ARTICLE I - Government
Section 1: Church Officers
- The affairs of the church shall be directed by the Board of Elders, consisting of the pastor and four or more other Elders. The Elders shall be men whose lives conform to the Scriptural standards for that office as listed in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The Board of Elders will annually elect a Chairman and a Secretary from among their number. These officers shall also serve for the annual and special meetings of the church.
- For the purposes of the New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act, the Board of Elders shall be the Board of Trustees, with the Chairman as President. The Treasurer will be chosen by the Board of Elders.
- The Board of Elders has the responsibility to direct all ministries and affairs of the church. It may delegate authority to committees or individuals, who shall then be accountable to the Board of Elders. The pastoral staff cannot vote on matters directly related to their personal compensation.
- Deacons shall be elected by the congregation to assist the Elders in the administration or ministry of the church. Deacons shall be those whose lives conform to the Scriptural standards for that office as listed in I Timothy 3:8-15.
Section 2: Election of Church Officers
- The Board of Elders shall solicit recommendations for Elders and Deacons from the entire congregation. It shall publish a list of its nominees in the church bulletin on two successive Sundays before the meeting. Nominations may not be submitted from the floor at the time of the meeting. Those nominated must be church members.
- Elders and Deacons shall be elected for a term of three years by three-fourths of the membership voting at the Annual Meeting. Their terms of service shall be arranged so that approximately one-third of them are elected annually. After serving for six consecutive years, an Elder (except the Pastor) shall be ineligible for further service on the Board of Elders until he has been off the Board for one year.
- Any vacancy may be filled in the above manner at any special or annual meeting of the church.
- The Annual Meeting shall be held every calendar year, at a time, day, and place that is regularly used by the church for meetings, and tht is suitable for the Annual Meeting. A minimum of two weeks advance notice of the date and time of the Annual Meeting will be given to the congregation. If the Annual Meeting is used to approve the budget for the fiscal year, then the Board shall hold the Annual Meeting after the close of the previous fiscal year, and within two months of the new fiscal year. Special meetins shall be called upon written request of fifteen (15) percent of the members or by the Board of Elders. In the call for special meetings, at least seven days notice shall be given and the purpose of the meeting shall be therein stated. At a special meeting, only the stated business may be transacted.
- Elders and Deacons may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Elders (excluding the individual in question), ratified by a majority vote of the membership.
Section 3: The Pastor
- The Pastor shall be a man whose life conforms to the Scriptural standards for an Elder and who subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the church. He shall minister to the spiritual and eternal welfare of the entire assembly through the preaching and teaching of the Word, seeking to edify the saints and win the lost for Christ.
- In the event of a vacancy in the position of Pastor, a pastoral search committee shall be appointed by the Board of Elders. When a candidate is deemed acceptable by the Board of Elders, he shall be presented to the congregation for approval by three-fourths of the membership voting.
- The Pastor shall serve until his pastorate is terminated by:
- resignation; or
- by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Elders, excluding paid staff, ratified by a majority vote of the membership.
In either case sixty days notice shall be given. In the case of dismissal, the Board of Elders may suspend pastoral duties immediately.
- Other members of the pastoral staff may be employed and dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the entire Board of Elders.
- We believe in the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life.
- We believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true man.
- We believe that man was created in the image of God, that he sinned, and thereby incurred not only physical death but also that spiritual death which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word and deed.
- We believe that the Lord Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.
- We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven and His present life there for us as High Priest and Advocate.
- We believe that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will personally return and set up His Kingdom wherein He will rule and reign in righteousness.
- We believe that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit, and thereby become children of God.
- We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust, the blessedness of the saved and the retribution of the lost.
ARTICLE III - Membership
- Any person who has accepted Christ as his personal Lord and Savior, avows belief in the doctrinal statement of this church, and who gives assurance of his desire to live a consistent Christian life, shall be eligible for membership.
- An applicant for membership shall be interviewed by the Pastor and shall appear before the Elders for examination at a conveniently appointed time. The unanimous vote of the examiners shall be requisite for approval.
- Those who wish to retain membership in another church, or wish to retain membership in this church despite absence, shall be "Associate Members". "Associate Members" shall not be entitled to vote or to serve as an Elder or Deacon. A member wishing to change between associate and regular membership may do so upon written application to and approval by the Elders, who have authority to revise membership status.
- New members shall be publicly welcomed at a regular service on the Lord's Day.
- All members of the church shall be subject to the Scriptural process of church discipline outlined in Matthew 18:15-20 and other passages. This may include, but is not limited to, removal from church office or dismissal from membership.
ARTICLE IV - Ordinances
- Communion: This remembrance of our Lord's death shall be held as prescribed by the Board of Elders.
- Baptism: Baptism is a sign and seal of inward grace, and the mode of baptism is left to the conscience of each believer.
ARTICLE V - Amendments
These By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a duly called meeting, including those represented by absentee ballots, provided that a quorum of at least thirty-three percent of the entire membership is represented at said meeting, and provided the proposed amendment is stated in the notice of said meeting.
ARTICLE VI - Ordination
- When a man who applies for ordination to the Christian ministry is considered, in the judgement of the Pastor and the Board of Elders of this church, an acceptable candidate, the Board of Elders shall authorize the Pastor to call and conduct a council for ordination. The Ordaining Council, consisting of pastors and laymen, shall thoroughly examine the Candidate as to his Christian experience, his call to the ministry, his knowledge of the Word of God, his character and education, and the soundness of his belief in all the fundamentals of our Christian faith. Upon recommendation of the council and approval of the Board of Elders, the Candidate shall be ordained to the Christian ministry at a public service, with appropriate exhortation from the Word of God, by prayer and with the laying on of hands by the Board of Elders.
- It shall be within the province of the Board of Elders to discipline any minister ordained under this article, even to the revoking of ordination credentials, if said minister be found guilty, after an impartial trial, of departing from the faith set forth in the doctrinal statement of this church or of persistent conduct which brings dishonor upon the name of Christ and the Christian ministry.
Being fully persuaded that God has directed me to unite in the fellowship of the Gospel with those of like precious faith in the Stone Hill Church of Princeton, I do herewith affix my signature, indicating thereby that I am trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, that I heartily endorse the Purpose, Doctrinal Statement, and By-Laws of the Stone Hill Church of Princeton, and that I earnestly resolve with God's help to support the whole ministry of the Church, as it honors the Lord.