Should A Church Have A Constitution?

Should A Church Have A Constitution? March 22, 2016

Should churches have a constitution? Is it a good idea for a church to have one?

A Church Constitution?

Most people might not even realize that churches have a constitution and these constitutions may contain their own bi-laws and policies. These are intended for the good of the membership because it protects the members from false accusations or being dis-fellowshipped for unbiblical reasons or from any one person becoming too powerful in the church. A church’s constitution can safeguard the integrity of leaders while expressing the will of the congregation while giving both guidance, principles, and procedures to follow so that there are certain expectations for everyone in the church. These constitutions give guidelines on church discipline, when it is necessary or if it is necessary but it also covers moral issues where members who profess faith in Christ yet live in sexual immorality or are customarily breaking the laws. Members who live in such a way without repentance cannot continue in the membership of the church because of the biblical command to abstain from such behavior or face the possibility of church discipline is taught in the Bible. In some cases, it could lead to the member(s) being dis-fellowshipped, if necessary.

Order in the Church

This is not our church nor is it any man or woman’s church. This is the church of Jesus Christ that He promised He would build and the gates of hell won’t stop it (Matt 16:18). He is the Chief Cornerstone of the church, along with the Apostles and Prophets who are part of the foundation. We are simply the living stones being built upon it, but there is always the necessity to have order, clarity, and not chaos. The Apostle Paul wrote that “all things should be done decently and in order” (1st Cor 14:40) “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace [just] as in all the churches of the saints” (1st Cor 14:33). Some churches may have amendments in their constitution or even bylaws that have specific applications for anything from ensuring that male staff never meet with female staff members alone or that the pastor cannot meet with another women unless another woman or his wife is present. These bylaws protect those who receive counseling but they also protect those who give counsel.

For-God-is-not-a-God-of (2)

Statement of Beliefs

If someone doesn’t find the church’s statement of beliefs, they had better write one right away and you can do that just by opening your Bible. The church needs to be clear that they hold to the essentials in the faith such as in Jesus is the One and only way to be saved (Acts 4:12), that Jesus was both Man and God (John 1:1-2, 14), that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord and professes Him by name can be saved (Rom 10:9-13), that there is nothing we can do to earn salvation since it is a free gift from God (Eph 2:8-9) and other things like the sinless-ness of Christ, the divinity of Christ, the need for repentance and faith (Mark 1:15), and many other such things. There might even be a mission statement of faith in the church’s constitution.

The Importance of a Constitution

I believe it is critical that the church constitution clearly and unequivocally state what the church believes as a body and as a matter of Biblical faith. The constitution should clearly state what the expectations for the church are. They should contain the written expectations for church leadership and what procedures should be followed under given circumstances. These are for the protection of membership and leadership. The constitution is to ensure that no one individual or individuals can take control of the church and use it for their own benefit or purposes. It keeps the church checking it self and the membership knowing what their responsibilities, and can keep the church organized in a manner where everyone’s expectations are perfectly clear.


If your church doesn’t have a constitution, ask them why they don’t. Surely they have some sort of bylaws in place which should have principles, applications, and guidance for the church leadership and church membership. Without organization and structure, the church is on shaky ground and could find itself in trouble, being given to great liabilities due to neglect of unforeseen circumstances.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

Browse Our Archives