Changes to Chapter 16 - Organizing Churches

                       Chapter 16:   Organizing, Uniting and Dissolving Churches   (pages 209 to 214 in the 17th edition)

   The content of Chapter 16 will now appear as Chapter 5 in the new edition with the following changes..

   In the section: Organization of a Church, paragraph 2 of page 210 has been changed to read

When the nucleus has voted on all potential members, the church is a complete entity and ready for election of officers. Members then should choose a nominating committee, with the officiating pastor serving as chairperson. The nominating committee brings in nominations to fill the various church officers. When these have been elected, the elders should be ordained, unless they have already been ordained as elders. A similar but shorter service should take place for ordination of deacons and deaconesses. The church then is fully organized and ready for service.    Appears on page 38 of the 18th Edition


   the following has been added to the section,  Organizing a Company

Where a number of isolated believers reside near one another or where they belong to a small group, house church or church planting core group, they should consider forming a company of believers for fellowship, worship, mission with the objective of growing into an organized church or multiplying house churches in that geographical area.    Appears on page 38 of the 18th Edition


    In the same section, the following has been included

Company status is approved by vote of the conference committee, which, should it become necessary, may subsequently dissolve the company. The division and / or conference should have written guidelines for organizing companies within its territory.  Appears on page 38 of the 18th Edition


   In the same section, the following has been added

Church members who are part of small groups or house groups may form the nucleus of a new company. Membership of all those who want to be part of a company should be held in either the conference church or a local church (mother church). If membership for those who want to be part of a company is to be held in the conference church, the conference committee will vote their membership transfers to the conference church and indicate that they are part of the new company.  Appears on page 38, 39 of the 18th Edition

When the conference committee approves the establishment of a company, a leadership team should be appointed, including a leader, a clerk and a treasurer. The appointment should be carried out by the district pastor, or other pastor appointed by the conference committee, in counsel with the group being established as a company.   Appears on page 39 of the 18th Edition

All other company appointments should be made by vote of those who are part of the group that is forming the company. The district pastor or other person authorized by the conference committee shall preside at such a meeting. Only members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in regular standing shall be appointed.    Appears on page 39 of the 18th Edition

The clerk of the company shall keep record of all activities and meetings of the company and shall send regular statistical reports to the mother church of the conference executive committee secretary. These reports should include statistics of attendance and activities of the company, including outreach ministries conducted during the week or on Sabbath.   Appears on page 39 of the 18th Edition

If the members of an organized company are members of the conference church, the company does not possess the right to administer discipline or transfer or receive members. All such matters must be referred to the conference committee, which constitutes the board of the conference church. The conference president is the elder of the conference church.  Appears on page 39 of the 18th Edition

If the conference organizes a company through a neighboring mother church instead of through the conference church the functions listed above (such as reporting and membership) would be cared for by / through the mother church.    Appears on page 39 of the 18th Edition

Church status is not necessarily perpetual. A church may be dissolved or expelled from the sisterhood of churches for the following reasons:

1. Loss of Members - No changes were made to the rest of this section
Appears on page 39 of the 18th Edition


   To the section: Dissolving or Expelling Churches, sub-section Discipline found on page 212, 213 [17th edition]; the following has been included

2) Appeal to the union executive committee, or to the division in case of a union of churches, to arbitrate on behalf of the church.     Appears on page 42 of the 18th Edition


In the section for Care of Members, found on page 214 (17th Edition) the following has been added

Loyal members of a dissolved or expelled church may desire to retain their memberships in the Church. Te ensure their welfare, their membership shall be provisionally held for up to one year in the conference church to allow opportunity for those who desire to have their memberships in the conference church confirmed or transferred to another church. Their standing shall be evaluated by the conference committee, and if satisfactory, the conference committee may recommend them for membership in the conference church or churches of their choice.   Appears on page 42 of the 18th Edition


  In the same section the following has been added

In cases where discipline is not involved, an alternative to dissolving or expelling a church is to return it to company status. Such a decision will be made by a majority vote of the conference committee, following consultation with the district pastor and members, and conveyed to the church by the pastor or conference representative.   Appears on page 43 of the 18th Edition

At a business meeting (see page 41), letters of transfer may be voted to all remaining members in regular standing to the conference church or to other churches in the cases of any members who wish to transfer. At the same meeting, the pastor, in counsel with the local members, shall appoint from the members of the new company a leadership team including a leader, a clerk, and a treasurer. For details of other organization matters relating to a company, see "Organized Companies" on page 38    Appears on page 43 of the 18th Edition


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Related Information

Church Manual Changes Changes to Chapter 1 Changes to Chapter 11 - Elections Changes to Chapter 12 - Finance Changes to Chapter 13 - Christian Living Changes to Chapter 14 - Discipline Changes to Chapter 15 - Marriage Changes to Chapter 17 - Pulpit Not A Forum Changes to Chapter 2 Changes to Chapter 4 - 5 Changes to Chapter 6 - Membership Changes to Chapter 7 - Church Officers Changes to Chapter 8 - Services, Meetings Changes to Introduction Changes to Notes Major Changes - Appealing Differences to Next Level Mystery of the Missing Paragraph New Right Given to Members - fairness