The Elders are pleased to share with our church family the fruit of an extended effort to update our constitution with Bylaws. We have undertaken this effort in order to align our organizational documents with the increasing scope and complexity of our church, as God has extended His favor over Harvest Bible Chapel for the past 27 years.
We invite the members of Harvest to review the Bylaws throughout the coming month and provide any feedback following the instruction below. The document is online for member input through the link at the bottom of this update. Before reading it, note the following which will give context.
What are Bylaws? Bylaws are an organization’s governing documents. They seek to communicate and accomplish 5 things:
1) Establish that we are an organization, and that we do have a purpose and structure.
2) State plainly our purpose for existing: “We exist to…”
3) Define who and what makes up our organization.
4) State who is responsible for the various aspects of our organization and how they account to others.
5) Provide high-level statements about how we will conduct our affairs.
The audience for this document is our local government, the community around us, and the members of our church (the organization). In some cases we use “business” language, because the Bylaws are intended to explain who we are, what we are doing, and why we are doing it to the world around us.
The reason for taking on this project is straightforward: As our church has grown, matured, and increased in complexity we need Bylaws that align with this scope. Our current constitution was written nearly 20 years ago — when the culture and our church were less complicated. It no longer accurately reflects the lessons we’ve learned over the course of 20 years, and it doesn’t articulate the measures already taken by the Elders and senior staff to incorporate best practices into the operations of the church.
The process of building the Bylaws document involved the full Elder Board. Hours of research, seeking counsel from like-minded churches, and the collective expertise of our board all influenced what has been incorporated into this document. Multiple rounds of revisions and discussion have produced the Bylaws we are now publishing for member feedback.
When you read the Bylaws, you will see:
• Articles I through V detailing who we are – how we stand in relation to the world around us.
• Articles VI through VIII describing the make up of our church organization – who provides leadership, and how they provide it.
• Articles IX through XV setting up specific processes and procedures for our operations and stating our commitment to operational integrity.
• Informational pop-ups in highlighted text throughout the document, to help explain the intent and purpose of various sections.
If you are a member of Harvest, we welcome your feedback. (Note, feedback is limited to members of the church.) A simple form is provided at the end of the document for submitting feedback. After one month, the Elders will consolidate the responses, use them to make final revisions, and formally adopt the Bylaws as our church’s legal organizational document. (Updated 11/1/2015: Feedback form closed as of October 31, 2015.)Read The Bylaws
We give thanks to God, whose faithfulness and favor over our church continue to be far more abundant than all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). And we are grateful for all in our church family who lift up the Elders and our church in prayer.
Elder Board Chairman on behalf of the Elder Board