CHURCHMANUAL19TH EDITIONREVISED 2015UPDATED 2016Published by the SecretariatGeneral Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Copyright 2016 by the Secretariat,General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.All rights reserved.Texts credited to KJV are from the King James Version.Published by the Review & Herald Publishing Association.Printed in U.S.A.15 14 13 12 ardcoverpaperbackPrinted and distributed by thePacific Press Publishing AssociationNampa, Idaho 83653-5353

Table of ContentsWhy a Church Manual?. 15Authority and Function of the Church Manual . 16Making Changes . 17Where to Get Advice . 18Terms Used in the Church Manual . 18Church of the Living God . 20No Wall of Partition. 20Supreme Object of Christ’s Regard . 21Complete in Christ . 22Organization and Authority . 24Biblical Basis for Organization . 24Importance of Organization . 25Purposes of Organization . 25The New Testament Model. 26Church Organization Today. 26Outline of Denominational Organization . 27Role of Institutions . 28Authority in the Early Church . 29General Conference the Highest Authority . 29Pastors and Other Church Employees . 31A Divinely Appointed Ministry . 31Conference President . 31Conference Departmental Directors . 31Ordained Pastors . 32Licensed Pastors . 33Bible Instructors . 33Conference Directs Church Employees . 33Credentials and Licenses . 34Expired Credentials and Licenses . 34Retired Employees . 35Former Pastors Without Credentials . 35Organizing, Uniting, and Dissolving Churches and Companies . 36Organizing a Church . 36Organizing a Company . 37Uniting Churches . 39Dissolving or Expelling Churches . 39Care of Members, Records, and Funds . 41Membership . 435

66CHURCH MANUALBaptism . 43Mode of Baptism . 44Thorough Instruction and Public Examination Before Baptism . 44Baptismal Vow and Commitment . 45Baptismal Vow . 45Baptismal Covenant . 47Voting Acceptance Subject to Baptism . 48Receiving Members Who Are Not Known . 48Baptismal Preparations . 48Rebaptism . 49Individuals From Other Christian Communions . 49Apostasy and Rebaptism . 49Inappropriate Rebaptism . 50Profession of Faith . 50Transferring Members . 51Method of Granting Letters of Transfer . 51Clerk to Prepare Letter. 52Letter Valid Six Months . 52Alternative Method for Membership Transfer . 52Membership During Transfer . 52Receiving Members Under Difficult Conditions . 53Counted in Statistical Reports . 53If Member Is Not Accepted . 53Letters Granted Only to Those in Regular Standing . 53No Letter Without Member’s Approval . 53Church Board Cannot Grant Letters . 54Membership in the Conference Church . 54Membership Record . 55Discipline . 56General Principles . 56Dealing With Erring Members . 56God’s Plan . 56Authority of the Church . 58Church’s Responsibility . 58Unconsecrated Resist Discipline . 58Safeguarding Unity of the Church . 59Reconciliation of Differences . 59Settlement of Grievances of Members Against the Church . 61Settlement of Grievances of the Church Against Members . 61Reasons for Discipline . 62Process of Discipline . 63

TABLE OF CONTENTS7Discipline by Censure . 63Discipline by Removal From Membership . 63No Additional Tests of Fellowship . 64Timeliness of Discipline . 64Caution About Judging Character and Motive . 64At a Properly Called Meeting . 64By Majority Vote . 65Church Board Cannot Remove Members . 65Fundamental Rights of the Members . 65Lawyers Not to Represent Members . 65Transferring Members Under Censure. 65Members Not to Be Removed for Nonattendance . 66Members Moving Away and Not Reporting . 66Members Not to Be Removed for Pecuniary Reasons. 66Removing Members at Their Request . 66Notification to Those Removed From Membership . 66Reinstating Those Previously Removed From Membership . 67Right of Appeal for Reinstatement . 67Local Church Officers and Organizations . 69General Qualifications . 69Moral and Religious Fitness . 69Feeding and Guarding the Church . 70Respecting Pastors and Officers . 70Not Hurried Into Office . 71Those Opposing Unity Not Suitable for Office . 71Unsafe to Choose Those Refusing to Cooperate. 71Local Membership . 71Setting Tithing Example. 72Not Delegates Ex Officio . 72Distributing Responsibility . 72Removal and Readmission . 72Term of Office . 72Elders . 73Religious Leaders of the Church . 73Ordination of Elders . 73Relationship to the Pastor . 73Work of Elders Is Local . 74Conducting Church Services . 74Baptismal Service . 75Marriage Ceremony . 75

88CHURCH MANUALTo Foster Tithing . 75To Foster Bible Study, Prayer, and a Relationship With Jesus . 75To Foster All Lines of Work. 75To Cooperate With the Conference . 76To Foster Worldwide Work . 76Training and Equipping of Elders . 76Free to Work Effectively . 76First Elder . 76Limitation of Authority . 77Church Leaders . 77Deacons . 77Board of Deacons . 78Deacons Must Be Ordained . 78Deacons Not Authorized to Preside . 79Duties of Deacons. 79Deaconesses . 80Board of Deaconesses . 80Ordination Service for Deaconesses. 80Deaconesses Not Authorized to Preside . 80Duties of Deaconesses . 81Clerk . 81No Names Added or Removed Without Vote. 81Transferring Members . 82Corresponding With Members . 82Notice of Delegates for Conference Sessions . 82Reports to Be Furnished Promptly . 82Church Records . 82Treasurer . 82Treasurer the Custodian of All Funds . 83Conference Funds .