The Elders are are recommending a revision of the Four Oaks to the members for their consideration and affirmation vote beginning August 30th, 2015.
The following is a general overview of the bylaw changes on which Four Oaks members will be voting:
1. We propose the adoption of The Gospel Coalition Confessional Statement as our church's statement of faith, in place of the Evangelical Free Church statement of faith.
2. Our adoption of the new statement of faith, if approved, will trigger our exit from formal affiliation with the Evangelical Free Church of America. This necessitates new articles of incorporation, which must be approved by the members.
3. We’ve removed all “covenant” language in the membership agreements, replacing it with “commitment.”
4. We’ve unified the offices of pastor and elder, granting equal governing authority to all, and distinguishing the two as vocational and non-vocational elders. All elders, paid and unpaid, are voting members of the Full Council of Elders.
5. We’ve eliminated Executive and Assistant Pastor offices, leaving only Lead Pastor (formerly Senior Pastor) and Associate Pastor.
6. In all votes by the full council of elders, non-vocational elders will comprise no less than a 60% majority of those voting.
7. Associate Pastors do not vote to remove the Lead Pastor or other Associate Pastors. Associate Pastor removal is recommended by the Lead Pastor in consultation with Executive elders; the full council of elders will vote to approve, and no pastor other than the Lead Pastor may vote to remove another pastor.
8. We’ve added an independent compensation committee (the non-vocational members of the executive elder team) to set salaries for pastors. No vocational pastor votes on his own or any other pastor’s salary.
9. We’ve added renewable three-year terms for non-vocational elders.
10. All language regarding deacons has been removed, as they have no governing authority.
11. The Executive Elder board will be composed of 6-8 elders, with non-vocational elders comprising a simple majority.
12. Non-vocational elders will be nominated by the Full Council of Elders and approved annually by the congregation.
13. New vocational elders are selected and approved by the Full Council of Elders.
14. The responsibilities of the Executive Elder team have been narrowed to focus on organizational oversight, with specific focus on finances, personnel, and Lead Pastor advice and accountability. The Full Council of Elders gets any authority not specifically granted in Bylaws (currently Executive Elders).
15. Evangelism has been added to Elder responsibilities.
16. The vision statement has been removed from the Bylaws, as vision statements tend to change over time.
17. In Article V, Sec 2.D., we've broadened our stance on baptism to reflect our current practice of allowing well-informed, conscientious Christians who were baptized as infants to become members without having to be baptized as believing adults.
18. The threshold for Transfer of Property needing member approval has been raised from $500,000 to $1,000,000.