Constitution and Bylaws
Constitution of Grace Point
We, the members of Grace Point, recognize ourselves as a sovereign Christian body and establish this constitution to affirm the principles of our faith and to govern our assembly in an orderly manner.
This constitution declares the liberties of individual church members and the actions of this body in relation to church and state, recognizing and submitting to the authority of God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and The Holy Spirit.
Our intent in following God’s leading is expressed by recognizing that this constitution is not cast in stone. It will undergo changes as Grace Point is molded by God’s leading. We declare that we will move as one body in unity to His leading. Decisions are not made by a simple majority, but rather by a representative unity vote. We will move when God tells us to move by His uniting Spirit and will not move when His will is not known as evidenced by disunity (Ephesians 4:3, 13).
This body shall be known as Grace Point, hereafter referred to as GP, located in Wolfeboro, NH.
GP exists to
• Connect people in Wolfeboro and the surrounding communities with God through a growing community of believers
(multiplication, advancement of the kingdom)
• Be a worshipping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person, and responding in obedience
to His leadership (worship)
• Help people experience a growing knowledge of God and man (teaching the Word of God, transformation, discipleship)
• Perform ministry to people within the local community and throughout the world in Jesus’ name (missions, healing)
• Be Christ-like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the lordship of
Christ (fellowship, prayer, authentic biblical community, accountability)
III. Statement of Ministry Values
This Statement of Ministry Values is intended to bring focus for the GP ministry efforts. As a church family, when we bring direction and focus to our intentions and involvements, we have greater potential to experience the power and unity which God brings upon His people when they have one Grace and mind (Acts 4).
1. What We are Pursuing:
First and foremost we are seeking to be obedient to our Lord Jesus Christ’s mandate to be lovers of God and lovers of people (Mark 12:30-31). In our expression of this kind of love for God and people we will also prove ourselves to be obedient to our call to be disciples who make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).
We believe that the best strategy to accomplish our Lord’s calling is through a ministry that has two primary aspects: Grace Groups and regular worship celebration. These work together and provide the basic means of spiritual influence within the body. In these two contexts we are pursuing the following values:
A. Advancement of the Kingdom:
The Scriptures teach us that God desires “all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). With conviction and boldness we will give witness of God’s grace: how He has worked in our lives and how He can work in others. We believe that the citizens of the Kingdom are not only mandated to be actively witnessing to others of God’s saving grace in Jesus, but our citizenship is evidenced in our cooperation with the Holy Spirit in this endeavor.
Our priority is transformed lives. We believe that character is forged in purposeful relationships. The emphasis of the leadership team is to provide for adequate relationship contexts to facilitate individual transformation as a result of interacting with God, His people, and His Word. Thus, the prime directive of the leadership team is to equip each willing member of the GP family to thrive in his or her relationships with God and with each other. It is essential that Godly influence be a part of this process of transformation.
C. Authentic Biblical Community:
We desire to experience the presence and power of God in the trenches of life as our Lord brings healing and freedom into our lives. He most often brings this about as a result of our participating in authentic biblical community; a place where we express ourselves with vulnerability. The facade is removed and the real person is presented in all of our strengths and weaknesses. Along with vulnerability, the authentic biblical community brings accountability. Here the group helps its members accomplish one’s stated goals and objectives. Together we experience what God seeks for each of us, a place to be known and to know others.
Jesus desires an ever-increasing force of laborers to reap the harvest that is already ripe! (John 4:35) In order to best accomplish this we are pursuing purposeful multiplication of disciples, leaders, and groups.
It is important that we clearly define each of these elements we seek to multiply.
a. Disciples: Believers and followers of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
b. Leaders: These are the men and women who are intentional about their influence on the lives of others as they seek to guide others toward maturity in Christ. Leaders resource and equip disciples to follow through on their good intentions of growing as lovers of God, lovers of people and laborers in the harvest.
c. Groups: At GP we call these Grace Groups, a place where the mundane and the divine intersect to feel and look a great deal like our real lives in a real world with a real hope. Grace Groups can be defined as groups of 4-15 people which meet regularly, for the purpose of fellowship, study, prayer, ministry, evangelism, and discipleship, with the goal of multiplication (see Article II of the Bylaws).
2. How we are pursuing it:
As these key ministry values are owned and expressed by us at GP, we will be empowered to accomplish our God-given calling/purpose. Our ministry will be characterized by the same values and principles as we see in the Book of Acts in the New Testament!
The following principles will guide us:
a. Through Radical Dependence as We Pray: Prayer is our place of intimacy with God in which He tends to give guidance and provide power to accomplish His purposes through us. Our pursuit of these ministry values will only be accomplished as we radically depend on our Lord’s provision through prayer.
b. Through Clear Statements of Expectations:
With a myriad of opportunities that are before our people, we will provide a clear statement of what involvements we believe will help each believer to accomplish their God-given purpose: regular Grace Gathering worship celebration participation, regular Grace Group participation, relevant Biblical teaching, intentional relational involvement with each other and in the community.
c. Through the Identification and Development of Spiritual Gifting:
Unique Spiritual Gifts that transcend our normal skills and abilities are given by God to believers through His Holy Spirit. When we work within our Spiritual Gifting we are able to be more effective for the Kingdom of Christ.
These gifts operate in the strength of the Lord but each and every gift can be developed and strengthened when exercised. For most of us, a handful of gifts will be evident at any point in our lives. In different situations, at various phases of our lives, new gifts may emerge as others recede. What remains constant is that we are gifted by God for His purpose and that our gifts are to be used for the common good.
IV. Statement of Faith
We acknowledge that the Lord is far greater than can be put into words. We yearn to love and honor God with everything we are: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
We believe there is only one true God, who is revealed to us in three distinct persons: God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe in God the Father Almighty, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in it. We believe God the Father is Lord: all-powerful, all knowing, and ever-present in all the universe, with authority over all creation.
We believe He desires that all humanity would come to know Him as God and have a vital loving relationship with Him. We believe He is the glue that holds everything together and we admit our need of Him in all we do.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the One and only Son of the Father and has existed eternally with the Father. We believe that out of love for mankind He willingly came to earth to reveal God’s nature and purposes and that His life, death, and resurrection had profound spiritual ramifications for us.
The center of all we are, all we do and all our hope is Jesus Christ. We believe His death has the power to erase the penalty for our violations of God’s law. This gift of forgiveness and eternal life is only available to those who acknowledge they are unable to live according to God’s standards and gratefully accept the means of rescue He has provided: Jesus’ sacrificial act of love.
We believe Jesus supernaturally was raised from death to life again and has returned to heaven, where He waits until the time for His triumphant return to Earth as King.
We believe that because Christ’s mission was to “seek and save the lost” and his command to His disciples was to “go and make disciples of all nations”; each of us and every ministry of our church must be committed to sharing the good news of hope in ways that will reach those who still do not believe and will help mature those who have come to faith in God.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who has existed throughout eternity with the Father and the Son. We believe He works in the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, changing them and giving them a life of purpose, peace, and hope. We believe He has the capability to do more than we can ever imagine within us. We believe that the Holy Spirit is actively working in the world today to empower those who know God to accomplish His will and to awaken those who are spiritually “asleep” (do not know God) so that they can hear the good news of Christ.
We affirm that the Bible is unique, given to man by God, and transcribed through the power of the Holy Spirit’s workings in godly people. We believe the Bible to be true, without error in its original languages. We use the Bible to learn about God and as a guide for our living.
V. Church Covenant
Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and peace; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrines, and discipline; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions; to be engaged in accountability with an intimate group of believers; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior. We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
VI. Polity and Relationships
The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. (See Article I of the Bylaws.) All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action. This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body affiliation, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation common among Christian churches.
To that end, for purposes of leadership accountability, within the first year GP will develop an advisory relationship with a partner church sharing Grace Point’s vision.
Bylaws of Grace Point
I. Church Membership
This is a representatively administered church subject to the leadership of Jesus Christ. The represented membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual life of this church.
The representing membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.
Membership is broadly defined as a pattern of commitment and participation, primarily in Grace Groups. It does not signify salvation (attributed only by God) or a direct voice in conducting affairs of the church, but signifies affiliation.
2. Rights of Members
Membership shall be advised by ministry leaders of the vision and development plans for each GP ministry at least annually at a special ministry meeting (see VII.5.) to be held in April.
When the consensus of the church body is required to conduct church affairs, members will voice to leadership their preference (such as qualifications of a pastor) by way of their Grace Group shepherd (representative). This is often done during a discussion time of the topic at a group meeting.
To be considered for positions of ministry in the church, one must be an active and participating member of a Grace Group; they must demonstrate a level of Spiritual Maturity and there must be evidence of a transformed life as described in section III, 1.B of the GP Constitution. Fitness for any ministry is recognized by temperament, maturity in the faith, and gifting alone. The responsibility for assessing these evidences and qualifications lie with the Shepherd of the Grace Group they are involved in and the Spiritual Leadership of GP.
It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The church leadership is available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.
Should some serious condition exist that would cause a member to be a liability to the general welfare of the church, the church leadership will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accordance with Matthew 18. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a unity vote of the GP representative leadership is required before the church may proceed to declare that the person be no longer in the membership of GP.
It is always the intent of GP to seek to restore wholeness and to partner with the Lord in His restoration ministry. Toward that end, GP representative leadership may by unity vote restore membership status when genuine repentance has been demonstrated. Restoration of full membership rights and privileges will necessarily be preceded by willingness and active involvement in a discipleship program established by the representative leadership.
II. Grace Groups
The model for the life of both the individual Christian and the Church given in the New Testament goes beyond prayer, study and worship to include sacrificial living and intentional relationships. Grace Groups are the primary vehicle that GP has in place to foster the development of these many aspects of Christian character. Grace Groups are not therapy groups but informal in-home groups which provide the intimacy, support, encouragement, training, and accountability of a fully functioning Christian community. Individuals who desire to mature in their relationship to Christ and in their Christian lifestyle choices are encouraged to participate. In this context, members have an opportunity to exercise their gifts, to grow in grace, and to develop relationships which function beyond the context of the Grace Group meetings.
Grace Groups are facilitated by Shepherds appointed by the GP Leadership (see section III. 3 of the Bylaws) and range in size from 4 – 15 people. They meet regularly (weekly or bi-monthly or monthly) and are open to both members and non-members of GP. The composition of each group is not intended to remain static. As those with shepherding gifts are identified and trained, new Grace Groups are established to respond to the growth of GP attendance; already established groups divide or regroup to accommodate changing schedules and individuals’ needs.
Meetings are geared toward discipleship in the following areas:
* establishing the value of personal worship of the Lord,
* equipping members with skills necessary for individual Bible study,
* promoting growth in private and corporate prayer,
* enhancing relationships among members,
* identifying each individual’s areas of spiritual gifting and
* fostering group and individual ministry opportunities.
Grace Groups also function as the most basic level of communication between the membership and the leadership of GP. Each Shepherd is charged with the responsibility to gather input from their group members to pass along to GP Leadership on all matters before the church. In most cases, the Shepherds of Grace Groups will function as the representatives of their group in decision making.
III. Church officers
The officers of this church shall be:
1. General Officers
General Officers must be recognized as members and are designated by the representative leadership. Officers may include staff, moderator, and all official representatives required for incorporation by the state of New Hampshire (President, Vice President, and Secretary). The term of service for all general officers is two years, with a maximum of three (3) consecutive terms. Service may also be limited by the general officer’s request or by a unified request of the representative leadership.
The Pastor is the Head of Grace Point’s Representative Leadership and is recognized as a Representative Leader with the gifts of preaching, teaching, and pastoral care and is recognized to fulfill the pastoral ministry (Eph. 4:11-13) having received the call and anointing from God. He is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. As such the pastor works with the overseers, shepherds, staff and entire membership to:
• Proclaim the Gospel to believers and unbelievers
• Disciple believers to grow in their faith, minister to others and participate in The Great Commission.
• Care for church members and persons in the community.
When a Pastoral vacancy occurs a pastor shall be identified in one of two ways:
1) If at the time of the vacancy Grace Point is still operating as an independent church, the pastor shall be chosen and called by the church. The election shall be made by the unified representative leadership with the recommendation of the body served through Grace Groups.
A Pastor Selection Committee shall be designated by the representative leadership to seek a suitable candidate. The Selection Committee's recommendations will be considered a nomination. Any church member also has the privilege of making other nominations through their Grace Group Shepherd.
The Committee shall bring to the representative leadership one candidate at a time. The leadership shall seek a unity vote. The pastor, thus elected shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the unified leadership's request.
2) If at the time of the vacancy, Grace Point is operating as part of a larger governing organization and or denominational affiliation and or in a relationship structure of a larger governing organization and or denominational affiliation and have asked for the same to provide assistance in filling the Pastoral vacancy at Grace Point, then the Pastoral process shall be in compliance with said governing organization and or denominational affiliation.
As recorded in New Testament Scripture, each congregation “ordained” or confirmed those who were recognized as spiritually mature and who had been raised up by the Holy Spirit to exercise oversight of the work of the Lord in that area. These servant leaders were commonly referred to as “overseers.” Leaders in the church were cautioned not to “lord” it over those they were responsible for but to humbly minister to the Body with the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Initial Overseers are nominated by membership and ratified by a unity vote of the initial leadership (Grace Point Founding Steering Team) within a period of three months from date of ratification and signing of the Grace Point Constitution and Bylaws.
Subsequent Overseers are nominated and ratified by a unity vote of Repersentative Leadership.
The leadership of this local body of believers shall then be entrusted to the Overseers, as those recognized both scripturally and spiritually qualified for oversight of this church as God’s delegated authorities.
Overseers thus confirmed provide the spiritual leadership of GP and with the Shepherds constitute the representative leadership. Their responsibility is to discern and confirm the mind of the Lord for the spiritual life of the church and its overall ministry. They shall serve in the church’s ministry to its members and shall administer all matters of church discipline.
Qualifications for Overseers reference:
1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9. Biblical references which list qualifications for ministry are understood to be addressing issues relative to the character of those aspiring to leadership and not to be establishing rules for limiting ministry.
The number of Overseers will vary commensurately with the size and needs of the body. The length of service is limited only by the Overseer’s request or by the unified leadership’s request. Overseers may serve as Grace Group shepherds.
a. Head Overseer
The Head Overseer is recognized as an Overseer with the gifts of administration, faith and leadership. He is responsible for leading the Representative Leadership in ministering to the Body. As such, the Head Overseer takes the Lead role to:
• Administrate Leaders’ Meetings (schedule, agenda and minutes).
• Assist pastoral communication with Representative Leadership
• Determine which issues (not expressly named in these Bylaws) require a unity vote.
• Provide a tie-breaking vote (by abstention of vote) on deadlocked non-unity votes.
• Serve as the “voice” of Grace Point during periods of Pastoral vacancies.
Shepherds are representative leaders that give oversight and care to our small groups (Grace Groups). They serve as an important liaison of communication between the congregation, Pastor and Overseers.
Shepherds are raised up from within current Grace Groups, nominated by current Grace Group Shepherds, and ratified by current representative leadership.
Shepherds facilitate Grace Groups, give care to Grace Group members and assist the Pastor and Overseers in implementing practical discipleship and outreach within the Body.
The length of service is limited only by the Shepherd’s request or by a unified request of the leadership.
A Clerk must be recognized by current leadership as a member and must be assigned to record leadership meeting minutes, keep records of Baptism and Marriage, document recognition of membership, and keep records as required by GP and the State of New Hampshire.
The term of service for Clerk is two years, with a maximum of three (3) consecutive terms. Service may also be limited by the Clerk’s request or by a unified request of the representative leadership.
A Treasurer must be recognized by current leadership as a member and must be assigned to keep the books (financial accounts), issue payments, deposit receipts, and maintain GP’s non-tax status. The Treasurer is to enlist at least one other person to verify receipts (donations and other receivables) before recording and depositing.
The term of service for Treasurer is two years, with a maximum of three (3) consecutive terms. Service may also be limited by the Treasurer’s request or by a unified request of the representative leadership.
Trustees must be recognized by current leadership as members and are assigned as needed to administrate the strategic use of material resources (stewardship).
The term of service for trustees is two years, with a maximum of three (3) consecutive terms. Service may also be limited by the trustees’ request or by a unified request of the representative leadership.
IV. Church Committees
The representative leadership shall designate committees as needed. These may include Personnel (or nominating), Pastoral Search, Building, Missions, Stewardship, and Public Relations.
For committees that will be required for a length of more than three (3) years or that have been in session for more than three (3) years, leadership will endeavor to replace 1/3 of the needed participation every year (to encourage fresh inspiration with an overlap of experience).
V. Church Council
The Church Council shall serve the church in planning, coordinating, conducting and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organization. The primary function of the Council shall be to recommend to the church suggested objectives and goals; to review and coordinate ministry and program plans and to evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals.
Regular members of the council shall be the Pastor, staff members, directors of church programs and committee chairs.
All matters agreed upon by the council that call for action not already approved shall be referred to a representative leadership unity vote for approval or disapproval.
VI. Church Ordinances
The church shall observe two ordinances: Baptism and Lord's Supper.
The church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship service and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
• Baptism shall be immersion in water.
• The pastor or whomever the church shall authorize shall administer Baptism. The Overseers and Shepherds will assist
in the preparation for and observance of Baptism.
2. Lord’s Supper
The church shall observe the Lord's Supper.
VII. Church meetings
Generally, all meetings will be open to membership unless there is a need for an executive meeting.
1. Grace Groups (regularly)
2. Grace Gathering (regular, central worship,)
3. Special Services (Baptism, ecumenical, weddings, etc.)
4. Regular Leadership Meetings (minimal monthly Overseers meeting)
5. Special Meetings (Leadership, Executive, Vision Casting, Ministry, Etc. (may or may not include entire body)
6. Quorum A quorum is required only for Leadership Meetings. A quorum of 90% of recognized representative
leadership is required for unity voting.
7. Rules of Conduct Roberts Rules of Order shall be used to guide the conduct of meetings, ensuring that a quorum is
present, discussions occur in an orderly manner, and proper records are maintained.
8. Unity Vote All decisions conducted by the representative leadership will use the concept of a ‘unity vote’ to determine
the outcome. Votes must be in unity among the leadership. In this case, the full quorum must vote in agreement for a
motion to carry and any “divided” votes must be thoroughly discussed and re-voted prior to adoption. If consensus is
not reached on a motion, it is rejected or tabled to a later date, allowing for further prayer and study in seeking God’s
VIII. Church Finances:
1. GP shall be self supporting in its operation with its fiscal year starting January 1st.
2. All funds for the maintenance of the church or its missions shall be provided by the voluntary contributions of the
tithes and offerings of the members and friends of the church. The church is authorized to accept from time to time
individual gifts for specific purposes.
3. All funds from any source whatsoever except as hereinafter provided, shall be allocated to a General Fund and
disbursed by the Overseers according to the directives and leadership of the Holy Spirit.
4. Budget – GP shall operate on a budget prepared by the Stewardship Committee and ratified at the November
Overseers meeting. The ratified budget will subsequently be published for use by the membership.
5. Reporting - The membership shall be informed quarterly of the church’s financial condition. The Treasurer shall
submit a quarterly financial report to the Overseers. Independent audits can be conducted of all church books as
requested at any time by the Overseers.
6. Receiving of Funds - All donations made to GP will be received and recorded by two people who are not related to
each other. These people shall be appointed by the Church Council. They shall count all money, complete a bank
deposit slip, and deposit the receipts into the appropriate accounts. A copy of the deposit slips shall be retained by the
IX. Church Property
1. All property, real or personal, shall be taken, held, sold, and transferred in the corporate name of the church.
2. No personal property of the church shall be purchased, sold, leased, mortgaged, or otherwise encumbered unless
the same shall be authorized and approved by the Overseers.
3. Upon the dissolution of this corporation, Overseers and active membership shall, after making provision for the
payment of all liabilities, dispose of all the assets of the corporation exclusively for the purpose of the corporation in
such manner, or to such organization(s) organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, or religious
purposes, as shall at that time qualify as an exempt organization(s) under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue
Code of 1954 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as Overseers shall
X. Church Operations Manual
A special committee of the church shall develop a church operations manual to include church policies and procedures and organization charts depicting lines of responsibility in the administration of the church. The Church Council shall review the manual at least annually, with authority to recommend changes for the church to consider. Any church member or church organization may initiate suggested changes to the manual. Additions, revision or deletion shall require approval by the church.
Changes in the Bylaws may be made at any regular Leadership Meeting provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous business meeting and copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to each member present at the earlier meeting.