Wapato Valley Church Gaston, Oregon
Placing our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation and believing the Bible to be our sole basis of authority and practice, we therefore adopt for our government plan of worship and service the following articles:
ARTICLE 1 – NAME
This organization shall be known as Wapato Valley Church, a Conservative Baptist Church, of Gaston, Oregon.
ARTICLE 2 – PURPOSE
Our mission at Wapato Valley Church stems from the four biblical mandates of the church: to LOVE (worship and outreach), to GROW (obedience - Matt. 28:20), to SERVE (ministry), and to LEAD (life mission). We seek to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength ... by bringing the love of Christ back to our community, teaching the people of Wapato Valley Church to grow in the grace and truth of God's Word and coaching one another for service in the church and purpose filled leadership in the world.
Our vision for Wapato Valley Church is to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20). We believe that everything proceeds from our Christ given mandate to "build the saved and save the lost." It is our passion to help people find their purpose in life through prayer, preaching, teaching, and the preparation of leadership in the church and the world. In short we exist to "bring the love of Christ back to the community so that the community may become purpose filled followers of Christ."
Our Core Values
Prayer: We believe that prayer moves the hand of God, in favor of His children. We believe prayer pleases God, and leads to receiving what He determines is best for us, making our “joy complete.”- John 16:24 (I Chron. 16:11, Matt. 7:7, Matt. 26:41, I Thess. 5:17, Rev. 8:3, Ps. 147:11, Jer. 29:12)
Bible: We believe that the Bible is without error and has power to change the heart, mind, attitude and actions of people. (Deut. 6:6, Deut. 11:18, Ps. 119:11, Col. 3:16, Heb. 4:12, John 17:17)
Serving: We believe serving others-- following the example set by Christ-- is a way to share and show our love for God. In wholeheartedly doing so, we accurately represent Christ’s church to the world. (I Cor. 15:58, Matt. 25:40, Mark 10:43-44, Luke 10:36-37, John 13:14, Gal. 6:2, Gal. 6:10, Ezek. 16:49-50)
Healing: We believe when we surrender our lives to Christ we are healed spiritually. This spiritual healing is often accompanied by physical, emotional, and mental healing. (Isa. 53:5, Luke 4:18-19, Eph. 2:1,4, Mark 2:17)
Community: We believe that the Holy Spirit blesses, and works powerfully, through Christian community. Upon belief in Him, and the reception of His grace, people enter in to His “family.” God then uses this “body of Christ,” working together as unified servants, to make clear His identity and message of love to the world. This demonstrates His glory and brings deep satisfaction to those in this family. (John 17:23, Eph. 4:3-4, 11-13, Ps. 133:1, Rom. 15:5, Col. 3:14, John 1:12)
ARTICLE 3 - AFFILIATION AND FELLOWSHIP
This church shall seek to be affiliated with the Northwest Conservative Baptist Association. In addition it will seek to cooperate with other churches and organizations of like faith and practice for the purposes of helping people come to Jesus Christ, follow Jesus Christ and serve Jesus Christ.
ARTICLE 4 - STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe that the whole Bible in the original 66 books was inspired by God and without error. We also believe that these 66 books cannot be added to or taken away from. The Bible was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Bible centers around the Lord Jesus Christ in his person and work and was designed for our practical instruction. (Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39; Acts 17:2-3; Rom. 15:4; I Cor. 2:13; 10:11; II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21)
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons - the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. These three are one God having precisely the same nature, attributes and perfections, and worthy of precisely the same worship, confidence, and obedience. (Matt. 28:18-19; Mark 12:29; John 1:14; Acts 5:3-4; II Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 1:4-6)
We believe that as provided and purposed by God and announced in the Bible, the eternal Son of God came into this world to manifest God to men, fulfill prophecy and become the Redeemer of a lost world. To this end He was born of a virgin, and received a human body and a sinless human nature. He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven's glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. We believe that Christ, became and remained a perfect man, but sinless throughout his life; yet he retained His absolute deity being at the same time very God and very man. (Luke 1:30-35; 2:40; John 1:1-2; 1:18; 3:16; Phil. 2:5-8; Heb. 4:15)
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of the need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily. (John 16:7-13; 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; I Cor. 2:12; 3:16; II Cor. 3:17; Gal. 5:25; Eph. 1:13; 5:18)
We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless spiritual beings known as angels; that one, "Lucifer, son of the morning" the highest in rank sinned through pride thereby becoming Satan. We believe that Satan is the originator of sin, leads man into sin, and counterfeits the works of God by fostering religious movements and systems of doctrine, which systems in every case are characterized by a denial of the efficacy of the blood of Christ and of salvation by grace alone. (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12-14; II Cor. 4:3-4; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:10-12; II Thess. 2:4; I Tim. 4:1-3)
Man and Sin
We believe that man was originally created in the image and after the likeness of God. We believe that man fell through sin and as a consequence of his sin, lost his spiritual life and is alienated from God. We believe that apart from divine grace man cannot know God.
We believe that God's free gift of salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. Our redemption has been accomplished solely by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and that no degree of morality, ordinance, culture, church attendance or good behavior can help man take one step toward heaven. We believe that God gives and will not take back eternal life for those who trusted in Christ as Savior. (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8,9; John 1:12; 10:29,30; 14:6; Titus 3:5; I John 5:11-13)
We believe people were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. (John 3:16; John 14:17; Rom. 6:23; 8:17-18; Rev. 20:15; I Cor. 2:7-9)
ARTICLE 5 – MEMBERSHIP COVENANT
Section 1 – Wapato Valley Church's View of Membership
When a person accepts Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, that person becomes a member of God's family (Gal. 3:26). The purpose of such membership is for each member to become conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29). Wapato Valley Church understands the New Testament as having certain assumptions about members of God's family. They are: Each member will be part of a local church (Heb. 10:25) and each member is to be growing in the likeness of the Lord Jesus (Gal. 4:19). Membership also identifies a person as a genuine believer (Eph. 2:19; Rom. 12:5), provides a spiritual family to support and encourage us in our walk with Christ (Gal. 6:1-2; Heb. 10:24-25), gives the member a place to discover and use their gifts in ministry
(I Cor. 12:4-27), places the member under the spiritual protection of godly leaders (Heb. 13:17; Acts 20:28-29), and gives the member the accountability they need to grow (Eph. 5:21). The Christian life involves more than believing-it also includes belonging. We grow in Christ by being in relationship to other Christians. Rom. 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”
In reflecting upon these spiritual truths and assumptions, Wapato Valley Church seeks to develop a membership concept that aids people who are part of God's family to grow more like Jesus Christ. We view membership not as a static position to be arrived at, but as a dynamic growth process in relationship with and in likeness to Jesus Christ.
Section 2 - Becoming a Member of Wapato Valley Church
To become a member of Wapato Valley Church a person must:
1. have accepted the Lord Jesus as his or her Savior.
2. have taken the step of obedience of believer’s baptism by immersion.
3. have participated in a membership class or interview.
4. agree to abide by this constitution as interpreted and administered by the Elders.
5. agree to the purpose, principles and philosophy of Wapato Valley Church.
6. agree to support Wapato Valley Church financially, prayerfully and physically by regular attendance.
7. agree to serve the ministry of Wapato Valley Church by discovering their gifts and talents and using them “so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:11-12)
Section 3 - Responsibilities of Members
Members of Wapato Valley Church will be called upon to fulfill the following responsibilities:
1. regularly pray for the overall ministry of Wapato Valley Church.
2. regularly pray for the spiritual growth of the other members of Wapato Valley Church.
3. regularly attend the weekly Celebration Service.
4. regularly contribute financially to the ministry of Wapato Valley Church.
5. participate in the selection of Elders.
6. serve as able with the gifts and talents God has given.
Section 4 - Discipline of Members
Members who willfully continue in unrepentant sin shall be disciplined according to the procedure outlined in Matt. 18:15-18 and I Cor. 5.
Section 5 - Termination of Membership
Members shall be removed from the church roll for the following reasons if:
1. the member joins another church.
2. the member has willfully neglected his duties toward the church.
3. the member is not repentant during the process of discipline.
4. the member refuses to turn from a lifestyle of sin following the pattern of Matt. 18:15-17
5. the member requests termination of membership. the member dies.
Section 6 - Restoration of Membership
Members dismissed by the Board of Elders shall be restored by the Board of Elders according to the spirit of II Cor. 2:7-8, when their lifestyle is judged to be in accordance with the Statement of Faith and Membership Covenant.
ARTICLE 6 - BOARD OF ELDERS AND DEACONS
Responsibility for spiritual guidance and direction of the church shall be vested in the Board of Elders. In addition to supervising the spiritual life of the church, the Board of Elders shall have such powers as are granted in the constitution as it reflects the biblical mandate given in the New Testament.
Section 1 - Term of Office
Elders shall serve in the position of Elder at Wapato Valley Church for a period of six (6) years. At the end of the sixth year, a coordinated sabbatical will be implemented where the Elder can be renewed, strengthened, and encouraged. At the end of the sabbatical, if the Elder desires to continue to serve as Elder, he may return to the Elder team.
Section 2 – Qualifications
Elders shall be male members of Wapato Valley Church, duly affirmed by the membership of the church. A member of the pastoral staff serves as an Elder as long as he serves in the role of pastor at Wapato Valley Church. In order to serve as an Elder, the member must meet the spiritual qualifications of the office as contained in I Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, I Pet. 5:1-4 and Heb. 13:17.
Section 3 – Duties
The Elders shall fulfill the duties conferred on them by this constitution including the following:
• Pray for the overall ministry of Wapato Valley Church.
• Pray for the spiritual growth of the people of Wapato Valley Church.
• Serve as examples of godliness to the people of Wapato Valley Church and the community at large.
• Oversee the spiritual life of the congregation.
• Provide for the pastoral care of the church.
• Develop and submit goals, policies and plans to the ongoing life and ministry of the church to the congregation.
• Supervise the church membership, which includes the admission of new members and the discipline or removal of existing members.
• Review, evaluate and encourage the ministry of the Senior Pastor.
• Develop, train and deploy Deacons to assist Wapato Valley Church to fulfill its purpose.
• Select and appoint members of Wapato Valley Church to serve in the roles of Deacon positions such as Worship, Women’s Ministries, Christian Education, Building, Finance, etc.
• Review annually Wapato Valley Church constitution for any needed improvements or changes.
Section 4 - Nomination & Election of Elders
The first Elder board to serve at Wapato Valley Church will be appointed by the Senior Pastor under the advice and input of the Leadership Group. Future Elder Board Member positions will be filled by the Elder Board nominating men who are members of Wapato Valley Church to serve as Elders. All nominations should be based upon the qualifications given in I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
The Board of Elders will conduct a careful and confidential interview with all nominees. This will include a review of the duties of the office and the qualifications required to hold the office, as well as reviewing Wapato Valley Church's Statement of Faith, purpose, principles and philosophy of ministry. If a nominee is desirous of fulfilling the office and the Board of Elders affirm that the nominee is both capable and qualified for the office, the nominee may then be presented to the church as a candidate.
A "yes-no" ballot shall be taken by the members of Wapato Valley Church on each candidate individually. Nominees are not in competition with each other. For a candidate to serve as an Elder, he must receive a 75% majority of the members present and voting at a congregational meeting.
Section 5 - Dismissing Elders
Any Elder shall be removed from office upon the recommendation of the Elder Team if he no longer meets the scriptural qualifications of Elder. The Elder Team must make this decision in total unity.
ARTICLE 7 - DEACON BOARD
It is the responsibility of the Elder board to select and appoint members of Wapato Valley Church to serve in Deacon positions such as Worship, Women’s Ministries, Christian Education, Building, Finance, etc.
Section 6 – Qualifications of a Deacon
Individuals serving in Deacon Leadership roles shall meet the Biblical qualifications set forth in I Tim. 3:8-13.
Section 7 - Duties of Deacons
Individuals serving in the role of a Deacon will:
• have specific areas of ministry responsibilities as defined by the description set forth for their individual Deacon position in accordance with current church policy.
• be directly responsible to the Senior Pastor and Elder Board.
ARTICLE 8 - VOCATIONAL CHURCH STAFF
Section 1 - Duties of Senior Pastor
The Senior Pastor shall:
• be the primary (though not exclusive) pulpit teacher of the congregation.
• qualify as and serve as an Elder of the Church.
• give executive leadership to all pastoral staff.
• have access to all ministry teams in an advisory capacity.
• be directly accountable to the Board of Elders.
Section 2 - Duties of Other Pastor Staff
Additional pastoral staff shall:
• function in ministry leadership over specifically defined areas as outlined in a job description.
• be directly accountable to the Senior Pastor.
Section 3 - Duties of Ministry Team Leaders
Individuals serving in Ministry Team Leadership roles will:
• have specifically defined areas of ministry responsibilities.
• be directly responsible to the Senior Pastor and Elder Board.
Section 3 - Hiring of Church Staff
Upon recommendation by the Board of Elders, a candidate for Senior Pastor of the church shall be called by the members at a membership meeting, the purpose of which shall be announced in writing at least two (2) weeks in advance. He must receive a 75% majority of the members present and voting at the congregational meeting. All other pastors and staff shall be hired by the Senior Pastor with approval from the Board of Elders.
Section 4 - Dismissal of Church Staff - The Senior Pastor may only be removed, with or without cause, by the members at a regular or special membership meeting. Subject to the rights, if any, under contract of employment, all other pastors and staff shall be removed by the Senior Pastor with approval from the Board of Elders.
ARTICLE 9 - AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
All constitutional amendments shall require a 75% vote of the members present at a regular or special congregational meeting. Any proposed changes shall be recommended by the Elders and submitted to the congregation at least two (2) weeks prior to the congregational vote. A proposed change of the constitution may also be
recommended by 25% of the members and submitted to the congregation at least two (2) weeks prior to the congregational vote.
ARTICLE 10 - CONDUCT OF BUSINESS Section 1 - Fiscal Year
The fiscal year shall be from January 1st through December 31st.
Section 2 - Regular Business Meeting
The regularly scheduled business meeting of the church is in January. As a minimum, the meeting will include the selection of the Elders, the approval of the year's budget and a presentation concerning the goals for the next year. All decisions made at the meeting will require a two-thirds majority of the members present, unless otherwise specified.
Section 4 – Quorum
Twenty five (25) of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Section 5 - Voting Eligibility
The minimum age shall be sixteen (16) years except in the case of the purchase or sale of real property, in which case the age shall be eighteen (18) years.
Section 6 - Secret Ballot
The secret ballot shall be used in the hiring or dismissal of a pastor, the selection or dismissal of an Elder, or at the request of a majority of voting members at any business meeting.
Section 7 - Business Conduct
Robert's Rules of Order shall be the general guide for conducting business at all church business meetings.
ARTICLE 11 – LICENSING OF PASTORS
All pastors who are called to minister at Wapato Valley Church shall be licensed or be in the process of licensing. If not licensed, the process of licensing is the responsibility of Wapato Valley Church. The Elder Board must recognize that the pastoral candidate is qualified according to the Biblical standard set forth in I Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, Heb. 13:17, and I Pet. 5:1-4. The membership will then vote to license the pastoral candidate. The pastoral candidate must receive at least a 75% majority vote. The pastoral candidate will then complete the necessary paperwork with Washington County, Oregon.
ARTICLE 12 - DISSOLUTION
It is confidently expected that the ministry of Wapato Valley Church will continue until the return of Christ. However, in the unlikely event of liquidation, dissolution or abandonment of the organization, all assets shall be distributed to the Northwest Conservative Baptist Association. In the event the Northwest Conservative Baptist Association is unable or unwilling to accept these assets, the assets will not inure to the benefit of any private person, but instead will be passed on to a fund, foundation, or corporation organized and operated for evangelical, religious purposes within the limits of those specified in Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.