Refuge Church Constitution


Believing that it has pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to unite in corporate fellowship under the name Refuge Church of Dayton, for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we, the members of Refuge Church, do hereby organize ourselves and adopt this Constitution as our articles of governance, to be at all times interpreted to reflect the character of and to bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the standards set forth in the Confession of Faith and Covenant of this Church.

Article 1- Name

The name of this body shall be Refuge Church, Inc., of Dayton Ohio. 

Article 2- Purpose

2.1 The chief cornerstone of this church is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the foundation of the apostles and prophets (1 Cor. 3.11; Eph. 2.20).

2.2 The work and ministry of this church are by the grace of God, for the Glory of God alone. We exist to worship God in Spirit and in truth (John 4.23), to edify the body of believers (1 Cor. 14.26; 2 Pet. 3.18), and to actively pursue evangelism, foreign and domestic mission work, love for our neighbor, and loving deeds. (Matt. 5.16, 28.18–20; Luke 10.29–37; 1 Pet. 2.9, 3.15)

2.3 In order to remain true to our Lord and His word, the church recognizes several functions, or marks, that are to be maintained and actively pursued within this fellowship. These functions include preaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20.27; 2 Tim. 4.1–2), worship and prayer (Ex 20.3–4; John 4.23; 1 Tim. 2.1), evangelistic and missional work (Matt. 5.16; 28.18-20; Mark 16.15–20; 2 Tim. 4.5), administering baptism by immersion (Matt 28.19; Rom. 6:1–4) and the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22.19; 1 Cor. 11.17–34), an active pursuit of the knowledge of God’s word for recent converts and mature believers (Ezra 7.10; 2 Tim. 2.15–18, 3.14–17), pursuing community and fellowship within the body by various means (Ps. 55.13–15; Acts 2.42; 1 Jn. 1.3–8), acts of mercy within and outside the body, (Matt. 12.7; Jas. 2.12–14, 3.16–18; 1 Pet. 2.10), and practicing formative (1 Thess. 5.14; 1 Tim. 5.1–2; Tit. 2.15) and corrective discipline (Matt. 18.15–20; 1 Cor. 5.1–5).

Article 3- Membership

Section 1- Qualifications for Membership

3.1.1 The qualifications for membership of Refuge Church are as follows:

  • One must be a believer who is exercising gospel-centered faith in Jesus Christ, with evidence of regeneration, 

  • Who has been baptized by immersion in obedience to Christ,

  • And who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Holy Bible. 

  • Each member must sustain and hold to the core foundational doctrines of the Christian faith as outlined in our Member Statement of Faith, and not hold anything contrary to them, 

  • And must promise to keep the commitments as expressed in the Church Covenant. 

3.1.2 The normal process for becoming a member of Refuge Church is as follows:

  • Completion of a New Members Class, as designed by the elders.

  • An assessment of qualification for membership in a meeting or series of meetings with church leadership,

  • And a vote by the church membership on the basis of the individuals' profession of faith. Normally upon joining the church, any other former outstanding memberships shall be relinquished.

3.1.3 The interviewing leadership of the church shall have the right to deny membership to any individual who, upon review, does not confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, or is lacking in evidence of a godly lifestyle, or rejects the previously stated qualifications of membership, or holds to any convictions which are heretical to the Christian faith. 

Section 2- Admission of Members

 3.2.1 Assuming the qualifications for membership are met, applicants shall be recommended and presented by the elders for admission to the church during any regular or called meeting of the members. The applicants will be accepted by a vote of no less than three-fourths of members present. At that point, newly elected members shall relinquish any former church membership unless other arrangements have been made with the elders. Those applying for membership shall be received as members by baptism or transfer of letter. A statement of faith may suffice in the event that a letter of transfer is not obtainable.

3.2.2 For the purposes of membership, Refuge Church shall recognize baptism by immersion as the only valid mode of baptism. Applicants who have been engaged ritually with water by other means (sprinkling, infusion, proxy, infant, or any other) shall not be recognized as valid for membership; however, this does not mean that the individual will never be considered for membership in the future. Any applicant that has met all other membership requirements but baptism shall have the opportunity to be baptized by immersion before full admittance if they wish to continue the process.

3.2.3 Refuge Church recognizes the only requirements for the ordinance of baptism are prescribed in the Scriptures; faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ, and repentance of sin, which eventually produce the fruit of the spirit. Occasionally children and other young adults will exhibit such faith in certain Christian environments such as a Christian family, church, Christian school, etc. Refuge Church, seeking to baptize those that have been genuinely converted, will consider younger converts for baptism on a case-by-case basis until a time decided appropriate by the elders of the Church. The elders shall determine the process for considering younger converts for baptism.

Section 3- Duties and Privileges of Membership  

3.3.1 In accord with the duties enumerated in the Church Covenant, each member shall be required and expected to participate actively in some ministry of the church according to the time, talents, and resources that God has so chosen to give them. Only members of the congregation shall be entitled to lead in the ministries of the church. At the recommendation of the elders, non-members may serve the church for purposes that include but are not limited to administration, maintenance, professional consultation, and construction. Members shall also be expected to give to the needs of the church, both financially and otherwise, as the Spirit leads in a manner of sacrifice and generosity.  

3.3.2 It is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend members’ meetings and to vote on the election of elders and deacons, decisions regarding membership status, the annual budget, the acquisition of property, and other such matters that are submitted to a vote as the elders determine. 

Section 4- Church Discipline 

3.4.1 Formative discipline is inherent in the preaching, teaching, and exercise of other ministries of the church. When formative discipline fails due to sin, corrective discipline is then necessary. Corrective discipline is for the good of the church and the member who has sinned. It is never to be entered into lightly, too quickly, nor is forgiveness to be withheld for longer than necessary. The goal of corrective discipline is always remedial, that is, the goal is always the salvation and holiness and good of the one being disciplined. 

3.4.2 Members of Refuge Church, and others who are in regular fellowship with this church who err in vital doctrine, or engage in ungodly conduct that is in violation of the Scriptures, shall be subject to church discipline, including dismissal from membership according to Matt. 18.1518; 1 Cor. 5.112; Gal. 6.12; 1 Thess. 5.14, and other relevant biblical texts. 

3.4.3 Before such dismissal, it shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring individual’s heresy or misconduct to warn and correct such erring individual in private, seeking their repentance and restoration. If the erring individual does not heed this first warning, then the warning member, accompanied by one or two more individuals (to confirm the sin in question and any refusal to repent), shall once again urge the erring individual to repent. As in Scripture, there is no specified time between the first and second warnings, as to hope for the possibility of repentance. If the erring individual still refuses to heed all warnings, it shall be brought to the attention of the elders of the church. The elders shall conduct a thorough investigation that the procedures of church discipline were followed according to the Scriptures, Matt. 18.1518; 1 Cor. 5.14 and 1 Tim 5.19, that there is corroborating evidence that the individual has sinned, or is continuing to sin, and has been confronted and refuses to repent. It is then that the elders shall inform the church at any regular or special called member’s meeting of the situation, that the church may call the individual to repentance. If the erring individual still refuses to repent, then at the elder’s recommendation and three-fourths of the voting members approval, the individual shall be publicly dismissed from fellowship and membership, losing all rights of a member in good standing with the church. If the erring individual approaches the church and requests forgiveness, then the elders shall recommend to the church that they are restored to full membership rights if repentance is present in the life of the individual. The church shall approve the restoration of the individual by a three-fourths vote of members at any regular or special called member’s meeting.     

3.4.4 At the judgment of the elders, the individual shall remain under church discipline until repentance has been demonstrated. However, in accord with 2 Cor. 5.7, if the erring individual shows repentance, forgiveness shall not be withheld from them for any length of time, so as to not be excessive in discipline than what is needed to produce repentance. 

3.4.5 It is desirable in the case of public sin that a confession is made before the church in a specially called meeting so that the church can freely extend forgiveness. Such public confession is especially necessary in the case of elders and deacons (1 Tim. 5.19–20; Gal. 2.11–14). The elders shall determine the logistics of such a public confession.

3.4.6 Church discipline should not be looked upon as attempting to hurt any individual. Instead, church discipline should be for as follows:

  • For the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual(s) disciplined (Heb. 12.1–11; Matt. 18.15–17; 1 Cor. 5.5; Gal. 6.1);

  • For the instruction in righteousness and the good of other Christians, as an example to them (1 Cor. 5.11; 1 Tim. 5.20; Heb. 10.24–25)

  • For the purity of the church as a whole (1 Cor. 5.6-7; Eph. 5.27; Rev. 21.2);

  • For the good of our corporate witness to non-Christians (Matt. 5.13–16; John 13.35; Acts 5.10–14) and

  • Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His Holy character (Deut. 5.11; John 15.8; Eph. 1.4; 1 Pet. 2.12).

Section 5- Termination of Membership

3.5.1 Termination of membership shall be recognized by the church following the death of a member. The church shall also recognize a transfer of membership or the voluntary resignation of a church member who is in good standing. As stated in 3.4.3, membership may be terminated as an act of church discipline at the recommendation of the elders and with the vote of three-fourths of the voting members present at any regular or special meeting of the members. 

3.5.2 It may be necessary from time to time for the elders to evaluate present membership in order to remove any inactive members that have not been actively present in the church or have moved on to other churches without prior notification. Inactive members who fall under these categories shall be removed at the recommendation of the elders and a simple majority vote of the congregation. Individual church members who cannot be active due to prolonged or debilitating illness will not be removed from membership unless it is specifically requested by them. 

Section 6- Covenant Partnership

3.6.1 International workers on the mission field may wish to partner with Refuge Church for moral, emotional, and financial support. This being the case, it may become necessary for international workers to join the church as members, especially for financial support. Partnerships will only be considered for like-minded, evangelical Christians. To continue in active partnership, it is desired that the international workers remain as active as possible in a local church community.  

3.6.2 Though non-residential members are expected to live a life reflecting the spirit of the Church Covenant, the privileges of non-residential members are distinct from those of members due to geographical distance and other factors. Non-residential members may seek to participate in as much of the covenant life of Refuge Church as possible but shall not be expected to attend all members’ meetings and shall not vote on the election of elders and deacons, on decisions regarding membership status, on the annual budget, on the acquisition of real property, and on such other matters that are submitted to a vote.

3.6.3 International workers not seeking financial support or other formal covenant partnerships, may partner with the church on a case- by- case basis of a recommendation by the elders to the congregation for a three-fourths vote of the voting membership. 

Article 4- Meetings

Section 1- Corporate Worship Meetings

4.1.1- A regular corporate worship meeting shall be held once a week on the Lord’s Day, Sunday, and other such meetings may be held throughout the week as the church determines. Instructive classes, not limited to simple Bible study, will take place as the elders see fit, taught by elders or qualified church members approved by the elders. 

4.1.2 Elders can change or terminate an instructive class at will, upon giving appropriate notice to the congregation through the normal means of communication established by the elders

Section 2-Members’ Meetings

4.2.1 In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

4.2.2 There shall be an annual members’ meeting, at which normally elders and deacons are elected when needed, and a budget is approved by the voting membership. The elders shall ensure that these meetings are held and that any reports the elders deem necessary are submitted to the church by the responsible members.

4.2.3 Special members’ meetings may be called, as requested by the elders, at an acceptable time other than the regular weekly corporate worship time, or at the written request, submitted to the elders, of fifty voting members or one-fourth of the voting membership (whichever is greater). In the event of a written request from the members, the elders shall call a special meeting to be held within one month of their receipt of the request. The written request submitted to the elders shall contain all agenda items for the requested meeting.

4.2.4 All annual and special members’ meetings shall be announced through the normal means of communication established by the elders for at least two weeks preceding such meetings. No business may take place if such notifications have not been made.

4.2.5 For all members’ meetings, a quorum shall be a minimum of fifteen members or 25% of the membership (whichever is greater). No business may take place if a quorum is not met. 

4.2.6 A non-member may make presentations to the church which are informational in nature and may answer questions regarding the presentation with permission from the elders.

4.2.7 On any matter that is brought to vote, a three-fourths majority is needed for it to pass (unless this Constitution specifies otherwise). Abstentions will not be considered as votes cast. Only votes cast by voting members who are present at the time of the meeting will be counted unless an absentee vote is approved by the elders under special circumstances that prevent a member from attending.

4.2.8 One of the elders shall preside at all members’ meetings of the church. An individual shall be named by the elders for clerk for the purpose of recording minutes during all members’ meetings and other needs, as seen fit. 

4.2.9 In all matters of wisdom, the congregation shall seek to submit themselves to the Spirit’s wisdom working through the desire and will of the elders (1 Pet. 5.15).

4.2.10 Understanding that the ability to determine and protect proper doctrine is a task given by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 16.19, 18.15–20; Gal 1.8) no church member in good standing will be denied their right to vote based on that member's age.  

4.2.11 Prior to the public disciplinary vote of any church member, or other matters recommended by the elders, members under the age of 16 should seek to be shepherded by the elders; the elders will also seek out these members to be shepherded through the wisdom of participating in the disciplinary vote.

Article 5- Officers

Section 1- Summary

5.1.1 Jesus Christ is the Lord and head of this church and He rules primarily through the Scriptures.

5.1.2 The biblical offices of the church are elders (pastors) and deacons (or deaconesses). For the purposes of this Constitution, a distinction shall be made between “vocational elders (pastors),” who receive compensation from the church, and “non-vocational elders (pastors),” who do not receive compensation from the church. This distinction does not, however, represent a structural or governing hierarchy among the elders (pastors). Our church also recognizes the administrative positions of clerk and treasurer. The elders shall designate the clerk, however, the office of treasurer will be recommended by the elders to the congregation for a vote of approval of three-fourths of the voting membership. All officers must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.

5.1.3 For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws of the state of Ohio, one of the elders shall serve as president of the corporation and the clerk shall serve as secretary of the corporation. The elders shall serve as the board of trustees.

Section 2- Elders (Pastors)

5.2.1 In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6.16; 1 Tim. 3.17, 5.17; Tit. 1.59; Jas. 5.14; and 1 Pet. 5.14, the elders shall oversee the ministries and resources of the church. They shall seek the mind of Christ through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the word of God as they joyfully undertake the work of shepherding God’s flock. The elders shall teach and exhort; refute and admonish those who contradict the truth; pray for the sick; care for the church’s members; devote themselves to prayer, to the government of the church, and to ministry. They shall be responsible for examining and instructing prospective members, examining and recommending all candidates for offices, overseeing the work of the deacons and other church leaders, conducting corporate worship meetings, administering the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, encouraging sound doctrine, equipping the membership for the work of the ministry, coordinating and promoting the ministries of the church, mobilizing the church for world missions, and overseeing church discipline. The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions. 

5.2.2 Each elder must sustain the doctrines of the Elder Statement of Faith and not hold any settled convictions contrary to them. 

5.2.3 The elders shall normally be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in 1 Tim 3:1-17 and Titus 1:6-9. The church recognizes the office of elder as reserved only to men. No elder shall hold the office of deacon or treasurer during his tenure. 

5.2.4 The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this office in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. 

5.2.5 The doctrine of the church shall be taught from the Holy Scriptures alone. The elders shall be responsible for the direction of the teaching of the church and sustaining the doctrines of the faith as affirmed in the church confession. Should the elders err in their affirmation of faith, or in Christian conduct bringing shame on the name of Christ, they shall be subject to immediate dismissal, and or church discipline according to the severity of their actions.    

5.2.6 An elder’s term will normally be indefinite unless he is terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members who have discovered their shared concern without gossiping with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders. After expressing concern to the elders and only in matters of persistent sin that are disqualifying and inconsistent with the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3.113, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action should be done in accordance with the rules set out for church discipline (Matt. 18.15–17; 1 Tim. 5.17–21). Any elder may be dismissed as an elder by a three-quarters majority vote of the voting members at any formally called members’ meetings of the church.  

5.2.7 The elders may establish non-paid ministry positions and teams to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities, informing the church of their intention to do so. For any paid position at the church other than elder, the elders shall recommend qualified individuals for a simple majority vote from the members present at any regular or specially called meeting of the church. A paid or non-paid position at the church does not in itself constitute an elder’s position. 

5.2.8 For the purposes of paid employees of the church, the elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members. This includes the termination of employees and staff. Any terminations brought about by any means shall be brought to the attention of the church at any regular or specially called members meeting. The outworking of this responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to deacons or another staff member.

5.2.9 Concerning all voting matters, there shall normally be at least a three-fourths approval among elders before submitting matters to the congregation (unless this Constitution specifies otherwise).

5.2.10 Seeking to be faithful to the Holy Scriptures, Refuge Church officers shall only perform marriage ceremonies between one biologically determined male and one biologically determined female. The property of the church shall only be used for marriage ceremonies between one biologically determined male and one biologically determined female. 

5.2.11 Any marriage ceremony performed outside of church members by an elder at Refuge Church should be submitted to the elders for approval to officiate with a three-fourths majority vote.

5.2.12 The elders will maintain a more detailed affirmation of faith and must faithfully keep it within the scriptural boundaries of the statement of faith of Refuge Church. Any member of Refuge Church will have access to the elder affirmation of faith

Section 3- Deacons

5.3.1 Refuge Church recognizes the office of Deacon and Deaconess as described in 1 Tim. 3.813 (cf. Acts 6.17). This being the case, it must be acknowledged that the office of Deacon and Deaconess differ from function of that of an elder. Deacons and deaconesses shall advise and assist the elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the word, new and existing ministries of the church, and the care of the members of the congregation while respecting the roles of biblical manhood and womanhood in areas of church leadership and family. The deacons and deaconesses may be organized in the most fitting way to accomplish the mission of the church. The responsibilities of deacons and deaconesses do not include preaching, teaching, or spiritual oversight, which are the responsibilities of the elders (Acts 6–7.53; Tit. 2.3).

5.3.2 The office of deacon and deaconess is described in 1 Tim. 3.813 (cf. Acts 6.1–7). The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections, those who are giving of themselves in service to the church, who possess gifts of ministry, and who are called to further service and care for the church’s members. The number of deacons and deaconesses shall be determined by the needs of the ministry and the call and qualifications of church members. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons or deaconesses.

5.3.3 A deacon’s and deaconess’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or dismissal or when the elders determine that a particular deacon’s area of ministry is no longer needed. Any member with reason to believe that a deacon should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders. After expressing concern to the elders and only in matters of persistent sin that are disqualifying and inconsistent with the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3.813, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions in Matt. 18.1517 and other relevant biblical texts for church discipline. Any deacon or deaconess may be dismissed by a three-fourths majority vote of the voting members at any regular or specially called members’ meeting. 

Section 4- Treasurer 

5.4.1 The treasurer, who shall not be an elder or a paid church staff member, shall ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The treasurer shall render to the members annually, an account of all transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church. The elders shall have the authority to request an account of all transactions from the treasurer as well when they require it. The treasurer shall collaborate with the elders to ensure that regular financial reports of the church are presented, when appropriate, at regular members’ meetings. The treasurer shall work with the elders as the elders manage all unbudgeted funds.

5.4.2 The treasurer serves under the oversight of the elders of Refuge Church and submits to their direction.

Article 6- Election of Church Officers

Section 1- Principles

6.1 The process for church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:

  • Substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, shall be an integral part of the election process.

  • Nominations shall only proceed with the support of the elders.

  • All candidates for church office shall be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow members.

  • The election process shall express that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Section 2- Selection of Officers

6.2.1 The election of elders, deacons, and deaconesses shall normally but not exclusively be held at the annual members’ meeting of the church. The elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership in the nomination process.

6.2.2 Names of nominees to serve as elders, and deacons or deaconesses shall be presented by the elders and made known to the church at all regular corporate worship meetings at least two weeks preceding the vote. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate must express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant members’ meeting at which the church votes on the candidates so that the elders can shepherd the member through their objection, in keeping with a heart of peacemaking and reconciliation.  

6.2.3 Nominees must receive a three-fourths majority vote in order to be elected. The persons elected shall assume their respective offices at the beginning of the fiscal year (unless another date has been specifically designated). Elections to fill any need that may occur during the course of the year may be held at any members’ meeting, upon recommendation of the elders.

Article 7- Legal Matters

Section 1 – Indemnification 

7.1.1 If a legal claim or criminal allegation is made against a person because he or she is or was an officer, employee, or agent of the church, the church may provide indemnification against liability and costs incurred in defending against the claim if the elders determine that the person acted (a) in good faith, (b) with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a similar position would exercise under similar circumstances, and (c) in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the church, and the person had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful. The church shall purchase appropriate insurance to meet these potential liabilities.

7.1.2 At the discretion of the elders the church also may indemnify any person who acted in good faith and reasonably believed that his or her conduct was in the church’s best interest and not unlawful.

7.1.3 If at least two elders are not available for an indemnification determination because of the number of elders seeking indemnification, the requisite determination may be made by the membership or by special legal counsel appointed by the membership.

Section 2 – Counseling 

 7.2.1 All Christians struggle with sin and the effect it has on our lives and our relationships (Rom. 3.23, 7.7–25). Whenever a Christian is unable to overcome sinful attitudes or behavior through private efforts, God desires that he seek assistance from other members, and especially from the Elders who have the responsibility of providing pastoral counseling and oversight (Rom. 15.14; Gal. 6.1–2; Col. 3.16; 2 Tim. 3.16–5.2; Heb. 10.24–25, 13.17; Jas 5.16). Therefore, this church encourages and enjoins its members to make confession to and seek counsel from each other and especially from pastoral counselors. 

7.2.2 Counseling at Refuge Church is based on scriptural principles rather than those of secular psychology or psychiatry. The counselors of this church are not trained or licensed as psychotherapists or mental health professionals, nor should they be expected to follow the methods of such specialists. Rather the counselors of Refuge Church seek to apply biblical principles to all aspects of life. If a member or regular attendee of Refuge Church seeks help in legal, financial, medical, or other technical questions, the counselor will apply scripture to the matter to the best of their ability. The counselor will seek to cooperate with professional advisors and help members or regular attendees consider their advice in the light of relevant scriptural principles. 

7.2.3 Confidentiality is to be respected as much as possible; however, there are times when it is appropriate to reveal certain information to others. In particular, when the Elders of this church believe it is biblically necessary, they may disclose confidential information to appropriate people. Typical circumstances include:

  • When an Elder is uncertain about how to counsel a person about a particular problem and needs to seek advice from other Elders or wise counselors (Prov. 11.14, 13.10, 15.22, 19.20, 20.18; Matt. 18.15–17).

  • When the person who disclosed the information, or any other person, is in imminent danger of serious harm unless others intervene (Prov. 24.11–12).

  • When a person refuses to repent of sin and it becomes necessary to institute disciplinary proceedings (Matt. 18.15–20 and Constitution – Article VIII) or seek the assistance of individuals or agencies outside this church (see Rom. 3.1–-5).

  • When required by law to report suspected abuse, whether adult or minor or other illegal activity. 

Section 3 -Granting of Assets

7.3 In the event that Refuge Church is disbanded, the owned property and assets of the Church shall be granted to the nearest church of like-minded doctrine. If a church cannot be found, then the closest local association that Refuge Church is in good standing with shall receive all owned property and assets of the church. 

Article 8- Dispute Resolution

8.1 Believing that the Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian church (see, e.g.,Matt. 18.15–20; 1 Cor. 6.1–8), the church shall urge its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically-based principles, without reliance on the secular courts. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles and the avoidance of lawsuits to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or non-Christian and whether individuals or corporate entities. The elders shall direct the church in carrying out these aspirations.

Article 9- Affiliation

9.1 Refuge Church recognizes no governing body higher than the local church. In all actions, the church shall exist as a local, autonomous body of believers, maintaining the right to govern its own affairs. However, in order to spread the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ more effectively, Refuge Church recognizes the advantage to partner with and associate with local, state, and national like-minded associations and church networks. 

Article 10- Amendments

Section 1 – Procedure 

10.1.1 The Member Affirmation of Faith and Church Covenant may be amended by a three-fourths majority vote at a members’ meeting.

10.1.2 This Constitution may be amended by a three-fourths majority vote at a members’ meeting.

10.1.3 All proposed amendments to the Member Affirmation of Faith, the Church Covenant, and the Constitution must be offered in writing at least thirty days prior to the members’ meetings at which they are submitted to a vote and shall be announced at all regular corporate worship meetings at least two weeks preceding such votes.