Membership in Spirit Chapel is open to anyone who gives evidence of his/her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who voluntarily subscribes to the Statement of Fundamental Truths and who agrees to be governed by the constitution and bylaws of this church as herein set forth.
Spirit Chapel is a fellowship of believers participating in the labors of the Holy Spirit in this community. Any person interested in becoming a member of the congregation of the church shall submit a signed application, in a form approved by the board of directors, to the secretary of the church. This shall be followed by a meeting with the Senior Pastor or Directors of Ministries, who will verify the applicant’s adherence to the ways of Christian life, as well as defining the expectations of members who are part of Spirit Chapel. Each application shall be considered by the Directors of Ministries at its regular meeting or at any special meeting of the Directors of Ministries, and either approved, disapproved or tabled. Applicants who are so approved shall become active members of the congregation of the church.
Spirit Chapel subscribes to a nonvoting membership. In any growing congregation, there will be people at all stages of spiritual growth and maturity. For that reason, it is not proper to submit the affairs of the church to a democratic vote, for the purpose of the church is not to do the will of the majority, but the will of God.
Any disputes that arise over the interpretation of these bylaws shall be deferred to the highest authority of this church. In this case it would be the pastor, with the advice of the board of directors.
Spirit Chapel claims authority to make all decisions with respect to membership without regulation by federal, state or local authorities, as substantiated by case law. In Watson v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that
“Whenever the questions of discipline, or of faith, of ecclesiastical rule, custom, or law have been decided by the highest church judicatory to which the matter has been carried, the legal tribunals must accept such decisions as final, and as binding on them . . .”
Additionally, it was ruled by the Supreme Court in Jones v. Wolf, 443 U.S. 595 (1979) that to suspend or exclude from the Lord’s Supper those found delinquent, are matters concerning membership and are solely under the control of the church, and that a member may have membership revoked if the pastor and/or church board of directors deem it necessary so long as the church follows its own rules in doing so. This right and power cannot go under review by the IRS or judicial courts.
All new members shall have all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of a member of the Church.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
This church shall be composed of individuals, hereafter called MEMBERS, who meet the following requirements:
- They publicly and truthfully confess that they have accepted Jesus Christ as both savior and Lord of their lives
- They agree that the Spirit Chapel is the local body through which they will serve and worship God.
- They agree to serve with their time, talent and finances.
- They agree to abide by its constitution and by-laws.
- They have either previously been, or are willing to accept believers baptism.
- The person has to be at least 14 years old.
At the creation of Spirit Chapel the founders were the original members of the church.
THE STANDARDS OF MEMBERSHIP
The standard of membership of this church shall be:
- Evidence of a genuine experience of regeneration (new birth) (John 1:12-14; John 3:3-8; I Peter 1:23-25)
- Evidence of a consistent Christian life (Romans 6:4; 8:1-4; 13:13-14; Ephesians 4:l-2,15,17-32; 5:1,2,15; I John 1:6,7)
- Baptism in water by immersion (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 10:47-48; Romans 6:3-l2; Colossians 2:1l-l2)
- Full subscription to the tenets of faith as set forth in the bylaws adopted by the church
- Willingness to contribute regularly to the support of the church according to his or her ability through tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:l0; Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:4-5)
- Support of the church with regular attendance at services (Hebrews 10:25).
PROHIBITED CONDUCT OF MEMBERS
Any member or those who are in covenant fellowship with the church, found guilty of any of the following offenses shall be subject to removal from the church membership:
- In any way sowing discord among the brethren, including but not limited to rumor mongering, tale bearing and bearing false witnesses (Proverbs 6:16-l9, I Corinthians 1: 10, 12:25, Galatians 5:20-21, Ephesians 4:2-3).
- Propagating of doctrines and practices contrary to the Statements of Fundamental Truths which causes discord, dissention and division in the church (Romans 1:21-32; Galatians 1:8-9; Titus 3:9-l1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6).
- Living any kind of sexually immoral lifestyle (Romans 1:21-32, I Corinthians 5:1-5,9-13, Galatians 5:16-21, Ephesians 5:1-12, I Thessalonians 4:1-7).
- Persisting in believing or propagating some pernicious, false, contrary doctrine (Romans 16:17-l8, I Timothy 4:1, II Timothy 4:3-4, Titus 3:10-11, II Peter 2:1-3).
- Involvement in any form of occult practices (Deuteronomy 18:9-l 4, Acts 19: 18-l 9, Galatians 5:20, Revelation 21:8).
- Being involved with the sinful worldly habits, vices, amusements, such as abusing alcoholic beverages (Proverbs 23:29-32, I Corinthians 6:19); abusing narcotics, illegal drugs or controlled substances including marijuana (Romans 6:12-l 6, Galatians 5: 1); participating in oath bound secret societies (Hosea 10:4, Matthew 5:34-37); promoting attitudes, values or conduct contrary to God’s Word (Luke 11:34-36, I Thessalonians 4:7).
- Publicly wearing apparel which is indecent or blatantly sexually provocative (I Timothy 2:9-l0, 4:11-12).
- Repeated offenses of civil laws that are not consistent with the Word of God (Ecclesiastes 8:2-4, Romans 13:1-7, I Peter 2:13-l7).
- TERMINATION AND DISMISSAL OF MEMBERSHIP
Members shall be removed from the Church roll for the following reasons:
- the request of the member
- the transfer of membership to another church
- termination of membership by the Directors of Ministries.
The Directors of Ministries may terminate a person’s Church membership when, in the opinion of Directors of Ministries, the member’s life and conduct is in violation of Section D: Prohibitive Conduct of Members. Before a person’s Membership is terminated by the Directors of Ministries, reasonable effort shall be made to address the areas of concern with the member, and allow the member to correct the behavior.