By-Laws of Rock Chinese Church of Austin
The church believes the Bible has adequate and correct teaching concerning the principles of organization of the church. We have listed the following to help members in understanding and applying these teachings so that everything may be done “in a fitting and orderly way” (I Cor. 14:40).
A. ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP
a. Anyone who has accepted Christ as Savior and has been baptized by the church.
b. Anyone who has accepted Christ as Savior and has been baptized before he/she came to the church, and who has participated in the church’s activities for over three months.
c. All members must be willing to abide by the church constitution and by-laws.
2. Admission Procedures:
The applicant should fill in the application form and submit to the Deacon in charge of church membership. After review procedures, the Church Council (See Section III .c) will approve and announce the new members to the congregation.
a. To participate in the General Assembly.
b. All members above age eighteen have the right to elect, to be elected and to vote.
c. To be ministered to by the Church.
d. To use the church facilities in accordance to the rules and enjoy the benefits.
e. To bring issues to the Church Council discussion agenda.
Abide by the teaching of the Bible concerning Christian faith and living such as congregational worship, evangelism, love for each other, financial giving and participation in various ministries in the church.
a. Abide by the constitution and by-laws of the church.
B. INACTIVE MEMBERSHIP
Under the following circumstances, the Church Council will change a member’s membership into inactive status. Inactive members do not have the privileges and responsibilities of active members. However, upon the removal of those circumstances, the member can request Church Council to have his (her) active status resumed.
1. Moved away from Austin area.
2. Joined another church.
3. Stopped coming to the church for an extended period of time.
4. For special reasons, members can request to terminate their memberships or change to inactive by written notification to the Church Council
C. CANCELLATION OF MEMBERSHIP
1. Disciplinary cancellation of membership should be done according to Matthew 18:15-35. Any member who has evidence of forsaking the truth or has committed major transgression, and who does not repent upon consultation by members, Deacons, Elders, and Pastors can have their memberships revoked by the Church Council
2. The church shall announce publicly the cancellation of the membership.
A. GENERAL ASSEMBLY
To be held at least once a year. Under special circumstances and by the resolution of the Church Council, the Church Council chairman may call a special assembly. The congregation will be notified of the date for the assembly in writing three weeks in advance.
a. Elect new Deacons and Elders. Review and vote on new year budget.
b. Vote on the revision of constitution or by-laws.
c. Vote on hiring of Pastors and Ministers/Ministry Directors
d. Vote on other issues submitted by the Church Council.
a. The assembly should only be held with the attendance of over half of the total active members.
b. Absent members can arrange for absentee voting before the assembly is held.
c. Voting shall be done by signed ballots to show responsibility.
d. All voting requires over two-thirds majority approval.
B. NOMINATION COMMITTEE
To nominate new Deacons and Lay Elders.
2. Deacon Nomination Formation:
Formed by Pastor(s) and five church members appointed by the Church Council . The coordinator is to be elected among and by the nomination committee members.
3. Elder Nomination Formation:
Formed by Ordained Pastors and Lay Elders. The coordinator is to be elected among and by the nomination committee members.
C. Church Council
The Church Council, as spiritual model for members of the church and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has the responsibilities of decision making and execution of all matters concerning the church. The chairman of the Church Council represents the church with regards to legal and external affairs.
The Church Council is formed by all the Deacons and Elders (Ordained Pastors and Lay Elders, see Section III E)
4. The Church Council Chairman is elected among and by the Church Council members each year. The Church Council may organize its structure to serve the ministries of the church more efficiently and effectively. The organization and job descriptions are listed in the Church Council Manual. The number of the Church Council members should not be less than six. (General guideline)
4. Small Group Leaders and Section Leaders
Small group leaders and Section Leaders are appointed by the Church Council.
According to needs of the church, boards/committees may be appointed by the Church Council which report directly to the Church Council and last until the conclusion of the tasks.
6. Decision Making:
Although the church seeks the spirit of unanimous decisions, general issues will be passed by simple majority of all Council members. Important issues (see IIIA.2(a-c)) require two-thirds majority approval of all Council members. Election of pastoral staffs and Elders and disposition of real properties require three quarters majority approval of all Council members.
a. Lead through example (I Tim 3:7-13)
b. Be a Servant (Matt 23:11; John 12:26)
c. Administration of church ministry (Acts 6:1-6)
a. Nominees must be active members of the church, and meet the qualifications described in I Timothy 3:8-13.
b. Nominees must be approved by the Church Council by two-thirds majority and confirmed by the General Assembly.
a. Each term of Deacon is two years extendable by one more consecutive term. Afterwards, a lapse of one year is required before renomination. In the event that a Deacon is conducting himself (herself) in a manner warranting of dismissal, the Church Council may decide to discontinue his (her) term.
a. Shepherd the flock (Acts 20:28, Jas. 5:14, I Pet. 5:1-3).
b. Lead through example ( I Pet. 5:3).
c. Teach biblical truths (I Tim. 3:5, Tit. 1:9).
d. Conduct Church Discipline (Mt 18:15-17)
e. Provide direction for the church (I Tim 5:17)
a. Ordained Pastors are Elders
b. Lay Elder nominees have to be active church members and meet the qualifications in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
c. Nominees must be approved by the Church Council by three-quarters majority and elected by the General Assembly.
Lay Elders are elected for a 3-year term and may be re-elected for a second 3-year term. Afterwards a lapse of one year is required before renomination. In the event that an Elder is conducting himself in a manner warranting of dismissal, the Church Council may decide to discontinue his term.
F. CHURCH STAFF
The Pastors shall consider their main ministry to be the equipping of all members of the church for the work of service so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph. 4:12). The Pastors have the responsibilities of pastoral care and spiritual leadership over the church, to officiate ordinances and to work with the Elders and Deacons in all areas of ministry in the church.
After a candidate is nominated by the Pastoral Search Committee(which is formed by five people appointed by the Church Council), he has to be approved by the Church Council with three-quarters majority vote and approved by the General Assembly. Then the Church Council may extend a written offer. The candidate should also have a very clear sense of God’s calling to RCCA.
The initial term for a Pastor will be two years. Upon extension，each subsequent terms will be three years. The Church Council will decide on term extensions six months before the conclusion of each term. Upon passing of the extension, the Church Council will submit a written offer of another term of three years. Should the Church Council decide not to extend the term, the decision requires two-thirds majority approval of the Council and the Council will notify the Pastor in writing.
If a Pastor cannot continue to serve, the Pastor should submit written notification to the Church Council three months in advance.
In the event that a Pastor is conducting himself in a manner warranting dismissal, the Church Council may decide to discontinue his term.
2. Ministers/Ministry Directors:
The Ministers/Ministry Directors shall consider their main ministry to be the equipping of all members of the church for the work of service so that the body of Christ may be built up (Eph. 4:12). The Ministers/Ministry Directors have the responsibilities of pastoral care and spiritual leadership over the church and to work with the Pastors, Elders and Deacons in all areas of ministry in the church.
After a candidate is nominated by the Pastoral Search Committee (which is formed by the Pastors and five people appointed by the Church Council ), he has to be approved by the Church Council with three-quarters majority vote and approved by the General Assembly. Then the Church Council may extend a written offer. The candidate should also have a very clear sense of God’s calling to RCCA.
The initial term for a Minister/Ministry Director will be two years. Upon extension，each subsequent terms will be three years. The Church Council will decide on term extensions six months before the conclusion of each term. . Upon passing of the extension, the Church Council will submit a written offer of another term of three years. Should the Church Council decide not to extend the term, the decision requires two-thirds majority approval of the Council.
If the minister cannot continue to serve, the Minister/Ministry Director should submit written notification to the Church Council three months in advance.
In the event that the Minister/Ministry Director is conducting himself in a manner warranting dismissal, the Church Council may decide to discontinue his term.
To be hired by Church Council according to the need of church ministries. Terms of employment will be determined by Church Council.
1. The Church Council should establish policies regarding the proper use of the church properties.
2. All legal and financial decisions concerning the church’s properties should be recommended by the Church Council.
3. Any disposition of the church real property, except those donated as offerings and not used for ministry, shall be approved by the Church Council and three-quarters majority by the General Assembly.
4. In the event of dissolution of the church, its financial estate shall be donated to other Christian organizations of the same belief and shall not become personal properties of any individual.
These By-Laws establishes the name, the membership, organization and property policy of the church. It has been drafted and reviewed by Church Planting Committee, and reviewing by the Congregation for three weeks, and finally approval by the General Assembly.
Revision of the By-Laws requires a written letter to the Church Council with the co-signature of over ten active church members stating the reasons for revision. Upon detailed examination, the Church Council will submit the proposed revision to the By-Laws revisions committee for an initial draft, which will be followed by the approval of the Church Council and final approval of the General Assembly (Details see IIIA.3).
The By-Laws has been translated into Chinese. All interpretations should refer to the original English version in areas where the Chinese version becomes ambiguous.
CONSTITUTION OF ROCK CHINESE CHURCH OF AUSTIN
III STATEMENT OF FAITH
A. The official name of our church is “Rock Chinese Church of Austin”
B. The church is a nonprofit religious organization duly registered with the State of Texas.
The church obeys the commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ, i.e. to worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth to spread the Gospel, to bring people to Christ, to equip the saints, and to grow spiritually.
III STATEMENT OF FAITH
The church upholds the following statement of faith:
- We believe in the one and only true God, Creator of all universe, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, Conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under the hand of Pontius Pilate, died on the cross, buried, descended into Hades and was raised bodily from the dead on the third day. He ascended to the right hand of the Father. He will return personally to judge the living and the dead.
- We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, who convicts and regenerates the repentant sinners, and indwells, illuminates and empowers the believers to manifest their faith in action, in attaining a sanctified life.
- We believe the sixty-six books of the Holy Bible, both the old and New Testaments, to be the inspired word of God, consistent in truth and inerrant, the divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.
- We believe that man was created in the image of God, had a glorious position originally, that he sinned and was depraved. As a sinner, man is in need of Gods’ grace for regeneration and can only be justified through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
- We believe that there shall be a bodily resurrection of the just to eternal life, and of the unjust to eternal punishment.
- We believe that the Church is built by Jesus Christ. The Church is His body, consisting of those regenerated by the Spirit of God and of which Jesus is the Head, and the purpose of the Church is to be Christ’s witness on earth.
- Baptismal Ceremony
- The prerequisites to receive baptism are repentance from sin and receiving Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Through baptism, a person identified with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the community of believers, and the commitment to a life of holiness.
- The Church practices immersion but will sprinkle under exceptional circumstances.
- Neither baptism by immersion or sprinkling has any inherent power to bring salvation. Baptism is a symbol of one’s relationship to Jesus Christ.
- The Lord’s Supper
The bread symbolizes the body of Christ, the cup symbolizes the blood of Christ. Christians eat the bread and drink the cup to remember the death of Jesus Christ and to anticipate His future return. All believers who have already been baptized should participate in the Lord’s Supper. However, those who have not been baptized should refrain from participation.
- The administrative organization of the church was established according to the teaching in the Bible, the execution of which was included in the by-laws.
- The constitution establishes the Name, Purpose and Statement of Faith and the Ordinances of the church. It was based on the 2008 revision of the constitution of the Rock Chinese Church of Austin, and voted upon by the General Assembly.
- The revision of this constitution requires the written request of the church Council with the co-signature of at least twenty of active members. The drafting of the revision will be performed by a special committee after detailed study and appointment by the Church Council. Upon approval of the revised copy, the Church Council will submit the copy for approval by two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.
- The constitution has been translated into Chinese. All interpretation should be referred to the English version in areas where the Chinese version becomes ambiguous.