The name of this organization, a North Carolina Nonprofit Corporation, shall be Perry Creek Community Church, doing business as The Church at Perry Creek, using facilities located at 6710 Perry Creek Rd. Raleigh, NC 27616.
II. STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe in one true God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these is due the same homage, confidence, and obedience. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19-20; John 1:1,14; 2 Cor. 13:14; Col. 1:13-14).
The basis of our beliefs is the Bible, composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority on all matters of faith and practice by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, the Bible is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promises (Matt. 5:17-18; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
The Human Condition
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled, and renewed (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 3:6-7; Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:1-3).
We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God (Matt. 1:18-25; John 1:1, 1:14, 8:58; Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:15; Revelation 22:20).
The Work of Christ
We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins. His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation (Mk. 10:45; Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:21-26, 5:6-8).
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of its guilt and need for a Savior. He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God. He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips, and empowers every believer for Christ-like living and service, referred to as fruit of the Spirit (Jn. 16:8, 13-14; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Cor. 3:16, 12:13; Galatians 5:16-17, 5:22-25).
We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone. The justified are united by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The true church is manifest in local churches, whose membership should be composed only of believers. The Lord Jesus mandated two ordinances for the church, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper, which visibly and tangibly express the gospel. Though they are not the means of salvation, when celebrated by the church in genuine faith, these ordinances confirm and nourish the believer (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41; Rom. 6:3, 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 11:23-26, 12:13; Eph. 4:12; Col. 1:18).
We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose. God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed. With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil. In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed (Mic. 6:8; Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 12:28-31; Rom. 12:9-16; Eph. 6:10-20; Heb. 12:4).
We believe in the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service, and energetic mission (Acts 1:6-7, 10-11; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; Titus 2:11-14).
Response and Eternal Destiny
We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace (Jn. 1:12, 5:25-29; Acts 4:12, 17:30; Rom. 5:12; 1 Thes. 4:16-18; 2 Thes. 1:6-10; Rev. 20: 11-15; 21:1-4).
The Church at Perry Creek is autonomous and maintains the right to govern its own affairs, independent of any denominational control. However, the Bible teaches that local churches should seek voluntary fellowship with other doctrinally sound churches. This association is to provide help and encouragement while working together as the Lord directs. This is a voluntary association that in no way involves the surrender of the individual church’s freedom or dependence upon God.
The Church at Perry Creek has chosen to affiliate itself with the Southern Baptist Convention. We continue this association, believing that it is God’s will to do so. Fundamental to this affiliation is the understanding that the Southern Baptist Convention is a fellowship of autonomous, biblically sound churches that choose to work together to further God’s Kingdom. Voluntary contributions to local, state, national and foreign mission projects maintain this affiliation. Support may also be provided by sending messengers to the annual convention, and through the involvement of our members in Southern Baptist evangelism, education, and mission work. The Church at Perry Creek may also associate with other Christian ministries, as agreed upon by the elders.
We believe that God has commissioned The Church at Perry Creek to be a biblical community where the Good News of Jesus Christ transforms lives, blesses the community, and impacts the world.
The New Testament presents a picture of definable groups of people who, once committed to the Lord, identified themselves with and committed themselves to a particular body (Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor. 8:1; Phil. 1:1). Because of this, we recognize the need for formal membership. The Church at Perry Creek shall receive as members those baptized believers who have participated in our membership process, and are in agreement with the doctrine, polity, and membership covenant of this church, which is as follows:
Membership Covenant for The Church at Perry Creek
To be the member of a local church is the purpose of God for every believer (1 Cor. 12:12-13). The church is the precious Bride of Christ; it is the working Body of Christ; it is the loving Family of God. Church membership is the recognition and playing out of every Christian’s role as a member of God’s household; it is finding our place in the family!
This is a Membership Covenant—a written agreement or promise between two parties. The purpose of this Covenant is not to lay a weight of extra obligations, rules, or strictures on either our members or our leadership. Rather, the purpose is to be a joyful expression of the way Scripture calls all Christians to live in relationship with one another and with the church.
1. Basic Beliefs. Our beliefs at The Church at Perry Creek are all derived from the life-giving treasure that is the Bible. We are excited about Scripture because we believe that it is true, that it fits together, and that it is good for us. As members of The Church at Perry Creek, we agree that the Bible is authoritative, and that our Statement of Faith is an accurate expression of what Scripture teaches.
2. Our Elders Promise…
- To ordain Elders and install Deacons according to the criteria assigned to them in the Scriptures (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- To prayerfully seek God’s will for our church community and steward its resources to the best of our ability, based on the study of Scriptures, and the leading of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
- To care for the church, and seek her growth in grace, love, and truth (Matt. 28:16-20; Colossians 1:28; James 5:14).
- To provide teaching and counsel from the whole of Scripture (Acts 20:27-28; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Tim. 4:1-5), and to guard against false teaching (Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:28-31).
- To equip the members of the church for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:11-16).
- To lovingly exercise discipline when necessary, for the glory of God, for the health of the church, and for the ultimate good of the one being disciplined (1 Cor. 5:1-5; Matt. 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).
- To set an example for, and join our members in, fulfilling the obligations of Church membership (Phil. 3:17; 1 Tim. 4:12; Titus 2:7-8; 1 Pet. 5:3).
3. Our Members Promise…
- To pursue a growing relationship with Jesus Christ through personal devotion, prayer, and spiritual disciplines (Eph. 6:18; Psalm 119:11; Acts 2:42).
- To follow Jesus’ command by participating in the ordinances of Scripture: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
- To regularly participate in the life of The Church at Perry Creek by attending worship services, engaging in gospel-centered community, and serving those within and outside of the church (Acts 2:42-47; Heb. 10:23-25; Titus 3:14).
- To steward the resources God has given us, including time, talents, spiritual gifts, and finances. This includes joyful and sacrificial service and giving (Acts 4:32; 2 Cor. 8-9; Romans 12:1-2).
- By God’s grace through the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk in holiness in all areas of life, avoiding those things that Scripture forbids such as a lack of chastity and faithfulness to our spouse, substance abuse, financial misappropriation, and dishonesty (1 Cor. 5:1-5; 6:9-11, Eph. 5:18).
- To strive for the unity, peace, and welfare of the church; living humbly and avoiding gossip, self-promotion, and unhealthy conflict (Phil. 2:1-11; James 3:8-10, 13-18).
- To submit to the discipline of God through His Holy Spirit by following biblical procedures for church discipline in the hopes of repentance and restoration, and by submitting to the authority of the elders (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5; Heb. 12:5-11, 13:17)
- To notify the leadership of the church, and seek membership in another biblical church, should we leave the church for upright reasons (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Phil. 4:2-3).
Every member (except those under discipline as defined in the Bylaws) shall have the right to cast one vote on the following matters:
- Adoption of the annual General Operating Budget of the church (majority of all votes cast required for approval).
- Election of Elders, Deacons, Deaconesses, and other church offices (80% of all votes cast required for approval).
- Acquisition or sale of real property (two-thirds of all votes cast required for approval)
- Merger or dissolution of the church (two-thirds of all votes cast required for approval)
- Amendments to the Articles of Incorporation or the Bylaws of the church, or the calling or removing of the Senior Pastor (two-thirds of all votes cast required for approval)
- Other matters in which the Council of Elders feels led to seek the members’ advice or counsel.
Congregational Business Meetings requiring a two-thirds majority vote will be published 30 days in advance of meeting, and announced on the 3 prior Sundays. Unless otherwise stated in this constitution or the Bylaws, motions will pass by a simple majority of members present at an announced and published Congregational Business Meeting. The quorum for any announced and published meeting of the membership shall be the members present.
Members may be removed through their own request, through inactivity, or through Church Discipline, as recommended by the elders and affirmed by the congregation.
VI. PROPERTY RIGHTS
The Church at Perry Creek may acquire or sell real property by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at an announced business meeting for the stated purpose of acquiring or selling real property.
The Church at Perry Creek may be dissolved by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at an announced business meeting for the stated purpose of dissolution. Upon dissolution, all its assets remaining (after payment of all outstanding debts, obligations, costs, and expenses of such dissolution) shall first be distributed to any formal church plant of The Church at Perry Creek, or church-planting partner, and then be distributed to like-minded churches and ministries as organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, as shall at the time qualify under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as the board of elders shall determine.
Ultimate authority lies in Christ as the head of the church and in the Scripture as the basis for all faith and practice. The Church at Perry Creek shall remain free and self-governing. The government is vested in its membership and administered by its officers. The Elders will establish standing committees, task forces, and a coordinating council. In function, final authority shall reside in the membership. They shall approve and/or affirm biblically qualified leadership, to carry out Christ’s purposes.
VIII. CHURCH OFFICERS
Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of this church, and He rules primarily through the Scriptures. The biblical offices of the church are elders and deacons/deaconesses. Scripture indicates that the responsibility for shepherding and leading the church under Jesus Christ belongs to the Elders. As necessary, the Scriptures also provide for the appointment of Deacons and Deaconesses to serve the church, particularly in areas of ministry that would cause the Elders to neglect their biblical responsibilities. Our church also recognizes the administrative positions of President, Clerk, and Treasurer. All officers and the administrative positions of clerk and treasurer must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.
The New Testament teaches that the church is to be led by a plurality of godly men (Acts 14:23, Tit. 1:5; 1 Tim. 3:2). These leaders are known by three titles: elder, overseer, and pastor. Each of these titles reveal a separate aspect of the job of these leaders, but all three titles refer to the same office (1 Peter 5:1-2).
Responsibilities. Elders are given the responsibility under Christ, to shepherd the church. Like a shepherd, they are responsible to: (1) Lead the flock, administrating its resources (1 Pet. 5:2; 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 13:17), (2) Feed the flock, through the teaching of Scripture and the practice of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9; 1 Cor. 11:23), (3) Nurture the flock, equipping the members to serve (Eph. 4:11-16), and providing for pastoral care (Jms. 5:14-15), and (4) Protect the flock from false teaching and from harmful sin (Tit. 1:9; Acts 20:27,32; 1 Cor. 5:1-5).
Relationship to Congregation. Scripture portrays a relationship of mutual service and love between Elders and congregation, with the Elders leading by example; shepherding the flock faithfully, joyfully, and humbly (1 Pet. 5:2-4). The congregation for its part, should respect, value, and protect their leaders for the good of the church (Heb. 13:17, 1 Tim. 5:19; 1 These 5:13). If these things are done, the church will have a healthy foundation, the service of elders will be a joy both for elders and congregation, and the church will experience spiritual benefit (Heb. 13:17).
Qualifications. Because the role of Elder has such far-reaching impact, Scripture warns us to be careful about who a church ordains, and gives very clear directives about the kind of people that can fill that role. The overall qualifications for Elders are listed in 1 Tim. 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Pet. 5:1-3. In those passages, no fewer than 22 character requirements for elders are enumerated. This list can be overwhelming, and we recognize that no one fulfills it perfectly; nevertheless, The Church at Perry Creek joyfully assents to the guiding of Scripture as to who our leaders should be. We will strive to choose leaders whose lives are clearly molded by the biblical requirements of eldership. The qualities listed in these passages can be grouped into the following 3 categories: (1) A family life that shows godly leadership, (2) humble godly character, and (3) an aptitude for teaching God’s Word. In fulfillment of the Bible’s command to not be quick in ordaining Elders (1 Tim. 5:22-25), we require that candidates be members in good standing of The Church at Perry Creek for one year before they are allowed to serve as Elders, and that they show a pattern of serving and giving regularly and generously in this church.
Selection. Elders will be chosen and ordained in the following 5-step process:
- Education. The congregation is educated about Scripture’s teaching on Elders, and encouraged to pray for the Elder selection process.
- Nomination. The congregation nominates Elder candidates.
- Vetting. Candidates are vetted first by the nominating team, and then by the Elder Council, leading to the presentation of a slate of elder candidates to the congregation for approval.
- Approval. The congregation takes time to evaluate, and then votes to affirm or deny each candidate. A vote of 80% is required to affirm a candidate for the office of Elder.
- Ordination. Elders are ordained and installed by existing Elders.
Council of Elders. The Elder Council is to be composed of no less than 3 Elders, one of which will be the Senior Pastor. Elders are elected for a 3-year term. After 3 years an Elder can serve another term on the Elder Council with no delay if the other Elders recommend such service, and if the congregation approves it. After 2 consecutive terms of service, an Elder is required to step off of the Elder Council for at least one year before serving again. The Senior Pastor is exempted from the normal Elder election process, and remains on the Elder Council for the duration of his service as Senior Pastor at The Church at Perry Creek.
Tenure. Any active Elder may resign from the Elder Council at any time by giving written notice to the Elder Council. An elder may be removed from the Elder Council by a two-thirds vote of the remainder of the Elder Council, and a majority vote of the congregation held at a duly called business meeting.
B. Senior Pastor
Responsibilities. The Senior Pastor will serve on the Elder Council as one of the Elders. As one of the Elders, the Senior Pastor has the responsibility to shepherd the flock. He is to lead the flock, feed it through his teaching and through the ordinances, nurture it through equipping and ministry, and protect the flock from false teaching, division, and sin. In addition to serving as an elder, the Senior Pastor carries a special responsibility: He is the primary teacher of God’s Word. He is to equip the flock through insightful and accurate teaching of God’s Word. He also leads the church to accomplish its mission and God-given vision.
Selection. If a vacancy in the Senior Pastor position exists at The Church at Perry Creek, a Senior Pastor Search Team will be formed. The team will be chosen by the Elders, and approved by the congregation. The Senior Pastor Search Team will work with the Elders to screen resumes, interview applicants, confirm qualifications and experience, and make a recommendation for the role of Senior Pastor. The recommended candidate must have the express approval, first of the Senior Pastor Search Team, and then of two-thirds of the Elder Council. The candidate will then be brought to the congregation, who must affirm the candidate with a two-thirds vote in a business meeting.
Tenure. The Senior Pastor serves indefinitely until he either resigns or is removed from office. Should the Senior Pastor resign, he must state his intention to resign in writing, giving 4 weeks of notice to the Elder Council. The Church at Perry Creek may declare the office of Senior Pastor to be vacant if circumstances dictate. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose. The meeting may be called only upon recommendation of two-thirds of the Council of Elders. A two-thirds congregational vote is necessary for removal of the Senior Pastor.
C. Deacons and Deaconesses
The word “deacon” means “servant” or “minister.” Deacons and Deaconesses are spiritually qualified and formally recognized men and women who provide logistical and material support, so that the elders can focus on the Spiritual needs of the congregation, and oversight of the church (Acts 6:1-6; Rom. 16:1; Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-13). They are set apart for that role by the Elders and congregation.
Qualifications: As with Elders, Scripture speaks clearly to the kind of people who should serve as Deacon in the church. Both men and women are welcome to serve in the Diaconate at The Church at Perry Creek (cf. 1 Tim. 3:11; Rom. 16:1; please see the position paper Gender and Church Leadership for a fuller explanation). As with Elders, the list of qualifications for Deacons is rigorous (1 Tim. 3:8-13), and no one fulfills these in perfection. Nevertheless, The Church at Perry Creek joyfully assents to the guidance of Scripture on who our Deacons should be, and will strive to choose Deacons whose lives are clearly molded by the biblical requirements. As with Elders, there are three main categories of qualification: (1) Like Elders, Deacons are to have family lives that show godly leadership. (2) Like Elders, Deacons are to show humble, godly character, and (3) Deacons need to have a clear grasp of the gospel and the basics of the faith, but unlike elders, Deacons do not need to be teachers. Rather, their focus is on serving. We require that candidates be members in good standing of The Church at Perry Creek for one year before they are allowed to serve as Deacons, and that they show a pattern of serving and giving regularly and generously in this church.
Organization: Because the primary job of the Diaconate is to assist the Elders, freeing them up to attend to the spiritual needs and oversight of the church, the number of Deacons and the tasks assigned to them will be set by the Elder Council. Some tasks like benevolence and other aspects of member care may belong entirely to the Diaconate. With other tasks, such as ordinances, financial administration, and facilities, the Deacons may come alongside other ministry teams or structures to assist. And the Elders may have particular task forces for which they enlist Deacons to help.
Selection Process. As with the Elders, Deacons go through a process of nomination, vetting by both the nominating team and Elder Council, approval by congregation, and installation. The primary difference between the processes is that because Deacons assist the elders, the Council of Elders will nominate Deacon candidates. As with Elders, a vote of 80% is required for a candidate to be approved to serve as a Deacon.
Tenure. Any active Deacon may resign from the Council at any time by giving written notice to the Council. A Deacon may be removed from by a two-thirds vote of the Elder Council.
The President shall report to the Council of Elders. The President may sign, with the Clerk, Treasurer, or any other proper officer of the church authorized by the Board of Elders, such documents as the Council of Elders has authorized to be executed, except in cases where the signing and execution thereof shall be expressly delegated by the Council of Elders or by the Bylaws to some other officer or agent of the church, or shall be required by law to be otherwise signed or executed. The President shall perform such duties as from time to time may be assigned by the Council of Elders. The President shall be nominated by the Elders and elected by the congregation.
The Treasurer, who shall not be an active Elder or paid church staff member, shall ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues, and expenses of the church at each Congregational Business Meeting. The responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the Elders. The Treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The treasurer shall render to the Elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church. If the church employs a person or persons to carry out some of these duties, then the Treasurer shall provide accountability and oversight in those areas. The Treasurer shall be nominated by the Elders and elected by the congregation. In the absence or incapacity of the Treasurer, the Elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church Treasurer.
It shall be the duty of the Clerk to record the minutes of all regular and special Congregational Business Meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the Senior Pastor, the Elders, the Deacons, or the church. The Clerk shall be nominated by the Elders and elected by the congregation. In the absence or incapacity of the clerk, the Elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the Church Clerk. For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws, the Clerk shall serve as the secretary of the corporation. The Clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of this constitution shall be available for all church members.
IX. BYLAWS AND POLICY MANUAL
A supplement to this constitution known as the Bylaws shall embody the stated qualifications for church leaders and officers. The Bylaws shall also include officers’ duties, provisions for appointment of additional leaders, conditions for membership, method by which members are received, along with other rules and regulations for church activities as needed. A Policy Manual shall cover such items as operations, job descriptions for all positions in the church, etc.
Amendments to this constitution may be made at any Congregational Business Meeting when said proposed Amendments have been presented to the membership in writing and posted for at least 30 days prior to the Business Meeting. Amendments to the Bylaws require a majority of those present at the Congregational Business Meeting to vote in favor of such amendments.