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APPENDIX I. Missions Policy
It shall be the duty of the Missions Team to:
Inspire and maintain the missionary vision of the Church, to invite missionary speakers, to interchange correspondence, and to recommend any additional missionaries that should be supported. The prerequisite by which the missions team may determine the eligibility of individual missionaries, missions organizations, and para-missionary works that are worthy of financial support by the Church shall be as follows: 1. Individual Full- time Missionaries or missionary candidates a) Testimony of Salvation. b) Able to subscribe to our Statement of Faith. c) Call to the Mission Field. d) Affiliated with an established Evangelical Missionary Organization. 2. Missions Organizations a) Their Statement of Faith is not at odds with our Statement of Faith. b) Evangelical in purpose and action. 3. Para-missionary works a) Their Statement of Faith is not at odds with our Statement of Faith. b) Evangelical in purpose and action. c) Incorporated as a non-profit public charity. Recommend to the Church as to which missionaries the Church will cease to support, for reasons of retirement and other reasons should they arise.
Prepare the annual missionary budget to be submitted for approval at the Annual Meeting of the Church.
Report on activity of the missions team for the past year at the annual meeting of the Church.
Adopted by the Council of Elders (DATE)
APPENDIX II. Policy on Marriage and Human Sexuality
This is a policy statement on the beliefs of The Church at Spruce Creek regarding marriage and human sexuality and our policies based upon the necessary application of our faith to life and practice.
What We Believe About Marriage and Human Sexuality
We believe, based on the teaching of the Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments, that marriage is an institution ordained by God from the foundation of the world, and intended as a lifelong union of one man and one woman. This idea is supported by the account of creation in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Genesis 1:26-28 provides that God created man in His own image, both male and female. The passage implies that a unity of one man and one woman is in some way necessary to fully represent the image of God in mankind.
Genesis chapter 2 provides a more detailed account in which God created the first man, Adam, and decided that it was not good for him to be alone. (Genesis 2:18). God indicated that He would make “a suitable helper for him.” So God then created Eve, the first woman, from part of Adam himself. God did not create a second man to be Adam’s helpmate, or an assortment of multiple women, but rather one woman. Together they were man and wife and had “no shame” or sin in their union with each other. (Genesis 2:15-25).
Jesus Christ reaffirmed the teaching of the Old Testament when He said, as recorded in Matthew 19:4-6, “Haven’t you read, he replied, that at the beginning the creator made them male and female and said for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The Apostle Paul states in Ephesians 5:22-32 that marriage is not merely a human institution, but is a special divine metaphor that is supposed to illustrate the union of Christ and the church. For this reason also, only a union between a man and a woman can be a proper marriage because a union between two men, two women, or one man and multiple women or any collection of people could not properly illustrate the relationship between Christ and His church.
I Corinthians 6:9-11condemns a variety of lifestyles including those associated with adultery, prostitution, and homosexuality. The Bible condemns all forms of sexual immorality and encourages Christians to flee from it because of its destructive effects, and because the body of the Christian is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 3:16 & 6:12-20).
Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that it is not only sinful to engage in homosexual unions, but also to approve of such sins in others or encourage their practice. As a result, in order to maintain our consistent Christian witness, we cannot sanction, approve, or promote in any way adultery, fornication (a sexual relationship between an unmarried man and woman; i.e. “living together”), pornography, pedophilia, polyamory, polygamy, bestiality, or homosexual unions. This is made clear also by countless other verses throughout the Old Testament as well as by these and other passages in the New Testament.
Our church follows what the Bible reveals as the “sure foundation” of the teachings of Jesus Christ and his apostles (Matthew 7:24-29 and I Corinthians 14:37). The church is called to teach and practice these teachings and is not at liberty to depart from them for a different authority if it is to authentically bear the name “Christian.” Though we strive to live peaceably with all people and to obey legitimate government authority, in instances involving matters as foundational as marriage we must ultimately obey God rather than man if the two come into conflict (Acts 4:18-22).
Sexual activities outside of marriage, including but not limited to fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality, pedophilia, polyamory and bestiality are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and the church. Lewd conduct, transgender behavior, and the creation or distribution or viewing of pornography are incompatible with God’s intention.
Our Faith Based Policy on Marriage and Human Sexuality
As a result of these above described religious beliefs and our belief in the need for a practice of fidelity to these beliefs, it is our policy that the facilities of this church may not be used for any ceremony that in any way approves of, solemnizes, supports or allows a same-sex union or a polygamist or any union which, in the judgment of the Council of Elders, in some way constitutes child abuse. It is also the policy of the church that no pastor or member of the church staff shall officiate at any ceremony designed to solemnize, promote, create, or approve of such a union. Nor may any member of the church enter into such a union without being subject to church discipline.
A civil government’s sanction of a union will be recognized as a legitimate marriage by the church only to the extent that it is consistent with the definition of marriage found in this Policy Statement.
Summary Policy Regarding Sexuality
Recognizing that we all struggle with sin, The Church at Spruce Creek will provide an environment that welcomes people who struggle with sexual sin. We will seek to love all people in Jesus’ name, pointing them towards Christ’s power to forgive and heal. While the Bible teaches that those who engage in sexual sin, sin against their own body we also recognize that sexual sin is not characterized in Scripture as being more severe than other forms of sin. We will seek God to discern ways that we can directly and indirectly minister and share God’s love with those who struggle with every kind of sin. We also recognize that there is a difference between temptation and behavior and while temptation is sometimes unavoidable we are responsible for our behavior.
Church Practices Derived from This Policy
Ordained clergy or licensed ministers 1 employed by the church shall affirm the statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality adopted by this church.
Only ordained or duly licensed clergy approved by this church shall officiate at marriage ceremonies conducted on church property.
Clergy employed by the church shall be subject to dismissal and/or loss of ordination for violating this statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality or by officiating at a marriage ceremony that violates the letter or the spirit of this policy.
Applicants for weddings performed by church staff:
Applicants wishing to have a ceremony performed by a member of the clergy employed or clergy or judiciary approved by the church or to use the church facilities for their wedding shall affirm the statement of faith regarding marriage and human sexuality and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
Applicants shall participate in premarital counseling by clergy or counselors employed by this church or other persons who, in the sole opinion of the pastoral staff of the church have the appropriate training, experience, and spiritual understanding to provide such counseling. All pastoral staff, counselors or other persons providing premarital counseling shall affirm this statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality.
Use of Facilities:
Any marriage performed on church premises shall be officiated by an ordained or duly licensed member of the clergy. Any officiant not employed by The Church at Spruce Creek shall serve at the discretion of the pastor or Council of Elders.
Clergy officiating marriage ceremonies on church premises, whether or not employed by The Church at Spruce Creek, shall affirm their agreement with the statement of faith on marriage and human sexuality adopted by this church and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
Clergy and staff assigned by the church to implement the procedures contained in this Marriage Policy may, in his or her discretion, decline to provide church facilities for, and/or decline to officiate at a ceremony when in his or her judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the applicants may not be qualified to enter into the sacred bond of marriage for theological, doctrinal, moral or legal reasons.
Church Staff, Leadership and Membership:
Every minister, or employee, hired by The Church at Spruce Creek shall affirm their agreement with this statement on marriage and human sexuality and conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
The Elders shall affirm their agreement with this policy on marriage and human sexuality and shall conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent therewith.
Church ministry leaders, teachers and members are expected to teach and live in a manner that is consistent with this policy.
1 Clergy as used in this document means ordained clergy and licensed ministers. An ordination or ministerial license must be specifically approved by the Council of Elders of The Church at Spruce Creek to be considered as valid by this church.
Adopted by the Council of Elders (DATE)
APPENDIX III. Elder Decision Making
The Issue: The issue relates to the interplay of spiritual influence and authority as held by the Elders. How are those who have been recognized by the congregation as godly men with spiritual influence to perceive and exercise their authority to lead in the ministry of The Church at Spruce Creek? We submit that spiritual influence and authority are not to be equated with, nor seen in opposition to one another. Authority to direct and govern is as essential to servant leadership as is spiritual influence that flows from a godly life. If we hold them to be in conflict with each other we create an environment where a leader cannot lead decisively. If our Elders have only the influence of a godly life, leaders may advise, counsel, coach, mentor but they cannot direct nor can they exact accountability. Without authority to direct there is no governance. We can choose management styles that we feel are most appropriate to the nature of our work and our environment, and we should do so, but not at the expense of reducing the leader to a mere facilitator or coordinator of individual effort.
The Need: The need is for a policy statement which sets the parameters for the decision making authority of the Elders. The following elements are important considerations:
All Elder decisions, whether individual or corporate, are to be made with the best interest of the overall ministry of The Church at Spruce Creek in view.
Individual Elders have the freedom to make independent decisions in those areas over which they have been given specific responsibility of oversight. (C.E. Elder; Missions Elder, Worship Elder; etc.). This does not mean that he may not seek counsel from all the Elders or be called upon to defer to the decision making authority of the Council of Elders, but it does mean that he has the authority to lead decisively in those areas in which he has been given oversight.
Each individual Elder also has the freedom to make independent decisions regarding the ministry of The Church at Spruce Creek in general, should he deem an independent decision appropriate and obviously not needing the decision making authority of the entire Council of Elders. If in doubt, he should seek counsel from among the other Elders.
The Elders should understand that independent decisions are always subject to review and revision by the entire Council of Elders, should it be deemed appropriate by any or all of the Elders.
The Benefits: Such a policy should:
Give the elders the freedom to use their God given leadership abilities.
Streamline the decision making process in those areas not needing action by the entire Council of Elders.
Give the elders the ability to support the decisive leadership of their fellow elders without having to be aware of each detail of the decision making process.
Adopted by the Council of Elders (DATE)n in his or her judgment, there are significant concerns that one or both of the applicants may not be qualified to enter into the sacred bond of marriage for theological, doctrinal, moral or legal reasons.