Membership in the church of Jesus Christ is based on salvation.
3.1.1 Categories of Membership
The membership of Park Royal Bible Church shall consist of the following:
Active Members: These resident members subscribe to the Constitution and attend regularly as far as they are able.
Non-resident Members: Those living elsewhere, such as students, members of the armed forces, or missionaries, who wish to retain membership. They are required to subscribe to the Constitution of this church. While they do not have voting privileges while absent, they shall be restored to active membership immediately upon their return.
Associate Members: These are temporary residents, who for continuing ministry reasons retain membership in another church of like faith and practice, but are too far away to attend regular services in their home church. They are required to subscribe to the Constitution, policies, and guidelines of this church. However, they cannot vote at business meetings.
Inactive Members: Any member, who, in the judgment of the Elders, has not attended services for a period of three months, shall be termed inactive. Prior to this action, the Elders will contact the member to discuss their absence. Once a member is deemed inactive by the Elders, they have no voting privileges.
3.1.2 Requirements for Membership
Any person shall be eligible for membership who:
- Professes allegiance to and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ
- Has been baptized by immersion in water upon profession of his or her faith
- Is not under the biblically warranted corrective discipline of a genuine church
- Expresses substantial agreement with the teachings, aims and organization of this church
3.1.3 Method of Becoming a Member
First, notice is given to an Elder by the individual that they would like to become a member of Park Royal in one of two ways:
- By verbal request. Any person who meets the above mentioned requirements may make their desire for membership known to one of the Elders.
- By letter of transfer. Any person who meets the above mentioned requirements, and is coming from another evangelical church desiring to unite with this church may present a letter of recommendation from the other church to the Elders.
Second, the applicant is interviewed by the Elders and congregation. An Elder (or Elders) will meet with the applicant, who will be questioned as to his or her basic Christian experience, doctrinal beliefs, and seriousness of intention to wholeheartedly support the total ministry of this church.
At this meeting, the Elders will invite the applicant to provide a written testimony explaining his/her understanding and experience of the Gospel of Christ. This written testimony is intended to promote a proper evaluation of the potential member and to encourage knowledgeable fellowship with him/her. The elders may request further clarification and/or expansion of this written testimony before proceeding with the application process.
The purpose of this process will be to determine whether or not the applicant meets the qualifications as stated in Section 3.1.2 of this Constitution. If the applicant has been a member of another church, the Elders will investigate his/her standing in that church before he/she is accepted as a member in this church. Where it is possible and appropriate, a letter of transfer will be requested. Reception by transfer does not negate any of the requirements for becoming a member in this assembly.
Upon the reception of an acceptable testimony, the Elders may, at their discretion, ask for another meeting with the applicant. Otherwise, the testimony will be given publicly before all the members at least two weeks (14 days) prior to their acceptance as members. This time period is for the purpose of enabling the members to consider their testimony and to raise any questions or objections concerning the applicant’s qualifications. They are expected to voice privately to the Elders all questions or objections that have not yet been resolved, after personal contact has been made with the applicant (Matthew 18:15ff; Leviticus 19:16, 17).
Finally, the applicant is publicly received into the church membership.
3.1.4 Termination of Membership
- By transfer. Upon recommendation by the Elders, letters of transfer will be granted by the church to members who apply for them, providing they are in good standing at the time of the application. Letters of transfer shall only be given to other evangelical churches.
- By request. A member may request to remove his or her membership from the church. This may be done at any time, provided the member is not currently under discipline as described below. All those who so remove their memberships must go through the original application process if they want to re-join the church again.
- By exclusion. Any member who is habitually absent from the stated meetings of the church for a period of six months or more, or requests severance of membership may be excluded from the membership at the discretion of the Elders.
- By excommunication. It is right and in harmony with the Scriptures for the Elders, upon approval of the congregation, to exclude from this fellowship any person who persists in holding false doctrine or who obviously and persistently lives inconsistently with his or her Christian profession or who persists in disturbing the peace and unity of the Church or is unwilling to settle matters of private offence with others in a biblical manner, (see Matthew 18:15ff; 1 Corinthians 5:1ff; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Romans 16:17).
3.1.5 Privileges of Membership
Membership in this church includes the following privileges:
- Attendance at, appropriate participation in, and voting during church business meetings (Acts 6:1-6 [cf. Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:13-14]; 1 Corinthians 5:4-7; 13 [cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2]).
- Labouring to extend God's Kingdom in ministries of the church (as one’s gifts, graces and calling make appropriate) (1 Corinthians 12:4-27 [cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2]; Ephesians 4:7; 11-12; 16; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
- Reception of the committed oversight and care of the Elders of the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-3).
- Reception of the committed care and discipline (as needed) of the membership of the church (Acts 6:1-2 [cf. Acts 2:41; 5:13-14; 9:26]; 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 [cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2]; Galatians 6:10).
3.1.6 Expectations of Members
There are also biblical expectations upon every member:
- All members are expected and encouraged to attend the corporate meetings of the church, ie. all Sunday services, mid-week services, Church business meetings, and any special meetings that the elders shall occasionally deem necessary, whenever possible. All members are expected to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
- Each member is expected to regularly read the Bible and pray, and to tell others what God has done for them in Jesus Christ. It is the duty of every Christian, as an individual and as a member of a local church, to labour by prayer, word, and deed for the extension of the kingdom of God in ever widening circles, beginning at home and stretching forth to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 54:1-3; Acts 1:8). Therefore, every member of this church is expected prayerfully to recognize and to seize every opportunity to bear witness to his faith in Christ, both by consistent Christian conduct and by the testimony of his lips.
- All members are expected to support the church financially by systematically giving a generous proportion of their income as the Lord directs them according to the principle laid down in 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8, 9. Added to this should be gifts and offerings according to one’s ability and the willingness of his heart (2 Corinthians 8:1-5; Exodus 36:2-7).
- All the members of this church are required to obey the teachings of Scripture in respect to the life and government of the family. The husband is the God-appointed head of the family and must rule his household with gentleness, love, wisdom, and firmness (Ephesians 5:25ff; 1 Timothy 3:4, 5; 1 Peter 3:7). The wife must be in Scriptural subjection to her husband in all things (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6). The husband and wife must bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, being careful to not provoke them to anger (Ephesians 6:1-4). This includes setting a godly example before them, consistently instructing them from the Scriptures (Deut. 6:4-9), and administering discipline when needed (Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; 29:15; Hebrews 12:7).
- Each member of the church is required to render loyal obedience to all the moral precepts of God’s Word in his daily life (Romans 8:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 9:20, 21; James 2:12). If God has not condemned or forbidden a practice in His Word, a Christian is at liberty to participate in it. The exercise of Christian liberty, however, must at all times be governed by an earnest desire to walk in the fear of God and to glorify Him in all things (1 Peter 1:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31), a loving regard for the consciences of weaker brothers and sisters (1 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 15:1-3), a compassion for the lost (1 Corinthians 9:19-22), and a zealous regard for the health of one’s own soul (Romans 13:14; 1 Corinthians 6:12; 9:24- 27; Galatians 5:22, 23; 1 Peter 2:16).
- All who come into the membership of this church are expected to recognize and to submit to the authority of the Elders of the church (1 Corinthians 16:15,16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; Hebrews 13:17). This responsibility will include willingly meeting with (an) Elder(s) when requested.
- We who have been joined to Christ by faith and are members of this church are also members one of another (Romans 12:5). With this privileged relationship come particular responsibilities. We must maintain mutual transparency and honesty (Ephesians 4:25). We must rejoice in each other’s honour and bear one another’s sorrows (1 Corinthians 12:26). We must discreetly confess our faults one to another (James 5:16). We must mutually oversee each other, faithfully admonish and encourage one another, avoid all backbiting and gossip, and keep in strict confidence all matters which the elders determine are of private concern to the church (Proverbs 11:13; Matthew 18:15ff; 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15; Hebrews 3:12, 13; 10:24, 25). Also, we must, when necessary, help meet the material needs of our brethren (Galatians 6:10; James 2:14-16; 1 John 3:16-18).
3.1.7 Management of the Membership Roll
The final confirmation of a membership removal will take place at the next regular business meeting or Annual General Meeting wherein the membership role may be updated.
Members leaving the community for a time, desiring their membership retained, should keep the Church informed of their active church involvement. The Elders shall hold and maintain a membership roll containing the names of all members and shall report, at the Annual Meeting, the names of those received into membership and those deleted from the roll during the year.
We believe that there are two ordinances that Jesus Christ has commanded us to observe, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is a public testimony in which the believer identifies himself or herself with the Saviour, who died, was buried and rose again. The Lord’s Supper is a visible, symbolic reminder that Jesus Christ gave His body and shed His blood on Calvary for our redemption.
3.2.2 The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
All who profess faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour are welcome to join this church in taking of the Lord’s Supper. However, known unbelievers or children without proper understanding must not partake otherwise they eat and drink judgement upon themselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-29)
3.2.3 Believer’s Baptism
- All officers of this church must be members as provided in section 3.1
- Any individual set apart to one of these offices must be able to conscientiously affirm his agreement with the church's Statement of Faith and Constitution. If he should at any time move from this position, he would be under spiritual and moral obligation to immediately make that fact known to the Elders in an orderly manner.
- While we acknowledge the valuable gifts which God has given women and the valuable assistance they may render to the officers of the church (Romans 16:1-6; Philippians 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:11), the Bible prohibits women from holding the office of elder in the church (1 Corinthians 14:33b-35; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:1-7). Also, since it is a violation of the Scriptures for a woman to exercise authority over a man in spiritual things, no woman shall be appointed to a teaching or authoritative function in a ministry of the church where adult men would be regularly under her ministry. Nevertheless, we acknowledge and encourage the valuable gifts and assistance of women in the formal instruction of children and other women (Titus 2:3-5), in the informal instruction even of men (1 Corinthians 11:5; Acts 18:26), and especially the benevolent ministries of the church (1 Timothy 3:11; 5:9, 10).
- Those who have been called of God to rule and teach in the church are called Elders, Pastors, or Bishops. These are three interchangeable names designating one and the same office in a New Testament church (Acts 20:17, 28; Ephesians 4:11, 12; Titus 1:5, 7).
- Any man desiring the office of an Elder must evidence to God’s people the personal, domestic, and ministerial qualifications that are set forth in the Scriptures (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).
- Because the authority of the Elders of the church is human authority exercised in the house of God, it has both high prerogatives and important limitations. One crucial aspect of the Elders’ duties is personally overseeing the flock of God. Fulfillment of this duty shall include regularly and systematically meeting with each member of the church on at least an annual basis, except when physically impossible due to distance.
- Elders will be maintained in material necessities and disentangled from the cares of another vocation according to their gifts, the needs and capability of the church, and the direction of Christ her Head (1 Timothy 5:17ff).
- Though a plurality (more than one) of Elders is the New Testament norm for every church, the New Testament does not specify the number of elders each church should have, nor does it dictate the length of an Elder’s term of office. One truly called to this office is usually called to it for life. He is a gift of Christ to the church. Only when an elder fails to meet the necessary scriptural qualifications for his office does he disqualify himself from being an Elder (Acts 20:28; Titus 1:5).
- Deacons are responsible primarily to administer the benevolent concerns of the church as well as its business affairs. Deacons are called upon to carry out the ministries which tend to distract the Elders from their God-given calling to devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and to prayer. Deacons must fulfill the duties of their office in cooperation with, and in subjection to, the Elders.
- The number of Deacons shall not be fixed. The church shall set apart according to its need those who evidence the scriptural qualifications for that office (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-13).
- Nomination. Nominations to either office are made by the Eldership once they have identified a candidate whom they feel to be qualified. The Elders are always receptive to hearing from members who have identified potential candidates for office in the church, although the Elders alone reserve the right to put forward an official nomination.
- Election. Any church meeting for the election of officers shall be announced at least 28 days prior to its being held. The names of all nominees shall be separately discussed and voted upon. During the discussion the nominee under consideration and members of his immediate family shall leave the presence of the church until the written ballot is taken. The scriptural qualifications shall be read and expounded, and the nominee’s qualifications openly discussed in the fear of God and with due respect for the reputation of the nominee. The church should seek unity of mind concerning each nominee, but should such unity not be fully realized, no fewer than three-fourths of those ballots cast shall be required for election. This vote shall take place by written ballot subsequent to a full and free discussion oriented to the relevant scriptural passages. The vote shall stand as it is first given in the written ballot.
- Ordination. Following the election of an officer there shall be a portion of a regular worship service set aside at which time the officer shall be ordained by the laying on of the hands of the Eldership. This solemn act should always be accompanied by the special prayers of the whole church (Acts 13:1-3). The laying on of the Elders’ hands shall signify their approval of an officer-elect. Should the Elders be unable to conscientiously ordain an officer-elect (1 Timothy 5:22), they shall inform each member of their reasons in an appropriate manner.
- Officers shall hold office only as long as they meet the biblical qualifications for their office in the esteem of the church. The church, therefore, shall reconfirm or withdraw its confidence in the biblical qualifications of each officer four years after his ordination and every fourth year thereafter.
- There may arise reasons that would require an officer to be reviewed before the regularly scheduled time. Such a review meeting may be called by a majority of the elders (or a majority of the other Elders in the case of an Elder). The members may also request such a meeting. This request must be set forth in writing with the signatures of one-fourth of the total membership of the church. It must be presented to the elders, who shall in a timely and constitutional way (see item  below) call such a meeting.
- Any meeting for the review of an officer shall be announced at least two weeks (14 days) prior to its being held. During the discussion, the officer under consideration and members of his immediate family shall leave the presence of the church until the written ballot is taken. The scriptural qualifications shall be read and expounded, and the officer’s qualifications openly discussed in the fear of God and with due respect for the reputation of the officer. Any member who publicly suggests in such a meeting that the officer being reviewed is unqualified for his office must have previously spoken with the officer himself and informed the Elders of the church of his concerns (Matthew 18; 1 Timothy 5:19). He must also present biblical and factual warrant for his concerns at the review meeting, with supporting evidence from at least one or two other witnesses. Just as it is wrong for a church to retain an officer who is not biblically qualified, so also it is rebellion against the head of the church to reject an officer for any but biblical grounds. Additionally, any officer about whom such concerns are raised must be permitted, if he wishes, to return to the meeting and defend himself. The church should seek unity of mind concerning the matter, but should such unity not be fully realized, no fewer than three-fourths of those ballots cast shall be required for the confirmation of an officer in his office. Any officer failing to attain confirmation no longer holds office in the church. This vote shall take place by written ballot; and the vote shall stand as it is first given in the written ballot.
- An officer may resign his office without prejudice if he does so in an orderly fashion and for good and valid reasons. This resignation together with its reasons and the date upon which he wishes his resignation to be effective shall be submitted in writing to the elders of the Church.
- This Constitution assumes, and the norms of biblical church order require, that a plurality of Elders oversee this local church. Therefore, if at any period in the life of the church there no longer exists a plurality of Elders in office and this lack cannot in a timely way be supplied, the remaining Elder (or the church, if there are no Elders) shall seek the temporary oversight of the elders of another evangelical church, whose Statement of Faith is not incongruous to that of this church shall be asked to give temporary oversight. The purposes of such an arrangement are to provide pastoral care and leadership in the absence of a plurality of Elders.
- When an Eldership meeting this requirement and willing to undertake these responsibilities is located, the church shall within a reasonable period of time officially place itself under this Eldership. If the church has a remaining Elder, this Eldership shall function as his fellow Elders. This action shall be taken by a written ballot at a properly called meeting of the church. A three-fourths majority of those present and voting is necessary for such an action. The recognition of the oversight of such an Eldership shall be confirmed (or failing a three-fourths majority withdrawn) in the same way at the annual meeting of the church in succeeding years. When a plurality of resident Elders is raised up, the oversight arrangement here described shall immediately cease, by written request from the Eldership of this church.