[Newsletter Article February 2014]
Really! FBC Hastings is a Nebraska corporation. That does NOT mean any government has any influence over our beliefs or operations – unless we get way out of line from general community standards and laws. We will behave respectfully, as we expect other fellow-citizens to.
ORGANIZATION & FUNCTIONING
It means, for one thing, we have a Constitution. It has been registered with the State as part of the incorporation process. It describes how we are organized and make decisions. We can change it if we feel a need to.
It stipulates hiring a Senior Pastor who, in addition to general pastoral work, will function as the chief executive of the corporation
We have an elected Board of Trustees who meet monthly to oversee issues relating to property and money.
We have an elected Diaconate (Board of Deacons) who meet monthly to oversee staff and ministry issues.
It stipulates a church Moderator who is knowledgeable about the work of the boards and who calls and leads formal business meetings of the church.
We have a group of members who have final authority over who the Pastor is, who sits on the boards, who holds other offices (like Moderator, Financial Secretaries, etc), and any major financial issues. The members exercise authority by voting in congregational business meetings, by attending board meetings, by giving input to church leaders, AND by practicing their own spirituality and serving the church in whatever ways seem appropriate to their situations and abilities. Such volunteer ministry is a very powerful shaper of what FBC Hastings is and is becoming.
People become members by a process that involves meeting with the Pastor and the Diaconate, and being welcomed by the church as a whole. Since we are a church, a very important part of being a member is having a true and fairly stable relationship to Jesus Christ as Lord and to the general values of the church – like Christ as central, the Bible as our guide, concern and love for our neighbors whatever their beliefs, freedom of the local church from control by outside agencies or persons, and freedom of religion in society in general.
The Constitution stipulates 4 congregational business meetings per year to receive reports from various boards and ministry efforts, and to discuss and vote on any major financial or staff issues or significant new projects in our church life. Members and non-members are welcome to attend and take part, though only members may actually vote. These meetings are to be announced two weeks in advance, and any issues that might be voted on need to be mentioned in that announcement.
I as Pastor am glad to see these formal organizational functions again becoming a part of the life of FBC Hastings. It’s “the way it’s supposed to be.” It will be good to have everyone more informed and involved.