LIVING WORD LUTHERAN CHURCH of THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS
The purpose of this Congregation shall be to honor and glorify God, to carry out his will (as set forth in Matthew 28: 18-20), to manifest the unity of our faith in Jesus Christ our God and Savior, to spread the Kingdom of God, and to foster Christian fellowship and love, through the preaching of the Word of God, the administration of the Sacraments, and the religious instruction of all its Members according to the Confessional standard of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, as stated in Article 2 of this Constitution.
Whereas the Word of God demands that a Christian Congregation not only conform to the Word of God in doctrine and practice (Psalm 119:105, Galatians 1:6-8, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Isaiah 8:20), but also that all things be done decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). Therefore, we, a number of Lutheran Christians living in or near The Woodlands, Texas, accept and subscribe to the following Constitution and Bylaws in accordance with which all spiritual and material affairs of our Congregation shall be governed.
The name of this Congregation shall be: Living Word Lutheran Church of The Woodlands, Texas.
This Congregation acknowledges and accepts all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired and revealed Word of God, and all the Symbolical books of the evangelical Lutheran church, contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580 as the correct presentation and true exposition of the Christian doctrine drawn from the holy Scriptures, viz:
· The Three Ecumenical Creeds: The Apostolic, the Nicene, and the Athanasian.
· The Unaltered Augsburg Confession
· The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
· The Smalcald Articles
· Luther’s Small Catechism
· Luther’s Large Catechism
· The Formula of Concord
No such doctrine or practice in conflict or inconsistent with the above norms of our faith and life shall be taught or tolerated in this Congregation.
This Congregation and all of her called workers shall be members of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as long as the Confessions and Constitution of said Synod are in accord with the Confession and Constitution of this Congregation as laid down in Article 2.
This Congregation shall to the best of its ability, collaborate with said Synod and assist it in effecting all sound measures intended for building the Kingdom of God.
1. Baptized Membership in this Congregation is held by all those who are baptized in the Name of the Triune God with water and are under our pastoral care.
2. Confirmed Membership in this Congregation may be held only by those who:
a. Are baptized with water in the name of the Triune God.
b. Have declared their acceptance of the Confessions of this Congregation as contained in Article 2 of this Constitution.
c. Have been accepted into confirmed Membership in accordance with the Bylaws of this Congregation and shall remain faithful to the responsibilities of Membership as contained in these Bylaws.
d. Do not live in manifest works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21), but lead a Christian life.
e. Are not members of a secret society (or of any other organization) conflicting with the Word of God and the conduct of a Christian life.
3. The Membership, and Membership privileges, of each confirmed member shall remain in force so long as each member shall maintain his eligibility according to the five (5) points in Section 2 of this Article and shall meet the requirements stated in Article 8 of this Constitution, or implied in the disciplinary or other provisions, of the Bylaws. A Member who voluntarily severs his connection with this Congregation, or who has been released or transferred, or who has been excommunicated or excludes himself according to the provisions of the Bylaws, shall be deemed to have terminated his Membership in this Congregation along with all rights and privileges of such Membership.
4. The right of suffrage shall be vested only in confirmed Members of the Congregation who have reached the legal voting age in the State of Texas and are otherwise eligible according to the congregation’s Bylaws.
Only such candidates shall be called and elected to serve as Pastors who profess acceptance of, and pledge faithful adherence to the Confessions of this Congregation as set forth in Article 2 of this Constitution.
In the absence of adequate cause for dismissal as defined in Article 9, E of the Constitution, the tenure of office of a called or elected Pastor shall be the remainder of his active life, or until the Lord calls him into another field of service.
Only such hymns, prayers, and liturgies shall be used in public services of the Congregation and in all ministerial acts as conform to the Confessional standard of Article 2 of this Constitution, and as are approved by the (Senior) Pastor(s). In all classes of instruction in Christian doctrine, only such books and material shall be used as conform to this standard.
This Congregation, represented by its Voters, shall have the right to acquire and own such property as is necessary for the successful realization of its aims. Everything owned by this Congregation, whether movable or fixed, is the estate of the Congregation.
If at any time a separation on account of doctrinal dispute should take place in this Congregation, which God may prevent, the property of the Congregation and all its benefits connected therewith shall remain with those Members who adhere to the Confessional standard of Article 2 of this Constitution.
In the event of a dissolution of this Congregation, which God may prevent, all property of the Congregation shall be disposed of by the final meeting of the Voting Membership for the payment of debts; and any and all surplus after due settlement of just claims against the Congregation shall be conveyed to and become the property of the Texas District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
PRIVILEGES AND DUTIES OF MEMBERS
It shall be the privilege, duty, and obligation of every Member to:
1. Grow in the Christian faith and life through faithful use of the Means of Grace (Word and Sacrament), searching the Scriptures at home and in fellowship with other Members of the Congregation and its agencies, worshiping with God-pleasing faithfulness and regularity, and partaking of the Lord’s Supper with great frequency.
2. Live a morally decent life before God and men, abstaining from open works of the flesh (Galatians 5:18-21), and so conducting themselves at all times to bring credit rather than blame upon the church of Jesus Christ.
3. Provide for proper and adequate Christian training of their children by instruction at home and through the agencies of the Church.
4. Contribute toward the maintenance of the Congregation and the extension of the Kingdom of God at home and abroad to the limit of their financial ability.
5. Place their God-given gifts and talents at the disposal of the Pastor(s), the Officers, and other agencies of the Congregation as set forth in its Constitution and Bylaws, so that the purposes and functions of the Congregation may be effectively implemented.
6. Practice brotherly love, to build up fellow Members in the faith and to promote unity of faith and Christian fellowship.
7. Submit, for the sake of love and peace, to the regulations of this body, provided they do not conflict with the Word of God.
8. Submit to the brotherly admonition when in error or offense.
1. POWERS OF THE CONGREGATION
A. General The Congregation as a body, through its Voters’ Assembly, shall have supreme power to administer and manage all of the Congregation’s external and internal affairs. The Congregation, however, shall not be empowered to decide anything contrary to the Word of God and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church (Article 2), and any such contrary decision shall be null and void. Matters of doctrine and conscience shall be decided in accordance with the Word of God. Other matters shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the Voting Members in attendance at a Voter’s Assembly meeting unless otherwise specified by this Constitution or Bylaws.
B. Right of Calling The right of calling pastors and other called workers shall be vested in the Voter’s Assembly and shall not be delegated to a smaller body or an individual. The Church Council may authorize the hiring of non-called staff as approved in the annual budget or by the Voter’s Assembly.
C. Officers, Boards, Committees This congregation shall have such officers, boards, and committees as are provided for in the Bylaws or which it may deem necessary to establish. The corporate officers shall be: the President, the Vice President, the Recording Secretary and the Treasurer, who shall represent the congregation in all necessary legal matters of the Congregation as a corporation. The President and Secretary shall sign all legal documents. Members of the Voters’ Assembly who are at least 21 years of age shall be eligible to hold office. Only male members may hold the office of Elder.
D. Authority Of Officers The elected or appointed officers, boards, or committees of this Congregation shall have only that authority or power granted to them by the Constitution, the Bylaws, or the Voters’ Assembly. Such powers as have been granted by the Voters’ Assembly may be altered or revoked at any time.
E. Removal from Office Any elected Officer or Council Member who fails to perform the duties of a Confirmed Member as stated in Article 8, or is unable or is willfully neglectful in the performance of their official duties, may be removed from office in Christian and lawful order by the Voter’s Assembly by a three-fourths majority of those present and voting by ballot vote. Any member of the Voter’s Assembly may initiate such action by referring it to another member of the Church Council for commencement of a justification investigation. The Council will report its findings and make its recommendation to the Voter’s Assembly for action if necessary.
Any pastor or called worker may be removed from office by a three-fourths majority of those present and voting by ballot vote of the Voters’ Assembly, for persistent adherence to false doctrine, scandalous life, willful neglect of official duties, or inability to perform their official duties. Such action may be initiated by any Member of the Voter’s Assembly but shall first be referred to the Board of Elders for review before being presented to the Church Council for action, if necessary.
SOCIETIES OR GROUPS
Societies or Groups may be organized within the Congregation only with the expressed approval of the Voting Membership. The (Senior) Pastor(s), by virtue of his office, shall be the advisor for such Groups or Societies within the Congregation. In the event of a pastoral vacancy, the Church Council shall assume all administrative duties of the (Senior) Pastor. Only confirmed Members of this Congregation shall be officers of such Societies or Groups**. Any decisions, enactment, or performance of or by Societies or Groups shall be invalid if they conflict with this Constitution and its associated Bylaws. Supervision of such groups shall be determined by the Church Council.
** The stipulation of Confirmed Membership is withdrawn in the case of young people’s groups that are comprised of non-confirmed youth.
VALIDITY OF RESOLUTIONS
All Congregation matters shall be decided by a simple majority vote of the qualified Voting Members present at a properly convened meeting of the Voters’ Assembly, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution and its associated Bylaws, for dealing with certain situations or matters therein specifically mentioned and defined.
1. This Constitution may be changed or amended with the exception of the Articles listed in Section 2 of this Article, by a three-fourths majority of the votes cast in a regular meeting of the Voters’ Assembly. The amendment shall also be published and mailed or emailed to the Voting Membership.
2. Amendments to Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 shall not destroy their essential meaning. Amendments shall be submitted in writing at a meeting of the Voter’s Assembly and made public to the congregation by public posting, email and/or mail to all communicant Members. Notice of the discussion of such amendments shall be given prior to two regular voter’s assemblies when the proposed action will be discussed. Notice that action will be taken on proposed amendments shall be provided to all voting Members prior to the meeting when a vote will be taken. The date of approval shall be referenced in any amendment adopted.
3. All amendments to the Constitution shall be recorded in the official copy of the Constitution and Bylaws in the possession of the current Recording Secretary of the Congregation and shall be submitted to the District for review before final approval and adoption.
LIVING WORD LUTHERAN CHURCH of THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS
Applicants for Confirmed Membership in this Congregation shall consult the Senior Pastor who shall determine whether such applicants are eligible for Membership in accordance with Article 4 of the Constitution. Applicants not familiar with the doctrines and Confessions of the Lutheran Church shall be required to attend a course of instruction, and to make a profession of faith either before the Congregation or, at the Senior Pastor’s discretion, before witnesses who are Members of the Board of Elders. Subsequently, the Senior Pastor shall recommend them for church membership and they are received by the congregation.
1. Definition: Voting Members are confirmed Members who have reached the legal voting age in the State of Texas, have read, accepted, and signed the Constitution and Bylaws, have been received by the congregation, desire to become voting members and have not otherwise lost their voting privileges through lack of attendance of Voter’s Assembly meetings as stipulated in 3.c. and 3.d. below.
2. Duties: Voting members shall attend the meetings of the Voters’ Assembly regularly, participate in the work of the congregation, and willingly accept responsibility according to ability.
3. Voting Membership:
a. Termination of confirmed membership automatically terminates voting membership.
b. A voter may be excused from a regular meeting of the Voters’ Assembly by any other voter provided that the absent voter has requested to be excused.
c. In order to maintain a current roster of voting members, when a voter has been absent without a valid excuse at three consecutive regular Voters’ Assembly Meetings, the Recording Secretary shall be notified. Prior to the next regular meeting of the Voters’ Assembly, the Recording Secretary or his/her designee shall prepare a letter to the voter encouraging active voting participation, notifying them that their voting membership may lapse if they are not present at the next regular Voter’s Assembly meeting. This letter may be mailed, emailed or hand delivered to the voter, at least one week before the next Voter’s Assembly meeting.
The letter should mention that this in no way affects congregational membership and that if their voting privileges should lapse, they may rejoin the Voters Assembly at any future regular meeting by personally attending and providing a written request for reinstatement. A written letter of response requesting reinstatement of voting privileges will be required
d. If the delinquent voter is absent at the fourth successive regular meeting of the Voters’ Assembly, s/he may be removed from the roster.
a. The voting rights of the Member whose privileges have lapsed will be reinstated upon receipt by the Council of a written request for reinstatement and attendance at a Voters’ Assembly meeting.
1. Regular Voters’ Assembly Meetings: Regular meetings of the Voters' Assembly will be scheduled for the third Sunday of February, May, August, and November. If a meeting must be rescheduled, it shall be reset for either one week earlier or one week later. Meetings shall be announced by word or in the bulletin at the worship services on the two Sundays preceding the meeting.
2. Special Voters’ Assembly Meetings:
a. Special meetings of the Voters' Assembly may be called by any two of the following office holders: the president, the treasurer, or presiding elder, or by written request of any three members of the Voters' Assembly.
b. The only business that may be discussed and acted upon at a special meeting is that for which the meeting is called.
a. In the absence of a quorum, all business discussions will be reported back to the congregation but no vote will be held. All voting will be tabled until the next voter’s meeting at which a quorum is present.
b. When a general voter’s meeting has been properly announced and at least one-fifth of the eligible voting members are in attendance, it shall constitute a legal meeting, duly qualified to transact the business which may come before it.
c. For the business of amending the Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution, the erection of buildings, the purchase or sale of real estate or structures, the calling of a pastor(s) or other called workers, or the removal of a pastor or other called worker from office, one-fourth of the voting Members shall constitute a quorum and a three-fourths majority of those present and voting by ballot shall be required to carry a motion.
d. A special meeting of the Voters' Assembly shall be announced by mailing or emailing a notice to all communicant Members at least five days prior to the meeting and by announcement at worship services at least once before the meeting is to be held. Written notice of items of business listed in Article 3, c of the Bylaws shall be mailed to all voters at least five days prior to the meeting at which they will be discussed
4. Questions of parliamentary procedure: shall be decided in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order, Revised.
5. Order of business
The following shall be the normal order of business for the regular Voters' Assembly meetings:
b. Admission of New Voting Members
c. Review of Minutes
d. Treasurer’s Report
e. Reports of Pastor and called workers
f. Reports of Officers, Boards, and Committees
g. Old Business
h. New Business
j. Prayer and Dismissal
CALLING OF PASTORS AND TEACHERS
1. Call Committee and Nominations
When it becomes apparent that a vacancy in the office of pastor or other called worker will exist, a Call Committee shall be formed consisting of an elder (nominated by the Board of Elders), a Council Officer (nominated by the remaining Council members) and at least three (but not more than 5) voting members (nominated by the congregation at-large). The nominated members of the Call Committee will then be elected in a duly convened meeting of the Voters' Assembly.
Prior to the commencement of the Call Committee, the process shall be communicated to the congregation. The Call Committee shall receive the list of candidates from the District President and also receive nominations from the members of the congregation. The names of member-referred nominees that have not been included in the list provided by District shall be referred to the District President for his comments and insight. The Call Committee will make reasonable inquiry into the relative merits of each of the nominees and shall present its findings to a subsequent meeting of the Voters' Assembly.
The list of candidates shall be publicly announced to the congregation on two successive Sundays and published at least one week before the meeting at which the call is to be extended. Barring any sustained protest, the candidates shall become eligible for calling at any subsequent properly called meeting of the Voters' Assembly.
The election of a pastor or teacher shall take place in a duly convened meeting and shall be by ballot. One-fourth of voting members shall constitute a quorum and a three-fourths majority vote is required for election. The election shall, if possible, be made unanimous. The call will then be sent to the pastor or other called worker so elected.
1. The annual election of the congregational officers shall be by ballot and shall take place in the November meeting of the Voter’s Assembly. The Nominating Committee shall publish the offices to be filled and the slate of candidates agreeing to serve the Lord on the Sunday prior to the election. In the case of Elder elections, all candidates will be reviewed in light of the Scriptural qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8 by the Board of Elders, before the congregation votes on the candidate(s). The slate of candidates may only be amended at the Voter’s meeting by nominations from the floor for any available office except that of Elder (due to the review requirement). No person shall be nominated without their consent.
2. The officers-elect shall assume their respective duties on the first of January of the following year. In the event of a vacancy in any non-Elder office, the president shall appoint a successor to serve until the next annual election. Such appointment is subject to the approval of the Voters' Assembly. Officers shall be elected for the terms specified in these Bylaws and shall hold office until their successors have been elected. In the event of a vacancy on the Board of Elders, the sitting Board of Elders shall appoint a successor to serve until the next annual election, subject to the approval of the Voter’s Assembly.
3. All candidate nominations will be solicited from the congregation starting in the August voters meeting. All qualifying candidates will be approached to consider this position. Those qualifying candidates willing to accept the position, including those up for re-election, will be given to the Nominating Committee for publishing to the congregation as in item 1 above.
OFFICERS AND BOARDS
The elected officers of this congregation shall be: a President, a Vice President, a Recording Secretary, and a Treasurer. Other elected positions currently include: Council Members who each head up a Board of Elders, a Board of Trustees, a Board of Evangelism, a Board of Fellowship, A Board of Youth Ministry and a Board of Christian Education. Two additional non-Board positions are a Financial Secretary and an Assistant Treasurer. Changes to these, as well as the addition of other boards and positions deemed necessary by the congregation, may be effected through the amendment process outlined in Article 12 of the Constitution and Article 11 of the Bylaws.
TERMS AND DUTIES OF OFFICERS AND BOARDS
1. President and Vice President
The term of office of the President and of the Vice President shall be two years, and shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The President shall be elected in odd-numbered years and the Vice President in even-numbered years.
The President shall issue calls for meetings of the Voters' Assembly, and shall preside at all meetings of the Voters' Assembly. He shall be an ex-officio, nonvoting member of all boards and committees, except the Board of Elders.
In the event the President is absent or becomes unable to perform the duties of that office, the Vice President will perform the duties of the President. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, the Vice President shall succeed to that office for the remainder of that term. The Vice President shall serve as chairman of a Stewardship Committee.
2. Recording Secretary
The term of this office shall be two years and it shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The Recording Secretary shall be elected in odd-numbered years.
The Recording Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of the meetings of the Voters' Assembly and Council Meetings for the permanent record of the congregation, shall submit those minutes for approval at the following regular meeting. The recording secretary shall maintain a written record of voting members and their attendance at Voters' Assemblies, maintain the original Constitution and Bylaws, as amended, and signature pages to the Constitution and Bylaws of all voting members. The original Constitution and Bylaws as amended, signature pages thereto, and all approved minutes of the Voters' Assembly meetings shall be stored for safe keeping at the church. The Recording Secretary shall perform those other duties in keeping with the office.
The term of this office shall be two years and it shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The Treasurer shall be elected in even-numbered years.
The Treasurer shall disburse the funds of the congregation in accordance with its budget, and resolutions of the Voters' Assembly, and under the direction of the Church Council. Items which remain the same from month to month, such as salaries, rent, loan payments, etc., may be approved by the Council by a standing motion, and the Treasurer shall not require further authorization. All other items shall be disbursed only with the written order of one member of the Council (other than the Treasurer) or by his signature on the invoice. The Treasurer shall prepare and submit to the Council, at least quarterly, a statement of all receipts and disbursements during the preceding period. The Treasurer shall be bonded in such amounts as the Council may determine, the cost of such bonds to be borne by the congregation.
The Treasurer shall maintain permanent records of the receipts and disbursements in books which are to remain the property of the congregation. These books shall be submitted for audit at least annually as provided elsewhere in these Bylaws.
The Treasurer shall make reports at each regular meeting of the Voters' Assembly showing receipts, disbursements, and beginning and ending balances in various funds. He shall arrange for establishing accounts in banks designated by the Voters' Assembly and shall keep and maintain the checkbook.
The Treasurer shall be excused from counting the receipts of the congregation.
4. Assistant Treasurer
The term of this office shall be two years and it shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The Assistant Treasurer shall be elected in odd-numbered years.
The Assistant Treasurer shall assist the Treasurer in carrying out the Treasurer’s duties. The Assistant Treasurer shall be a signatory party to the General Fund checking account of the church and be bonded in such amount as the Council may determine, the cost of such bonds to be borne by the congregation.
Should the position of Treasurer become vacant, the Assistant Treasurer shall serve as the interim Treasurer until such position is filled by appointment or Voters’ Assembly election.
5. Financial Secretary
The Financial Secretary shall be a part-time salaried position and a member of the Living Word Lutheran Church Staff. The term of office shall be governed by the term of employment.
It shall be the duty of the Financial Secretary to oversee the receipt, counting, recording and deposit of all monies accruing to the congregation, including offerings, contributions, special collections, loans, subsidies, bequests, proceeds from sale of properties, etc. Deposits shall be made timely and a copy of the record of receipts shall be furnished to the treasurer at weekly intervals. The offerings are to be counted when received and the initial record made in the presence of at least two communicant members of at least 18 years of age. The records shall be made available to the Auditing Committee for the purpose of an annual audit.
The Financial Secretary shall maintain a record of amounts contributed by contributing units and shall furnish to each such unit semi-annual and annual statements of the unit's contributions. S/he shall annually provide a supply of contribution envelopes to each contributing unit.
The Financial Secretary shall serve as a member of the Stewardship Committee, and shall be bonded in such amounts as the Council may determine, the cost of such bonds to be borne by the congregation.
6. Board of Elders
The Board of Elders shall determine the number of elders required to perform its duties, but will consist of no more than eighteen (18) elders. The term of this office shall be three years at which time they are eligible for re-election by the congregation. The terms of the members of the Board shall be so arranged such that 1/3 of the board members are elected in any one year. Elders may serve an indefinite number of terms. The Board shall elect a Presiding Elder and assign responsibilities to Board Members as required to fulfill its duties and ministries it oversees. The elders shall:
a. Provide special assistance, care, and nurturing to the called staff and their families.
b. Provide special assistance to the pastor(s) in all matters pertaining to the maintenance of the spiritual well-being of the Congregation at large.
c. Consider complaints and grievances of members of the Congregation if Matthew 18:15-16 has been fully observed, and report to the Congregation those which cannot otherwise be resolved, in accordance with Matthew 18:17-18.
d. Make a diligent effort to induce members who are frequently absent from worship services and from partaking of the Sacrament to more regularly participate in and enjoy all the rights and privileges of their membership.
e. Make a diligent effort to bring newborn infants of the Congregation to baptism, and assist the pastor(s) in such pastoral acts as he deems necessary.
f. Assist the pastor(s) in arranging for pulpit assistance and special services.
g. Coordinate the training of acolytes, altar guild, ushers and their duty schedules.
h. Report to the Voters' Assembly all transfers, withdrawals or other changes in membership in the congregation.
i. Ensure ushers maintain individual records of attendance at worship services and at Holy Communion.
j. Serve as an advisory board to the President and to the pastor(s), especially in matters of spiritual welfare and sensitive judgment.
k. Annually, not later than the regular November meeting of the Voters' Assembly, select an elder as the third voting member to serve on the Stewardship Committee.
l. Lead the Congregation in Christian living by word and example.
m. Oversee management of the Love Fund.
n. Oversee the activities of the Living Word Lutheran Church Sunday School (LWLCSS) as follows:
The LWLCSS will be under the guidance of the Board of Elders. The Superintendent of the LWLCSS will be selected by the pastor(s) of Living Word Lutheran Church. The Superintendent, in consultation with the pastor(s)/elders shall:
1. Develop plans and policies for all Sunday School programs for all age levels of the Congregation.
2. Recruit Sunday School Teachers and other assisting staff.
3. Implement Sunday School Teacher’s meetings for in-service training programs for Sunday School Teachers.
4. Periodically review and appraise the total Sunday School programs of the church and make recommendations for improvements. This review shall include objectives of programs, curricula, resource materials, and staffing.
7. Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees shall consist of three (3) members. The term of this office shall be two years and shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The terms of the members of the board shall be arranged so that no more than two board members shall be elected in one year.
The Trustees shall be responsible for the custody, control, maintenance, and repair of all real and personal property of the congregation. The Trustees shall be notified in writing of any proposed gift of real or personal property to the congregation. The Trustees shall examine such gift as to suitability and use by the congregation and shall review the request at its next regularly scheduled board meeting. By majority vote, the Board of Trustees shall accept or decline the gift and notify the potential donor in writing of the decision. The Board of Trustees shall report receipt and acceptance of all gifts at the next Voters’ Assembly meeting and inform the Assembly of the gift’s availability for use.
In cases of extreme emergency, to prevent further loss or damage to property, non-budgeted expenditures may be made if the Treasurer and the President shall both agree.
8. Board of Christian Education
The Board of Christian Education shall consist of at least seven (7) members, five (5) of which are members of Living Word Lutheran Church and elected by the Voters Assembly during its annual election of officers. The remaining two (2) members shall be non-voting, ex officio, appointed by the elected Board Members, and may be selected from the parent group of Living Word Lutheran School. These appointees cannot serve as Chairman or Secretary of this board.
The term of this office for the elected board members shall be two (2) years and shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The terms of these elected members shall be arranged so that no more than three board members shall be elected in one year. The appointed members will not have specific term limits and will serve as long as they are willing and the majority of the elected members support their continued service.
This Board acts as a policy board to oversee the educational life of the Living Word Lutheran School and its ministry of the church to the children within its care.
The Board of Christian Education duties shall include, but not be limited to:
a. Establish, review, and implement the policies and procedures for the operation of Living Word Lutheran School.
b. Create and maintain a current Policy Manual, a Teachers Handbook, and a Parent Handbook.
c. Prepare and present an annual budget to be incorporated into the Living Word Lutheran Church annual budget.
d. Annually review and evaluate the educational program of the Living Word Lutheran School. This review shall include objectives of the programs, curriculum, texts and resource materials, equipment and facilities, and staff recruitment and training.”
9. Board of Evangelism
The Board of Evangelism shall consist of three (3) members, with one designated as chairman. The term of this office shall be two years and shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The terms of the members of the board shall be arranged so that no more than two board members shall be elected in one year.
The Board of Evangelism shall, in consultation with the pastor(s), develop and supervise an evangelism program for the Congregation. It shall:
a. Sponsor periodic canvasses of the surrounding community of the congregation and recent church visitors. See that an up-to-date list of prospects is contacted and records maintained in the church office.
b. Provide for a systematic and continuous program of lay visitation of prospects to welcome them to investigate and become active members of our Lutheran community.
c. Develop and implement a public relations program.
d. Provide oversight and reporting to the Church Council about activities and plans for such areas as Outreach, Prison Ministry, Assimilation, Life Ministry, etc., as opportunities are provided.
10. Board of Fellowship
The Board of Fellowship shall consist of three (3). The term of this office shall be two years and shall not be held by the same person for more than two consecutive full terms. The terms of the members of the board shall be arranged so that no more than two board members shall be elected in one year.
The Board of Fellowship shall, in consultation with the Pastor and the Council, plan, program, and implement fellowship activities within the congregation. The Board's responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to:
a. Planning and overseeing implementation of annual events such as the Church Picnic, BBQ Dinners, and Oktoberfest/Reformation celebration.
b. Developing regular fellowship opportunities for the Congregation.
11. Board of Youth Ministry
The Board of Youth Ministry shall consist of three (3) members and other youth and adults to be appointed for various tasks. The terms of this office shall be two years and shall not be held by the same person for more than two full consecutive terms. The terms of the members of the board shall be arranged so that no more than two board members shall be elected in one year.
The Board of Youth Ministry, in consultation with the pastor(s), the Director of Youth Ministry and other counselors will plan and implement a dynamic ministry with the youth of our congregation. It shall:
a. Develop areas of ministry for children, youth, young adults, and young families.
b. Reach out to youth, both members and nonmembers, to encourage and bring to fellowship in the various areas of youth ministry.
c. Teach youth how to be effective witnesses for Christ.
d. Provide opportunities for the youth to grow in their relationship with Christ.
Administrative Organization of Boards
Each Board shall annually select a chairman and secretary from among its members, meet at least quarterly, and maintain minutes of their meetings that shall be submitted annually to be a permanent part of the congregation's records.
The committees of the congregation shall include:
1. Nominating Committee
A Nominating Committee shall consist of three (3) voting members to be elected at the August meeting of the Voters' Assembly. The committee shall present a written slate of candidates for each respective office at the November meeting of the Voters' Assembly.
2. Financial Review Committee
A Financial Review Committee, consisting of three (3) voting members (excluding the Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Financial Secretary) shall be appointed by the President in November. The financial review committee shall make an annual review of the books and records of the Treasurer, of the Assistant Treasurer, of the Financial Secretary, and of such other financial records the review of which the Voters' Assembly may assign to it. It shall make its written report at the first Voters’ Assembly meeting of the new calendar year.
3. Budget Committee
A Budget Committee consisting of the Vice President, Treasurer, Presiding Elder, chairman of the Board of Trustees, chairman of the Board of Education, chairman of the Board of Evangelism, and the chairman of the Board of Fellowship shall submit a written budget to the Voters' Assembly for approval at the November meeting. The Treasurer shall serve as chairman of the Budget Committee and the budget committee shall publish and make available to the voters the proposed budget for the next fiscal year at least one week prior to the November Voters' Meeting. The budget approved by the Voters' Assembly shall constitute the authorization for expenditure therein described.
4. Call Committee
A Call Committee as specified in Article 4 of these Bylaws.
5. Stewardship Committee
A Stewardship Committee consisting of the Vice President, the Financial Secretary and a voting member selected by the Board of Elders shall conduct a Stewardship program annually.
6. Personnel Committee
A Personnel Committee consisting of the President, an elder, and a voting lay member (an appointee). The committee shall coordinate administrative and policy matters pertaining to the congregation’s paid staff workers to aide in accomplishing God’s will for the congregation’s ministries.
This committee’s responsibilities shall include, but not be limited to:
a. Compiling and maintaining personnel policies handbook and implement the policies.
b. Periodically reviewing and recommending revisions to the congregation’s personnel policies and procedures.
c. Insuring compliance with the congregation’s personnel handbook.
d. Conducting regular reviews of job responsibilities, goals, and performance, with input from the appropriate Boards.
e. Aiding in hiring and training new personnel.
f. Submitting compensation and benefit recommendations for the annual budget.
The President shall serve while in office. The elder and lay member may serve 1 or more years.
1. Membership: The Church Council shall consist of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Presiding Elder, and the chairmen of the Boards of Trustees, Evangelism, Fellowship, Youth Ministry and Christian Education. The President of the congregation shall be the chairman of the Church Council and shall preside at all meetings. The Recording Secretary shall maintain minutes of the meetings.
2. Meetings: The Church Council shall meet at least quarterly, preferably monthly. Any two (2) members of the Council can call a special meeting of the Council with one week notice. A quorum shall consist of one-half of the members of the Council plus one.
3. Duties: It shall be the duty of the Church Council to consider, discuss, and investigate all matters pertaining to the general welfare of the congregation, to review all reports, and to present recommendations to the Voters' Assembly. The Church Council shall oversee and direct the day-to-day secular affairs of the congregation; including the development, implementation, and maintenance of personnel-related policies for day-to-day operations, such policies subject to approval by the Voters’ Assembly.
4. In all matters, the Church Council shall act in conjunction with the appropriate boards and committees in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws as amended, the Congregation’s budget, and resolutions of the Voters' Assembly.
5. The Recording Secretary shall maintain a written record of all minutes of Church Council meetings. A copy of these minutes shall be made available to any member of the congregation upon request.
ADVISORY ROLE OF CALLED WORKERS
The Pastor(s) shall be an ex-officio non-voting member of all boards, committees, and the Church Council of this congregation for the purpose of providing advice, council, and guidance.
The Senior Pastor shall be consulted regarding the format, speakers, and music for all services.
The Director of Living Word Lutheran School shall be an ex-officio, nonvoting member of the Board of Christian Education and the Church Council of this congregation for the purpose of providing advice, council, and guidance.
CHANGING THE BYLAWS
The Voters' Assembly shall from time to time review, and if the need arises, adopt, alter, or amend these Bylaws.
These Bylaws can only be amended by submission of a written proposal of the amendment at a regular Voters' Assembly meeting, and it shall be voted upon at the next regular meeting. A three-fourths majority of those present and voting shall be required for adoption.
TAX EXEMPT STATUS
Living Word Lutheran Church of The Woodlands, Texas, is organized and shall be operated for the purpose of engaging in religious worship and promoting the spiritual development and well being of individuals. Its assets are pledged for use in performing religious functions. On discontinuance of this organization by dissolution or otherwise, its assets are to be transferred to a religious or charitable organization that is qualified as an exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.
This Congregation may establish a Congregational Endowment Fund, if approved by the Voters’ Assembly. This fund shall be called Endowment Fund of Living Word Lutheran Church, The Woodlands, Texas. It shall be one of the funds of this Congregation and shall be governed by a controlling document which establishes its purpose and stipulates financial constraints for expenditures.
LIMITING PERSONAL LIABILITY
Those Board Members and Officers duly elected or appointed to the various boards who do not receive anything of value from this corporation for serving as a Board Member or Officer other than reasonable per diem compensation and/or reimbursement for actual, reasonable, and necessary expenses incurred by such Board Member or Officer in service of the capacity of Board Member or Officer shall be deemed a “voluntary Board Member or Officer” for all purposes hereunder.
A voluntary Board Member or Officer shall not be personally liable to the corporation or its Membership and/or Members for monetary damages for any breach of the Board Member’s or Officer’s fiduciary duty except for liability arising from or relating to:
a. A breach of Board Member’s or Officer’s duty of loyalty to the corporation or its Members;
b. Actual omissions not in good faith or the involvement of intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law;
c. An act in violation of the provisions of state laws;
d. Any transaction from which a Board Member or Officer derives improper personal benefit;
e. Any act or omission resulting in liability occurring before February 1998;
f. Any act or omission that is grossly negligent.
The corporation shall assume all liability to any person or entity other than the corporation or its Members for all acts or omissions of a volunteer Council Member or Officer occurring on or after February 1998.
The corporation, by adoption of a resolution in accordance with its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, and pursuant to the provisions of Public Acts of the State of Texas, shall have the power to indemnify those persons serving in the position of, or at the request of the corporation as Board Member, Officers, trustees, employees, or agents against expenses, including attorney fees, judgments, penalties, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by a person in connection with any actions, suits, or proceedings, formal or informal, relating to the service of said individual on behalf on the corporation if such person acted in good faith and in a manner that the person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation or its Members, or with the respect to any criminal action or proceeding if the person had no reasonable cause to believe that the conduct engaged in was unlawful. The corporation, through its Church Council, shall have such further or other authority to indemnify Board Members, Officers, trustees, employees, or agents consistent with the provisions of Public Acts of the State of Texas.