Our Constitution

NAME

The name of this church shall be “Waterdam Church, an Evangelical Free Church of America,” herein referred to as “Waterdam Church.”

This church was founded in the year of our Lord, 1985, and incorporated July 31, 1985, organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the state of Pennsylvania.

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT

The following statement of faith, adopted at the 124th EFCA National Leadership Conference on June 26, 2008, shall be the statement of faith of Waterdam Church.

The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

God
1. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.

The Bible
2. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises.

The Human Condition
3. We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

Jesus Christ
4. We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus-Israel’s promised Messiah-was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

The Work of Christ
5. We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

The Holy Spirit
6. We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

The Church
7. We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. They are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer.

Christian Living
8. We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.

Christ’s Return
9. We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.

Response and Eternal Destiny
10. We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.

MISSION AND PURPOSE

The mission of Waterdam Church:  Transforming lives through Jesus Christ.

The church shall seek to accomplish this mission by focusing on three essential purposes:
1. Intimacy with God – through Bible Study, Prayer, and Worship
2. Community with One Another – through Fellowship and Ministry within the church body
3. Impact in the World with the Gospel – through Evangelism and Service in our local community and beyond.

MEMBERSHIP

The membership of this church shall consist of only those who testify of being born again through a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and who give evidence of the New Testament principles of Christian living. Candidates for membership must first attend a Welcome to Waterdam Class and be 18 years of age or older. (Romans 10:9-11, Galatians 5:16-26)

Membership in the local, loving family of Christ at Waterdam carries the privileges to vote at congregational meetings, to serve in church leadership, and to teach.

Members are responsible to contribute to the church’s fruitfulness by: seeking God’s kingdom first through regular public worship, Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship; serving the family of believers according to God’s gifting; and contributing regularly and proportionately to the financial support of the church, the relief of the needy and evangelism of all people.

Members agree to submit to church discipline according to Matthew 18:15-18, when deemed necessary by the board to affect a return to a Biblical standard of conduct and doctrine in a member who errs, to maintain purity in the local church, and to deter sin.

Membership may be terminated by death, transfer to another church, exclusion by the board for lack of participation, or by dismissal as a final step of church discipline.

DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION AND FORM OF GOVERNMENT

This church shall be affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America and thus shall be congregationally governed.  A congregational government acknowledges the congregation as a local expression of the body of Christ.  As such, the congregation selects its leaders, determines its pastors, makes changes to its constitution, approves the budget, and sells or purchases property.

CHURCH LEADERSHIP

The directing body of this church shall be the Board of Elders and Deacons, hereafter referred to as the “Board”, which shall be selected annually from members conforming to the qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3.  The number of elders and deacons may increase or decrease from time to time, but shall never be less than five.  One elder or deacon shall be selected as Church Chairman.  The Senior Pastor serves as a member of the Board.  Any remaining pastoral staff is not eligible to serve in office, but may participate in the meetings of the Board on a non-voting basis.

The members of the Board, working with each other in oneness of spirit, shall have oversight of all areas of ministry within the church and shall coordinate the work of all the committees.

Newly selected Elders, Deacons, church officers, and committee chairpersons shall begin their term of office on January 1..

CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS

The congregation shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings.  At minimum these meetings will include the selection of Board members and other church officers, approval of the annual budget, and reception of the annual reports.  Leadership selection and budget approval should occur prior to the beginning of the calendar year.

All business meetings shall be properly advertised in the church bulletin or through a mailing to the last known address of each member.  This advertising must occur no less than fourteen days prior to the meeting.

Minimum attendance (a quorum) at any business meeting shall be 40% of the membership.

RESPONSIBILITY AS TAX EXEMPT ORGANIZATION

(Reference:  IRS Publication 557, Revision Jan. 92)

This church is organized for religious purposes as specified in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by a corporation exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of any member, trustee, officer, or other private persons except that reasonable compensation may be paid for services rendered to or for the church.

No substantial part of the activities of the church shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, or participating in, or intervening in (including the publication or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.

PROPERTY

1. In the event that this church shall ever dissolve, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the church, remaining assets shall be distributed to one or more organizations operated for religious purposes as tax exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding section of any future United States tax code), in accordance with a plan of distribution adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members age 18 and older.

2. During the existence of this church, the ownership and control of all property shall remain in that part of the congregation which adheres to the tenets and doctrines set forth in this constitution.

3. If a minority of the membership of this church shall ever secede, ownership and control of the property shall remain with the majority, subject to the provisions of Section 2 of this Article.

AMENDMENTS

Changes and amendments of this constitution can be made only at a properly noticed business meeting of the church.  Such changes must be proposed in writing to each member and discussed at a properly noticed business meeting at least one month prior to the meeting at which the vote on the change is to be taken.  Amendments of this constitution will require a two-thirds majority vote of membership age 18 and older.