Shepherd’s Fellowship Baptist Church, located in Greensboro, North Carolina, is a Sovereign Grace Baptist church. The authority and government of this church is vested in the Eldership and dependent upon Ruling Principles derived from the Holy Bible and no other source. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical or governmental body or entity.
SECTION #1 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Soli Deo Gloria is fifth phrase in the Five Solas of the Protestant Reformation. This Latin phrase simply means to “To God Alone be the Glory.” In short, this is why Shepherd’s Fellowship of Greensboro exists. We seek to give God all the glory through all that we do each day of our lives (1 Cor. 10:31). We are always seeking to conform ourselves more to the Word of God (Rom. 12:1-2). By placing ourselves under the Lordship of the Head and King of the Church, Jesus Christ, we seek to exalt Him for who He is, and not ourselves (Phil. 2:5-11; James 4:10; 1 Peter. 5:5-6). Because we are dedicated to glorifying God in all that we do, Shepherd’s Fellowship of Greensboro is committed to discovering and obeying the Word of God regardless of the cost or personal inconvenience (Luke 14:27).
Shepherd’s Fellowship of Greensboro (hereafter Shepherd’s Fellowship) exists because the Holy Spirit moved the hearts of a few families to plant a church in the Greater Greensboro area that is completely committed to worshipping God in a way that is spiritual, intimate, and reverent (John 4:24). True worship in spirit and truth through the exaltation of the Triune God as a corporate fellowship that consists of committed families and individual believers is a truly difficult thing to find in most local churches, especially in the United States. Therefore, we will always strive to exalt God and continually pray for the Holy Spirit’s protection against our worship degenerating into formal ceremonialism or dead orthodoxy (Matt. 6:5-7; 15:8-9; 23:25-28). We encourage all who attend Shepherd’s Fellowship to praise and worship God according to the Scriptures. This worship consists of a reverence, respect, and thankfulness to the Creator who saves, sanctifies, and redeems unworthy sinners (Luke 18:11-14).
The Church of the New Testament was a group of people who had a relationship to one another and to God; not buildings, programs, or meetings. Shepherd’s Fellowship desires to faithfully model that same simple approach (Acts 2:42-46; Rom. 12:4-16). At Shepherd’s Fellowship, everything revolves around Christ. That means ministering to one another in vital and real ways beyond simply “church attendance.” The following is a brief summary of what Shepherd’s Fellowship is seeking to accomplish for the glory of God:
Our Prayer: We pray that this local fellowship of believers will bring honor and glory to Christ in His church (Eph. 3:21). It is our great desire to see our church manifest a Biblical philosophy of ministry.
Our Priority: To be disciples and to make disciples. (Matt. 28:19-20; 2 Tim. 2:2).
1. We Seek to Provide Expository & Experimental Preaching of the Whole Counsel of God.
Expository preaching and teaching (2 Tim. 2:15; Ezra 7:10; Neh. 8:8) is the emphasis of our ministry of the Word. We believe that the Word of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, is the means by which unbelievers are marvelously converted and believers are equipped with everything pertaining to life and godliness. Therefore, it must be proclaimed in its entirety. Moreover, it must be “experimentally” applied. “Experimental” was a term used by the Puritans to express the deep application God’s truths to their own personal lives. This can only come from a confrontation with the power of God in the preached Word. God requires that wepreach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction (2 Tim. 4:2); exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict (Tit. 1:9); exhort and reprove with all authority (Tit. 2:15). All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17 ESV).
2. We Seek to Worship God in accordance with His Word in Spirit and Truth.
If our worship is not according to the Bible, God's self-revelation, then it is idolatrous. It is imperative that we seek to worship God in the way He prescribes in His Word, the Bible. Far from killing joy and excitement in worship, by following the Word, we are called to Come before Him with joyful singing and Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise (Ps. 100:2, 4). We are also called to revere His awesome presence and know that in the ekklesia (the Church), His majestic presence resides. By following the Word in public worship, we will never be in danger of fanaticism on the one hand or rigid traditionalism on the other. Rather, we will respond to God in all of the richness and fullness of expression that His Word commands. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
3. We Seek to Encourage the Practice of Daily Family Worship.
We are convinced that family worship is a responsibility of the biblical faith, and that the father is to be the spiritual leader in the home. Ephesians 6:4 states: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Family worship transforms the home into a place of praise and confession. The home then becomes a seminary of instruction for the whole family. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh. 24:15)
4. We Seek to Stimulate Personal Discipleship and Accountability.
A chief means of spiritual growth for individuals is through one-on-one discipleship and accountability. We believe that the local church should encourage this by providing opportunities for informal fellowship and relationship building. We encourage all to participate in our fellowship and discipleship time after worship each Lord’s day (Acts 2:42-46). Instead of an additional program to support to the congregational teaching and worship, discipleship times are designed to enable believers to ask questions, learn about doctrine, and develop intimate relationships with one another through ministering the Word to one another (Rom. 12:4-16). Even more, we want to provide specific ministries to facilitate this when time and interest permits. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim. 2:2)
5. Restoring Biblical Pastoral Oversight.
Many church leaders have neglected the duties of overseeing the spiritual welfare of individuals and families. Programs, facilities, and finances are managed and promoted by many pastors. If pastors and elders fail to care for souls, they fail to obey God to the great detriment of the church (1Pet. 5:1-2; Acts 20:28). We desire to see each individual in Shepherd’s Fellowship mature to the glory of God so that each life produces a great harvest in the kingdom of God. While we want to purpose to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), we wish to see continually good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ (Col. 2:5). Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17)
In conclusion, our desire is to glorify God in all that we do through proper preaching, teaching, ministering and evangelizing (Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Cor. 12:31). We pray that God will cause His gospel to spread quickly through our local area to bring honor and glory to Christ and to seek and save those who are lost (Eph. 3:21).
SECTION # 2 MEMBERSHIP
1. Purpose of the Fellowship
The congregation of Christian believers who have applied for membership and have been properly accepted shall constitute a spiritual body, united for the spiritual purposes set forth in Section # I of these Ruling Principles.
2. Membership Candidacy
Active membership in Shepherd’s Fellowship shall be open to all persons who confess Christ as their Lord and Savior and who subsequently have been baptized by immersion and show evidence of a transformed life. A person shall become a candidate for membership upon the recommendation of the Eldership after verbally demonstrating a desire to become a member of Shepherd’s Fellowship to an elder, successfully completing a Prospective Member’s Orientation Class, completion of a membership covenant, completing a pre-membership interview with an elder wherein the prospective member will give credible testimony as to his or her faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and assenting to the Detailed Statement of Faith/1646 London Confession and subscribing to the Ruling Principles with an understanding that there is a charitable method for debating non-fundamental doctrine. Finally, prospective members will participate in the New Member Commitment/Presentation at a regularly scheduled worship service.
3. Denial of Membership
If, upon review of a candidate for membership or after meeting with a prospective member, the Eldership determines that the candidate does not confess Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, or that there is a lack of evidence of a godly lifestyle, membership shall be denied. This decision made by the Eldership shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any person, organization or court from that decision.
4. Admission of Membership Candidates
Candidates for membership shall present themselves, if possible, at a worship service designated by the Eldership. At such service candidates shall publicly affirm their Membership Commitment and be publicly and officially acknowledged as members.
5. Responsibilities and Privileges of Members
A. Responsibilities: It will be expected of members of this body to:
1) Maintain a vital, intimate, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through daily Bible Study, regular prayer and spirit and truth worship.
2) Respond biblically to the authority of Shepherd’s Fellowship God appointed leadership for the care of my spiritual welfare; for instruction in spiritual matters; for corrective discipline, should it every be required.
3) Consistently study the scriptures, purposing to obey its precepts and commandments, being strengthened in the wisdom and knowledge of God and being transformed by the renewing of my mind by God’s Word preparing myself to give an accurate account for my faith with gentleness and respect.
4) Consistently pray for Shepherd’s Fellowship, its leadership and ministries and those whose lives we influence for the Kingdom of God.
5) Consistently attend the worship services and participate in the appropriate ministries for my growth unless providentially hindered.
6) Consistently support the ministry of Shepherd’s Fellowship through regular giving.
7) Accept all Biblical roles within my family and the church, as unto the Lord, whether one of authority or submission.
8) Love, accept, pray for, serve, admonish and be an example to the other members of this church body.
9) Faithfully seek opportunities to serve the church body, using my spiritual gifts.
10) Faithfully support the mission and ministries of the Shepherd’s Fellowship.
B. Privileges: It shall be the privilege of every member to:
6. Church Discipline
1) To be ruled by the Word of God in everything.
2) To be lovingly received by the church into its life and fellowship according to the truth of God’s Word.
3) To be under the care and discipline of God-appointed elders.
4) To be nurtured and edified by the teaching and preaching of the Scriptures and by personal discipleship.
5) To be equipped for the work of the ministry.
6) And To receive the ordinances of our Lord.
The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (1 Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1). Understanding that the context for the processes outlined in Matthew 18 for dealing with interpersonal conflict or sin are directly related to the restoration of a normative life and relationship with the offender.
Members of this church and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church who err in doctrine or who engage in conduct that violates Scripture, as determined by the Eldership, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-17. Before such dismissal, however, (1) it shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this warning, then (2) the warning member shall again go to the erring individual, seeking his or her repentance, but accompanied by one or two individuals who shall confirm that the sin has occurred or is continuing to occur, and/or that the erring individual has been appropriately confronted and has refused to repent. If the erring individual still refuses to heed this warning, then (3) it shall be brought to the attention of the Eldership (or a properly appointed Committee of the Board, per Section #3, Section 14 of the these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Board). If the Eldership (or a properly appointed Committee of the Board, per Section # 3, Section 14 of these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Board) determines -after thorough investigation in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture, including Matthew 18:15-18, 1 Timothy 5:19, and Titus 3:10 - that there is corroborating evidence that the erring individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders shall inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly-scheduled worship service in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance. If the erring individual demonstrates repentance, then notice to that effect may be given at a regularly-scheduled worship service. If, however, the erring individual does not repent in response to the church in its collective call to repentance, then (4) he or she shall be publicly dismissed from the fellowship and/or membership of the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly-scheduled worship service. If the erring individual, after such dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement before the Eldership (or a properly appointed Committee of the Board, per Section # 3, Section 14 of the these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Board), then he or she shall be publicly restored to all the rights, duties, privileges, and responsibilities of fellowship and/or membership.
The members of this church, and all other professing Christians who regularly attend or fellowship with this church, agree that there shall be no appeal to any person, court or institution because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or fourth stages of church discipline. Members who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraph forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under any disciplinary action.
7. Termination of Membership
Membership may be terminated in one of the following ways: (1) upon a member uniting with another church; (2) by a member's personal written request to the Eldership (or clear verbal to two or more Elders); (3) upon the death of a member; (4) upon a member being willfully absent from the stated meetings of the church without plausible reason or excuse for more than two months; (5) or upon a member having moved from the Guilford county, NC area and not able to attend the stated meetings of the church for more than six months without the church having received any request to terminate membership; or (6) by public dismissal from the church as an act of church discipline per Section # II, Section 6.
8. Regular Meetings
A regular Annual Meeting of the church members shall be held in January of each year. At such regular Annual Meeting, the members shall consider reports of the affairs of the church, and affirm such other transactions as the Elders determine shall be brought before the meeting.
9. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the members may be called at any time by request of the Elders.
10. Notice of Meetings
Notice of regular meetings shall be given from the pulpit by an Elder for two successive Sundays prior to the meeting. Notice of special meetings shall be given from the pulpit by an Elder at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting.
At all meetings of the members, whether regular, special, or adjourned, the members present shall constitute a majority for the affirming of decisions related to the transactions of the church body.
12. Voting Privileges
Membership in this church shall only entitle the member to vote at a meeting of the members on those matters that the Eldership chooses to submit to the church membership for affirmation. In such cases, voting privileges are restricted to members who are in good standing, who are not under any disciplinary action, and who have passed their eighteenth (18) birthday. Those admitted to church membership do not constitute a legislative body, and they cannot make decisions that are binding upon the church, nor shall they have any equity in the real property of the church, or rights to vote on its disposal. Said property of the church is dedicated to religious and charitable purposes.
SECTION #3 ELDERS
1. The Composition of The Eldership
The Eldership shall consist of a plurality of godly men who meet the qualifications of the pertinent Scriptures, especially 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 per Section # 3, # 2.
Each member of the Eldership must be an active member of this church and possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be:
Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7).
Husband of one wife; a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6).
Temperate; sober; vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2)
Sensible; sober-minded; prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
Of good behavior; orderly, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2).
Hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).
Apt to teach; able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9).
Not addicted to wine (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
Not violent; not pugnacious (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
Patient; forbearing; gentle (1 Timothy 3:3).
Uncontentious; not quick tempered (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
Not covetous; not a lover of money; not fond of dishonest gain (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7).
Rules his own house well. His children are faithful; keeps his children under control (1 Timothy 3:4;
Not a novice; not a new convert (1 Timothy 3: 6).
Has a good reputation with outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7).
Not self-willed (Titus 1:7).
A lover of good (Titus 1:8).
Just; Fair (Titus 1:8).
Holy; Devout (Titus 1:8).
Self-controlled (Titus 1:8).
3. The Responsibilities of Elders
All the activities and affairs of the church shall be exercised by or under the direction of the Eldership, who are responsible for shepherding and having oversight of the flock. It is hereby expressly declared that the Board shall have the following responsibilities in addition to the other responsibilities enumerated by these Ruling Principles:
To select and remove all the officers, agents, and employees of the church; prescribe such duties for them consistent with the Scriptures, with law, or with these Ruling Principles; and fix the terms of their offices and their compensation.
To make such disbursements from the funds and properties of the church as are required to fulfill the purposes of this church and generally to conduct, manage, and control the activities and affairs of the church and to make such rules and regulations consistent with the Scriptures, with law, or with these Ruling Principles, as they may deem best.
To establish policies and practices for the church consistent with the purposes of this church.
To administer the ordinances of Baptism and Communion.
Shall be an member of all councils and committees.
Shall arrange for all public and regular services of the church and shall be responsible for general oversight of the spiritual welfare of the church.
4. Recommendation, Selection, and Affirmation of Elders
Recommendations to fill the office of Elder may be made through:
Formal request by the Eldership to the members of the church.
Written request to the Eldership from any member who aspires to the office of Elder.
Written request from any member to the Eldership recommending another member of the church.
Upon recommendation, those who desire to be considered for the office of Elder then become nominees for the office of Elder.
The Eldership shall review all nominees, extensively interviewing and examining each one to determine his qualifications. The Board shall then approve or disapprove each nominee.
The approved nominee shall give public testimony and receive questions from the members of the church at a scheduled worship service. The name of the nominee shall then be publicly announced and published for at least four consecutive Sundays during which time the members of the church shall have opportunity to inform the Eldership in writing of any biblical reason which they believe may disqualify the nominee from consideration as an Elder. If the Eldership still approves the nominee for the office of Elder, the nominee shall be presented to the members to affirm the decision of the Elders at a regular or special meeting.
5. Term of Office
Elders shall serve an indefinite term. However, an Elder may take a sabbatical from his active duties as deemed necessary by the Eldership.
6. Resignation and Removal of Elders
An Elder may resign his office. Any Elder may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the Board if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified (according to pertinent Scripture, including 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9), after thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders (or a properly appointed Committee of the Board, per Section # 3, Section 14 of these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Board), in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent scriptures, including Matthew 18:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19. When an Elder is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from shepherding, and if he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal shall be accompanied by a public rebuke, and notice shall be made before the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly-scheduled worship service as prescribed in 1 Timothy 5:20.
7. Regular Meetings
Regular meetings of the board will be held without call or notice on the second Wednesday night of each month, unless otherwise modified by the Eldership. Regular meetings shall be open to church members.
8. Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Eldership may be called at any time by order of the Elders.
9. Notice of Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Eldership shall be held upon four days notice by first-class mail or a forty-eight-hour notice given personally or by telephone or other similar means of communication.
Whenever the matter to be considered concerns calling a pastor, dismissing an elder, or buying or selling real estate, a majority shall consist of not less than two-thirds of the active members of the Eldership. The act or decision done or made by the Elders present at a meeting properly held at which two thirds are present shall be the act of the Eldership.
11. Action Without Meeting
Any action required or permitted to be taken by the Eldership may be taken without a meeting if all active members of the Board shall individually or collectively consent in writing to a properly prepared resolution to such action. Such consent or consents shall have the same effect as a unanimous vote of the Board and shall be documented by attaching the signed resolution with the minutes of proceedings of the Board.
12. Rights of Inspection
Every Elder shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect and copy all books, records, and documents of every kind and to inspect the physical properties of the church of which such person is an Elder, for a purpose reasonably related to such person’s interest as an Elder.
13. Decisions of the Eldership
Decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration by unanimous vote of all Elders (except those under church disciplinary action) in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding one another before himself. The voting privileges of an Elder who is under church disciplinary action (per Section # 2, Section 6 and/or Section # 3, Section 5) are suspended until the matter is resolved. It is imperative that Elders consider the spiritual health, willingness and sentiment of the body of believers when considering issues related to the church body as a whole. In consideration understanding that the body functions best as a unified body of believers under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit effecting the decisions of Eldership and the congregation. Therefore the elder’s vote does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the body, but that of the Elder considering not only leadership’s direction but also the direction, willingness and spiritual health of the whole body.
Committees of the Eldership may be appointed by resolution passed by a majority of the whole Board. Committees shall be composed of one or more of the members of the Board and shall have such powers of the Board as may be expressly delegated to it by resolution of the Eldership, except with respect to:
The filling of vacancies on any committee.
The amendment or repeal of Ruling Principles or the adoption of new Ruling Principles.
The revision or repeal of the Statement of Faith.
The amendment or repeal of any resolution of the Board which by its express terms is not so amendable or repealable.
The appointment of other committees of the Board or the members thereof.
The Eldership shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which proceedings of any such committee shall be conducted. In the absence of any such prescription, such committee shall have the power to prescribe the manner in which its proceedings shall be conducted. Unless the Board or such committee shall otherwise provide, the regular and special meeting and other actions of any such committee shall be governed by the provision of this Section # applicable to meetings and action of the Board. Minutes shall be kept of each meeting of each committee.
SECTION #4 DEACONS
1. Composition and Qualifications
The Deacons shall consist of members possessing the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. A Deacon shall be a man of dignity, not double-tongued, not addicted to wine, not fond of dishonest gain, holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, first tested and found above reproach. When addressing a female holding this office she shall be called a Titus 2 Woman. (1Tim 3, Rom 16:1)
The ministry of the Deacon is that of a servant of the church. It includes the honorable task of serving the physical and practical needs of the church and performing other duties as assigned by the Eldership, thus freeing the Elders to fulfill their ministry as leaders and watchmen over the souls of the congregation through prayer and teaching the Word of God. The Deacons shall function as any other committee in accordance with Section # 3, Section 14.
3. Recommendation, Selection, and Affirmation of Deacons
The recommendation, selection, and affirmation of Deacons shall be done in the same manner as for Elders, as set forth in Section # 3, Section 4 of these Ruling Principles.
4. Term of Office
Deacons shall serve an indefinite term. However, a Deacon may take a sabbatical from his duties as deemed necessary by the Eldership.
5. Resignation and Removal of Deacons
A Deacon may resign his office. Any Deacon may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the Eldership if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified (according to pertinent Scripture, including 1 Timothy 3:8-13), after thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders (or a properly appointed Committee of the Board, per Section # 3, Section 14 of these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Board), in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent scriptures, including Matthew 18:15-18.
SECTION # 5: WOMEN SERVANTS
1. Composition and Qualifications
All women servants shall consist of female members possessing the qualifications and attributes described in Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 3:11 and Romans 16:1-2. A woman servant shall be a woman of dignity, reverent, not a malicious gossip, sober-minded, sensible in all things, pure, kind, not addicted to wine, not fond of dishonest gain, teaching what is good to other women, a worker at home, subject to her own husband and the established leadership of the church so that the word of God will not be dishonored (1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Tim. 2:9-15).
The ministry of a woman servant is that of a servant of the church with an emphasis on the ministry of discipling women and assisting the elders in meeting their spiritual needs. It also includes the honorable task of serving the physical and practical needs of the church and performing other appropriate duties as assigned by the Eldership, thus freeing the Elders to fulfill their ministry as leaders and watchmen over the souls of the congregation through prayer and teaching the Word of God. All women servants shall function as any other committee in accordance with Section # 3, paragraph 14.
3. Recommendation, Selection, and Affirmation of Women Servants
The recommendation, selection, and affirmation of women servants shall be done in the same manner as for Elders, as set forth in Section # 3, paragraph 4 of these Ruling Principles.
4. Term of Service
Women servants shall serve an indefinite term. However, they may take a sabbatical from their duties as deemed necessary by the Eldership.
5. Resignation and Removal of Women Servants
A woman servant may resign her duties. Any woman servant may be removed from her duties at any regular or special meeting of the Eldership if she is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified (according to the pertinent Scriptures, including Titus 2:3-5 & 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; 1 Timothy 2:9-15, 3:11 and Romans 16:1-2), after thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders (or a properly appointed Committee of the Eldership, per Section # 3, Section 14 of these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Eldership), in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent scriptures, including Matthew 18:15-18.
SECTION #6 OTHER COUNCILS, COMMITTEES, AND OFFICERS
1. Councils and Committees
To promote efficient handling of Board matters, the Eldership may appoint various councils and committees from within its membership, the staff, and from the church at large. These councils and committees shall perform tasks solely in accordance with the duties and with powers specifically delegated by the Board. The general functions of councils and committees are:
To bring considered recommendations to the Eldership concerning ministries.
To provide a wider base of counsel to the Elders having the oversight of specific ministries.
All councils and committees shall exist for the period specified by the Eldership.
The Secretary shall meet the moral and spiritual qualifications as set forth in I Tim. 3:8-13 and shall be appointed by and serve under the direction of the Body of Elders until such time as another Secretary is appointed. The Secretary shall record actions of the church at any church conference and maintain an accurate membership roll.
The Treasurer shall meet the moral and spiritual qualifications set forth in 1 Tim. 3:8-13 and shall be appointed by and serve under the direction of the Body of Elders until such time as another Treasurer is appointed.
The Treasurer shall ensure the stewardship of the physical and financial resources of the church, “taking precaution that no one should discredit us in our administration…. for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Corinthians 8:20-21). He shall select “men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3) to implement and accomplish this responsibility.
The Treasurer shall keep and maintain, or cause to be kept or maintained, adequate and correct accounts of the properties and transactions of the church. The books of account shall at all reasonable times be open to inspection by any Elder.
The Treasurer shall deposit, or cause to be deposited, all moneys and other valuables in the name and to the credit of the church with such depositories as may be designated by the Eldership. He shall disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the church as may be ordered by the Eldership, shall render, or cause to be rendered, to the Elders, whenever they request it, an account of all the transactions and of the financial condition of the church, and shall have such other powers and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Eldership. He shall make, or cause to be made, the financial reports at each regular meeting and at the Annual Meeting of members.
SECTION #7 ORDINATION AND COMMISSIONING
Ordination refers to the unanimous recognition by the Eldership of a man’s call to the ministry, preparation as a shepherd, and qualification to serve. Ordination shall be conferred for life, so long as the man continues to manifest the qualifications of the office.
When local church certification is required for ministry where ordination would be unnecessary or inappropriate, a person is commissioned by the Eldership to minister. This authorization continues as long as the opportunity to minister remains in effect and as long as the person maintains the qualifications for ministry.
SECTION #8 SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
In any dispute arising between church members, pastors, or staff pertaining to any matter of spiritual teaching or practices, church finances, or title to property purchased with church contributions, the dispute shall be resolved by the Eldership of the church (or a properly appointed Committee of the Board, per SECTION # 3, Section 14 of these Ruling Principles, at the sole discretion of the Board). A decision shall be reached after prayerful consideration, in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding one another before himself and striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3) and (Matthew 18).
SECTION #9 HUMAN SEXUALITY
Covenant of Marriage Ceremony Practices
A Covenant of Marriage is a union ordained by God. It was first instituted by God in the early chapters of Genesis,
codified in the Levitical law, the Old Testament prophets compared it to a relationship between God and his people,
examples of it are in the historical narratives, and the wisdom literature discusses the unique unity of this
relationship. Jesus explained the original intention and core elements of covenant marriage, and several New
Testament Epistles give explicit instructions on this union. Covenant Marriage is typological of Christ and the
Church. As such, the Church views the covenant of marriage as a profound spiritual institution established by God.
Due to the importance of the covenant of marriage in the biblical witness, Shepherd’s Fellowship has instituted the
1. Only duly ordained elders of Shepherd’s Fellowship shall officiate at covenant of marriage ceremonies
conducted on church property.
2. Elders serving the church shall be subject to church discipline and/or recision of ordination for officiating a
covenant of marriage ceremony for a union that is inconsistent with the Biblical definition of covenant
marriage contained within the Detailed Statement of Faith.
A couple wishing to have a covenant of marriage ceremony performed by an elder of Shepherd’s Fellowship or to
use the church facilities for a covenant of marriage ceremony, must meet the following minimum requirements:
1. At least one applicant must be a member in good standing of Shepherd’s Fellowship.
2. The other applicant must be a member in good standing of a local church who affirms the definition of
covenant of marriage and human sexuality in the Shepherd's Fellowship Baptist Church Modern Language
Detailed Statement of Faith.
3. Applicants shall receive premarital counseling, as deemed sufficient, by an elder of Shepherd’s Fellowship.
(C) Premises: Any covenant of marriage performed on church premises shall be officiated by an elder of Shepherd’s
Fellowship and the premises overseen by a Deacon. The church property is available for rent, lease, and/or use
only by the membership of Shepherd’s Fellowship.
(D) Elder's Authority: The elder assigned to the applicants may, at his sole discretion, decline to make church
facilities and Deacon oversight available for, and/or decline to officiate at a covenant of marriage ceremony when,
in the elder’s judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the applicants may not be qualified to
enter into the sacred bond of covenant marriage for doctrinal, moral, or legal reasons.
SECTION #10 OTHER PROVISIONS
1. Endorsement of Documents, Contracts
The Eldership, except as in the Ruling Principles otherwise provided, may authorize any officer or officers, agent or agents, to enter into any contract or execute any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the church. Such authorization may be general or confined to specific instances. Unless so authorized by the Eldership, no officer, agent, or employee shall have any power or authority to bind the church by any contract or agreement, or to pledge its credit, or to render it liable for any purpose or to any amount.
These Ruling Principles may be amended and new and additional Ruling Principles may be made at any time by the Eldership in the exercise of the power granted to said Eldership in these Ruling Principles.
3. Record of Amendments
Whenever an amendment or new Ruling Principles is adopted, it shall be copied in the book of minutes with the original Ruling Principles, in the appropriate place. If any Ruling Principle herein is repealed, the fact of repeal with the date of the meeting at which the repeal was enacted or written assent was filed shall be stated in said book.
4. Formation Document
This document is to be considered for the period of one year an initial working document until such time as a Eldership exists and the first annual meeting of the congregation sets a date to review, amend, corrects or affirms the document as the permanent Ruling Principles of the Shepherd’s Fellowship.
SECTION #11 RECEIPT, INVESTMENT, AND DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS
1. Receipt of funds
The church shall receive all monies or other properties transferred to it for the purpose for which the church was formed per Section # I of these Ruling Principles. However, nothing contained herein shall require the Eldership to accept or receive any monies or property of any kind if it shall determine in its discretion that receipt of such money or property is contrary to the expressed purposes of the church as shown by said Section #s.
2. Management of funds
The church shall hold, manage, and disburse any funds or properties received by it from any source in a manner that is consistent with the expressed purposes of this church.
SECTION #12 CHURCH RECORDS AND REPORTS
The church shall maintain adequate and correct accounts, books, and records of its transactions and properties. All such books, records, and accounts shall be kept at its principal place of transactions or at a location as fixed by the Eldership from time to time.
2. Inspection of Books and Records
Every Elder shall have the absolute right at any reasonable time to inspect all books, records, documents of every kind, and the physical properties of the church.
SECTION #13 DISSOLUTION
Upon dissolution of this church, the Eldership shall cause the assets herein to be distributed to another religious organization for the continued use of the assets for the ministry to the benefit of the Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20).
SECTION #14 MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
All checks, drafts, demands for money and notes of the church and all written contracts of the church shall be signed by such officer or officers, agent or agents, as the Eldership may from time to time by resolution designate.