Sunridge Community Church By-Laws
The name of this organization is Sunridge Community Church (a registered dba for the California corporation Sunridge Community Church of Temecula, California).
II. Mission and Vision
The Mission – Helping People Find and Follow Jesus—that is, to fulfill the mission of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10) by making disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20)
The Vision – Deepen faith. Bring hope. Live love.
III. Doctrinal Statement
- We believe the Bible is inspired by God and is both trustworthy and authoritative. We believe it is our responsibility to study the entire Bible and submit to all its teachings. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- We believe in one eternal, infinite and unchanging God who reveals Himself to us in three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19)
- We believe Jesus Christ is both 100% God and 100% human. We believe He was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died on a cross for the sins of all people, rose from the dead physically, and ascended into heaven. We believe that one day He will return to earth and reign over it. (Matthew 1:23; John 8:58; Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 3:18; Revelation 11:15)
- We believe all people were created in the image of God but have a sinful nature, resulting in wrong actions. We believe all of us deserve eternal separation from God and none of us is able to save ourselves from this fate through our own efforts. (Genesis 1:27; Romans 3:10-12, 23,6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3, 8-9)
- We believe we can be rescued from death and given the gift of an eternal relationship with God only by believing in Jesus Christ—that is, by trusting in His death as full payment for all our sins and in His resurrection as proof that He is the Lord of all. Eternal life is a free and irrevocable gift. (John 3:16; Romans 8:29-30; 10:9; Ephesians 2:1-3,8-9)
- We believe all Christians are baptized and indwelt with the Holy Spirit at the moment they believe in Christ, and.they are empowered, guided and instructed by the Spirit as they yield their lives to Him. (Acts 2:38; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13, 5:18)
- We believe Jesus instituted baptism as the means of publicly professing faith in Him, and that, although baptism has no power to save, it is the first step of obedience expected of all believers in Christ. We believe Jesus instituted the practice of communion (or the Lord’s Supper) to help us vividly remember His death for us, and the Church should participate in this memorial regularly. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19-20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
- We believe that followers of Jesus are called to a life of Spirit-empowered obedience, and when we disobey, we will experience God’s loving discipline (which may be carried out through the Church). We also believe that God gives all Christians spiritual gifts as He wills, which are to be used to help others in the Church grow. (Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 18; Galatians 5:16-25; Hebrews 12:7-11)
- We believe the Church is Christ’s “body” in today’s world and it is comprised of all true Christians. Each local church is to be shepherded by Jesus Himself through a group of spiritually qualified elders. We believe every Christian is called to become involved in a local church. (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 5:4)
- We believe both heaven and hell are real, and every person will spend eternity either in joyful fellowship with God or agonizing separation from God, based on their response to Christ. (Luke 12:5; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Philippians 3:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; 1 Peter 1:4)
The Sunridge Elder Board (Board), consisting of elders and a lead pastor, provide spiritual oversight, direction, and leadership for the church. The Board entrusts the implementation of that direction to staff and ministry leaders, under the leadership of the lead pastor. The lead pastor is held accountable for fulfilling the Board’s direction. This system of organizational leadership allows the elders to focus their gifts and time on their biblical mandate to lead and shepherd the church, while allowing ministry leaders (staff) the opportunity to maximize their gifts and talents as they lead their ministries and make practical decisions on how to implement and carry out the direction provided by the Board.
- The head of the church is Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18, 2:19)
- The expressed will of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Bible; thus it is the church’s final authority. (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
i. Qualifications of Elders
- An elder must meet biblical character qualifications. (1 Timothy 3:1-7;Titus 1:5-9)
- An elder must be in agreement with the vision and doctrinal statement of the church.
ii. Selection of Elders
- The Board shall solicit potential candidates from the church body.
- Candidates will be reviewed by the Board and those selected shall enter into a process with the current elders to affirm their qualifications. (Acts 6:2-3)
- Candidates that have successfully completed the qualification process will be presented to the church for input prior to being appointed as an elder.
- Elder candidates are to be approved and appointed by current elders. (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5)
- Elders will be commissioned before the church body at a Board-specified time.
iii. Term of office
- An elder shall serve a term of six years. After a minimum one-year break in service from the board, the elder may be called on to serve again. In special circumstances, an elder may be retained beyond the six-year term as deemed necessary by the Board.
iv. Responsibilities of Elders
- The elders are responsible to ensure the church is shepherded. (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-2)
- The elders are responsible to uphold the doctrinal positions of the church. (Titus 1:9)
- The elders are responsible for the discipline of regular attendees of the church. See Article V, 3 (Matthew 18:15-17).
iv. Responsibilities of the Board
- The Board shall oversee the church using the Bible and prayer to discern God’s will for the church. The Board constitutes the highest human authority in the church. (Acts 16:4; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:5; Hebrews 13:17)
- The Board is responsible for setting the Direction of the church encompassing the Vision, Values and Ministry Outcomes.
- The Board is responsible to oversee the finances, administration and ministries of the church.
- The Board is responsible for oversight of the lead pastor and completing performance evaluations regularly, at a minimum annually.
- The Board holds the lead pastor responsible for all decisions concerning the hiring, compensation, and termination of church employees as stipulated in Section 3 of the Sunridge Employee & Personnel Handbook.
V. Regular Attendees
- Those in the church who choose to put their faith in Jesus are taught to be baptized and share in the Lord’s Supper, then encouraged to attend church services regularly.
- Beyond regular church attendance, attendees are encouraged to participate in Group Life, to exercise their spiritual gifts in the church, and to share their faith with lost people.
- Regular attendees of the church who persist in sinful behavior that is determined to be harmful and/or divisive to the church are subject to church discipline according to scripture. Actions may be taken to both protect the church and restore the fallen member. Actions taken may be up to and/or include public disclosure of an unrepentant heart and removal from the church. All disciplinary actions taken are on a case-by-case basis.
VI. Licensing and Ordination
All pastoral staff members will be licensed by the church as ministers of the gospel upon hiring. This licensing shall continue until termination of employment.
The elders appoint the officers and directors of the church.
Upon dissolution of the organization, all assets will be donated to a not-for-profit organization with like purposes.
Amendments to the by-laws will be by a consensus of the elders.