Article I: Name
The name of this association is Douglas Church. This association may also be referred to in these Bylaws as the “Church”.
Article II: Mission Statement
Douglas Church exists to bring glory to God by making disciples of Jesus through biblical worship, community, service and multiplication.
Article III: Offices
The principal office for the Church is 952 E 13th Street, Douglas, Arizona 85607. This home is located in Cochise County.
ARTICLE IV: ARTICLES OF FAITH
At the center of Christian faith and practice stands the belief that God has spoken to the world in the person and work of Jesus Christ, which is accurately and authoritatively revealed in the Christian Bible (“the Bible,” “Scripture” or “the “Scriptures”). The Bible is the inspired, inerrant and sufficient Word of God and is thus the ultimate authority for life, faith and morals. Though the various theological statements of the Church reflect summaries of biblical boundaries, it is the Bible itself to which we are in ultimate submission.
Members have the responsibility and opportunity to engage Church Elders on areas of theological disagreement. However, membership carries with it the implicit understanding that the Elders shall function as the interpretive authority on biblical meaning and application for the purpose of Church doctrine, practice, policy and discipline.
Statement of Biblical Authority
The following Statement represents the core orthodox beliefs of the Church from a biblical and historical perspective. While Church Members are not required to fully understand or articulate all aspects of the Statement of Basic Belief, the explicit rejection of any part of it disqualifies one from membership in Douglas Church. Revisions to the Statement of Basic Belief in order to more clearly align to Scripture shall be at the sole discretion of the Elders, with the understanding that such changes will be communicated to the Members of the Church.
The Scriptures are true, authoritative and sufficient (Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
There is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 46:9-10; John 17:3, 1 Corinthians 8:4:-6; 1 Timothy 2:5).
The Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. The Father is neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit. The Son is neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son (Genesis 1:26; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 3: 13-17; Matthew 28: 17-20; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6).
I am, along with all humanity (Christ excluded), by birth and action a sinner (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23; 5:8, 12-21, 7:18; Ephesians 2:1-3).
The deserved penalty for sin is death, both physical and spiritual (Genesis 2:15-17; Genesis 3:19, Romans 5:12; 6:23, James 1:14-15).
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, was born of a virgin and is both fully God and fully human (Matthew 1:20; Luke 2:52; John 1:1-4, 14; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3).
Jesus Christ died as my substitute to pay the penalty for my sin (John 1:29; 10:1-18, Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus Christ physically rose from the dead (Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-53; John 1:20-21:25; 1 Corinthians 15:12-34).
Jesus Christ physically ascended into heaven and will one day physically return (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 1:7).
There will be a future physical resurrection of the dead. Those who trust in Jesus Christ alone will be raised to eternal reward. Those who have not trusted in Jesus Christ will be raised to eternal punishment (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29; Acts 24-15).
Only by trusting in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone can I be reconciled to God and experience true life and joy (John 3:18, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Timothy 2: 5-6).
Statement on Marriage
The biblical position on marriage is that marriage is the permanent union of one man and one woman. Despite the many cultural views of marriage, it is God who has the authority to prescribe the union of marriage. (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:1-9, Mark 10:1-12).
Article V: Membership
Membership within the Church is based on one being a genuine follower of Jesus Christ, by faith, drawn by the Holy Spirit to the message of the gospel.
Members attest that they are willingly covenanting:
- to submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final arbiter on all issues (Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
- to pursue the Lord Jesus Christ through regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and practice of spiritual disciplines (Luke 18:1; Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Ephesians 5:1-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22).
- to follow the command and example of Jesus by participating in the ordinances prescribed to His Church:
- by being baptized after conversion.
- by regularly remembering and celebrating the person and work of Christ through communion.
- to steward the resources God has given each Member, including time, talents, spiritual gifts and finances. This stewardship includes regular financial giving, service and participation in community that is sacrificial, cheerful and voluntary (Matthew 25:14-30; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
- by God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk in holiness in all areas of life as an act of worship to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13-16, 4:1-3). Members should strive to put certain attitudes and actions to death while stirring and stimulating love and good deeds through the Spirit. Below are a few examples of actions addressed in the Scriptures:
- Members will practice complete chastity unless married and, if married, complete fidelity within heterosexual and monogamous marriage. Complete chastity and fidelity means, among other things, that regardless of a Member’s marital status, such Member will pursue purity and abstain from sexually immoral practices such as adultery, homosexuality, premarital sex and pornography (Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, 10:8; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
- Each Member will seek to preserve the gift of marriage and agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at Douglas Church before pursuing divorce from his or her spouse (Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10-11; for the role of the church in the process of divorce, see Paul’s concern for the resolution of legal matters within the assembly of the church in 1 Corinthians 6).
- Members will refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, gossip and other sinful behavior as the Bible dictates (Romans 1:28-32, 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; James 3:3-18).
- to refrain from such activities that the Scriptures would deem foolish (Romans 14:14-23).
- to take seriously the responsibility of Christian freedom, especially actions or situations that could present a stumbling block to another (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).
- to submit to the discipline of God through His Holy Spirit by:
- following the biblical procedures for church discipline where sin is evident in another, the hope of such discipline being repentance and restoration.
- receiving righteous and loving discipline when approached biblically by fellow believers (Psalm 141:5; Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; Hebrews 12:5-11).
- to do the following when the Member sins:
- confess the sin to God and to fellow believers.
- repent and seek help to put the sin to death (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5; James 5:16; 1 John 1:6-10).
- to submit to the Elders and other appointed leaders of the Church and diligently strive for unity and peace within the Church (Ephesians 4:1-3; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:5).
- to do the following should I leave the Church for righteous reasons:
- to notify an Elder of the Church.
- to seek another church with which I can carry out my biblical responsibilities as a believer.
Article VI: Church Elders and Deacons
The overall policy, control, direction and management of the ministry, operations and finances of the Church shall be vested in the Elder body. The Elders may synonymously be referred to as Pastors.
The Elders shall be appointed by the Holy Spirit and unanimously affirmed and commissioned to serve in this capacity by the existing serving Elders of the Church.
The minimum qualifications for Elders shall not be less than those listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, including without limitation the requirement that Elders be men.
The Elders shall appoint the number of Deacons required to meet permanent and short-term needs of the Church. The responsibility of the Deacons is not explicit within the biblical text. The overall responsibility of the diaconate is to assist the Elders in their service and equipping functions. Deacons are under the sole authority and discretion of the Elders.
Article VII: Church Discipline
Church discipline is a necessary mark of a healthy church and shall be applied in cases of sexual misconduct, gossip, divisiveness, dishonesty, and various other expressions of sin. In accordance with the biblical pattern generally outlined in Matthew 18:15-17, a person who evidences such sin will be confronted in an initial one-on-one meeting, followed by escalating engagement by Elders. If repentance and restoration is not successful, the member will be removed from fellowship of the Church.
Article VIII: Dissolution and Mergers
“Dissolution” means the complete disbanding of the Church so that it no longer functions as a congregation.
Upon the dissolution of the Church, its property shall be applied and distributed as follows: (1) all liabilities and obligations of the Church shall be paid and discharged, or adequate provision shall be made therefore; (2) assets held by the Church upon condition requiring return, transfer, or conveyance, which condition occurs by reason of the dissolution, shall be returned, transferred, or conveyed in accordance with such requirements; (3) assets received and not held upon a condition requiring return, transfer, or conveyance by reason of the dissolution, shall be transferred or conveyed to one or more domestic or foreign corporations, societies, or organizations that are engaged in activities substantially similar to those of the Church; this distribution shall be done pursuant to a plan adopted by the Elders; and (4) any assets not otherwise disposed of shall be disposed of by a court of competent jurisdiction of the county in which the principal office of the Church is then located, for such purposes and to such organizations as said court shall determine, provided such organizations are in agreement with the Church’s Articles of Faith.
In the event of a merger of the Church with another church, the net assets of the Church shall be contributed to the surviving entity.