Article II—Our Membership
SECTION 1: MEMBERSHIP
While we acknowledge that all true believers in Jesus Christ are positionally members of the church universal, membership in this local body requires participation in, and commitment to:
- the Beliefs & Governance of this church;
intentional community with members of this local body; and
the use of whatever gift(s) he has received to serve others, in order that
- he may do his part in faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
As a result, we acknowledge two types of membership at this church:
1. Positional Membership—which includes all true believers in Jesus Christ; and
2. Participatory Membership—which includes true believers in Jesus Christ who have committed themselves to this local body as outlined above (hereinafter "Members").
SECTION 2: QUALIFICATIONS FOR PARTICIPATORY MEMBERSHIP
Individuals may present themselves for Membership upon making a profession of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each potential new Member shall: 1) make a written statement of his faith in Christ and his intent, with God's help, to pursue a life that will bring glory to God; 2) assent to the Beliefs and Governance of Watermark Community Church; 3) attend the church's New Member Class; and 4) become part of a community group; 5) choose and commit to an area of service; and 6) sign the Membership Covenant.
SECTION 3: PARTICIPATORY MEMBERSHIP ROLES
A person is a Member of this church only as long as he lives within this community of faith and is actively pursuing the Calling, Convictions and Commitments of this church. It is the Elders' responsibility to "know well the condition of the flock," to encourage steadfastness of all individual Members and to advise Members of the consequences of not abiding by their commitments as Members, including eventual removal from Membership.
SECTION 4: CARE AND CORRECTION OF PARTICIPATORY MEMBERS
It is the responsibility of the Board of Elders, as described in Acts 20:28, to "be on guard for themselves and all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." Shepherding includes both the care and correction of the sheep. As a consequence, the Board of Elders may separate a member of the flock from Membership for:
- departure from his previously expressed agreement with "Our Beliefs";
- conduct that mars the testimony of the church or evidences a continued unrepentant departure from biblical morality;
- manifesting disinterest and/or inactivity in the life of the church;
- or other reasons as set forth in the Scriptures.
The separation process shall follow that laid out in Scripture. By applying for and accepting Membership in this church, all Members submit themselves to the care and correction of the Board of Elders, and may not resign from Membership in an attempt to avoid such care and correction.
SECTION 5: TERMINATION OF PARTICIPATORY MEMBERSHIP
Membership may be terminated by any of the following actions:
1. Voluntary termination of Membership is available to any Member in good standing upon written request of that Member. Where appropriate, upon request, Members may be granted a letter of transfer to the evangelical church of their choice. The Board of Elders may reinstate voluntarily terminated Members upon satisfactory fulfillment of the new Member process and approval.
2. At the discretion of the Board of Elders, Members who move from the Dallas area may be removed from Membership. Involuntary termination may result if a Member fails to submit himself to the Board of Elders and when in the sole opinion of the Board of Elders, it is necessary for the care or correction of the church or the terminated Member. The Board of Elders, in its sole discretion, may communicate to the congregation the fact of, and reason for, involuntary termination of a Member.
Article III—Our Leadership Structure
This church, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is an autonomous body of believers voluntarily submitting themselves to a form of government that we believe is in accordance with the Scriptures. The official offices of this church, through which all of its powers are administered, are covered in subsequent sections of this document. These offices shall be occupied by men, or women where specifically permitted, who are raised up by the Holy Spirit, called by the personal conviction of God and appointed by the Board of Elders. The responsibilities of these offices are also defined and described in subsequent sections of this document.
Article IV—Our Officers
SECTION 1: GENERAL
We believe that holding office in the church is by:
- the calling of God by the Holy Spirit;
- the conviction of the will of God on the part of the candidate; and
- the approval of the Board of Elders.
The officers in this church shall be the Elders and those to whom the Board of Elders delegates authority and designates as officers. Selection of new Elders, Deacons and the Pastoral Elder shall be by appointment of the Board of Elders. The Pastoral Elder shall appoint all pastoral and ministerial staff (other than the Pastoral Elder), and as there is wisdom in the counsel of many, consult with his fellow Elders on major hires.
SECTION 2: THE BOARD OF ELDERS
Description of the Office
Our church is Elder led. The Board of Elders governs, corrects, cares for (shepherds) and oversees the spiritual interests of this church. An Elder must be a member of this church and lead a life that meets the qualifications of Scripture and embodies the "Calling, Convictions and Commitments" of Watermark Community Church.
The Board of Elders shall be comprised of not less than three (3) nor more than ten (10) men. The number of Elders must be limited by the number of qualified men that the Lord raises up and the ability of the Board of Elders to maintain intimate, deep and growing relationships between its members. It is imperative that the Board of Elders model accountability, care and every other aspect of authentic biblical community. Great care should be taken as to the effects of the number of Elders on the Board of Elders' intimacy and the integrity of relationships among the members of the Board of Elders.
The responsibilities of the Board of Elders include:
- providing spiritual leadership for the church;
- directing the affairs of the church;
- receiving and dismissing members;
- making provision for teaching during worship services;
- praying for and with the people and watching over their spiritual and physical needs;
- leading the church's outreach to a lost world;
- providing care and correction for Members; and
- executing on behalf of the church, deeds, notes, deeds of trust, releases and any other instruments or contracts as may be necessary to comply with God's leading for the church as to real property belonging to, or being acquired, improved or sold by the church.
Elders are raised up by God to provide spiritual leadership for the church. They are called by the existing Elders to serve in the office of Elder for the benefit of the church.
A prospective of Elder will be examined as prescribed below to determine:
- his personal knowledge and comprehension of the Word of God, especially as it relates to his being sound in doctrine and his knowledge as to the qualifications for an Elder;
- his personal philosophy concerning the purpose of the local church and his responsibility as a leader within the church;
- his agreement with the Beliefs & Governance of this church, in its entirety;
- his ability and willingness to serve and participate actively as an Elder, to attend faithfully the services and programs of the church and to support the various programs and activities of the church;
- his ability to teach and his desire to cultivate this ability for the Lord;
his life of making disciples for Christ; and
his history of being in biblical community including accountable, caring,
- submissive and enduring relationships with other believers. The Elder selection process shall generally follow the process described below.
Elder Selection Process
The selection of a new Elder shall, at a minimum, follow the four (4) steps below:
- Candidate Identification—Any potential elder shall be identified by the Board of Elders as a man fitting the biblical qualifications of an elder of the church and shall be submitted to a period of prayerful consideration by the existing Board of Elders.
- Notification of the Potential Elder—Following a season of prayer, the Board of Elders, upon initial confirmation of the potential elder, shall notify the potential elder that he is being considered to hold the office of Elder at the church. The potential elder shall submit himself to a time of prayer concerning God's call upon his life and his possible service as an Elder of the church.
- Validation—Upon the confirmation by the potential elder of God's call on his life, the Board of Elders shall begin a validation process which, at a minimum, consists of: the potential elder's completion of a "Potential Elder Questionnaire" to determine whether he meets the qualifications of an elder as set forth above; a re-affirmation that the potential elder is in agreement with the Beliefs and Governance of the Church and various interviews with third parties concerning the potential elder's character, life and Christian witness.
- Confirmation—Upon satisfactory completion of the Validation process, the potential Elder shall be presented to the congregation for its comment on his character, qualifications or any other issue which would affect his suitability to serve as an Elder of the church.
No person can be removed from the Board of Elders except for just cause as determined by a unanimous vote of the Board of Elders (exclusive of the Elder whose removal is being considered). Just cause includes, but is not limited to: an elder being under the care and correction referred to in Article IV - Section 4 of this document; events that would disqualify him as set forth in this Article VI – Section 2; or behavior, schedule or stage of life the affects his ability to maintain biblical community with the other members of the Elder Board. If any Elder fails to maintain biblical community with the other members of the Elder Board, he should be informed and asked to make immediate adjustments to his schedule or voluntarily resign his office. The Board of Elders will accept the written resignation of an Elder whenever submitted.
SECTION 3: THE PASTORAL ELDER
The Pastoral Elder is the vocational spiritual leader of the church and has oversight of the spiritual life of the church in conjunction with the Board of Elders. The Pastoral Elder should be fully prepared for his ministry as required by the Board of Elders. He should live a consistent Christian life, ruling his own house well and having a good testimony with non-Christians.
Responsibilities of the Pastoral Elder
The Pastoral Elder is accountable to the Board of Elders for the oversight of the Beliefs and Governance of the church. He is responsible for leading the staff and church body in carrying out the purpose and values of the church and overseeing the church's ministries.
Calling the Pastoral Elder
The Board of Elders shall call a Pastoral Elder. When the Board of Elders desires the church have a new Pastoral Elder, it may appoint a search committee to assist in identifying qualified candidates or search for a qualified candidate on its own. Ultimate responsibility and authority for calling a Pastoral Elder rests in the Board of Elders. Since the Pastoral Elder will serve as an Elder of the church, at a minimum, the Elder selection process shall be followed.
Removing a Pastoral Elder
When the Pastoral Elder resigns or is removed by the Board of Elders, the Board of Elders may call a meeting to inform the congregation of the reasons for the removal or resignation, so far as is honoring to God, the Pastoral Elder and the congregation. When the Pastoral Elder resigns, the Board of Elders shall accept his resignation. When the Pastoral Elder resigns or is removed from that office, the Board of Elders shall make provision for the interim fulfillment of the Pastoral Elder's responsibilities. In that event, an Interim Pastor may be appointed by the Board of Elders as a minister to carry on the pastoral duties while the church is without a Pastoral Elder.
SECTION 4: OTHER CHURCH LEADERSHIP
Description of Office
The Board of Elders may appoint participatory members within the church to positions of leadership. Their appointment may be to key areas of responsibility in the Operating and Ministry Committees of the Church, provided that such appointments shall be made in accordance with the mandates of the Holy Scripture as relates to positional differences between men and women.
These positions of servant leadership shall be occupied by men or women of spiritual maturity, exemplary lives, good reputation, sound judgment and who, in their God-ordained roles, serve their own houses well.
The Pastoral Elder shall appoint all pastoral and ministerial staff (other than the Pastoral Elder) and, as there is wisdom in the counsel of many, consult with his fellow Elders on major hires. The Pastoral Elder may appoint pastoral and ministerial staff as required to provide care, teaching, counseling and administration to the congregation. The number and types of Ministers required will vary from time to time, depending on church growth, financial resources available and discerned need.
Article V—Our Workers (Ordination & Commissioning)
It is our confidence that God will raise up Spirit-filled and gifted men and women from among us who will be called to a life of proclaiming the Gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. Such men and women may be given a commission to lead God's people, as is appropriate in scripture and share in the privileges and responsibilities thereof. The Board of Elders shall determine the process, requirements, timing and forms leading to ordination. The Board of Elders may also commission Members to serve as ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ under its authority, while they are Members in good-standing at this church.
Article VI—Our Responsibilities
The Board of Elders may delegate to individuals, committees or organizations the right to transact any of its business or to exercise any of its powers, but the exercise of such delegation shall be subject to the supervision and control of the Board of Elders.
Article VII—Amendments to Our Beliefs And Leadership Structure
Our Beliefs & Leadership Structure may be amended by the unanimous approval of the Board of Elders. Copies of any amendment(s) must be made available to Members not more than thirty days following such amendment(s).