Sunday School @ 9:45am
Sunday Worship @ 11:00am
Training Union @ 5:00pm
Evening Worship @ 6:00pm
Wednesday Prayer Service @ 7pm
This fellowship recognizes and treasures the autonomy and authority of the local church. Furthermore, we declare that the church shall have the right to convene her membership at pleasure for the purpose of transacting her own business. Such body, when convened, shall be denominated the church conference.
This conference shall meet at regular intervals as the individual church may deem appropriate for their particular needs, and this body shall have the authority to make her own rules as long as they do not conflict with the Holy Scriptures, the great system of practical Christianity, or the guidelines set by this fellowship and its articles of faith and government. This conference shall have the right to establish committees for the work of the conference or call for the assistance of other ministers or churches as may seem fit and necessary to transact church business. No visiting brethren or churches, however, may be granted the right to vote in another church’s conference.
Furthermore, it is the right of this conference to inquire into the moral conduct of its members, call church trials as necessary, and admonish, reprove, rebuke, or expel offending members as needed. No member or minister, however, should ever be expelled without Biblical principles are followed.
It is recommended that every church hold conference at least quarterly for the purpose of adopting a complete and orderly finance report. All funds received by the church are to be used for the honor and glory of God, and a full and appropriate accounting of the funds shall be given to the conference of the church including receipts, a total of disbursements and their purpose, present balance of funds, and any outstanding debts owed by the church. This accounting may be given orally or by written report. We are stewards of God’s work, and we must be found faithful.
All conferences shall retain a full and fair record of their proceedings. Furthermore, a book should be kept documenting all accessions to the church, expulsions from the church, letters granted, and deaths suffered to the church’s membership. All members in full standing shall be given the right of a vote in church conference, and votes shall be decided by majority vote. The conference moderator shall have the right of casting the deciding vote in the case of a tie.
All meetings should be carried out decently and in order. God is not the author of confusion. All those desiring to speak should be recognized and address the chair when speaking. Biblical principles of church business should be followed; therefore, we must seek to transact the business of the church as with brothers and sisters in Christ.
The pastor of the church shall preside as moderator of the church conference unless something forbid, in which case the conference shall appoint a presiding officer for the meeting. The moderator should exercise diplomacy in his speech as he deals with church business, and he shall address members that speak as brothers in Christ. Following prayer the moderator may call to order the conference and follow the order of business as follows:
All church conferences are to be closed with prayer.
Fellowship meetings may be held at the pleasure of the Fellowship of Bible-Based Churches, but it shall be the practice to hold at least one fellowship meeting per year. The time and date for this meeting will be set by the body of the fellowship. At the meeting members chosen by the churches for delegates shall compose the voting body of the fellowship, and visitors will be encouraged to attend.
The members chosen to represent their church as delegates to the fellowship meeting shall bring to the fellowship a letter stating the names of the delegates, the name of the church pastor, and the condition of the church. These letters shall be read by the clerk of the fellowship, and the delegation shall be seated by the moderator. This delegation shall be deemed the Fellowship of Bible-Based Churches.
All ministers in attendance, whether members of the fellowship or delegates from their church shall be subject to use for preaching unless the fellowship is notified of his church that he is no longer in good standing. No minister, however, is allowed a vote unless he shall be duly elected as a delegate by his church.
Every church belonging to the fellowship shall be entitled to four delegates regardless of membership, and all members are encouraged to attend fellowship meetings whether or not serving as delegates from their respective churches. One of these representatives should be the pastor, unless the church is without the services of a minister.
The fellowship shall have a moderator and clerk elected of the delegation of the body. The moderator shall preside over the services, and the clerk shall maintain a record thereof.
Any believers desiring to attend the fellowship services are welcome and encouraged to attend. Furthermore, fellowship meetings are to be based around worship rather than business. A member church shall host the fellowship meeting each year, and the host pastor shall coordinate with the moderator of the fellowship the schedule of preaching and singing. The only preacher to be set to preach by the body of the fellowship shall be the introductory speaker for the coming year.
Any church desiring admittance into this fellowship shall petition by letter and at least four delegates. If the church be found orthodox according to these articles of faith, they shall be received by majority vote and the right hand of fellowship.
This fellowship shall have no power to either lord over God’s heritage or infringe upon the rights and privileges of the local church.
Any amendments or alterations to the system of government of this fellowship may be changed as necessary by petition from the local church to the fellowship and must be ratified by a two-thirds majority of the delegation of the fellowship.
The order of business may be completed on a schedule that suits the body of the fellowship, and adequate time for worship and preaching should always be maintained.
Each church shall hold deed to its own property. The fellowship may not hold title deed to any church in our fellowship. It is not an appropriate practice for a member or minister of the church to have church property deeded in his name either. It is God’s church; we are stewards of it, and no one man has authority or right to own a church.
Membership in the local church is a great privilege; it is not a right. Only persons who have declared their faith and trust in Christ as Lord and Savior and have demonstrated a desire to walk in his example should be received into the church. No persons shall be received into the church without the consent of a majority of members present. The church is authorized to receive members:
The church shall have the right to receive her members into full fellowship immediately or under the watchcare of the church for a stated period of time. No member who fails to exhibit a desire to continue in his walk with God and fellowship with the church shall be guaranteed the right of continuing his church membership. It shall be the prerogative of the local church conference to maintain their membership books according to Gospel principles.
The church shall have the right to elect all her own officers annually as she sees fit. Each church should elect a pastor and church clerk or secretary, and other officers may be necessary and proper for the work of the local church body.
Though each church has the right to elect her own officers annually as she sees fit, many choose to set the pastor on an indefinite call. The pastor should give the church at least a 30 day notice at the time of his resignation, and, if the church shall deem it appropriate to inform him that his services are no longer needed, the church should afford the pastor a 30 day notice as well.
It is advisable that each church have a comprehensive description of every office of the church and the duties of the officers who hold them. This description should be as specific as possible without restricting the freedom needed to carry out the work that is assigned to each officer. The following is a sample or suggestion of how to set up such descriptions of the offices:
Officer- anyone elected or appointed to an office of authority or responsibility.
Pastor- The chief officer of a local church is the pastor. He is a man called of God to preach the Gospel. He has first been licensed or liberated by his local church to preach, and after he has proved his gifts as a preacher, he has been ordained by his church to the ministry according to church custom. He shall be called to the church by a majority vote of the local assembly.
Secretary/Clerk- An executive officer presiding and managing a department which concerns correspondence, records, and clerical business for the organization. It shall be the duty of the secretary/clerk to attend all conferences of the church and minute its proceedings in a book to be kept for the purpose, and register in the same the names of all members, distinguishing by separate columns the time of joining, deaths, removals by letter, expulsion.
Treasurer- Officer in charge of Finances. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, record, deposit, and report all finances taken in by the church, and to disperse, record, and report each expense or payment of the church. The treasurer shall make a report to be shared at each church conference detailing all deposits, disbursements, and the ending balance. He is expected to be an example of Christian stewardship- always faithful in all matters of financial conduct whether it be personal or church business. Inherent in his duties is the right and responsibility to pay all regular payments and bills of the church.
Trustee- a person to whom another’s property or the management of another’s property is entrusted- Main interest should be that the grounds be maintained. They are also to be the signers for any loan for which church property shall be put up as collateral, but they may not procure such a loan without the majority vote of the conference.
Music Director- The head of a musical project- a Supervisor, a Conductor. It shall be the duty of the music director to start all services on time, to call any visiting brethren to sing, and to supply music for the choir and all church functions. Any musical activities going on inside or outside of the established church functions must be approved at his discretion and leadership.
Sunday School Teachers- It shall be the duty of all teachers regardless of which class, to study to show themselves approved, to provide sound doctrinal leadership, and to be faithful to the church. Furthermore, each teacher is hereby charged with the responsibility of promoting the study of the Bible by his students, the responsibility of promoting numerical growth in his class by visitation and phone calls, and the necessity of always using and promoting the Authorized King James Version of the Bible as the only acceptable English translation of the Scriptures in this church.
Notice: Any and all officers of this church are expected to always keep a clean, close, Christ-like walk with God. It is expected, even required, as long as they remain officers of this church to be faithful to church and our activities. It is expected of officers to be an example unto the rest of the church in dress, speech, and practice. It is expected of officers to be stewards- faithful to the jobs God has placed in their care. The church has the right to remove or replace any officer as they see fit, yet still only by an act of the conference of the church.
This list of officers and descriptions is not comprehensive. Furthermore, it is not required that this be the guidelines for the officers of any individual church. Each church should create a list of its own guidelines. This is simply to serve as an example of what areas may need to be addressed.
The practice of homosexuality is clearly and absolutely repugnant to the Word of God and the teaching of the church. No person involved with this abominable lifestyle shall be afforded the right of church membership. Furthermore, he shall surely have no right to be accepted as a minister or officer of the church or the fellowship.
The family is the basic unit of human relationships and as such is foundational to both society and the church (Genesis 2:18-24). The divine origin of the family, along with its foundational nature makes it imperative that we give priority to ministry to the family. The practice of Christian disciplines and virtues should begin in the home (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Therefore, our families should establish some pattern for family devotions and should endeavor to provide a Christian environment in the home.
Furthermore, we will give priority to fulfilling family responsibilities, to preserving the sanctity of marriage, and to maintaining God’s divine order in the home. In so doing we must declare our opposition to all forms of marriage except that between one man and one woman.
The sins of fornication and adultery are all too prevalent and acceptable in the society of today. This association condemns these acts. Persons who are living under common law marriage or co-habitation should not be afforded membership in the church.
The use of alcoholic beverages and recreational drugs is a practice condemned in the Scriptures, and we absolutely oppose intoxicating agents of every sort. No drugs of any sort should ever be placed in the body of the believer except as is necessary to maintain the health of the body.
We believe that an able-bodied man who will not work neither should eat. Any profit gained from taking advantage of others is against scriptural principles. This principle would teach us of the evil of gambling, theft, extortion, blackmail, dishonesty in sales, and the purchase of stolen goods. Christian people should always exhibit the utmost honesty and ethical behavior when transacting any business.
The literature we read and the programming that we receive over the airways will profoundly affect the way that we think, feel, and act. It is, therefore, imperative that the Christian read, watch, and listen to those things which inspire, instruct, and challenge us to live for God’s glory on a higher plane (Philippians 4:8). Therefore, literature, programs, music, and so-called arts that are worldly in content or pornographic in nature should be avoided by every child of God.
We recognize the place of music and song in the worship of God by his people. All songs used by churches in our fellowship, however, should magnify Christ. The use of worldly lyrics or rhythms should not be accepted.
We believe in the great commission to preach the Gospel to every creature on earth. Each church should endeavor to do all that they can to spread the Gospel through the efforts of their local assembly and take what measures that they can to assist others who do the same.
This fellowship shall not be responsible for any accident or injury occurring on any local church property. It is the responsibility of the local church to retain the appropriate insurance coverage to deal with such an occurrence.
When any brother is impressed with a sense of duty to preach the Gospel, the church of which he is a member may liberate him to preach. This does not require a license. The newly called preacher shall make known his calling to his church. His pastor may then recognize him by setting a time for him to deliver his first scheduled sermon.
As he demonstrates the gift of God on his life to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ, his pastor and church may desire to recommend him to others to schedule a service in which he may exhort the brethren in other churches as well. Pastors are encouraged to give a liberated preacher ample opportunity to prove himself. The pastor and church may choose to help the newly called preacher to establish a service regularly in the local nursing home, county jail, or on a street corner. These all give the brother to opportunity to show his zeal and commitment to the preaching of the Gospel.
When a preacher has been liberated for a period of at least six months and has shown himself faithful in preaching the glorious Gospel of Christ and being an example to the flock, he may request of his local church a license to preach. Before licensing the brother the church conference should request the assistance of at least three brethren of the fellowship to serve along with the pastor of the candidate for license and at least one member of the local assembly as an examination committee. This committee of five or more members may meet at their leisure as seems fit to inquire into the fitness of the candidate for license to preach.
The preacher must be qualified to serve according to I Timothy 3:1-7 and II Timothy 2:15-16. He must have declared his faith and trust in Christ as his Lord and Savior and have followed our Lord in believer’s baptism. He must believe in his heart that the Spirit has placed on him a call of God to preach the Gospel. He must have proven himself to have the gifts of God necessary to preach the Gospel. The candidate should affirm his support for the articles of faith of the Fellowship of Bible-Based Churches. This fellowship shall not recognize or endorse in any manner any female member seeking liberation to preach, license to preach, or ordination for the ministry.
Following their examination, the committee shall compose a letter to the church conference that will declare their recommendation. If the examination committee finds that the candidate for license should be refused, they must state the cause in their recommendation to the church. The letter of recommendation shall be read aloud in church conference by a member of the examination committee. The local church conference should vote to receive the letter and adopt or reject the recommendation of the examination committee. Furthermore, if a recommendation to issue a preacher’s license to the candidate is adopted, it shall take its regular course in conference. The church clerk shall provide a form of license to preach, and it shall be signed and dated by the clerk and moderator of the conference. This license shall be valid perpetually, but it may be revoked by the church conference if in the estimation of the conference the licentiate has ceased to fulfill his qualification and duties as a preacher of the Gospel of Christ.
This license to preach acknowledges the confidence of the church in the recipient. This authorizes him to preach under the authority of the church and the unction of the Holy Ghost. He is recognized with all the rights and privileges of an ordained minister with the exception of the right to administer the sacraments of the church (baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and dedication of infants). In some states an ordination is required in order to perform wedding ceremonies as a minister of the Gospel. A licensed minister not yet ordained should make himself aware of any guidelines set by his state before agreeing to perform any wedding ceremony.
It is not customary, nor is it a good practice to ordain a brother into the ministry unless he has been called by some church to serve as pastor or if he be required to enter into a missionary labor that would require of him to be an ordained minister to carry out his duties. He may be a member of the church to which he is called to pastor or some other church. Either church may host the ordination depending on the candidate’s wishes.
Before ordaining the brother the church conference should request the assistance of at least three ordained ministers of the fellowship to serve along with the pastor of the candidate for ordination and at least one member of the local assembly as an examination committee. This committee of five or more members may meet at the appointed time to inquire into the fitness of the candidate for ordination for the work of the ministry. The purpose of this examination is not to intimidate the candidate or frighten him. Rather the examination should be done in love, understanding the serious nature of the ministry of the Gospel. The examination committee should ask the following questions of every candidate for ordination:
Following the examination, the committee shall compose a written report to the church conference that will declare their recommendation. If the examination committee finds that the candidate for ordination should be refused, they must state the cause in their recommendation to the church. The letter of recommendation shall be read aloud in church conference by a member of the examination committee. The local church conference should vote to receive the letter and adopt or reject the recommendation of the examination committee.
Furthermore, if the candidate has answered all questions satisfactorily and a recommendation to ordain is adopted, it shall take its regular course in conference. The conference moderator shall appoint a presbytery for the purpose of ordination. It is customary for the ordained men who served on the examination committee to also serve on the presbytery, but other ordained ministers may be included on this ordination council as well, provided that they are duly ordained men of an orthodox church. Furthermore, the moderator of the fellowship should always receive a written invitation to each ordination service and given the opportunity to serve as a member of the ordination council.
The presbytery should have a chairman, and the church clerk should maintain a record of the council’s proceedings to be included in the conference minutes. The presbytery may need to be excused to organize. They should appoint some member of the council to preach the ordination sermon or charge to the candidate. Some churches have two separate sermons for each purpose respectively, but the council should be at liberty to make this decision coordinated with the church and candidate’s wishes. Following the delivery of the sermon(s), the chairman of the presbytery shall appoint members of the council to read the following passages:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Ephesians 4:4-13 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
I Timothy 3:1-7 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
(Another of the ministers on the ordination council may ask the candidate for ordination to stand. He then would say:)
Beloved brethren, forasmuch as the Holy Scriptures command that we should not be hasty in the laying on of hands and admitting persons to minister in the Church of the Living God, let us therefore examine you again before the presence of this congregation and receive your answers to the following questions: (the candidate should answer affirmatively to all questions)
(The candidate having answered all questions satisfactorily shall be asked by the chairman of the ordination council to kneel before the council at which time the chairman shall say:)
Almighty God, giver of every good and perfect gift, mercifully behold thy servant now set apart for an ordained minister in thy church. Replenish him with the truth of thy doctrine and adorn him with purity in life that, both by thy Word and good example, he may faithfully serve the church in this office to the glory of thy name and the edification of thy people in Christ Jesus. Dear (call the name of the candidate), our brother, may the Lord pour on thee the Holy Ghost unction for the office and work of a minister committed unto thee by the call of God and the laying on of our hands and be thou faithful!
(Each member of the ordination council shall then lay their hands severally upon the minister being ordained and shall together pray earnestly for his ministry calling on God for him to receive the assistance of the Holy Ghost.)
(It is a good practice for the church where a minister holds his membership to provide him a new study Bible at his ordination. Upon completion of the prayer the chairman of the council shall present the minister with the Bible provided by the church, signed by each minister of the council along with their words of encouragement for him, and the chairman shall say unto him:)
We acknowledge thy authority to preach this Word and to administer the ordinances of the Church of the Living God. Feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof, not as being a lord over God’s heritage, but being an example to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, thou shalt receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
At this time the chairman of the ordination council shall turn the service back over to the moderator of the church conference, and he shall present the candidate with his ordination credentials signed by the moderator of the conference, clerk of the church, and each member of the presbytery/ordination council. Conference should be dismissed by prayer, and the congregation should be called forward to give the right hand of fellowship to the minister and his family.
These ordination credentials shall be valid perpetually but may be revoked by the church conference if in the estimation of the conference the minister has ceased to fulfill his qualification and duties as a minister of the Gospel of Christ.
The local church may examine and issue ordination papers to previously ordained ministers coming from other orthodox churches to our fellowship without need of an ordination service except at the minister’s request. If the minister’s credentials are still valid from the other church (i.e. he is still recognized as an ordained minister of the Gospel and not required to return the credentials into the church from whence he came), it is not necessary to reissue credentials except at the request of the minister.
Only men who have been ordained shall be qualified to administer the sacraments of the church. This ordination qualifies him for the distribution of the Lord’s Supper, to administer Baptism according to God’s holy ordinances, and to moderate services to dedicate infants.
Though there is no Scriptural mandate that every church have a set number of deacons or even a deacon at all, a faithful deacon can be of great value to a church and tremendous assistance to his pastor. It was after the first seven deacons were set aside for service to the church to help the ministers organize the functions and missions of the church that there was great prosperity and growth among the brethren (Acts 6:7). Some churches will neither need nor have seven men qualified to serve as deacons; for other larger churches, seven may not be sufficient to carry out the work necessitated by the church.
In every church the role of a deacon and what is expected of him is viewed a little differently. There are very few Scriptural directions concerning his specific duties, but we do know that the reason the original seven deacons were set aside was to coordinate functions that the apostles and the church had set up to help the widows and misfortunate. Therefore, we are safe to assume that the deacon was intended to have a role in carrying out the work of the church and closely assisting his pastor in his duties, particularly as they relate to the needy of the church.
Some churches have the established practice of a “Board of Deacons.” These words are not used in the Bible, but it is not necessarily a bad practice to have such a board or committee provided that they clearly understand their role in the church. The deacons may advise or recommend action to the church on any of the matters that may come to their attention, but deacons should always remember that they cannot take action that is final. No Board of Deacons holds any authority over the body of the church conference.
Any deacon meetings held should be for the sole purpose of the edification of the church and the glory of God. Any meeting should be carried out in love and opened and closed with a prayer of peace and unity. It may well be that one member may have to yield to the wishes of the remainder of the board in order to keep peace, and in cases of procedures and opinion rather than doctrine or moral principle, this may be the appropriate action.
It has been the practice of some churches to elect a moderator or chairman of the Board of Deacons. In many churches the Pastor serves in this capacity, but in others a deacon of the church is elected of the body of deacons to serve as chairman. In some situations it is appropriate and helpful to have a moderator separate from the pastor; however, this board and its chairman/moderator should never attempt to undermine the leadership of the pastor or authority of the church conference. Though it is impossible for all persons to always agree on every matter, ministers and deacons are not in competition with one another; we are all to be in cooperation with each other for the sake of the Gospel and glory of God.
There are a few things that the deacon has a duty toward in every church, however. It is his duty to aid the ministers in the administration of the Lord’s Supper. It is his duty to set an example unto the flock of godliness and holiness in his life. It is his duty to seek every measure within him to maintain peace and quietness among the people who have asked him to serve. It is his duty to be faithful to his church to the absolute best of his ability. It is his duty to make every effort to comfort the sick and needy of the congregation. Other duties may be assigned to these deacons as the church conference sees fit, but the church should never delegate such authority over the church’s affairs to the deacons that it hinders the ability of the pastor to carry out his duties or denies the membership the right to be fully aware of church business and vote on what matters that are fit and proper.
In order for a man to serve in the office of a deacon, he must be ordained for the purpose and elected by the church to serve. Though the ordination of a deacon is good perpetually so long as his life shall demonstrate him fit to serve, his church may determine the time in which he is active as an officer in the church. No church in this fellowship shall be constrained to request the services of a deacon who has joined the church and was previously ordained in another church. Some churches have active and inactive deacons due to the practice of deacon rotation or election each year. It is debatable as to whether this is a profitable practice, but this fellowship cherishes the right of the local church to elect her own officers annually as she sees fit. An ordained deacon, like an ordained minister, retains the right and privilege of assisting in the administration of the Lord’s Supper whether he is active as a church officer or not.
New deacons are chosen by the church; on most occasions they are requested by the pastor or existing board of deacons. They may choose to make a recommendation to the church concerning a candidate that they perceive to be qualified and willing to serve. No church should consider a female member as a candidate for a deacon, and only male members duly baptized and faithful in service shall be considered as candidates. This candidate must be approved by the conference, and, if found to be qualified following examination, shall be set aside for ordination. An examination committee should be appointed at the pleasure of the conference and the appropriate questions, which should include but are not limited to the following, should be addressed to the candidate:
The examination committee should report their findings to the church conference. The conference shall then decide by majority vote whether to set the brother aside for a deacon. It has long been the practice of the church to set a candidate aside for a period of time (6 months or a year) to allow him to demonstrate his suitability for the office of a deacon. Following this time that he has been set aside, the moderator of the church conference shall call for a vote on the candidate, and if he shall have proved his works, a date for ordination shall be set.
The church may request the ministerial and deacon aid of other sister churches in the ordination service, and only ordained ministers or deacons shall be allowed to serve on the ordination council. The moderator of the church conference shall declare the church conference open for the purpose of ordaining a deacon pursuant to the previous action of the conference, at which time he should appoint the ordination council. A move and second and majority vote shall be in order to give authority to the ordination council to proceed with their work. A member of the ordination council should deliver an appropriate sermon to charge the candidate with his duties and instruct the church in the office of a deacon. Following the sermon the chairman of the ordination council shall require the deacon to stand and answer the following questions in the presence of the congregation:
(All questions should be answered affirmatively, and the council shall call for the candidate to kneel. Each member of the ordination council shall gather around the candidate, laying their hands on him, and the appointed spokesman for the council shall state:)
“Take thou authority to discharge the duty and office of a deacon of the Church of the Living God, and be thou faithful.”
The council shall pray together for the candidate.
This concludes the ordination service. The moderator of the conference shall present the candidate with a form of Ordination. This form shall be dated and signed by the church clerk, pastor, and all members of the ordination council. Conference should be closed by majority vote and dismissed in prayer. It is appropriate to invite the congregation to shake hands with the new deacon and his family as well as the ordination council at the close of the service. Minutes of the conference may be read and adopted at the next regular session.
Our Lord held his last meal with his closest brethren. Following the meal, he went about to ceremoniously wash the feet of his disciples. He encouraged us to do these things in remembrance of him. Therefore, we take of the sacraments in his honor, remembering his sacrifice, love, and humility. Many churches choose to have the Lord’s Supper and foot washing in the same night to replicate the Last Supper and the events of that night. This is the prerogative of the church.
On the day appointed for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper the minister and deacons should prepare the appropriate provisions of bread and wine as has been the tradition of the church. This should be set upon a table and displayed for the purpose in a manner of respect and reverence. The officiating minister may moderate the service saying something like the following:
“Brothers and Sisters: when we were sinners Christ died for us and became the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world. In the same night he was betrayed by one of the twelve, he established this sacrament of the church and commanded his followers to continue therein for the days to come in remembrance of his death, burial, resurrection, and soon return until he take us away from this sin-cursed world. All of you, therefore, who have turned your lives over to Christ in salvation and have endeavored to faithfully serve him, are invited to join us as we approach the throne of Grace to ask God’s presence and blessings on these proceedings.”
(The minister shall pray, asking God to honor their worship and remembrance of his sacrifice. Following the prayer he may say:)
“All you who have turned your lives over to Christ in salvation, have endeavored to faithfully serve him, and are at peace with your brethren are invited to draw near in faith and partake of this ordinance to your comfort remembering the sacrifice of our Lord.”
(The minister shall then with the help of the deacons distribute the bread and wine to the congregation in an orderly fashion and say unto them:)
“I Corinthians 11:23-24 states, ‘the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ Take you and eat this in thanksgiving remembering that while we were yet sinners in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (All should eat of the bread together).
“I Corinthians 11:25-26 goes on, ‘After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.’ Let us together take of the fruit of the vine in recognition and thanksgiving for the pure and plenteous blood shed for our transgressions.” (All should drink of the cup.)
Upon the completion of the service, a song may be sung and the service closed with prayer or the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.
It is clear in the Word of God that it is the perfect will of God for all who have been born again by grace to get baptized, join a local church, and go to work. All persons professing repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ may be received by the church as a candidate for baptism. When a brother or sister is baptized he may choose to join the church, but the candidate may not desire to do so at the present time.
Time of the Baptism: A baptismal service may be held at the beginning or end of a service according to which better serves the needs and situation of the congregation. Some churches have special called sessions of worship just for the assigned purpose of the baptismal service and there is no error in that. The wishes of the candidate and practice of the local church should dictate this.
Place of the Baptism: A great portion of churches in this time have well-furnished baptisteries, dressing rooms, and baptismal robes; such facilities are convenient and reverent and in no manner take away from the sanctity and authority of the service. Still, many other churches use, as in days past, the waters of a creek, river, lake, or pond for a place to hold a baptism; this in no manner takes away from the grace, dignity, or reverence of the service.
(Following Prayer the minister shall call for the believer who is to be baptized. Before he shall proceed to baptize, he should give the believer an opportunity to testify briefly, and following the testimony should ask of him/her concerning the faith along the lines of the following question:)
“Are you fully persuaded that Jesus Christ has come into your heart to be Lord and Savior, and will you steadfastly seek to serve him with your whole heart walking in his example?” (The question should be answered in the affirmative following which the minister should prepare to immerse the candidate in water saying:) “Upon your profession of faith and obedience to our Lord’s command I baptize you my brother/sister in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen!”
It is appropriate following the baptism to call for the church congregation to rise and give the right hand of fellowship to the believer who has been baptized.
No service of dedication of infants can save the soul of a child. Salvation is a personal transaction between God and the believer. The dedication of a child unto God for his use, however, is a Scriptural practice. Hannah took Samuel to the Temple and dedicated him to the Lord all the days of his life, and when he was come of a few years God spoke to his heart personally. Jesus was delivered to the Temple on the eighth day of his life in order to be ceremoniously dedicated to the Lord’s use. It was tradition of all the Jewish parents to set aside their children for use of the Lord.
In this service commitments are made by the parents, family, and friends of a child to make every effort to rear the child in the appropriate manner for the glory of God. (Following a song and prayer the minister may call for the child and family to be seated in a conspicuous location before the people of the congregation and should say after the manner of the following:)
“Friends, you are now about to dedicate your child to the service of the true and living God. By this act you acknowledge the claim of the Almighty on the life of your offspring, and you commit to take whatever steps are necessary to see that this child is brought up in the nurture and admonition of Christ. You will need all the wisdom and grace of the glory world to undertake this endeavor, and I implore you to pray diligently and faithfully for the salvation of this child’s soul. Furthermore, you should seek God that when he/she is redeemed he/she may be spirit-filled and live in the joy and strength of our Lord.
May you ever walk before this child teaching the child by both precept and example of the importance of a close walk with God. Join together with me as we pray that God would enable you for this imperious duty.”
(Calling the name of the child the minister shall say:)
“(Name), I dedicate thee in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Lord bless and shadow over this child and grant that conviction may find him penitent unto the saving of his soul in riper years. Let us pray.” (The minister shall lead in prayer.)
A band of believers who desire to be set up as a church may do so by calling for the assistance of an arm of three churches or more. This arm or delegation would come together for the purposes of transacting business as a conference. The recognized moderator would call the arm of the churches open to conference and transact business as a church until a quorum of members have been received. The doors of the church shall be opened for membership and those desiring to join shall respond. The moderator may choose to call on a spokesman for the members and question him concerning the articles of faith of the fellowship. Upon successfully answering all questions a majority vote must be received by the arm of the churches to receive the members into the church. The moderator shall declare them to be a church. It should be resolved by majority vote to endorse the articles of faith of this fellowship as their guidelines for business and order. The conference is thereby free to elect a moderator and clerk to transact business for themselves.
The church would still have to petition the annual fellowship meeting according to our guidelines in order to represent with full fellowship. (See Yearly Fellowship Meetings)
Any minister agreeing to perform wedding ceremonies for any couple should do so according to Gospel Principles only. Though it is customary and appropriate to give an offering to the officiating minister of a wedding, no minister should ever use his credentials for hire to perform wedding ceremonies. You may use a service like this:
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the sight of God and in the presence of these witnesses to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony. If there is anyone present who knows just and legal cause why these two may not be joined together, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.
Marriage is honorable in all. It was established by our Lord in the Garden of Eden and between the first man and woman. ‘And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.’ Furthermore, marriage is the image used to show the spiritual union between Christ and his church, and in this likeness Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians advises:
Ephesians 5:21-33, ‘Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
Beloved, under the influence of mutual affection you are now about to pledge your solemn vows. These vows are of utmost importance, and you should take all diligence to remain faithful to them. In love and compassion learn to entreat each other. Treat one another with a sprit of understanding and forgiveness. Hide nothing from one another. Consult openly together. Treat one another with the utmost respect and seek the wishes of your beloved spouse above your own interest. These things endear and create a cord not easily broken.
(To the man the minister shall say:) <name>, dost thou take this woman to be thy lawful wedded wife? Wilt thou love, honor, cherish, comfort, and sustain her in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, for better or for worse so long as you both shall live? Do you so promise? (The man shall answer: I do).
(To the woman the minister shall say:) <name>, dost thou take this man to by thy lawful wedded husband? Wilt thou love, honor, cherish, comfort, and obey him in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, for better or for worse so long as you both shall live? Do you so promise? (The woman shall answer: I do).
(Most couples shall desire to exchange rings, and the minister shall say unto each severally:) Place the ring on her/his left hand and repeat after me. With this ring I thee wed, and all my worldly goods to thee endow, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
(Then the minister shall lead in prayer and following the prayer say:) Whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder. Forasmuch as this man and woman have joined together in the consent of holy wedlock and have pledged their trusts one to another by the making of vows and exchanging of rings, I pronounce them man and wife in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen!
The passing of a loved one in death is one of the most difficult and trying times a person shall ever face. There are few absolute guidelines to be followed for a memorial service, but the wishes of the family remaining should always be respected. Below are some verses of Scripture that may be a blessing to the family and friends remaining:
I John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
Revelation 14:13 “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
I Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
I Corinthians 15:51-58 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
II Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”