With God’s blessings and protection, the Chinese Christian and Missionary Church has experienced significant growth since its relocation to the current address in Arlington, Virginia in 1991. As the church expands, both in terms of membership and ministries, its members believe that a set of bylaws for the administration of the church is needed to serve as guidelines for the church’s continuing development. The following bylaws are intended to ensure the continuity of the church by outlining both the responsibilities and rights of church members. Although the bylaws are established to reflect the church’s current conditions, they are not meant to be static in nature and could be amended after their initial enactment to reflect the church’s development, in accordance with the collective will of the membership. The Doctrine of Faith will continue to provide the Biblical principles under which the church operates. The following bylaws are enacted with the assumption that all members at the time of the enactment of the bylaws will continue to be recognized as official members of the church after the enactment of these bylaws. It is with these considerations that members of the Chinese Christian and Missionary Church adopt the following set of bylaws. May God provide us with humility, wisdom, and boldness as we preach the Gospel and expand the Church of Jesus Christ.
Article 1 Church Membership
1. Membership Types and Qualifications
There are two types of membership: (1) voting and (2) non-voting. A voting member must fulfill the following requirements:
a. confesses Jesus Christ to be his or her personal Savior and Lord;
b. is 18 years of age or older;
c. has shown satisfactory evidence of the new life in Christ in his or her daily life;
d. has been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit;
e. has regularly attended CCMC worship services for the past three months; and
f. fully agrees with CCMC's Doctrine of Faith.
A non-voting member is a member who meets all of the above requirements except (b) (i.e., a member under 18 years of age) and/or except (e) (i.e., a member who has not regularly attended worship services for the past three months).
2. Responsibilities and Rights of Members
Each voting member or non-voting member of CCMC is expected to assume certain minimum responsibilities and is accorded with certain rights, including the following:
a. share in the responsibility of maintaining and developing the church through regular attendance, constant prayer, financial giving, and spiritual gifts that the Holy Spirit has given him or her;
b. maintain a regular daily devotion in Bible reading and prayer to seek God’s will and blessings both for his or her individual life and for the church and its leadership;
c. ask, on a regular basis, the Lord to help him or her and all members to grow in obedience to Him in all areas of life, especially in the love for one another and in the fulfillment of the Great Commission (John 13:34-35; Matthew 28: 19-20);
d. (for voting members only) participate in the decision-making process of the church, as appropriate; and
e. (for voting members only) eligible for appointments to the board of elders and the board of deacons, in accordance with the guidelines set forth in Article 4 of these bylaws.
3. Procedures of Application for Membership
Upon receipt of the membership application, the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons (see Article 4) – will interview the applicant, and will determine whether the applicant has met all requirements for membership. Upon approval by the board, if the applicant is at least 18 years of age, he or she will be received as a voting member. If the applicant is under 18 years of age, he or she will be received as a non-voting member. Non-voting members who are under 18 years of age shall be promoted to be voting members when they reach 18 years of age provided that they continue to maintain the requirements for membership as outlined in Article 1, Section 1, of these bylaws.
4. Termination and Inactivation of Membership
A voting or non-voting member may withdraw his or her membership voluntarily by giving notice to the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons. If the board determines that a voting or non-voting member has been unable or unwilling to meet the requirements and responsibilities of membership, his or her membership in this church shall be terminated. If the board determines that a voting member has been absent in attending CCMC worship services for three (3) months in succession, the status of his or her membership shall become non-voting. The status of non-voting members can be changed to that of voting members if such persons inform any member of the board that they are resuming regular attendance in the church’s worship services. Non-voting members do not participate in the decision-making process of the church.
Article 2 Ordinances
Baptism by immersion, or sprinkling, or pouring, is recognized and practiced as a Scriptural ordinance to signify the union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection
(Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38, 2:41, 8:12, 8:36-38; Romans 6:1-7). The minimal age for baptism is 12 years.
2. The Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion)
The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) shall be observed regularly. Everyone who is redeemed by the blood of Christ is welcome. Non-believers should be advised to refrain from participation (I Corinthians 11:27-29).
Article 3 Membership Meetings
1. Regular Meetings
Regular membership meetings should be conducted once a year to ensure the involvement of members in the church’s decision-making process. Those meetings will include reports by the board(s) on the current state of the church. Issues that could be addressed at such meetings include the appointment of officers, the provision of ministerial and financial reports by the board(s), the seeking of the will of the Lord through prayers and other means, and the consideration of matters concerning the church as a whole, such as the calling of a pastor and the securing of a new church building.
The date, agenda, and proposals for such meetings should be announced and posted by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – four (4) Sundays before the meeting. Members who wish to submit proposals and amendments for the meetings must provide them to the board at least two (2) Sundays before the meeting, accompanied by the recommendations of at least five (5) regular members. The proposals shall be posted by the board, along with whatever counter-proposals or amendments the board may have, at least one Sunday before the meeting.
2. Special Meetings
Special membership meetings may be called by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – whenever the board(s) considers them necessary. Such meetings should be announced at least four (4) Sundays before they are held. In case of an emergency, the board(s) may call a meeting in less than four (4) Sundays before regular meeting is held in order to secure a preliminary resolution. The resolution, however, must be subsequently confirmed or ratified in a regular meeting.
A regular quorum shall be a simple majority of the regular church membership. If a quorum is not met, the meeting will be postponed to a stated time at least two (2) weeks after the originally scheduled meeting. Notice of all postponements shall be announced and posted on the intervening Sundays. The number of regular members present at the postponed meeting shall constitute a legal quorum.
Article 4 Officers
1. Board of Elders
The Board of Elders shall consist of a minimum of two (2) lay members, but no more than six (6) lay members, and the pastor(s). The number of elders should always be an even number to ensure the unanimity of all decisions. All elders are equal in position. Members of the Board of Elders may not maintain concurrent memberships in the Board of Deacons. Elder candidates are nominated by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the pastor(s) – according to Biblical qualifications and are confirmed individually by a two-third majority in a membership meeting, provided that the total affirmative votes are cast by more than 50 percent of regular membership. Elders thus confirmed are ordained by the pastor(s) and/or existing elders. A special period of prayer by the whole church shall be conducted before the confirmation of new elders (Acts 14:23). The term of office for elders is two years. There is no limitation to the terms of service for elders.
All decisions made by the board(s) should abide by the principle of unanimity. All differences among the board members during the decision-making processes should be resolved in accordance with this stated principle.
An elder must be one who:
a. has served as a deacon of CCMC for a minimum of six (6) years;
b. has completed the necessary training for the teaching of the Bible in an accredited institution; and
c. demonstrates spiritual maturity and services in various Christian ministries.
The Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – shall determine the qualifications of any candidate for eldership in accordance with the above guidelines and will submit its recommendation(s) to the congregation for confirmation.
Members of the Board of Elders must elect two co-chairs, to be occupied by the senior pastor and a lay member. These two individuals shall be given the responsibilities of calling board meetings into session, coordinating the presentation of agenda items for board meetings, and presiding over such meetings. In addition, they shall serve as trustees of the church and to act on behalf of the church in legal matters. The entire board shall vote to decide on additional responsibilities and decision-making powers that the two co-chairs could exercise during periods between the board meetings.
Elders are to oversee the congregation and to be responsible for the spiritual nurture and growth of church members. They are to be directly involved in the planning of the church direction and provide oversight of the Board of Deacons in the administration of church ministries. They are also to be responsible for the acceptance and discipline of membership. They shall also supervise the financial budgeting of the church. (I Timothy 3:1-7, 4:14, 5:17;
I Peter 5:1-4; Acts 20:28; Galatians 6:1; II Corinthians 2:5-11; Matthew 18:12-17).
A majority vote of the Board of Elders is required to terminate the employment of pastor(s) after consultation with the Board of Deacons. Finally, the Board of Elders shall be vested with the power to determine (by a unanimous vote of the board) whether to accept recommendations from the congregation regarding these bylaws prior to the enactment or subsequent amendments of these bylaws.
Only those elders who are ordained by this church as elders may function as elders in the church. An elder, however, may resign from active service due to ill health, relocation, or other personal reasons. An elder shall be dismissed, or be requested to resign from the board when his or her life and testimony have become contrary to the teaching of the Word of God. The unanimous decision of the remaining members of the Board of Elders will result in such removal (I Timothy 5:19-20).
2. Board of Deacons
In the event that the church does not have a Board of Elders, the Board of Deacons shall assume the administrative responsibilities normally accorded to the Board of Elders.
The Board of Deacons shall consist of a minimum of four (4) lay members and the pastor(s). The number of deacons should always be an even number to ensure the unanimity of all decisions. All deacons are equal in position. Members of the Board of Deacons may not maintain concurrent memberships in the Board of Elders. Deacons are nominated and confirmed according to Biblical qualifications to serve on the board. The nomination and the number and specific offices of deacons shall be determined by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the pastor(s). The minimum requirements for appointment to the Board of Deacons are:
a. Two (2) years of being a CCMC voting member; and
b. Demonstration of regular tithing and involvement in church ministries.
Additional nominations may be submitted by five (5) or more voting members to the Board of Elders or pastor(s). Deacons are confirmed by a simple majority vote in a membership meeting. The term of office for deacons is two years. There is no limitation to the terms of service for deacons. The requirement of being a 2-year CCMC voting member can be waived under special circumstances, if the Board of Deacons considers it appropriate to accept a nomination of a voting member with the requisite qualifications. The waiving of this requirement of 2-year CCMC voting membership requires a unanimous vote among all members of the Board of Deacons.
Members of the Board of Deacons must elect two co-chairs, to be occupied by the associate pastor (or in the absence of a Board of Elders or associate pastor(s), the senior pastor) and a lay member. These two individuals shall be given the responsibilities of calling board meetings into session, coordinating the presentation of agenda items for board meetings, and presiding over such meetings. If a Board of Elders is operating, these two persons shall also serve as the board liaison with the Board of Elders. In the absence of a Board of Elders, they shall serve as trustees of the church and to act on behalf of the church in legal matters. The entire Board shall vote to decide on additional responsibilities and decision-making powers that they could exercise during periods between the board meetings.
Deacons are assigned according to their specific offices, including a secretary, a treasurer, and such positions as deemed necessary to be responsible for the administration of ministries that include Christian education, fellowships, missions, evangelism, physical facility, services, and accounting. The Board of Deacons is under the supervision and authority of the Board of Elders. Policy decisions that arise from the Board of Deacons and that concern the direction of the church must be submitted to the Board of Elders for consideration and approval. Deacons shall form their own departmental committee(s) with the assistance of the Board of Elders in order that the greatest number and the most appropriate utilization of spiritual gifts may be achieved in the church.
In the event that the church does not have a Board of Elders, policy decisions should be made by the Board of Deacons in consultation with pastor(s) of the church. In the absence of a Board of Elders, the Board of Deacons could terminate the employment of pastor(s) only upon consultation with the regular voting members of the church through the holding of a regular church meeting and subject to the unanimous approval of the regular membership. Finally, in the absence of a Board of Elders, the Board of Deacons shall be vested with the power to determine (by a unanimous vote of the board) whether to accept recommendations from the congregation regarding these bylaws prior to the enactment or subsequent amendments of these bylaws.
A deacon shall be dismissed, or be requested to resign from the Board of Deacons when his or her life and testimony have become contrary to the teaching of the Word of God. The unanimous decision of the Board of Elders will result in such removal. In the event that the church does not have a Board of Elders, the remaining members of the Board of Deacons can take similar action provided it is reached with a unanimous decision.
Pastors of the church may include a senior pastor and various associate and assistant pastors. At any one time, the church shall have only one senior pastor. The number of associate and assistant pastors is determined by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – in consultation with regular members of the church. Decisions on the number of associate and assistant pastors to be employed at the church should be made based on the needs of the church. Each pastor is a member of the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons.
The primary tasks of all pastor(s) are to equip the church members for the work of ministry and the building up of the body of Christ. The senior pastor in particular is a full-time spiritual leader of the church, serving as a co-chairman of the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons. He shall also be an ex-officio member of all church organizations. (Ephesians 4:11-16; Titus 2:2, 4:2; I Timothy 5:17)
In case of a vacancy, the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – shall appoint a pastor search committee to search for prospective candidates who are called to the ministry, meet the Scriptural qualifications of a teaching elder, and be able to carry out the stated purpose of the church. (I Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:5-9; Matthew 28:18-20)
Either the church or the pastor(s) may terminate the contract with a six-month notice. See sections 1 and 2 of this article.
The Board of Trustees, as required by the State of Virginia, shall include the Board of Elders (if existing), the senior pastor, the secretary of the Board of Deacons, the Deacons who are in charge of finance and physical facilities, and any deacon who the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the senior pastor and the other co-chair of the Board of Deacons – shall appoint. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the handling of the church properties and other legal affairs.
5. Additional Salaried Staff
In case of need, the position(s) of paid staff shall be established by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons. Budget for their employment shall be drawn up by the Board of Deacons and confirmed by all members of the board(s). The responsibilities of salaried staff shall be specified by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons.
6. General Guidelines
All officers of the church and salaried personnel must conscientiously subscribe to the Mission and the Doctrine of Faith of the church before taking office. The Mission Statement and the Doctrine of Faith of the church are attached to these bylaws as appendices.
In accordance with the principle stated at the beginning of this article, the boards and all church officers shall make all efforts to resolve differences among them that arise during the decision-making processes with love, patience, and understanding. However, in the event that the differences seem irreconcilable and/or have resulted in negative influences upon the church and its membership, the boards shall have at their discretion the ability to seek mediation from an impartial third party.
Article 5 Subsidiary Organizations
Subsidiary organizations such as fellowship groups may be formed as needed for youths, the elderly, and others in the church to achieve the goals of and to further the ministries of the Gospel. The purpose of these organizations must be in accordance with the principles and practice of the church. Sponsor(s) appointed by the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – shall oversee the group(s) and shall assist in the establishment of stability and growth of the group(s) and shall assure their conformity with the direction and objectives of the church. All officers of subsidiary organizations must be members of the church, and must subscribe to the Doctrine of Faith.
Article 6 Dissolution
The church may be dissolved by a unanimous affirmative vote of all current regular members in a special membership meeting that is called for this purpose. In case of dissolution, all church assets, properties, and proceeds therefrom above liabilities shall be divided among the missionary units who are receiving support from the church, according to the proportion of the most current missions budget. In accordance with the laws of Virginia, the Board of Trustees shall have sole authority to carry out this disposition.
Article 7 Amendments and Revisions
Proposals for amendments to these bylaws shall be submitted to the Board of Elders – or, in its absence, the Board of Deacons – by five (5) or more regular members of separate families two (2) months before a membership meeting. The proposed amendments and recommendation of the Board of Elders shall be posted at least four (4) Sundays before the meeting, in which a two-third majority affirmative vote of regular members present is required for adoption. (See Sections 1 and 2 of Article 4 regarding the incorporation of suggestions from regular voting members on the contents of the bylaws prior to the enactment or amendments of these bylaws.)
Appendix II Doctrine of Faith
The Chinese Christian and Missionary Church holds the APOSTLES' CREED as its basic doctrine. We believe the following:
1. There is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), who is infinitely perfect (Matthew 5:48), existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
2. Jesus Christ is true God and true man (Philippians 2:6-11). He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:36-38). He died upon the cross, the Just for the unjust (I Peter 3:18), as a substitutionary sacrifice (Hebrews 2:9), and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood (Romans 5:9). He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures (Acts 2:23-24). He is now at the right hand of the Majesty on high as our great High Priest (Hebrews 8:1). He will come again to establish His kingdom of righteousness and peace (Matthew 26:64).
3. The Holy Spirit is a divine person (John 14:15-18), sent to indwell, guide, teach, empower (John 16:13), and distribute spiritual gifts to believers according to His will (1 Cor 12:11). He convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment (John 16:7-11).
4. The Old and New Testaments, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice (II Peter 1:20-21, II Timothy 3:15-16).
5. Mankind, composed of male and female, was originally created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27). God also set up an intimate relationship between one male and one female called marriage (Gen 2:20-25). Men fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death. All men are born with a sinful nature (Romans 3:23), are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). The portion of the impenitent and unbelieving is existence forever in conscious torment (Revelation 21:8); and that of the believer, is everlasting joy and bliss (Revelation 21:1-4).
6. Salvation has been provided through Jesus Christ for all men; and those who repent and believe in Him are born again of the Holy Spirit, receive the gift of eternal life, and become the children of God (Titus 3:4-7).
7. It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified wholly (I Thessalonians 5:23), being separated from sin and the world and fully decided to the will of God, thereby receiving power for holy living and effective service (Acts 1:8). This is both a crisis and a progressive experience wrought in the life of the believer subsequent to conversion (Romans 6:1-4).
8. The Church consists of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed through His blood, and are born again of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23), which has been commissioned by Him to go into all the world as a witness, preaching the gospel to all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). The local church is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together for the worship of God, for edification through the Word of God, for prayer, fellowship, the proclamation of the gospel, and observance of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:41-47).
9. There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, a resurrection unto life (I Corinthians 15:20-23); for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment (John 5:28-29).
10. The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent (Hebrews 10:37) and will be personal, visible, and premillennial (Luke 21:27). This is the believer's blessed hope and is vital truth, which is an incentive to holy living and faithful service (Titus 2:11-14).