

D.   Newly appointed Elders are to be affirmed by the next Voter's Assembly, and reaffirmed individually every three years as part of the annual election cycle.  An Elder may choose to not seek reaffirmation, or the Voter's may decide to not reaffirm an Elder as part of the annual election cycle.  Elders may not claim "Sabbatical" status, but must either resign or not seek reaffirmation.  The Elder must forward his decision to not seek reaffirmation or to resign in writing to the Senior Pastor and President of the congregation.

 

SECTION 2 - METHOD OF ELECTION

 

A.   The President shall appoint a Nominating Committee each year consisting of at least three voting members of the congregation.  The President shall notify the congregation of the appointments.

 

B.   The Nominating Committee shall select at least one candidate for each office to be filled by election in that year and shall present a slate of candidates for the congregation to the Voters' Assembly.  The slate shall be announced two successive Sundays prior to the election.  The slate shall remain open for additional nominations until nominations are closed by vote of the Voters' Assembly at the election meeting.

 

C.   The election shall be by written ballot and the candidates receiving the majority of votes cast shall be elected.

 

D.   All elected officials must be voting members of the congregation.

 

SECTION 3 - REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

 

A.   In Christian love and lawful order, any elected worker or Elder may be removed from office by the Voters' Assembly for any of the following reasons: persistent adherence to false doctrine, scandalous life, willful neglect or inability to perform the duties of office as included in the Bylaws.

 

B.   The SaLT and Elders shall carefully investigate charges on any of these counts.  Should such charges be substantiated by clear evidence, the SaLT shall notify the Voting Members of the situation and submit the matter for action at a special meeting of that body.  Such meeting shall be announced by mail to Voting Members at least two weeks in advance of the meeting and at regular worship services on the preceding two weekends.  

 

C.   A simple majority of the Voting Members present (provided there is a quorum) shall be required to remove any elected worker or Elder from office. 

 

 

SECTION 4 - VACANCY

 

  1. The SaLT shall be authorized to appoint a person to fill an unexpired term of an officer (or SaLT member) that becomes vacant more than six months following the election.  If a vacancy occurs within the first six months following election, a new election shall be held to fill the unexpired term.