The name of the congregation shall be Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church
Confession of Faith
We believe and confess that the Bible is the Word of God and therefore the final and authoritative guide for faith, doctrine and life. We also accept that the Confessional writings of the Lutheran Church are essentially in harmony with the Word of God. Concerning Creeds and Confessions, we state:
1.We accept the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds
2.We accept the Confessional writings of the Lutheran Church as expressed in the Augsburg Confession and Luther’s Small Catechism as being in conformity in the essential fundamentals with the Word of God.
Statement of Faith
The Bible, including both Old and New Testaments as originally given, is the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God and is free from error in the whole and in the part, and is therefore the final authoritative guide for faith and conduct.
There is one God eternally existent in three distinct persons in one divine essence, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God the Father
God the Father has revealed Himself as the Creator and preserver of the universe, to Whom the entire creation and all creatures are subject.
The Human Race
God created Adam and Eve in His image to live in fellowship with Him. They fell into sin through the temptation of Satan and thereby lost fellowship with God. Through their disobedience the entire human race became totally depraved, that is, self-centered sinners who oppose God, and who by nature are unable to trust, fear or love Him. They are subject to the devil, and are condemned to death under the eternal wrath of God.
God the Son
Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son, is the image of the invisible God. To accomplish our redemption, He became fully human, being conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus Christ, who is true God and true man, by His perfect obedience and substitutionary death on the cross, has purchased our redemption. He arose from the dead for our justification in the body in which He was crucified. He ascended into heaven, where He is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father, as our interceding High Priest. He will come a second time personally, bodily, and visibly to gather the believers unto Himself and to establish His millennial kingdom. He will judge the living and the dead and make an eternal separation between believers and unbelievers. His kingdom shall have no end. God the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is a divine person eternally one with the Father and with the Son. Through the Word of God He convicts people of sin, persuades them to confess their sinfulness to God and calls them to faith through the Gospel. He regenerates, sanctifies, and preserves believers in the one true faith. He comforts, guides, equips, directs, and empowers the church to fulfill the great commission.
Means of Grace
The knowledge and benefit of Christ’s redemption from sin is brought to the human race through the means of grace, namely the Word and the sacraments.
Law and Gospel
Through the Word of the Law God brings sinners to know their lost condition and to repent. Through the Word of the Gospel He brings sinners to believe in Jesus Christ, to be justified, to enter the process of sanctification, and to have eternal life. This occurs as the Holy Spirit awakens them to see their sin, convicts them of their guilt of sin, and calls them to repent and believe, inviting and enabling them to accept God’s grace in Christ. Each one who thus believes is instantly forgiven and credited with Christ’s righteousness. The Word then teaches and guides the believer to lead a godly life.
In the Sacrament of Baptism, God offers the benefits of Christ’s redemption to all people and graciously bestows the washing of regeneration and newness of life to all who believe. God calls the baptized person to live in daily repentance, that is, in sorrow for sin, in turning from sin, and in personal faith in the forgiveness of sin obtained by Christ. By grace we are daily given the power to overcome sinful desires and live a new life in Christ. Those who do not continue to live in God’s grace need to be brought again to repentance and faith through the Law and Gospel.
Because the sinfulness of human nature passes on from generation to generation and the promise of God’s grace includes little children, we baptize infants, who become members of Christ’s believing church through baptism. These children need to come to know that they are sinners with a sinful nature that opposes God. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, they need to confess their sinfulness and yield to God; and possess for themselves forgiveness of their sin through Jesus Christ, as they are led from the faith received in infant baptism into a clear conscious personal faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior and being assured of salvation, rely solely on the finished work of Christ, and the power of the Gospel to live as children of God.
In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, Christ gives to the communicants His body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine. He declares the forgiveness of sin to all believers, and strengthens their faith.
Eternal salvation is available to every living human being on earth by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This salvation consists of an instantaneous aspect and an ongoing, continual aspect.
Justification is God’s gracious act by which He, for Christ’s sake, instantaneously acquits repentant and believing sinners and credits them with Christ’s righteousness. At that moment, God gives each one who believes a new and godly nature and the Holy Spirit begins the process of sanctification. There is no place for human effort in justification.
Sanctification is God’s gracious, continual work of spiritual renewal and growth in the life of every justified person. Through the means of grace, the Holy Spirit works to reproduce the character ofChrist within the lives of all believers, instructing and urging them to live out their new nature. The Holy Spirit enables believers more and more to resist the devil, to overcome the world, and to count themselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit produces spiritual fruit in and bestows spiritual gifts upon all believers. He calls, empowers and equips them to serve God in the home, in the community, and as part of the Church Universal. The process of sanctification will be complete only when the believer reaches glory.
The Church Universal consists of all those who truly believe on Jesus Christ as Savior. The local congregation is an assembly of believers in a certain locality among whom the Gospel is purely taught and the sacraments are rightly administered. The confessing membership of the local congregation shall include only those who have been baptized into "the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," confess personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, maintain a good reputation in the community and accept the constitution of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. It cannot, however, be avoided that hypocrites might be mixed in the congregation; that is, those whose unbelief is not evident to the congregation.
The Church of the Lutheran Brethren practices the congregational form of church government and the autonomy of the local congregations. The office of pastor and elder is to be filled by men only. The synodical administration has an advisory function as it relates to the congregation and an administrative function as it relates to the cooperative efforts of the congregations.
The Lutheran confessions are a summary of Bible doctrines. We adhere to the following confessional writings: The Apostles’ Creed, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, unaltered Augsburg Confession, and Luther’s Small Catechism.
The aim of this congregation shall be to so worship and serve God in Christ that:
People will come to know Christ and His salvation
Believers will be strengthened in faith and service
The Sacraments, as God’s gifts of grace to us, will be rightly administered
It is also our purpose to actively partner with the mission of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America in local, regional, national and international ministries.
A Lutheran Brethren congregation is an assembly of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ in a given locality, among whom the Word of God is preached in harmony with the fundamental doctrines of the Lutheran faith as expressed in the Confessional writings of the Lutheran Church and the Sacraments are administered in accordance with the Lord’s institution. We recognize that we cannot judge the hearts of men and women to know their true state with God, for that is God’s work alone. We do ask, and expect, that all who apply for and are granted membership in this congregation give testimony to faith in Christ in word and deed. See Deuteronomy 29:29 and 2 Timothy 2:19.
The Bible teaches (Acts 2:47, Ephesians 2:19-22, 1 Peter 2:9) and the Lutheran Confessions confirm (Augsburg Confession, Article 7) that only regenerate persons are members of the body of Jesus Christ. The Bible further teaches that the local congregation shall consist only of those who by word and deed manifest a living faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 1:17, 1 Corinthians 1:2, Colossians 1:2). The Bible also teaches that the church of Christ is to be an organized body in a given locality. It is, therefore, necessary for individual believers to unite themselves into organized congregations to effect their spiritual preservation and growth in grace through the Word and the Sacraments and to fulfill their calling and commission in evangelistic and missionary activities.
1.Christ is the Head of the Church. Through His Spirit, He guides the Church by His Word. According to this Word, He bestows upon the Church the gifts of grace for the effectual performance of its various ministrations. Among these various ministrations we especially emphasize the office of the pastor, other elders, evangelists, teachers and deacons. Acts 14:23, 20:17-28; Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5;1-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5; Acts 6:2-6; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
2.Pastor. For the office of Pastor, the congregation shall call a man who is recognized as a true Christian who accepts this constitution, and who otherwise has the necessary qualifications. He shall serve on the Elder Board and shall focus his ministry on the teaching and preaching of the Word of God and the administration of the Sacraments. He shall also perform such other services within the Church as are required of him by the Word of God. His call, as well as his resignation or dismissal, shall take place at a lawful meeting of the Congregation by secret ballot and shall require a two-thirds majority for passage. The Pastor remains in office as long as both find it desirable. His resignation becomes effective after a three-month notice. The three-month notice may be waived by mutual agreement.
3. Board of Elders. The congregation shall elect as many elders as it finds qualified and advisable. (For qualifications under the instruction of Scripture see 1 Timothy 3:1-8 and Titus 1:5-16). The duties of the Elders are to assist the Pastor in watching over the spiritual condition of the church and to exercise such supervision that all its activities are in accordance with the Word of God.
The Elders shall annually elect from among themselves a chairman to lead meetings and a secretary to record minutes and notes of the Board’s meetings.
The office of Elder comes up for review every three years, at which time both the Elder and the Congregation are free to express themselves as to his continued service.
An Elder may resign or retire due to ill health, advanced age, or for any reason acceptable to the Elder Board. Reinstatement of “resigned or retired” Elders is at the discretion of the Elder Board, with affirmation by the Congregation at a duly called meeting of the church.
4. Board of Trustees. The congregation shall elect at least three members to serve as Trustees. Their duties are to care for all the financial and facility matters pertaining to the congregation and to submit a report of the same at the annual meeting. The Treasurer serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees shall annually elect from among themselves a chairman to lead meetings and a secretary to record minutes and notes of the Board’s meetings.
5.Church Council The Church Council shall be made up of the Elder and Trustee Boards and two “at-large” members elected annually from the membership of the church. The Council will meet quarterly in preparation for dulycalled business meetings of thecongregation.
6. Other officers.
a. Chairman.A Congregational Chairman shall be elected annually and shall lead all business meetings of the church. The chairman shall be nominated from the membership of the Church Council and shall also serve as the chairman of the Council. The Council will also annually elect a secretary to take minutes and notes of Council meetings.
b. Secretary.A Congregational Secretary shall be elected at each annual meeting of the church and is responsible for the minutes of all duly called meetings of the congregation.
c. Treasurer.The Treasurer shall be elected at each annual meeting of the Church and is a member of the Board of Trustees.
7.Committees. a.Auditing Committee.The Trustee Board shall appoint an auditing committee each year and report its findings to the congregation annually.
b. Nominating Committee. A nominating committee of three members shall be elected at
each annual meeting of the church. At least one of the three shall be an Elder. They shall submit nominations for all elected offices except the office of Elder and, in the event of a change of Pastors, of the Pastor. All nominations for office of Elder must be made by the Elder Board and affirmed by the congregation at a duly called business meeting.
c. Call Committee. When needed, a Call Committee comprised of the Elder Board, The Chairman of the Trustee Board and two at-large members elected by the congregation, shall present candidates for the role of Pastor to the congregation. The Call Committee shall seek advice on procedure and candidates from CLBA synod offices and the CLB Central Region Pastor.
d.Other committees. Other committees may be appointed by the Church Council, or the congregation, for specific functions, as need may arise. Such committees may include youth ministry, children’s ministry, worship, special events, etc. All committees will have a stated purpose with elected leadership, and will be directly accountable to the Church Council.
1. Confessing Members (Members)
Members are persons of legal voting age who have agreed to this constitution and committed to this fellowship for purposes of worship, discipleship and service. They may speak and vote at all meetings of the congregation and serve on all committees and boards for which they are qualified.
Prospective members shall agree to complete a brief orientation to the church, its constitution, including the Statement of Faith and doctrinal positions. An introduction to the ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America shall also take place. Upon completion of this orientation, an application for membership shall be reviewed by the Elder Board, including a visit with the applicant(s). The Elders, upon approval of the application, shall present the applicants to the congregation for affirmation of membership at a duly called meeting of the congregation.
Status: A member shall be identified as “active” or “inactive” based on an evaluation of participation, and their circumstances, on an annual basis by the Elders. Following two years of “inactive status” an inactive member shall be contacted as to their future intentions regarding membership. After three years of “inactive status” the Elder Board shall inform the member that their membership status shall be rescinded.
Parishioners are adults who affiliate with our congregation but do not seek membership. They have regularly attended worship services, taken part in events and availed themselves of the ministries of the church, and in other way expressed support of the ministry and mission of this congregation for a period of at least one year. They are to be informed of this “Parishioner” designation after one year of such participation and will be invited to consider membership at any time. They have automatic speaking rights at meetings of the church but may not vote.
3. Baptized Children of the Congregation
Baptized Children of the Congregation are those persons under legal voting age who are either baptized children of Members or Parishioners.
No Member or Parishioner of this congregation shall belong to any order or society (public or private) which has rules or statutes rejecting Christian doctrine or having rites for use at public occasions which purposely exclude the Name of Christ, or reject His atoning work for our salvation.
1.Only those organizations that have first been approved by the Church Council and accepted by the Congregation shall function within the Church. 2.All elected officers of auxiliary organizations shall be Members of the congregation.
1. If a division should ever occur in this congregation, which God forbid, the properties and assets of the Church shall belong to that part of the congregation which abides by this Constitution, whether that part be in the majority or the minority. In the event that this congregation is dissolved, the property shall be deeded to the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America, provided it is in existence. This paragraph is unalterable.
2. This congregation shall not allow or sanction any service, function, celebration or other activity to take place on the property owned or under control of the congregation which conflicts with or is expressly contrary to the Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLB) Statement of Faith, position papers, Ministerial Acts, or the CLB view of and exegesis of Scripture, which in the view of the congregation would bring disrepute to the name of Christ.
AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSITUTION
This Constitution can be amended (with the exception of Article IX) by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present at a duly called meeting of the congregation, provided that a motion for amendment shall have been presented in written form and read at a duly called meeting at least one year prior to the vote on that amendment.
A. Business meetings are held as often as is required by the congregation or as deemed necessary by the Church Council. 1. A quorum of 30% of the Active Membership is required at any meeting of the Church called to transact any legal business. 2. Business meetings shall be opened and closed with prayer for the mission of the congregation and shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
3. The annual business meeting of the church shall be held no later than the end of January. 4. Election of officers shall take place at the annual business meeting. 5. No absentee or proxy votes shall be allowed at business meetings of the church.
B.Baptism and the Lord’s Supper shall be administered according to the ritual of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America. The same shall be true of all ministerial functions, such as confirmation, weddings, and funerals.
C. Membershipshall be conferred in the following manner: The candidate for membership shall be examined by the Elder Boardregarding Christian testimony and doctrine. They must be recommended for membership to a congregational business meeting. If they are accepted for membership, they shall be publicly welcomed into the membership at a later worship service.
D.In the event of a letter of transfer, the following procedure shall be observed: The Pastor may grant a letter of transfer to another congregation for any member in good standing requesting it, and they shall be removed from membership. A letter of transfer from another Lutheran Brethren congregation shall be accepted and the persons transferring shall be welcomed into the congregation in the same manner as new members. Transfers from other churches shall be considered by the Elder Board and acted upon by the congregation in the same fashion as new membership.
E.The Pastor and his family are automatically to be considered members of the Church upon his installation. His resignation as Pastor shall be considered to be resignation of the Pastor and his family from church membership, unless specifically requested otherwise.
Article II TERM OF OFFICE
Elected officers shall serve for a term of one year with the exception of Elders and Trustees.
Elders are elected for as long as the Congregation shall deem it practical.
Trustees are elected for a term of three years with rotating terms of office.
A Head Usher shall be elected annually. The Head Usher shall coordinate ushering teams to provide welcoming and ushering services for the worship services of the congregation.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS AND BOARDS
A. Elders. The Elders are the spiritual overseers of the congregation. They shall, together with the Pastor, constitute the Elder Board, and will, together, address the responsibilities delineated in this Constitution. They shall care for the spiritual welfare of the church, and initiate disciplinary action in accordance with Matthew 18:15-18, II Corinthians 2:5-11, I Timothy 5:20 and other related passages of Scripture. They shall have authority on behalf of the congregation to exclude persons from the Lord’s Supper, while expulsion from the congregation shall only be broughtabout by action of the congregation in lawful meeting assembled.
The Elders maintain a roster of Members and Parishioners and shall report the roster to the congregation as part of its annual report. The Elders shall examine and recommend applicants for membership, while their acceptance shall be affirmed by the congregation.
The Elders shall also assist the Pastor in communion services and oversee the pastoral functions in the absence of the Pastor.
B. Chairman. The Chairman shall preside over the congregational business meetings and the meetings of the Church Council. He shall be authorized to call special business meetings of the congregation or the Council. If 20% of the members of the congregation present a request to the Chairman for a meeting of the Church Council or the congregation, such a meeting must be held.
The Chairman of the Congregation and the Chairman of the Trustee Board shall sign legal documents regarding the business of the church.
C. Trustees. The Trustees shall care for financial matters and maintain all property belonging to the church. They shall recommend an annual budget to the congregation and shall keep the congregation apprised of its financial status and needs. They are authorized to make expenditures up to $2,500.00 without direct congregational authorization.
D. Secretary.The Congregational Secretary shall keep accurate minutes of the business meetings, care for correspondence relating to the Church Council, and present a reading of minutes at each business meeting, as directed by the Chairman.
E.Treasurer.The Treasurer shall make payments authorized by the Trustees within the bounds of this
constitution or as authorized by the congregation. He shall keep accurate accounts of income and expenditures and report to each business meeting of the church. The Treasurer’s duties may be assisted by a Financial Secretary who shall carry on day-to-day bookkeeping and reporting.
G.Auditors. The auditors, selected by the Trustee Board, shall examine the financial records of the church and, annually, shall submit a written report to a duly called meeting of the church.
I. Committees. The congregation may appoint or elect any committees it needs to effectively address ministry needs. Chairpersons of all such committees shall be Members of the congregation.
Article IV AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS
By-Laws may be amended when a motion is made at a duly called meeting. Adoption requires a two-thirds majority at a meeting held at least one year following the meeting at which the motion was made.
Celebrating God's Faithfulness for Over 40 Years Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church 1130 N Main St Breckenridge, MN 56520 (218) 643-8610