Created - June 15, 2015
Edited by Elders - June 1, 2019
We, the members of Downtown Mission Church, Wisconsin do establish the following articles to which we voluntarily submit ourselves:
Article I: Organization
A. Name: The name of this church shall be Downtown Mission Church.
B. Date Organized: Downtown Mission Church was organized on May 10, 2012
C. Incorporation: This organization was incorporated in the State of Wisconsin on May 1, 2012.
Article II: Purpose & Mission
Growing disciple-making, gospel-centered communities, by the power of God to the glory of God.
Article III: Affirmation of Faith
Article V: Membership
The local church is a body of believers with Christ as its head. Participation in the local church is absolutely essential for the maturity of professing believers. This body is interdependent and each member is a valuable part of what Jesus intends to do in and through the life of Downtown Mission Church. As each member functions according to God’s design and in the sharing of our faith, the body builds itself up in love.
A. Membership Requirements: All candidates for membership of Downtown Mission Church must give a clear testimony and evidence of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Downtown Mission Church recognizes any professing believer age 18 or older as eligible for membership.
B. Membership Procedures: See By-Laws for membership procedures.
Article VI: Church Discipline
A. Rationale: Ongoing sin in the life of a believer obstructs his/her walk with the Lord, threatens the unity and fellowship within the body, and ultimately weakens the witness of the church among unbelievers. (1 John 1:7; 2 Corinthians 6:3).
Scripture therefore encourages believers to be concerned with each other’s spiritual well-being and teaches them to confront one another in love where there is evidence of sin. (2 Corinthians 11:29; Galatians 6:1).
Scripture teaches that such confrontation should be approached with an attitude of love, genuine concern, and humility. It should be motivated by a sincere desire to see repentance and restoration of fellowship. Reflecting Christ’s grace and forgiveness, believers are taught to be quick to forgive when there is the genuine expression of repentance on the part of a fellow believer (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 6:14,15, 18:21ff; Ephesians 4:32; Luke 17:3).
B. Discipline Procedures: See By-Laws for discipline procedures.
Article VII: Responsibility of Members
Membership in the body of Christ requires a desire to submit every phase of ones’ life to the Lordship of Jesus. It therefore involves obedience to the Scriptural principles of commitment and accountability to the body of Christ, as summarized in the following areas:
Article VIII: Government
A. Administration: Downtown Mission Church recognizes that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the local church. Under his authority, Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit calls and equips qualified men to serve in the role of elder. This team of elders is responsible for the spiritual care and direction of the church and are God’s appointed and accountable authority in the local church. Among this team of elders are men who serve in the vocational role of pastor, as well as men who serve in a non-vocational capacity. These men are to be affirmed by the congregation as competent, qualified, and called to this service. Deacons are appointed to serve in the administration of specific ministries and do not hold the spiritual authority given by Christ to the elders of the church. As such, the deacons serve under the authority and supervision of the elders.
B. Congregation: The church body shall take final action on the following matters. If a matter comes before the church body that less than all the members are eligible to vote on, a quorum for that matter shall consist of 40% of the members eligible to vote on that issue. See By-Laws for voting eligibility. Absentee ballots shall not count toward any quorum requirement.
These matters shall require a 3/4 majority for approval:
Ministry Teams exist for the efficient and appropriate function will have an Elder to whom that Team is responsible.
Ministry Team leaders, deacons/deaconesses, shall be appointed or removed from office by the board of elders. Each appointment shall be reevaluated yearly and empty positions will be filled by qualified leaders as needed. The Ministry Team leader and the Elder responsible for that team shall have the freedom to assemble the team to carry out the ministries assigned for the coming year.
Article IX: Church Staff
A. Lead Pastor:
The Lead Pastor shall be chosen by written ballot at a constitutionally called business meeting (see By-Laws for procedure). Each candidate shall be considered individually and shall be voted upon before another candidate is presented.
C. Tenure of a Lead Pastor:
Accusations against a pastor or elder shall not be considered unless supported by two or more witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19-20).
If it is determined that a pastor/elder has erred in doctrine or conduct, he shall be charitably admonished by the board of elders with a goal toward restoration. If the elders deem the issue serious enough to warrant further disciplinary action, they may place a pastor on suspension of duties with pay until such matter is satisfactorily resolved. In the case of a lay elder, they shall be suspended from their responsibilities until the matter is satisfactorily resolved.
If this does not bring about restoration, the matter shall be brought before the church body. Charges against the pastor/elder shall be stated in writing with scriptural support. Should he be found unworthy by majority vote at a constitutionally called business meeting, he shall be removed from his position. In the case of a pastoral staff member, their position and employment shall be terminated. Termination may include up to 60 days salary.
E. Other Pastoral Staff:
Other church employees shall be appointed or terminated by the board of elders. Their salary levels will be consistent with the church budget. The responsibility for supervision of such employees will be specified by the board of elders.
Article X: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the Church shall be from October 1 to September 30 inclusive.
Article XI: Meetings
A. Devotional Meetings:
Article XII: Church Property
A. Dissolution: Should a condition arise at any time in the future when, for any reason, the church work cannot continue, the church property shall be liquidated and the proceeds distributed to other churches, parachurch organizations, or non-profits as determined by the board of elders.
B. Consolidation: Should a condition arise where a consolidation with another church be advisable, Downtown Mission Church’s board of elders is authorized by the congregation of Downtown Mission Church to negotiate the terms of such consolidation, including the disposition of all debts and real property and financial assets. The elders of Downtown Mission Church are also authorized to negotiate the absorption of other local churches, including the disposition of assets (real and financial) and debts absorbed.
Article XIII: Amendments
A. Initiation: Any proposed amendment to this constitution shall be brought to the congregation by the board of elders at a constitutionally called business meeting.
B. Notice: Written notice to the membership concerning the nature of the proposed amendment will be sent at least four weeks prior to a vote on the amendment. The business meeting during which the vote is to take place will be announced publicly not less than two Sundays prior to the meeting.
C. Adoption: The proposed amendment shall become a part of this constitution immediately upon affirmation of a ¾ majority vote of members present during the business meeting at which such amendment is affirmed.
The purpose of the By-Laws is to more definitively explain the qualifications, authority and responsibilities of Downtown Mission Church members and leadership in order to address our mission.
Article I: Membership Procedures
A. Procedure to Join:
Article II: Government
A. Membership is a requirement for voting in church decisions.
B. Written absentee ballots may be used for elections only. These ballots
must be sealed and delivered to a member of the elder board in advance of the election. It will be the responsibility of the board of elders to deliver them to be counted with the other ballots cast during the meeting for which they are intended.
C. The proposed budget shall be announced and made available for review no sooner than four weeks prior to the annual business meeting. Voting on the annual budget will be held during the annual business meeting in accordance with Article XI of the church constitution.
Article III: Board of Elders
A. Number of Elders: The exact number of elders is to be determined
annually by the board of elders (not less than three per location). During the initiation of new church plants, the existing elder board from established sites will oversee the business of the new site as it seeks to identify and equip elder candidates.
B. Length of Term: The length of term shall be two years. In the case of pastoral staff explicitly designated as pastors of the church, no term limitations, length of term, or congregational re-affirmation will apply.
C. Term Limitations: There shall be no term limitations.
D. Duties: The board of elders shall:
Article IV: Ministry Teams
A. Qualifications of Team Leaders: A ministry team leader shall be a member who exhibits the character and qualities set forth in Titus 1:8,9.
B. Length of Term: Ministry team leaders shall continue at their post indefinitely. The elder board will be responsible for reviewing ministry team leaders annually to ensure accountability.
C. Duties: Ministry Teams shall:
Article V: Administrative Division
The board of elders is responsible for appointing trustworthy individuals to serve in the task of financial stewardship, accounting, and management of resources. The designated bookkeeper is responsible for presenting regular statements concerning the finances of the church to the board of elders not less than quarterly. These statements will direct the elders of Downtown Mission Church in amending the yearly budget according to incoming funds and outgoing expenditures. Any hiring of financial or administrative staff to perform these duties will follow the guidelines set forth in Article IX of the constitution.
Article VI: Discipline
Unchristian Conduct and Grievances Between Believers: When the actions of a member are deemed to be detrimental to the church or any member thereof, (i.e. impenitently practicing a known sin as defined in the Bible and/or habitually neglecting church obligations) the matter shall be considered by the board of elders or its appointed agency. This process shall include confidential inquiry, counsel to the members involved, and recommendation to the Church for appropriate action if necessary. The spirit of this action is to be supportive and expressive of the acceptance, help, and forgiveness of the Church. If the member responds favorably to the inquiry by giving evidence of innocence (or repentance, if necessary) no further action shall be required. Should the member fail to respond favorably, the board of elders shall recommend to the Church that his or her name be removed from membership. If possible, the member must be notified of the meeting and given the privilege of speaking on his or her own behalf. This process will follow the standard set forth for church discipline in Matthew 18:15-20. All matters of personal grievance within the church will also be counseled to follow the same pattern, with appropriate counsel given by the board of elders to the unreconciled parties with the aim of restoration and church unity. Such grievances may also be considered a subject of church discipline if an attitude of impenitence continues.
Article VIII: Indemnification
Downtown Mission Church shall indemnify any and all persons who may serve or have served at any time as a pastor, associate pastor or in another executive level staff position in the church, as a church officer, or member of a church board or committee, as a youth leader for a church youth organization or as a teacher or counselor of the Church elected or appointed by the Church or any board of committee of the Church, against any and all expenses, including amounts paid upon judgments, counsel fees, and amounts paid in settlement (before or after suit is commenced) actually and necessarily incurred by such persons in connection with the defense or settlement of any claim, action, suit or proceeding in which they, or any of them, are made parties, or a party, or which may be asserted against any of them or any of them by reason of being or having been in one or more of the aforesaid positions, except in relation to matters as to which any such person shall be adjudged in any action, suit or proceeding to be liable for his own negligence or misconduct in the performance of his duties. Such indemnification shall be in addition to any other rights to which those indemnified may be entitled under any law, bylaw, agreement or otherwise.
Article IX: Amendments
Amendments to these By-Laws will follow the same process as noted in the Downtown Mission Church constitution for the amending of the church constitution.