CONSTITUTION OF LEROY COMMUNITY CHAPEL

Last Revision: November 14, 2021


Leroy Community Chapel, having been formed as a not-for-profit corporation [501 (c) (3)] in 1939, hereby adopts the following constitution and bylaws for the governance of said corporation.

Article I - Name and affiliation

Name. The church shall be known as Leroy Community Chapel, hereafter referred to as LCC. 


Affiliation. LCC is organized as an independent, autonomous and self-governing body. We maintain affiliations with churches of like faith and practice to further the cause of Christ and the ministry of LCC. We can establish official or voluntary affiliation with organizations by 2/3majority vote at a duly called congregational meeting. 

ARTICLE II - Statement of Faith

Please refer to the Statement of Faith page to read this section in full.

Article III - Membership

Any person may become a member who professes saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; who agrees with our Statement of Faith; and who commits to worship, serve, support and grow with LCC. Each person must take the new membership class and give public testimony of his faith. The specific matters relating to membership can be found in the “By-Laws.” 

ARTICLE IV - Church government

Form of government: The government of LCC will be vested in the Board of Elders, which represent and hold the trust of the voting membership. The Elder Board will cast vision, give direction and set policy for the supervision of the church. The lead pastor and pastoral staff will administer and implement the vision of LCC. The figure below illustrates the governance model for LCC.


The Leadership Groups: Duties, roles and qualifications.

THE BOARD OF ELDERS serves as the ruling body. It is comprised of the active elders.  


There shall be three types of Elders at Leroy Community Chapel: 

  1. Pastoral Elders (PE) are individuals who have been called by the congregation of the Church. The Lead Pastor is an Elder by biblical precedent and shall enjoy ex officio voting privileges on the Elder Board upon Membership of the Church. Other pastors may be included on the Elder Board if their role is deemed necessary to the functioning of the Board. For an Associate Pastor to be added to the board as a voting member, this pastor must be nominated by the Lead Pastor and affirmed by a unanimous vote of the Elder Board. He will be added for a one-year term which is annually renewable by a unanimous vote.
  2. Lay Elders (LE) are individuals who have been called from within the membership of the Church for three-year terms. They enjoy voting privileges upon installation. At the discretion of the Board of Elders an LE may be asked to take a sabbatical year, as a seventh year following the first two (2) three year terms, or following any three-year term, thereafter. In the case of a sabbatical rest, the former LE will agree to sit out one ministry cycle before allowing their name to be offered to the Congregation for another appointment as an LE. 
  3. Associate Lay Elder (ALE) is appointed by the Board of Elders for a period of one fiscal year. Their appointment is by need or opportunity; and, their selection is secured by unanimous affirmation of the Board of Elders. An ALE must exit the Board of Elders at the end of the fiscal year of their appointment. They enjoy voting privileges upon appointment. A member cannot be affirmed as an ALE for two successive fiscal years; and, no more than two (2) ALE’s can be on the Board of Elders in a single fiscal year. The Board of Elders is not required to have an ALE during a fiscal year. 

The Elders cast vision, establish policy, and commission the Lead pastor with the pastoral staff to implement the vision and policies.


The Elders keep the ministry and the congregation in prayer before God, give supervision to the spiritual work of the church in general, and administer discipline. 


The Elders function as the legal trustees of the church and its property. In this function the elders will ensure that the following trustee duties are performed directly or by delegation:

  1. Advise and recommend to the elders in all trustee related matters and carry out research projects assigned to them. 
  2. Ensure all federal and state regulations concerning the church are in order. 
  3. Stay abreast of the latest laws concerning the operations and status of the church and its personnel.
  4. Research matters concerning insurance for the church and its personnel. 
  5. Research all matters of real estate pertaining to LCC. 

An Elder is expected to uphold the Christian faith, maintain godly character, and lead with wisdom and maturity as expressed in 1 Timothy 3. 


THE PASTORAL STAFF implements the church vision and administers the ministry and life of the church. The pastoral staff consists of the Lead Pastor and the ministry pastors which are chosen by the congregation. The church administrative staff serves under the pastors to effectively accomplish the work of the Lord in the cause of Christ. The Lead Pastor is ex officio (by virtue of position) a member of the Elder Board. Other pastors may be included on the Elder board on a case-by-case basis if their role is necessary to the functioning of the board. The lead pastor will serve as the chief administrative officer and the head of the pastoral staff. It is his responsibility to direct the affairs of the staff, to lead the church in its mission and to feed the flock– giving attention to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). 

  1. The Pastoral Staff is in charge of all aspects of the congregational worship. 
  2. The Pastoral Staff is in charge of ministering to and feeding the flock. 
  3. The Pastoral Staff is to direct and work with the Deacons and Deaconesses. 
  4. The Pastoral Staff is to appoint Ministry Directors with approval of the Elders. 
  5. The pastors of LCC must meet the qualifications of the elder as described in I Timothy 3. Each pastor is expected to fill his role as a godly man filled with the Holy Spirit, and to teach the word of God as guided by the LCC Statement of Faith. 

THE DEACONS serve the church by giving supervision to the physical aspects of the church’s ministry. The deacons serve under the direction of the pastoral staff to make the ministry function effectively.

  1. The deacons are in charge of the development and maintenance of the properties and facilities of LCC. 
  2. The deacons are responsible for the physical aspect of scheduled meetings at LCC. 
  3. The deacons are in charge of facilitating the various aspects of the worship services at LCC, such as ushering the meetings and collecting the financial offerings, in cooperation with the pastoral staff and ministry directors. 
  4. The deacons’ qualifications will be in accordance to I Timothy 3:8-13. 
  5. Deacons are presented as nominees at the May congregational meeting, and chosen by a congregational vote of affirmation. A two-thirds majority vote by the membership present at the May congregational meeting is needed to affirm a nomination. A deacon serves a three-year term. The terms of the deacons should be staggered so that continuity is maintained from year to year. 

THE DEACONESSES serve the church in various “help” and “compassion” oriented ministries at the discretion of the pastoral staff. 

  1. The deaconesses are in charge of preparing the elements of the Communion services and refreshments at church meetings.
  2. The deaconesses are in charge of the kitchen and food arrangements for all wedding receptions and funeral wakes held in the church facilities. 
  3. The deaconesses are to work with the sick and bereaved and to help in other programs that are instituted for this general area of care. 
  4. The deaconesses’ qualifications will be in accordance to Acts 9:36, Titus 2 and I Timothy 3. 
  5. Deaconesses are presented as nominees at the May congregational meeting, and chosen by a congregational vote of affirmation. A two-thirds majority vote by the membership present at the May congregational meeting is needed to affirm a nomination. A deaconess serves a three-year term. The terms of the deaconesses should be staggered so that continuity is maintained from year to year. 

THE MINISTRY DIRECTORS are appointed by the pastoral staff with the approval of the elders and are charged with the supervision of a specific ministry of the church, such as Women’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Jail Visitation Ministry, Men’s Ministry, Worship Ministry, etc. The ministry directors are to work with

the other leadership groups as needed to expedite the successful working of their ministry. The ministry advisory council has been created for this purpose. 


THE MINISTRY ADVISORY COUNCIL is an advisory and networking council. It is not a policy making council. It functions at the behest of and helps implement the policies set by the Board of Elders. Its purpose is to facilitate communication between the leadership and ministry groups, to promote unity and cooperation so that ministry can be accomplished, and to give insight and advice concerning the church vision and its outworking. It is comprised of a representative from each ministry group, each leadership group and other church officials as deemed necessary to the facilitating of the ministry. The lead pastor, or one appointed by him, will serve as the chairman of the Ministry Council. 


STANDING COMMITTEES are permanent committees that give advice to and carry out the duties assigned to them by the Board of Elders. The committee members are appointed by the Board of Elders, except for those members that are church officers elected by the congregation. 

  1. The Benevolence Committee oversees the collection and distribution of so designated monies and gifts to those with special needs in our church family and the greater community. A staff pastor will chair the committee, and report its activities to the Board of Elders. 
  2. The Personnel Committee oversees and gives council to the Board of Elders about all personnel matters of LCC, that are associated with paid staff – pastoral, administrative or ministry directors. The chairman of the Board of Elders, or his appointee, will serve on the personnel committee. 
  3. The Financial Committee oversees the fiduciary matters of LCC, including the development and oversight of the budget. The treasurer will be the chairman of the financial committee. A non-staff elder will also serve on the committee. The treasurer is responsible to establish the fiduciary procedures necessary for maintaining proper fiscal responsibility and accountability. 

AD-HOC COMMITTEES refer to non-standing committees created for temporary and specific purposes. They are terminated as soon as their purpose has been served. Examples of ad hoc committees are: the nominating committee, a pastoral search committee, a capital campaign or building committee. Unless otherwise noted, whenever an ad hoc committee is formed, the elders shall appoint a chairman

from the Ministry Council. The other members will be appointed by the leadership group to which the ad hoc committee reports.

  1. The Nominating Committee will report to the Elders. All chosen officers of the church except for pastors will be nominated by the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall consist of at least six members: one from the pastoral staff, one from the elder board (who is finishing his term), one from the deacon board (who is finishing his term), one from the deaconess board (who is finishing her term), and two from the membership of the church, appointed during the October congregational meeting by popular vote. The nominating committee shall evaluate the qualifications and capabilities of every man or woman considered for office and review with the candidate the qualifications required for the respective officers before submission of such candidates to the elders for their review. The elders will submit the list of approved nominees at the May congregational meetings for election. Members are encouraged to submit names for consideration to the nominating committee before the February 1 deadline. Nominations for church officers will not be accepted from the floor at congregational meetings. Only members of LCC are eligible to serve as church officers. The Nominating Committee will be dissolved each year after the May congregational meeting. 
  2. The Pastoral Search and Capital Campaign Committees will report to the Elders. 

Officers of the church

For legal and fiduciary matters, elders and the treasurer are designated as officers of Leroy Community Chapel.  All elected officers shall serve until the first meeting of

said leadership group following the end of the fiscal year after their term of office has expired. Each church official shall sign the doctrinal statement embodied in this constitution at the beginning of appointment.


ELDERS: PROCESSES OF APPOINTMENT AND DISMISSAL

The number of elders will vary according to the number of members, the needs of the church, and the number of qualified men available. A head elder will be chosen by the elders to serve as Chairman of the Board for one year terms beginning in July. The Head Elder serves as the moderator of all Board of Elders and congregational meetings. It is his responsibility to appoint clerks to see that official minutes and records of LCC are kept secure and up to date. He also will declare whether a quorum is met for each congregational meeting.


Elders are presented as nominees at the May congregational meeting, and chosen by a congregational vote of affirmation. A two-thirds majority vote by the membership present at the May congregational meeting is needed to affirm a nomination. An elder serves a three-year term. The terms of the elders should be staggered so that continuity is maintained from year to year.


An elder may be dismissed if he no longer upholds the core values or doctrines of the church, or fails to support the ministry for an extended period of time.

  1. The dismissal of an Elder requires a fair and impartial investigative process. The grounds of dismissal must be of biblical cause. If a man is determined, by the inquiry of the Board of Elders, and found to no longer comply with the standards set forth of I Timothy 3: 1-7 and as such cannot set the proper example for the congregation in lifestyle and faith, The Board of Elders must dismiss him immediately and remove him from their leadership assembly. The dismissal of an elder is to be done in love to him and his family and only after careful consideration and prayer.
  2. When an Elder resigns for personal need, his resignation is to be accepted by the Board of Elders and be removed from their leadership assembly. The effective date of resignation is agreed upon by the resigning elder and the Board of Elders.
  3. The elder who resigns or is dismissed from the Board of Elders prior to the completion of their term, shall be replaced by an ALE. Such person is not included in the limitation of two ALE’s in a fiscal year. However, the term limit of an ALE applies.
  4. The dismissal of a non-elder officer will follow the spirit and intent of Article IV.B.1.c.1. and, 2.

PASTORS: PROCESSES OF APPOINTMENT AND DISMISSAL

Pastors are presented by the Pastoral Search Committee to the Board of Elders, who approve and present them as candidates to the congregation. Pastoral candidates must receive two-thirds of the members voting at a special meeting called for the expressed purpose of selecting a pastor before the elders will extend a call to the candidate. A pastor and his wife, upon acceptance of the call, shall become members of LCC. There are no term limits for a pastor.


A pastor shall serve until his pastorate is terminated by resignation or request by the Board of Elders.

  1. The dismissal of a pastor should follow the same guidelines as for the dismissal of any other elder, see: Article IV, Paragraph B.1.c.1.
  2. The date of resignation will be upon agreement of the resigning pastor and the Board of Elders.

TREASURER: DUTIES, PROCESS OF APPOINTMENT

The treasurer is the chief financial officer of the church. The treasurer is responsible for all matters relating to church finances. He will establish the procedures for collecting, counting, recording, depositing, dispensing, and reporting so that the monies contributed to the church are handled responsibly. He is also responsible for the accounting of the financial records and maintaining the proper state credentials required for (501) (c) (3) corporations. The financial procedures are found in the policy manual.


The treasurer is presented as a nominee at the May congregational meeting and chosen by a congregational vote of affirmation. The treasurer serves a two year term. He can serve as many terms as he is nominated and approved by the congregation at the annual meeting.


The Treasurer will have the qualifications of deacon.

CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS

There shall be two official congregational meetings each year, in October and in May.

  1. In October the nominating committee will be selected. The financial report will be presented. Other items can be added to the agenda by the Chairman of the Elder Board. 
  2. In May those nominated for church offices will be approved or rejected by vote of the members present. The yearly Budget will also be presented and voted on. The yearly vision, goals, and strategy for LCC will be presented. Other items can be added to the agenda by the Chairman of the Elder Board. 

Special meetings may be called by the elders. The date and purpose of said meetings must be posted two weeks in advance and clearly announced to the congregation through the Sunday bulletin. Such meetings are not to be used as open forums for new business or debate, but are restricted to the stated purpose. The elders shall call a meeting upon written request from 20% of the membership. The reason is to be clearly stated. Said meeting is to be convened within four weeks after the filing of the request. 


A quorum is necessary to transact any business at a congregational meeting. 20% of the active membership must be present at a congregational meeting to form a quorum. A majority vote of the voting members present at any constitutionally called congregational

meeting shall be required in all matters brought before the congregation for approval or decision, unless otherwise provided for in this constitution.


All LCC attendees are welcome to attend congregational meetings. Only members may introduce or vote on issues.


The Chairman of the Elder Board, or his appointee, shall moderate and establish the agenda for all congregational meetings.


The fiscal and program year for LCC shall extend from July 1 to June 30. A yearly report for the completed year will be drawn up and distributed to all active members during the month of July. 


In the conduct of business, any parliamentary questions not covered by this Constitution shall be decided by the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

ARTICLE V - Property Rights

If the church membership votes to dissolve and cease to function as a church, or if the membership should dissolve through some disaster, the property and assets will be distributed representatively among the organizations that sponsor the current missionaries on monthly support by

LCC, with the intent that said missionaries receive their support in ministry for up to four years.

ARTICLE VI - FINANCES

LCC will operate in a debt free manner.


Once the annual budget has been approved by the congregation, any unbudgeted expenditures that exceed 2% of the annual budget must be approved by a majority vote at a meeting where a quorum has been met.

Article VII - Provision for “By Laws” and “Policy Manual”

A supplement to this constitution known as The By-Laws of Leroy Community Chapel shall provide a vehicle to implement and carry out the principles outlined by the Constitution. Examples of items included in the By-laws are:

  1. Explanations in more detail how the church functions, frequency of meetings for committees, the process involved in Church discipline, etc.
  2. Church position statements that are relevant to this local body, but are not deemed core doctrine as found in the Constitution Article II--Statement of Faith.
  3. The vision statement and core values Leroy Community Chapel.
  4. All matters dealing with membership.
  5. Ministry purpose statements and procedures.

The Policy Manual of Leroy Community Chapel shall cover such items as:

  1. Job descriptions for all positions in the church.
  2. Grievance procedures and protocol.
  3. Operational procedures, such as how the fiduciary matters of the church are handled.
  4. Church office and administrative staff manual.
  5. Church Policies, such as rental policies, wedding policies, etc.

New ”By Laws” or “Policy Manual” statements or changes to existing “By Laws” or “Policy Manual” statements will be presented to and reviewed by the Ministry Council and approved by the Elders.

ARTICLE VIII - AMENDMENTS

Amendments to this constitution may be made at any duly called congregational meeting when said amendments have been presented to the Board of Elders in writing with signatures of 20% of the voting membership and posted for at least one month prior to the congregational meeting. A two-thirds majority vote is required for passage of the amendment at a meeting where a quorum has been met.



Article IX. Gender, Marriage and Sexuality

We believe that God creates all human beings wonderfully and immutably in His own image as either male or female. These two distinct and complementary genders are a reflection of that image and nature (Genesis 1:26,27). By rejecting one’s biological sex, whether internally or externally, one is rejecting the very image of God within them. 


We believe that marriage is defined in Scripture thus: the uniting of one man and one woman in one exclusive union (Genesis 2:18-25). The only Biblical grounds for the breaking of this covenant is in the case of adultery (Matthew 19:9) or desertion (1 Corinthians 7:10-16). Leroy Community Chapel will only conduct (or allow our chapel and grounds to be utilized for) a marriage ceremony that recognizes this Scriptural mandate. 


We also reserve the right to refuse the same to couples who we determine are not followers of Christ. 


We believe that sexual intimacy is reserved only for a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4).


We believe that God forbids engaging in intimate sexual activity outside of marriage. We believe that any form of sexual immorality is forbidden by God. These include adultery, fornication, homosexual or bisexual behavior, bestiality, incest and the use of pornography (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10). We believe that, through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, God offers redemption and restoration to all who would confess and forsake their sin (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9,10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).


We believe that all men and all women must be shown compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31) without forsaking the truth. 


We believe, in order to maintain the purity of the ministry of Leroy Community Chapel, that it is imperative that all persons employed by Leroy Chapel in any capacity, or those who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by the Word of God and the statutes of Leroy Community Chapel.

BYLAWS

Preface

The Bylaws of Leroy Community Chapel are established by Article VII of the Constitution. The purpose and function of the By Laws as stated in the Constitution are: As a supplement to this constitution, The By Laws of Leroy Community Chapel shall provide a vehicle to implement and carry out the principles outlined by the Constitution. Examples of items included in the By Laws are:

  1. Explanations in more detail how the church functions, frequency of meetings for committees, the process involved in Church discipline, etc.
  2. Church position statements that are relevant to this local body, but are not deemed core doctrine as found in the Constitution Article II--Statement of Faith.
  3. The vision statement and core values Leroy Community Chapel.
  4. All matters dealing with membership.
  5. Ministry purpose statements and procedures.

Mission Statement

The mission of Leroy Community Chapel is to completely transform our family, community and world into devoted followers of Jesus Christ through the Word of God.


Core Values

The core values represent who we are as a church. They serve as a guide for writing this constitution, for decision making, and for the setting of priorities. They guide the implementation of all our ministries.

  1. God’s Word (Psalms 138:2) – It is our desire to be a church that preaches, teaches, and follows God’s Word.
  2. Worship (John 4:24) – We seek to be a church that acknowledges God’s place in every aspect of our daily lives as well as in our corporate meetings. Spiritual worship reminds us of God’s greatness and how desperately we need him.
  3. Prayer (Philippians 4:6-7) – Prayer is communing with God as Father and Savior. We want to be a church that depends on God and asks him for his strength, guidance, and encouragement.
  4. Evangelism / discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20) - We want the goals of our church to reflect the directives and commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations. God has called his church to help one another | grow up in Him (Ephesians 4:12-13).
  5. Community (Acts 2:42-47; Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 10:25) – the fellowship of the family of God has been a common goal and expression of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12) since the formation of the church (Acts 2). We strive to live as brothers and sisters in harmony as we grow in Christ and minister together.
  6. Unity (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12) – The body of Christ is one body with many members. The Holy Spirit places each member into one body. The Spirit also gifts and empowers each member to complete the different functions necessary for the full expression and development of the body. We celebrate the differences that exist in our church family and encourage mutual submission to each other as we seek to serve God under the leadership of our elders.
  7. Vision (1 Corinthians 9:22) – Paul wanted to reach people with the message of salvation: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” We want the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be relevant to the changing culture around us. So we encourage change in methods and strategy to help us effectively communicate the word of truth with relevance to the peoples and culture of the day in which we live, both here and abroad.

Membership Protocols

Application for Membership– Any person desiring to become a member of LCC shall make application to the membership committee, formed by the Board of Elders. The requirements for application are completion of:

  1. A current new membership class.
  2. An LCC membership application.
  3. An LCC membership covenant.
  4. A written testimony of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. After the requirements for membership are met, the membership committee will recommend new members to the elders, who will then present them to the congregation so their membership can be acknowledged and affirmed.

Privileges of Membership

  1. The right to vote at all officially called congregational meetings is extended to all members 18 years and older, and in good standing.
  2. Priority consideration for use of church facilities.
  3. Priority consideration for leadership positions.
  4. Primary access to pastoral and church assistance.

Responsibilities of Membership– Having received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, we do now in the presence of God and this church joyfully and honorably enter into this covenant with one another as one body in Christ. We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit:

  1. To exhibit the fruit of the Spirit in all our activities and relationships (Gal 5:19-26);
  2. To endeavor by all that we do, say or think to be devoted to prayer, watchfulness, wisdom and grace so that “you may know how to answer everyone” (I Pet 3:15-16);
  3. To walk together in Christian love, purity and unity so that the outside world will know we are devoted followers of Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35);
  4. To submit to and pray for the leadership (Heb 13);
  5. To serve the family of believers by using the gifts given you by the Spirit (I Cor 12; I Pet 4:10-11);
  6. To contribute, as the Lord directs, to the financial support of the Church, the relief of the needy and the evangelization of all people (I Cor 16:1-4, II Cor 9);
  7. To seek God’s Kingdom first through regular Bible reading, prayer, regular public worship, fellowship and service (Matt 6:33);
  8. To strive to live a godly life before and present Jesus Christ to friends, neighbors and work associates (Col 4:2-6).

“Peacemaker” Statement. To be added.


Discipline of Members– The purpose of church discipline is to affect a return to the Biblical standard of conduct and doctrine in a member who is caught in the trap of sin (Gal 6:1), to maintain moral purity in the church (I Cor 5:6) and to deter sin (I Tim 5:20). Any member of LCC who causes dissention through the promotion of false doctrine, persistently conducts himself in a manner inconsistent with Biblical teaching, blatantly seeks to destroy the unity or peace of the church shall be dealt with according to the guidelines of Matt 18:15-18.


Termination of Membership– Membership may be terminated in one of four ways:

  1. By physical death.
  2. By transfer: When it is requested, the Elders may grant to a departing member in good standing, a letter of dismissal to the fellowship of another church.
  3. By Exclusion: if a member habitually absents himself from the stated meetings of LCC without valid reason, and refuses to support the ministry; or if due to relocation he ceases to maintain a vital contact with the church, he may be excluded from the membership. A letter will be sent to advise and confirm removal from membership.
  4. By dismissal as a final step of discipline.

MARRIAGE

We believe that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman, in one exclusive relationship. Jesus Himself reiterated this pattern when asked about divorce in Matthew 19:4-6.


We believe that all human beings have been created in the image and likeness of God, male and female, fearfully and wonderfully, distinct and complementary, as described by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. 


The husband and wife each have specific roles and responsibilities within the marital covenant. These roles and responsibilities serve to complement each other. Therefore, constrained by the clear teachings of Scripture, Leroy Community Chapel can only conduct (or allow its facilities to be used for) a marriage ceremony between one man and one woman. Moreover, we will only recognize a marriage that is between one man and one woman. Furthermore, we believe that God has ordained sexual intimacy to occur exclusively between one man and one woman who are married to each other. 


These statements of belief are not to be interpreted to mean that we would encourage, endorse or tolerate hateful or harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward those engaged in a homosexual lifestyle. We believe that every person must be treated with compassion, love, kindness, respect and dignity. reflecting our belief that all men are created in the image and likeness of God.

SEXUALITY

Our desire for all men and women who attach themselves to Leroy Community Chapel, is that they may prosper in all things, live abundant lives, and experience the liberty that is found only in Christ. 


In accordance with that desire, we believe that God creates each and every individual both wonderfully and immutably as either male or female; two distinct and complementary sexes that reflect the image and nature of God, and that acceptance of this reality is necessary for human flourishing. Human flourishing is only possible when the goodness of God’s creation is honored as God intended. 


We believe, as Jesus taught, that whoever practices sin is a slave to sin, and that sin leads to death. We believe that Christ came to earth to set at liberty those who were in bondage to sin. In matters of sexuality and gender identification, any understanding or philosophy or belief that strays from God’s clear proclamation will not lead to human flourishing, but rather to bondage to sin and spiritual death.


While we hold to the standard of sexual activity and identity as it is clearly presented in God’s Word, our response to persons involved

in sexual sin is one of compassion, viewing those so engaged as being in bondage to sin. Our desire is not their condemnation but redemption - redemption that can only be found in Christ. as much as we desire to respond in love to those involved in sexual sin, we hold fast to the truth. 

For to deny what Scripture clearly presents is neither loving nor compassionate.

HOMOSEXUALITY

There are six passages in the Bible which speak directly to homosexuality, and in each case, homosexuality is presented in exclusively negative terms. There is no instance in Scripture where homosexuality is commended or celebrated.


Some will argue that Jesus Himself never spoke on the topic of homosexuality, but we do find, in Matthew 15:11 and, Jesus referring to sexual immorality as something that defiles a person. It is Scripture which defines what constitutes “sexual immorality” (Gk., porneia),” which in New Testament times referred to various forms of illicit and perverse sexual activity including homosexuality (Jude 7, for example).


Further to this point, we believe that Jesus, as God incarnate, as the second person of the Trinity, is of one mind as the Father and Holy Spirit. What is spoken by one is considered spoken by all. Their testimony is one just as they are one. As recorded in Scripture, when Jesus speaks, God speaks.


Reinterpreting Scripture. There are those who attempt to reconcile homosexuality with the Word of God. These attempts always necessitate a reinterpretation of Scripture. An example of this type of argument postulates that those passages which condemn homosexuality are actually condemning specific and oppressive homosexual practices and not the homosexual act itself.


The Sin of Sodom. Some argue that the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, but rather inhospitality, citing Ezekiel 16:49,50. The argument is made, based on this passage, that of the six sins of Sodom, homosexuality is not among them. But this argument fails when other Scriptural references are brought to bear.


In Genesis 19, where the account is found, the language and structure of the text portraying the wickedness of Sodom are clearly to the homosexual acts of the people of Sodom.


And Jude 7, states it very clearly: “…Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”


2 Peter 2:6-10 also treats the sin of Sodom as sexual immorality rather than oppression, violence, a failure of hospitality or some other kind of sin.


Romans 1; 1 Corinthians 6. Some argue that those passages which condemn homosexuality are referring to specific and oppressive homosexual acts and not permanent, monogamous, same-sex unions.


But Paul, the author of Romans and 1 Corinthians, was writing from an Old Testament worldview. We have already presented the case for defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, in one committed exclusive relationship [see above]. All sexual intimacy is reserved for the marriage covenant. Nowhere in Scripture do we find it acceptable outside of marriage. This view of marriage and sexuality is the basis upon which Paul wrote both Romans and 1 Corinthians.


Paul uses two interesting terms when referring to sexual sin in his letters. In 1 Corinthians 6:9,10, he uses the work malakos [translated “effeminate”] and arsenokoites [translated “homosexuals”]. The same word arsenokoites is used in 1 Timothy 10.


Malakós (the singular of malakoí) means "soft, fancy, luxurious," when speaking of things. When speaking of a male, it connotes effeminacy or homosexuality, specifically the male who allows himself to be the passive partner in a sexual encounter with another male.


Arsenokoités, on the other hand, refers to the sexual conduct of the dominant partner in the relationship. Etymologically, it combines arsen (male) with koítē (bed, and by extension, the marital relationship). This word may have been coined by Paul, taking as his basis Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.


Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6, therefore presents both the passive and active participation in same-sex intercourse as being sinful. This is in contrast with the ancient pagan world which viewed only the passive participation in the homosexual act as being shameful.


Mutable/Immutable Characteristics. There are some things about mankind that are immutable, they cannot and will not change. There are others that are mutable, they are subject to change.


Among man’s mutable characteristics would be the process of aging. Men change both physically and mentally as they grow older. Parts of this process take place apart from his active involvement, while others are subject to decisions and actions he takes.  A man who intensely practices a particular skill for an extended period of time, for example, will find his level of competence increase. Among man’s immutable characteristics are race and gender. 


Most in our culture include sexual orientation (such as being either heterosexual or homosexual) as among these immutable characteristics. This is in direct opposition to the Scriptural viewpoint.


A common question is: Is homosexuality a choice? This question is not as simple as it may seem, and the answer is not as simplistic as many in the Church have presented it. John Freeman, President of Harvest USA has written: “Contrary to the modern idea of an innate homosexual “orientation”—a term only frequently used in the last twenty-five years or so—this concept is not found in Scripture. It’s assumed in the Bible that we can become inclined or “oriented” to anything to which we continually give our minds and hearts. Do something in thought or action enough times and over a long enough period, and it will become ingrained in us.


“However, we have to be careful of simplistic thinking here, especially when we think of our responsibility—something many don’t believe they have when it comes to their same-sex desires or behavior. 


We are the product of complex interactions of many factors over many years. Why are some prone to any number of psychosocial persuasions, including anger, depression, or chemical dependency? Here is the answer: we do not always choose our struggles or temptations, although we bear responsibility for what we do with them. They develop in us through a complicated interaction of temperament, internal and external influences, and our own hungry, broken, and sinful selves. “We easily and by nature cooperate with these influences so that habits of heart and behavior become strong and ruling. In one sense, we are the sum of thousands of small decisions we have made. We have cooperated with our cultivated desires. So, despite the external factors that may have been in play in the development of those temptations we find particularly enticing, we are still responsible for leading godly lives, including in the area of sexuality.”


Scriptural support for this view is found in James 1:13-15 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”


Temptation takes many forms and comes at us in many ways. Both temptation, in and of itself, would be harmless if it were not met by our own evil desires (v. 14). Our own desires lure us into sin. Sin is birthed when we do not resist the temptation, but give in to its enticement. When we know that something is wrong, we have a responsibility to do what is necessary to resist giving in to it.


Denying the authority of Scripture. There are those who, rather than refute what Scripture clearly states, will deny the authority of Scripture altogether. Again, John Freeman, President of Harvest USA, has written: “In today’s culture, our sociology is increasingly interpreting, defining, and determining our theology…There was a time when believers routinely looked to the Bible both to know how to think about issues of life and to find solutions to the dilemmas they faced, including issues surrounding sex and sexuality. 


Today, the impact and influence of one’s social network and experience with friends and family have displaced what the Bible might say on this topic.” It is neither wise nor safe to interpret Scripture based upon a contemporary understanding or worldview. Nor to transfer authority and credibility away from God’s word to personal experience. True wisdom is found in placing our confidence in the authority of God’s Word.


LGBTQ+ ISSUES

Much of the argument presented concerning homosexuality also applies to LGBTQ.

One difference centers around the topic of gender identification (i.e. self-determination of gender).


Proclaiming the truth in love. Proverbs 10:9 tells us that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. If this is true, then respect for and adherence to what God commands is wise and vital to those seeking good for themselves.

With this in mind, any belief, any course of action, any philosophy or lifestyle that stands opposed to God’s holiness cannot be good for men or women. Even though it may appear to be good and right, it will ultimately bring harm to those who engage in it. It is therefore loving and right to speak truthfully to those engaged in ungodly activities and lifestyles. It is not loving to allow someone to continue in a lifestyle that is going to harm them.


Immutable characteristic. The Bible presents gender as an immutable characteristic of mankind. We believe that God determines, immutably, the gender of each person at their conception and this, by the counsel of His own will.


Gender – designation vs. recognition. We do not believe that gender assignment at birth is a social construct, a designation made by any man or woman, but rather a recognition of what God has ordained. To claim the liberty to self-identify one’s gender is to usurp the authority of God. Scripture tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Those who claim the right to self-identify gender deny the truthfulness of that verse. Scripture tells us that God created human beings exclusively male and female. Those who claim the liberty to self-identify gender proclaim that not to be true. We believe that the self-determination of gender is idolatry. It represents taking upon ourselves a prerogative afforded to God and to God alone.


The truth in love. Although we acknowledge the struggle many have with issues of sexual desire and sexual identification, we don’t believe that walking in a way that is opposed to God’s clear teaching on such issues is either loving or good. We desire to walk with those who are involved in such struggles, in love and with respect, to the end that they may experience the liberty found only in Christ.