[For] we are on our guard, intending that no one should find anything for which to blame us in regard to our administration of this large contribution. For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.
— 2 Corinthians 8:20-21
Table of Contents
Simple Truth Church North Point Philosophy of Ministry ………………………………
Equipping the Saints ………………………………………………………………………………..
The Purpose of Bylaws at Simple Truth Church North Point …………………………..
Secular Bylaws of Simple Truth Church North Point ………………………………………
Article 1. Human Sexuality …………………………………………………………………………
Article 2. Abortion ……………………………………………………………………………………..
Article 3. Lawsuits between Believers …………………………………………………………
Article 4. Civil Government and Politics ………………………………………………………
Article 5. Pastors, Elders, and Female Leadership at STCNP………………………
Article 6. Church Governance ………………………………………………………………….
Article 7. Church Finances/Treasury/Finance Committee ……………………………
Article 8. The Sacraments ……………………………………………………………………….
Article 9. Church Membership…………………………………………………………………..
Article 10. Church Discipline/Excommunication ………………………………………….
Doctrinal Statement of Simple Truth Church North Point …………………………..
The 7-Point Mission of Simple Truth Church North Point …………………………..
The 3-Point Pillars of Simple Truth Church North Point …………………………….
The 7-Point Vision of Simple Truth Church North Point …………………………….
Simple Truth Church North Point Philosophy of Ministry
Philosophy of ministry is an organized statement of purpose for why the local Church exists and how it is to serve the Lord. It is a blueprint that (1) steers the Church toward a particular vision; (2) helps streamline its activities; and (3) measures whether or not a ministry or method aligns with the Word of God. The following areas are those which STCNP upholds as essential for an effective philosophy of ministry in the local Church.
It is clear in Scripture that biblical leadership is more aptly characterized as service. Leaders, in our view at STCNP, must exhibit servitude by committing their lives to helping others, and especially in laboring for the spiritual good of all people. Christ conveyed this truth to his disciples who competed with one another over who would be greatest in the Kingdom:
“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man.”
(Matthew 20:26-28, emphasis added)
Since God is not in need of our service (Acts 17:25) we serve Him best by serving our neighbor (Matthew 25:31-46). Leaders, therefore, are not to exasperate their authority or lord it over others. Our success as leaders will be measured only by how we give of ourselves in service to Him who has called us (1 Peter 4:2b-3). Moreover, leaders must avoid self-promotion—which feeds the fallen ego—and instead focus on humility and biblical servant hood. In the words of John the Baptist, “[Christ] must become greater; I must become less,” (John 3:30).
Leaders should first and foremost be concerned with shepherding the local Church by accurately and clearly teaching the Scriptures. Contrary to the prevailing tide in many market-driven congregations, a leader’s primary function is not to induce people to faith by pragmatic methodology but by “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 3:15 KJV). Although pragmatics may benefit the local Church on occasion, it should not drive our approach to ministry. STCNP would do well to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who calls the lost unto salvation through the proclamation of His Word and not the salesmanship or flamboyant personalities of its leaders (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7).
Biblical leaders are to be “shepherds of God’s flock … serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing as God wants you to be,” (1 Peter 5:2). This “shepherding” involves several things:
1. Knowing the Sheep. Jesus said of his Father, “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). When God gathers His sheep, Christ leads on ahead, “and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (v. 4). Effective Church leaders, therefore, know the sheep and look after them. As leaders, we are called to reach out to those unknown among the brethren and bring them into the intimate fellowship of the local Church.
2. Feeding the Sheep. Scripture places the ability to teach and shepherd high on the list of qualifications for an Elder or leader. Jesus required this of Peter as a condition for his reinstatement (cf. John 21:15-20). Leaders should be equipped to do some Bible teaching, conducive to their own spiritual gifts and personality strengths.
3. Overseeing the Sheep. Oversight is part of the biblical prerequisite of an Elder or leader. It requires vigilance. Leaders should assist the Pastor in the supervision of the Church and its spiritual and managerial responsibilities.
Jesus Christ, through the Word of God, is sufficient for all our spiritual, emotional, and psychological needs. The writer of Hebrews reminds believers that the Word of God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” (Hebrews 4:12). These two words, “thoughts” and “attitudes,” cover the motivations of man and his deepest values. The Word of God, we are told, is fully capable of passing judgment on the most hinder parts of man’s nature. When counseling from the office of the Pastorate, we must therefore allow the Bible to speak as our primary witness. Modern psychology, both secular and Christian, is culpable at times for devaluing the power of Christ in the hearts and minds of broken people. Replacing the Bible with the world’s wisdom—that is, psychology—is clearly an attack upon the person of Jesus Christ and the power of God’s Word to provide healing. The Lord is certainly competent to judge and correct the deepest issues that beset His very own creatures. Any assertion that suggests that the wisdom of God’s Word is insufficient at a clinical level to administer to broken people is rank blasphemy. The leadership of the local Church must know how to apply the Scriptures to the significant problems and every day challenges of the Congregation. We offer an all-sufficient Christ. It is to His glory that He brings healing to broken lives. Elders, leaders and Pastors should be fully trained and willing to lead people to the source of all wisdom and spiritual healing: Jesus Christ.
New believers need to know immediately that Christ has saved them for His glory. To this end, they should be instructed in the Christian life and prepared to follow Christ in baptism. This instruction should be a combination of corporate (classes) and individual (personal discipleship) participation. We are not fulfilling the Great Commission given by Christ in Matthew 28:19-20 unless we nurture believers to maturity. New believers should be instructed as soon as possible concerning what the Bible teaches about their responsibilities to Christ, the Church, and to one another. When new members are challenged to serve, and then equipped to do so, they seldom move on to another Church, but become part of the Church family.
Our young people are not the future of the Church. They are the Church, every bit as much as adults. This does not mean, however, that they are spiritually mature so we must also disciple our young people to spiritual maturity. Christian education should never be just entertainment or ‘baby-sitting.’ Children can and do rise to the expectations we have of them. Youth ministry should therefore be disciple-making in nature. Children and new converts should be taught the Bible in-depth and challenged to put it into practice in their homes and schools. The Church should assist families and never take their place. Youth leaders and staff, for that reason, should practice turning “the hearts of children toward their fathers” (Mal. 4:6). Programs, events, and socials should all revolve around the teaching of the Word of God and the fellowship of young people with Christ and with one another.
Because service is an integral part of the Christian life, the Church should search constantly for ways to involve the young people in the Church’s ministry. Since young people are capable of doing many things, the Church needs to make them into fully functioning members and strive to train them for individual and corporate leadership, in accord with a young person’s spiritual gifts and divine calling. Service within the local Church is a vital part of the Christian life. No Christian can ever be fully obedient to Christ without serving. Most believers fear service because they view themselves incapable. Part of the membership process is to identify every available area of service within the local Church and match each new believer or member to it. Gifts like “helps” and “mercy” have almost infinite applications and manifestations within the local Church. Generally, once people realize that they can serve God in a meaningful and spiritual way with the gifts they possess, they will be rewarded by their participation within the Congregation.
Discipleship is the process of taking people to Christian maturity through the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1-2). Consequently, “Equipping Classes” should be offered to meet the spiritual needs of a variety of brothers and sisters who are at different stages of their Christian walk. These classes should provide the Elders and lay leaders the opportunities to serve in the teaching and shepherding roles that God has called them to. Outreach brings the step of discipleship full circle. The brother or sister who was reached at the beginning of this process—discipled thoroughly through the Word of God (corporately and individually)—is now fully integrated into the body and trained for outreach. Stated differently, the disciple is to become a disciple-maker.
Equipping the Saints
The Bible makes it clear that one of the primary purposes of the Church is to equip the saints. The apostle Paul wrote: 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. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:11-16, emphasis added). If we neglect the feeding and building up of the local Church the universal Church will be weak and easy prey for the enemy. It is therefore imperative that the local Church teach and preach directly from the Word of God at all times. It is the Holy Spirit who, primarily through the exhortation of Scripture, changes lives and equips us to be approved workmen who do not need to be ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15).
In order to make disciples we must instruct men and women in the Word of God. The ministry of the spiritually effective Church will balance its service and ministries through a Scriptural understanding of its purpose. Ultimately, the saints are to be equipped in order to glorify Christ through the Holy Spirit.
As a Church body, our command is clear in Scripture: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” (Matthew 28:18-20). When Jesus spoke these words he made it clear that there is an authority granted by God to Christ to save the world. He, in turn, passed that authority on to the Church as his ambassadors. However, it should be noted that the purpose of the local Church is not to primarily evangelize but to “disciple” and to glorify God through worship, Bible teaching, and the instrumentation of the sacraments. Evangelism is a component of the local Church ministry (and a privilege we are obliged to uphold) but it is not to trump Bible preaching and worship; the two key components to disciple-making. As the local Church builds up and equips the saints it must also teach the congregation to reach out to the lost. There are neighbors, co-workers, and family members who need to know the truth of the gospel. It follows, then, that the Church should encourage evangelism through prayer for the lost, training on how to effectively witness, and provide regular opportunities for the saved to cross paths with the lost.
Worship is for God and it is what we offer to God. It is ultimately understood as our response to Him in respect to His power, holiness, righteousness, love, benevolence, forgiveness, grace, and mercy. In the recent past, evangelical worship has mutated into something that comes dangerously close to being man-centric rather than God-focused. In the American Church, particularly, worship has devolved into entertainment for a “fast-food” culture; a culture that wants to feel good about going to Church and not face the reality of our sin and brokenness and absolute need for salvation. We worship God not simply because of what He has done for us but because His splendor is worthy of our adoration. While it is certainly appropriate for us to express gratitude to those who sacrificially lead worship services, the majesty of worship should never draw the attention of the congregants to the worship leader or the talent of those administering the music needlessly. Our worship must be theocentric and not men-centered. The preaching of the Word is the centerpiece of acceptable worship because, unlike anything else we do, the proclamation of the Word calls men and women to respond to God. While music allows us to respond emotionally and outwardly to God’s glory, preaching allows God to speak to us. Preaching should never be replaced or minimized in the worship offered by the local Church. It prepares our hearts for the preached Word to come and is the powerful means by which we adore the Creator and through which He speaks to His creation (Romans 1:16).
The Purpose of Bylaws at Simple Truth Church North Point
1. STCNP Bylaws preserve and secure the principles of our faith.
2. STCNP Bylaws preserve the liberties of each individual member of the Church.
3. STCNP Bylaws ensure freedom of action of independence from any religious body or organization.
4. STCNP Bylaws provide for orderly conduct of internal affairs, in dealing with
others, and for governing Church members.
5. STCNP Bylaws are written in the concept of a theocracy (i.e. “divine guidance … by
officials who are regarded as divinely guided”)1 and not a democracy (i.e.
“government by the people”).2
6. STCNP Bylaws give headship and final authority of approving decisions for the
local Church to the Senior Pastor and/or Governing Elder Board.
7. STCNP Bylaws eradicates congregational voting.
8. STCNP Bylaws do not adhere to denominational forms of hierarchy.
9. STCNP Bylaws provide accountability for the Senior Pastor by the Governing Elder
10. STCNP Bylaws help avoid potential conflicts and unrest within the local Church.
11. STCNP Bylaws are written for the benefit of the Senior Pastor so that he can correctly govern
the local Church, alongside the Elder Board, in the New Testament manner.
12. STCNP Bylaws allow the local Church to mold its Statement of Faith more closely to its personal
beliefs and vision.
13. STCNP bylaws set forth articles of incorporation.
Secular Bylaws of Simple Truth Church North Point:
Any persons aspiring to marry at STCNP, or be involved in Church leadership, at any level—especially with respect to working with minors—must be a member at STCNP and endorse the ministry of the Church, together with its government, philosophy of ministry, vision and mission statements, and its ecclesiological and secular Bylaws, in accord with the governing laws of the State Of California.
Article 1. Human Sexuality
We believe that God has commanded that no sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication (premarital sex), adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex (Genesis 2:24; 19:5, 13; 26:8-9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6-9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
Article 2. Abortion
We believe that human life begins at the moment of conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified taking of an unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well-being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).
Article 3. Lawsuits between Believers
We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the local Church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the Church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. However, in the case where the offending party refuses to seek repentance, submit to Church authorities, or to make appropriate reparations to the persons or party offended, civil litigation remains an option. Pertaining to criminal matters, the local Church reserves the right to invoke secular authorities in the event a crime is committed against one of its members (1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Ephesians 4:31-32).
Article 4. Civil Government and Politics
We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home; 2) the Church; and 3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. The home, the Church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respects and biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. Moreover, we believe it is a violation of biblical precepts to endorse, sanction, or proselytize for any political party in the secular government (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14).
Article 5. Pastors, Elders, and Female Leadership at STCNP
Section 1. Pastors Professional Qualifications
STCNP Pastors must be able to teach and to demonstrate the ability to instruct in doctrine (1 Timothy 3:2). A Pastor who is prudent and of sound mind should be able to naturally and effectively communicate the Word of God. His delight should be instructing the uninformed and correcting those who stray from biblical truth. Secondly, STCNP Pastors are to hold fast to the Word of God (Titus 1:9). They are not to introduce new revelations or doctrines contrary to what Scripture teaches or beyond what the universal Church has historically recognized. It is because the Pastor is a mature man of God that he will not compromise Scripture but will preach with biblical care and diligence. Due to the significant amount of false teaching which permeates the universal Church today, the local Church must make every effort to safeguard the Congregation by assuring that qualified men assume the Pastorate (cf. Acts 20:28). For this reason, STCNP defines a Pastor’s qualifications as follows:
The STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board/volunteer staff—including those in senior or assistant Pastoral roles (i.e. teaching/preaching, worship, missions, youth, outreach and evangelism), together with those Pastors/teachers who share in the general pulpit rotation—must attest to the call of God in their ministry and exemplify such spiritual gifts in practice and in their demeanor.
The STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board/volunteer staff—including those in senior or assistant Pastoral roles (i.e. teaching/preaching, worship, missions, youth, outreach and evangelism), together with those Pastors/teachers who share in the general pulpit rotation—are encouraged to have academic certification or to be in the process of achieving academic certification.
All STCNP Pastors/teachers, at a minimum, are encouraged to have an undergraduate degree, or in the process of attaining a degree, before overseeing a particular ministry.
Academic certification does not preclude participation by the laity in ministry as Deacons or Deaconesses but is recommended for formal oversight of a ministry or for Pastoral recognition.
3. The Senior Pastor position, together with the Associate Pastor position is required to hold, at a minimum, an undergraduate degree in biblical studies or Christian ministry, or in the process of acquiring an undergraduate degree.
a. Missionaries and worship musicians are exempt from academic certification, although the specifications detailed in item 2 are binding in order to hold a Pastorate over missions and worship.
b. Deacons and Deaconesses who teach or oversee children’s ministries are exempt from academic certification (up to but not including junior high ministry), including special needs ministries, service ministries, music and worship, community ministry, and extracurricular programs; unless otherwise approved by the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board.
4. All adults (including STCNP staff and volunteers) participating in Children’s Ministries— ranging from nursery age to senior high students—must pass a security background check with the state of California before assuming regular duties.
5. The STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board reserves the right to consider the life experience, calling, spiritual gifts, and previous ministry work of any given applicant or intern in place of academic certification. Such a decision to grant an un-credentialed applicant ministry oversight, Pastoral recognition, or pulpit teaching responsibilities, must be reached by a unanimous decision by the Elder Board.
Section 2. Pastors Personal Qualifications
In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 the apostle Paul records two seminal passages that speak about the qualifications for oversight within the local Church. The Bible has a high standard of the moral, doctrinal, and social prerequisites for a Pastor which the Lord calls His leaders to, and yet a standard which we as a Church recognize cannot be fully attained in this life.
Notwithstanding man’s abject failure to achieve perfect holiness, members of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board are expected to be morally qualified. Although sinful by nature, both the laity and clergy are positionally holy and are to thus “live up to what we have already attained” (Philippians. 3:16). Members of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board, therefore, must be of good reputation and have moral standing within the Church and local community. Because a Pastor is called to teach the morality of Scripture, he is expected to conduct his life with integrity. The moral qualifications for members of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board are listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 as follows:
1. Husband of One Wife
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder must be faithful to his wife.
b. A STCNP Pastor/Elder adores his wife and does not invite flirtation with women other than his wife.
2. Practices Self-Control
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder is in control of his behavior, both privately and publicly.
b. A STCNP Pastor/Elder’s behavior does not control him.
3. Lives Wisely.
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder makes good choices.
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder’s home is open to others.
5. Not Addicted to Wine.
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder never gets drunk or over-indulges in alcohol.
6. Not Violent
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder resolves conflict peacefully.
b. A STCNP Pastor/Elder is not quick-tempered; his anger does not flare up at the least provocation.
7. Does Not Love Money
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder is not consumed with riches or acquiring a lucrative income from the ministry.
b. A STCNP Pastor/Elder is expected to model before the Congregation generous and faithful giving in his tithes and offerings and talents
8. Loves Peace.
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder is someone who works toward harmony in every relationship.
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder behaves in a manner that is not abrasive.
10. Not Arrogant
a. A STCNP Pastor/Elder conducts himself with humility, thinking of others before himself.
b. A STCNP Pastor/Elder exemplifies a servant’s heart, is a servant leader.
As noted in the preamble to Section 1, STCNP Pastors must be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:2), that is, he must possess the ability to instruct in doctrine. A man that is prudent and of sound mind should naturally be able to communicate the Word of God. His delight should be instructing the uninformed and correcting those who stray from the truth of God’s Word. Secondly, STCNP Pastors are to hold fast to the faithful Word (Titus 1:9). They are not to introduce theories, revelations or doctrines contrary to what Scripture teaches. It is because he is a mature man of God that he should not compromise Scripture, but to preach with biblical care and diligence. STCNP Pastors must teach sound doctrine both to exhort the faithful and to convert cynics (Titus 1:9). Not only is the Pastor to encourage and disciple believers through sound doctrine, but he must also correct and rebuke those who are teaching false doctrine. It is important to note that none of the biblical qualifications for STCNP Pastors are optional. This is proved by the word “must” that appears in Scripture before each of the qualifications. The reason Pastors need to meet these requirements is so that they may “gain an excellent standing” among the Congregation and from unbelievers, “and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 3:13). All STCNP Pastors/Elders, including Deacons, Deaconesses, and small group leaders must unequivocally adhere to STCNP’s Statement of Faith. All STCNP Pastors/Elders, including Deacons, Deaconesses, and small group leaders, must subscribe unequivocally to the following essential Christian truths:
1. Monotheism as revealed in the Holy Trinity—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one and only true God.
2. The Deity of Jesus Christ, as a separate person in the triune Godhead.
3. The Deity of the Holy Spirit, as a separate person in the triune Godhead.
4. The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
5. The Bodily Return of Jesus Christ.
6. Jesus Christ is the only means to Salvation.
7. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone.
8. Eternal Damnation (hell).
9. Eternal Glory (heaven).
10. The Divine Inspiration of the 66 Books of the Old and New Testaments.
A STCNP Pastor must be the husband of one wife (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6). Literally, a STCNP Pastor is to be ‘a one-woman type of man.’ To have one wife means to have one wife at one time. If a Pastor’s wife dies he may remarry, but he is not to be a man who has divorced his wife to marry another. In the event a Pastor is divorced, STCNP will prayerfully apply the instructions listed in 1 Corinthians 7 in evaluating his qualifications on case-by-case basis. Secondly, a STCNP Pastor is to rule his house in a biblical fashion as the spiritual leader of his family (1 Timothy 3:4). He is the head of the household both by nature and by the will of God (Ephesians 5:22). He does not rule over his household harshly, but governs the affairs of his home as a servant to his family. Thirdly, a STCNP Pastor’s children are to be in subjection to him (1 Timothy 3:4) and are not rebellious or unruly (Titus 1:6). His children are in submission to him as a spiritual authority, not in compulsion but out of respect earned from a godly example. If a STCNP Pastor cannot rule his own house, he cannot rule the Church of God (1 Timothy 3:5).
Section 3. Pastoral Ethics
Church Pastors are obligated to live by a specific code of Pastoral ethics. Each ministry and each Pastor is different. So these principles of Pastoral ethics will be applied differently. An understanding of these basic principles will better define the expectation of STCNP leadership. Confidentiality: on behalf of the Body of Believers We are committed to strict confidentiality in ministry except when information must be released in accordance with state law.
1. We will seek to apprise individuals of all mandated disclosures.
2. We are committed to confidentiality in ministry and consider a statement made in confidence a trust not to be shared outside of our fellowship unless with that individual’s written permission indicating informed consent to such a release.
Stewardship: within the Church and our personal lives
1. We are committed to good stewardship in the Church and will be totally forthright in all financial undertakings.
2. We will be honest and open in all of our financial dealings.
a. We will promptly pay all debts as soon as possible.
b. We will not use our position to gain any financial privilege or leverage.
c. While we advocate adequate compensation for God’s servants, we do not expect or require honorariums for services rendered within normal duties at STCNP.
d. We will be careful to guard our hearts against greed and materialism.
e. We view all contributions as gifts from the Lord that have been entrusted into our care.
f. Our responsibility is to spend those gifts as wisely as possible and as led by the Holy
Spirit in continuing the ministry.
Professionalism: to communicate the Word of God effectively
1. We are committed to accurately and skillfully communicating the Word of God, speaking the truth with conviction in love, and will acknowledge any extensive use of material prepared by someone else.
2. We are committed to honoring our fellow servants in God’s household.
3. We will not seek to build our ministries at the expense of other legitimate ministries.
Section 4. Women Leadership
Women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching and helps. Much of the ministry of the Church depends on women. While women in the Church are restricted from having spiritual and teaching authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12), the Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Females are precluded from prophesying and speaking in tongues during the Church service so as to maintain order (1 Corinthians 14:34). Women, equally as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15). First Timothy 2:11-12 proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”
In the Church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created (1 Timothy. 2:13) and the way in which sin entered the world (2 Timothy 2:14). God, through Scripture, restricts women from serving in roles of spiritual teaching authority over men. This precludes women from serving as Pastors, which definitively includes preaching to, and having spiritual authority over, the men in the Church. It is the position of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board that God has ordained only men to serve in position of spiritual leadership in the Church. Formally, therefore, STCNP governance is complimentarian and rejects on biblical grounds egalitarian rule. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent. It is simply how God designed the Church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their home, their workplace, and both in word and deed. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Although excluded from Pastoral recognition, women in lay leadership at STCNP warrant the title of Deaconesses (cf. Romans 16:1-2).
1. Deaconesses include, but are not limited to, Women’s Ministry leadership, Children’s
Ministry leadership (up to but not including Junior High Ministries), spiritual counseling for women, prayer ministry, and service ministries.
2. Deaconesses may address the corporate Church under the authority of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board.
3. Deaconesses may co-lead Sunday School class with Deacons or their husbands particularly with lessons geared toward Church membership, marital sexuality, and the institution of marriage.
4. Deaconesses are expected to conduct their lives in accord with the moral principles stipulated in the New Testament.
5. Deaconesses are not to be new converts or spiritually immature. Rather, Deaconesses are to be doctrinally adept, socially qualified (above reproach), temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, not given to drunkenness or an excessive love for money, not violent but gentle, and have a good reputation with others.
6. All Deaconesses fall under the headship of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board and are subject to their leadership authority.
Article 6. Church Governance
The Lord is very clear in His Word about how He wishes His Church on earth to be organized and run. First, Christ is the head of the Church and its supreme authority (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18). Second, the local Church is to be autonomous, free from any external authority or control, with right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). Third, the local Church is to be governed by spiritual leadership consisting of two main offices—Pastors and Elders, with Deacons and Deaconesses serving in a support/lay capacity. Both as doctrine (1 Corinthians 12) and though living example, the New Testament reveals the nature of the Church and all its members and activities. It also provides clear teaching about Church officers and their functions. Five distinct terms refer to the Pastoral office:
Elder (presbyteros) = a title highlighting the administration and spiritual guidance of the
Church (Acts 15:6; 1 Timothy 5:17; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
Bishop or Overseer (episkopos) = titles which emphasize the guidance, oversight, and leadership in the Church (Acts 20:28; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:2-5; Titus 1:7)
Shepherd or Pastor (poimēn) = a title denoting leadership and authority (Acts 20:28-31;
Ephesians 4:11) as well as guidance and provision (1 Peter 2:25; 5:2-3)
Preacher (kērux) = a title which points to the public proclamation of the gospel and teaching of the flock (Romans 10:14; 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11)
Teacher (didaskalos) = a title referring to one who is responsible for the instruction and exposition of the Scriptures whose teaching is both instructive (1 Timothy 2:7) and corrective (1 Corinthians 12:28-29)
Deacon/Deaconess (diakonos) = a title suggesting one who executes the commands of another, such as caring for the poor or fiscal management, on behalf of the Elders
The term “Elder” and “Bishop” are synonymous in Acts 20:17 and Titus 1:5-7. The terms
“Elder”, “Bishop”, and “Shepherd” are synonymous in 1 Peter 5:1-2. First Timothy 5:17 and Hebrews 13:7 associate the terms “Teacher” and “Preacher” with each other. Ephesians 4:11 connects “Shepherds” with “Teachers”, as do 1 Timothy 5:17 and Hebrews 13:7. For this reason, STCNP recognizes the ministry offices of (1) Pastor, (2) Elder, and (3) Deacon and Deaconess as the sum total of all Church leadership positions. It is the interpretation of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board that the Bible teaches local Church leadership as a plurality of male Elders who serve the local Church. (Deacons and Deaconesses, as lay leaders, are subject to the Elders). Moreover, it is not contrary to this plurality of Elders to have one Elder serving in the major “Pastoral” role. God calls some as Pastor Teachers (even as He called some to be missionaries in Acts 13) and gives them as gifts to the local Church (Ephesians 4:11).
Thus, STCNP may have many Elders, but not all Elders are necessarily called to serve in the Pastoral role (cf. 1 Tim. 5:17). But, as a part of the Elder Board, the Pastor or ‘Teaching Elder’ has no more authority in decision-making than any other Elder.
Unless determined otherwise by the governing Board of Elders or if circumstances warrant further consideration, the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board shall make no government decisions contingent upon Congregational voting. This does not preclude the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board from inviting feedback, opinions, or soliciting the advice of Congregation members for any matter they deem necessary (whether formally or informally). All local Church matters shall be determined by vote among the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board and recorded by the Recording secretary in the meeting notes.
A majority vote will be considered sufficient for a given proposal to pass. A unanimous vote is necessary for Church legislation to pass only in circumstances where the full STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board is not present. If less than three-quarters of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board are present, no vote can be taken. A majority vote will be considered sufficient for additions or changes to the bylaws of STCNP.
The term of each Elder Board member will be two years with the opportunity to serve two consecutive terms before taking a mandatory two year break. In order to fill vacancies on the Elder Board the Pastoral Staff/Elder Board will instruct the congregation on the qualifications for serving on the Elder Board and then allow for non-binding nominations from congregational members. The Pastor Staff/Elder Board will prayerfully consider the nominations and seek to replace the Elder Board positions with a majority vote. The Pastoral Staff/ Elder Board shall be comprised of equal numbers of Pastoral Staff and Elder Board members to ensure the Boards ability to see all sides and better make decision that will be in the best interest of the church and its members.
Article 7. Church Finances/Treasury/Finance Committee
The Elder Board will appoint a Finance Committee which will be made up of the Church Treasurer, a Church member with gifting and aptitude in finance, and a minimum of one Elder. The Finance Committee shall conduct a Quarterly Budget Meeting to review the active budget and ministry allotments. Once the Finance Committee approves the quarterly allotment it is to be submitted to the Pastor/Elder Board for approval, requiring a unanimous vote. (In the event the Pastor/Elder Board exceeds five members, a majority vote is required). Any changes that the Pastor/Elder Board considers appropriate will be noted and entered into record by the Treasurer.
1. The Quarterly Budget Meeting shall be recorded by the Church Treasurer and published in the meeting notes.
2. STCNP shall disclose the Church’s financial books upon request to members in good standing or to any governmental bodies properly credentialed.
3. The Congregation as a whole shall receive quarterly updates in writing of the Church’s financial standing in relation to the approved budget.
4. Each financial giver to STCNP shall be given a year-end receipt that details tax-exempt gifts and total year-to-date giving.
5. STCNP shall be generous in financially supporting other ministries as the Lord prospers so as to keep an active ministry and missions focus.
Article 8. The Sacraments
Denominations often differ over the amount and the mode of the sacraments. Some recognize as many as seven sacraments; others have no sacraments in the life of the Church. STCNP recognizes only two sacraments: (1) Baptism and (2) The Lord’s Supper. Both sacraments are to be administered only to believers in Jesus Christ. Before administering the sacraments to children, the main requirement for all children (as with all adults) is that they have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Even though some children make their salvation decision at an early age, being baptized and partaking in the Lord’s Supper should be a reverent act. As a child matures in his/her faith and it becomes evident that he/she is truly born again, the father and/or mother (or legal guardian) should discern whether he/she is ready to receive the sacraments. The spiritual maturity level of one child differs from that of another, even in the same family.
Christian baptism, according to the Bible, is an outward testimony of what has occurred inwardly in a believer’s life. Christian baptism, therefore, illustrates the believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Bible states: Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Romans 6:3-4). In Christian baptism, STCNP recognizes two requirements before a person is baptized: (1) the person being baptized must confess allegiance to Jesus Christ as Savior, and (2) the person must understand what baptism signifies.
1. Because the word “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptismos, which means “to dip in or under water,”8 baptism, by its inherent definition, shall be an act of immersion in water at STCNP.
2. As there is one body, there is one baptism (Ephesians 4:4-6). STCNP recognizes all baptisms by immersion administered by other Protestant Churches in the name of the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
3. All baptisms shall be administered by a confirmed Christian in the name of the Trinity; and applied to confessing believers only.
a. Based on Matthew 28:18-20, it is the position of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder
Board that true believers hold the necessary authority to baptize, just as every believer has the authority from God to evangelize and teach all that Christ commanded.
4. Concerning an individual who was baptized before he/she became a Christian— (e.g. one who was baptized as an infant or baptized later in life but did not truly know Jesus as Savior)—such a person warrants re-baptism.
a. STCNP holds the view that baptism is a post-salvation act. The symbolism of baptism (which pictures a believer’s spiritual death and resurrection in Christ and the washing away of sins) is lost if a person has not truly experienced salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.
b. Also, in the case of those who were baptized after faith in Christ, but in a method other than immersion, such a person can consider re-baptism. Again, the word ‘baptize’ means “to dip in or under water.” However, the Bible nowhere specifically addresses those who have been baptized but not immersed. This issue, then, is a matter of conscience for a believer in light of his/her personal relationship with God. A believer who has been baptized unbiblically should ask the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5). If the believer remains uncertain, it would be best to go ahead and be re-baptized biblically to put the conscience at ease. (Romans 14:23).
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is to be administered only to believers in Jesus Christ. The same requirement for baptism holds true for partaking in Communion: the participant must be a believer in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. STCNP defines “Open Communion” as allowing professing believers other than members of our local Church to receive Communion, contingent upon an evangelical declaration of faith in Jesus Christ. Communion at STCNP is open to all believers in Jesus Christ regardless of whether or not they are members of STCNP.
1. STCNP defines Closed Communion as restricting the partaking of the elements to believers in Jesus Christ only.
2. Communion at STCNP is closed to non-believers.
If the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board suspects that desecration of the Lord’s Table has occurred by the participation of an unbeliever, the matter is to be addressed privately between the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board and the offender.
Article 9. Church Membership
Any Christian who has completed the STCNP Membership Class is eligible for membership with STCNP. (The Church reserves the right, however, to postpone or reject membership at the discretion of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board). A member in good standing is a member who has consistent attendance, provides identifiable financial support, contributes to the Church’s ministry, and demonstrates continued interest and loyalty. STCNP Membership Class. A mandatory class for prospective members where they can learn about the history, theology, government, beliefs, and finances of the Church.
1. Each prospective member shall be required to complete the STCNP Membership class before submitting a membership application to the Church leadership. Wherein signing and submitting the Church membership application—where the prospective member affirms a credible declaration of faith in Jesus Christ and to support the Church with his/her time, faithful attendance, tithes and talents, and to submit to the leadership of the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board with a teachable spirit—the applicant will be considered for membership.
2. Each membership applicant will have the opportunity to sign a copy of the STCNP Bylaws, Doctrinal Statement, Mission Statement, and Vision/Constitution as a written declaration/adherence to the items of note contained herein and shall be filed with the Church administrator along with a membership application form.
3. The application shall be reviewed by the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board, and approved or rejected accordingly.
Membership List—The list of members in good standing shall be maintained by the Church administrator, who shall report changes quarterly to the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board.
Article 10. Church Discipline/Excommunication
STCNP recognizes two forms of Church discipline: 1) formative, and 2) corrective. Formative Discipline is inherent in the preaching, teaching, and exercising of other ministries in the Church through which the people are conformed to the image of Christ. Conversely, Corrective Discipline occurs when a member is found in sin, and the Church seeks his or her repentance and restoration “to the obedience that comes from faith” (Romans 1:5). Any member of STCNP who is victim of an offense should go privately to the offender to seek a resolution to the matter (Matthew 5:23-24; 18:15-17). If the matter is unresolved, either because the accused denies wrongdoing or refuses to repent, the second step is for one or two members of The STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board to join the reconciliation process. If the matter remains unresolved, the third step is to encourage individual Church members to go to the offender individually and seek his/her restoration. If the offender will not listen to individual Church members, further corrective discipline will be applied by the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board. Corrective Discipline is a result of imperfection and a tendency to sin and to cause offense.
Every effort should first be made, therefore, to clear up difficulties and remove offenses before STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board action is taken publicly.
1. Corrective Discipline shall not be entered into lightly. The results desired are that the erring member will be brought to full restoration within the Church.
2. Corrective Discipline is warranted when a member of STCNP conducts himself or herself in contradiction to, whether orally or practically, the statutes contained in the Word of God as enumerated in the theology, government, philosophy, vision, mission, and ecclesiological and secular Bylaws of STCNP.
3. Corrective Discipline may include individual confrontation and admonition by the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board, and it may possibly extend to excommunication from the membership of the Church by recommendation of the Board of Elders.
a. A unanimous vote by the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board shall be needed for excommunicating a Church member.
b. A non-Church member does not qualify for excommunication.
c. An excommunicated Church member shall be removed from the list of members in good standing and placed on a list of former members.
The STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board may recommend different kinds of discipline in accordance with the offense. In some cases, which may not be adjudged as deserving excommunication, suspension from ministry within STCNP or abstinence from the Lord’s Supper may be warranted. At the end of the suspension, the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board shall determine whether the member shall be restored to good standing because of evidence of repentance and right living, or whether further corrective measures shall be imposed. Corrective Discipline shall always occur in person and by a team of at least two approved leaders from the STCNP Pastoral Staff/Elder Board.
Corrective discipline will be carried out under the authority and guidance of Scriptures including, but not limited to: Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, Galatians 6:1-2, 1 Thessalonians 5:14. The purpose and practice of Corrective Discipline shall be:
1. For the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the disciplined party.10
2. For the instruction in righteousness and the good of other Christians as an example to them.
3. For the purity of the Church as a whole.
4. For the good of our corporate witness to non-Christians.
5. Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character.
Doctrinal Statement of Simple Truth Church Northpoint
I. God’s Word (The Holy Bible)
We believe the Holy Bible is the eternal Word of God in both the Old and New Testaments, transmitted by plenary inspiration through men who were “carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). We regard the Scriptures as the supreme authority concerning all matters of life, faith, conduct, teaching, and training (Psalm 119:89; Matthew 24:35; John 17:17; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:12; 2 Peter 1:19).
II. The Doctrine of God
We believe there is only one true and living God who is perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, discipline, and love. We believe that within the hypostatic union of God, there are three eternal and co-equal Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although One in nature and substance, They hold distinct roles in creation, providence and redemption. We believe God concerns Himself with the affairs of men; hears and answers our prayers; and saves us from sin and death when we come to Him through repentant faith in Jesus Christ (Genesis 1:1, 26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 18:30; Isaiah 6:8; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1, 14; 3:16- 17; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-5; Hebrews 12:9). We believe in the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and God the Son, possessing both natures of complete humanity and full deity. We believe Jesus Christ, in his sinless humanity, is the only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. We believe in the penal-substitution of his atonement on the cross. Moreover, we believe he physically resurrected from the grave in the very body in which he was crucified and ascended into heaven where he is seated on the right side of God making intercession on behalf of His people before the Father (Isaiah 7:14; John 1:14, 18; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:23; 1 John 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Acts 1:10-11). We believe the Holy Spirit is currently present, sent by the Father and Son, to convict the world of sin and to testify in the heart and conscience of mankind to Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. He also holds the role of regeneration, sanctification, and empowerment in all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ acting as a helper, teacher, and guide. Moreover, we believe the Holy Spirit to be in very nature God (John 14:26;
John 16:7-15; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 8:14-17; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).
We believe that all mankind are sinners by nature and by choice (Genesis 3; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-12). We believe the way that we can enjoy fellowship with God forever is threefold: (1) repent of our sin (Acts 2:38; 20:21); (2) believe in our heart that Christ alone paid for our sins by his death on the cross and provides salvation as a gift apart from human merit (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:6-8; 10:9-10; Ephesians 2:1-9); (3) surrender the leadership of our life to Jesus Christ, following him daily in his Kingdom (Luke 9:23; John 5:24; Philippians 2:5-11).
IV. The End Times
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of his physical Kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal joy of the righteous with God in heaven, and the eternal suffering of the wicked apart from God in hell (John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:1-15; Matthew 25:31-46).