“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…” – Opening statement from the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
When the Second Continental Congress penned these words and signed them into effect, their goal was to declare their independence from Brittan, write their own constitution, and form their own new government. As we prepare for our annual church meeting, we are doing NOTHING like this…but it feels like it in some small way. If you were in service yesterday, you heard me share that the Brethren in Christ General Assembly of 2016 has requested each local BIC church to vote to repeal our denominational constitution. This, obviously, sounds like a very drastic move…indeed similar to the Second Continental Congress. However, I want to reiterate that the actual request is not drastic at all, it’s actual quite boring (if I’m being honest).
Our governing document as Brethren in Christ, The Manual of Doctrine and Government, consists of several parts including both our constitution and our by-laws. In recent years, the legal trend has been to simplify these type of documents by having one section which contains both the constitution of the organization as well as it’s by-laws. This unified section is simply called by-laws. In 2016, the BIC General Assembly essentially copy-and-pasted our constitution into the by-laws so everything is contained together. Now, in order to remove the extra section that is simply repeated elsewhere, we have to take a church-wide vote. (Didn’t I warn you this was more boring than it sounded?) While we are technically voting to repeal the constitution, what we are doing on a practical level is simply voting to remove superfluous sections or redundant language to shorten the document and make it easier to read. (I know, many of you would like to take a similar vote on my sermons some weeks!)
I want to be as clear as possible about what is happening now so that when we get to our meeting in two weeks, we’re all on the same page. Again, while it might sound drastic, it really is quite mundane. If you’re interested in hearing more on this, our national director, Alan Robinson, has created a short video explaining the process in his own words. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call, text, or email me!
But please don’t spend too much time thinking about repealing the BIC constitution and miss the challenge and the invitation God is extending to us. We can have more of His Spirit! We can have a deeper relationship, a greater experience of His presence. I hope you have a thirst for more of Him! If you missed yesterday’s sermon or you need to hear it again, check it out online. Let’s spend time this week asking and seeking God more!
In Christ Alone,