On Sunday, July 5th, Impact Church of Northern Virginia will officially incorporate! We will vote on the Constitution and Bylaws, and have a special service to celebrate all that God has done in the life of our church since beginning in 2012.
Here are some answers to some FAQs you might have:
1. Why are we incorporating?
Benefits of Church Incorporation Include:
- Incorporation will substantially limit liability of the Pastor(s), Elders and members, creating a sure liability shield, provided the elder board is not ‘grossly negligent’.
- Unincorporated churches must comply with all the old law provisions requiring court approvals for appointment of Trustees and buying, selling, encumbering or transferring land to another entity.
- Incorporation makes it easier for a church to buy, sell, and encumber real estate, operate bank accounts and engage in other business transactions since court approvals are no longer necessary under the new law after July 1, 2005 for church corporations.
- Incorporation also lends to stability of an organization more so than an unincorporated association, since the members, directors, trustees, and officers of a church change over the years.
- Churches must be incorporated to receive grants through government faith-based social service provider programs or private foundations.
- Incorporation and tax exemption can often permit special nonprofit mailing rates and procure discounts from vendors.
- Finally, some banks and lending institutions prefer to deal with an incorporated entity to assure its governance, purpose, and legal status.
2. Will the church be able to revise the Constitution and Bylaws?
Yes – Reason for Revision of Constitution and Bylaws:
There are three primary reasons for revising the Constitution and Bylaws:
- To make them consistent with the church corporation’s Articles of Incorporation;
- To become legally compliant under state laws; and
- To take advantage of best practices and risk management measures that other churches have successfully pioneered.
So, recognizing that we live in the 21st Century, we have made these changes to protect ourselves and enhance our operations and ministries. We have inserted better church discipline procedures, elder terms, duties, procedures, biblical dispute resolution clauses, membership covenant, fiscal policies and other important risk management and best practices of churches around the state and nation.
3. What is the Constitution?
The Constitution, while not legally necessary, is a high-level statement of who we are, why we exist, and what we believe as a church. We have chosen a condensed statement of faith for this purpose.
4. What are the Bylaws?
The Bylaws are a means of establishing commonly accepted standards for how we should treat one another and govern ourselves as a body of believers. In particular, these Bylaws are designed to accomplish some of the following goals:
- To prevent surprises and disappointed expectations by providing potential members a thorough explanation of how the church intends to govern itself.
- To reduce the likelihood of confusion and conflict within the church by establishing clear operational guidelines.
- To prevent the misuse of authority by church leaders by balancing these powers and establishing procedures that protect members from being disciplined or losing rights without due process and full notice.
- To reduce the church’s exposure to legal liability by satisfying recently developed legal requirements, even in areas we deny that the state has jurisdiction.
5. Will there be church membership, and how will it work?
Yes, those wishing to join Impact Church as members will be asked to sign a membership covenant with a commitment to live in community with the church members and attempt to live the Christian life under the grace and mercy of God and by the power of the Holy Spirit. IMPACT Church believes that church membership is clearly implied by the Scriptural record. The lists of widows kept in 1 Timothy 5 implies that certain lists of members of a church were kept. Also, the case of corrective discipline in 1 Corinthians 5 clearly implies that there was public knowledge of who was part of the church and who was not. Furthermore, corrective discipline assumes that it is important for those outside of the church to know who the members of the church are, because one of the main motives for corrective discipline is the corporate testimony of the church in the unbelieving community. Finally, the commendations given by the apostles when believers relocated from one city or province to another indicates that there was some kind of record kept of who was in good standing within the various local members (Rom. 16:1-2; Col. 4:10-11; 3 Jn. 12). These commendations serve as the scriptural basis for the receiving and granting of “records of membership” between churches of like faith and practice.