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What We Believe

 We believe in the truths of the Nicene Creed and: As an affiliated Church of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC), we also believe the Holy Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative Word of God written. (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Peter 1:21) We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19) We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling power and fullness the Christian is enabled to live a godly life in this present evil world (John 14:15-17, 16:13).

We cherish and uphold the Sovereignty of Christ as the Head of the Church and the Lord of the conscience (Rev. 22:13, Matt. 28:18). We believe in the unity of Christ’s church since all are redeemed by His death and empowered by His life. (Eph. 4:3-6, 1 Cor. 12:12) We uphold the liberty of Christ’s church within the fear of God and the limits of love. (John 8:36, 1 Pet. 2:16). We recognize the urgency of Christ’s Church in the need to evangelize the world and to edify the believer. (Matt. 28:19-20, Acts 1:8)

Amen


Link to Constitution and By-Laws updated October 27, 2013 (PDF)


First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 1

CONSTITUTION

AND BY-LAWS

of the

First

Congregational

Church

of

Berkshire, NY

Revision Adopted December 1, 2011

THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF BERKSHIRE, INC

.

Berkshire, New York

THE CONSTITUTION ......................................................................................................... 1

Article I: Name and Principal Office / Organization .......................................................... 1

Article II: Affiliation........................................................................................................... 2

Article III: Purpose ........................................................................................................... 2

Article IV: Statement of Faith ........................................................................................... 2

Article V: Polity ................................................................................................................ 2

Article VI: Membership Covenant .................................................................................... 3

Article VII: Amendments .................................................................................................. 3

Article VIII: Dissolution Clause ........................................................................................ 3

THE BY-LAWS ................................................................................................................... 4

Article I: Membership ...................................................................................................... 4

Article II: Congregational Meetings and Reports ............................................................. 6

Article III: Church Officers ............................................................................................... 7

Article IV: Ministry Teams .............................................................................................. 11

Article V: Election of Church Officers ............................................................................ 12

Article VI: Amendments ................................................................................................. 13

Appendix 1: The Nicene Creed ..................................................................................... 14

Appendix 2: Scriptures Cited in These Constitution and By-Laws ................................. 14

Appendix 3: Current Church Structure .......................................................................... 20

THE CONSTITUTION

Article I: Name and Principal Office / Organization

The name of the Corporation is: First Congregational Church Of Berkshire, NY, Inc. This Corporation will be further referred to in the Constitution and Bylaws as the "First Congregational Church" or the "Corporation." The First Congregational Church maintains its principal office at the corner of State Route 38 and Glen Road in Berkshire, NY. The Congregation of this Church shall have full power and authority to change the location of the principal office from one location to another. Such change in address shall not be deemed an amendment of this Constitution.

This Corporation was incorporated in the State of New York as a not-for-profit corporation, organized and recognized on December 13, 1915. The Corporation is a tax-exempt organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Corporation shall not be operated for profit, and no profit or any portion thereof, remainder or residue from dues, donations or income from operations shall inure to the benefit of members or officers. Elders and Trustees shall serve

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without compensation except that they be allowed and paid reasonable reimbursement for actual or IRS allowable reimbursement of expenses incurred in the performance of their regular duties as specified in this Constitution and Bylaws.

Article II: Affiliation

The First Congregational Church is fully autonomous, affiliated with the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (8941 Highway 5, Lake Elmo, Minnesota 55042), the Greater Hudson Valley Fellowship, and in fellowship with all churches which acknowledge Jesus as Christ to be their divine Redeemer and Lord.

Article III: Purpose

The First Congregational Church exists to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ (Matthew 28.18-20) locally and globally, drawing non-Christians and the unchurched to personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, to encourage and edify Christians to become obedient followers of Christ and well-equipped ministers for Him, and to exalt and worship God in all things.

Article IV: Statement of Faith

We believe:

1. The Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the only inspired, inerrant, infallible, authoritative ` written.

2. That there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

3. In the deity of Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

4. That for salvation of lost and sinful man regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

5. In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by Whose indwelling power and fullness the Christian is enabled to live a godly life in this present evil world.

6. In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost: they that are saved unto the resurrection of life, and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

7. In the spiritual unity of all believers in Christ.

We cherish and uphold the Sovereignty of Christ as the Head of the Church and the Lord of the conscience (Rev 22.13, Mat 28.18). We believe in the unity of Christ’s church since all are redeemed by His death and empowered by His life. (Eph 4.3-6, I Cor 12.12) We uphold the liberty of Christ’s church within the fear of God and the limits of love. (John 8.36, I Pet 2.17). We recognize the urgency of Christ’s Church in the need to evangelize the world and to edify the believer. (Mat 28.19-20, Acts 1.8)

We further believe in the statements put forth in the Nicene Creed. Amen.

Article V: Polity

Section 1:

The First Congregational Church is Congregationally governed, Elder Board managed, and Pastor led, under the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Section 2: Congregationally Governed

The Congregation has the final say in budgets, officers, and the hiring and firing of the Pastor. Additionally, when the Congregation acts prayerfully together, as in a Congregational meeting, decisions by the whole Congregation are believed to be led by God’s Spirit and must be followed by the leaders and members.

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 3

Section 3: Elder Managed

Elders are called by God to provide oversight to the Church. When the Elders make a decision as a unit, the Pastor, Elders, and the Congregation are to submit to their decisions, unless in extreme cases the Congregation prayerfully overrides it. The Elders exercise oversight over all Church functions and ministries. The Deacons, Trustees, and all church groups and individuals report to the Elders. Unless limited by the Congregation, Elders are charged with the overall management of The First Congregational Church.

Section 4: Pastor Led

Pastors are called by God and placed in specific churches by Him. Elders and members of the Congregation are to submit to the leadership of the Pastor. The Pastor submits to the decision of the Elders when they are acting as the Elder Board and to the members of The First Congregational Church when they are acting as the Congregation. All church members recognize that such relationships are to be under the ultimate authority and Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church staff reports to the Pastor.

Article VI: Membership Covenant

The Covenant by which this Church exists as a distinct body, and which every member accepts, is as follows:

"Acknowledging Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord, accepting the Bible as our rule of faith and practice, and recognizing the privilege and duty of uniting ourselves for Christian fellowship, the enjoyment of Christian ordinances, the public worship of God and the advancement of His Kingdom in the world, we do now, in the sight of God and invoking His Blessing, solemnly covenant and agree with each other to associate ourselves to be a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, as warranted by the Word of God.

"We agree to maintain the institutions of the Gospels, to submit ourselves to the orderly administrations of the affairs of this Church, and to walk together in brotherly love, mutually endeavoring to aid one another in the needs of life and the ways of Christian living."

Article VII: Amendments

This Constitution may be amended only at a Congregational Meeting. Proposed changes shall be made when approved by two thirds of votes cast by the Full members of the Congregation present at the meeting. The content of the proposed changes shall be printed and made available 30 days prior to the meeting.

Article VIII: Dissolution Clause

The property of this Corporation is irrevocably dedicated to charitable purposes, and no part of the net income or assets of this Corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any director, officer, or member of this Corporation or to the benefit of any private individual. Upon the dissolution of this Corporation, and after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the Corporation, the remaining assets shall be distributed to the CCCC, or a nonprofit fund, foundation or corporation that is organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes, and which has established and maintained its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Law of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code") or the corresponding provision of any future Internal Revenue Law.

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 4

THE BY-LAWS

of the First Congregational Church of Berkshire, NY, Inc.

Article I: Membership

Section 1: Qualifications

Membership in The First Congregational Church shall be open to any person who:

A. evidences personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord,

B. has been (or is willing to be) baptized

C. earnestly desires to live in obedience to Scripture,

D. unreservedly agrees with the purposes of the church and its Statement of Faith,

E. willingly abides by the provision and requirement of this constitution and bylaws,

Section 2: Process for Receiving New Members

A. Any person desiring to become a member shall attend a membership class that reviews the history, doctrine, and organization of this church.

B. Candidates for either Full or Junior membership must provide evidence of prior baptism or be baptized prior to reception as a member.

C. Representatives from the Board of Elders shall then meet with the applicant to hear their written testimony and recommend their approval.

D. The Full members of this Congregation may receive all such applicants by public assent to the Covenant during the worship service on a Communion Sunday.

E. Acceptance of membership into this Congregation and of its membership covenant implies consent to be placed under the applicability of church discipline as set forth in this Constitution and By-laws.

Section 3: Membership Status

A. Full membership shall be granted to members who are at least 18 years old, honor the membership covenant, and attend at least 50% of the worship services and Congregational meetings each year. (The Board of Elders may waive the 50% for people who must work on Sundays. Those who move away for a season are expected to attend a church where they reside.) Full members are entitled to speak and vote on matters coming before the Congregation as the Congregation seeks God's will on a particular matter. Only Full members can hold a church office, be a Team leader, or teach.

B. Junior membership shall be granted to members who are between 12 and 18 years old, honor the membership covenant, and attend at least 50% of the worship services each year. Junior members are entitled to speak but not vote on matters coming before the Congregation as the Congregation seeks God's will on a particular matter. Junior members, with the approval of the Discipleship Team Chair, may help in the Nursery, assist adult teachers, or teach small children.

C. Alumni membership is granted to those who move away from the local area or are shut-ins unable to participate in worship but who wish to maintain a connection with this Congregation. Alumni members may speak but not vote on matters coming before the Congregation as the Congregation seeks God's will on a particular matter. Alumni members who live in another area are expected to establish an active involvement in a church near their new residence.

D. Inactive membership shall be conferred on any full or junior member who fails to honor the membership covenant or attend at least 50% of the worship services and Congregational meetings each year. Inactive members may speak but not vote on matters coming before the Congregation as the Congregation seeks God's will on a particular matter.

Section 4: Changes in Membership Status

A. From Junior to Full Status: When Junior members reach their eighteenth birthday, they shall take a special membership class with the Pastor to help them review their own

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 5

spiritual growth and to help them understand the additional privileges and responsibilities as Full members. They shall write personal testimonies. Representatives from the Board of Elders shall then meet with the applicant to hear their testimonies. The Elders may then approve their change from Junior to Full status, and they shall be received according to Section 2.

B. From Full or Junior status to Alumni membership: The Board of Elders shall contact anyone who leaves the local area. If these people expect to return to the area or specifically request alumni status, the Elders may change their status to Alumni. Upon return to the Berkshire area and renewed involvement in this Congregation, the Elders shall reinstate their Junior or Full membership status.

C. From Full or Junior membership to Inactive membership:

1. Any member, who, for a period of six months, has not met the obligations and responsibilities of membership, will be contacted by an Elder and informed of their pending change in status.

2. If the member continues in this failure, they can be transferred to Inactive status upon formal vote of the Board of Elders.

3. The Board of Elders shall notify such members of their change in status in writing.

4. Any active member upon making a written request will, with the approval by a majority vote of the Board of Elders, receive Inactive status.

D. From Inactive membership to Full or Junior membership: The Board of Elders may reinstate a member to Full or Junior membership once that person has demonstrated their commitment to this Congregation by resuming attendance at worship for at least 50% of the services for a period of six months. (Attendance at Congregational meeting during this period is not required.)

Section 5: Discipline

A. Violation of our Covenant is the sole basis for the discipline of members. Reconciliation is always the aim of Church discipline; therefore censure will be considered the last option. Private attempts at reconciliation must precede any action taken by the Board of Elders. The Board of Elders must initiate any action taken by this Church, up to and including termination of membership.

B. It shall be the charge of the Board of Elders to make every effort to periodically communicate with each Inactive member to ascertain their intention with regards to reaffirming their Full status. Those without the intention of returning to this Church may be removed from membership.

C. The Board of Elders shall be responsible for insuring that church discipline conforms to the Biblical principles given in Matthew 18.15-18; Galatians 6.1-2; I Corinthians 5; and II Corinthians 2.5-11.

D. Acceptance of membership into this Congregation and of its membership covenant implies consent to be placed under the applicability of such church discipline.

Section 6: Termination of Membership

A. Members in good standing may be granted a letter of transfer to any evangelical church by the Board of Elders. This person will then have their membership in The First Congregational Church terminated (or moved to Alumni status if they so request).

B. Members must be released from their Covenant and membership upon their own written request.

C. The Board of Elders may recommend removal from membership to the Congregation. Such a member will be removed from membership by a majority vote of the Congregation at a Congregational meeting.

D. Members shall automatically be removed from membership upon their death.

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 6

E. After six months of inactive status and periodic attempts by the Board of Elders to contact them, the Elders may recommend that these inactive members be removed from membership by a majority vote of the membership at a Congregational meeting.

Article II: Congregational Meetings and Reports

Section 1: The Annual Meeting

A. The Annual Congregational Meeting shall be in January each year at a time and date determined by the Board of Trustees. The purpose of this meeting shall be to hear the yearly reports of the officers, boards, committees and organizations, to adopt an annual budget and elect the Church officers.

B. Requests for other matters of business to be brought before the Congregation must be presented to the Elders by a Full member at least four weeks prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting. An item presented by this procedure will be added to the Agenda of the Annual Congregational Meeting if a majority of the Elders deem it is ready for the Congregation’s consideration. This allows the Congregation time to pray and discuss matters in preparation for the meeting.

C. Items may be added to the agenda from the floor at the meeting, but if the Elders deem the matter divisive, they can postpone a vote until a special meeting which will be held within the following month.

D. All financial and other reports for this meeting will be made available two Sundays prior in the church. The Annual meeting date shall be announced from the pulpit on the two Sundays prior to the meeting. Any reports not picked up at this time will be mailed the next business day.

E. The Board of Trustees shall appoint auditors in October as follows:

1. two auditors to examine the Treasurer’s accounts for the year

2. an officer of the Church to examine, with the Pastor, the Clerk’s records for the year

3. an auditor to examine each account maintained by a separate Treasurer (as allowed in Article IV, Section 1.D.)

F. The Clerk will call the meeting to order. The Full members shall then elect a moderator to chair the meeting. If sensitive votes are to be taken by written ballot, then the Full members shall elect two counters as well.

Section 2: Special Meetings

A. The Board of Elders or the Board of Trustees may call special meetings as they deem appropriate. These meetings shall be announced two Sundays in advance and the agenda and any reports shall be available the Sunday before the meeting.

B. Ten or more Full members may request a special meeting. They shall submit a written request to the Board of Elders stating their reason for this meeting, which shall then be the sole issue to be considered by the Congregation at that meeting. The Board of Elders shall call the meeting within 30 days, allowing for the two Sundays needed to announce the meeting and publish the agenda.

Section 3: Quorums for Meetings

A quorum for any Congregational meeting shall be one-third of the Full membership.

Section 4: Voting at Meetings

Unless otherwise stated in these Bylaws, decisions of the Congregation shall be by a majority of votes cast by the Full members of the Congregation present at the meeting. Any Congregational vote will be by written ballot if requested by a Full member and supported by a majority vote. Ballots will be counted by the two counters voted to this duty by the Congregation. We affirm again our intention that every decision be prayerful, with a shared commitment to discern and follow the mind of Christ.

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 7

Section 5: Rules of Order

In so far as possible, Church meetings shall follow the pattern of Acts 1 and 15. Matters of procedure not detailed in Scripture shall be handled in accordance with the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order.

Section 6: Quarterly Reports

The Church Officers (the Pastor, the Boards of Elders, Trustees and Deacons, the Clerk, and the Treasurer) and the Ministry Teams (Outreach, Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, and Ministry Placement) shall submit written reports on their activities each quarter. The Ministry Team chairs shall be responsible for either summarizing all Team activities or submitting reports from their ministry leaders. All reports will be made available to the Congregation by the last week of April, July, and October. (Reports may be emailed, distributed manually, or sent via USPS.)

Article III: Church Officers

Section 1: General

A. The Bible specifies three two Church Offices: Pastor (Eph 4.11-12, I & II Timothy, Titus), Elders (I Timothy 5, Titus 1, I Peter 5), and Deacons (Acts 6, I Timothy 3). The State further requires Trustees, a Clerk and a Treasurer. To these Biblical and statutory offices, we add the leaders of the four major ministries of the Church: outreach, worship, fellowship and discipleship. Finally, as all Christians have special gifts for use in the ministry of the church, we include a Ministry Placement Team (which shall also serve as nominating committee ).

B. The First Congregational Church shall defend and hold harmless a First Congregational Church’s agent from and against any and all claims arising from or in any way related to property with which the First Congregational Church is involved in any way; and/or any acts, omissions or the conduct of any of the First Congregational Church’s agents. The First Congregational Church’s agents shall not be personally liable for the debts, liabilities, or other obligations of the First Congregational Church.

C. Each Officer and Director of the First Congregational Church shall, in the course of his or her duties on behalf of the First Congregational Church, act with strict loyalty and fidelity to the best interests of the First Congregational Church, exercise the utmost good faith in all matters and transactions involving the First Congregational Church, and adhere to the highest ethical standards of fiduciary duty to the First Congregational Church.

D. All Church Officers (including the Pastor), Team Chairs, teachers and treasurers shall be Full members of the Congregation.

E. The Boards of Elders, Trustees, and Deacons shall elect their own chairpersons annually.

F. Chairpersons and the Pastor shall be allowed to vote on matters brought before the Congregation, Boards, and Teams of which they are members.

G. Resignation or removal of any Church Officer (other than the Pastor) shall follow these guidelines.

1. An Officer may request not to be re-elected to the position at the end of their normal term.

2. Under personal hardship or if the Officer is leaving the area, they may resign from the Board or Team, giving one month's notice if possible. The remaining members of the Board or Team may appoint a replacement (or, for Elders and Deacons, a previously ordained person) to assume the remaining term of the resigning Officer. The Board or Team may choose to function with the remaining members until a new member is identified and elected at a Congregational meeting. This new Officer's term shall match the remaining term of the Officer who resigned.

3. Following the instruction of 1Timothy 5.19-22, if an Officer no longer meets the qualifications for Officer, becomes inactive, or demonstrates insubordination to the governance of the Church, the Board of Elders may ask the Congregation that he be

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 8

removed from office. This shall be done by a simple majority vote of the Congregation. Removal should not be considered until the Pastor and the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Elders meet with that Officer (or been refused), nor without deliberate and intense prayer on the matter.

Section 2: Pastor

A. Qualifications: Being guided by God’s Word, the First Congregational Church will seek and call a Pastor with Christian maturity, a passionate love for Jesus Christ, a shepherd’s heart, a hunger to reach the lost with the gospel of Christ, and demonstrated anointing and ability to fulfill the Biblical responsibilities of his calling.

When called by the Congregation, the Pastor shall be received into membership, then duly ordained and installed by this Congregation. Any man called by this Church to become Pastor who does not have a Ministerial License granted by the CCCC organization shall be considered Provisional Pastor. The Provisional Pastor will have one year to become a Licensed Ministerial Member of the CCCC as defined by the CCCC By-Laws. Ordination may proceed after this one year trial period.

B. Duties and Functions:

1. Ministry of the Word (Colossians 1.28-29; I Thessalonians 2.1-12; II Timothy 2.15,24-26; 3.16-4.4; Titus 1.5-11; 2.15; James 3.1)

2. Equipping the Saints for Ministry (Ephesians 4.11-17; II Timothy 3.16-17)

3. Discipling (Matthew 28.18-20; Colossians 1.28-29; II Timothy 2.2)

4. Shepherding the Flock (John 21.15-17; I Thessalonians 5.12-14; Hebrews 13.17; I Peter 5.1-11)

5. Evangelizing (II Timothy 4.5)

6. Living an Example of Godliness (I Corinthians 11.1; I Timothy 4.12; I Peter 5.3)

7. Oversight of:

a. support staff

b. the ministries of the Church (the Pastor is an Elder and

ex officio, a member of all Boards and Teams)

c. baptisms, weddings, funerals

8. Perform other duties as may be assigned by the Board of Elders

C. Selection:

1. The Board of Elders shall prayerfully oversee the selection process for a Pastor. They shall select two of their own number to serve on the Pastoral Search Team, one of whom shall serve as chairman. At least three additional members shall be selected by the Board of Elders from the Congregation at large.

2. Only when a unanimous recommendation has been reached by the Pastoral Search Team, followed by confirmation by the Board of Elders will a candidate be presented to the Congregation.

3. A minimum two thirds affirmative vote of the Congregation is required for calling a Pastor. The call issued to the Pastor will be an indefinite call.

4. The Pastor will be received into Full membership of the First Congregational Church of Berkshire.

D. Resignation or Removal:

1. The voluntary resignation of the Pastor will be submitted to the Elders one month prior to the effective date of resignation. By mutual agreement, this time can be longer or shorter.

2. A majority of the Elder Board may request the resignation of the Pastor. Following the instruction of I Timothy 5.19-22, if the Pastor no longer meets the qualifications, becomes inactive, or demonstrates insubordination to the governance of the Church, he will be confronted by the Elders. If there is clear evidence of sin and he does not repent, or he is otherwise deemed unable to continue as Pastor, the Elders may present the issues to the Congregation at a Congregational meeting, called in

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accordance with Article II of the Bylaws. He may be removed by a two thirds of votes cast by the Full members of the Congregation present at the Congregational meeting.

Section 3: Elders

A. Qualifications:

1. Elders must be men and must have been Full members of the Congregation for at least three years before being eligible to serve as Elders.

2. I Timothy 2.12-14, I Timothy 3.1-7, Titus 1.6-9, and I Peter 5.1-11 list the basic qualifications for a local church Elder. While recognizing that no one perfectly measures up to this standard these Scriptures will guide the prayerful process of selecting candidates for the Congregation to consider for appointment as Elder.

3. The Pastor automatically serves as an Elder with all rights and responsibilities, save one: the Pastor cannot be the Chair of the Board of Elders.

B. Duties and Functions:

1. The Elders as a board have the spiritual authority and responsibility to see that the Church remains on a Biblically true course. They are responsible for seeing that members are being fed through accurate Biblical teaching and that the life of the Church is being well managed. They are to care about the spiritual and physical well being of Church members and Staff.

2. The Elders will prayerfully endeavor to reach unified decisions, but may make decisions by majority vote. When the Elder Board makes a decision, all Elders and Pastoral staff shall support that decision. An individual Elder’s authority is only present as part of the Elders as a whole, or is limited to that specific authority delegated to him by the Elder Board.

3. The Elders may appoint qualified Church members to oversee or operate particular ministries of the Church other than those elected by the Congregation. Further, the Elders may remove Church members from a particular ministry using whatever process they deem best accords with Scripture.

4. A Vice-Chair and a Secretary will be chosen from among the Elders. The Vice-Chair will fill-in for the Chair in his absence and serve as Vice President of the Corporation. The Secretary will be responsible for taking minutes of the Elders' meetings. (The same person may hold both roles if necessary.)

5. The Elders will maintain the rolls of the church, determining the membership status of all people connected with the Congregation.

6. The Elders will meet to conduct business monthly, at least eleven months of the year. A quorum shall be a majority of the Elders.

7. Elders, along with Deacons, will serve Communion.

8. Elders shall perform duties in good faith and in a manner in which shall be in the best interests of the Corporation, and with such care, including reasonable inquiry, as an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would exercise under similar circumstances.

Section 4: Deacons

A. Qualifications:

1. Deacons may be men or women; they must have been Full members of the Congregation for at least one year before being eligible to serve as Deacons.

2. I Timothy 3.8-13 and Acts 6.1-5 list the basic qualifications for a Deacon. While recognizing that no one perfectly measures up to this standard these Scriptures will guide the prayerful process of selecting candidates for the Congregation to consider for appointment as Deacon.

B. Duties and Functions:

1. The Deacons are responsible for acts of mercy. They will visit the sick and shut-ins and help provide transportation to those who are unable to come to church on their own.

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2. Help with the physical needs of members in distress, such as arranging meals or providing comfort to those who are hurting.

3. The Deacons shall administer the Deacon's Fund to help those in the community.

4. A Vice-Chair and a Secretary will be chosen from among the Deacons. The Vice-Chair will fill-in for the Chair in his absence. The Secretary will be responsible for taking minutes of the Deacons' meetings. (The same person may hold both roles if necessary.)

5. Deacons will help the Elders in serving Communion.

Section 5: Trustees

A. Qualifications:

1. Trustees may be men or women; they must have been Full members of the Congregation for at least one year before being eligible to serve as Trustees.

2. Trustees must meet the same qualifications as a Deacon, which are set forth in I Timothy 3.8-13 and Acts 6.1-5. The Scriptural qualifications for Trustees are found in II Kings 22.3-7 and also in Luke 12.42, I Cor.4.2 and Titus 1.7-9.

B. Duties and Functions:

1. The Trustees are responsible for the financial administration of the church.

2. The Trustees have charge of the financial and material welfare of this Church; they attend to the up-keep of the Church buildings, the grounds, and the parsonage.

3. The Trustees shall appoint at least two Full members of the Church to be designated as check signers. These will include the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer.

4. The Trustees shall be responsible to hire and dismiss all paid Church staff other than the Pastor.

5. The Trustees shall negotiate and recommend to the Congregation the compensation and benefits package for all paid Church staff. This will be reviewed annually prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting.

6. They provide an adequate financial system for this Church.

7. They have care of all investments held by this Church.

8. They have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property, legacies or endowments of this Church without the vote of the membership.

9. They recommend changes to the salaries of the Pastor and/or other Church employees to the Congregation.

10. They oversee the work of the Treasurer and approve all expenditures.

11. A Vice-Chair and a Secretary will be chosen from among the Trustees. The Vice-Chair will fill-in for the Chair in his absence. The Secretary will be responsible for taking minutes of the Trustees' meetings. (The same person may hold both roles if necessary.)

12. Budgeted resources may be expended as needed, with approval of the Church treasurer or by the individual(s) responsible for that area of the budget, provided that sufficient funds exist. No expenditures in excess of $500, except for salaries and other regular expenses, shall be spent without prior approval of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will review all expenditures at their regular meetings.

Section 6: Other Officers

A. Individual officers of the church are:

1. Clerk.

2. Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer.

B. These officers are elected each year at the annual meeting for one year. Should any choose to resign before the end of their term, the Board of Elders will appoint a replacement to complete the term of office.

C. Duties of the Clerk:

1. Faithfully keep full minutes of all transactions at all Congregational meetings, and of all other matters occurring at other times that should be recorded.

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2. Keep a list of all members and their membership category.

3. Keep a record of all receptions, transfers, and deaths of members.

4. Keep a record of all baptisms, marriages and funerals.

5. Issue "letters of transfer" upon request by the Board of Elders.

6. Have charge of the archives of this Church, keeping all records of this Church and other papers of value in a safe place.

7. Give notice of all regular meetings and of special meetings, when so instructed.

D. Duties of the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer

1. Have charge of the funds of this Church.

2. Distribute the funds according to the direction of the Trustees or the vote of the membership.

3. Keep careful accounts which shall be audited annually by a committee of two appointed by the Elders.

4. Submit a monthly report to the Board of Trustees.

5. Have access to the safe-deposit box.

6. File all appropriate tax-related forms and other necessary financial documents

7. Submit a fiscal year report to the Board of Trustees by February 15, and to any member upon request.

8. The Assistant Treasurer shall assist the Treasurer as needed and fulfill all of the Treasurer's duties when the Treasurer is unavailable.

Article IV: Ministry Teams

Section 1: Overview

A. A chair for each Team will be elected annually by the Congregation according to the process laid out in Article V. Team chairs may serve as long as they are re-elected.

B. Each Team will consist of the ministry leaders for that area. (e.g. the Discipleship Team might be the Chair, the Sunday school superintendent, a Youth Group advisor, and an Adult Education teacher.) The Team has the authority to create or disband ministries and positions as they see fit. Members of these teams will be appointed by the Team leaders with the approval of the Board of Elders.

C. Each Team has the responsibility to keep the Board of Elders informed of their activities and seek the advice of the Elders when they want to make significant changes in their ministries.

D. Each Team, with the approval of the Board of Elders and submitting to oversight of the Board of Trustees, may create a separate fund for special offerings and a Treasurer to administer these. If a separate Treasurer is not used, the Church Treasurer will maintain the accounts and designated funds for the Team.

E. The Board of Elders will maintain a record of the active ministries of the church. This record will be included with these By-laws as Appendix 3.

Section 2: Outreach Team

A. This Team works with the Pastor and Elders to reach out to the community, both local and foreign.

B. This Team has responsibility for all instruments of outreach, such as evangelism teams and special outreach activities; it also oversees the church website, newsletter, and correspondence with missionaries.

C. This Team shall work with all members of the Congregation to encourage and equip them both for personal evangelism and for church sponsored outreach (including local and foreign mission support).

Section 3: Worship Team

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 12

A. This Team works with the Pastor and Elders to provide for well-run worship services that glorify God and edify those attending.

B. This Team has responsibility for all elements of a worship service, from providing nursery attendants, greeters and ushers to setting up for Communion services and providing the music for the service.

C. This Team shall work with all members of the Congregation to encourage and equip them for personal growth both through worship and through support of the various worship activities.

Section 4: Fellowship Team

A. This Team works with the Pastor and Elders to provide for fellowship activities to comfort and encourage members as they grow in our church family.

B. This Team has responsibility for all fellowship activities such as small groups, coffee hours, church dinners and picnics. It also exercises oversight of the kitchen and its use.

C. This Team shall work with all members of the Congregation to encourage and equip them both for personal growth through fellowship and to support of the various fellowship activities.

Section 5: Discipleship Team

A. This Team works with the Pastor and Elders to provide for the growth of members through education.

B. This Team has responsibility for all discipleship activities such as Sunday school, youth groups, adult discipleship courses and special discipleship events. It is also responsible for the use of the classrooms in the church.

C. This Team shall work with all members of the Congregation to encourage and equip them both in their own personal growth and develop them as ministers to serve in the church and in the world.

Section 6: Ministry Placement Team

A. The Ministry Placement Team (MPT) works with the Pastor and Elders to help each member identify and develop their spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12, Romans 12).

B. The MPT works with the other Ministry Teams to find ministries for each member that fit with their gifts or might provide the opportunity for discovering new gifts.

C. The MPT will oversee the ministries of all members, uplifting them in prayer, encouraging them to grow through their service and develop their gifts.

D. Should a member try a ministry for a few months and feel that this is not where they should serve, the MPT will work to find a replacement (or recommend discontinuing this ministry) and help the member find another form of service in which the member can bless the Congregation and be blessed in the activity.

E. The MPT shall prepare a slate of officers to submit to the Elders as set forth in Article V.

Article V: Election of Church Officers

Section 1: The MPT and the Process

The Ministry Placement Team (MPT) shall propose the slate of officers to the Board of Elders.

A. The Congregation may make recommendations to the MPT.

B. The MPT will make a concerted effort to select candidates based upon their spiritual maturity, giftedness, training and experience for their respective offices.

C. The MPT will select candidates for nomination for all elective Church offices slated for a vote at the Annual Congregational Meeting. These candidates will be presented as recommendations to the Elders by the December Elders meeting. Discussions of the MPT will remain confidential.

D. The Elders may make changes in the slate of candidates as they deem necessary. Individuals approved by the Elders will become Nominees. Nominees will be invited by

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 13

the Elders to allow their nomination to be presented at the Annual Congregational Meeting.

E. The slate of officers consists of:

1. Elder(s) whose term ends at the Annual Meeting

2. Deacon(s) whose term ends at the Annual Meeting.

3. Trustee(s) whose term ends at the Annual Meeting.

4. Clerk

5. Treasurer

6. Assistant Treasurer

7. Outreach Team Chair.

8. Worship Team Chair.

9. Fellowship Team Chair.

10. Discipleship Team Chair.

11. Ministry Placement Team Chair.

All positions will have a one year term with no limit on the number of terms unless otherwise specified in these By-Laws.

Section 2: Election by the Congregation

A. The Boards of Elders, Deacons and Trustees shall have a minimum of three persons elected from the Congregation. This number may be changed by a simple majority vote of the Congregation.

B. Elders, Deacons and Trustees serve on their Boards for a three year term and may serve two consecutive terms before stepping down for at least one year. These terms shall be staggered.

C. The slate of Nominees will be presented in writing to the Congregation two weeks before the Annual Congregational Meeting. Concerns should be brought to the Elders prior to the Annual Congregational Meeting. Nominees are elected by a simple majority of votes cast by the Full members of the Congregation present at the Annual Congregational Meeting.

D. Members of the church may make candidate recommendations to the MPT as they are preparing their slate; members may also express any candidate-related concerns to the Elders before that slate is presented to the Congregation for confirmation. Therefore, nominations to elective church office are not accepted from the floor at the Annual Congregational Meeting (except as noted in the following point).

E. The slate of officers may be voted on with a single vote, or, if the majority chooses, one officer at a time. If the MPT has an unfilled position on its slate, then nominations from the Congregation will be accepted. This includes any position that becomes open because a nominee did not receive a majority vote.

F. All terms of office shall begin on February 1.

G. The Church fiscal year shall run from February 1 through January 31 of the subsequent year.

Section 3: Installation of Church Officers

A. Persons elected to the Biblical offices of Elder and Deacon for the first time shall be ordained during the following Sunday worship by the Pastor and previously ordained holders of that office. Whenever possible, other Elders and/or Deacons from CCCC churches shall be invited to share in this ordination service.

B. Previously ordained Elders and Deacons who are returning to active office shall be installed along with the other church officers.

Article VI: Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended at any Congregational meeting by two thirds of votes cast by the Full members of the Congregation present at the meeting. The content of the proposed changes shall be published 30 days prior to the meeting.

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Appendix 1: The Nicene Creed

We believe

in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the very Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.

And we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.

Appendix 2: Scriptures Cited in These Constitution and By-Laws

All references given here are from the New King James version.

In the Constitution

Article III:

Matthew 28.18-20:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,

even to the end of the age." Amen.

Article IV:

Revelation 22.13:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."

Ephesians 4.3-6:

3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

4

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

6 one God and Father of all, who

is above all, and through all, and in you all.

I Corinthians 12.12:

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.

John 8.36:

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

I Peter 2.17:

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Matthew 28.19-20:

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,

even to the end of the age." Amen.

Acts 1.8:

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 15

In the By-Laws

Article I:

Matthew 18.15-18:

15 " Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.

16 "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'

17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell

it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

Galatians 6.1-2:

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

I Corinthians 5:

1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles -- that a man has his father's wife!

2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.

4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6 Your glorying

is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened

bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.

10 Yet

I Certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person.

12 For what

have I To do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."

II Corinthians 2.5-11:

5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent -- not to be too severe.

6 This punishment which

was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,

7 so that, on the contrary, you

ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow.

8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm

your love to him.

9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also

forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Article III:

The Pastoral Epistles-- I & II Timothy and Titus-- were written by Paul to two young pastors. Thus these entire books describe the responsibilities and challenges faced by pastors. Those specific citations starting with Section 2 are listed here. For easier reference, these verses are listed in Biblical order, using the NKJ version.

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 16

II Kings 22.3-7:

3 Now it came to pass, in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the scribe, the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, to the house of the LORD, saying:

4 "Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may count the money which has been brought into the house of the LORD, which the doorkeepers have gathered from the people.

5 "And let them deliver it into the hand of those doing the work, who are the overseers in the house of the LORD; let them give it to those who

are in the house of the LORD doing the work, to repair the damages of the house --

6 "to carpenters and builders and masons -- and to buy timber and hewn stone to repair the house.

7 "However there need be no accounting made with them of the money delivered into their hand, because they deal faithfully."

Matthew 28.18-20:

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,

even to the end of the age." Amen.

Luke 12.42:

And the Lord said, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?

John 21.15-17:

5 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."

16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon,

son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."

17 He said to him the third time, "Simon,

son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.

Acts 6.1-5:

1 Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.

2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.

3 "Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of

good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

4 "but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word."

5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch,

I Corinthians 4.2:

Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

I Corinthians 11.1:

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.

Ephesians 4.11-17:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,

12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,

15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ --

16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 17

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,

Colossians 1.28-29:

28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

29 To this

end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

I Thessalonians 2.1-12:

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.

2 But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.

3 For our exhortation

did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit.

4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

5 For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness -- God

is witness.

6 Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.

7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing

mother cherishes her own children.

8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.

10 You

are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;

11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father

does his own children,

12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

I Thessalonians 5.12-14:

12 And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,

13 and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

I Timothy 2.12-14:

12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

I Timothy 3.1-7:

1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.

2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach;

3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;

4 one who rules his own house well, having

his children in submission with all reverence

5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);

6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the

same condemnation as the devil.

7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

I Timothy 3.8-13 :

8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money,

9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being

found blameless.

11 Likewise

their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 18

12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling

their children and their own houses well.

13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

I Timothy 4.12:

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

I Timothy 5.19-22:

19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.

20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

21 I Charge

you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.

22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.

II Timothy 2.2:

And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

II Timothy 2.15,24-26:

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,

25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,

26 and

that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

II Timothy 3.16-4.4:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

4.1 I Charge

you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

2 Preach the word! Be ready in season

and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires,

because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

4 and they will turn

their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

II Timothy 4.5:

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Titus 1.5-11:

5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I Commanded you --

6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.

7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision,

11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

Titus 2.15:

peak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.

Hebrews 13.17:

Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

James 3.1:

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.

I Peter 5.1-11:

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: First Congregational Church of Berkshire Constitution & Bylaws Page 19

2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;

3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to

your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

 

11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.