Article 1 General Provisions
1. The name of the church is “Galveston Chinese Church”.
2. The church is incorporated in the State of Texas as a non-profit religious organization and is located in the city of Galveston, Texas.
3. The church is a non-denominational Christian church. Her purpose is to conduct worship and service of God for all Christian saints, to instruct the Holy Scriptures, to proclaim the Gospel, and to serve the local community.
4. The church is financially and administratively self-supported, and is not affiliated with any other churches or organizations.
5. The church adopts Chinese as the primary language of communication, supplemented with English.
Article 2 Statement of Faith
1. The church believes in the one living and true God who is self-existent eternally. He is the Creator of the universe, all creatures and men. He is manifested in three persons -- the Holy Father, the Holy Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. The church believes in Jesus Christ who is God’s only-begotten Son, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He was crucified on the cross, dead and buried. He was resurrected on the third day, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He became the only mediator between God and men. He will come again to judge the living and the dead, and to establish the everlasting Kingdom.
3. The church believes in the Holy Spirit, who convicts men of sin, the need of repentance and regeneration in Christ. He is believers’ Counselor, and indwells them forever. He enlightens the truth to believers, sanctifies them and guides them to live a victorious Christlike life.
4. The church believes in the infallibility of the Holy Scriptures, which consist of sixty-six books, were all God-breathed and are the only and utmost authority in Christian faith and living.
5. The church believes that men, in God’s image and likeness, were created with spirit, soul and body. Men became alienated from God because of falling into sin. Only by faith and the grace of God, and through the redemption of Jesus Christ, men can be reconciled with God and enter into eternal life.
6. The church believes that the Church is the Body of Christ, the Household of God, and Christ is the Head of the Church.
Article 3 Worship and Meetings
1. Sunday Worship Service shall be held on each Sunday. The service, sermon and hymns shall be arranged by the pastor and responsible co-workers. Children church may be held separately if necessary.
2. The Lord’s Supper shall be held once each month. All believers who have been baptized shall be invited to partake the Lord’s Supper.
3. The church shall give baptism to those who have understood the salvation and decided to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.
4. Special meetings, namely, evangelistic meetings, revival meetings, mission conferences, etc., shall be scheduled according to need.
5. In order not to forsake assembling together, prayer meetings, fellowship meetings, etc., shall be held on a regular basis by responsible co-workers.
6. Sunday School shall be held on each Sunday to provide Scriptural instructions to the adults as well as the children.
Article 4 Membership
1. Church Membership Application Procedure:
Any person, who has received Jesus Christ as his (note 1) Savior, has been baptized and is in agreement with the Statement of Faith of the church, shall be allowed to apply for church membership. The applicant shall be granted membership after he has filed the application and has been interviewed by the pastor, elders or deacons. Regardless of age, any person who has been baptized in the church is naturally a member of the church.
2. Rights of Members:
Every member shall have the right to attend Congregational Meetings. Only those members eighteen years or older are eligible to cast votes and be elected into offices. Every member shall have the right to request the church to perform the following services: spiritual counsel to himself or his relatives and friends, wedding ceremonies and memorial services for himself or his family members, etc. Every member shall have the right to express opinions to the Board of Elders and Deacons (note 2), and the right to sit in and observe Board meetings.
3. Responsibilities of Members:
Every member shall read the Bible and pray diligently to maintain his spiritual well-being. He shall actively participate in meetings and activities held by the church. He shall give to the church willingly in accordance with Scriptural teachings to support church ministries. All members shall actively serve one another in love, care and submission, and shall exhort one another as members of the Body of Christ. All members shall honor the Church Constitution.
4. If a member has committed misconduct against Biblical teachings, the pastor and The Board shall administer to him the Biblical church disciplinary principles set forth in Matthew 18:15-17. If the offender persistently refuses to repent, The Board shall bring forth the case to a Congregational Meeting for decision to remove the offender’s membership.
Article 5 Congregational Meetings
1. The purpose of the Congregational Meetings is to elect elders and deacons, to approve the annual budget, to concur the calling, resignation and dismissal of pastoral staff, and to safeguard church membership standing and discipline, etc.
2. Congregational Meetings shall be presided by the chairman of The Board and shall be held at least once annually. Agenda of the meetings shall be made known to the congregation prior to the meetings.
3. The Board may call special Congregational Meetings based on need or petitions signed by more than one-half of the church members.
4. A quorum of more than one-half of the church members shall be required to commence a Congregational Meeting. In the event the quorum is not present for two consecutive attempts, on the third attempt, the Congregational Meeting shall proceed with those members present to constitute a quorum.
5. The rendering of final decision in any matters under consideration shall follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for unanimous voice of “AMEN” among the members. If a situation calls for voting, affirmative ballots of more than two-thirds of the members present shall be required to confirm the final decision.
Article 6 Pastoral Staff
1. The church shall determine the need to call for a pastor, assistant pastor and church staff to shepherd and minister the Household of God.
2. Statement concerning the calling, resignation and dismissal of pastoral staff:
a. Calling: The candidate shall be called for the office upon recommendation by The Board and affirmation in a Congregational Meeting have been made.
b. Resignation: In any reason when a pastoral staff cannot continue to execute his duty, he shall inform The Board of his intent of resignation in writing six months in advance. The final decision regarding his intent of resignation shall be rendered in a Congregational Meeting.
c. Dismissal: If a pastoral staff has failed his duty or committed misconduct against Biblical teachings, The Board shall handle the charge in accordance with the Biblical disciplinary principles set forth in Matthew 18:15-17 and I Timothy 5:19-20. If, after investigation, the charge is found true and deems severe, The Board shall bring forth the case to a Congregational Meeting for final decision.
3. The Board shall determine the salaries and benefits for pastoral staff based on individual needs.
4. In the absence of the pastor, the assistant pastor shall assume his duty temporarily. In the event both pastors are absent, The Board shall assign one of the elders to assume the pastor’s duty temporarily.
Article 7 Elders
1. Elders are called to assist the pastor in shepherding the church.
2. Elders shall have the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and I Peter 5:1-3.
3. The eldership shall be permanent. Upon recommendation by The Board and affirmation in a Congregational Meeting, the elder-elect shall be ordained by the pastor and other existing elders in the church.
4. After ordination, the elder-elect shall assume the office of executive elder for a term of two years. After one term, if the elder is re-nominated and confirmed in a Congregational Meeting, he shall assume the office for a second term. After the second term, he shall rest for one year before he can be nominated again for the office of executive elder.
5. If an elder has committed misconduct against Biblical teachings, The Board shall deal with him in accordance with the Biblical disciplinary principles set forth in the Church Constitution Article 6, Section 2.c.
Article 8 Deacons
1. Deacons shall be elected to carry out the affairs of the church and to serve the saints.
2. Deacons shall have the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13.
3. Deacons shall be nominated by the Deacon Nomination Committee and elected to office by ballots in a Congregational Meeting. The deacon-elect shall assume office on December 1 for a term of two years, and shall be eligible for re-election for a second term. After two terms, the deacon shall rest for one year before he can be nominated again for deaconry.
4. The number of deacons shall be determined based on the complexity of church ministry and size of the congregation. In order to replace half of the incumbent deacons annually, half of the number of deacons in the First Board shall serve under a term of one year.
5. The First Deacon Nomination Committee shall consist of five members: the pastor and four others elected by the congregation. The pastor shall be the moderator of the committee. Thereafter, successive Deacon Nomination Committees shall consist of five members: the pastor and four others elected by The Board. The pastor shall be the moderator of the committees.
6. If a deacon has committed misconduct against Biblical teachings, The Board shall deal with him in accordance with the Biblical disciplinary principles set forth in the Church Constitution Article 4, Section 4.
Article 9 Board of Elders and Deacons
1. The Board consists of pastoral staff, executive elders and deacons. Its responsibility is to manage all affairs of the church.
2. The Board shall select among itself one chairman and one vice chairman. The Board shall supervise different departments of the church ministry. The number of departments shall be determined according to the need of the church ministry.
3. The chairman shall oversee the operation of the church, coordinate affairs among different departments, preside over Board meetings and Congregational Meetings. The vice chairman shall assist the chairman in managing the church and assume his duty during his absence.
4. The Board shall hold a Board meeting monthly. In the event of making decision, The Board shall inquire and await the guidance of the Holy Spirit for unanimous voice of “AMEN” among all the Board members.
5. In the vacancy of a deacon position, it shall be filled by the deacon candidate runner-up.
Article 10 Committee of Trustees
1. The Committee of Trustees shall be responsible for dealing with all legal matters concerning the church.
2. Members of the Committee of Trustees shall be recommended by The Board and concurred in a Congregational Meeting.
3. The Committee of Trustees shall consist of three members with indefinite term and is subject to changes determined at any time by The Board.
Article 11 Addendum
1. The Church Constitution shall be read one time and a second time to The Board and subsequently concurred in a Congregational Meeting before it becomes effective.
2. Amendments to the Church Constitution shall be initiated by The Board with an amendment proposal based on the collection and review of inputs from church members. The proposal shall be approved by The Board and made public to the congregation. A Congregational Meeting shall be held to render decision on the implementation of the amendments.
3. The right of interpretation of the Church Constitution shall solely rest on The Board.
1. Single male is used to represent both male and female genders collectively in the text.
2. The Board of Elders and Deacons is abbreviated by ‘The Board’ throughout the text.