Since, as we believe, it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to unite certain of His servants here under the name Mercy Hill Church in Phoenix, AZ, for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we, the members of Mercy Hill Church, do hereby organize ourselves and adopt this Constitution as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of and to bring glory to Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible and as articulated in the Statement of Faith and Covenant of this church.
Article 1 – Name
1.1 The name of this body shall be Mercy Hill Church.
Article 2 – Purpose
2.1 We exist as a family of believers in Jesus Christ, who unite in gospel, community, and mission, for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors.
Article 3- Character
Section 1- Polity
The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist Churches.
Section 2- Doctrine
This church receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of the Southern Baptist Churches as indicated in the Statement of Faith.
Article 4 – Membership
Section 1 – Qualifications
4.1 To qualify for membership in this church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been baptized in obedience to Christ following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. Each member must agree to submit to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and must promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Church Covenant. The elders (pastors) shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person’s profession of faith, or other such evidence, as the elders deem appropriate.
Section 2 – Admission of Members
4.2 The normal process for becoming a member is (1) completion of the Membership Class, (2) an assessment of qualification for membership in an interview with an elder, and (3) a vote by the church on the basis of the person’s profession of faith (see 4.2.6).
Section 3 – Membership Privileges
4.3 Each member is privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Members will also engage in the mission of the church by fulfilling their commitment to the Church Covenant, which they will be asked to renew annually. Under Christ this congregation is governed by its members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all members’ meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, and on other matters as may be submitted to a vote. Only members are entitled to serve in leadership roles in the various ministries of the church.
Section 4 – Church Discipline
4.4.1 If a member is consistently neglectful of his or her membership duties or consistently lives with inappropriate conduct in which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is dishonored and the welfare of His church damaged, he or she may be subject to the admonition of the elders and the discipline of the church, according to the instructions of Scripture (Matt 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:1-12; Gal 6:1-2; 1 Thess 5:14). Church discipline, then, should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed. Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, removal from office, and excommunication (see Matt 18:15-17; 2 Thess 3:14-15; 1 Tim 5:19-20; 1 Cor 5:4-5).
4.4.2 The purpose of church discipline should be:
- For the repentance, restoration, and spiritual growth of the individual(s) disciplined (Heb 12:1-11; Matt 18:15-17; 1 Cor 5:5; Gal 6:1).
- For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them (1 Cor 5:11; 1 Tim 5:20; Heb 10:24-25).
- For the purity of the church as a whole (1 Cor 5:6-7; Eph 5:27; Rev 21:2).
- For the good of our corporate witness to non-Christians (Matt 5:13-16; John 13:35; Acts 5:10-14).
- Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (Deut 5:11; John 15:8; Eph 1:4; 1 Pet 2:12).
Section 5 – Termination of Membership
4.5 Discontinuance of membership shall be recognized by the church following:
- Transfer of membership to another church
- Failure or neglect to renew Church Covenant
- By personal request of the member. If it appears to the elders that a member has requested removal merely to avoid church discipline, that request may not be honored until the disciplinary process has been properly concluded.
- Membership may be discontinued as an act of church discipline at the recommendation of the elders and with the vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members (see 4.2.6).
Section 6 – Associate Membership
4.6.1 Students and others temporarily residing in Greater Phoenix-Metro who are members of a like-minded evangelical church may apply for associate membership. Qualifications are identical to those for full membership as set out above, except that home church membership must be retained. A letter of commendation will be sought from the applicant’s home church.
4.6.2 Duties and privileges of associate members are the same as for other members except that: (1) when absent from Greater Phoenix-Metro for extended periods of time they are released from the responsibility to attend our church services; (2) while they will be encouraged to participate in members’ meetings they will not be eligible to stand for any office or to vote.
4.6.3 Termination of associate membership as a disciplinary measure will be as it is for other members, except that the elders shall notify the pastor or elders of the home church of that termination. Associate membership will normally terminate immediately upon the ending of the period of temporary residence in Greater Phoenix-Metro.
Article 5 – Meetings
Section 1 – Corporate Worship Meetings
5.1 Regular corporate worship shall be held weekly and other such meetings may be held throughout the week as the elders (pastors) determine. The Church on Fillmore worships corporately through prayer, reading and preaching the Scriptures, singing praises and giving generously back to God. We will also regularly celebrate believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper at the timing and direction of the elders.
Section 2 – Members’ Meetings
5.2.1 In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
5.2.2 There shall be an annual members’ meeting held prior to the start of the fiscal year to approve the annual budget by the voting membership and to conduct any other business deemed appropriate by the elders (see 4.2.6).
5.2.3 Special members’ meetings may be called at any time by the elders or at the written request, submitted to the elders, of fifty voting members or 10% of the voting membership (whichever is greater). In the event of a satisfactory written request from the members, the elders shall call a special meeting to be held within one month of their receipt of the request. Below is a list of items that might constitute a special meeting:
- Elder selection
- Deacon selection
- Capital, building, or indebtedness activities where the value exceeds 10 percent of the annual budget
- Calling or dismissing of elders or deacons
- Changes to the Church Constitution, Statement of Faith or Church Covenant
- Other items the elders believe may substantially impact the direction and operation of the church’s ministry
5.2.4 All annual and special members’ meetings shall be announced at all regular corporate worship meetings of the church at least two weeks preceding such meetings. No business may take place if such notifications have not been made.
5.2.5 For all members’ meetings, a quorum shall consist of a minimum of fifteen members or 10% of the membership (whichever is greater), sixteen years old or older. No business may take place if a quorum is not met. All members sixteen years old or older may make motions, participate in discussion, and vote. Members less than sixteen years of age may participate in discussion only. A non-member may make presentations to the church which are informational in nature and may answer questions regarding the presentation with permission from the elders.
5.2.6 On any matter that is brought to vote, a three-fourths majority is needed for it to pass. Abstentions will not be considered as votes cast. Only votes cast by voting members who are present at the time of the meeting will be counted unless an absentee vote is approved by the elders under special circumstances that prevent a member from attending.
5.2.7 One of the elders shall preside as moderator at all members’ meetings of the church.
Article 6: Church Officers
Section 1 – Summary
6.1 Jesus Christ is the Lord and head of this church, and he rules primarily through the Scriptures. The biblical offices of the church are elders (pastors) and deacons. Scripture indicates that the responsibility for shepherding and leading the church under Jesus Christ belongs to the elders. As necessary, the Scriptures also provide for the appointment of deacons to serve the church, particularly in areas of ministry that would cause the elders to neglect their Biblical responsibilities. Our church also recognizes the administrative positions of clerk and treasurer. The elders shall designate the clerk and treasurer. All officers and the administrative positions of clerk and treasurer must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.
Section 2 – Elders
6.2.1 In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim 3:1-7; 5:17; Tit 1:5-9; Jas 5:14; and 1 Pet 5:1-4, the elders oversee and administrate the ministries and resources of the church. They lead God’s mission in the church by joyfully seeking the mind of Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. The elders must eagerly engage in shepherding the flock by teaching and exhorting with sound doctrine, refuting and admonishing those who contradict the truth, caring for the church’s members, and devoting themselves to prayer, to the government of the church, and to ministry. They are responsible for examining and instructing prospective members, examining and recommending all candidates for offices, overseeing the work of the deacons and other church leaders, conducting corporate worship meetings, administering the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, equipping the membership for the work of the ministry, coordinating and promoting the ministries of the church, mobilizing the church for world missions, and overseeing church discipline. The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions. Finally, elders are to live as examples to the congregation, above reproach in everything.
6.2.2 The elders shall normally be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:6-9. Only men may serve as elders in accord with 1 Tim 2:12 and 3:2. No elder shall hold the office of deacon or treasurer during his tenure.
6.2.3 The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this office in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders.
6.2.4 An elder’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or dismissal. Any member with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be only afterwards, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions in Matt 18:15-17 and 1 Tim 5:17-21. Any elder may be dismissed by a three-fourths majority vote of the voting members at any formally called members’ meeting of the church.
6.2.5 The elders may establish paid and non-paid ministry staff positions and teams to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. A paid or volunteer staff position does not in and of itself constitute an elder’s position. All ministerial staff shall meet the biblical qualifications for deacons. The elders may also hire and fire non-ministerial staff or delegate that responsibility on a case-by-case basis. The elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members. The outworking of this responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to deacons or another staff member.
6.2.6 The elders must have at least a two-thirds approval among themselves before submitting matters to a congregational vote.
Section 3 – Deacons
6.3.1 The office of deacon is described in 1 Tim 3:8-13 (cf. Acts 6:1-7). The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, men and women who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service (Rom 16:1). These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons. The number of deacons shall be determined by the needs of the ministry and the call and qualifications of church members.