CONSTITUTION FOR SHEPHERD GATE CHURCH Chantilly, Virginia
For the purposes of establishing and maintaining a place for the worship of Almighty God, our Heavenly Father; to provide for Christian fellowship for those of like precious faith, where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit may be honored according to the Word of God; to assume our share of responsibility and the privilege of propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ by all available means, both at home and in foreign lands. We, whose names appear upon the church roster under above date, adopt the following articles of church order and submit ourselves to be governed by them.
ARTICLE I. NAME
The name of this incorporated church body shall be SHEPHERD GATE CHURCH (hereinafter referred to as the “Church”), located in Fairfax County, Virginia.
ARTICLE II. PREROGATIVES
Sec. 1. This Church shall have the right to govern itself according to the standard of the Word of God, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace…until we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:3, 13.
Sec. 2. This Church shall have the right to purchase of acquire by gift, bequest or otherwise either directly or as trustee, and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of any real estate or chattels as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes; all in accordance with its Constitution and By-laws or as the same may be thereafter modified or amended.
ARTICLE III. AFFILIATION
Shepherd Gate Church is an evangelical, nondenominational church in the Protestant tradition with a charismatic, full‑gospel emphasis. Shepherd Gate Church had its beginning in 1986 as an outreach church of the Christian Assembly Center, Vienna, Virginia. Since its inception Shepherd Gate Church has maintained close relationship with Christian Assembly Center, but is completely independent with respect to operations and governance. Shepherd Gate Church maintains its inherent rights to sovereignty in the conduct of its own affairs and it may affiliate with any like-minded churches and associations as it decides to further its purposes.
ARTICLE IV. TENETS OF FAITH
This church accepts the Holy Scriptures as the revealed will of God, the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice, and for the purpose of maintaining general unity, adopts this Statement of Fundamental Truths.
The Scriptures Inspired
The scriptures, both the Old Testament and the New Testament, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Tim 3:15-17; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Pet 1:21).
The One True God
The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I Am”. The creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deut 5:4; Is 43:10, 11; Matt 28:19; Luke 3:22).
The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The Scriptures declare:
- His virgin birth (Matt 1:23, Luke 1:31, 35)
- His sinless life (Heb 7:26; 1 Pet 2:22)
- His miracles (Acts 2:22; 10:38)
- His substitutionary work on the cross (1 Cor 15:3; 2 Cor 5:21)
- His bodily resurrection from the dead (Matt 28:6; Luke 24:39; 1 Cor 15:4)
- His exaltation to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; Phil 2:9-11;
The Fall of Man
Man was created good and upright; for God said “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” However, man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God. (Gen 1:26, 27; 2:17; 3:6; Romans 5:12-19).
The Salvation of Man
Man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
- Conditions of Salvation. Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47; John 3:3; Romans 10:13-15; Eph 2:8; Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).
- The Evidence of Salvation. The inward evidence of salvation is the direct witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16). The outward evidence to all men is a life of righteousness and true holiness (Eph 4:24; Titus 2:12).
The Ordinances of the Church
- Baptism in Water. The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commended in the Scriptures. All who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. By so doing, they declare to the world that they have died to the world and they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. (Matt 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47, 38; Romans 6:4).
- Holy Communion. The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements – bread and wine – is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 1:4); a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Cor 11:26); and a prophesy of His second coming (1 Cor 11:26); and is enjoined on all believers “until He comes”.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, according to the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 8; 1 Cor 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from and may be subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9). With the baptism in the Holy Spirit comes such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), and intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word and for the lost (Mark 16:20).
Sanctification is an act of separation from that which is evil, and of dedication unto God (Romans 12:1; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 13:12). The Scriptures teach a life of “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord”. (Heb 12:14). By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to obey the command: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:15, 16). Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit (Romans 6:1-11, 13; 8:1, 2, 13; Gal 2:20; Phil 2:12, 13; 1 Pet 1:5).
The Church is the Body of Christ, the Habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of her great commission. Each believer, born of the Spirit, is an integral part of the Church Universal and the Church of the First-born, which are written in heaven (Eph 1:22, 23; 2:22; Heb 12:23).
A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry has been provided by our Lord for a two-fold purpose:
- The evangelization of the world; and
- The edifying of the Body of Christ (Mark 16:15-20; Eph 4: 11-13).
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers (Is 53:4, 5; Matt 8:16, 17; James 5:14-16).
The Blessed Hope
The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord is the imminent and blessed hope of the Church (1 Thess 4:16, 17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Cor 15:51, 52).
The Final Judgment
There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their words and deeds. Whoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake, which burns with fire and brimstone, and which is the second death (Matt 25:46; Mark 9: 43-48); Rev 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8).
The New Heavens and the New Earth
We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.” (2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:22).
ARTICLE V. MARRIAGE AND FAMILY
We believe that Marriage is a Covenant instituted by God that unites one man and one woman in a lifetime commitment to each other (Gen 2:23-24; Matt 19:4-6). Marriage provides for intimate companionship, pure sexual expression (Gen 2:25; Eph 5:31-33), procreation, and reflects the relationship of Christ and the church (Gen 1:28; Prov 5:15-19; 1 Cor 7:1-5). A husband is commanded to love his wife as Christ loved the church. A wife is commanded to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ (Eph 5:22-33).
We hold that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance (Gen 2:24; Gen 19:5, 13;Gen 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Cor 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess 4:1-8;Hebrews 13:4). Such sinful pattern of behavior if not repented will be a barrier to membership and leadership in a body of believers
All parents who are members of the Church may, if they do desire, have their children dedicated at a time to be designated. This service will give the parents the opportunity to publically acknowledge their child as a gift from God and will likewise serve as a pledge on the part of the parents to bring the child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and biblical standards. The service may only consist of a few words from the Pastor and a prayer of dedication.
ARTICLE VI. CHURCH COVENANT
In order to become a member, a candidate for membership will enter into a covenant agreement with Shepherd Gate Church which includes the following:
- Belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God and has received Him as our Lord and Savior.
- Understanding that we are responsible to follow the teaching of God’s Word and to live our lives in such a way that it brings honor to God and credit to the Body of Christ.
- Understanding that we are to be loyal and supporting members of this congregation and will do so with our presence, prayers, helps, and tithes and offerings.
- Understanding that as members in good standing, we are entitled to attend and vote at congregational meetings and to raise concerns and interests with the Elders of the Church.
- Agreement to invite the care and concern of the Elders and the members of the congregation for our lives and will receive counsel from them when necessary.
- Agreement that we promise to read the Constitution, and Bylaws, including but not limited to those policies dealing with Church discipline, conflict resolution and members’ rights and responsibilities and holy covenant and agree to be bound by the Constitution and Bylaws and accompanying policies and procedures.
ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS
Amendments to this Constitution may be submitted to the Elders for consideration and comment. The Constitution may be amended by a unanimous vote of the Elders at a duly called meeting provided that the following procedure has been followed:
- The proposed written amendment has been presented at a previous Elder meeting; and
- The proposed amendment has been mailed or made available to the Elders at least four (4) weeks before the meeting to act on the amendment.