Who We Are
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CREDENTIALED MINISTER AND GRACE INTERNATIONAL
All Grace International ministers commit to exemplifying a Christian testimony that is above reproach at all times. This includes abstaining from any practice that would bring reproach upon their leadership and Christian witness, or would become a stumbling block to others. Grace International will not be responsible for the conduct of a credentialed minister that violates standards/actions prohibited in our Constitution and bylaws, policies, and the credential application. All ministers in the Grace International family commit to doing their best to join Grace International in heart, maintaining a spirit of unity and edification. Grace International sponsors minister gatherings that are designed to build relationships and equip our ministers. Our ministers commit to support and attend Grace International district meetings, special events, retreats, and national conventions whenever possible. Grace International has tenants of faith, a Constitution and bylaws, and policies that are designed to facilitate ministry, to help the local church and local ministers, and to advance the Kingdom of God by providing an effective covering for local ministers and churches. Our ministers commit to adhere to Grace International’s tenants of faith, policies, the Constitution and bylaws. Grace International has godly leaders who are involved in pastoral ministry and are focused on helping our churches and ministers. Each minister agrees to conform to the advice and direction of their District Superintendent and other Grace International leaders. No one but the Executive Committee of Grace International or those designated in writing are authorized to obligate, sign for, or speak for Grace International. Grace International is committed to minimum administration and maximum ministry. To accomplish this commitment, we need funds to carry out ministry. Each minister agrees to tithe to Grace International from all their ministry income. Grace International has strong international ministries. Our ministers agree to support our International ministries; however, they are not limited only to Grace International ministers/missionaries. As part of the Grace International family, each minister agrees to make Grace International known to others by promoting Grace International missions, district meetings, retreats, youth camps, and the annual convention.
RELATIONSHIP OF THE PASTOR TO GRACE INTERNATIONAL
Grace International supports pastoral leadership and appoints the pastors of our churches, endeavoring to accommodate the culture, customs, and practices of the local church. In the case of an independent church that joins Grace International where that church already has a succession plan in place for the current pastor, the District Committee will come along side the pastor to give counsel and assistance where needed, and if requested help place a successor pastor. Also, we are able to place a founding pastor as a voting member of a District Committee when the selection is made for the founding pastor’s successor. Grace International endorses the pastor as the spiritual leader and chief executive officer of the local church and recognizes & mandates that the pastor is responsible for all business activities of the local church. Each Grace International pastor recognizes the importance of his/her relationship with other Grace International pastors and attends, whenever possible, all district functions and the annual convention. As the leader of the local church, each pastor is free to pursue his/her God-given vision for the church. In doing so, he/she agrees to adhere to the Grace International tenants of faith, the Constitution and bylaws, and policies. Grace International assists by providing godly leadership to help the pastor. The pastor agrees to be responsible to the District Committee and National Office. For example, if there is a moral failure or the church is not paying their bills, the District Committee can step in to help remedy the situation.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PASTOR AND THE LOCAL CHURCH
Grace International exists to support and help local pastors and the local church to fulfill their ministry calling and vision. Grace International believes that God entrusts the pastor with imparting and implementing vision for the church. Each Grace International pastor is the chief executive officer of the local church, serves as the chairman of the local church’s governing body, and is an ex-officio member of all local church committees. Each Grace International pastor is responsible for all business activities of the local church. All staff ministers, elders, deacons, boards, etc., appointed or elected, function in an advisory and helping role to the local pastor. The aforesaid officers function with the powers and duties delegated by the pastor.
RELATIONSHIP OF THE LOCAL CHURCH TO GRACE INTERNATIONAL
Grace International will support the local church’s choice in the form and style of ministry. Grace International recognizes the local church’s right and authority to choose its form of local church government and to make decisions concerning the vision, direction, and operation of the church, insofar as the choices and decisions are not in conflict with the Constitution and bylaws, and policies of Grace International. Grace International is not responsible for decisions made by the local church. Grace International has godly leaders who are involved in pastoral ministry and are focused on helping our churches. Each local church agrees to conform to the advice and occasional direction of its District Superintendent and other Grace International leaders. Grace International is committed to the protection and longevity of the local church, assisting the church where needed to navigate crises, changes in leadership, and other matters that may threaten the local church. The Local Church agrees to support and furnish to Grace International, upon request, any records, reports, and documents deemed necessary by Grace International to properly assist and oversee the operation of the local church. Grace International is concerned that the local church not be encumbered by debt and has developed financial policies to assist the church as it considers steps that involve indebtedness. Each local church agrees to abide by these financial policies. Also, each local church is responsible for all church indebtedness including mortgage/loan payments. If there are two (2) consecutive payments missed to the mortgage company, or if there are three (3) late payments in one year, Grace International will work with the pastor and church to correct the situation, and further has the right if things are not resolved to step in and manage the church finances for a brief but indefinite time or, if necessary, remove the pastor and appoint a new pastor. Grace International recognizes that insurance is a complex area and that proper liability and other insurance coverage is vital to the protection of the local churches and the Association. As such, Grace International has mandated the dollar thresholds, types of insurance, and programs that are necessary to protect both the local churches and the Association. Grace International also recognizes its responsibility to make future adjustments as needed. Subject to the constitutional and statutory rights of the organization, Grace International and the local church shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by an organization exempt from Federal income tax as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (or corresponding section of any future federal tax code).
AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH
Grace International values the autonomy of the local church. Thus, the local church chooses its form of local government and makes decisions concerning the vision and direction of the local church. Of course, the choices and decisions shall not conflict with the tenants of faith, constitution and bylaws, and policies of Grace International. Also, the local church is responsible for its day-to-day operations, including but not limited to the following: staffing decisions; oversight of church staff; choosing, implementing, and overseeing the church’s ministry programs; the handling of church funds; and operational control of the church and the church property. Grace International does not give instructions to the local church as to when, where and how to perform its ministry. Grace International does not direct or control the local church’s vehicles or privately owned vehicles, including maintenance, used in the course and scope of the local church’s business or ministry away from the local church including, but not limited to appointments, field trips, meetings, and/or conferences. Grace International does not direct or control the local church’s individual ministries including, but not limited to, the children’s ministry, youth ministry, daycare, and any form of counseling whether done by a professional, a pastor, or a lay person…paid or unpaid. Grace International does not direct or control the maintenance of the local church’s equipment, buildings and premises, including, but not limited to playground equipment, ponds and fountains. Grace International does not direct or control local church personnel or management decisions concerning personnel, choice and purchase of equipment, and the day-to-day operations of the church.