Church By-Laws

By-Laws of Central Christian Church

(Disciples of Christ)

In Murfreesboro TN.

October 9, 2007

  1. Membership


1.1)   A participating member is one who exercises a continuing interest in the fellowship of the congregation in one or more of the following ways: attendance, giving, activity, and spiritual concern for the congregation.


1.2)   An associate membership will be accorded to persons who expect short tenures in the community or other circumstances deemed appropriate by the Elders.


1.3)   In the event of unusual circumstances, the Elders will determine the appropriate process for the receiving of a person into membership.


1.4)   Resignation, termination, suspension, or transfer of membership is at the request of the individual.


1.5)   A complete record of membership will be compiled by the Ministry of Membership with assistance from the Pastor, Elders, and Church Office.


1.6)   Any person who cannot be included as a participating or associate member shall be placed on a non – participating membership roll. Prayer and loving concern shall be expressed for these members in hope that they will return to active membership in the life of our church.


1.7)   Any member of the congregation may attend any church committee meeting with the exception of the Personnel and Pastoral Search Committee meetings.




2.   Officers


2.1)    The Moderator shall preside at all regular and special meetings of the congregation and General Board. The Moderator shall refer business presented before the General Board to the appropriate Ministry or committee. The Moderator may appoint special committees to consider items of business not covered by standing committees or Ministries. These ad hoc committees will need to be renewed annually to continue their assignments. The Moderator shall serve as chairperson of the Executive Committee and as ex-officio member of all church Ministries and committees. Vacancies in any church office may be filled for the unexpired term by nomination by the Moderator and subsequent General Board approval or positions may be left unfilled with General Board approval. This is not the responsibility of the Nominating Committee.


2.2)   When the office of Pastor becomes vacant, the Moderator of the General Board shall contact the Regional Minister to discuss the process for calling a Pastor.


2.3)   The Vice Moderator shall fulfill the duties of the Moderator in his or her absence.


2.4)   The Secretary shall take the minutes of all regular and special meetings of the General Board. The copies of the minutes shall be available for review at least one week prior to the next regular General Board  meeting and accessible in the church office or in the back of the sanctuary in a specified location. The Secretary shall keep a current record of all officers of the General Board, including attendance, and shall be prepared to call roll upon request.


2.5)   The Vice Secretary shall fulfill the duties of the Secretary in his or her absence.


2.6)   The Financial Secretary shall supervise the receiving and recording of all funds and shall deposit them in the proper accounts. The Financial Secretary shall report to the General Board at each meeting in written form.


2.7)   The Vice Financial Secretary will assist the Financial Secretary in all aspects of his or her responsibilities and be available to report to the General Board in the event of the absence of the Financial Secretary.


2.8)   The Treasurer shall disburse all funds for the operation of the church according to the authority delegated by the General Board. This officer shall report at regular Board meetings the disbursement of these funds in written form. The Treasurer shall also prepare the books for audit each year.


2.9)   The Vice Treasurer shall assist the Treasurer in the completion of his or her duties and report to the General Board in the event of the absence of the Treasurer.


2.10) Persons serving as Vice Moderator, Vice Secretary, Vice Treasurer, and Vice Financial Secretary do not automatically succeed to the position of the office they assist.


2.11) All officers should be either Elders or Deacons.



3.   General Board


3.1)   The voting members of the General Board are as follows:  Moderator,  Vice Moderator, Past Moderator,  Secretary, Treasurer,  Financial Secretary, Chairpersons of the seven Ministries, Leader of  DWM/CWF, Chairperson of the Elders, Chairperson of the Deacons, an Elder delegate, and a Deacon delegate.  Non-voting members of the General Board are: Vice Secretary, Vice Treasurer, Vice Financial Secretary, Leaders of the DMF and CYF, and one Elder and one Deacon elected by their respective groups. The Vice Secretary, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary shall vote in the absence of their co office holders.


3.2)   Meetings of the Board shall be held on a fixed schedule decided by the Board at its first meeting in January. Changes in the schedule may be made during the year by the Board if more or fewer meetings are needed. A special meeting of the Board may be called by the Moderator or 10 members making request in writing to the Moderator with a one-week notice to all Board members.


3.3)   Members of the Board shall be expected to be faithful in attendance at meetings and in fulfilling all other duties accepted. A member who becomes inactive in his or her attendance and/or can no longer serve may be removed at their request, after consultation with the Moderator, or by vote of the board if he or she does not respond to attempts to be contacted.  A vacancy will be filled by the Moderator with a candidate approved by the Board.


3.4)   The General Board is charged by the congregation with the duty of overseeing the business affairs and the programs and Ministries of the church. The operational responsibilities will be carried out primarily by each Ministry or committee. At all times the actions of the Board are subject to review by the congregation.


3.5)   The General Board will receive the slate of officers and Ministry Chairs submitted by the Nominating Committee and submit an approved slate to the congregation at the congregational meeting in November for vote and approval.



3.6)   The Board will receive regular reports from each Ministry as to its accomplishments, and will provide resources to fulfill its duties.


3.7)   The Board will receive a proposed annual budget from the Finance Committee and make a recommendation for its approval, or approval with amendment, to the congregation. The Board will give regular oversight to the management of the final approved budget, insuring sound fiscal policy at all times.


3.8)   The Board shall recommend the calling of Pastoral candidates to the congregation and shall approve the employment of all other staff.


3.9)   At meetings, fifty percent of the Board membership will be considered a quorum. A majority of those voting shall determine all questions before the Board, except those concerning salaried personnel, Board membership, and amendments to the by-laws. These will require a two-thirds vote of the Board members present and voting.  Proxy voting is not permitted.


4.   Elders & Deacons


4.1)   According to the scriptures, the offices of Elder and Deacon are positions of service and leadership, setting examples for the congregation. Persons being considered or holding these offices must be of such Christian character that they choose to accept these positions out of an eagerness to serve.


4.2)   Candidates for these offices are persons who have witnessed to their faithfulness in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord as a member of this church during a reasonable amount of time: worshiping God with the congregation regularly; practicing stewardship of time, energy, and resources; promoting good will and reconciliation within the church family; and striving to live faithfully with God’s guidance in their homes, work, and community.


4.3)   The Elders and Deacons will meet as soon as possible after the    Congregational approval in November to select their respective officers.


4.4)   The Elders shall elect their own officers and two representatives to vote on the General Board.  They shall hold meetings, and make recommendations to the General Board as deemed necessary. An accurate record of all Elders shall be kept each year in conjunction with the Church directory.


4.5)   It shall be the duty of the Elders, in cooperation with the Pastor, to promote the growth and welfare of the congregation; to provide pastoral care; to give spiritual and ethical guidance to the members of the congregation with respect to the congregation’s relationships; to visit the sick; to give prayerful consideration to policies of the congregation that will enable it to fulfill its mission; to encourage by example the work of the worship, evangelistic, outreach, educational, and stewardship responsibilities of the church; to serve at the Lord’s Table; and to perform such other responsibilities as may be agreed upon.


4.6)   The Deacons shall elect their own officers and two representatives to vote on the General Board .  The Deacons shall hold meetings and make recommendations to the General Board as deemed necessary. An accurate record will be kept of the Deacons in conjunction with the Church directory.


4.7)   The Deacons shall cooperate with the Pastor, in promoting the growth and welfare of the church; be responsible for greeting and ushering at all worship services; have special responsibility for the preparation and serving of Communion and for the care of Communion ware; assist with the preparation of candidates for baptism; minister to families in times of sickness and bereavement and other times of need; give counsel and service in the business affairs, Ministries, and activities of the church: and to perform such other responsibilities as may be agreed upon.


4.8)   An Elder or Deacon is a person who has felt the call of Jesus to fulfill a great service to his Church and our community by volunteering for positions on the General Board or as a Chairperson of one of our Ministries. Our example is Christ, who came as a servant to lead us to salvation.   If elected, Elders and Deacons are expected to serve in positions on the General Board and the Church Ministries. This must be clearly explained to Elders and Deacons before they agree to be nominated.






5.   Ministries

5.1)   Property – The purpose of this Ministry is to care for all properties, equipment, and motor vehicles of the Church. It shall be responsible for keeping such in proper condition, studying needs and making recommendations for improvements, supervising the work of the custodian, caring for the grounds and keeping the properties adequately insured against possible loss and damage. It shall enlist members of the congregation to perform duties and tasks as needed to accomplish its responsibilities. 

5.2)   Stewardship – This Ministry shall be responsible for developing and promoting within the total Church membership a realization of each individual’s stewardship obligation of time, energy and resources.

5.3)   Christian Education – This Ministry shall be responsible for planning and administering the total educational program of the church, including Sunday School classes, special educational projects and leadership education.

5.4)   Membership – This Ministry shall be responsible for maintaining close contact with the entire church membership, keeping accurate up-to-date records on all members, assimilating new members into the life of the church and striving to create a warm friendly spirit within the Church. This Ministry shall be responsible for fostering activities that promote fellowship in our congregation.

5.5)   Worship – This Ministry shall be responsible for the public worship of the Church, its pulpit supply, the administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, music, and special services as needed.

5.6)   Evangelism – This Ministry shall foster a climate of evangelism that encourages congregation members informally and spontaneously to share Christ with one another and the un-churched, sponsor a year-round program of evangelism which reaches into every age level and every phase of church life, maintain a current list of prospective members and direct special evangelistic programs.

5.7)   Outreach – This Ministry shall be responsible for promoting a sound program of world and local outreach including both the causes and programs of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and local outreach causes.

5.8)   Each Ministry will consist of a Chairperson chosen by the nominating committee and approved by the General Board, Vice Chairperson, and at least three members of the Congregation or as many as needed to fulfill the purpose of the Ministry.

5.9)   Each Ministry is to compile information into a Ministry Resource book to help future chairpersons and members execute the fulfillment of its purpose. Minutes shall be kept in this resource book of projects,  activities and decisions. An advisor shall be selected for each committee from past Chairpersons to serve as a mentor and guide. This person shall be selected by the members of the Ministry by a majority vote at their first meeting.


5.10) Each Ministry shall meet as often as necessary to make sure the goals and purposes of Christ’s Church in this place are moving with a positive momentum.

6.   Executive Committee

6.1)   The purpose of the Executive Committee is to provide oversight and direction to the General  Board as the Committee reflects on the congregation’s history, assesses the congregation’s present ministries, and envisions the congregation’s future. The Executive Committee consists of the Moderator, Vice Moderator, Past Moderator, and the Pastor.

6.2)   The responsibilities of the Executive Committee include: appointing a Nominating Committee; acting as the Personnel Committee for all employees other than the Pastor; bringing to the General Board the names of a representative group from the congregation to serve as a Pastoral Search Committee.  All these actions must be approved by the General Board.

7.   Nominating Committee

7.1)   A Nominating Committee composed of the Pastor and six members of the congregation shall be appointed by the Executive Committee, approved by the General Board by the first of August each year, and  announced to the congregation.

7.2)   The Nominating Committee shall accept recommendations from the congregation for needed leadership positions. 

7.3)   The Nominating Committee shall consider the potential candidates in light of the qualifications set forth in this document and nominate candidates to be Elders and Deacons, Chairperson for each Ministry, and General Board officers.

7.4)   The Nominating Committee shall explain the responsibilities of the office to the candidate being considered, securing their consent to be nominated and serve in a position.

7.5)   The Nominating Committee shall present the slate of new candidates to the General Board at its October meeting.

8.   Pastoral Relations Committee

8.1)   The Vice Moderator of the Board and the Pastor shall confer to select no more than six participating members of the Church to serve on this committee with approval of the General Board. The membership shall rotate with two members going off each year and two new added. They shall meet as often as necessary with the Pastor in all matters concerning working conditions and welfare of the Pastor, the Pastor’s family, and the congregation. The Committee shall consult with the Pastor in all matters affecting the Pastor’s relationship and effectiveness within the congregation. In the event that a new Pastor is called, the Pastoral Search Committee will serve as the Pastoral Relations Committee for the first year.

9.   Finance Committee

9.1)   The Finance Committee is made up of the Treasurer, Vice Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Vice Financial Secretary, the Moderator, the Vice Moderator and the Past Moderator.


9.2)   The charge of this committee is to be responsible to the congregation for the Church budget; for supervising the administration of that budget; for following sound fiscal policies; for keeping accurate financial records; for providing an annual internal audit and financial report to the Board and congregation; and for approving over-expenditures in any budget item and requests for additional funds.


9.3)   An external audit will be conducted every five years or more often as directed by the General Board.

10. Terms of Office

10.1) The Moderator, Vice Moderator, and Past Moderator shall serve a term of two years with the privilege of re-nomination.

10.2) The Secretary, Vice Secretary, Financial Secretary, Vice Financial Secretary, Treasurer and Vice Treasurer shall serve a term of two years with the privilege of re-nomination.

10.3) The two Elders and two Deacons elected by their respective groups shall vote on the General Board for a term of two years with the privilege of re-election.

10.4) Elders and Deacons are selected for a life-time, to serve and give spiritual guidance to the congregation. Those who can no longer serve in this capacity may be elected to an Emeritus status, remaining a strong spiritual example to the Body of Christ.

10.5) The Chairpersons of a Ministry will serve a two year term with the privilege of re-nomination.

11. Congregational Meetings 

11.1) Two congregational meetings are to be scheduled each year;

          one in early May to announce new programs, report on present Ministries, and create summer involvement;

          one in November to approve new officers, the annual budget, and other business.

11.2) The agenda for any congregational meeting shall be available two weeks prior to the meeting date and posted in a specified area in the sanctuary.

11.3) A special meeting of the congregation may be called to discuss business before the congregation with a two-thirds vote of the General Board or of the Elders.

12. The Pastor

12.1) The Pastor is called to guide, nurture, and mentor the leadership and members of the congregation so they, along with the Pastor, can minister and spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the churched as well as to the un-churched.   

12.2) The Pastor is responsible to preach the message of God’s written, living word from the Bible to the congregation.

12.3) The Pastor shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of each committee as well as the General Board, providing Christian counsel, Biblical direction and sound advice to all.  However, the Pastor is a voting member of the Executive Committee.

13. Search Committee

13.1) The purpose of the Search Committee shall be to secure the services of a minister for both the interim and permanent positions.  The committee shall immediately assume the responsibility of investigation and examination of candidates.  The Search Committee shall use the service of the Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tennessee and/or other general church officials for information on prospective candidates.

13.2) The Search Committee will elect its own Chairperson and Secretary at the first meeting of the group.

13.3) It shall be the policy of the congregation and the Search Committee to negotiate with only one prospective minister at a time.  However, information may be secured on several in a given period.

13.4) All information obtained by the Search Committee in fulfilling its mission, including the names of prospective ministers, shall be held in strict confidence only to members of the committee.

13.5) The Search Committee shall recommend a prospective Pastor to the General Board.  The recommendation must be accepted by at least two-thirds majority of members present and voting in a regular or special called meeting of the General Board.

13.6) The General Board will then recommend the prospective Pastor to the congregation.  The recommendation of the General Board must be accepted by at least a two-thirds majority of members present and voting in a regular or special called meeting of the congregation before a call may be extended.

13.7) The congregation may terminate the Covenant of Employment of the Pastor during a congregational meeting by a two-thirds majority of its members present and voting, followed by a sixty-day written notice or the equivalent salary and benefits.


13. Amendments

These By-Laws may be amended at a congregational meeting by two-thirds vote of the members present and voting on the amendment, provided written notice has been sent out to the members of the congregation at least ten days prior to the meeting, or the amendment has been made available at two successive Sunday morning worship services immediately prior to the time the vote is taken.