Our Church Constitution
The Head of the Church is Christ, and the Bible, God’s Word is our supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. The purpose of this constitution is to state the practices of the Church in its life and government.
Name and Ethos
Hillside Evangelical Church is an independent evangelical Church under the leadership and government of a plurality of elders (3 or more).
The Church practices the ordinances of believers baptism (by immersion), and the Lord’s supper.
The Church welcomes fellowship and cooperation with other churches or bodies who are able to express full agreement with the statement of faith.
Statement of Faith
The doctrinal basis of the Church shall be the fundamental truths of Christianity, as revealed in Holy Scripture, including:
- The unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Godhead.
- The sovereignty of God in creating and upholding all things, revealing Himself to mankind and acting in Jesus Christ to redeem, restore, and judge.
- The divine inspiration and infallibility of Holy Scripture as originally given, and its supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
- The sinfulness and guilt of fallen man, making him subject to the condemnation of God.
- The eternal deity and sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- His miraculous conception by way of the Holy Spirit and His birth of the virgin Mary.
- His death in our place as the only perfect sacrifice for sin offered once-for-all.
- His bodily resurrection and ascension.
- His unique position as the only mediator between God and man.
- Justification by the grace of God through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- The need for the Holy Spirit to make the work of Christ effective to the individual sinner, granting him repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.
- Salvation as the present experience of the forgiveness of sins, peace with God, joy in the Holy Spirit, and certainty of eternal life.
- The work of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the enlightenment, re-creation and sanctification of men, leading to a life of practical holiness and empowering them for their witness in the world.
- The future personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ in glory.
- The bodily resurrection and judgement of all men.
- The eternal joy and fulfilment of the saved, and the eternal punishment of the lost.
- The one true Church, the body of Christ, of which He alone is the head, comprising all in every place who trust in Him for salvation.
Church membership shall be open to all who give evidence by life and profession of having been born again of the Spirit of God. Those seeking membership shall be encouraged to be obedient to the teaching of Holy Scripture regarding believers baptism.
Anyone desiring membership will be invited to meet with two or three of the elders, to relate how they came to faith in Christ. On the elders recommendation the person will be publicly welcomed into the fellowship of the church as soon as possible during a Sunday morning service, and their name entered in the membership roll.
The minimum age for membership is not stipulated, but members under the age of eighteen may not vote at church meetings.
A member moving from the area would be encouraged to join another local church, and a letter of recommendation will be sent upon request, to the church concerned, by the elders.
A member who fails to worship with the church, without adequate reason, for a period of six months may have their membership reconsidered by the elders. After investigation, the elders shall inform the church if the person has been removed from the membership roll.
A person may be removed from church membership for wilful impenitence or deviation from the statement of faith. Such an incident shall be dealt with by the elders in accordance with the biblical pattern in Matthew 18: 15-17. The purpose of discipline is always with repentance, forgiveness and restoration in view.
Government and appointment of members to office
We believe in church government which is theocratic, i.e. Christ presiding over the gathered local church and guiding her through officers appointed to lead in accordance with His Word.
We recognise that the New Testament sanctions the offices of elder and deacon. People are appointed to these offices by reason of character and gift, which set them apart and qualify them to act responsibly on behalf of the church.
Appointment of elders
An election shall be held when considered necessary by the elders, or when the number of elders falls below three.
It is the desire of the church that any brother appointed to this office, be God’s choice. Therefore it is important that the church make this a matter of specific prayer, both individually and corporately in order to seek God’s will.
The Biblical qualifications and required gifts of eldership shall be clearly outlined to the church. [1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:2-3]
Nominations for elder shall be made to the elders in writing. Having considered the nominations received, the elders will provide the members with a list of recommendations in writing at least one week prior to the church meeting at which voting will take place. Voting will be by secret ballot.
Members are expected to vote in person, however, in exceptional circumstances a request for a postal vote may be made to the elders in writing at least one week prior to the church meeting at which voting will take place.
Those nominees who receive a minimum of 75% of the votes of members present AND VOTING at the church meeting and including postal votes shall be considered appointed as elders to serve for a period of five years.
The trustees of the church as defined by the deed of trusteeship, shall be those who serve as elders in the church.
One or more of the elders may be full time. Specific duties and terms of employment to be outlined in a separate job description and contract to be agreed between the existing eldership and the individual concerned.
Appointment of Deacons
An election shall be held when considered necessary by the elders.
It is the desire of the church that any person appointed to this office, be God’s choice. Therefore it is important that the church make this a matter of specific prayer, both individually and corporately in order to seek God’s will.
The Biblical qualifications and required gifts of deacons shall be clearly outlined to the church. [1 Timothy 3:8-13]
The election procedure for deacons shall be the same as for elders. The term of office for a deacon shall be three years.
Church Members Meetings
A meeting shall be convened at least twice a year to hear reports of various aspects of the work of the church, including a financial statement. An agenda shall be circulated in writing to members at least one week prior to the date of the meeting. Other meetings may be called as required. When such a meeting is convened notice shall be given on at least two preceding Sundays.
One half of the voting membership shall constitute a quorum for a members meeting.
The elders shall be required to call a church meeting if requested to do so by a minimum of six members. The request, stating the purpose, must be made in writing and signed by all those requesting such a meeting.
The chairman for meetings shall be nominated by the eldership. The chairman shall have a vote, but no casting vote.
Amendments to the Constitution
Suggested amendments to the constitution shall be brought by the elders to a church meeting, provided they have been circulated in writing to the membership of the church at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which voting will take place. General amendments require a positive vote of 66% of those members present and voting and including postal votes. In the case of amendments to the statement of faith a positive vote of 75% of those members present AND VOTING and including postal votes shall be required before an amendment is considered carried.
- This constitution was passed unanimously at a church members meeting on Wednesday 23rd. May 1990.
- Updated as per the members meeting of the 27th of February 2002.