CONTSTITUTION OF MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA
To many congregations, the constitution is a document seldom seen or used unless some hotly debated matter arises whose legality must be challenged or established. Thus, in the minds of many, a constitution, even in a Christian congregation, is a legal document. If, however, the Gospel is the heart of the Church and Christ its cornerstone, it behooves us to define our purposes as a congregation accordingly. To us here at Messiah Lutheran our constitution reflects the spirit and attitude of the congregation as the Body of Christ in this place. It further defines the purposes for our existence as a congregation, how we understand our missions in the world, and the manner in which we intend to carry out our ministry to one another.
It is the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that His disciples should preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). That Christ’s mission for His church might be carried out according to His will, He has commanded that Christians unite in worship (Hebrews 10:24-25), practice fellowship with one another (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:18-20), and serve the needs of all men in Christian love (Ephesians 4:7-16, Mark 10:42-44, John 13:35, Galatians 6:10). Since Christians are also to administer the Office of the Keys as His church (John 20:21-23, Matthew 18:15-20), and to maintain decency and order (I Corinthians 14:40) in the church. Therefore, we, a number of Lutheran Christians living in and near Evansville, accept and subscribe to the following Constitution and By-Laws, in accordance with which all spiritual and material affairs of our congregation shall be governed.
ARTICLE 1: NAME
The name of this congregation shall be Messiah Lutheran Church of Evansville, Indiana.
ARTICLE 2: CONFESSION
This congregation accepts all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and revealed Word of God, and all the Symbolical Books of the Lutheran Church, contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580, as the correct presentation and true exposition of Christian Doctrine drawn from the Holy Scriptures, viz:
1. The Three Ecumenical Creeds, viz., the Apostolic, the Nicene and the Athanasian
2. The Unaltered Augsburg Confession
3. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
4. The Smalcald Articles
5. Luther’s Large Catechism
6. Luther’s Small Catechism
7. The Formula of Concord
No doctrine or practice in conflict, or inconsistent, with the above norms of our faith and life shall be taught or tolerated in this congregation.
ARTICLE 3: SYNODICAL AFFILIATION
This congregation shall be affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod as long as the confessions and constitution of said Synod are in accord with the confession and constitution of this congregation as laid down in Article 2.
This congregation shall, to the best of its ability, collaborate with said Synod and assist it in effecting all sound measures intended for the building up of the Kingdom of God.
ARTICLE 4: MEMBERSHIP
A. Baptized membership in this congregation shall be held by those who are baptized in the name of the Triune God.
B. Communicant membership in this congregation may be held only by those who:
1. While perhaps as yet deficient in the knowledge of all the Lutheran Confessions as contained in Article 2 of this Constitution, knows the contents of Luther’s Small Catechism and declares full acceptance thereof.
2. Have been accepted into communicant membership in accordance with the By-Laws of this congregation and shall remain faithful to the responsibilities of membership as contained in these By-Laws.
3. Do not live in manifest works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), but lead a Christian life.
4. Is not a member of any ungodly antichristian society, secret or otherwise (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
5. Willingly submit to brotherly admonition and correction if he has erred.
C. Voting Membership: Only communicant members, who have qualified according to the membership provisions of the By-Laws, shall be received as Voting Members of this congregation.
D. The membership, and membership privileges, of each communicant member shall remain in force so long as each member shall maintain his eligibility according to the five points in Section B of this article and shall meet the requirements stated or implied in the disciplinary or other provisions, of the By-Laws. A member who voluntarily severs his connection with this congregation, or who has been released or transferred, or who has been excommunicated or excludes himself according to the provisions of the By-Laws, shall be deemed to have terminated his membership in this congregation along with all rights and privileges of such membership.
ARTICLE 5: ORGANIZATION
A. Voting Membership – This congregation shall be represented by, and administer all its affairs through, its Voting Membership.
B. Administrative Boards – Responsibility and authority for the daily administration of congregational affairs shall be delegated to the following boards:
1. A BOARD OF LAY MINISTRY
2. A BOARD OF EVANGELISM
3. A BOARD OF YOUNG PEOPLE’S WORK
4. A BOARD OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
5. A BOARD OF STEWARDSHIP
6. A BOARD OF CHURCH PROPERTIES
7. A BOARD OF PARISH FELLOWSHIP
One member of each Administrative Board shall serve as the Director of the Board.
C. Officers of the Congregation – The Officers of the congregation shall consist of an Executive Director, and Assistant Executive Director(s), a Treasurer, and a Secretary elected from among the Voting Membership in accordance with the By-Laws of the congregation.
The Executive Director of the congregation, (or the Assistant Executive Director(s) when acting in the Director’s capacity) shall have a voice on all Administrative Boards, but his or her right to vote shall be limited to such Board of Boards on which he or she may hold membership. The Pastor(s) of the congregation shall be, ex-officio, a member of all Boards and their associated committees, and may, at his discretion, attend any or all meetings related to congregational activity of any kind.
D. Parish Planning Council – The Parish Planning Council shall consist of the Pastor(s), the Executive Director, the Assistant Director(s), the Treasurer, and the Secretary of the congregation, and the Directors of the seven Administrative Boards listed in Section B, of this article. They shall hold a position on the Parish Planning Council by virtue of their call or election by the Voting Members of the congregation so long as their term of office continues.
E. Rights and Powers – This congregation, subject to the limiting provisions and regulations of this constitution and its associated By-Laws, shall have supreme power in the administration of its affairs. No duly elected officers of this congregation shall have any power or authority beyond that conferred upon them by the congregation acting through its Voting Membership. Each Administrative Board along with the Parish Planning Council shall be responsible for their performances of such duties as the Voting Membership may delegate to them by special resolution. Such specially delegated rights and powers, both of officers and Administrative Board shall be subject to revision or complete withdrawal by the Voting Membership at its discretion
ARTICLE 6: PASTORS
Only such candidates shall be called and elected to serve as Pastor(s) who profess acceptance of, and pledge faithful adherence to, the confessions of this congregation as set fort in Article 2 of this Constitution.
In the absence of adequate cause for dismissal, as defined in By-Laws of the congregation, the tenure of office of a called or elected Pastor shall be the remainder of his active life, or until the Lord calls him into another field of service or retirement.
ARTICLE 7: SOCIETIES
Societies may be organized within the congregation only with the expressed approval of the Voting Membership, and all such societies shall be under the supervision of the appropriated Administrative Board under whose jurisdiction they function. Only communicant members of this congregation shall be officers of such societies or groups shall be invalid if they conflict with this Constitution and its Associated By-Laws. The Pastor(s), by virtue of his office, shall be the advisor for such societies or groups within the congregation.
ARTICLE 8: PROPERTY RIGHTS
If, at any time, separation should take place with this congregation, the advice of the officers of District and Synod shall be sought. If, despite all efforts to compose differences in peace and love, a division into factions of the congregation shall occur, the property of the congregation and all benefits therewith connected shall remain with those members who continue to adhere in confession and practice to Article 2, 3, 4 and 6 of this Constitution.
ARTICLE 9: VALIDITY OF RESOLUTIONS
All congregation matters shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the qualified Voting Members present at a properly convened meeting of the Voting Membership, except as otherwise provided in the Constitution and its associated By-Laws for dealing with certain situations or matters therein specifically mentioned and defined.
ARTICLE 10: AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be changed or amended, with the exception of Article 2, by a three-fourths majority of the votes cast in a regular meeting of the Voting Membership, provided that the intention to amend the Constitution and the wording of the amendments proposed shall be read to the congregation assembled for worship on two Sundays immediately prior to the date upon which the amendment is presented for action.
THE BY-LAWS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF
MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH OF EVANSVILLE INDIANA
(ARTICLES 1 - 7)
ARTICLE 1: COMMUNICANT MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Application for Membership – Procedure
Applicants for communicant membership in this congregation shall consult the Pastor who shall determine whether such applicants are eligible for membership in accordance with Article 4 of the Constitution. Applicants not familiar with the doctrines and confessions of the Lutheran church shall be required to attend a course of instructions, and to make professions of their faith either before the congregation or, at the Pastor’s discretion, before witnesses who are members of the Board of Lay Ministry, before being received as members.
Applicants from other Lutheran churches shall submit a letter of transfer from their former congregation to establish their eligibility for membership. Upon receipt of letter and public reaffirmation of faith the applicant shall be received into membership. In the case of applicants who previous membership in a Lutheran congregation has lapsed, the Pastor may with the consent of the Board of Lay Ministry, arrange for a period of re-instruction prior to reaffirmation of faith for such applicant.
After applicants have given satisfactory evidence of their eligibility in accordance with the two preceding paragraphs, their admission as communicant members shall be recommended by the Pastor to the Board of Lay Ministry which shall have the authority to act on such applications in behalf of the Voting Membership. The roster of new members shall be publicized in the various news media of the congregation.
Section 2: Privileges and Duties of Communicant Members
It shall be the privilege and duty of members of this congregation to:
Grow in the Christian faith and life through faithful use of the means of grace, searching the Scriptures at home and in the fellowship with other members of the congregation and its agencies, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper frequently.
Live a morally decent life before God and men, abstaining from open works of the flesh (Gal. 5:18-21), and so conducting themselves at all time as to bring credit rather than blame upon the Church of Jesus Christ.
Provide for the proper Christian training of their children by instruction at home and through the agencies of the Church.
Contribute toward the maintenance of the congregation and the extension of the Kingdom of God at home and abroad to the limit of their financial ability.
Place their God-given talents and abilities at the disposal of the Pastor(s), the officers, and other agencies of the congregation as set forth in its Constitution and By-Laws, so that the purposes and functions of the Congregation may be effectively implemented.
ARTICLE 2: VOTING MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Eligibility
Any communicant member of this congregation, who is 18 years of age or over, both male and female, shall be eligible to apply for Voting Membership. Such application shall be made at a regular Voters’ meeting of the congregation. Upon affirmation by the applicant of his intention to fulfill such duties as are required of a Voting Member to the best of his ability, he shall be accepted as a Voting Member with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto. Voting membership privileges will become effective the next voters’ meeting.
Section 2: Privileges and Duties of the Voting Members
It shall be the privilege and duty of a Voting Member of this Congregation to:
Conscientiously and prayerfully exercise his right of suffrage in all measures that will advance the work of Christ’s Kingdom both locally and in the Church-at-large.
Willingly serve in any office or capacity for which his talents and abilities equip him.
Faithfully attend all meetings of the Voting Membership.
Assist with wholehearted diligence in administering the temporal and spiritual affairs of the congregation.
Encourage, by personal example, friendly interest, and judicious counsel, such eligible communicant members who are not yet Voting Members to consider seriously accepting the responsibilities and privileges of Voting Membership.
Section 3: Termination of Voting Privileges
Voting privileges will be revoked if a voting member fails to attend at least one of five consecutive regularly schedule meetings.
ARTICLE 3: DISCIPLINE IN THE CONGREGATION
All discipline in this congregation shall be administered in accordance with the order of discipline laid down in Matthew 18:15-20 and other related New Testament passages. The following procedure shall be followed under the direction of the Pastor(s) and the Board of Lay Ministry.
Section 1: Communicant Membership – Termination
A. Transfers – A member desiring transfer to another Lutheran congregation shall apply to the Pastor. Upon approval by the Pastor and the Board of Lay Ministry, a letter of transfer shall be issued by the Pastor. The Board of Lay Ministry shall report all transfers to the congregation via church publications and to the Voters’ Assembly at the next regular meeting of that body.
B. Joining Other Churches – In cases where communicant members of this congregation have joined a non-Lutheran congregation, they shall, upon the decision of the Pastor(s) and the Board of Lay Ministry, be deemed to have terminated their membership in this congregation, forfeiting all rights and privileges of such membership. Their name(s) shall be removed from the membership list of the congregation.
C. Whereabouts Unknown – The names of members whose whereabouts are unknown and cannot be established within a period of six months shall be removed from the membership list of the congregation and placed in a file designated “Whereabouts Unknown”. Such membership is terminated and shall be reported as such to the next regular meeting of the Voter’s Assembly.
D. Excommunication and Self-Exclusion – When a member of Messiah Lutheran Church has not communed for three months, he or she will receive a visit from a Lay Minister and/or the Pastor and shall be admonished and encouraged. If such a member has not communed after 6 months, he or she shall receive another visit by at least two members of the congregation, a Lay Minister and the Pastor or some other concerned member of the congregation. Additional admonition and encouragement shall be given. If, after nine months, such a member still has not communed and is not attending the worship services of the Church, he or she shall be evangelically admonished more firmly and told that if such neglect continues for another three months, it shall be interpreted as impenitence, lack of faith in Jesus Christ, and indifference to church membership, privileges and responsibilities. If, then, after 12 months, the member has not responded to Christian admonition as outlined above, the member’s name shall be transferred to the mission file of the congregation or turned over to the Board of Evangelism. The individual shall be notified of such action by registered mail and shall be declared to have excluded himself from this Christian congregation.
Such self-exclusion releases the individual from all responsibilities to this congregation, but it also excludes the member from the privileges of church membership, such as Christian burial, Holy Communion, transfer to a sister congregation, and of any claim against the properties of this congregation. SUCH A PERSON, HOWEVER, WILL AT ALL TIMES BE CORDIALLY WELCOME TO ATTEND ALL DIVINE SERVICES IN OUR CHURCH.
Excommunication is to be applied to any member who conducts himself in an unchristian manner; i.e., to one who openly adheres to false doctrine, gives evidence of an immoral and offensive life, or willfully despises the preaching of the Gospel and the Lord’s Supper. The Board of Lay Ministry shall administer church discipline in behalf of the congregation.
Persons who have been removed from membership for whatever reasons shall be restored with all rights and privileges when they repent and ask forgiveness through the Pastor(s) and the Board of Lay Ministry. Both acts of discipline and restoration shall be made known to all communicant members by whatever method the Pastor(s) and the Board of Lay Ministry deem most suitable.
Section 2: Provision Pertaining to Church Officers and Directors
Any officer or director of the congregation who willfully neglects the duties of his office may be deposed by a two-thirds majority vote of the Voting Members present in a regular meeting of the Voter’s Assembly. The Board of Lay Ministry shall initiate such disciplinary action. In cases of willful neglect of duties on the part of the Board of Lay Ministry, such disciplinary action shall be initiated by the Pastor(s) after consultation and with the approval of the congregational officers. When an office is made vacant by deposition, resignation, death or excommunication of the incumbent, a successor to such officer or director shall be elected by the Voting Membership at the next meeting.
Section 3: Provisions Pertaining to Pastors
Sufficient grounds for deposing a pastor shall be persistent adherence to false doctrine, scandalous life, willful neglect of official duties, or evident and protracted incapacity to perform the function of the sacred office. Charges on any of these counts shall be carefully investigated by the Board of Lay Ministry. Should such charges by substantiated by clear evidence, the individual involved shall first be given an opportunity to resign his position in the congregation. Such opportunity having been given and declined, the above Board shall, after consultation with the appropriate officers of the Indiana District, notify the Voting Membership of the situation, and shall submit the matter for action at a special meeting of that body. A three-fourths majority vote of the Voting Member present shall be required to depose a Pastor.
Shall the occasion to depose a pastor ever arise, the intended deposition shall be announced by the Director of Lay Ministry at regular divine services on the two Sundays preceding a special meeting of the Voting Members called for that purpose. All Voting Members shall be notified by mail at least two weeks in advance.
ARTICLE 4: MEETINGS OF THE CONGREGATION
Section 1: Regular Voters and Parish Planning Meetings
Regular meetings of the Voting Membership shall be held four (4) times during each calendar year, on or about the 2nd Sunday of the following months: March, June, August, and November. Dates and times of all Voters’s Meetings shall be set by the Parish Planning Council. The November meeting of the Voter’s Assembly shall include the consideration and acceptance of the budget for the following year. All communicant members of the congregation may attend the meetings of the Voter’s Assembly and may, with consent of the Voting Membership submit recommendations, or participate in a discussion of any given item of business before the Voting Membership.
Every meeting of the Voting Membership shall be announced at the worship services on the Sunday preceding the date of the meeting.
Meetings of the Parish Planning Council shall be held at least five (5) times per year, on or about the 2nd Tuesday of the following months: February, May, July, September, and October.
Section 2: Special Meetings
Special meetings of the Voter’s Assembly may be called by the Parish Planning Council at the request of any one of the Administrative Boards, Pastor, or at the request of 10 voting members of the congregation. Special meetings may be called by written notice postmarked at least 5 days before the date of the meeting of by publishing it in two consecutive weekly bulletins prior to the meeting. The subject of the meeting will be included in the announcement.
Section 3: Order of Business at Regular Meetings
Regular Meetings of the Voting Membership shall proceed as follows:
1. Scripture Reading and/or Prayer
2. Roll Call of Voting Members (or written attendance record)
3. Reception of New Voting Members
4. Minutes of previous meeting(s), including special meetings
5. Unfinished business
6. Treasurer’s report
7. Reports from committees of the Voting membership
8. Reports of Administrative Boards
9. New Business
10. State of the Parish Report by Pastor(s)
The Executive Director(s) may, with the consent of the Voting Membership, vary the above order in the interest of efficiency. In general, for purposes of order, Robert’s Rules of Order shall prevail.
Section 4: Restriction Pertaining to Voter’s Assembly Meetings
Ten members or 10% of Voting membership whichever is greater, shall constitute a quorum, except as otherwise is provided in this constitution and By-laws for dealing with certain specific situations herein defined.
In the event of a tie vote, the Executive Director shall cast the deciding ballot.
There shall be no voting by proxy.
ARTICLE 5: THE OFFICE OF THE PASTOR
Section 1: Procedure for Securing a Pastor
After consultation by the Board of Lay Ministry with the President of the Indiana District or his representative, candidates for the pastorate shall be proposed at the next regular meeting of the Voting Membership or at a special meeting called for that purpose. Additional candidates may be proposed by any Voting Member at the meeting called to discuss the candidates. The Voter’s shall then adopt a list of candidates. At that meeting, or at a subsequent regular or special meeting of the Voting Membership, the Voter’s shall elect one of the proposed candidates by ballot and simple majority. It shall be the duty of the Executive Director to see that notice of his election is delivered promptly to the candidate in whatever manner the Voting Membership shall deem advisable.
Section 2: The Pastoral Office
The Pastoral Office is the authority conferred upon pastors by God, through a call of the congregation (the holder of the priesthood and of all congregational authority) to exercise in public office the common rights of spiritual priesthood on behalf of all. The Pastoral Office is the primary office in the congregation from which all other offices of the congregation issue. However, the congregation may establish as many auxiliary offices as its needs require and determine what work is to be assigned to such offices.
Upon being installed, the pastor is authorized and obligated to proclaim to the congregation jointly and severally the Word of God in its full truth and purity as contained in the canonical writings of the Old and New Testaments and professed in the Book of Concord of the year 1580.
He is further:
1. To administer the sacraments in accordance with their divine institution.
2. To discharge toward all members of the congregation the functions of a minister and curate of their souls in an evangelical manner, in particular to visit the sick and dying and to admonish indifferent and erring members.
3. To spiritually guard the welfare of the younger members of the congregation and adults during their preparation for acceptance of Holy Communion.
4. To guide the congregation in applying the divinely ordained discipline to the church.
5. To provide spiritual leadership and oversight in the educational agencies and the various adult and youth organizations within the congregation.
6. To serve as an example by Christian conduct and to do all that is possible for the up-building of the congregation and for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ.
By reason of his position the pastor is not only a servant and steward of God, but also of the congregation. The pastor(s) shall have the authority and responsibility for supervising the musical portion of all worship services in conjunction with the Board of Lay Ministry so that it is at all times in harmony with the doctrine and practice of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Members of the congregation are obligated to accord the pastor(s) honor, love and obedience in his ministry of God’s Word, and to support his ministrations with diligence and faithful prayers; to help him in the discharge of his duties by cordial one-mindedness, by his willing readiness, by peaceful conduct, and in every other way possible; and to provide for his maintenance according to the ability of the congregation.
In calling a pastor to preach the Word of God and to administer the sacraments on their behalf, the members of the congregation exercise their royal priesthood and by no means relinquish it. This is the privilege and responsibility of all members of the Church.
ARTICLE 6: ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND ADMINISTRATIVE BOARDS
Section 1: Nomination Procedure
At the March meeting of the Voting Membership in an election year, the Parish Planning Council shall announce its selection of six qualified Voting Members who with the Pastor shall serve as the Nominating Committee. At this meeting, the Voters may submit to the committee the names of possible candidates for office.
The Nominating Committee, as soon after the March meeting as possible, shall prepare a list of candidates drawn from among communicant members of the congregation who are 18 years of age or over and from the list submitted by the Voter’s at the March meeting. This list shall then be made available to communicant members of the congregation by May 15th. Only male candidates shall be eligible for membership on the Board of Lay Ministry.
Following the publication of the Nominating Committee’s list any communicant member of the congregation may submit to the committee additional names for inclusion on the list, and such names shall be placed in nomination by the committee along with the candidates already chosen provided:
1. That such names be submitted at least 10 days before the date of the June meeting of the Voter’s Assembly, and
2. That the Nominating Committee, through consultations with the Pastor(s) and the Board of Lay Ministry, shall have investigated the status of the proposed candidates and found them eligible for the office and willing to serve.
The Nominating Committee, at least one week before the date of the June meeting, shall post conspicuously on the Church bulletin board the list of candidates for the following officers:
Executive Director, Assistant Executive Director(s), Treasurer, Secretary, Directors of the various Administrative Boards, and Boards Members as necessary to complete the membership of each of the Administrative Boards.
Section 2: Election Procedure
From the list of candidates for each elective office submitted by the Nominating Committee, the Voting Membership shall, at its June meeting, elect by ballot and simple majority, the following officers in the order herein indicated:
1. An Executive Director
2. An Assistant Executive Director(s)
3. A Treasurer
4. A Secretary
5. Eight Directors specifically nominated for the directorship on one of the following Boards: Lay Ministry, Evangelism, Christian Education, Christian Schooling, Young People’s Work, Stewardship, Church Properties and Parish Fellowship.
6. Board Members, to the number required to complete the membership of each of the Administrative Board. The determination of the number of members required on each Board shall be an annual function of the Parish Planning Council and shall be decided no later than the May meeting of that body. Only candidates defeated for office may be placed in nomination by the Voting Membership at the election meeting for any office not yet filled.
7. Any Office or Board Director may also assume one other Board membership.
Section 3: Installation of Officers – Term of Office
The newly elected officers and Board Members of the congregation shall be installed on the last Sunday in June, and shall assume their duties as of July 1st.
The term of office of all officers, directors and board members shall be two (2) years, terminating on June 30th of the second year of their terms.
However, if necessary, Board members are eligible for re-election at the discretion of the nominating committee.
ARTICLE 7: DUTIES OF OFFICERS – FUNCTIONS, POWERS, ORGANIZATION OF ADMINISTATIVE BOARDS AND THE PARISH PLANNING COUNCIL
Section 1: Duties of Officers
The Executive Director of the congregation shall preside at all meetings of the Voting Membership. He shall, to the best of his ability, enforce the Constitution and By-Laws of the congregation and carry out the expressed will of the congregation as embodied in the resolutions of the Voting Membership. All Boards, committees, auxiliaries, groups, etc. in the congregation shall be responsible to the Executive Director, and he shall be welcome at any and all meetings of such groups, either in person or as represented by such person or persons as he may appoint. He shall also call and preside over the meetings of the Parish Planning Council and shall endeavor to coordinate the functions, plans and activities of the congregation in all its parts for the total furtherance of the work of Christ’s Kingdom in our midst.
The Secretary shall be present at Voter’s meetings of the congregation and at all meetings of the Parish Planning Council and shall enter the minutes of all meetings of said groups in a permanent record book over his signature. The Secretary shall conduct all official correspondence of the congregational Boards and committees under the supervision of the Executive Director. In general, the Secretary shall perform all the duties normally pertaining to the office and such additional duties as the Voting Membership may delegate.
The Executive Director shall appoint an Auditing Committee consisting of any two qualified communicant members of the congregation other than the Treasurer to audit the financial records of the congregation. The Executive Director shall submit the Audit Committee’s report at the April meeting of the Voting Membership in each year.
The Assistant Executive Director of the congregation in the absence of the Executive Director shall act for and in the stead of the Executive Director. He shall be available for whatever duties the Executive Director shall assign to him as his representative.
The Treasurer functions more like a controller. He handles no money directly. He is a manager of the congregation’s receipts and disbursements. The Treasurer shall:
1. Be responsible for accurate recording of congregational receipts and disbursements and budgeted and actual expenditures according to proper accounting procedures and, as deemed advisable, shall suggest for congregational consideration improved methods and systems for keeping financial records.
2. Shall present a written, duplicated financial report at Voter’s Meetings and a preliminary report at the Parish Planning Council meetings.
3. Shall submit permanent financial records for annual audit.
4. Shall be responsible for monthly remission of offerings for missions and church agencies and for prompt payment of salaries and bills authorized by the congregation or the Boards and Directors as duly constituted sources.
5. Shall coordinate the flow of monies from the treasury to the various Boards in such a way that an adequate balance is retained for the payment of salaries and other regularly recurring expenses.
6. Shall remit to the professional workers of the church for documented expenses while attending professional workshops, conferences, conventions, etc. approved by the Board under whose jurisdiction they function.
7. Shall receive from the Financial Secretary a report of all monies received through worship services, special offerings or any other source and duly record same.
8. Shall sign all checks for payment of bills, salaries, or other financial commitments to the congregation of any sort.
9. Shall have available for all Boards a current record of their accrued disbursements and budget allotment.
10. Shall have the authority to work with salaried workers of the congregation a breakdown of the worker’s total compensation into salary and fringe benefits as the workers request.
Section 2: The Parish Planning Council
The Parish Planning Council shall consist of the Executive Director, the Assistant Executive Director, the Treasurer, the Secretary, the eight Directors of the Administrative Boards, and the Pastor (s) of the congregation. It shall be the function of the Parish Planning Council to:
1. Serve as the point of liaison between the Pastor(s), the Officers of the congregation, and the various Administrative Boards in planning the total work of the congregation.
2. Settle jurisdictional disputes between the several Administrative Boards.
3. Present to the Voter’s Assembly at its August meeting a yearly plan of activity for the entire congregation as well as long-range plans for the development and expansion of Christ’s work in our midst.
4. Prepare the agenda for the four (4) meetings of the Voter’s Assembly.
5. Set the dates and times for the Voter’s Assembly meetings.
6. Appoint the Nominating Committee as required and at the time required.
7. Fill unexpired terms or shortages of personnel by appointment.
The Parish Planning Council shall normally meet in each of the following months: February, May, July, September, and October. Additional meetings may be called by the Executive Director of the Congregation and/or the Pastor(s) as required.
The Parish Planning Council is not primarily a decision-making body but serves as a forum where the activities of the Administrative Boards may be discussed, evaluated and coordinated and where all such activities may be integrated into an overall congregational program. The Parish Planning Council shall be available at all times, however, for any additional functions which the Voting Membership may wish to confer upon it.
The Parish Planning Council shall keep a permanent set of minutes for each meeting and shall be the property of the congregation.
Section 3: The Administrative Boards
A. General Duties and Powers of Administrative Boards
Each Administrative Board shall submit a report of its activities at each regular meeting of the Voting Membership, and on such other occasions as the Voting Membership shall require. Such reports shall include specific recommendations (if any) for congregational action and/or approval.
Each Administrative Board shall initiate and carry out such activities and programs within the congregation as will enable it to effectively perform the functions and duties assigned to it by the Constitution and By-Laws, or by specific resolution of the Voting Membership.
Each Administrative Board shall be empowered to administer all funds set aside for its work by budget appropriation or by special resolution of the Voter’s Assembly, provided that the Voting Membership may, at its discretion, restrict such expenditures to conform with the actual financial condition of the congregation at any given time. Each Administrative Board shall be jointly and severally liable for all expenditures not authorized either by the budget or by special resolution of the congregation.
Each Administrative Board shall keep a permanent set of minutes for each meeting and shall be the property of the congregation.
B. Organization and Meetings of Administrative Boards
Each Administrative Board shall be under the direct control and supervision of the Director of that Board. Following the election of the Director of each Board and the number of Board embers required, the Director of the respective Board shall designate and appoint from among the Board members at his own discretion those individuals who are to be responsible for various phases of the work of that Board. Such appointments are to be made within two weeks of the date of their election, and notification of such appointments is to be given to the Executive Director of the Congregation for publication to the members in the manner he or she deems most advisable.
The time and frequency of Board meetings shall be at the discretion of the Director of the Board and the Board members, except that, for good and sufficient reasons, either the Executive Director of the congregation or the Pastor(s) may call a meeting of the Board at any time. Meetings thus called shall be classified as special meetings, and each person involved shall be notified of the date, time and purpose of such a meeting.
C. Administrative Board Objectives:
1. The Board of Lay Ministry: The basic objectives of this Board are the spiritual welfare of the Pastor and Congregation members, individually and corporately, and the supervision of everything pertaining to congregational worship.
2. The Board of Evangelism: The basic objectives of this Board are the bringing of the Gospel to the un-churched, the enlistment of all of God’s people in the work of spreading the Gospel, the deepening of the faith and activity of the members of this congregation and proper soul-accounting at all times.
3. The Board of Youth: The basic objectives of this Board are to involve the young people of the congregation in the work of Christ, provide for their spiritual growth and nurture, and to promote genuine Christian fellowship for the young people of the congregation.
4. The Board of Christian Education: The basic objectives of this Board are to plan and administer the total educational program of the congregation (except for those areas covered by the Board of Christian Schooling), to determine policies, to select personnel for the various agencies, to provide the necessary means and facilities for the agencies, and to direct and supervise the entire educational program of the congregation.
5. The Board of Stewardship: The basic objectives of the Board are to initiate programs for the development of good stewardship attitudes in the members of the congregation in regard to time, talents, and treasures, to provide for the training and utilization of members of the congregation for the work of Christ’s Kingdom, and to ensure the financial stability of the congregation and its work through a developed program of dedicated, proportionate, first-fruits giving.
6. The Board of Church Properties: The basic objectives of this Board are the proper maintenance and repair of church property, the representation of the congregation in all legal matters, and the general protection of the congregation against loss or damage of whatever nature.
7. The Board of Parish Fellowship: The basic objectives of the Board are the strengthening of the fellowship between congregation members spiritually and socially, the integration of new members into the life of the congregation, and the general up-building of mutual cooperation, trust, and enjoyment among the members of the congregation.
The marriage policy of Messiah Lutheran Church of Evansville, Indiana, a member congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, is and always has been consistent with the Synod’s beliefs on marriage. We believe that marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24-25), and that God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32). The official position of The Lutheran Church— Missouri Synod, as set forth in 1998 Res. 3-21 (“To Affirm the Sanctity of Marriage and to Reject Same-Sex Unions”), is that homosexual unions come under categorical prohibition in the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1:26-27). These positions and beliefs can be found on the LCMS website, along with other statements, papers and reports on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex civil unions and “marriage.” Our pastors will not officiate over any marriages inconsistent with these beliefs, and our church property may not be used for any marriage ceremony, reception or other activity that would be inconsistent with our beliefs and this policy.