Tomball Bible Church – Constitution
As Amended and Approved by the Congregation December 12, 2010
Having received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we band ourselves together as a body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and adopt for our government and plan of worship and service the following articles:
Article I – Name and Purpose
The name of the organization shall be Tomball Bible Church (“Tomball Bible”) of Harris County, Texas, a corporation.
Tomball Bible Church is a family of believers committed to worshipping God, to growing in the Lord and to reaching people with the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ.
Article II – Doctrine
1. Of the Scriptures
We believe that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” by which we mean that God superintended human authors so that using their individual human personalities they composed and recorded without error His message to man in the words of the original autographs. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)
2. Of God
We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three persons, are one God having precisely the same nature and perfections and worthy of precisely the same homage, confidence and obedience. (Gen. 1:1; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24; 10:30; 2 Cor. 13:14)
3. Of Man
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but in Adam all mankind fell into sin with the result that all men are sinners, hopelessly sinful in themselves, apart from the grace of God. (Gen. 1:27; 9:6; Rom. 3:23; 5:12; Eph. 2:1)
4. Of Christ
We believe that the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Godhead, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, thus to continue as both undiminished deity and perfect humanity united in one person forever. (John 1:1, 14, 18; 5:18; Heb. 1:1 9; 5:8; 1 John 5:20; 1 Tim. 2:5)
5. Of Salvation
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to men by His grace and received by faith alone in Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, apart from any sacraments, good works or human merit. (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; 13:38 39; 16:31; 1 Cor. 15:1 4; Rom. 4:4 5; 5:1; Eph. 2:8 9)
6. Of Sanctification
We believe that every believer is promised positional, progressive, and ultimate sanctification. (John 17:15 17; 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:26 27; 1 Thess. 4:3 4; Heb. 10:10, 14; I John 3:2)
7. Of Assurance
We believe that all who are born of the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ can have assurance of salvation and are eternally secure in Christ. (John 6:37; 10:27 29; 17:12; Rom. 5:1; Eph. 4:30; 2 Timothy 1:12; 1 John 5:13)
8. Of the Holy Spirit
We believe the Holy Spirit is a divine, eternal Person, and that He is not just an influence having intellect, emotions, and will of His own. (Acts 5:3-4; Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 13:14; Heb. 1:14; John 15:26; 16:13-14; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 2:11) We believe the present ministry of the Holy Spirit is restraining sin in the world, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He also in the present age regenerates believers in Christ, baptizes them into the church, the Body of Christ, indwells them permanently, seals them unto the day of redemption, bestows spiritual gifts upon each one, and fills those yielded to Him. (John 15:26-27; 16:7-15; John 3:8; 1 Cor. 12:13; John 14:16; Eph. 4:30; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 5:18: Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 6:19)
We believe that speaking in tongues is not a sign of either regeneration or sanctification, nor a necessary sign of the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit. We further believe that speaking in tongues and the other authenticating signs of working miracles, such as divine healing, gradually faded as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established. (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 30; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12; 1 Cor. 13:10; 1 Cor. 14:21 22; Mark 16:18 20; Heb. 2:4)
NOTE: We are not saying by this that God does not now do miracles or heal people quite the contrary. What we are saying is that the spiritual gifts whereby men have the ability to do these are no longer operative in the church. We believe that God does respond to the prayers of His Saints to accomplish His will in this age.
9. Of the Church
We believe that the church is composed of all believers of all races, colors and nations, is the body and bride of Christ, is formed by the baptism of the Holy Spirit and exists in two aspects, universal and local. The universal church is an elect company of believers, baptized by the Holy Spirit into one body; its mission is to witness to its Head, Jesus Christ, preaching the gospel among all nations; it will be caught up to meet the Lord, after which He will return to set up His Kingdom. The local church is a group of believers voluntarily joined together to worship God with praise and thanksgiving, and to glorify Jesus Christ through an aggressive effort to disciple others by the preaching of the gospel, and the exercise of spiritual gifts. (Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 5:24-30; Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 12:4-13, 27)
10. Of the Christian Life
We believe that Christians are called to a holy life of service and testimony in the power of the Holy Spirit, which service includes the propagation of the gospel message to the whole world. There is promised reward in heaven for faithfulness in such service. (1 Peter 1:15- 16; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 3:12-17; John 14:1 3)
11. Of the Ordinances
We believe that scriptural ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are for all believers in Christ. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47; 1 Cor. 11:23 26)
12. Of the Angels
We believe that angels were originally created holy, but now exist as unfallen and fallen, including Satan. (Col. 1:16; Job 38:6 7; Ps. 148:2 5; Jude 6; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9; Eph. 6:11 12; 1 Tim. 5:21)
13. Of the Dispensations
We believe that God has revealed different dispensations or stewardships with corresponding rules of life, of which the present dispensation is the age of grace. (Eph. 3:2 6; 9 11; Col. 1:25 27; Rom. 6:14; Heb. 7:18 19)
14. Of the Second Coming
We believe in the blessed hope of the imminent return of the Lord for His church at the rapture, which is to be followed in order by: the tribulation; the second coming of Christ to the earth after the tribulation; the establishment of the reign of Christ on earth for one thousand years; and the eternal state of punishment for the unsaved and the eternal state of blessing for the saved. (Titus 2:13; 1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13 18; 5:4 10; John 14:1 3; Rev. 3:10; Matt. 24:21; 29-30 25:31 46; Rev. 20:1 6; 20:11 15; Matt. 25:46)
Article III – Meetings
1. Regular Services
The regular services of Tomball Bible shall include Bible studies and worship each week.
2. Annual Meetings
The fiscal year of Tomball Bible shall begin on January 1st and end on December 31st. There will be a Congregational Meeting during the second quarter of each year for Elders and deacons to be affirmed, as defined in Article V. During the fourth quarter of each year, there will be a Congregational Meeting for the presentation of the next year’s budget. Notice of these meetings shall be given in the bulletin and from the pulpit two consecutive Sundays preceding these meetings. Expiring terms of elective office shall end and all new terms begin at the second quarter Congregational Meeting.
3. Called Meetings
The Board of Elders may call special business meetings of the Congregation. Notice of such meetings shall be given in the bulletin or from the pulpit two consecutive Sundays preceding the meeting.
Tomball Bible Members may call a congregational meeting (with the Tomball Bible Board of Elders in attendance) by a written petition of 20% of Tomball Bible Members at the time of the petitioning.
Twenty percent of the Tomball Bible Membership shall constitute a quorum.
5. Parliamentary Procedure
The chairman of the Board of Elders, or someone designated by him, shall act as moderator over all Congregational Meetings.
In business meetings, any parliamentary question not covered by this constitution shall be decided by the latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order.
Article IV – The Congregation
The Congregation of Tomball Bible is the collective body of all Tomball Bible Members. Each Member shall have voting rights (defined below) on Tomball Bible matters, as well as other privileges and responsibilities as a Member of the Congregation.
Tomball Bible encourages attendance at Tomball Bible events by persons who are not Members (referred to as Attendees) as long as such person's attendance is neither disruptive nor a hindrance to the ministries of Tomball Bible. The Tomball Bible Elder Board reserves the right to exclude any Attendee from any or all Tomball Bible events, if it deems that such action is warranted.
2. Reception of Persons into Tomball Bible Membership
Persons of age 18 years or older who desire to become Tomball Bible Members may do so by declaring that intent to the Board of Elders or the Staff following participation in the Tomball Bible membership class. Such a person must give written testimony that he has put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, that he is in agreement with the doctrinal statement of Tomball Bible, that he submits himself to the authority of Tomball Bible in matters of spiritual life and discipline, and is interviewed and approved by one or more Tomball Bible Elders. Children of Members are not automatically considered Members of Tomball Bible when they turn 18; each child must individually apply for membership, following participation in the membership, class in order to become a Member.
Although it is not a necessary requirement for membership in the congregation, all persons declaring their intent to become a Member of Tomball Bible and who have not received the ordinance of water baptism are strongly urged to do so at the earliest opportunity in order to fulfill the biblically prescribed mode for the public expression of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Tomball Bible practices baptism by immersion.
3. Voting Rights
All Members of the Congregation are eligible to vote.
4. Termination of Membership
By Transfer. Persons in good standing shall be granted, upon written request, a letter of recommendation to an evangelical church of their choice. By Dismissal. God's Word enjoins upon the church the duty of exercising discipline over its congregation. This is enforced as a positive command. (Matt. 18:15 17; Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 5:20)
The Board of Elders may remove from the Congregation of Tomball Bible any Member who recants his previously expressed agreement with the doctrinal statement or evidences a lack of purpose in living a holy life.
Such a person shall be first admonished by the Elders of Tomball Bible. Then if after due admonition his position and/or actions remain unchanged, the Board of Elders may remove his name from Tomball Bible Membership. No name shall be removed without such intention being made known to said person in writing. Furthermore, such a person shall have the right of a hearing before the Board of Elders before his name is removed from Membership.
Persons who have forfeited their Membership in the Congregation, or Attendees who have been prohibited from attendance, may be restored to that relationship in accordance with the a) regulations which govern the reception of Members into Tomball Bible Membership (Article IV Section 2) or b) principles governing Attendee participation (Article IV Section 1).
Article V – Government
1. Spiritual Leadership
Tomball Bible acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ as its head; the Holy Scriptures as the infallible guide in the matter of faith, church order, and discipline; the Holy Spirit as its teacher; and is neither accountable to nor under the jurisdiction or supervision of any other ecclesiastical body.
Under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, the government of Tomball Bible is vested in the Board of Elders.
Under the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Board of Elders as a group as duly affirmed by the Congregation, is ultimately responsible for the oversight of all staff, ministries, operations, finances, planning and direction of Tomball Bible.
The Board of Elders has the power to delegate to individuals or to committees or organizations the right to transact any of its business or to exercise any of its powers, but the exercise of such delegation shall be subject to the supervision and control of the Board of Elders.
2. Board of Elders
Affirmation. The Board of Elders shall be affirmed by the Congregation and consists of a number of members determined by the Board of Elders itself. Each Elder shall serve a term of three years, unless otherwise specified when he is elected. If an Elder maintains qualification and desires to continue to serve in that office, he must be reaffirmed by the Congregation at the end of each term of service. An Elder candidate will be deemed affirmed when no biblically disqualifying objection can be substantiated. If in the affirmation process, biblically disqualifying information becomes substantiated, the Elder candidate will be withdrawn by the Nominating Committee.
Elders of Tomball Bible must be men who have been Members of Tomball Bible for at least one year and meet the qualifications for Elder set forth in Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7.
Dismissal. Any Elder may be removed from office at any meeting of the Board if he is found, after thorough corroborating investigation by the Elders, to be physically or mentally incapacitated or no longer meets the qualifications. An Elder confronting another Elder regarding sin will follow the model of Matthew 18:15-18. Any Member who has an accusation against an Elder shall bring it to the Board of Elders, with the understanding that the Board will (1) only receive an accusation against an Elder on the basis of two or more witnesses (I Timothy 5:19), and (2) follow the model of Matthew 18:15-18. When an Elder is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from service, and if he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal shall be accompanied by a public rebuke beofre the Congregation (1 Timothy 5:20).
3. Senior Pastor
Appointment, Affirmation, Dismissal. A Senior Pastor shall continue in office as long as he and the Congregation agree to continue the relationship.
Upon resignation or dismissal of a Senior Pastor, a Pastor Search Committee shall be formed (Article VI, Section 3), to seek a Senior Pastor to be presented to the Congregation for its consideration.
The Board of Elders may at any time initiate the call or dismissal of the Senior Pastor by bringing such action before the Congregation at a regularly called business meeting, notice of such meeting and its purpose having been given from the pulpit on two previous consecutive Sundays. A three fourths vote by written secret ballot of the voting Congregation present at such meeting shall be necessary to call a Senior Pastor. A 50% vote by written secret ballot of the voting Congregation present at such meeting shall be necessary to dismiss a Senior Pastor.
In regard to dismissal, two-thirds or more of the Elders (not counting the Senior Pastor) must be in agreement before such action is brought before the Congregation.
Duties. The Senior Pastor shall be an Elder of Tomball Bible and will be held accountable to the job description established by the Board of Elders at the time of his hiring or as revised by mutual agreement at a later date. Included in these duties will be devoting himself to the study and exposition of the Word of God, supervising the administration of the ordinances, and with the other Elders, provide pastoral oversight to Tomball Bible. The Senior Pastor may act as an ex-officio member of the organizations and committees of the church and shall suggest appointment of such committees as may be considered necessary.
4. Paid Ministry Staff
Additional ministry staff may be hired upon the recommendation of the Senior Pastor and approval by the Board of Elders. The Elders shall determine whether a search committee shall be formed to assist the Senior Pastor in filling certain ministry staff positions. Ministry staff is directly responsible to the Senior Pastor who may delegate that responsibility to other appropriate subordinate ministry staff. Ministry staff may be dismissed by the Senior Pastor after consultation with the other Elders. Ministry staff cannot hold the office of Elder nor do they represent the Board of Elders by their position.
Affirmation. Deacons may be appointed by the Elders at any time, after which they shall be affirmed by the Congregation at the next second quarter Congregational Meeting. Deacon affirmation shall be for a period of three (3) years unless otherwise specified. If a deacon maintains qualification and desires to continue to serve in that ministry leadership role, the deacon must be reaffirmed by the Congregation at the end of each term of service.
Duties. Deacons exercise delegated leadership authority and responsibility over specifically assigned ministry activities.
Deacons shall be men who have been a Member of Tomball Bible for at least one year and meet the qualifications found in 1 Tim. 3:8-13. Those ministry roles requiring deaconqualified leaders will be reviewed and designated annually by the Elders.
Trustees. Three of the deacons, to be chosen by the Elders, will serve as trustees of Tomball Bible. At the direction of the Elders, the trustees shall execute such legal documents as may be necessary to purchase property, or in any other matter that may require the legal binding of Tomball Bible in contractual dealings.
Treasurer of the Church. One of the deacons, to be chosen by the Elders, will serve as the Treasurer of Tomball Bible. The Treasurer shall serve as chairman of the Finance Committee (Article VI, Section 1).
The Treasurer shall ensure that all monies received and disbursed by Tomball Bible are handled in a manner that is above reproach taking care to guard those handling the money from unnecessary temptation and unwarranted accusation. In addition, the Treasurer shall have oversight of periodic financial audits as authorized by the Board of Elders, and in accordance with the duties of the Finance Committee, will represent the Finance Committee in other ministry areas commissioned to evaluate and recommend strategic church wide efforts.
6. Other Ministry Positions
To carry out the mission and vision of Tomball Bible Church, other leadership positions may be established by the Elders. These leadership positions will be subject to biblical qualifications and an affirmation process defined by the Elders as each of these positions are established. In all such positions the Elders will carefully follow Paul’s exhortation of not permitting women “to teach or to have authority over a man” (1 Timothy 2:12).
Article VI – Committees
1. Finance Committee
Membership. The Finance Committee shall include the Treasurer of Tomball Bible and other deacons or staff, as recommended by the Senior Pastor with approval of the Board of Elders.
Duties. The Finance Committee shall meet as needed to address Tomball Bible financial needs. The Finance Committee will prepare the annual budget for approval by the Board of Elders.
2. Nominating Committee
Membership. The Nominating Committee shall consist of seven (7) individuals including the Senior Pastor, two (2) Elders selected by the Board of Elders, two (2) deacons selected by the Board of Elders, and two (2) members of the Congregation, elected by the Congregation at the second quarter Congregational Meeting.
Duties. The Nominating Committee shall screen potential candidates for the position of Elder or deacon to be presented at the second quarter Congregational Meeting for affirmation by the Congregation.
Term of Office. The members of this committee (except the Senior Pastor) shall begin their term of office at the second quarter Congregational Meeting and shall serve until the second quarter Congregational Meeting the following year.
Once a candidate has been interviewed by the Nominating Committee a simple majority vote of the Nominating Committee will qualify an individual as a candidate. A list of candidates shall be posted at least two (2) weeks before the second quarter Congregational Meeting. The Nominating Committee shall bring before the Congregation the names of those whom they deem qualified to serve. No other candidates shall be considered at the time of affirmation. Affirmations shall be by secret ballot.
3. Pastor Search Committee
Membership. The Pastor Search Committee shall be formed as follows: three (3) representatives of the Board of Elders, two (2) deacons selected by the Board of Elders, and two (2) representatives elected by the Congregation. The Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee shall be one of the Elders.
Term of Office. When a Senior Pastor resigns or is dismissed by the Congregation, a seven member Pastor Search Committee shall be formed. This committee shall function until a new Senior Pastor has come to serve Tomball Bible.
Duties. The committee shall seek a suitable candidate to be presented first to the Board of Elders, and then to the Congregation for its consideration as provided in Article V, Section 3. A majority of the committee must be in agreement before a candidate is presented to the Board of Elders. The candidate must have the majority approval of the Board of Elders before he can be submitted to the Congregation.
Article VII – Ordination
Any male applicant who feels that God has called him to the gospel ministry may make application for ordination. This application shall be considered by the Board of Elders.
2. Ordination Council -
If the Board of Elders feels that the applicant should be considered for ordination by Tomball Bible to the gospel ministry, the Board may ask the Senior Pastor to call an ordination council which shall thoroughly examine the candidate as to his call to the ministry, education, Christian experience and doctrinal belief. The candidate shall be publicly ordained to the gospel ministry upon the recommendation of this council.
Article VIII – Amendments
If it does not infringe upon the doctrinal principles of Tomball Bible, this constitution may be changed, or altered, at a duly announced meeting of the Congregation, providing the proposed alteration has been conspicuously posted in written form and announced from the pulpit for a period of two (2) consecutive Sundays preceding said meeting. A three fourths vote of voting Congregation present shall be required to pass an amendment.
ARTICLE IX - DISSOLUTION
In the event this church body is dissolved, disbands or ceases to function as a church for any reason, the title to all property, both real and personal, shall pass to and be vested in the Dallas Theological Seminary of Dallas, Texas. In such an event, the Trustees of Dallas Theological Seminary are hereby authorized and directed by the congregation of Tomball Bible Church, Harris County, Texas, to take possession of all property, both real and personal, belonging to Tomball Bible Church and shall pay out of such properties and assets all indebtedness of said church as quickly as reasonably possible. After the payments of all debts of the church, the remaining assets may be managed or disposed of to the best interest of Dallas Theological Seminary according to the sole discretion of the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75204.