River of Grace Policies
River of Grace Elders Statement on Alcohol
God has given us all things for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 4:4-5; 6:17). We can expect in this rebellious, man-centered, sin-filled world that these good gifts from God are misused in ways that dishonor the Creator and harm the created ones. Three clear examples of good gifts that get misused are food, sex and alcohol. Each of these God-given gifts become harmful and disdainful when abused, evident in gluttony, sexual immorality and drunkenness. While this statement addresses alcohol specifically, a general warning regarding the abuse of other good gifts from God is warranted.
The Good, the bad and the ugly:
Alcohol in and of itself is good. God has given it for pleasure (Psalm 104:14-15), celebration (Deuteronomy 14:26) and health (Proverbs 31:6; 1 Timothy 5:23). This goodness is supremely evident in the first miracle Jesus performed which centered around making a large quantity of wine to display his glory (John 2:1-11).
But the misuse of alcohol is a horrendous plight on mankind. Old Testament men of faith fell prey to the sin of drunkenness. Noah, a vineyard keeper, in a drunken indecent state, contributed to his son’s sin (Genesis 9:20-27). Lot, a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7), committed incest with his daughters while drunk (Genesis 19:30-38).
There are numerous sins associated with the abuse of alcohol. Proverbs alone warns that the misuse of alcohol can lead to violence (4:17), foolishness (20:1), financial scarcity (21:17), sorrowful troubles (23:29-45), and injustice (31:4-5). Drunkenness is listed among the regular sinful activities that rebel against God’s goodness and righteousness (Galatians 5:21, 1 Peter 4:3)
Implications for Christians:
First, There is an explicit warning not to tolerate Christians who are constantly drunk (1 Corinthians 5:11). Church leaders are to be known as those who are not “drunkards” or “addicted to wine” (1 Timothy 3:3, 8). Second, the freedom Christians have to drink alcohol must be carefully monitored so as not to give occasion for weaker but sincere believers to stumble into sin (1 Corinthians 8:9,12). Third, for the sake of the gospel there are times it is appropriate to drink and other times where it is prudent to abstain (1 Corinthians 10:31-33). Finally, all believers should act according to their conscience informed by Biblical principles when it comes to alcohol consumption. Because of past sin, some who have had problems with alcohol may need to abstain for fear of stumbling into old sinful habits (Matthew 5:30). Others may be lead to abstain for personal convictions or disciplines or promptings (Luke 1:15). For those who enjoy alcohol within biblical parameters, we urge discernment when providing hospitality for others who may have conscience or addiction issues (Romans 14).
Benevolence Request Policy and Purpose Statement
The Benevolence Team will consider requests as follows:Once a request is made the information pertaining to the need will be investigated by the Deacon/Deaconess of Benevolence. If the request is determined to be legitimate the request will be forwarded to the rest of the team. All requests are to be brought to God in prayer and his wisdom sought before a request is answered. Requests will be handled in the following manner:
- Requests for $75.00 and under can be approved by the Deacon/Deaconess. The rest of the team will be notified as soon as possible after request approval.
- Requests for $500.00 and under must have approval of team. The team will have 48hrs to prayerfully consider the request and respond back to the team leader. After 48hrs the team leader will act on the responses he or she has.
- Requests of over $500.00 will require the response of full team regardless of time needed to reply. It will be understood that the members need to respond in a timely manner whenever possible as requests are usually time sensitive.
Conflict of Interest Policy
No member of River of Grace Church Board of Directors or Staff shall derive any personal profit or gain, directly or indirectly, by reason of his or her participation with River of Grace Church. This shall also include the member’s business or other nonprofit affiliations, family and/or significant other, employer, or close associates who may stand to receive a benefit or gain. Each individual shall disclose to the Board Chair any personal interests which he or she may have in any matter pending before the organization and shall refrain from participation in any discussion or decision on such matter.
In addition, any member of River of Grace Church’s Board of Directors or Staff shall refrain from obtaining any list of clients or donors for personal or private solicitation purposes at any time during the term of their affiliation.
Any new member of the Board of Directors shall be given this policy at the time of their election onto the Board of Directors and the policy will be reviewed annually by the board at a regularly scheduled meeting.
We understand that the purposes of this policy are to protect the integrity of River of Grace Churchand the organization’s decision-making process as well as to enable our constituencies to have confidence in the integrity, intentions and actions of the officers, staff, board members and volunteers. To that end, we understand that this policy is not meant to supplement good judgment and all constituents should respect its spirit as well as its wording.
Worship Team Participation Policy
The following are elder comments meant to give general direction to the worship team leadership. Because great freedom has been given to the church in regards to worship (two passages are specific to church worship. See below), we want to honor and support the present worship leadership team, while assuming responsibility for oversight to the Lord. We want to encourage certain virtues within the worship team like integrity, unity, diversity, humility and flexibility. We also acknowledge that as the church family changes in size, some things stated here may not be applicable in the future.
“…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:18-21
“But all things should be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40
a. We expect the worship team leadership to work together in harmony, with each fulfilling designated roles (this should be stated and clear to both team members and elders).
b. We would expect worship team participants to avoid the promotion of a particular personality or a narrow genre of music.
c. We expect open and honored communication within the team and with the elders as necessary.
a. The common expectation for participation on the worship team is that team members have been attending River of Grace for four months, have become part of a missional community and have either become a covenant members or pursuing covenant membership.
b. Participants are expected to follow the direction of the leadership team, to take part in any provided training (e.g. Worship Matters) and to submit to team practices.
c. Participation should be both consistent but take into account personal availability.
a. Exceptions for possible guest musicians. We would expect from time to time musicians to be invited to participate with our worship team or actually provide worship leadership as a guest. Open communication with worship team leaders and elders is expected in these cases.
b. Exceptions for those in process. We would expect that from time to time there may be a place for pre-Christian musicians engaged in gospel conversation and in loving relationship with River of Grace members to participate with the worship band members (as opposed to vocalists). Typically this would be in the role as “back line” musicians. Open communication with worship team leaders and elders is expected in these cases.
c. We acknowledge a tension will exist between a desire for a spirit filled, mature, skilled and unified worship team and the desire to engage lost people in process who may best experience Christian community by participating with our musicians. We will evaluate with a case by case determination with an assumption that the state of the lost weighs significantly in our consideration.