CONSTITUTION CHANGES SUBMITTED FOR PARTNER APPROVAL, JANUARY 2017
With your approval, the following changes will be made following the vote on Sunday, January 2017. If you have questions or comments, please use the feedback form below. Note! Though all the changes are described below, you may download a redlined version of the Constitution here (170101b-const-rev-ip-redlined) that details every single proposed change, down to the deletion or alteration of a single character.
Any questions, concerns, or suggestions you have regarding the Constitution should be submitted to church leadership through this website. All questions will be treated with discretion. You may receive a personal response and all helpful questions and answers will also be included (anonymously) in the FAQ.
Article I. Legal Name
Changes will be made to accommodate the name the church uses for filing as a non-profit with the IRS and any former names. New paragraph:
The common use name of this Church shall be “Cornerstone Church,” formerly and also known as “Cornerstone Church and School of Poway,” “Grace Community Church,” and “Grace Trinity Church,” with or without the clarifying, appended phrase “of Poway.” For all official/legal filings, the church shall be known as “Cornerstone Church,” or (where it persists and solely for the purpose of continuity) “Grace Community Church,” located at 13617 Midland Road in Poway, California. The Cornerstone Church of Poway is a non-denominational, independent church and member of IFCA International.
Article II. Mission Statement
Article III. Articles of Faith
B(1). Because of Original Sin, All Humans Have a Sinful Nature. The last sentence will be broken into two, for clarity. New text:
We cannot overcome our sinful nature on our own (only with God’s power). We can never be rid of our sinful nature during our natural lives.
Article IV. Ordinances
Article V. Church Officers
D. Vote of Confidence. Changes are proposed to cover a case in which a number of Church Officers fail to receive a Vote of Confidence. Revised text:
All Church Officers shall be affirmed annually by a Vote of Confidence (“Vote of Confidence”) from the congregation with at least a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote by a quorum of Active Partners present at a meeting called for that purpose. A new Church Officer may be appointed by the Executive Board as needed, foregoing a Vote of Confidence, until the next meeting at which a Vote of Confidence is to be held. If one or more Officers fail to be affirmed by a Vote of Confidence, those Officers will be suspended from office, pending a timely review by the Executive Board. The Executive Board will determine a course of action that seems fitting and is in accord with the wishes of the congregation. Should a number of Officers fail to be affirmed such that the Executive Board is reduced to three persons or less, all currently serving Deacons will temporarily become part of the Executive Board for the purpose of determining a course of action. Should all Pastors fail to receive a vote of confidence, the Executive Board will arrange lay speakers, missionaries, and/or guest pastors to lead worship services, ordinances, and other ceremonies, events, and meetings as needed.
E. Acceptance of Doctrine. The formality of signing the Partnership Agreement immediately prior to service will be removed, as that changes from time to time. Church Officers are still, of course, required to be Partners and must willingly agree to be bound by the Constitution and Articles of Faith.
F. Pastorate. (1)(a) Calling a Lead Pastor. A revision to the last sentence of the paragraph was proposed for readability; no change to the meaning of the text results.
G. Elders. For clarity’s sake, a hard distinction will be made between the title of Pastor and Elder. The distinction matters in paragraphs such as V:B “Ideally, the number of the Executive Board shall contain at least two (2) more Elders than Pastors” and G(1) “Ideally, the number of Elders should exceed the number of the Pastorate by at least two (2) members.”
Article VI: Deacons and Church Staff
Article VII: Partnership
B(1). Attendance. This paragraph will be removed/replaced by one titled “Investment.” This is primarily because we currently have no practical means of taking attendance in worship services. We count heads, but that does not tell us which Partners were present on any given Sunday or whether they attended “at least one (1) worship service each month or four (4) worship services in a given quarter.” The Investment paragraph determines Active Partnership through various measurable forms of participation. The proposed new text:
Active Partners must complete no less than 5 qualifying events within a given calendar year. Qualifying events include: an instance of tithing, submitting a signed and legible connection card, participating in baptism, signing in to serve at a worship service, and/or attending a growth class.
Article VIII: Services, Meetings, and Voting
B. Annual Meeting. A distinction will be added between the business portion of the annual meeting and the vision portion, so that the business meeting does not have to be held on a Sunday. (This has proven a problem in previous years in terms of getting partners to attend.) Note that it must be held on a weeknight and within two weeks of the annual meeting. It also has to be well-announced so that everyone knows it is occurring. The proposed new text:
The Church shall conduct no less than one (1) Annual Meeting (“Annual Meeting”), held each year on the 4th or 5th Sunday of the month of January, to which all Partners are invited for the purpose of securing the Vote of Confidence for Church Officers, providing the partnership with information on the financial and physical well-being of the Church, and to execute any other voting or reporting required by this Constitution. The Annual Meeting shall be advertised to the Partners through both physical and electronic means no less than two (2) weeks in advance of the event. The business portion of the Annual Meetings shall be run by the Elders. The business portion consists of reporting on finances, facilities, partnership, and other matters not related to church vision, mission, or matters of faith. The business portion may be separated from the Annual Meeting and presented on a weeknight no more than two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting, provided that it is also advertised to Partners through both physical and electronic means no less than two (2) weeks in advance of the event.
D. Congregational Meetings. The the number of partners needed for a petition that triggers a partner-initiated congregational meeting has been quantified. New text:
Special Congregational Meetings (“Congregational Meetings”) may be called, for whatever purpose by the Executive Board. The Executive Board is required to call a Congregational Meeting in response to a petition signed by a number of Partners equal to 25% of the current total of church Partners. Congregational Meetings shall be advertised to the community through both physical and electronic means no less than two (2) weeks in advance of the event. Congregational Meetings shall be run by the Elders, if called by the Elders, or by the Deacons, if called by petition.
E. Quorum. The percentage of partners needed for a quorum was reduced to 40%. Also, a provision will be added that a Church Officer can substitute for the Church Secretary for the purpose of taking minutes and counting voters at Annual/Congregational meetings. Provisions have been added as to what happens when a required vote fails to happen because no quorum is reached. New text:
For the purpose of Congregational Votes (“Congregational Votes”), any Annual Meeting or Congregational Meeting with a number of Active Partners equal to 40% of the total number of Active Partners shall constitute a quorum. At such meetings the Church Secretary or other Church Officer will record minutes that show the number of voters present. If a quorum is not reached, the results of any vote taken are nullified. If a required vote, such as the Vote of Confidence required at the Annual Meeting, is nullified for any reason, a new Congregational Meeting and vote for the same purpose must be called within three months. During the period between a nullified vote and a new vote, any terms of office, policies, or provisions that were to be determined by the nullified vote shall continue as “unchanged” as possible, as defined by the Executive Board, until the new vote is held.
F. Required Majority. Will be revised for simplicity/clarity. As written, there was some confusion as to whether a majority is 2/3 of the votes or 2/3 of the voters present. New text:
In order to preserve unity within the Church, unless otherwise specified, any Congregational Vote shall be considered to pass only if it passes by a two-thirds (2/3) majority.
H. Ballot Committee. The requirement for a Church Secretary to participate in vote counting will be removed.
Article IX: Ministries
Entire section will be removed. This should be a matter of policy, not Constitution.
Article X: Alterations and Amendments
Renumbered to Article IX.
Article XI: Dissolution
Renumbered to Article X.
Appendix A: Samples
Removed sample forms. These were always supplementary and non-binding.