Constitution of the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk
ARTICLE I. THE NAME AND PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
Section A. Name. The name of this Church shall be “Tabernacle Church of Norfolk.”
Section B. Purpose. The Purpose of Tabernacle Church of Norfolk is to glorify God by: giving
Him our undivided worship, reaching the world for Christ, adopting them into our church family,
coaching them to spiritual maturity and empowering them for ministry.
ARTICLE II. STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
1. We believe in the Trinity: One God eternally existing in three persons – the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit.
2. We believe in God the Father, creator of heaven and earth. Who by His word and for His
glory, created everything both seen and unseen, Whose plans and purposes cannot be
thwarted, Who is faithful to every promise, and Who works all things together for His good.
Because of His unfathomable grace and love, He predestined His Church to be holy and
blameless in accordance with His pleasure and will. We believe that the Father gave His only
Son, Jesus Christ, for mankind’s redemption, that He continually concerns Himself mercifully in
the affairs of man, hears and answers prayers, saves from sin and death all those who come to
Him through faith in Jesus Christ and Who continually blesses His children with every spiritual
3. We believe in Jesus Christ, God the Son, as the redeemer of mankind and the only mediator
between the Father and humanity. We believe that He is co-eternal with the Father and the
Holy Spirit, yet begotten by the Father. We affirm His full deity as God and we affirm His full
humanity in that though He is God, through the incarnation, He became a human being born of
a virgin. We believe in the Son's perfection and that His shed blood and substitutionary death
on the cross paid the redemptive price for our sins. We believe that He was buried, rose
bodily and ascended into heaven at the right hand of the Father where He currently intercedes
for all believers. We eagerly wait for that day when He will return in bodily form as King and
Judge to claim His own and to vindicate Himself by setting all things in order.
4. We believe in God the Holy Spirit, equal in deity to the Father and the Son, co-eternal with
Them and worthy of worship. He seals and indwells the believer at conversion enabling him to
grow into the likeness of Christ; filling the Christian with power to live a godly life.
5. We believe that people are created by God in His image for the express purpose of glorifying
and loving Him. However, because of man’s disobedience (sin) the entire human race is
alienated from God and in need of reconciliation to Him.
6. We believe that a person’s reconciliation to God comes only by God’s grace and through faith.
It was earned by Christ's death on the cross which is totally sufficient to cover all sins. Those
that confess Jesus Christ as Lord, repent of their sin and believe on His name are spiritually
born as children of God.
7. We believe that all Christians are members of the body of Christ, the one true church
universal. Spiritual unity is to be expressed among Christians by acceptance and love of one
another across ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, national, generational, and denominational
lines. The local church is a congregation of Christians who gather in a specific geographical
location for the purpose of worship, prayer, instruction, encouragement, mutual accountability,
and community with one another. In it, believers invest time, talents, energy, and resources.
Through it, they are mutually edified moving toward full maturity in Christ and are equipped to
fulfill the Great Commission (The world-wide proclamation of the Gospel).
8. We believe in eternal salvation for all who have been reconciled to God through His Son and
in eternal punishment for all who reject His gift of salvation.
9. We believe that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, inerrant as originally given, and
infallible as God's final authority for our faith and practice.
ARTICLE III. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Section A. Qualifications.
Qualifications for membership shall consist of a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their
Lord and Savior, a declaration of agreement with the Statement of Beliefs (Article II), an
expressed willingness to abide by the provisions of the Church's Constitution, and a stated desire
to formally ally themselves with the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk’s family. Candidates for
membership shall be committed to a life of continual Christian maturity and Church involvement.
Such involvement is to be characterized by the giving of time and energy in acts of service,
praying regularly for the congregation and its ministries, and contributing financially to its work. A
person must be eighteen years of age to qualify for voting membership. Those below eighteen
years of age can be members but cannot vote nor hold elected office. At age eighteen, they
must be accepted according to the stipulations below.
Section B. Acceptance.
Candidates for membership must complete a Membership Application Form. After receiving the
application, the Senior Pastor, or his designee, shall meet with the applicant to discuss the
candidates commitment to Christ and His church. After the pastoral interview and upon the
instruction of the Senior Pastor to the Elder Board Secretary, the applicants shall be added to the
membership roll. New members must be presented publicly to the church congregation.
Section C. Termination of Membership.
Termination of membership is made effective by any of the following occurrences: A written
request from the member indicating their desire to terminate membership, death of the member, a
prolonged and intentional inactivity in the church body-life as determined by the Board of Elders,
or disciplinary action of the Board of Elders as outlined in Article IV.
When members have been removed from the membership roll, the Elder Board Secretary shall
notify the former member by mail and report the removal of the member to the Board of Elders.
Section D. Reinstatement to Membership.
Those whose church membership has been terminated and who desire reinstatement must
request their intent in writing and upon the acceptance and action of the Senior Pastor their
membership shall be reinstated. If termination was due to disciplinary action of the Board of
Elders reinstatement must be approved by the Board of Elders (Refer to Article IV).
ARTICLE IV. CHURCH DISCIPLINE
Discipline is necessary for the spiritual health and unity of the church and its people, Its purpose
is to deal scripturally with sin and disunity, to restore fellowship and to thwart Satan's design to
disrupt the unity of the Body. Church discipline shall be carried out by the Board of Elders in
accordance with Scripture.
Section A. Personal Confrontation.
Members who are living in gross sin such as defined in I Corinthians 5:1-13 or who by their
attitudes or actions foster a spirit of disunity in the church (Romans 6:17-18) shall be approached
according to the pattern of Matthew 18:15-17 in a spirit of brotherly love and gentleness with a
goal to bring about repentance and reconciliation. In an effort to restore them spiritually, reproof
and admonition will be given privately to those in the church who sin (Galatians 6:1; Matthew
18:15). If the matter is not resolved, a second private meeting should be initiated with the addition
of a third party to be a witness to the confrontation.
Section B. Discipline.
If private confrontation has occurred and the member is still not repentant, the issue is to be
brought before the Board of Elders who will hear and judge the matter. If warranted, the Board of
Elders will confront the offender in a manner of humility and boldness. If the Board of Elders
determines that there have been sinful actions or attitudes, the Board will seek to gently restore
the member by determining an appropriate course of action. If however, there is still no
repentance or modified behavior, the Board of Elders, upon majority vote of those present, will
forbid the member from participating or attending the ministry of the church, his name will be
removed from the membership roll, and instructions will be given to the church membership not to
have fellowship with him. The church will continue to encourage him to confess, repent, and
forsake his sin (Matthew 18;17; I Corinthians 5:1-13; II Thessalonians 3:6,14, 15). Those who are
not church members but who regularly attend church functions and identify themselves with the
church community will be disciplined in a similar manner except in the matter of being stricken
from the membership roll, which does not apply to them.
Section C. Reinstatement & Restoration
Reinstatement to the membership and restoration to the church community will be allowed after
the problems which caused the disciplinary action are resolved to the satisfaction of the Board of
Elders. (II Corinthians 2:1-11; 7:8-12)
ARTICLE V. CHURCH GOVERNMENT
Section A. Officers
The Officers of the church consist of Elders, Deacons, Legal Trustees, and the Church Treasurer.
Section B. Elders.
The Board of Elders are the spiritual and governmental leadership of the entire church. Their
purpose is to be the spiritual shepherds as decisions makers and pacesetters, and they are to
invest themselves fully in the primary task of proclaiming of God’s truth, praying and interceding
on behalf of the people, discerning a Godly vision and direction, judging sinful actions inside the
church family, administering church discipline, and guarding the church from error and deception.
Their responsibilities also include the call, oversight, and dismissal of the Senior Pastor;
ordination and licensure to ministry; being the primary church fiduciary; and oversight of the
Deacons, Legal Trustees and the Church Treasurer. The Board of Elders shall also govern all
ministries owned and/or operated by the church and shall determine the Senior Pastors
The Board of Elders shall consist of no more than twelve men and no less than six. It is to be
comprised of Pastoral, Elected and Appointed Elders. Pastoral Elders are church Pastors who
serve on the Board of Elders. There shall be no more than three pastors who serve as Elders.
The Senior Pastor, by virtue of his office, shall serve as an Elder during tenure. Other Pastoral
Elders may be appointed by the Senior Pastor and shall serve from the effective date of their
appointment (as determined by the Senior Pastor) through December 31. Elected Elders are
those Elders who are elected annually by the congregation and shall serve a term of one year
commencing on January 1 and ending at midnight December 31. There shall be a minimum of
five elected Elders. Appointed Elders are those Elders who have been appointed to serve by the
Pastoral and Elected Elders and shall serve from the effective date of their appointment (as
determined by the Pastoral and Elected Elders) through December 31. There are no term limits
The Senior Pastor or his Elder designee shall chair all meetings of the Board of Elders. He shall
set the agenda, location and time of meetings, and shall provide each Elder with all materials
necessary for meeting activity. He shall call meetings to order, entertain motions, table
discussions, invite guests, supervise activities of the board, and adjourn the meetings. If the
Senior Pastor is absent from the board meeting, he must notify the Board Secretary regarding the
selection of his chair-designee before the meeting commences. At the first board meeting of the
fiscal year, The Board of Elders shall appoint a Board Secretary. The Board Secretary shall keep
minutes of all meetings of the church membership and Board of Elders. The Board Secretary
shall sign all instruments that require his signature and shall perform such duties incident to the
office as required by the Board of Elders including the safekeeping of all past meeting minutes.
The Board Secretary shall preside over a meeting of the Board of Elders and/or a church
membership meeting in which the Senior Pastor or his appointed chair-designee cannot be
present. He shall also chair any meeting of the Board of Elders (or any portion thereof) in which
the Senior Pastor's performance is being evaluated. When the Senior Pastor's performance is
evaluated, no Pastoral Elders shall be present. All motions will be carried by a majority vote of
Section C. Deacons
The word Deacons comes from a Greek word meaning servant. These servants shall perform
their duties under the direction of the elders and shall concern themselves primarily with the
material needs of the church and its membership. They shall meet regularly for prayer, serve the
Lord's Table, administer the Helping Hand fund, and provide physical support for various
ministries of the church as directed by the Board of Elders. There shall be a minimum of eight
Deacons. The Board of Elders shall annually appoint a Deacon Chairman who shall be
responsible for directing and planning the Deacon ministry and shall be responsible for the
allocation of Helping Hand (Benevolence) and shall provide regular financial reports to the Board
of Elders regarding such funds.
Section D. Legal Trustees.
The Legal Trustees shall sign all deeds for the conveyance, transfer, mortgage, or dealings in
real estate on order of the church membership. There shall be a total of four Legal Trustees.
Section E. Church Treasurer.
The Church Treasurer shall report directly to the Board of Elders and work with the Church
Administrator (or other Pastoral staff member as deemed necessary by the Senior Pastor) in
reviewing financial reports and policies. He shall make regular reports to the Board of Elders and
the church membership regarding church finances and financial policies. The Church Treasurer
shall, on behalf of the Board of Elders, arrange annual financial reviews of church accounts and
report such findings to the Board of Elders and subsequently to the church membership. The
Church Treasurer shall sign all instruments that require his signature and shall perform such
duties incident to the office as directed by the Board of Elders.
Section F. Officer Qualifications.
Officers shall be a members of the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk in whom the spiritual gifts of
leadership rest. They shall be fully and enthusiastically supportive of the Church’s ministry,
people, and leadership. In view of the heavy responsibility incumbent upon Officers as a spiritual
role models, they shall conform to biblical standards of character and conduct and not use their
freedoms to offend weaker brothers. They shall diligently pursue spiritual maturity and must be
affirmed as those in whom the Fruits of the Spirit are evident (Gal. 5:22-23) and whose character
is consistent with the leadership qualifications as found in I Timothy 3:1-13 and
Titus 1: 6-9, including an unequivocal commitment to fidelity in the covenant of marriage.
Section G. Officer Elections.
1. Nominating Committee.
A Nominating Committee for the election of church officers shall consist of the Senior Pastor
(who is to serve as the committee chair), one Associate Pastor chosen by the Senior Pastor, two
members elected by the church membership, and two Elders. All committee members other than
the Senior Pastor, shall be appointed approximately six months prior to the election. The
committee shall place in nomination at least one name for each office to be filled, after having
confirmed the nominee's willingness to serve and having examined the nominee's qualifications
according to this constitution. Candidates are placed in nomination by a majority vote of
Committee Members present. The Nominating Committee shall submit its nominations to the
membership at least two weeks before the membership meeting at which elections are to be
2. Nominations from Church Members.
Any church member may submit a candidate for office to the Nominating Committee. It is the
prerogative of the Nominating Committee to decide whether the proposed candidate's name shall
be considered as a nominee for office. If affirmed, the committee shall confirm the proposed
candidate's willingness to serve and examine the candidate's qualifications.
3. Officer Elections.
The Nominating Committee shall present its nominations at the membership meeting in which the
annual election of officers takes place. No nominations may be made from the floor. Election to
office is by majority vote of those members present at the church membership meeting at which
the election takes place.
4. Term of Office
All officers, other than the Senior Pastor, Appointed Elders and Legal Trustees shall serve for a
term of one year starting on January 1 after their election and continuing through December 31.
Legal Trustees shall be elected to a perpetual term.
5. Dismissal of an Officer.
The Board of Elders may dismiss any officer from his office if the Board of Elders finds that the
officer no longer meets the qualifications for an officer as defined in this constitution. Any officer
may be removed by majority vote of the elders present. The Board of Elders may appoint officers
if an office has been vacated due to death or resignation. In such a case, the officer shall take
office as determined by the Board of Elders. However, if an officer has been removed by action
of the Board of Elders, that office must remain vacant or be filled by a membership special
election at any membership meeting.
Section H. Pastoral and Ministry Staff
The Pastoral and Ministry staff shall be members of the Tabernacle Church of Norfolk and shall
meet all the qualifications prescribed for church officers. They shall be recognized as ones on
whom particular spiritual gifts rest which enable them to effectively carry out their designated
2. The Senior Pastor.
The Senior Pastor is the primary spiritual leader of the church and all its ministries. He shall chair
the Board of Elders and lead the church staff. He shall preside over meetings of the membership
and elders. He shall be the church's primary shepherd as a visionary, teacher, and counselor.
He shall develop church ministry leaders and be responsible for all church staff activities. The
Senior Pastor is directly accountable to the Elders in fulfilling his responsibilities, but at the same
time he is their leader. He must not dominate the Board of Elders, while at the same time, he
must not be dominated by them. He is to be the church's chief servant. The Senior Pastor and
the Elders must work within and maintain this balance of mutual and reciprocal authority and
responsibility at all times, recognizing that Jesus Christ is the true Head of the Church and both
must submit to His authority through the Word and by the leading of the Holy Spirit
3. The Hiring of Pastoral and Ministry Staff.
When the Senior Pastor's office is vacated, the Board of Elders shall appoint a Pastor Search
Committee from among the membership who will carefully and prayerfully seek and examine
prospective candidates. In view of Tabernacle Church of Norfolk's history and fellowship with
consortium churches, the Pastor Search Committee shall confer with consortium pastors and
their Board of Elders and shall consider their counsel. The Pastor Search Committee shall
submit to the Board of Elders the name or names of all such men who, in their judgment, have
the proper qualifications and gifts to fulfill the office of Senior Pastor. The pastor shall be installed
by a 2/3 majority vote of the entire Board of Elders and a 2/3 majority vote of the members
present at the membership meeting at which the vote takes place.
Associate Pastor candidates shall be nominated by the Senior Pastor. He shall submit his
candidates to the Board of Elders for their approval. Approval is given by a 2/3 majority vote of
Elders present at the meeting in which the vote is taken.
Other Pastoral and Ministry staff positions shall be approved by the Board of Elders. The Senior
Pastor shall investigate and hire all such workers, in consultation with the Board of Elders.
The Senior Pastor may resign from the church by giving written notice to the Board of Elders at
least 60 days in advance. He may be dismissed from his position by a 2/3 majority vote of the
entire Board of Elders. When the office of Senior Pastor is vacant, the remaining Elders shall
have direct oversight of all the ministry and operational affairs of the church, including staff
management, church gatherings and all other leadership and administrative matters. They shall
appoint an interim chair of the Board until the next Senior Pastor is installed. Until the interim
chair is appointed, the Board Secretary shall fill the position of chair. At their discretion, the
Elders may appoint an Interim Pastor by a 2/3 majority vote of the entire board. The Interim
Pastor shall have authority and responsibility as determined by the Board of Elders.
AlI other Pastoral and Ministry staff may resign from the church by giving due notice to the Senior
Pastor at least 30 days in advance. They may be dismissed from their position at the discretion of
the Senior Pastor in consultation with the Board of Elders.
Section I. Church Membership.
Members of the church are to work together in unity seeking each other’s best interest and
serving one another in seeking to reach maturity in Christ. Members give of their time, talents,
and resources for the advancement of the church’s ministry and they do so with an attitude
exemplified by love. Governmental responsibilities include approval of motions for the
conveyance, transfer, mortgage, or any dealings in real estate. Said motions must come
approved by the Tabernacle Church Board of Elders. The membership shall elect the officers of
the church including the Senior Pastor. Motions are affirmed by a majority vote of those members
present at the membership meeting.
Membership meetings shall be held at least semi-annually and may be called at other times by
the Senior Pastor or by a majority vote of the Board of Elders. The annual meeting for the
election of officers shall be held between November 1 and December 15. All meetings shall be
publicly announced for two consecutive Sundays before the meetings occur and all members
shall be notified by mail at least two weeks prior. Normally, The Senior Pastor shall preside at all
membership meetings and in his absence his designee shall preside. However, the Board of
Elders shall, at its discretion by a 2/3 majority vote, appoint any Elder to preside at a particular
ARTICLE VI. AMENDMENTS
Section A. Amendments.
Amendments to this constitution can be made according to the following provisions:
Amendment proposals can be made by any member of the church and must be
submitted in writing to the Board of Elders.
The Board of Elders, after receiving the amendment proposal and after verifying that the
proposal has been submitted by a member of the church, shall examine the request and
either ratify or reject the proposed amendment by majority vote.
All amendments ratified by the Board of Elders shall then be forwarded in writing to the
membership for their consideration. The proposal shall be discussed at the following
4. At the subsequent membership meeting, following discussion, the membership shall vote
on the amendment. A 2/3 majority vote of the members present is required for passage. If
approved, the amendment shall be effective immediately unless otherwise stipulated.
5. No tenet contained in the Statement of Beliefs (Article II) may be deleted.
ARTICLE VII. DISSOLUTION
Upon the dissolution of Tabernacle Church of Norfolk and after all debts have been satisfied, any
residual equity shall be equally distributed between Williamsburg Community Church, Peninsula
Community Chapel, Mt. Zion Fellowship, Virginia Beach Community Chapel, and Community
Church of Chesapeake.
Last Amended 09/13/2009