The membership of Comal Country Church establishes and voluntarily submits to the following Constitution and Bylaws:
Article I - Affiliation
The Comal Country Church (CCC) was planted by The Country Church, Marion, Texas, as an autonomous Baptist congregation.
Article II - Mission
Comal Country Church was begun for the purpose of being an approachable, compassionate haven for any person living in, or visiting, the New Braunfels-Canyon Lake, Texas area. CCC’s core mission includes the following three biblical statements:
- The Great Commission, which commands all believers to:
- present the gospel of grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) wherever we go;
- baptize the new converts; and
- instruct them to full obedience to the Lord’s commands (Matthew 28:19-20);
- The Greatest Commandments:
- to love the Lord with our entire beings; and
- to love our neighbors as we do ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40);
- The New Commandment, which commands all Christians to love one another as Christ has loved us, allowing the world around us to truly know that we are His disciples (John 13:34-35);
Article III - Beliefs
God’s Revelation, Focused in Scripture - The 66 books of the Bible are His permanent, true and trustworthy Word written in human languages and the vocabularies of each writer. All Scripture discloses God, His plan and will for humanity, focusing especially on Christ and salvation through faith in Him (Psalm 19:1-10; Luke 24:44-46; John 17:17; Romans 15:4-5; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
God, as Trinity and Father - God has eternally existed as one divine being, but three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is equal in nature, power, glory and attributes, but each functions in different roles. God the Father is responsible for the wider divine plan, but also relates to Christians by such ministries as adopting them into His family and hearing their prayers (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 139:1-16; Isaiah 48:12, 16; Matthew 28:19; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:3-6).
God the Son: Jesus Christ - Christ is the eternal Son of God and the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. In becoming the God-man as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He perfectly revealed and did the will of God in taking upon Himself human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind, yet without sin. In His death on the Cross in mankind’s place, He made full payment for mankind’s sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body, then ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where He continually intercedes on behalf of believers. Finally, Jesus Christ will come again in power and glory to judge the world and complete His mission (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:35; John 1:1, 14, 3:16; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Hebrews 4:15, 7:25; Revelation 19:11-21).
God the Holy Spirit - The Holy Spirit is a divine person, equal with the Father and Son. He was active in the Old Testament and inspired those God chose to write the Bible. Through illumination, He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ, convicting people of sin, righteousness, and judgment, calling men to the Savior, and bringing about their new birth and adoption into God’s family. When a person becomes a Christian, the Spirit baptizes each one into the Body of Christ, as well as sealing them until the final day of redemption. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows spiritual gifts, by which believers serve God through His church. On an ongoing basis, the Spirit fills and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service (John 3:5-6; 4:24; 14:16-17; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18; 2 Peter 1:21).
Mankind and Sin - Man is the crowning work of God’s creation, being made male and female and in His own image. In the beginning, man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By that choice, man sinned against God. As a result, all people since inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Only the grace of God can bring sinful and sinning mankind into fellowship with Him. The priceless value of humanity is seen clearly in God creating man in His own image and in Christ dying in mankind’s place. (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7, 18-22; 3:1-7, 16-19; 9:6; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; 5:6, 12, 19; 6:23; 14:23; Galatians 5:16-17, 19-21; 1 John 1:6-10; 3:4).
Angels, Satan and Demons: Spiritual Warfare - Angels are powerful created personal spirit beings who serve God and God’s people. Satan is a fallen angel who has opposed God since before the foundation of the world. Demons are angels who rebelled with Satan and who follow him, attempting to defeat God’s purposes. The Christian must be aware that warfare is going on in the spiritual realm and be on the alert, putting on the armor of God and not allowing the Devil any foothold in his or her life or the church. The destiny of the Devil and his demons is the eternal lake of fire (Genesis 3:15; Job 38:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-17a; Daniel 10:12-13, 20; Matthew 25:41; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:26-27; 6:10-20; Colossians 1:16; 2 Timothy 2:26; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 12:12).
Salvation - God’s saving work graciously redeems the whole person, and is offered freely to all who repent and accept by personal faith Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who died in the place of the sinner and by His blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. Repentance is a genuine change of mind and heart toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior. The wrath of God in regard to sin has been satisfied. Christ’s death has made available peace with God. The new birth is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. God graciously and fully acquits all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. The believer is viewed as perfect before God positionally in Christ and set apart practically to grow to spiritual maturity in this life through the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Salvation culminates in the final eternal blessed state of the redeemed (Genesis 15:6; Matthew 20:28; John 3:5-6, 16; 10:28-29; Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-26; 8:16-17, 29-30, 38-39; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Ephesians 1:13-14; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:2).
The Church - A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of believers, associated by covenant in the gospel and the true worship of God, observing the two ordinances of Christ (baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper), and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through New Testament church government. Both men and women are gifted by the Holy Spirit for service in the church, but the offices of Pastor and Elder/Overseer are limited to men, as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages (Matthew 16:18; 18:15-20; John 4:23-24; Acts 1:8; 2:41-42; 6:3-6; 14:21-23; 20:28; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32; Ephesians 4:2-6, 11-16; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 4:14; 5:17; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3).
Kingdom and Last Things - The Kingdom of God includes both His general rule over the universe and men who acknowledge Him as King. Thus, the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by faith in Jesus Christ. Christians are to both pray and labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth, though the full presence of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age. God, in His own timing, will bring the present created order to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth. The dead will be raised and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be sentenced to the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous, in their resurrected and glorified bodies, will receive their reward from the Lord and will dwell forever in His presence (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 4:17; 6:10; 13:18-30; Acts 1:9-11; 14:22; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54: 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 19-22).
Article IV - Membership
The following four steps are involved in joining CCC:
- A valid testimony of saving faith in Jesus Christ given to the pastor and/or an elder;
- Scriptural baptism (see Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41; Romans 6:3-4), whether done previously, but that person’s point of saving faith in Christ, or after coming to CCC;
- Attendance of a CCC membership class;
- Full agreement to, and the signing of, the CCC membership covenant
Active and Inactive Membership - If a member has not attended church services for a period of over three months, assuming that no valid reason for the absence has been given to the church, his or her membership status will automatically be changed from active to inactive. Upon returning after that period of more than three months, the member will be interviewed about the time of absence and asked whether it is his or her desire to return to active membership status. This process is not meant to be an intrusion in a person’s life, but out of concern for their spiritual well-being and ongoing growth in the Lord.
The two primary differences between active and inactive membership in CCC are:
- if inactive, a person cannot continue to hold, or be named to, any teaching or leadership role in the church; and
- an inactive member may not attend elders’ meetings and make presentations or ask questions.
Purging of the Church Rolls - If a member does not attend church services for a period of more than six months, and if no valid reason for the absence has been given, his or her membership will be purged from the rolls. Upon returning later, that person will be interviewed regarding the absence and asked to once again affirm to, and re-sign, the church covenant, in order to return to full membership status.
It is hoped that this will result in people keeping much better touch with each other and church leaders, for the primary purpose of encouraging and praying for one another. After all, “the members of the body should have the same concern for one another.” “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:24, 25). This can only be true if all members are aware of what any hurting member is going through at a certain time.
Removal from Membership for Biblical Cause - In the painful event that the pastor and elders conclude it is necessary to remove a person from the church membership rolls related to his or her unwillingness to properly respond to the biblical steps of church discipline (see Matthew 18:15-17 and Article VII), notice, including an appropriate explanation, will be given. Such action is very difficult, but it is completely biblical and must always be done with the stated desire, and for the purpose of, that person’s repentance and loving restoration by the church (2 Corinthians 2:5-8).
Article V - GovernmentThe church governmental structure of Comal Country Church consists of the biblical roles of elders/overseers and pastor(s) (servant-leaders) and deacons (servant-leaders), as well as the required legally responsible position of trustees (see below). In addition, this constitution provides for the calling of additional pastoral staff and/or the employing of support staff, as needed, as well as the delegation of authority to responsible parties in related ministries that the Lord may lead CCC to begin in the future (see below).
In general, all in leadership roles at CCC are to be servant-leaders (Matthew 20:25-27) and must meet the basic spiritual qualifications stated in Acts 6:3: “of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.” A person who is filled with the Spirit is: 1) full of faith (Acts 6:5); and 2) reflects the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as well as 3) the characteristics of Ephesians 5:18-21, including a mutually submissive spirit in one’s primary relationships in life (Ephesians 5:21-6:9).
Elders/Overseers - The term “elder” refers to (spiritual) maturity and wisdom, while “overseer” means manager, superintendent or guardian. The passage that speaks with command force to what elders/overseers are to do is Acts 20:28: “shepherd the church of God” (and for that, they will give an account to God; Hebrews 13:17). In addition, there are a number of additional specific tasks to be carried out by elders/overseers: 1) receiving a gift of money for the church (Acts 11:30); 2) deliberating on key theological and practical issues (Acts 15:6, 23); 3) meeting with other ministry leaders (Acts 21:18); 4) directing and protecting the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:7); and 5) going to, and praying for, the sick, if requested (James 5:14). Further, some elders take on major teaching responsibilities in the church (1 Timothy 5:17) and are thus worthy of special honor, including financial assistance (Galatians 6:6), especially if such duties come in the way of their ability to support their families.
The elders, along with the pastor, are intended to be the spiritually mature, responsible leadership/management/decision-making body of the church (e.g., Acts 15:6; 21:18; 1 Timothy 4:14). All of their decisions are to be prayerful and unanimous and the guidance and wisdom of relevant biblical passages are to be consulted in regard to every issue. In all disagreements, each elder/overseer must “agree to disagree agreeably,” but in the event of a continuing disagreement over an issue, in which only one vote is lacking, the piece of business will be automatically tabled until the next meeting. The time between meetings is expected to be invested in “searching the Scriptures” (Acts 17:11) on the subject and to prayer for Spirit-led unity (Ephesians 4:3). At the next meeting, the dissenting elder is required to: 1) present a clear, compelling Scriptural case for the position he holds (if he continues to do so after in-depth biblical study and prayer); or 2) abstain from voting, so as to not stand in the way of the united guidance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28; Ephesians 4:3).
When CCC prayerfully chooses to set apart deacons, the qualifications for elders/overseers will shift to 1 Timothy 3:1-7, the pattern for an older, larger church with deacons (3:8-13). If any of the current elders at that time cannot meet the tighter qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7, they will: 1) immediately become inactive until such a point as they are able to do so; or 2) resign and, if they prayerfully choose to do so, be considered for the position of deacon, with its less exacting qualifications (3:8-13).
Pastor(s) - The pastor (or pastors, in the event that an assistant, associate or co-pastor is either hired or designated by the elders, with adequate congregational input) may be: 1) a minister serving primarily on the basis of spiritual giftedness and calling (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 4:14) and appropriate additional training (2 Timothy 2:2), in which case the primary qualifications are stated in 1 Timothy 4:12-16; or 2) if adequately trained, a paid “teaching elder” (1 Timothy 5:17-18 and see above), in which case the qualifications are the same as for the other elders (see above). In addition, the elders of CCC (after careful and prayerful consideration and with adequate congregational input) may choose to ordain those called to, and gifted for, ministry from the congregation (1 Timothy 4:14).
Deacons - Because the position is only explicitly mentioned in two passages (i.e, in Philippians 1:1 and in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, where the qualifications for the role are listed), the role of the “deacon” is essentially undefined biblically. However, because the word means “servant” or “helper,” deacon ministry at CCC will largely have to do with accountable (i.e., directly to the leadership of the elders, then to the congregation and God) authority/responsibility for the widely-varying service ministries of this church body (i.e., to make sure the task gets done in a timely manner, in keeping with biblical principles and to the glory of God; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 14:40).
Deacons will be added as soon as the church grows to a significant degree (as with older, larger congregations, in Philippians 1:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13). The prior observation (“testing”) by the elders (with adequate congregational input) of blameless behavior, as required in 1 Timothy 3:10, will begin immediately, so that, when the need to set apart deacons arrives, the process may move ahead as quickly as possible. In addition, while faithful and effective service in the role of deacon is certainly fully worthy of appropriate recognition (1 Timothy 3:13), that does not automatically qualify one to be an elder. There are additional qualifications beyond those for deacon (i.e., in 1 Timothy 3:8-13) that must be met to become an elder, especially being “able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2).
Other Staff (as Needed) - In the New Testament, additional co-workers were often required to adequately meet the practical needs in ministry which arose (e.g., Acts 6:1-4; Colossians 4:7-14). As the need for a (paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time) staff position clarifies, either the pastor or an elder will present the need for prayerful discussion and action by the elders.
Trustees - The elders will also act in the legal role of trustee for CCC.
Other Related Ministries/Responsible Positions (as Needed) - In the event that the Lord leads CCC to begin other related ministries, this constitution allows for such to be carefully and prayerfully researched and set up the elders, as long as adequate resources are present to launch the specific ministry without seriously negatively impacting the church in terms of either finances or leadership personnel.
Article VI - Task Forces
As needs arise, tailored task forces will be appointed by the elders to serve only as long as the specific need requires.
Article VII - Church Discipline
Church discipline only comes into play if a fellow church member has already confronted about a sin one-on-one (Matthew 18:15), then by two or three witnesses (18:16). At that point, the accusing parties should contact the pastor and elders, who will carefully investigate the matter and, if it is valid, arrange for the public rebuke of the accused party (18:17), unless there is repentance. In the event that the sinful party does not listen to the loving rebuke of the church body, there is no choice but to remove the person from the church’s fellowship (and membership) until repentance takes place (18:17). When repentant, the person is to be immediately returned to fellowship (2 Corinthians 2:5-8) and membership.
An accusation against a pastor or an elder should only be considered on the basis of two or three witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19). But, if, after careful investigation, the accusation is found valid, because of the responsible nature of such leadership positions, public follow-up is necessary (5:20).
Article VIII - Finances
Christians giving regularly and in grateful proportion to the Lord’s blessing in their lives is the New Covenant standard (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8-9). In that regard, the common concept of “tithing” (Malachi 3:10) may serve as a helpful starting point.
Certain percentages of overall expenditures are employed to attempt to be the best stewards of the resources the Lord had provided. Church staff salaries should not exceed 50% of income, while costs related to the building should not exceed 30%, with general fund expenses capped at 10% and missions-related giving not to fall below 10% of income.
As CCC grows, and when there is no building project in progress or being paid off, these proportions may change. The elders will have the discretion to make such changes as they prayerfully conclude necessary for the church’s spiritual health and development of its ministry, as long as they provide the congregation with a clear and full explanation of the change. The one area to remain consistent is that the category of missions support and related ministry giving must not drop below 10% of annual budgeted funds (see below).
Each new annual budget will be drafted in a November elders meeting. It will then be made available to the congregation for consideration in early December, before going into effect each January.
Article IX - Policies
All policies not addressed directly in this Constitution will be defined, as necessary, by the elders. Such policies will be available in a church policy manual.
Article X - Review
The CCC Constitution and Bylaws will not be a perpetual document. Rather, it will be a “sunset” document, with a comprehensive automatic review every five years. However, the elders will also be responsible for the ongoing review of the constitution and bylaws, in case a pressing need for revision occurs between the automatic five-year reviews.
Article XI - Dissolution
In the unfortunate event that it becomes evident that Comal Country Church, New Braunfels, Texas, must be dissolved, its property and liquid assets will be assigned to The Country Church in Marion, TX.
Created on 2006 August 6