Church Venture Northwest is an association of churches in covenant relationship who hold firmly to Biblical orthodoxy (doctrine) and orthopraxy (polity). We are committed to assist churches in developing and functioning according to a polity that reflects the biblical model for the church.
A church's "polity" is expressed in written form in their "bylaws". These bylaws provide the framework for how the church is organized and functions. The goal is to have bylaws that clearly guide the parameters for healthy ministry, without being too restrictive or inflexible.
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Two Overarching Guidelines for Creating Effective Bylaws
Historically, many churches inadvertently create Bylaws (or Constitutions) that are unnecessarily complex and cumbersome to live by. Also, it is not uncommon for modifications to be added to existing Bylaws that create contradictions and greater confusion. Therefore, the two overarching guidelines we use when assisting churches create bylaws are:
- keep bylaws brief and simple, including only what is essential
- use policy and procedure manuals to provide the procedural detail
Bylaws should focus on "what" should be done, while the policy and procedure manuals should go into detail "how" things will be done. Bylaws should be modified very infrequently. But policies and procedures may be modified often as churches learn how to improve their ministries.
What You Will Find on This Site
This site contains resources for you to use to assist your church in developing necessary polity documents. Since the legal requirements are slightly different for each state, we have organized the site by the four states of Church Venture Northwest. For each state, we have provided helps such as:
- Legal Requirements
- Articles of Incorporation
- Guidelines for Bylaws
- Sample Bylaws
These documents are intended to be helpful by greatly reducing the amount of work necessary for you to produce effective polity documents. However, it is your responsibility as a local church to thoughtfully and prayerfully develop polity documents that are legally accurate and that enable you to function well in your unique ministry and cultural context.
Click on your State to download a zip file with the document.
This page and documents for each state were last checked and updated on 10/12/2011.