Process toward becoming a participating member of the EFCA Rocky Mountain District
1.Church Plant Project: Church Planter or a Lay Team begins the new church.
- The Church planter or Lay Team begins with a signed covenantal commitment to the EFCA and the process followed in the RMD for establishing a new church. The commitments are listed in the covenant.
- The Church Planter must agree toward moving to be credentialed with the EFCA.
- The Church Planter or Lay Team agrees to use the Articles of Incorporation as specified by the EFCA RMD.
- The EFCA RMD or the mother church will handle the finances until a treasurer is chosen, the 501 3c is obtained and the new church is incorporated with the state. The process is limited to 6 months for the final transition for the time the church planter begins or the lay team begins services. The planter or church chairman will file state incorporation papers. The EFCA RMD and mother church (if involved) will stop handling the finances at that point.
- The Church Planter or Lay Team (if the planter is not on site) will appoint a Provisional Leadership Team of people for the purpose of assisting the lead planter to carry out the responsibilities of developing a new church. The Church Planter (or Lay Team Chairman until there is a pastor) can remove people at their discretion if they do not support the vision, values and the “person” of the planter. The people do not necessarily need to be elder qualified but should be believers of good standing among others in the community & have sought reconciliation with previous churches if needed.
- The Lead church planter develops leadership structures, hiring and releasing staff and oversees the development of new leaders while being coached.
2. Church Plant: Church Planter with a Provisional Leadership Team
- 18 to 24 months into the process, the church planter appoints elders; If the new church is a lay driven start then the people can choose it’s elders before a pastor comes.
- If a planter comes early in the process then the lay team is encouraged to allow the pastor to take the leadership through this process.
- The Church Planter prayerfully chooses new elders (we encourage a 5 page paper be presented; interviews; examples as to why the man should be considered an elder (Acts 6).
- The Church Planter presents new elders to EFCA RMD representative.
- The EFCA RMD Superintendent or a designated representative chosen by the Superintendent lays hands on the men as elders during a church service; the Superintendent normally conducts this service of installation on a Sunday morning affirming this important step, the pastor’s leadership and affirming the process.
- New elders conduct membership (partnership) classes of some kind (i.e. Welcome to the Family), develop a covenant with the planter’s leadership and then interview potential new members.
- The superintendent is called and equips the new elder team discussing “affirmation voting”. This is critical to the leadership understanding how to function in meetings. Roberts Rules of Order are NOT used in new churches. Biblical congregationalism is not democracy but God’s people seeking God (Acts 1:14; Phil 2:2).
3. Church Status in the EFCA Rocky Mountain District:
- Once members have been through classes, signed a partnership covenant or competencies letter, they are then presented to a EFCA RMD Staff member for approval. A list of the first members must be submitted to the district office.
- At a scheduled first congregational meeting the new partners are presented by the elders. The first congregational meeting convenes where members are affirmed and congratulated. (Suggest a season of prayer, a time of celebration and a few agenda items are encouraged)
- All the names and the addresses of first members shall be turned into the EFCA RMD offices for certification. The names are put into the churches file in case the process is called into question. Remember Affirmation voting is used and Robert’s Rules of Order are not used.
- The superintendent shall present the new church to the EFCA RMD Board and at the next Annual Conference.
4. Final Participation in the EFCA RMD…Membership and Financial Policies
* Several things must be completed for a new congregation to be recognized as a member of the EFCA RMD.
- Approved By-laws by the current EFCA RMD Superintendent.
- Pastor is fully paid.
- Elders and the first Membership completed.
- Tithing to the designated areas begins.*
- The pastor and leaders shall participate in EFCA RMD conferences, Healthy Church Networks (HCNs) as spelled out in the covenant and work along other EFCA’s church to accomplish kingdom work.
IMPORTANT: The EFCA RMD staff holds the right to adjust the process based solely upon the church planter’s input and the number of conversions the church has experienced. These policies have been set to assure as best as possible agenda harmony and a healthier congregation.
*The covenantal agreement is tithing 10% of the general offering after the pastor is fully being paid. The areas where the funds go to are (1%) the National Office, and (2%) to the EFCA RMD’s general fund, and (2%) to EFCA RMD’s Church Planting Fund. (That would leave an additional 5% to come alongside other individual missionaries or multiplication ministries.)