Bylaws of Living Word Bible Church

  1. The name and doctrines of the Church
    1. This church of evangelical Christian Baptists bears the name “Living Word Bible Church.” The church is officially registered as a religious non-profit organization in the state of Washington, which has the appropriate records filed with the governing body of the state of Washington.
    2. Living Word Bible Church is a baptist church and holds to a historic baptist confession of faith.
    3. Doctrine Statement attached to this Bylaw.
  2. The goals of Living Word Bible Church

Living Word Bible Church is founded for the following purposes:

1. The confession and glorification of the triune God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the creator of heaven and earth, the Creator and Lord of all humanity, who saved man from eternal death through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross;

2. To carry out the great commission of Christ is to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and to spread the influence of biblical truth with the help of the Holy Spirit to people close and afar. We believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is necessary to every person. Everyone is in need of salvation from eternal death, and only the saving grace of God, which acts through His word with the help of the Holy Spirit, can save man from sin and eternal death. To fulfill this commission LWBC actively participates in the ministry of bringing sinners to Christ.

3. The fulfillment of the commandments of Christ, which include making disciples and in their discipline in the spirit of biblical truth, using church services and other forms of ministry for this purpose, which benefit the spiritual growth of believers, as well as equipping (preparing) them for a life of serving God and people.

5. The spreading of the influence of God’s word, which is able to make the life of every believer fulfilled and blessed. With this goal in mind the church organizes the study, spread, and popularization of the Bible in forms understandable to modern people. This may include groups in studying the Bible, Sunday schools for children and adults, Christian camps, theological education, the organization of various specialized clubs and other events which accommodate for a better understanding of the Bible and the application of its truth in practical life. 

6. Providing the members of the church with the opportunities for fellowship, mutual support, mutual edification and service toward each other.

3. Membership in the Church

3.1.What follows is the order of entering into membership with the Church

3.1.1. A person may be a member of LWBC who: a child of God, meaning, he is born again by the means of personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and by testifying about it through water baptism and the proof of the fruit of a Christian life; question, willingly, and consciously accepts the full authority of the Holy Scriptures, which is the Bible, ready to submit to it in agreement with the doctrinal beliefs of LWBC; the given bylaws, which express the structure and philosophy of ministry of the given church, and agrees to submit to all of its positions. 

3.1.2.  Membership with LWBC is considered a privilege and not a right. The candidates for membership with the Church must be ready to sincerely strive towards a life according to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures in its congruence with the doctrinal teachings of LWBC, to actively participate in the life of the church, to support its ministry, investing into it personal time, strength, abilities and finances.

3.1.3.  To enter into membership with LWBC, the desiring person must: attending Sunday Worship services as well as one of the fellowship groups to have the opportunity to become more acquainted with the practice of ministry and life of the church, personal interaction with brothers and sisters, as well as mutual support and service toward one another; acquainted with the general structure of the church, its doctrines and bylaws. For this purpose according to the measure of necessity, special classes are conducted; his/her agreement with the doctrines, bylaws, and structure of the ministry in written format; out an application and give it to the minister of the church responsible for new members; through a personal meeting with the representatives of the church’s Elders Board.

3.1.4.  The decision to accept or deny someone the membership is made by the Elders Board.

3.1.5.  After the confirmation from the Elders Board, all new members are presented to the whole church for acquaintance.

3.1.6.  Members of other churches may be accepted into membership with LWBC on the basis of a recommendation of the ministers of that church from which they came taking into account the rules stated in points 3.1.1, 3.1.2, and 3.1.3 of the given bylaws.

3.2.The rights and responsibilities of the members of the church

3.2.1.  In answering the great love of God toward people, expressed in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, each member of the church must acknowledge the necessity of continually remaining in prayer and the study of the Holy Scriptures by means of which achieving an understanding of God’s will and receiving strength for the fulfillment of this will in the practice of personal life.

3.2.2.  For effective spiritual development, each member of the church must be in one of the church’s groups of shepherding care, being accountable to the leader of that group, serving the members of that group in love, benefiting their growth in faith, as well as bringing other unbelievers to Christ.

3.2.3.  Each member of the church, to the measure of his/her gifting, participates in church- wide ministry, which is expressed in various forms of service toward each other and promotes the common edification of the church and the proclamation of the Gospel to unbelievers.

3.2.4.  One of the most important ministries in the church belonging to members of the church who have children, includes disciplining them according to biblical teachings (Deut. 6:6-9; Eph. 6:1-4; Prov. 13:24; 23:13-14), facilitating their life towards becoming born again and forming in them a Christian character.

3.2.5.  The members of the church participate in the formation of the general strategy and development of the church by presenting their ideas and notices to the small group leaders and members of the Pastoral Council. Additionally they participate in the discussion and making of decisions regarding the competency of the members of the church.

3.2.6.  Each member of the church participates in the offering ministry of the church proportionally to their income and the greatness of necessary expenses tied with the ministry of the church.

3.2.7.  Although the tithe is not a necessary requirement, we acknowledge that each member of the church must strive towards sacrificing for the ministry of the church a minimum of a tenth part of his or her income.

3.2.8.  The ministry of tithe offering is not a burden but an opportunity to serve God by the means of financial support of the ministry of His Church. Eagerly and willingly participating in the material ministry of tithing, the members of the church invest their part into the common work of the work of the church.

3.2.9.  The members can leave the church as they chose having informed the Elders Board of their decision in written form having filled out the appropriate form. Members of the church who are under church discipline must first seek resolution of the discipline process before then can leave with the blessing of the church.

3.3.Church discipline

3.3.1. If the members of LWBC commit offenses that are confirmed as sin by the Holy Scriptures, refuse to repent and continue in their sin, they are to be subjected to the discipline of the church in accordance with the Biblical teaching (Matt.18: 15-17).

3.3.2.  Steps in the process of church discipline include: (1) tell his/her sin alone (2) take some witnesses (3) tell the church and (4) treat him as an outsider/excommunicate

3.3.3.  The questions of official church discipline are handled by the Elder Board of the Church

3.3.4.  The purposes of church discipline are spiritual restoration of fallen members, the strengthening of the church, the protection of the purity of the fellowship and the prevention of the spread of sin within the church.

3.3.5.  If the one who sinned repents of his/her sin and desires correction, the Elders Board appoints those who will offer practical help and counsel in correction. In this case the process of church discipline is postponed until further and final results of the counseling process.

3.3.6.  If the one who sinned repents of his/her sin, but no visible change in life is observed, then according to the decision of the Elders Board, church discipline moves to the next stage until a biblical resolution is accomplished.

3.3.7.  If the one who sinned does not repent nor desires change after numerous attempts at personal help and counseling attempts, the Elder Board may make a decision to excommunicate that person from the church and consequently, the church is notified of the Elders’ decision. The unrepentant person is excluded from the membership list, are deprived of fellowship and pastoral care, loose their privilege to minister in the church and are prohibited from participating in the Lord’s Supper.

3.3.8.  At the Elder’s Board decision, members in the process of church discipline may be removed from ministry in the church. Church members who are under discipline have no right to minister in the church, cannot participate in the Lord’s Supper, lose the right to vote and participate in the decisions of church member services.

3.3.9.  Members of the church, who directly disobey the given bylaws, or in the extent of three months do not attend church services or members meetings without legitimate reasons can be excluded from the list of members of LWBC. This decision is made by the Elders Board after thorough investigation of all factors and presented during the next members meeting.

4. Church Administration

4.1.Member meetings of the Church

4.1.1.  Every member of the Church has the right of say in the undertaking of certain decision regarding the church that pertain to the competency of the members meeting. This right is actualized through the means of participation in the decision making of church matters in small groups and through voting during members meetings.

4.1.2.  The competency of members meetings includes questions of great importance such as: election of a pastor; election of members on the Elder’s Board; confirmation of the church budget; adoption of church bylaws and the changes made to it; made about the property of the church; the acquiring of, construction of, sale of, trade, etc., of this property; questions that demand a substantial financial expense or that carry global impact in the life and ministry of the church.

4.1.3.  Other decisions of daily and weekly church life are dealt with by the Elder Board, with the subsequent informing of the rest of the church.

4.1.4.  The decisions during members meetings are considered legitimate in the case that more than 50% of the members of the church were present to make the decision.

4.1.5.  The majority of decisions during members meetings carry authority if the simplemajority voted for them, meaning 50% + one vote of those participating in the vote. Exceptions include: election of a new pastor. This decision demands no less than a 3⁄4 majority or 75% of those participating in the voting process; those against are required to present biblical criteria regarding their opposition. Otherwise, their vote will not be held effective. regarding the modification of the given bylaws. This decision demands the agreement of no less than 2/3 or 67% of those participating in the voting process. count committee elected by the Elder’s Board enumerates the voting count.

4.1.6.  The members meetings are prepared and conducted by the pastor or members of the Elder’s Board as necessary.

4.1.7.  Every member of the church may initiate the discussion of any question during the meetings of the Elder’s Board of members meetings at church. For this it is necessary that the question or matter be given to any of the members of the Elder’s Board in written form. The questions or matters presented to the Elder’s Board must reflect the following points: is the essence of the suggestion or matter;, logical, or practical basis for the adoption of the suggestion (why does it need to be applied in the church); what way will the suggestion promote the edification of the local church; kind of resources (finances, time, people) will be necessary for the suggestion to take effect; this suggestion or notice pertains to other people, it is necessary to note weather or not this matter has been discussed with them; person who presents the suggestion or notice must inform the Elder’s Board of his/her name and contact information.

4.1.8. Every suggestion or notice is registered by the secretary of the Elder’s Board and is considered by the Elder’s Board at the earliest opportune time.

4.1.9.  The author of the suggestion or notice may be invited to the meeting of the Elder’s Board where this matter will be discussed.

4.1.10.  Every presented suggestion or matter is brought to a final decision. Its conclusion is foremost presented to the author and furthermore if the Elder’s Board sees it necessary, the conclusion is presented to the members of the church during the members meeting.

4.2.Church Council

4.2.1.  Church council LWBC consists of the Elder’s Board and the Council of ministry leaders that are responsible for the critical and most important departments of Church ministry.

4.2.2.  Elders Board Elder’s Board is the central administrative link in the church that carries the responsibility for the strategic questions of the life of the church and its ministry. These include: The doctrinal foundations of the church; philosophy of church ministry; determination of the general strategy of church development; The general organizational structure of church ministry; The organization of the ministry of church councils, the addition of new blocks or the liquidation of present ones as the need arises; The selection, preparation, and establishment of ministers in the church and leaders of various degrees; The provision of shepherding and accountability for all ministers that are in any one of the blocks of ministry; Carrying out the shepherding process of the various blocks of ministry; the address for members meetings and conducting such meetings as necessary; regarding authorized church discipline; confirmation of the budged that is developed by the Deacon’s Council and the presentation of it to the members of the church during a members meeting; confirmation of the amount of financial compensation and benefits to state approved workers of the church; regarding the addition of new compensated position in the church or downsizing in current positions; regarding the creation and appointment of new ministry positions in the church or the cutting back of existing positions. The mutual agreement on a schedule of events conducted by various blocks of ministry. A composition of a yearly plan of ministry in the church as well as modifications to it as necessary; The resolution of conflicting situations that arise between various blocks of ministry or their respective leaders; The representation of the church in governing and administrative bodies; Matters regarding mutual work between different churches. of the Elder board must be men of exemplary spiritual maturity. They must be tried and proven fit for the position of presbyter/shepherd/bishop according to 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3. These may include those who were ordained and those who were not. for membership on the Elder’s board are selected from the number of brothers who have proven their qualification and faithfulness in their work in one of the blocks of ministry in the church. Every candidate is examined by the present Elder Board according to the standards in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3. The final list of candidates is presented for affirmation to the members of the church during a members meeting. date and order of election of the members of the Elder’s Board as well as the confirmation of the list of candidates is announced in the small groups of the church for prayer and opportunity to remark on the members a minimum of two weeks before voting on it during a members meeting. election of additional members to the Elder’s Board can be conducted as necessary according to the Board’s need. member of the Elder’s Board may be restricted from ministry on the Board due to physical ailments that impair him to work on the Board, loss of spiritual qualification, as well as for other reasons rendering his ministry impossible. In this case the decision to remove this individual must be agreed upon by all the members of the Elder’s Board. executive officer of the Elder’s Board is the head pastor of the church. His first helper is the assistant pastor. elder’s board shall elect a secretary from its members. Among the responsibilities of the secretary are maintaining protocols of all meetings conducted by the Board. These protocols must contain the following information: the location of the meeting, the time it was conducted, a list of persons present, the meeting’s agenda, all proposals made, as well as the resolutions made concerning every issue presented. All protocols must be kept permanently. Elder’s Board is the final arbitrary branch in all-controversial decisions that occur in the process of church’s ministry, its blocks, as well as individual members.


4.3.1.  The pastors of the church must be consistent with biblical requirements presented to the members of the Elder’s Board; besides this they must posses the gift of ministry with the Word, experience in spiritual leadership, personal prayer life and shepherding of the members of the church.

4.3.2.  The primary responsibility of pastors is to provide biblical direction by means of preaching, discipline, spiritual work in preparing leaders, etc. In all forms of their ministry, pastors must be faithful to the Holy Word, the Bible in its entire natural historical-grammatical interpretation.

4.3.3. The sphere of responsibility of the head pastor includes: devote the greater portion of his ministry to studying the Word of God and it’s preaching, as well as prayer. This included regular preaching and a personal prayerful intersession for the members of the church;  To perform the pastoral care over the members of the church through personal service or the recruitment of other leaders from the ranks of the Elder’s Board or other Councils of Ministry; The provision of general spiritual guidance of the church; The provision of guidance for the Elder’s Board and the Church Council, which includes all of the Councils of Ministry; Spiritual care and preparation of ministers of various degrees; The coordination of ministry of various divisions of the church; Leading the services of the church; The pastor has the permanent right to participate in the work of all Councils, committees and groups active in the church.

4.3.4.  In the case of church growth, the church, represented by the Elder’s Board, elects the Pastor’s assistant, responsible personnel, who will provide general help in the ministry of the head pastor and in the functionality of specific divisions of ministry in the church;

4.3.5.  The head pastor and his assistant are accountable to the Elder’s Board in their ministry;

4.3.6.  For wholesome pastoral ministry in the church to take effect in the various divisions of its spheres, the pastor and his assistant can recruit and engage other ministers in other ministries, who are ordained by the local church. People ordained in other churches may be recruited to engage in ministry in the local church given that the Elder’s Board completely agrees (100% votes) and that the members of the church agree (no less than 75% votes).

4.3.7.  The pastor and his assistant can be released from the responsibility of ministry for the following reasons and given the following conditions: The personal desire of the pastor or assistant. In this case the pastor or assistant must give prior notice of three months to the Elder’s Board before his actual termination of work; In the case of a loss of qualification of the minister prescribed in 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-3. In this case the fact of sin or the loss of qualification must be confirmed by no less than 75% of the voting congregation on the Elder’s Board. The given decision is confirmed by a special members meeting under the conditions that no less than 50% members on the church roster uphold the decision;

4.3.8.  The pastor and his assistant are permitted to be under the full or partial financial support of the church. Along with this specific conditions and measures of financial support is discussed by a special agreement prepared and confirmed by the Elder’s Board.

4.3.9.  The Elder’s Board undertakes the selection of a new pastor. The chosen candidate is presented to the church for confirmation during a special members meeting. For the election of a new pastor, no less than 75% of votes of the members are necessary under the condition that this number will be no less than 50% of members on the roster;

4.3.10.  In the case of sickness or temporary absence of the pastor, his primary substitute or one of the ordained members of the Elder’s Board, as decided by the pastor or the Elder’s Board, fulfills his ministry.

4.3.11.  The Pastors will conduct an evaluation of their work as individuals, as well as a group at the end of each year.


4.4.1.  The deacons must fit the qualifications presented in 1 Tim.3: 8-13.

4.4.2.  The main objective of deacon ministry is to provide comprehensive assistance topastors and other ministers in the exercise of their ministry, as well as assisting inthe service of various departments of the church.

4.4.3.  The responsibility of deacons consists of preparing everything necessary for theLord’s Supper, the organization of finance ministry of the church, providing accounting, storage and proper use of material and technical means belonging to the church, other organizational activities, meeting of guests and ensuring order in the church during worship.

4.4.4.  The planning of the yearly budget under the recommendation and oversight of the Elder board

4.4.5.  Overseeing the accuracy of budgeted decisions and financial discipline including the appointment of the revision committee and the conduction of regular revisions of account and expenses of material means;

4.4.6.  LWBC may propose candidates for the deacon ministry. Each candidate is considered by Elder’s Board, if approved, the candidate is submitted to the majority of the membership meeting for consent.

4.4.7.  With the decision of the Elder’s Board, deacons may be called upon to help other adult members of the church.

4.5.Small group leaders: Youth Ministry Council;

4.5.1.  Small groups in LWBC are created with the goal of providing shepherding in a greater capacity of effectiveness; they present the opportunity for a closer fellowship in the Word of God, prayer, and social fellowship of the members among the members of the church, which promotes the edification of the local church and mutual building up of one another.

4.5.2.  The Small Group ministry is coordinated by the Elder’s Board;

4.5.3.  According to the decision of the Elder’s Board, the leaders of small groups and theirhelpers are selected from among spiritually mature brothers.

4.5.4.  The Small Group leaders together with their helpers carry the responsibility forshepherding the group of members of the local church entrusted to them.

4.5.5.  The leaders of Small Groups are directly accountable to the Elders Board of thechurch in their ministry.

4.6.The Councils of ministries. 

4.6.1.Councils of ministries are responsible for all administrative matters regarding various blocks of minstry. To provide effective ministry in the church, various Councils of ministry are to be organized so that they can be responsible for specific areas of ministry.

4.6.2. Among them are: Children Ministry Council; Worship Ministry Council; Mission Ministry Council; Prayer Ministry Council; The Deacon’s Council; Other Councils that contribute to the overall development and building up of the Church.

4.6.3.  Spiritually mature brothers who, according to their development meet the minimum qualifications of a deacon’s character presented in 1 Tim. 3:8-13, can be on the Council of Ministries. They must adequately understand the doctrine and philosophy of the church, have experience in ministry and able to work in a team with other ministers;

4.6.4.  Members of each of the Council of Ministries are elected by the Elder’s Board according to the requirements listed above from the number of brothers who successfully participate in a given sphere of ministry in the church. The Elder’s Board must reach a unanimous agreement in electing each new member for the Council of Ministries.

4.6.5.  Additions of new members of any one of the Councils is done according to the initiative of the head of the given Council or of any member of the Elder’s Board.

4.6.6.  Members of the Council of Ministry can be removed from the council due to a violation of spiritual qualifications, physical inability to participate, or for other reasons. This decision demands a unanimous agreement by the Elder’s Board.

4.6.7.  Every Council of ministry is directly accountable to the Elder’s Board of the church.

4.6.8.  The chairmen of a Council of Ministry, as necessary, has the right to recruit brothers who are not yet permanent members, but are actively involved in the relevant area of ministry, in order to participate in that Council;

4.6.9.  Pastors and other members of the Elder’s Board have the right to participate in the work of any of the councils of ministry when such a need arises.

4.7.Extended church council

4.7.1.  The pastor, members of the Elder’s Board, deacons, small group leaders, their assistants and leaders of various departments, constitute the extended church council.

4.7.2.  Extended church council is a body of advisers that present recommendations to the Elder’s Board in order to resolve or come to a decision in relation to diverse aspects of church ministry.

4.7.3.  Extended council is summoned by the pastor upon necessity.

5. The finances and administration of the church

5.1.  The budget of LWBC is composed of voluntary offerings by the members of the church, visitors of the church, private parties and other various organizations desiring to support the ministry of LWBC. For members of LWBC the offering is an honorable requirement, which is accepted by every person in the church upon becoming members of the church.

5.2.  The general plan of expenses for the fiscal year (church budget) is developed by the Elder’s Board, with the help of the Deacons, and followed by a confirmation at the next members meeting.

5.3.  Revision of financial activity of the church subject to proper use of financial means and correct documentation of financial records must be produced at least once a year. For its revision, different professionals and auditors may be enlisted. The results of the revision are presented to the members of the church.

5.4.In preparation for the budget, monitoring of financial condition of the church, Elder’s Board shall appoint from among its members a Finance Committee, which is responsible to:

5.4.1.  Budget expenses are to be continually observed and the Elder’s Board must be constantly informed of it’s status;

5.4.2.  In order to determine the most efficient use of material resources belonging to the Church, a study of the financial condition of each ministry of the church is mandatory.

5.4.3.  The budget is prepared for approval by the Elder’s Board and subsequently by the membership meeting.

5.4.4.  For the faithful use of material resources and the right to keep financial records, periodic audits that constitute financial activities of the church must be performed at least once a year. It may involve in carrying out independent professional auditors. The test results are submitted to the Elder’s Board, and then, to the membership meeting.

5.5. The Elder’s Board appoints the revising committee. It must be composed of no less than three people who are educated and have experience in the financial aspects, which give them the qualification for examining the financial condition of the church.

5.6.  Every member of the Elder’s Board has the right to examine any of the financial documents of the church when legitimate doubt concerning their accuracy, application, or ethical use arises

5.7.  The Elder’s Board appoints the cashier of the church. His responsibility is to perform strictly accurate record keeping of all income and expenses of the church.

5.8.  The Elder’s Board appoints the church accountant. His responsibility is to fill and file all the necessary paperwork in connection to the financial activity of the church. The accountant is responsible for a timely payment of all required taxes and other payments required by government law.

5.9.  As necessity arises, the church may conduct special gatherings (outside the budget) for certain needs, such as: supporting the missionary ministry, critical situations in the life of the members of LWBC, etc. Such gatherings may be conducted only if approved by the Elder’s Board of the church.

5.10.  The church possesses the official status as a non-profit religious organization and utilizes the tax benefits allotted to non-profit organizations by the government.

5.11.  All contributions given to the church by private parities or organizations are registered by name except in cases of anonymous donations.

5.12.  The Church Council has the right to deny any gift or financial support to the church if it sees that the acceptance of this gift or sacrifice will contradict the wellbeing of the church or the goals of the churches existence expressed in the given bylaws.

5.13.  Every entity sacrificing has the right to receive a document, which confirms the sum of the offering with the exception of those offerings that were given anonymously.

5.14.  Only certain personnel, appointed by the Elder’s Board, have the right to represent the church in governing, administrative, or financial organizations as well as sign legal or financial documents as from the church. This decision must absolutely undergo protocol and be confirmed by the dispensing of a special document that testifies to this decision. This right may be general or pertaining only to certain single cases. Without the special decision of the Council of Ministries no leader of the church, its members, or its representatives has the right to represent the church in any government, administrative, or financial responsibilities of the church. The church assumes no responsibility for the decisions made by its representative which have no empowerment confirmed in written form.

6. Conflict resolution

6.1.  All conflicts involving church members, leaders or other workers of the church regarding spiritual teachings of the church, practice, tradition, church finances or it’s property, must be resolved only by the Elder’s Board of the church. The decisions must be made after prayerful examination of the matter in the spirit of meekness and gentleness, when every member of the Council shows respect to the position of the other and considers one another to be more important than self.

6.2.  The decisions made by the Elder’s Board, in regards to competency, are final and are not subject to further dispute. If the chruch were to cease to function.  

6.2.1. In the event that the church ceases its functioning, all its debts, if there are any, must be fully repaid by the church account.

6.2.2.  In accordance with the laws of nonprofit organizations, the possessions and finances of the church are donated to non-profit organizations such as: missions, funds and church associations that are in accordance with the teaching of the church.

© Living Word Bible Church, 2015