Covenant with Our Lord and One Another
Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord by faith, and having publicly confessed Him by baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we freely and joyfully recognize the covenant our Heavenly Father has established for us with Himself through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves, by the grace of God working in us, to walk together according to the commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)
We commit ourselves to maintain family and private worship, to rear our children in the nurture and Spirit of the Lord, to seek the salvation of all members of our own families and of our acquaintances, and to strive for maturity in ourselves and in our fellow Christians.
We commit ourselves to follow Christian principles of morality in our daily living; to be ethical in our dealings and faithful in our commitments; to promote the unity of fellowship by proper attitudes and careful speech; and to be zealous in our efforts toward the advancement of the kingdom of God here and throughout the world.
We commit ourselves to respect the leadership of the ordained leaders, Elders, and others who are raised up into leadership ministry in the church and to encourage them in their efforts to give us spiritual oversight and guidance.
The men set in delegated authority in this church commit themselves to uphold the principles found in Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7,and to show love, care and respect for all the members of this Body.
Our Goal: Maturity in Christ
Paul said in Ephesians 4:11-15, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ.”
The Example of Jesus
There is only one ministry in the church which is essential and of perpetual, eternal value, the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. When truth is preached, it is Jesus who is working through the preacher. When teachers open the Word of God with enlightenment, it is our Lord Jesus at work through them. All healings, deliverances, conversion to Jesus Christ, comforts, judgments, directives and the baptism in the Holy Spirit are Jesus at work in and through the members of the body. All ministries in the church depend upon and are derived from the life of the Risen, Living, Lord Jesus Christ.
God the Father “gave Him (Jesus) to be the Head over all things to the church:” (Ephesians 1:22b) if Jesus is present in His people, the church exists. If He is not, the church does not exist or function regardless of what men may form and call a “church.”
The greatest title a member may receive in the church is SERVANT. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). Jesus was obviously able to maintain His identity while living as a human being because he held himself forth as a servant leader. He said: “but I am among you as he that serveth”: (Luke 22:27).
In Mark 10:42-45 Jesus rejected the standards of the world which defined greatness for leadership. He made the servant role the true Christian mark of greatness.
The Apostle Paul understood the Lord’s principle of servant leader which he elaborated on in Philippians 2:1-8 when he said: “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in the fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.”
The Servant Quality of God’s Leaders
Actually, each Christian is a minister. The five fold ascension gift ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 were given as gifts to the church, “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry.” An ordained leader is a gift to the church, a work brought about by the Holy Spirit. Yet, we are all called to minister the Word of God to others. First Peter says: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praise of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
One of the responsibilities of the local ordained leader and other five fold ascension gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-15, is to guide each committed member in the local body of believers into mature Christian ministry, not neglecting the leading of the lost to Jesus Christ.
The greatest title a believer coming into recognized ministry can receive is servant. “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant. . .” Matthew 23:11.
Raising Up Anointed Leaders
Servant leaders are raised up in the church by the Holy Spirit to walk in various anointings and perform a number of different functions. The several anointings, ministries and gifts coming through the Holy Spirit are given to the church as gifts with the intention of allowing the Lord Jesus Christ to work in one and all to bring forth the one body, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one Body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member but many” (I Corinthians 12:13-14).
Leaders are raised up into various anointings and ministries by the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit, according to Acts 13:2 who said: “Separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” sending them forth as the Holy Spirit had directed. They were able to recognize what the Holy Spirit had done.
In Titus 1:5 Paul makes it clear he had left Titus in Crete to “set in order the things that are wanting and ordain Elders in every city as I have appointed thee.” In Acts 14:23 we understand that Paul and Barnabas were the ones who recognized the men on whom the Holy Spirit moved to be raised up into eldership: “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”
However, in I Timothy 5:22, Paul cautioned Timothy to “lay hands suddenly on no man.” He stated in I Timothy 3:6 that a man raised to the office of a bishop (episkopos) “overseer” or superintendent; should not be a novice (that is, a new believer not mature in the faith and not confirmed for leadership by the Holy Spirit).
The responsibility of raising up dedicated Christian leadership rested in the hands of men “of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.” They were men who knew how to pray, fast and seek out the Lord until they were confident they understood the mind and will of Christ as a corporate body of men. According to the Word, they would be “blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, not given to wine, no striker, nor greedy for filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house having his children in subjection with all gravity” (I Timothy 3:2-4). Paul tells Titus in Chapter 1, verse 6, that he should have “faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.”
SENIOR PASTOR: The Senior Pastor shall be a mature man of God, meeting the conditions of Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7. He shall serve as the chief spiritual leader as well as administrative officer of the church, preside over the elder meetings and prayerfully seek God for direction for the church. He may walk in any of the five fold ascension gifts of Jesus. He shall hold valid ministerial credentials. The primary function of the Senior Pastor is to see that all the flock under his oversight receive proper care through the leadership structure of the church. He shall submit his leadership directives to the elders for confirmation from the Holy Spirit. He shall seek the Lord as a man of prayer and a student of the Word. He shall be a man of vision. He shall preach and teach the Word of god and give administrative oversight to all other ministries in the body. He shall give oversight to men “called to preach” to see that opportunities are given to them to practice and learn. In addition to being Senior Pastor, he shall be recognized as Presiding Elder.
The general direction of the church shall be his responsibility and he shall represent the policies given by the Holy Spirit and confirmed by the eldership to the church. He shall communicate to the other ordained leaders and elders the direction he feels led to lead the church so that they can pray and fast, seeking confirmation that the Senior Pastor’s vision has been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
APOSTLES PROPHETS, EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, TEACHERS (Ephesians 4:11) When a minister who has been commended to this church by the Senior Pastor for apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic pastoral or teaching work among the churches, chooses to reside in the local geographic area and asks for membership in BibleFaithFellowship, his relationship with the church shall be as follows: He shall be found to be a mature believer who meets the conditions of Titus 1:5-9 and I Timothy 3:1-7. He shall show that he respects the office and ministry of the ordained leaders, elders and other ministers in the church and encourages them in their work. He shall apply for membership in the church in the same way all other members are received and accept the oversight of the pastors and elders in all matters concerning his faith and practice and his work.
ELDERS: Elders shall be mature men and women raised up into eldership by the leading of the Holy Spirit. They must meet the qualifications and conditions of I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Elders are men full of the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God who are raised up to assist in both the temporal and spiritual oversight of the local church. The eldership shall be formed of the Senior Pastor, other ordained five fold ascension gifts and those raised up as Elders in the local church. Elder comes from the Greek “presbuteros” and is sometimes rendered presbyter in English. “Presbuteros” is one of three leadership offices identified in the New Testament Church. The second, “episkopos,” literally is “bishop” and figuratively is “overseer” in English. The third, “diakonos” is deacon in English. A deacon is one who serves. Each has a distinct meaning contrary to the frequent post reformation Protestant practice of using “presbuteros” and “episkopos” interchangeably in order to disavow the “bishops” of the organized hierarchical church that was departed from, now called the Roman Catholic Church. The bishop or overseer from “episkopos” gives oversight or serves as superintendent of a church or churches. A presbyter or elder, in the early church and until the Reformation, gave leadership to a local church and deacons served in any way required. It is clear from the Acts of the Apostles that in the New Testament Church all three offices/positions were filled by any and all of the anointings of Jesus expressed in His five fold ascension gifts to the church. We therefore have full expectation that all three positions of leadership and all five anointings will be available and manifested in team ministry in a New Testament Church today. There is more than enough evidence to understand that elders were raised up by the Holy Spirit, recognized as to their office by one or more of the five fold ministries of the church (Ephesians 4) and functioned in various areas of responsibility in the local church. There is no evidence in the Scriptures that elders ever “hired” or “fired” any ordained leaders represented in the five fold ministries of the church. No congregation ever did either. The people respected their leaders and received respect from them. The leaders were recognized for their right to give oversight to the elders. The Senior Pastor, other ordained leaders, ministers and the elders constitute the “overseeing” body of delegated authority for the local church. They serve in a “plurality” (that is, more than one in number) of eldership. Yet, they do not hold co equal authority with the other ordained leadership who walk in five fold ascension gifts of Jesus. They assume various responsibilities to see that no one in the local body of believers is neglected.
OTHER MINISTRIES: Other ministries, tasks, functions and job descriptions not listed in this Order of Faith and Practice may be formed from time to time by the Holy Spirit. It shall be the responsibility of the ordained leaders and elders to recognize such ministries and der functions. All personnel, whether compensated or volunteer, shall work under the supervision of the ‘Senior Pastor and/or his appointed delegate.
TREASURER: The Treasurer assumes general oversight of the finances of the church and accounts to the eldership for the collection, storage and distribution of the tithes and offerings. He works under the supervision of the Senior Pastor. He sees that all money received is counted by such person or persons he designates to carry out such tasks and that all church properties are held in the name of the corporation.
HOME CELL LEADERS: The Home Cell Leaders serve as pastors in the Body and should meet the qualifications outlined in I Timothy 3:1-6 and Titus 1:5-9. The Home Cell Leader should be in active fellowship in BibleFaithFellowship with a commitment to the welfare of the church. The Home Cell Leader should be free from compromising relationships which would hinder his/her effective oversight of the spiritual lives of others.
Code of Discipline
DISCIPLINE OF A CHURCH MEMBER: Discipline of a church member for immorality, heresy, causing division or for any other charge brought against him/her shall be conducted in the following manner: the home cell leaders with pastoral oversight of the member shall talk privately to the member, calling him/her to repentance. If the member persists in his/her ways and no change is observed, the member shall be given 30 days to seek genuine repentance from the Lord by the Senior Pastor and Elders. If no change is evident after 30 days in his/her attitude and behavior, he/she shall be notified that his/her name has been removed from the church roll. (Note: The Elders make it dear that they can only remove a person’s name from the church roll and ask him/her not to return to the church meetings. Our Lord Jesus Christ personally maintains the “Book of Life” and He alone blots names out of it Revelation 3:5).
DISCIPLINE OF A CHURCH EMPLOYEE: (excluding ordained leaders) Discipline of a church employee will be conducted in the following manner: The Senior Pastor will personally consult with the employee to encourage correct attitudes and behavior. If the employee is under the supervision of another employee who is in management, all consultations shall be directed through the manager in charge. The ordained leaders and Elders in session will prayerfully determine what to do if the employee refuses to correct his/her attitude and behavior. The decision of the ordained leaders and Elders will be final.
DISCIPLINE OF ORDAINED LEADERS: Discipline of any ordained leader for immorality, heresy, a divisive spirit or any other charge brought against him shall be conducted in the following manner: The Senior Pastor shall talk privately with the leader to determine if he feels the charges against him are warranted. If they are, the Senior Pastor shall seek to help him be reconciled to the Lord and the church through prayer, advice and encouragement. If the leader fails to respond, the Senior Pastor and Elders in session shall prayerfully work with the leader encouraging him toward repentance and reconciliation. If the leader does not respond with repentance, he shall be given a 30 day period to seek repentance in his closet with the Lord. During that time he shall cease to function in all his duties. If repentance in behavior and attitude is not evident after the 30 day period, his relationship with the church shall be terminated in a gentle and prayerful manner, seeing that proper provision is made for his family during a reasonable transition period. The leader who is found to have a rebellious, unruly child shall give evidence to the Senior Pastor and Elders that he understands the meaning of I Timothy 3:4-5, 1 Timothy 3:12, Titus 1:6 and Ephesians 6:4. The leader who is found to be making every effort to honor and practice those Scriptures shall not suffer discipline even though his child continues to rebel. The Senior Pastor and Elders shall enter into a time of prayer and fasting for the child with faith that he will repent and honor God and his parents.
Unless both South Carolina and Oregon Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. are specifically referenced in a specific context Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. refers to the South Carolina corporation.
The Senior Pastor shall “dwell with his wife according to knowledge, giving honor unto her as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that (his) prayers be not hindered” (I Peter 3:7).
DISCIPLINE OF A SENIOR PASTOR: Discipline of a Senior Pastor for immorality, heresy, a divisive spirit or any other charge brought against him shall be conducted in the following manner: The Elders shall talk privately with the Senior Pastor to determine if they feel the charges against him are warranted. If they are, the Elders shall seek to help the Senior Pastor be reconciled to the Lord and the church through prayer, repentance, advice and encouragement. If the Senior Pastor fails to respond with a repentant attitude, a three member board shall be constituted from Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. of both South Carolina and Oregon. The Board shall hear both from the Senior Pastor and those bringing the charge against him before any decision is made. The Elders and the Senior Pastor shall follow the advice and decision of the Board. If the Board decides the charges are warranted, the Elders shall give the Senior Pastor 30 days to pray, seek the Lord and correct his behavior and attitude with repentance. During that time he shall cease to function in pastoral duties. Should the Senior Pastor fail to repent, a second session of the Board shall be called consisting of the same leaders. If the Board rules the second time in favor of the Pastor, the Elders shall disregard all charges and cooperate with their Pastor. If the board rules against the Pastor, he shall be disciplined according to the recommendation of the Board. The Senior Pastor’s relationship with the church shall then be terminated in a gentle and prayerful manner, seeing that proper provision is made for his family during a reasonable transition period. Travel expenses for the Board shall be paid from the church treasury. The Senior Pastor who is found to have a rebellious, unruly child shall give evidence to the Elders that he understands the meaning of I Timothy 3:4-5, 1 Timothy 3:12, Titus 1:6 and Ephesians 6:4. The Senior Pastor who is found to be making every effort to honor and practice those Scriptures shall not suffer discipline even though his child continues to rebel. The ordained leaders and Elders shall enter into a time of prayer and fasting for the child with faith that he will repent and honor God and his parents. The Senior Pastor shall “dwell with his wife according to knowledge, giving honor unto her as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that (his) prayers be not hindered” (I Peter 3:7).
DISCIPLINE OF OTHER WORKERS IN THE CHURCH: The Pastor, Elder, or other person in a leadership position who oversees the ministry of a worker will personally talk with the worker to encourage repentance to correct unchristian behavior and attitudes. Final decisions for discipline shall be submitted to the ordained leaders and Elders for approval.
Receiving Charges & Criticism Against Servant Leaders & Church Members
Criticism against any ordained leader, other servant leader in the five fold ministries, elder, deacon, home cell leader, or church member shall be received only in the presence of two or three witnesses, who are not involved in criticizing the leader, according to I Timothy 5:19. The witnesses shall be ordained leaders and elders. The person being criticized shall be present to hear the charges brought against him. If the charges are proven to be false, and the person bringing the criticism is found to have a divisive spirit, the one with the divisive spirit shall be disciplined according to the guidelines in this material which are commensurate with his position in the church. If the charges are found to be true, procedure for discipline of the person shall follow the guidelines in this Order of Faith and Practice which are commensurate with his position in the church.
How to Secure a Senior Pastor, or Other Ordained Leaders
When a Senior Pastor is present in the church, and when he is so led by the Lord with confirmation by the Elders, he shall seek a man to serve as his Associate who meets the conditions of I Timothy 3:1 7 and Titus 1:5-9. When he has found the person he prayerfully feels meets the need represented by the vacant office, he shall call the Elders into session for prayer and fasting concerning the matter. If the Holy Spirit confirms in the thinking of the Senior Pastor and Elders that the brother under consideration is appointed by the Lord to the position, he shall be acknowledged as the person filling the vacant position with all the honor and respect due his office.
When the office of Senior Pastor becomes vacant, the Elders shall convene a board of themselves and three Board Members of Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. of both South Carolina and Oregon who have wisdom, are sound in doctrine and full of the Holy Spirit. The Board and Elders shall proceed to locate the person whom the Holy Spirit indicates is to be the Senior Pastor for the church. When they rind the person who meets the requirements of I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, whom they feel is mature and capable of assuming the full administrative oversight of the church, they shall bring their findings to the Board of Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. The Board shall then invite the prospective pastor to visit the church and teach the members. During the visit, the Board and the local Elders shall prayerfully seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit to observe how well the prospective pastor and the members relate together.
The Board and the local Elders shall then meet again to seek the mind of Christ on the matter. If no sound evidence is found to discredit the candidate, he shall be called and recognized as the Senior Pastor of the church, receiving all the honor and respect due his office. The expenses of the Board shall be paid from the church treasury.
Procedure for Starting a New Work
The following procedure shall be followed for starting a new work.
The ordained leaders and Elders of BibleFaithFellowship shall name a leader of new work to begin worship services and other church activities in the area so designated. The leader of new work shall locate a meeting place and present his plans for beginning ministry activities in the new town to the leaders and Elders at BibleFaithFellowship. All financial commitments and transactions shall be approved by the Board of Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. and come under their trusteeship including the purchase of land and building, and securing mortgages. The leader of new work shall meet periodically with the sending Senior Pastor, so designated, to review his work. At an early date the leader of the new work shall establish a local Advisory Board to assist him with the temporal and spiritual development of the new work.
Procedure for Starting a New Work as a Church
The following procedure shall be followed for starting a new work.
The leader of new work shall notify the Board of Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc. that the work has matured to the place of being ready for recognition as a church. The Board shall interview the leader of new work to confirm that the Holy Spirit has raised up a least two into eldership who will assist the leader in overseeing the newly constituted church. The Board of Eagle Wings Ministries, Inc., along with the leader of new work, shall then examine the men recommended for eldership to confirm that the Holy Spirit has raised them up into eldership. A worship service shall then be planned in which: The leader of the new work shall be confirmed as Senior Pastor and Presiding Elder of the new church; the elders shall be confirmed as the other elders forming the eldership; the Senior Pastor, other elders and members shall be constituted as a church using the By Laws and Order of Faith and Practice of BibleFaithFellowship as guidelines; and, all finances and properties held in trust for the new work shall be transferred into the trusteeship of the new eldership.
Adopted by the Initial Board Members