ARTICLE 1: OUR 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:
As a result, we acknowledge two types of membership of Christ’s Church:
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 and verbal statement of his or her 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.
A person is a member of this church only as long as he lives within this community of faith and is actively pursuing the commitments outlined in the Membership Covenant. It is the elders’ responsibility to “know well the condition of your flocks” (Proverbs 27:23), 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.
It is the responsibility of the elders, as described in Acts 20:28, to “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Shepherding includes care, encouragement, admonishment, and grace-filled correction of the members of our flock at Watermark. Although it is never our desire to separate an individual in the flock from Watermark membership, after pursuing restoration and reconciliation with the member, as set forth in Matthew 18, the elders may separate from a member of the flock at Watermark for:
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 elders, and may not resign from membership in an attempt to avoid such care and correction.
Voluntary Member Termination: Members who move from the local area, change churches, or no longer meet the requirements for active membership may be removed from Watermark membership. The elders may reinstate voluntarily terminated members upon the fulfillment of any outstanding member requirements.
Involuntary Member Termination: As shepherds of the flock entrusted to us, the elders are grieved any time a member “isolates himself,” “seeks his own desire,” and “breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1). After following the process laid out in Scripture and diligently pursuing the member with opportunities for encouragement, admonishment, repentance, restoration, and reconciliation, membership may be involuntarily terminated at Watermark at the discretion of the elders. In accordance with Matthew 18, the facts of and reasons for the involuntary termination of a member may be communicated with a former member’s community group, ministry leaders, and other parties, at the sole discretion of the elders.
ARTICLE II: 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 elders. The responsibilities of these offices are also defined and described in subsequent sections of this document.
ARTICLE III: OUR OFFICERS
We believe that holding office in the church is by:
The officers in this church shall be the elders and those to whom they delegate authority and designate as officers. Selection of new elders, Deacons and the Pastoral Elder shall be by appointment of the 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.
Description of the Office
Consistent with the exhortation of Scripture, Watermark is led by a team of elders/pastors, not one man who reports to a board. This team of elders/pastors 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 core values of Watermark Community Church.
The 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 elders to maintain intimate, deep, and growing relationships between its members. It is imperative that the 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 so as to ensure relational trust and intimacy amongst them.
The responsibilities of the elders include:
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 elder will be examined as prescribed below to determine:
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:
No person can be removed as an elder except for just cause as determined by a unanimous vote of the 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 I - Section 4 of this document; events that would disqualify him from being an elder based on the standards set forth in this section; or changes to his behavior, schedule, or stage of life that affect his ability to maintain biblical community with the other elder members. If any elder fails to maintain biblical community with the other elder members, he should be informed and asked to make immediate adjustments to his schedule or voluntarily resign his office. The elders will accept the written resignation of an elder whenever submitted.
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 elders. The Pastoral Elder should be fully prepared for his ministry as required by the 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 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 Elders shall call a Pastoral Elder. When the elders desire 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 with the 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 elders, the 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 elders shall accept his resignation. When the Pastoral Elder resigns or is removed from that office, the 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 elders as a minister to carry on the pastoral duties while the church is without a Pastoral Elder.
Description of Office
The 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 IV: 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 elders shall determine the process, requirements, timing, and forms leading to ordination. The 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 V: OUR RESPONSIBILITIES
The 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 elders.
ARTICLE VI: AMENDMENTS TO OUR BELIEFS AND LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE
Our Core Beliefs, Doctrinal Statement, and Leadership Structure may be amended by the unanimous approval of the elders. Copies of any amendment(s) must be made available to members not more than thirty days following such amendment(s).