THE CHURCH RULES AND MEMBERSHIP
The Haitian American Community Church of Silicon Valley (HACC)
Why do we need rules?
We have to have rules in order to comply with the law, but the rules do have a practical value for us. They explain what our purpose as a church is, and they also set out what we believe as a church and how we should behave as individual members. They are rules which we have agreed together as a church.
What is our purpose?
It is to “advance the Christian faith according to Biblical principles”, both as a church fellowship and individual members of that church. We aim to do this not only in the church in Silicon Valley but also outside in the community and in other parts of the world.
Why become a member?
We welcome all to worship with us and learn together about how to become better followers of Jesus. It has always been a Biblical principle that Christians be an active part of a fellowship of believers. If you become a member of our church you commit yourself to being a part of HACC in Silicon Valley, with common aims and beliefs.
Who can become a member?
We are a community church, united by our Christian faith. We offer Christian baptism by immersion to all who come to faith in Jesus, and we also welcome into membership those who have been initiated into their Christian faith through Trinitarian baptism by immersion and personal declaration of faith.
How do I become a member?
The first step is to speak to the Pastor who will explain more and answer any questions.
“Do you believe God has called you to serve Christ as part of Haitian American Community Church of Silicon Valley and do you commit yourself to love and serve the Lord within this fellowship and in the world?”
1. After being immersed in the waters of baptism (if you were not already baptized by immersion);
2. by letter of recommendation from previous church duly signed by a Pastor (if you were already baptized by immersion);
3. by testimony and recommendation of a regular or irregular member of the church (if you are not able to find the letter of recommendation for a justifiable reason).
The believer who decides to join the church as Member should first fill out and sign the membership form. After consideration of the Board, the new member is accepted during a Member’s Assembly by acclamation. Please fill out the new Member form from here at http://www.haitianchurch.org/member
What are my rights and privileges as a member?
As a member you can play a full part in deciding what the Church does, what are its priorities, how its money is spent, how the various church activities are run, and who are chosen to be the Ministers and Deacons, and Elders? An important part of the church’s values is the care and support that is offered and received by all.
What are my responsibilities/duties as a member?
It is important to remember that as a member you have responsibilities, as well as rights!
Our rules explain these responsibilities in the following words:
- attending worship and participating in church activities;
- personal prayer and Bible study;
- participation in The Lord’s Supper as a privilege and a priority;
- helping the church whenever possible by using gifts and abilities to advance the purpose of the church through its activities;
- attending and participating in church members’ meetings;
- giving regular financial support to the church in proportion to personal resources and circumstances;
- upholding Christian values
What happens at Church members’ meetings?
We believe that meeting together helps us discern the will of God for the church to go forward in its task. So, church meetings provide a forum for the discussion of matters which concern the life of the church, and for decisions to be made about how we can best fulfill our purposes.
How does the church make its decisions at these meetings?
Major decisions are decided by a majority vote. But it is important to remember that we do not see the vote simply as a democratic process, but as a way of discerning God’s will for us as a church.
How is the church managed?
The Ministers and the Deacons, and the Elders together form the Leadership Team. They meet regularly to pray and to deal with the tasks of looking after and managing the church.
How can I bring forward ideas, plans or concerns that I may have?
You can bring matters forward for discussion at church meetings, and you can speak to any one of the Ministers or Deacons or Elders.
Where can I get a copy of the complete rules?
You can find the complete rules on the church website at http://www.haitianchurch.org/membership or you can ask the church office for a printed copy if you would like one. The Ministers and Deacons, and Elders are the Managing Trustees.
To become a member who works for the Lord
(Please read at least the section IV related to Member of the Church and Fill out the new member for online at http://www.haitianchurch.org/member/)
You have an opportunity to serve the Lord by joining us.
The Haitian American Community Church of Silicon Valley was born in November 2003. The church was incorporated in the State of California on October 26, 2005. Read more on the website: http://haitianchurch.org/about/
II. WHO WE ARE
The Haitian American Community Church of Silicon Valley is a Nondenominational Christian Church. Our church commits to genuine fellowship within our Christian family. We do outreach work to the broader community of Silicon Valley as well. We delight in shining the Love of Christ. Read what we believe online: http://haitianchurch.org/what-we-believe/
III. Different Entities of the CHURCH
HACC promotes the exercise of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to each of its members. So, there are several special entities with diverse vocation in the CHURCH. The Haitian American Community Church of Silicon Valley has the following CHURCH entities:
• The Members Assembly
• Church Workers
• Pastoral Body
• The Board
IV. Members of the CHURCH
People who participate in our worship services and other weekly services can be regular members, irregular members, inactive members, non-baptized believers or visitors.
1. Regular member
A regular member is a person who has already confessed his/her faith in the baptism by immersion. S/he has accepted the church’s confession of faith and who has been accepted into the Church by acclamation. A regular member is also an active member who participates in all respects, on a regular basis, in the majority of activities of the church.
2. Irregular member
An irregular member is a person who has already confessed his/her faith in the waters of baptism, who has accepted the church’s confession of faith and who has been accepted into the Church by acclamation. An irregular member is also an active member who, by coercion, is unable to participate regularly in the various activities of the Church. The irregular member status is decided jointly by the Member’s Assembly and the Member.
3. Inactive Member
An inactive member was first a regular or irregular member; but lately never or rarely shows up for church activities. After six months of non-participation in church activities without reason, any regular or irregular member is considered inactive. An inactive member may not enjoy his/her membership rights.
It should be noted that only regular and irregular members can participate in Members’ meetings.
4. Non-baptized believer
A non-baptized believer is a converted person, who has not yet been baptized, who participates in services. The non-baptized believer participates in all the activities of the Church except members meeting. S/he can benefit from the socio-religious services of the Church.
A visitor is either a believer or unbeliever who used to attend church activities on a regular or a non-regular basis.
B. Becoming a member
You can become a member of the HACC
1. After being baptized in the waters of baptism;
2. by letter of recommendation from previous church duly signed by a Pastor/Minister;
3. by testimony and recommendation of a regular or irregular member of the church.
The believer who decides to join the church as Member should first fill out and sign the Membership form. After consideration of the Board, the new Member is accepted during a Members Assembly by acclamation. Please fill out the new Member form from here http://www.haitianchurch.org/member/
C. Duties of member
The member of the CHURCH contributes within the limits of his/her means to the progress of the Church from all points of view. The member has the duty to:
1. Respect and promote Christian Core values.
2. Honor God and his Church.
3. Put voluntarily your spiritual gifts at the service of the Church.
4. Do your best to regularly attend the services of the CHURCH.
5. Always be ready to serve your brothers, sisters and everyone to the best of your ability.
6. Participate in various members meetings of the CHURCH.
7. Contribute to the moral, spiritual, economic and the numerical growth of the CHURCH.
8. Justify any prolonged absence to the Church Board.
D. Members’ rights
Any regular and irregular member of the CHURCH has the right to:
1. Participate and vote in all meetings held by the CHURCH.
2. Learn about the progress of the CHURCH;
3. Get access to different services offered by the CHURCH (like Prayer, Pastoral Care, Lord Supper, Wedding, Presentation, Funeral and so one);
4. Ask, when necessary, for letters of recommendation;
6. Apply, if qualified, to any Leadership position in the CHURCH
E. Spiritual probation (1 Corinthians 5:12)
Spiritual probation will be used discreetly to protect the testimony of the gospel and to support a fallen member. Probation taken against a member of the CHURCH must be decreed by wisdom and love.
1. Cases requiring probation
• Defamatory behavior
• Immoral life
• Public scandals
Any member who occupies a Leadership position and has unfortunately fallen out of favor must voluntarily step aside.
2. End of spiritual approval:
Spiritual probation is lifted when the probationary member demonstrates progress in the considered area.
F. Members’ Assembly
The Assembly of Members is the final body in the decisions of the CHURCH. Regular and irregular members meet at least four (4) times a year in assembly to discuss the state of the Church. Only regular and irregular members can participate in the meetings. The assembly’s responsibilities are:
• Approve the budgets and programs of the Church
• Approve and acclaim new members
• Approve the new Leaders for the church entities
• Sanction (Reject or approve) the reports of various church entities
• Evaluate and vote on all the measures taken within the church for its advancement
• Ensure the application of the measures voted
• Safeguard the interests of the Church
If necessary, in order to vote or approve urgent matters, the Pastor may convene the members for Extraordinary Assembly Meeting. Decisions are taken by a 2/3 majority of the members or quorum present. The elections will be based on the majority of votes.
V. The Church Workers
The Church workers are made up of regular or irregular members who give their gifts and talents in areas such as: music, Sunday school teaching, worship, preaching, finance, accounting, social, technologies, and education of children, etc.
B. Profile of a Church Worker
A worker in the Church is a regular or irregular member who puts his/her spiritual gifts and/or professional talents to the service of the LORD in one or more entities of the Church.
Conditions to become a Church Worker in one of the entities of the Church:
1. First, become a regular or irregular member of the Church;
2. Be a model spiritual person for others;
3. Be sober: here it is simplicity and vigilance that are asked of the leader. (Math 10:16);
4. Be moderate: a good leader is one who acts in moderation, that is to say with wisdom far from all excess;
5. Be irreproachable in all conducts;
6. Be non-violent at home, at work, and anywhere else;
7. Be peaceful: who does not seek quarrels, but who seeks peace and dialogue;
8. Be disinterested: s/he should not seek his/her interest; here it is a question of not being greedy;
9. Not to be a new convert: because of pride;
10. Get a good testimony from those outside;
11. Be a God-fearing and a capable person (ready to help and fulfill the tasks assigned to him/her, strong, moral strength, courageous, honest, always ready to do everything with a good attitude, always ready to accomplish simple tasks according to John 13: 3-17 and 2tim 1: 7; Matthew 20: 25-28).
VI. Pastoral Body of the CHURCH
Pastors and Preachers compose the Pastoral Body of the Church.
A. Profile of a Pastor or a Preacher at the Church
A Pastor and a Preacher of the Church should seek to maintain the following qualifications:
1. He is a converted man, assured of his salvation;
2. He is a man prepared and called to the ministry;
3. He is a man of conviction and character;
4. He is available to perform his tasks (except in cases of force majeure);
5. He is not a divorced person;
6. He is not a candidate for an elective post of a political nature;
7. He is a man of integrity.
8. He shows spiritual maturity;
9. He meets the qualifications described in I Timothy 3.2-7 and Titus 1.6-9.
B. Responsibilities of the Pastoral Body
The Pastoral Body is responsible for the following tasks:
1. Take care of the flock
2. Teach the Word of God
3. Preach the word of God
4. Watch over souls
5. Protect the flock
6. Administer church sacraments
7. Lead celebration of religious ceremonies
8. Search for the lost
9. Represent the church
10. Convene meetings and direct sessions
11. Prepare the program and agenda for the Church
12. Develop training sessions for Leaders
VII. Church Board
A. Profile of a member of the Church Board
To be a member of the church Board the person must first meet the qualification of a Church Worker and demonstrate the following traits of character:
• Sense of responsibility
• Experience in Leadership
B. Responsibilities of the Board
Some of the responsibilities of the church Board are:
• Ensure the smooth running of the CHURCH (spiritual and material and social);
• Develop a program and work plan in order to materialize the visions of the CHURCH.
• Ensure the achievement of the goals of the CHURCH as formulated in the budget and program of the Church.
• Coordinate, evaluate and appreciate the work of the various Leaders of the CHURCH.
• Supervise the work of the different entities of the Church.
• Present a quarterly progress report on the Church during the meetings.
• Select the leaders and present them to the members’ assembly for approval.
• Meet at least four (4) times a year.
1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
The Board of the Haitian American Community Church of Silicon Valley