BYLAWS FOR WESTHILL CHURCH
The name of this organization, a non-profit corporation, shall be the WestHill Church of Auburn, Washington.
God’s purpose for the church is that we go to make disciples of all nations, baptize them and teach them to observe all Christ has commanded us. We bring God glory and honor by fulfilling this purpose as one body of believers who use our spiritual gifts together to reflect Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; John 17:20-23; Philippians 2:1-4)
Our first priority is to grow in our love for God through worship, prayer and practicing what we learn through Bible study (Psalm 7:17; 21:13; 22:22; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18; 1 Peter 3:15).
Our second priority is to love and serve others through the use of God-given gifts and talents and personal evangelism (Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 2:41-47; 5:42; 8:4; 13:1-3; 20:18-21; Romans 10:14,15; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:11-16; 5:18-21; Colossians 3:15-17; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 10:24,25; 1 Peter 4:10,11).
STATEMENT OF FAITH
Section A. THE BIBLE
The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the verbally inspired Word of God; they were without error in the original writings; they are the complete and final written revelation of God, and they alone are our only authoritative source of faith and practice. Throughout history, God demonstrated the authority of His Word and its writers. As the Hebrew Scriptures were written, He gave some prophets the ability to heal and perform miracles as a testimony to Israel. In the New Testament era, He gave the Apostles the sign gifts of miraculous powers, healing, and speaking foreign languages to bring the Gospel to the nations and establish the church. These, like all spiritual gifts, are not intended for every believer. The Holy Spirit chooses the gift(s) each believer receives and how they are employed. Additional written revelation from God ceased with the completion of the New Testament. (Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119; Matthew 5:18; John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 12:10; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
Section B. THE TRIUNITY OF GOD
There is only one God, eternally existent in three Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - Who are co-equal in Their nature, attributes, and perfection; and each of Whom is to be honored as God (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 18:30,31; 147:5; Matthew 28:19; Mark 12:29; Luke 3:22; John 4:24; 5:23; 10:30; 14:9; Acts 5:3,4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:1-3).
Section C. JESUS CHRIST
Jesus Christ is God the Son, the promised Messiah, begotten in the flesh by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, without sin, true God and true man, and the only mediator between God and Man (Isaiah 7;14; 9:6,7; Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:1- 3, 14, 29; 5:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:2-9; 2:14,15; 1 John 5:20).
Section D. THE MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST
The death of Jesus paid the penalty for sin, completely satisfied the righteous wrath of God against sin, and provided redemption and forgiveness for all who believe. After His death, Jesus Christ arose bodily from the dead, was seen by many during a period of forty days, and then ascended into Heaven to appear before God the Father as our Advocate and Intercessor from which place He will some day return to establish His Kingdom forever (Isaiah 53:5,6; Luke 24:36-43; John 1:18; 3:16; 20:25-28; Acts 1:6-11; Romans 3:21-26; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 20-23; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 1:13,14; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:18,19; 2:24; 1 John 2:1,2; Revelation 20:6).
Section E. THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Bible teaches that all believers receive the Holy Spirit at conversion as they are being baptized into the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts men of sin, indwells, seals, sanctifies, gifts, guides, equips, teaches, and fills the believer, so that he may walk in obedience to God and His Word. (John 3:5; 14:16,17,26; 15:26,27; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; 5:3,4; Romans 8:9,14; 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 2:10,11; 6:11,19; 12:4-13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:16-18, 22,23; Ephesians 1:13,14; 4:30; 5:18-21).
Section F. THE CREATION AND FALL OF MAN
The physical universe was created by God. Man was made by God in His own image, but sinned through his personal disobedience to the revealed will of God; and as a result, all mankind is sinful in nature and practice, is unable to save itself, and faces eternal separation from God (Genesis 1:1,26,28; 2:7, 18-24; 3:1- 24;9:6; Matthew 19:4; Mark 7:21-23; John 8:42-44; Romans 1:18, 3:10,23; 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3).
Section G. THE SALVATION OF MAN
Salvation from sin, death, and hell is eternal; is the free gift of God's grace; and is received by man's personal faith and belief in Jesus Christ. This salvation is not received by nor based on any sacrament, merit, or good work on our part (John 1:11-13; 3:16; 5:24; 10:28-30; 14:6; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:23-26; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9,10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 7:24,25; 1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 John 5:11-13).
Section H. THE CHURCH
Everyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ is a member of God’s family, the church. God calls the church to meet regularly to worship, to love each other, to build each other up, to exercise our unique spiritual gifts, to be mutually accountable, and to make disciples by teaching and applying God’s word. Jesus Christ is the supreme authority over the church and He delegates authority to men who meet biblical qualifications to lead local churches. (Romans 12:5-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter1:22; Matthew 18:5-14; Galatians 6:1-3; Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8, 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18; 1Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 13:7,17)
Section I. BAPTISM
Baptism by immersion symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a public declaration of Jesus Christ as one’s Lord and Savior. Baptism does not save someone; it shows the world that someone has already been saved. While baptism is not required for salvation, it is a biblical command and demonstrates our love and obedience to Christ.(Colossians 2:12; Acts 2:41; Ephesians 2: 8-9; Matthew 28:19-20)
Section J. COMMUNION
Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is an ordinance given to all believers by Jesus Christ to remember his sacrifice for us and to symbolize the new covenant. The elements of bread and wine or juice are symbols of Christ’s broken body and shed blood. Communion is not a means of salvation. Rather, it is a testament of a believer’s faith in the atoning work of the cross.(Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29)
Section K. THE DESTINY OF MAN
All believers will be resurrected to spend eternity in a new heaven and a new earth. All non-believers will be resurrected to stand before God's throne of judgment where they will be sentenced to everlasting punishment and separation from God (Matthew 25:46; John 3:16; 5:24; 10:27-30; Romans 5:1; 6:23; 1 Thessalonians 1:9,10; 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; 1 John 5:13; Revelation 20:11-15; 22:3,4).
AUTHORITY AND AFFILIATION
Section A. PRIMARY AUTHORITY
The primary authority in this church shall rest solely in Jesus Christ as Head of the Church. His leadership and will as Chief Shepherd is revealed to this church through His Word, the Bible (Matthew 16:18; John 10:1-18; 21:15-17; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:18; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Hebrews 4:11,12; 13:20,21).
Section B. SECONDARY AUTHORITY
The secondary authority in the church shall rest in its Team of Elders, who are undershepherds of the Lord Jesus. Through their mutual submission to the Scripture and to one another, the Lord's leadership and will is both discerned and affirmed through the Elders' unity through unanimity (Acts 6:1-7; 13:2,3; 15:1-35).
Section C. AFFILIATION
This church shall be autonomous and independent, and is not subordinate to any external authority or control, ecclesiastical or governmental. Any affiliation or association it may have with any other church, group of churches, or any other organized body, shall be done so voluntarily. The continuance of any such affiliation shall be determined by the church's Team of Elders.
Section A. SENIOR PASTOR
1. Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. He is God and He bought the Church with His own blood. The Lord Jesus, through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit and the Bible, shall be pre-eminent as the Pastor of this church (Matthew 16:18; John 10:1-18; 21:15-17; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 1:18; Hebrews 13:20,21; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22).
2. We do not recognize the human office of Senior Pastor. God has given gifted men who serve as a team of spiritual leaders (elders) among the church (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:7-13; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Section B. ELDERS
The word "elder" is synonymous with "overseer", "bishop", "presbyter", "pastor", and "shepherd" (Acts 20:17,28; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
Elders shall demonstrate the qualities of spiritual maturity outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9 and 1 Peter 5:1-4.
a. The Team of Elders shall inform the church when the need for additional elders arises. This announcement shall be made during at least one of the regular Sunday morning meetings, in order to solicit prayer from the church.
b. After prayerful consideration, the Team of Elders shall assess each man who appears to demonstrate in his home-, church-, and work-life, the qualities of an elder as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; and 1 Peter 5:1-4.
c. Upon unanimous agreement by the Team of Elders that a man under consideration for the office of elder is indeed qualified, and that man agrees to serve as an elder among the church in the capacity assigned to him, then the man under consideration shall be named as a member of the Team of Elders of WestHill Church by the Team of Elders.
4. Duties and Responsibilities The Team of Elders shall:
a. Shepherd/oversee the flock/church (Acts 20:28-31; 1 Peter 5:1- 4)
b. Direct the affairs of the church (Acts 11:30; 1 Timothy 5:17)
c. Teach the Word of God (Ephesians 4:11,12; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)
a. The Elders shall function as a team. Biblical references to elders always use the word in the plural form ("elders") with the exception of 1 Timothy 3:1,2 and Titus 1:6,7. The remaining seventy-five (75) references use the plural form of the word. We understand this to imply that pastoral ministry is not to be carried out by one man, but a plurality of godly men.
b. All elders shall be accountable to each other. No elder shall be elevated above another in authority, importance, honor or control.
c. Differences in ministry function are to be expected according to an elder's giftedness, experience and training. Ministry responsibilities for each individual elder shall be assigned by the Team of Elders after careful analysis of the spiritual needs of the church. Such assignments, or any assignment revisions, when they are made, shall be communicated to the church in writing.
6. Term of Office
An Elder's ministry shall last until he resigns, or is removed from office due to a show of incompetence or lack of responsible leadership as determined by the Team of Elders' evaluation of current ministry effectiveness, or is removed from office due to any infraction of Article VI, Section D, or fails to meet the spiritual qualifications of an elder as outlined in Article V, Section B.2 of these Bylaws.
a. The Team of Elders shall meet at least monthly to pray for the people and ministries of WestHill Church, study the Word of God together, and direct the affairs of the church.
b. Members of WestHill Church are welcome to observe any Leadership meeting, but will be excused while the Team is in executive session.
c. Decisions by the Elders shall be unanimous.
All who are ordained, licensed, commissioned or otherwise authorized by this church to solemnize marriages may do so, in the exercise of religious freedom, only where the participants are a natural born man and woman. (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9)
Section C. DEACONS
The word "deacon is synonymous with "servant" and "minister" (John 2:5; Romans 13:4; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). As used throughout this document, it could refer to both deacon and deaconess.
a. Deacons shall demonstrate the qualities of spiritual maturity outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
b. Deacons shall complete required training before overseeing a Ministry Team.
a. The Team of Elders shall inform the church when the need for additional deacons arises. This announcement shall be made during at least one of the regular Sunday morning meetings, in order to solicit prayer from the church.
b. The Elders shall then (either as a Team, or through selected Elders who shall represent the Team) interview, one-by-one, individuals who appear to demonstrate in their home-, church-, and work-life, the qualities of a servant of Jesus Christ as outlined in Section C.2 of this Article.
c. Upon unanimous agreement by the Team of Elders that a man or woman under consideration for the service of a deacon is indeed qualified, and the individual agrees to serve as a deacon in the capacity assigned to him, then the person under consideration shall be named as a deacon of WestHill Church by the Team of Elders.
4. Duties and Responsibilities
Deacons shall serve in areas that would otherwise detract the Elders from their responsibilities. (Acts 6:1-4) [see Article V, Section B.4]. Ideally, each deacon will be matched to a ministry based on spiritual giftedness.
5. Term of Service
A deacon shall serve until the assigned task is completed, or the deacon resigns from service, or fails to meet the qualifications of a deacon, or is removed from service by a decision from the Team of Elders.
Section A. CORPORATE MEMBERSHIP
1. Membership of the Corporation shall consist of its Team of Elders. As the governing body of the Corporation, the Team of Elders shall:
a. Fulfill their ministry requirements as outlined in Article V, Section B.4.
b. Exercise corporate powers not inconsistent with Washington law, the Corporation's Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws.
c. Select and remove all officers, agents and employees of the Corporation; prescribe such powers and duties for them as may not be inconsistent with Washington State law, the Corporation's Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws; and fix their compensation.
d. Have the freedom to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose of the Corporation; and for that purpose to authorize to be executed and delivered in the Corporation's name promissory notes, bonds, debentures, deeds of trust, mortgages, pledges, or other evidence of debt and securities.
2. Nothing contained in Section A.1 of this Article shall be construed to limit the right of the Corporation to refer to persons who affiliate with the Corporation as "members," even though such persons are not corporate members, and no such reference in or outside of the Bylaws constitutes anyone being a corporate member.
Section B. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Those who desire to be recognized as members of WestHill Church are encouraged to attend the membership class.
Members of WestHill Church:
__ Are born-again, having received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
__ Demonstrate association with WestHill Church through regular attendance.
__ Accept the principles and practices stated in the Bylaws of WestHill Church, including the Church's statement of faith.
__ Agree to follow the spiritual leadership of the Elders of WestHill Church.
__ Are committed to serving God and others by exercising spiritual giftedness/abilities.
Section C. MEETINGS
1. Regular congregational meetings shall be held at least once a year. During these meetings, the congregation shall receive verbal and/or written reports of the ministries for the church for the previous period and for the upcoming future.
2. Special congregational meetings may be called by a simple majority of the Team of Elders at any time.
3. Notice of annual and special congregational meetings shall be given at least ten (10) days prior to the scheduled meeting time. Westhill Church will put out this notice through it’s weekly announcements, the church website, and other means available to ensure maximum attendance.
4. A quorum for any and all congregational meetings shall consist of all members present at that particular meeting.
Section D. PURITY AND DISCIPLINE
1. Any member who errs in doctrine or conduct to the extent of creating damage or discord to the ministry and testimony of WestHill Church shall be subject to restorative counsel and/or discipline. Restorative counsel includes, but is not limited to, the following:
a. Self-examination by the warning member who is to approach the erring member (Matthew 5:23,24; 7:1-5; Romans 2:1-3; Galatians 6:1; James 4:11,12).
b. One-on-one contact and confrontation of the erring member's sin (Matthew 18:15; Galatians 2:11; 6:1).
c. If the erring member does not heed this one-on-one warning, the warning member shall take with him/her one or two other members and warn the erring member a second time (Matthew 18:16).
d. The warning members shall report to the Elders the status of the meetings with the erring member.
e. The Elders shall contact then interview the alleged offender with all warning members present.
2. Any member who does not respond obediently to the restorative counsel given by the warning members and the Team of Elders shall be subject to spiritual discipline. Such discipline is limited only to the following steps:
a. If the erring member does not heed the final warning given by the Team of Elders, the matter shall be brought before the church publicly, and the membership of the church shall then be instructed to relate to the erring Christian as though he/she were not a believer nor a member of WestHill Church (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:4,5,9-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14).
b. This means that the one who has been disciplined will be encouraged to turn from his/her sin. Members in good standing at WestHill Church are encouraged to maintain "redemptive relationships" with those who have been disciplined by WestHill Church.
3. The goal of all restorative counsel and discipline is to "win" the erring member (Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; 2 Thessalonians 3:15). This means that our priority is to help sinning Christians repent and be restored to full fellowship with their church family.
4. Restorative counsel and discipline shall always be carried out in an attitude of readiness to forgive (Matthew 18:23-25; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32; 2 Corinthians 2:5-11), love and humility (Galatians 6:1; Colossians 3:12- 14), grief (1 Corinthians 5:2) and prayer (James 5:13-16).
5. All sin is a violation before God (James 2:10) and we all sin (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-10). However, there are some categories of sin which bring reproach to the Name of Christ and defile the Church in a greater way than other kinds of sin. These are:
a. Personal conflicts between members with no response to the appeal for reconciliation (Matthew 18:15-17; Philippians 4:2,3)
b. Disorderly conduct from a clear biblical command (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
c. Divisiveness within the church (Romans 16:17,18; Titus 3:9,10) d. Sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
e. False teaching/doctrine (1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:17,18; Revelation 2:14-16)
6. Any erring member who is under restorative counsel or discipline is welcome back into fellowship with WestHill Church upon confession and repentance.
Section A. REVISIONS AND ADDITIONS
These Bylaws may be revised and amended, and new and additional Bylaws may be made and added to these Bylaws by the Team of Elders whenever the Team deems necessary.
Section B. IMPLEMENTATION OF AMENDED BYLAWS
Any revision, amendment or addition to these Bylaws shall not go into effect until a copy of the revisions have been supplied to the church membership, along with a copy of the Articles to be amended or revised.
Upon the dissolution or final liquidation of the Corporation, and after payment and discharge of all liabilities and obligations of the Corporation, the remaining assets shall be transferred or conveyed to another tax-exempted corporation or entity qualifying under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, to be used only for religious or charitable purposes.
[i]Effective March 26, 2019