Lonlas Gospel Mission - Church Handbook

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Monday, 11 September 2017 19:49
by Lonlas Gospel Mission







Lonlas Gospel Mission


Church Handbook





We certify this to be the Church Handbook adopted by the members of Lonlas Gospel Mission on the …… of ……………………………..



Chairman: ……………………………………  Trustee: ……………………………………..



As amended in accordance with the provisions of this handbook on:



Date of Revision

Signature of Chair

Signature of Secretary










Principles for Charity Purposes



The Church Constitution



The Church is established as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation under a constitution first adopted on ……………….. 2017  (and last amended on ……… 20…..) (“the Constitution”) which contains the main legal provisions governing the Church, its purposes and Basis of Faith, and its powers. Under the Constitution, the people with the responsibility for the general control and management of the administration of the Church are known as the charity trustees and they are identified in the Constitution by reference to the office they hold in accordance with this handbook.



The Church Handbook



This Church Handbook sets out the practices of the Church and its method of internal governance, none of which are contrary to any of the provisions of the Constitution.



The First Church Officers



The date of the legal establishment of the Church is the date that the Constitution is registered by the Charity Commission (rather than the date on which the Constitution was adopted by the members).



Clause 2.4 contains the provisions for the appointment of Church Officers. The first Church Officers are not appointed but are the people who are listed below. The first Church Officers will hold office for a period of one year commencing on the date of the legal establishment of the Church (“the First Year”) (but they may be removed during the First Year in accordance with the provisions of this handbook and they may be reappointed during the First Year for a term that goes beyond the First Year).



Mark Davies (Elder); Glyn Griffiths (Elder); Richard Jenkins (Elder); James Webber (Elder); Robert Emmett (Deacon / Treasurer); Bruce Holliday (Deacon); Michael Hopkins (Deacon) and Tony Jenkins (Deacon).



Before the end of the First Year, the charity trustees shall make arrangements for the appointment of Church Officers in accordance with the provisions of clause 2.4 for terms that go beyond the end of the First Year to ensure that there will be Church Officers in office following the expiry of the First Year.



Following the expiry of the First Year, the charity trustees shall produce a new version of this handbook that does not contain this wording covering the first Church Officers, notwithstanding the clause in this handbook which says that this part of the handbook can only be amended following a change to the Constitution.


Part 1 – Basis of Faith, Doctrinal Distinctives and Ethical Statements



1.1   Basis of Faith



The Basis of Faith (see Appendix 1) sets out matters that we believe all Christian believers should be able to accept wholeheartedly and a person can only become a member of the Church if they have indicated that they do accept those beliefs.



1.2   Doctrinal Distinctives



We recognise that there are a number of doctrines, not referred to in the Basis of Faith over which genuine Christian believers may take different views. Our Doctrinal Distinctives set out the position and teaching of the Church on these matters. Church members are not required to agree with the matters in the Doctrinal Distinctives and may hold and discuss views to the contrary, but members are required to respect the positions set out in the Doctrinal Distinctives as the teaching of the Church and should not be insistent on their own views or divisive over these matters.



1.2.1 Baptism



Jesus commands all of his followers to be baptised as a mark of their repentance and faith in him. We believe it is important that all Christians take seriously the Bible’s teaching on baptism.


As a church, we teach and practise believers’ baptism by full immersion. However, we do not make agreement with this view of baptism a condition of membership.


We believe that baptism is the biblical way that a person should publicly identify themselves as a follower of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, we believe it is appropriate that people are baptised in accordance with their understanding of biblical baptism before they are received into membership in the church.



1.2.2 The Lord's Supper


As a church, we hold to the principle of an open table where all those who profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour and are in good standing with their church are welcome to join us in sharing the bread and the wine.



1.3       Ethical Statements



The matters covered in this section set out how the beliefs set out in the Basis of Faith apply in relation to ethical matters. Church members are required to lead their lives in a manner that is consistent with these Ethical Statements recognising the reminder and encouragement given to all Christians in 1 John 1:8-9.



1.3.1      Marriage – our Basis of Faith sets out that the Bible is the final authority for all matters of belief and practice and the Members of the Church agree that the teaching of the Bible is that marriage is between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:31-33) and that all sexual practices outside of marriage between a man and a woman are sinful and wrong. This includes homosexual practices (Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) regardless of whether or not homosexual marriage is permitted by the laws of England and Wales. The Bible also teaches that we must not be actively or passively complicit in sin (1 Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 5:8-16; 1 Timothy 5:22) and that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). It is therefore part of our doctrine that in relation to any activities of this Church we must in no way condone, promote, assist or encourage adulterous or extra-marital sexual practices, whether heterosexual or homosexual.



1.4          Amendments to this Part 1 of this Church Handbook shall only be permitted where the provisions of Clause 2.11. have been satisfied.



Part 2 - Provisions for the Internal Governance of the Church



2.1   Members and Membership



2.1.1      Clause 2.1 comprises the membership requirements of the Church Handbook referred to in the Constitution.



2.1.2      Members of the Church shall be those persons who have confirmed in writing (or other means permitted by the Elders) their unreserved agreement to the Basis of Faith and their acceptance of the Constitution and this Church Handbook in its entirety (including the duty of members referred to in the Constitution) and whose Membership has been approved and has not been suspended or terminated, all in accordance with the provisions of this Clause 2.1.



2.1.3      Membership brings with it certain privileges and responsibilities. The privileges are identified as membership of the local Body of Christ in all its work and worship, to be able to partake in discussing and agreeing the way in which the local church should move forward and fulfil its Biblical role in the local community and the benefit of Pastoral care. The obligations of membership are to submit to the authority and leadership of the Elders in accordance with the provisions of this Church Handbook and the Constitution, to participate in the work of the Church and its activities, to attend meetings regularly, to bear each other up before the Lord in prayer, and to share in the financial needs of the Church. In particular this will involve:



a.     Regular attendance at Sunday worship.  (Acts 20:7, Heb. 10:25)


b.     Regular personal prayer and Bible study.  (2 Tim 3:15-17, Phil. 4:6)


c.     Regular attendance, when possible, at the main weekday meeting of the church for prayer, Bible study and fellowship. (Acts 1:14, 2:42)


d.     Sharing in the life, work and witness of the local church.  (Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor. 15:58)


e.     Regular giving to the local church and the Lord’s work in general.  (1 Cor. 16:2, 2 Cor. 9:6-7)


f.      The showing of Christian love and concern, both for the members of the church family and for the community at large. (John 13:35, 1 Thess. 3:12)


g.     An endeavour to live a life consistent with the faith we profess.  (Rom. 6:1-2, Eph. 4:1)


h.     Regular attendance at the Lord’s Supper – the pattern of frequency being a matter for the individual member to decide.  (Acts 2:42, 20:7)



 Admission to Membership




2.1.4      The first Members of the Church are the people who agreed to approve the original version of the Constitution together with the original version of this Church Handbook. (The fact that the first Members voted to approve the Constitution and Church Handbook, including the Basis of Faith means that no further written declaration from them is required). 



2.1.5      Any Elder may receive an application for membership. The applicant will be visited and interviewed by two Elders. In this meeting the applicant will be required to demonstrate a work of grace, an ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and submission to Him as revealed in His Word; a commitment to the church and agreement with matters contained within the church constitution and handbook. Prior to coming into membership, the church will be informed at least 14 days beforehand. All Elders must approve any and all applications for membership. Having been made a member, the member has full voting rights from that time.




2.1.6      The Pastor and his wife (if applicable) shall be received into Membership on the taking up of his appointment as Pastor subject to their compliance with Clause 2.1.2.



2.1.7      The Church Administrator shall maintain a written register of all Church Members.



Termination of Membership



2.1.8      A Member may voluntarily resign by submitting in writing a letter to that effect to the charity trustees.



2.1.9      A Member may be removed from Membership by the application of the disciplinary procedure set out in Clause 2.7.




2.2          Baptism



2.2.1     The Doctrinal Distinctives set out the view of the Church with regard to Baptism.



2.2.2      Any person wishing to be baptised or wishing for his or her child to be baptised shall submit their request to the Elders who will arrange for two of their number to interview the applicant. The representatives shall report back to a meeting of the Elders and within their report will be any recommendation as to the mode of Baptism if it is not to be by immersion.



2.2.3      An applicant who is to be baptised will be required to give testimony to their faith before the baptism.




2.3          The Lord’s Supper



2.3.1       The Lord’s Supper is to be celebrated in thanksgiving for the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. It is a service of remembrance of, and communion with, the risen Lord by those who have been saved.



2.3.2       The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated at least once a month. The table shall be open to all who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and know Him as their own personal Saviour.



2.4            Church Officers



The Church Officers are the people who hold the roles set out in this Clause 2.4.



2.4.1       Elders


The Elders are responsible for the ministry of the Word and the teaching of sound doctrine, and are to guide the spiritual direction of the church (1 Timothy 5:17). The Elders are charged with the duty to protect the church from error (Titus 1:9) and watch over it pastorally (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Peter 5:2).


Due to their role in the church the Elders can attend all meetings in the life of the church and chair them if necessary. The Elders meet together at least once a month for prayer and pastoral discussion.


The Elders must be sensitive in responding to the Holy Spirit, and clear in their understanding of the Word of God. They need to be men of faith and vision in order to ensure that the church does not backslide or wander away from the Lord. Much of their work is also involved in caring and counselling and is therefore unknown generally.


Men who fulfil the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are eligible to be appointed to the Eldership. All Elders will serve in office until:


      It seems right for them to step down from active leadership


      They are disqualified from office.



Elders will be appointed by a vote at a Church Members’ Meeting. This meeting will follow an announced period of time where the church will be invited to consider their candidacy.



2.4.2       Pastor(s)



All Elders are Christ’s under-shepherds in the church. Yet, we recognize that some have a specific calling to the work of preaching and teaching God’s word. These we call to be pastors in the church. They are normally set aside full-time for the work of preaching, leading and counselling and will be Elders of the church (1 Timothy 5:17).


Any pastor must be a man who holds unswervingly to the evangelical basis of faith as set out in this booklet. Recommendation will be by the Elders after discussion in an Elders and Deacons’ Meeting and voted on at a suitable Church Members’ Meeting.


A pastor’s role in leadership can be terminated by three months’ notice on either side. In the event of the need to dismiss a pastor, the issue must be brought by the Elders after discussion in an Elders and Deacons’ Meeting and voted on at a Church Members’ Meeting. In this event employment will be terminated with immediate effect and with the payment of 3 months salary in lieu of notice.



2.4.3       Deacons


The Deacons are entrusted with the practical administration and service of the church. The needs and practical ministries of the church determine the number of Deacons and the areas in which they will serve.


The qualifications of a Deacon are set out in 1 Timothy 3:8-12. Members are eligible to be appointed to the office of Deacon providing they fulfil the qualifications set out in Scripture.


Deacons are appointed to perform a role in the church and they will serve in this capacity until:


      the role is no longer necessary


      it seems right for them to step down from active leadership


      they are disqualified from office.



Deacons will be appointed by a vote at a Church Members’ Meeting. This meeting will follow an announced period of time where the church will be asked to pray and suggestions will be invited for suitable candidates. Recommendation for new Deacons will be made by the Elders.



2.4.4     Church Administrator


The Church Administrator will be appointed by the Elders to perform those administrative tasks required by the Elders and Deacons.  The Church Administrator shall be responsible for the preparation of notices of any Church Business Meetings and the issuing of all papers and reports to be presented to such meetings. Members shall deliver to the Church Administrator any notice of items of business to be discussed at a Church Business Meeting in sufficient time to enable them to be circulated to all Members before the meeting.


2.4.5       Church Treasurer


The Church Treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining the accounts of the church. Any Member holding any church funds shall account for those funds to the Church Treasurer together with such explanations and documentary evidence as will enable him to incorporate the figures into the church accounts


2.5            Charity Trustees


2.5.1       The Constitution sets out which of the Church Officers are the charity trustees of the Church.



2.6            Church Discipline



Removal from membership



2.6.1       Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 5 teach that local churches should remove from among them members who refuse to repent of sin. We believe that local churches should always take this action with the aim that it will prompt the person who has been removed from membership to repent so that he or she can be welcomed back into the church and with the aim that it will help to prevent other members from being tempted to follow their example.



2.6.2       A Member of the church may be removed from membership for any of the following reasons:



a.      He or she errs in doctrine so that he or she no longer affirms the Basis of Faith of the Church


b.     He or she is no longer willing to respect the practices and doctrinal positions adopted by the Church set out in Part 1 of this Church Handbook


c.      He or she errs in conduct by committing open sin which brings the church into disrepute


d.     He or she has consistently failed to fulfil the obligations of a member of the church


e.      He or she refuses to repent of sin committed against another Member which has been drawn to his or her attention


f.      He or she has made false and malicious allegations against an Elder, Deacon or other member of the church


g.      He or she is no longer living in submission to the leadership and authority of the Elders of the church



2.6.3       A Member may only be removed from membership by a resolution of the members at Church Business Meeting which has been proposed by the Elders of the Church.



2.6.4       The Elders shall not propose a resolution to remove a Church Member unless the following steps have been taken:   The Elders have held a disciplinary meeting (“the ED Meeting”) at which they considered whether or not to propose a resolution to remove the Member (“M”) from membership;   The Elders  have given to M 21 clear days’ notice of the ED Meeting, informing M why his or her removal from membership is being considered, and inviting the M to make representations to the Elders as to why he or she should not be removed from membership;   The Elders allowed the Member to make those representations at the ED Meeting himself or herself or through his or her representative; and   The Elders took those representations into account when deciding whether to propose a resolution that M be removed from membership.




2.6.5       The Member shall be informed of the decision of the Members by a representation from the eldership and the register of Members amended accordingly by the Church Administrator where termination of membership is to be applied.



2.6.6       A person who has been removed from membership shall be welcomed back into membership if they apply for membership in the normal way and their application is approved.



2.6.7       The steps set out at Clauses 2.6.8 to 2.6.10 should also be followed prior to the ED Meeting taking place, but failure to follow those steps will not invalidate a resolution of the Members to remove a person from Membership.



2.6.8       The Elders must be informed where it is believed that any of the reasons set out in Clause 2.6.2 apply to a Member of the Church.  Where a person’s behaviour is being reported by a Member who has been sinned against by the person he or she is reporting, that Member should normally raise the issue first with the person concerned and only report it to the Elders if the two persons concerned are unable to resolve the matter between themselves.



2.6.9       Where the Elders are informed or they themselves believe that any of the reasons at Clause 2.6.2 apply to a Member, they shall appoint two persons of spiritual maturity to meet with the Member to enquire into the matter and to investigate the matter thoroughly, and where appropriate to encourage the Member against who the allegations have been made to repent.



2.6.10    After the persons appointed under Clause 2.6.9 have investigated the matter and have met with the Member against whom the allegations have been made (or the Member has been given reasonable opportunity to meet and has refused), they shall report back to the Elders who shall decide whether it is necessary for a ED Meeting to be held and what additional steps they should take (if any).



2.6.11    Even in cases where there has been genuine repentance, Elders may still be required to report the facts arising from the investigation to the relevant secular authorities. In such cases the Elders shall give to the Member concerned all the support that is appropriate for a Member who is genuinely repentant.



Additional Disciplinary Measures



2.6.12    Whenever the Members vote to remove a person from membership, they may also resolve to impose any of the following the measures:



a.             a restriction from attending or taking part in any or all of the meetings of the Church, including meetings or activities that are normally open to the public;



b.            the remaining Members may be required not to have any association with the person who has been dismissed from membership in accordance with clear and specific guidance from the Elders as to what is required in this regard.



2.6.13    Any of the measures at Clause 2.6.12  may be removed by a resolution of the Elders.





2.7            Church Business Meetings



The provisions for Church business meetings are set out in the Constitution under the      Clauses headed “Members’ decisions” and “General meetings of members”. A “general meeting of members” under the Constitution is referred to as a “Church Business Meeting” in this Church Handbook.



Decisions covering any matters that listed in Appendix 2 to this Church Handbook require the approval of the church members at a Church Business Meeting by the majorities set out in Appendix 2 for them to be recognised as decisions of the Church.



2.8        Church Safeguarding Policy



2.8.1      The charity trustees shall operate a church safeguarding policy and shall ensure that activities involving children and vulnerable adults are carried out in accordance with that policy.



2.8.2      Each person overseeing church activities involving children or vulnerable adults and every charity trustee shall provide to the Church Administrator a current Disclosure and Barring Service certificate.




2.9        Exclusion of Non-Members From Public Meetings of the Church



2.9.1      The Elders may propose that the open invitation to attend public meetings of the Church customarily extended to non-members may be withdrawn from any individual who seeks to obstruct the carrying out of the work and ministry of the Church, or to undermine the leadership of the Church.



2.9.2      Subject to Clauses 2.6.12 and 2.6.13 the Elders may only withdraw such open invitation to an individual if this is supported by a vote of 2/3rds of Members present and voting at a Church Business Meeting.



2.9.3      An invitation that has been withdrawn may be reinstated by a resolution of the Elders.



2.10     Amendment of the Church Handbook



2.10.1   Other than the section headed “Principles for Charity Purposes”, any provisions of this Church Handbook can be amended by the charity trustees under the authority of a resolution of the Members of the Church approving such a change at a Church Business Meeting, provided that the proposed amendment shall not be such as would cause the Church to lose its charitable status or such as would cause this Church Handbook to be inconsistent with the Constitution. The section headed “Principles for Charity Purposes” can only be amended where this is required because the provisions of the Constitution have changed.



2.10.2   A majority of 2/3rds of those Members present and voting at the Church Business Meeting is required to approve a proposed amendment to any clause excepting (i) any provision of this Church Handbook requiring the approval of a matter by percentage of the Members which is greater than a simple majority of the Members present and voting a Church Business Meeting, in which case the majority required to amend that provisions shall be the greater of (a) 75% of Members present and voting a Church Business Meeting and (b) the majority required by the provision itself as currently drafted, (ii) the provisions contained in  Part 1 of this Church Handbook where a majority of 75% is required, and (iii) the provisions in the section headed “Principles for Charity Purposes” where the charity trustees shall make the amendment without the need for a vote following any change to the Constitution.



2.10.3   Notice of any proposed amendment together with the specific wording of the proposed change must be given in writing to all Church Members at least 3 weeks before the meeting at which the proposal will be put to the vote.



2.10.4   No amendment may be made under this Clause to any provision of the Constitution, including the Basis of Faith.

































There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in His holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the Almighty Creator, Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to His sovereign will for His own glory.



The Bible


God has revealed Himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and the New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.



The human race


All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please Him.



The Lord Jesus Christ


The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.





Salvation is entirely a work of God's grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in His love forgives sinners whom He calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.



The Holy Spirit


The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ, and to apply His work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.



The Church


The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.



Baptism and the Lord's Supper


Baptism and the Lord's Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into His Church but does not impart spiritual life. The Lord's Supper is a commemoration of Christ's sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.



The Future


The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.





We believe that the Bible teaches that marriage is a union between one man and one woman and is intended for life. This view of marriage will affect all of our practices in this area.










The table below sets out the decisions that need to be approved by Church Members at a Church Business Meeting. Some items within the table simply reproduce requirements that are set out elsewhere in the Constitution or Church Rules (“Type A Items”). Other items cover decisions which are only required to be approved by Church Members by virtue of having been included in this table (“Type B Items”). Type A Items will be amended whenever the relevant provision of the Constitution or Church Rules is amended. Type B Items may be amended in accordance with clause 2.10.2.




Majority required


To allow a Church Business Meeting to proceed on short notice (Constitution - 11.3.2)

90% of all Church Members


To amend the Constitution (Constitution - 28.1)

75% of Church Members voting at a Church Business Meeting


To amend the Basis of Faith (Constitution - 28.3)

80% of all Church Members


To wind up the Church (Constitution - 29)

75% of Church Members voting at a Church Business Meeting


Appointment of an Elder (Handbook – 2.4)

2/3rds of Church Members voting at a Church Business Meeting


Removal of an Elder from office (Handbook – 2.4)

2/3rds of Church Members voting at a Church Business Meeting


Appointment of a Deacon (Handbook – 2.4)

2/3rds of Church Members voting at a Church Business Meeting


Removal of a Deacon from office (Handbook – 2.4)

2/3rds of Church Members voting at a Church Business Meeting



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