ARTICLE I: NAME
ARTICLE II: PURPOSE
ARTICLE III: STATEMENT OF FAITH
ARTICLE IV: STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH
ARTICLE V: ELDER-LED CONGREGATIONAL GOVERNMENT
ARTICLE VI: SERVICE OF DEACONS
ARTICLE VII: MEMBERSHIP
ARTICLE VIII: AMENDMENTS
ARTICLE IX: FORMATION OF THE UNINCORPORATED NONPROFIT ASSOCIATION
In order that all things be done “decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40), to affirm the foundational principles of our faith, to clearly establish an orderly government for our church body in a manner consistent with the Scriptures, and to preserve the unity of this New Testament church, we do declare and establish this constitution.
This church constitution is a document relating the biblical principles that guide us and describing the way God works through us both as an organism and an organization to accomplish His will.
When the elders, deacons and all the members are properly allowing the Holy Spirit to gift them and work through them, the organization should be almost invisible and unnoticed. The structure should be a tool rather than a burden; a structure that facilitates (makes easy) the actions of the congregation in carrying out what we believe to be the will of God.
This constitution should bring clarity on questions of responsibility, control and accountability. It explains procedures and processes while allowing for spontenaety and creativity under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, we affirm our unique identity, vision and position in the worldwide Body of Christ and recognize that other churches will perhaps choose different but equally valid methods of operation.
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this church shall be Community on Columbia (The Block), organized and established under the laws of the state of Texas, January 1, 2010.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
This church’s purpose is to praise and glorify God and delight in Him forever.
The Scriptures say “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7)
Glorifying God results when his people are able to love him with all their heart, soul and mind and to “love your neighbor as yourself ” (Matt. 22:35-40).
This is only possible when we abandon ourselves to him.
“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny (abandon) himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’ ” (Luke 9:23).
We believe with Martin Luther, “Crux sola est nostra theologia” — The cross alone is our theology. As ‘theologians of the cross’ we regard suffering as our most precious treasure. As a congregation we display to the world the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection in us while at the same time emptying ourselves of everything that would hinder us from entering into and remaining in that spiritual rest.
The fruit of all this is love for God, for one another and for our neighbor. It is expressed when we gather for worship and praise, to study Scripture, to sing and to pray; when together we exhort and provoke one another to love and good works; when we feed the hungry, take in the homeless and meet the other physical and spiritual needs we encounter. It is refined by the joys and tribulations of living in community with one another.
That love is also expressed in prophecy as we confront the false value systems of this present world age, challenge the sin and idolatry within our own hearts and in society, and puncture presumption and hypocrisy wherever we find it. We will always be calling for repentance: a turning away from ourselves back to God.
Over the years, we’ve found that the meaning of repentance is clarified by a study of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, by celebrating the ancient Jewish feasts, by periodically participating in the first-century three-year cycle of scripture readings of the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings and by continually exposing the depths of our own idolatry.
Like the Israelites who were first saved from Pharoah’s hand and only then believed (Exod. 14:30,31; Psalm 106:10-12), we have each been plucked from the fire and gathered together by his will. Only then were our eyes opened to realize He had been working in our lives all along.
As we continue to discover the implications of the gift of salvation, we commit to share this new life with each other and with the world in openness, humility, thankfulness and love.
Finally, in our journey to accomplish the church’s purpose, we place supreme confidence in God, and absolutely no confidence in our own strength.
ARTICLE III – STATEMENT OF FAITH
A brief outline of our basic beliefs, with scripture references for further study:
WE BELIEVE there is only one living God. He reveals Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit with distinct personal attributes but without division of nature, essence or being. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4).
“There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 Corinthians 8:5).
(Mth. 3:16-17; Mth. 28:19; I Cor. 12:4-6; II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18; Eph. 4:4-6)
WE BELIEVE that the Bible was written by men divinely inspired, and is a record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ, the Word of God. (Psalm 119:89; II Pet. 1:20-21; Mth. 4:18; Luke 21:33; II Tim. 3:16; John 1:1; Rev. 19:13)
WE BELIEVE that man has fallen through sin from his original innocence as created by God, and that only God’s grace can bring man back into fellowship with Him. (Gen. 1-3; Rom. 5:12-21; Rom. 1:19-32)
WE BELIEVE that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ — conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, partaking of the nature of both God and man but without sin — to redeem mankind from his fallen state through his death and spilled blood on the Cross, in which He took all the sin of the world on Himself and paid the penalty. His resurrection from the dead and Ascension to the Father completed that redemption. “It is finished.”
(Isaiah 7:14; Mth. 1:23; John 19:30, II Cor. 5:21; I Cor. 15:1-8; Rom. 4:25; Colossians 1:20-22; Heb. 9:12, 22, 24-26)
WE BELIEVE that salvation comes through faith in Christ and his finished work on the Cross, a free gift rather than a reward for effort or worth. As Christ’s Body, believers have union with God, “Who alone hath immortality.” (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9-10,13; Eph. 2:8,9, I Timothy 6:16)
WE BELIEVE that believers are to be baptized by immersion in water as a symbolic testimony to their experience of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord, and that they are to partake of the Lord’s Supper as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice of His body and his blood, and His indwelling in us. (Mth. 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Mth. 26:26-29; Acts 2:41; I Cor. 11:23-34)
WE BELIEVE in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit operating in His Church and the power of the Spirit maintaining the believer in the daily walk of faith. The fruit of the Spirit, Christ’s character, is expressed in our lives when we get out of the way. (Luke 11:11-13; Acts 2:1-4, 38-39; Acts 8:14-17; Eph. 5:18; I Cor. 12-14; Rom. 8:5-11; 14-17, 26-27; I Pet. 2:24; James 5:14; Acts 4:29-31)
WE BELIEVE the love of God expressed and fulfilled in Christ on the cross compels us to return that love to him, to our brethren and to our neighbor, despite all risk. In fact, the believer has no other agenda. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10:27) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (I John 4:8)
WE BELIEVE that Satan, the father of lies, is real and exists to attack the saints and the church–mainly through the deception of our own thoughts– and that we resist him through the truth of the scriptures as Christ did, abandoning ourselves to God in the certain knowledge that the adversary and “accuser of the brethren” was defeated at the Cross; through confession and the exhortation of the brethren; and the promise that “He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it.” (Philippians 1:6; Job 1:6-12; Mth. 4:1-11; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14)
WE BELIEVE that Christ will return personally and visibly at the end of time to bring the world to its appropriate end. The unrighteous will be consigned to hell, a place of destruction, and believers will share in eternal life with the Lord in heaven, “who alone hath immortality.” (I Timothy 6:16; I Thess. 4:13-18; John 5:24; Mark 9:43-48; Rev. 22:12-15)
ARTICLE IV – THE STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH
In defining the structure and functions of the church, we look to the practices of the first-century believers as described in the New Testament and supported by examples from other ancient writings and archaeological findings.
HOUSE CHURCHES/ SEDER GROUPS
The earliest Christian congregations met in homes. “We have no temples or altars,” explained Christian apologist Minucius Felix, c 200. Having no sacred buildings, sacred altars or separate class of priests was so remarkable that the pagans accused the Christians of “atheism.”
The New Testament authors referred to the people of God as God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9, Ephesians 2:19-22), God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17), God’s house (1 Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 3:6, 10:21, 1 Peter 2:17), God’s household (Ephesians 2:19, Galatians 6:10) and Christ’s body (Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 3:6, 5:23, 30). Christians in the New Testament didn’t go to church. They were the church, and so are we to be today.
Spared both the expense and concern of erecting and maintaining a building, they were able to expend all available funds in service to widows, orphans and the poor. Charity was not an incidental, fractional percentage of the budget. It was the budget.
Their activities were simple: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers (Acts 2:42). “When you meet together,” says Paul, “each of you hath a psalm, a teaching, a tongue, an interpretation.” Every member was expected to contribute something of his own to the common worship. The same is true today.
We believe the Jewish minyan, consisting of 10 men at rest, and the Passover Seder meal (seder means order) , which allowed no more than 20 to partake of the lamb– along with Jesus’ choice of 12 apostles–give us guidelines for the size of a viable and functional congregation.
LIVING IN COMMUNITY
The Lord’s Prayer addresses God as “Our Father…” implying a community or family. The believer who lives an isolated life is not biblical. Faith in Christ leads people together in a koinonia or sharing of their lives with each other.
A sampling of the New Testament’s 59 “one another” commands shows how interdependent we really are. To confess our faults one to another, to bear each others’ burdens, to admonish, build up and encourage one another all require lives that are radically intertwined.
To properly be the church, we must spend time together and really know each other. The lives of church leadership and members must be mutually transparent and subject to accountability. This can only happen by living intentionally in community.
The first Christians “had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). This is not talking about communism, but about a willingness to be open and honest as well as give to meet need. Among the brethren the ideal is, “He that had gathered much had nothing left over and he that had gathered little had no lack” (II Cor. 8:15). Then the community can extend it’s hand to the poor around it.
Our members subscribe to a lifestyle based on this premise: “Whatever I have that you need, I’ll give it to you. Whatever you need that I don’t have, I’ll help you obtain.”
Living in community fosters unfeigned love of the brethren because you can’t hide in a large crowd and avoid accountability.
VOTING AND DECISION-MAKING
Consensus decision-making is the ideal and practice of this congregation in concert with its elders.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” (Ps 133:1)
In a departure from democratic majority rule and parliamentary procedure, which is filled with competition and adversarial relationships, our church adopts consensus and unity as its goal.
The Anabaptists, Mennonites and Quakers have employed consensus decision-making, and some believe Anabaptists practiced consensus as early as the Martyrs’ Synod of 1527. Acts 15 is one biblical example of consensus decision-making in the New Testament.
Proposals that pass through this process–no matter if they originate with an elder or with another member– will belong to the whole group by the time they are approved.
Committees nominated and approved by the members will enlist volunteers and coordinate activities to carry out ministry in the various areas of service and need.
The number and focus of the committees will be re-examined each year at the annual business meeting.
Committees will set their own meeting schedules.
THE BLOCK ACTION COMMITTEE
The Elders will meet weekly with certain staff and members of their choosing to consider immediate needs and/or problems as they arise and initiate short-term solutions. Long-term solutions and actions will be discussed and approved at regular business meetings.
Notice–Business meetings will be announced at least 10 days previously in at least two successive Bible study meetings or Sunday worship gathering, as well as by e-mail to the membership.
Schedule–A meeting of church members will be convened three times a year (not including the annual business meeting) to discuss and vote on matters relating to business and ministry of the church with a view to eliminating stumbling blocks and hinderances to ministry. Problems, suggestions and other proposals can be brought forward by members, elders, or representatives of the church’s various committees for a vote or referral to the appropriate committee.
An annual business meeting will be conducted in January to review the previous year, approve the spiritual vision for the new year as presented by the elders, elect new committee members, and adopt a church budget.
Procedures–Conduct of these meetings will be governed by the principles of consensus, with the oldest elder presiding. A quorum will consist of those present and voting.
OFFICES, MINISTRIES & SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Every member has access to spiritual gifts that are distributed and manifested by the Holy Spirit in various ways. These are listed in Eph. 4:11, Rom. 12:3-7, and 1 Cor. 12:1-12, 28.
Spiritual gifts belong to the Spirit and not to the person. We “seek the best gifts” for us by being open to the Holy Spirit.
The people who make up the congregation can manifest a variety of ministries and functions (1Co 12:27-30).
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” (1Co 12:28).
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.
These offices, ministries and gifts are given to equip believers “to do the work of the ministry,” and their diversity emphasizes the interdependence of the members of the body.
ARTICLE V – ELDER-LED CONGREGATIONAL GOVERNMENT
“When leaders lead in Israel, When the people willingly offer themselves, Bless the LORD!” — Judges 5:2.
“We ought to follow God rather than men” (Acts 5:29)
The Scriptures reflect a New Testament pattern of local church leadership that consists of a plurality of elders– also called pastors or overseers– in a unique relationship among themselves and with the congregation. The Holy Spirit works through that relationship to reveal his will.
These “servant leaders” are chosen and live according to scriptural guidelines (Acts 6:1-7. 1 Tim.3:1-13. Titus 1:5-9). Leaders are given to serve the church by encouraging its health and spiritual growth. They also are to equip or empower other believers to do the work of the ministry (Eph.4:11-13). They lead by example.
(The concept of an ordained “clergy” being paid by the “laity” to do the ministry of the church is not a biblical paradigm).
Just as God is a Trinity in community, so leadership in the church is to be done in a team environment, where diversity and the wisdom of a multitude of counsel is the norm.
The New Testament is quite specific concerning the work of elders. They are to teach (1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; 1 Peter 5:2; Acts 20:28); to guard (Acts 20:28-29; Titus 1:9-14); to oversee (1 Peter 5:3; Hebrews 13:7, 17); to give counsel (Acts 21:23); to handle disputes (Acts 15:2ff); to visit and pray for the sick (James 5:14) and to supervise the distribution of money (Acts 11:30) .
The elders’ primary responsibility is to seek the mind of Jesus Christ, the sole Head of the Church, through prayer and diligent study of the Scriptures and then to lovingly guide God’s people in a spirit of Christlike servanthood (see Heb. 13:7,17; etc).
Thus, the objective of multiple leadership is to enrich the ministry through a diversity of gifts and a breadth of wisdom.
A. QUALIFICATION OF ELDERS
An elder must live in acordance with Scriptural guidelines as set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; and I Peter 5:1-4. and must have demonstrated gifts and ministry that have been recognized by the congregation.
B. SELECTION OF ELDERS
1. The Holy Spirit raises up elders (Acts 20:28).
2. The congregation and the prospective elder both act to confirm the Holy Spirit’s selection :
(a) Desire to Serve (1 Tim. 3: 1) – the prospective elder is given a desire to serve the Body and to be accountable to the Lord (Heb. 13:17; 1 Peter 5:4);
(b) Qualification (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:4) – the church agrees that the candidate reflects the biblical standards and gifts of New Testament leadership;
(c) Setting Apart By Laying On Of Hands (Acts 14:21-23; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:22-25; 2 Tim.1:6; Titus 1:5 ) – the prospective elder who qualifies for this ministry will be set apart for service through the laying on of hands by other elders with the participation and agreement of the whole congregation.
(d) Recognition (1 Thess. 5:12-13; 1 Tim 5:17-21) – the new elder is to be appreciated and held in high esteem because of his labors in the Body of Christ.
3. At various times– and after an appropriate time of teaching on the subject– the elders will ask the membership to submit names of prospective elders. Each member will be asked to prayerfully consider the prospective elder according to the biblical standards for New Testament leadership (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:14).
Questions or concerns about the nominee can be discussed in person with one of the elders. If it is found that the candidate is lacking in qualification, he will be removed from nomination. Otherwise, he will be presented to the congregation for laying on of hands.
Appointment/ ordination of elders in the New Testament appears to be with the cooperation of the elders and the whole congregation. (In fact, most important decisions are to be be handled in this way).
Acts 14:23– “And when they had appointed for them elders in every church.”
Xeirotonew (from xeirotonov, extending the hand, xeir, hand, and teinw, to stretch) is an old verb that originally meant to vote by show of the hands, finally to appoint with the approval of an assembly that chooses as in 2 Corinthians 8:19, and then to appoint without regard to choice as in Josephus (Ant. XIII. 2, 2) of the appointment of Jonathan as high priest by Alexander. So in Acts 10:41 the compound proxeiratonew is used of witnesses appointed by God. But the seven (deacons) were first selected by the Jerusalem church and then appointed (katasthsomen) by the apostles. –Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament
“When they had ordained them elders” –literally, “chosen by show of hands.” But as that would imply that this was done by the apostles’ own hands, many render the word, as in our version, “ordained.” Still, as there is no evidence in the New Testament that the word had then lost its proper meaning, as this is beyond doubt its meaning in 2 Corinthians 8:19, and as there is indisputable evidence that the concurrence of the people was required in all elections to sacred office in the earliest ages of the Church, it is perhaps better to understand the words to mean, “when they had made a choice of elders,” that is, superintended such choice on the part of the disciples.–Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
Selection of elders and deacons will occur as soon as possible after a vacancy has been determined.
C. RESPONSIBILITIES OF ELDERS
1. Elders are to serve as models for the Church (1 Tim.3:4-5; 4:12; 5:17; Heb.13:7; 1 Peter 5:3).
2. Elders are to serve as servant-leaders to the Church (Matt. 20:25-28; Mark 10:42-45; Acts 6:1-7; Phil. 2: 1-11; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; etc.).
3. Elders are to serve as shepherds [pastors] to the Church (Acts 20:28-30; 1 Peter 5:1-4); this will involve the following:
(a) Leading (1 Thess. 5:14-15; 1 Tim. 4:14; 5:17; James 5:13-16);
(b) Feeding [Teaching] (1 Tim 3:2, “able to teach,” not necessarily the gift of teaching; Titus 1:9-1 1); and
(c) Guarding [Protecting from false teachers and false doctrine] (Acts 20:28-30; 1 Tim. 3:4-5).
In summary, the elders are accountable to God and responsible to the Body for the spiritual oversight of the church. This will require the elders to meet regularly for committed prayer and consideration of church matters. They must at all times seek the one mind of Christ for HIS Church and then be willing to lovingly serve the Church to accomplish HIS will.
Major decisions that affect the ongoing life of the Church (e.g., purchasing of property, hiring of staff, ministry, etc.), will be made by the congregation with the guidance of the elders.
The congregation’s obligations to the elders are as follows:
(a) Submission (1 Cor. 16:15-16; Heb. 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5);
(b) Obedience (Heb. 13:17);
(c) Appreciation (1 Thess. 5:12-13);
(d) Remuneration (1 Cor. 9:7-14; Gal. 6:6; 1 Tim. 5:17-18); and
(e) Correction (1 Tim. 5:19-21).
D. TERM OF ELDERS
The term of the work of elder shall be as long as the elder performs the responsibilities of a pastor/shepherd and does not demonstrate conduct that violates previously mentioned qualifications. Each individual elder shall be reviewed every year by his fellow elders to determine his desire, qualifications and ability to meet the demands and responsibilities of this ministry.
E. DISCIPLINE OF ELDERS
1. Accusations or criticism of an elder will be received according to 1 Timothy 5: 19-21. This involves the following procedure: (a) an accusation will not be received against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses, (b) if the accusation comes with two or three witnesses, the elder will be confronted by all the elders; (c) if the elder continues in sin, he is to be rebuked in the presence of all; (d) this loving rebuke should lead to a healthy fear of God for all involved; and (e) this procedure is to be carried out without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
2. The goal for this sinning elder, as with all sinning brothers and sisters, is restoration to God and the Body of Christ (Gal. 6:1-2).
3. Any particular situation may require church discipline according to Matthew 18: 15-20.
ARTICLE VI – SERVICE OF DEACONS
The deacons are uniquely qualified men or women acting as servants to the church under the authority of the elders. They assist the elders in specific areas of responsibilities, allowing the elders to fulfill their oversight of the Body under the lordship of Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.
A. QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
To qualify as a deacon one must be giving evidence of the biblical standards given in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 (see also Acts 6:1-7).
B. SELECTION OF DEACONS
1. The elders will continually evaluate prospective deacons, based on the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Likewise, at various times the membership will be asked to submit names of prospective deacons, based on the biblical qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The elders will take all submitted names under due consideration.
2. In the selection of prospective deacons (1 Tim 3:10), the congregation will be presented with the prospective deacon. His or her confirmation will proceed in a process similar to that of prospective elders, discussed above.
C. RESPONSIBILITIES OF DEACONS
The deacons are to implement and administer specific, well defined, ministry functions within the church, as outlined by the elders. This servant’s role is one of the highest callings in the Church. “For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high standing and great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13).
D. TERM FOR DEACONS
The term of the work of deacon shall be as long as the deacon performs the responsibilities of a servant-leader and does not violate the previously mentioned qualifications. Each individual deacon will be reviewed annually by the elders, in a fashion similar to process for the elders discussed above.
ARTICLE VII – MEMBERSHIP
Each believer in Jesus Christ is called to publicly identify with one local congregation (Heb.10: 19-25; etc.).
A. REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP
A person is suitable to join our fellowship if they see themselves in this scripture:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong: no one does good, not even one” (Ps. 14;1-3; 53:1-3; Ecc. 7:20, and echoed by Paul in Romans 3:10-18).
Any person who gives evidence of saving faith in Jesus Christ, who shows evidence of, or willingness to submit to baptism, and who has expressed agreement with the church’s statement of faith, membership responsibilities to the fellowship and church constitution, shall upon approval of the elders be eligible for membership. A person or family accepted for membership will be officially recognized and upon approval by those assembled, welcomed into the congregation at a public meeting of the church.
Church membership is not a hobby. The congregation forms our spiritual family. The spiritual life is paramount, and everything else is secondary to the Kingdom of God.
C. TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership is terminated when one or more of the following apply:
(a) a member leaves to join another church;
(b) a member dies;
(c) a member absents himself and fails to support the church for more than a year (in violation of Heb.10:19:25);
(d) a member persists in gross sin, false teaching, or causes division (Matt.18:15:20; Rom.16:17-19; I Cor. 5: 1:13; II Thess. 3:6-15; Titus 3:10-11). If it becomes apparent that a member is persisting in this activity, he/she shall be removed from membership only after being counseled according to Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-2.
ARTICLE VIII – AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended as directed by a vote of the congregation and in accordance with the approval of the elders.
ARTICLE IX – FORMATION OF THE UNINCORPORATED NONPROFIT ASSOCIATION
The undersigned, all of whom are citizens of the United States, have formed a church under the laws of the State of Texas on January 1, 2010 (ARTICLE 1), and do hereby certify:
First: The name of the church is Community on Columbia (The Block) (ARTICLE 1).
Second: The place in this state where the principle office of the church is to be located is the City of Dallas in Dallas County, Texas.
Third: Said church is organized exclusively for charitable and religious purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code or corresponding section of any future federal tax code. The purpose of the association is to operate a non-profit church in and around Dallas, Texas; to proclaim the Gospel of the Cross through the lives and testimony of its members; to make and nurture disciples of Jesus Christ and to encourage them in the living of their faith in accordance with the scriptures by example, teaching and exhortation.
Fourth: In accordance with ARTICLE IV – ELDER-LED CONGREGATIONAL GOVERNMENT of this Constitution, the congregation, guided by the Elders, is the governing body of Community on Columbia (The Block). The Elders are granted the authority to enter into contracts and agreements on behalf of this church. Pursuant to the procedures set forth in Article IV B of the Constitution, the Elders shall be selected, and a list of duly selected Elders shall be maintained in the official records of Community on Columbia
Fifth: No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in ARTICLE Third hereof. No substantial part of the activities of the church shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provision of these articles, the church shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a non-profit association or corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by a corporation, contributions to which are deductible under section 170 (c) (2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future tax code.
Sixth: Upon the dissolution of the church, the Elders shall, after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the non-profit association or corporation, dispose of all of the assets exclusively for the purposes of the association or corporation in such manner, or to such organization organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Elders shall determine. Any such assets not so disposed of shall be disposed of by the District Court of Dallas County exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names this first day of January 2010.