We recognize ourselves as a local body of evangelical Christian believers, united in purpose and love, committed to following Jesus Christ, governed in doctrine and practice by the Bible, meeting regularly for worship, discipleship and fellowship and desirous to incorporate others into a meaningful relationship with God and with ourselves through evangelism.
We recognize that we are only one (1) part of the larger body of evangelical Christian believers in our community, our country and around the world and we will seek to honour, respect and encourage them by focusing on our commonness in Christ. We recognize that we live in a free country, Canada, and we will abide by it's laws, foster good citizenship as conscience and Scripture permits.
Article #1 Name
The name of this congregation shall be “Riverside Community Baptist Church” (hereafter referred to as Riverside); a non-profit congregation and its duration shall be perpetual.
Article #2 Purpose
Riverside exists to:
A) celebrate God's presence through Worship
B) educate God's people through Discipleship
C) incorporate God's people through Fellowship
D) communicate God's word through Evangelism
Article #3 Values
Riverside values relationships:
The greatest relationship we can have is a relationship with God and the greatest benefit we can be is to share our God and ourselves with others.
Riverside values people:
People matter to God and people matter to Riverside, therefore we will help people grow and excel individually and relationally with God and with others.
Riverside values character:
Good character honours God and inspires people therefore Riverside will pursue constant character growth, excellence in all we do and apply grace to others in this process.
Riverside values purpose:
Worship, Discipleship, Fellowship and Evangelism are our 4 corporate guiding purposes to which we will apply our time, finances and talents.
Riverside values methods:
Celebratory Worship and Cell Groups will be our main methods to enhance relationships with God and others, to show our value of people, to help develop character and to fulfill our 4 purposes. We will be contemporary in our methods and apply the Bible in a life relevant way.
Article #4 Statement of Faith
Section 1 General Statement
In the essentials of the faith we will have unity, in the non-essentials of the faith we will have liberty and in all our beliefs we will show charity.
Section 2 The Essentials of our Faith
A) About God
God is the creator and ruler of the universe. God has eternally existed in three (3) personalities: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three (3) are co-equal and are one (1) God.
B) About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three (3) days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to heaven and will return again someday as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
C) About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son and is present in the world to make people aware of their need to believe in Jesus Christ. The Spirit also lives in every Christian from the momoent of salvation and provides the Christian with power for living, understanding spiritual truth and guidance in doing what is right. The Holy Spirit gives to every believer at salvation spiritual gift/s. The Christian is to live daily under the Holy Spirit's control.
D) About the Bible
The Bible is God's Word to us. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit and it is the supreme source of truth for Christians in beliefs and practice. Because all 66 books of the Bible were inspired of God it is 'The Truth' without any mixture of error in the original writings.
E) About Human Beings
People are made in the image of God and are the supreme object of God's creation and affection. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all people are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called 'sin'. This attitude separates people from God and is the cause of all of life's problems.
F) About Salvation
Salvation is God's gift to us but people must accept this gift by faith. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting and believing in God's offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin's penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus Christ in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment a person receives Jesus Christ into their life.
G) About Security
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace of God and not by self-effort. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us security.
H) About the Church
The local church is God's appointed institution to carry out His purposes on earth and is comprised of true Christian believers. God has given each local church everything it needs for existence and purpose and has given gifted persons to provide leadership who are to be called Elders. Jesus Christ has directed His church to observe two (2) ordinances; these being communion and believers baptism.
I) About Eternity
People are created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is 'Hell' and to be eternally in union with God is eternal life – 'Heaven'. Heaven and hell are real places of eternal existence.
Article #5 Membership
Section 1 The Membership of Riverside
Membership at Riverside shall include people who have:
A) a personal faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour,
B) been baptized by immersion,
C) agreement with the Statement of Faith as stated in Article #4
D) a lifestyle that is consistent with Christian doctrine and conduct,
E) regular participation in the celebration services and ministries of Riverside,
F) attend Riverside's Membership class.
Section 2 Application for Membership
Application for membership will be made to the Council of Elders of Riverside who at their discretion may accept or reject any application based on the criteria outlined in Article #5 Section 1.
Section 3 Responsibilities of a Member:
Each member is expected to attend celebration services, to belong to a cell group , to encourage & build up the other members, to utilize their gifts and abilities within a Riverside ministry, to uphold the Elders, to financially support Riverside and to follow God with all their heart, soul and strength.
Section 4 Removal from Active Membership
All removals from the membership roll will be made after due consideration of the Council of Elders and shall be made for the following reasons:
A) by request of the member,
B) for not attending regularly at celebration service over the period of 1 year,
C) through death,
D) through church discipline, see Article #7
Section 5 Membership participation
Responsibilities: The Membership is responsible for:
1. The affirming or amending of the Constitution and
2. the calling or dismissing of the Senior Elder and
3. the acquiring or disposing of land and/or property and/or buildings and
4. the approval and/or adjustment of the annual budget.
Section 6 Membership meetings
Meetings of the membership shall be duly called by the Council of Elders by giving a minimum of two (2) weeks notice. There shall be at least one (1) annual meeting per fiscal year.
Section 7 Membership voting
All members in good standing and of the age of 18 or older, are able to vote on all matters. A simple majority vote is required except in regard to Article #6, Section 2D and Article #11. The quorum required to vote will be twenty-five percent (25%) of the membership.
Article #6 Governance
Section 1 The Chief Shepherd
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd of Riverside who communicates His will through the Bible and through the Holy Spirit. He also shepherds the flock through the Elders to whom He has given the responsibility of local church leadership.
Section 2 Elders
A) General Statement: Riverside will be governed by godly men called Elders and the Elder's group will be referred to as The Council of Elders. The authority and the responsibility for day-to-day ministry matters and the spiritual health of the church will be with the Council of Elders.
B) Qualifications of Elders: The qualifications for Elders are outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
C) Selection of Elders: To be appointed as an Elder at Riverside a person must:
1. meet all the qualifications contained in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Titus 1:6-9,
2. be a member in good standing at Riverside
3. be unanimously approved by the other Elders,
A minimum of 3 Elders must serve at all times and the appointment of the Elder will be a life long appointment.
D) Senior Elder: The term, Senior Pastor and Senior Elder are considered the same and this office shall be voted on by the membership. A 75% majority is required for the calling or dismissal of the Senior Elder. The Senior Elder will be the primary teaching Elder and will provide over-all leadership to Riverside and to the Elder's council reviewing each Elder annually.
E) Removal of an Elder: Any Elder, except a Senior Elder, may be removed by a seventy-five (75%) vote of the Council of Elders.
F) Accountability: The Council of Elders is a self-governing body with each Elder accountable to one another under the oversight of the Chief Shepherd. Each Elder is under the oversight of the Council of Elders and subject to formative and corrective discipline as are all members of Riverside.
G) Responsibilities: The Council of Elders will be responsible for:
1. the day-to-day operation & ministry matters including the approval of volunteers,
2. leading Riverside in worship, discipleship, fellowship & evangelism,
3. providing future direction and guidance,
4. managing the annual budget and benevolent fund,
5. ensuring the purity of the teaching/preaching at Riverside,
6. exercising pastoral care,
7. forming ministry teams to aid Riverside in accomplishing it's purposes,
8. overseeing the various ministries of Riverside,
9. appointing Deacons.
H) Riverside Staff: All staff will be responsible to the Council of Elders and the Council will oversee the hiring and/or dismissal of all staff except the Senior Elder's position. The financial cost of staff will be included in the annual budget or in a budget amendment made to the Membership for approval.
Section 3 Deacons
A) General Statement: Riverside's leadership and congregation will be assisted in
fulfilling it's purposes and ministries through Deacons as and when required.
Deacons will be utilized for specific tasks within the church.
B) Qualifications of Deacons: The qualification for Deacons are outlined in 1 Timothy 3:8-10. Deacons may be male for female over the age of 18.
C) Selection of Deacons: To be appointed as a Deacon at Riverside a person must:
1. meet all the qualifications contained in 1 Timothy 3:8-10,
2. be a member in good standing at Riverside
3. be unanimously approved by the other Elders.
D) Removal of a Deacon: Any Deacon may be removed by a seventy-five (75%) vote of
the Council of elders.
E) Accountability: The Deacons are responsible to the Council of Elders and are subject to formative and corrective discipline as are all members of Riverside.
F) Responsibilities: The Deacons will be responsible for:
1. day-to-day specific ministry matters as directed by the Council of Elders
2. filling the Treasurer's position in the church,
The duties of the treasurer are:
i. To keep an accurate record of all monies received and dispersed
ii. to carry on the banking in the name of the church
iii. to pay the current accounts according to the budget
iv. to prepare financial statements and reports for the council of Elders and for the church
v. to maintain such records as are necessary for legal and auditing purposes.
3. Filling the Clerk's position in the church
The duties of the clerk are:
i. to maintain an accurate membership roll,
ii. to produce and maintain a full record of church meetings
iii. to carry on correspondence relative to the membership and other such matters as directed by the Council of Elders.
4. Filling the trustee's position in the church.
The duties of the Trustee/s are:
i. to sign legal documents on behalf of the church as the church and/or the Council of Elders directs,
ii. to arrange for the safe keeping of all legal documents.
G) Number of Deacons:
There shall be at least three (3) Deacons appointed at all times and each position of Treasurer, Clerk and Trustee will be filled by these three (3).
Article #7 Discipline
Section 1 Formative Discipline:
Each member is to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ and under the discipline of Jesus Christ, His Word (the Bible), the Holy Spirit and the local church. Each member is to live a pure life according to the Biblical standard, be free from habitual sin, maintain sound beliefs, be united in purpose and love with other believers, serve God and the local church faithfully and be devoted solely to God. Jesus Christ has placed Elders under His authority to oversee the church and each member should be submissive to the elders.
Section 2 Corrective Discipline:
When a member of Riverside fails in an area of Formative discipline it may be necessary for the Council of Elders to apply corrective discipline as instructed by the Bible. Corrective discipline will:
1. be concentrated in the Council of Elders, however the Council of Elders may bring the matter before the membership if deemed necessary,
2. be applied when a member is unwilling to be reconciled to an offended brother, when a member is unwilling to engage in serving at Riverside, when a member is causing divisiveness at Riverside, when a member is not repentive over personal immorality, impurity, character failure or idolatry, when the member has been teaching others false doctrines, when a member has neglected attendance or when the member has engaged in general sinful conduct.
3. be limited to the removal of membership of any member and may direct, that the removed member not attend any of Riverside's meetings or enter onto any property and/or buildings being occupied by Riverside.
Section 3 Restoration of Membership:
The goal of corrective discipline is restoration. When a person under corrective discipline gives satisfactory evidence of repentance and correction to the Council of Elders they shall restore that person to membership.
Article #8 Financial Accountability
Section 1 Profits or other Gains
Riverside shall be carried on without purpose of gain for its members, and any profits or other gains to Riverside shall be used in promoting its objectives.
(Section #1 added by amendment November 26, 2000)
Section 2 Administration of Funds
The Council of Elders is responsible to oversee expenditures and is limited to the annual budget and existing funds. The Treasurer will be appointed by the Council of Elders as a Deacon-Treasurer and the Treasurer will administer the existing funds in accordance with the annual approved budget and existing funds. Any line item expenditure exceeding the annual approved budget by five percent (5%) must be brought back to the membership for amendment and approval. The Council of Elders may appoint an auditor or an auditing team to audit the finances at any time.
Article #9 Property Rights
No Elder, Deacon or Member has any individual right to any part of the property of Riverside. On the other hand, no Elder, Deacon or Member may be held responsible for the corporate obligations of Riverside.
Article #10 Affiliation
Riverside believes in the autonomy of the local church. However, Riverside, because of its common beliefs and practice with The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada chooses to affiliate itself in fellowship with this denomination.
Article #11 Constitutional and By-laws Amendments
The Council of Elders shall draft constitutional amendments as deemed necessary and present them to the membership in a duly called meeting for approval. Any amendment must have a seventy-five percent (75%) approval of the Council of Elders and must have a sixty-six percent (66%) majority membership approval before being implemented.
Article #12 Interpretation
In the event of any question or matter arising out of any point which is not expressly provided for in the Constitution, the Council of Elders shall have power to use their own discretion.
Article #13 Dissolution
Riverside shall not be dissolved, except with the consent of not less than 80% of the total active members of Riverside expressed in person at a general meeting convened for that purpose. In the event of disillusionment, all debts, and liabilities legally incurred will be fully discharged and the remaining funds donated to church planting causes.