Christian Churches of God
Forming a Church
(Edition 2.0 19981117-20071204)
Many people wish to be part of a church yet find they have no church in their area that is biblically based. Some are part of a church that has collapsed doctrinally or are part of a group from a system that has collapsed doctrinally. They do not know what to do to reform away from the aberrant leadership that caused the collapse or which has become irrelevant or, worse, hysterical in the ministries’ charismatic representations of the biblical position.
Forming a Church
You might have read the Bible for the first time and realised that what it says is not what your church does and teaches. You can not get any sound answers out of the minister. He might agree that the Bible says what you understand it to say, but then tells you why you do not really need to do what it says. He might agree that the Ten Commandments are the basis of the Faith and then tell you that you really only have to keep nine Commandments, because the Fourth Commandment was done away, or God is actually three persons, or he may tell you that you can make and worship idols. He may say, as many incorrectly do, that the Law was nailed to the cross, when it was the cheirographon or the bill of our debts that was done away and nailed to the cross. None of this is new; it has been handed out by the people pretending to be Christians for centuries.
So you think you are alone? You might be a serious Bible student, and think you are the only one in the world who understands what you understand. Your friends are probably telling you that you are a heretic and calling you by one or more different names of various leaders of some ancient sect. They have been told that nonsense by their church. However, you can see plainly what the Bible says. Why can’t they see it? The answer is they are not studying and they do not want to obey God, because that involves change and unpopularity with their peers.
A more serious problem is that you may have been part of a religious group that has been undermined by the mainstream system, and is in the process of being destroyed by the very ministry that you trusted, and paid high wages, in order to prevent this very thing happening.
You are angry and frustrated and you want to do something about the situation. So you should. There is nothing wrong with the feelings of righteous indignation that you are experiencing. It is not the first time the biblically based churches have been penetrated and destroyed, as a deliberate policy of the mainstream so-called Christian system. Many of our people have been killed by them in the past. Many of the ministry they use to do it are simply greedy and ignorant. They do not know any better. Some of them simply want social prestige.
The chances are that you are from an organisation that would not let you read any outside information and presented the views of the group as the only inspired interpretation. They probably disfellowshipped anyone who asked questions, or did not agree on the simple, plain words of a Bible text. These problems could have been simple ones, such as why there should be seven collections in a year (or more – down to as many as four each weekly Sabbath) when the Bible plainly says there are three collections only each year. It may be more complex, such as the nature of God, or calendar issues. They may appeal to the authority of the supposed founder who was allegedly given the instructions from God and that is the way it is.
The fact is that there has been an identifiable Church, under various names, for two thousand years and Christ has been the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
What do you do?
The facts are that there are probably more people in your area who have studied the Bible. If you are reading this, then the chances are that you are doing some in-depth study and someone is at you about reading it. You may have even been disfellowshipped by the ministry of one of these sects.
You are not alone. You can contact us, and if you are genuine we can put you in contact with others. We will never disclose membership, or details of people without their consent, and nor should you. If there are enough of you in one area to form a group, then you can go on to form a church, as is explained here. If there are not enough, we can put you in touch with computer groups and with mail friends, until you can meet them at the Feasts of either the Passover, or Pentecost, or at Tabernacles.
Each of you has a responsibility to go outside of your gates and meet to worship on these Feasts.
You might be part of a group that has already formed, as a result of the people with whom you fellowship, and are not part of an already registered body. You are worried about your legal position, and about the fact that you are not able to do any real and recognisable work. We understand. You have every reason to be worried.
Unincorporated associations were quite common in the past. There is extensive case law on the matter, precisely because it has been the subject of a lot of litigation. Where they formed they had to have a contract of their formation. Where no written contract exists, Common Law fills the gaps and each case must be litigated on its merits, or settled on previous case law.
In unincorporated associations, each participant is legally liable and can be sued at law by any party for the debts or liabilities of the unregistered association. Does this mean you can be sued and lose your assets? Yes, it does.
It is for this reason that incorporated associations were provided for in legislation. The members then had the ability to participate to the assets of the corporation, and were not liable to be joined as a party to any and every action against the association.
Being in a registered body is sound common sense.
All right, how do I go about it?
You have the choice. You can register as a body in your own right, or you can join a body that already exists and is incorporated as an association.
Each association is required by law to have a Constitution, or Articles of Incorporation. Some have both.
Some organisations that purport to be churches of “whatever” do not have general franchise, and are actually owned by a few people. Not all people who think they are members actually have any rights at law. This can lead to a lot of heartache when the organisations (as happened often in the late-twentieth century) are subverted and taken over, and the hard work of the members of many years simply disappears.
To do any serious work as a church you need to cooperate with others in other areas. This is often simply to give opportunity of services in travel, or for family. So once you examine the legal position you realise that, for your own protection and the protection of your friends and relatives, you must be registered. You must also be covered and operating under a constitution, and keeping audited books of account, within an elected structure. More importantly, the members who must be those that comprise the congregation should have a vote. If only the ministers in your church can vote, then get out now.
The logical approach is to work with others to do a greater work. How is this accomplished?
There is no basis for any church organisation that does not rest firstly on doctrine. No group can walk together unless they are agreed. If the groups are agreed on doctrine, then there is no reason whatsoever, other than the reasons of sheer power and control, not to work together.
For this reason the Christian Churches of God has a clearly defined Constitution (A2) and a clear Bible-referenced Statement of Beliefs (A1).
In this way no person coming into the organisation can remain while holding another doctrine, or say they had another idea, or attempt to change the doctrines of the Church, without being subject to the litigation of the members, and removed from fellowship.
People who are seriously studying the Bible and who are agreed on the basic principles of the Bible have an obligation to work together to achieve the commission given by Jesus Christ.
All right. I accept I have to be part of a bigger group and I think your group is the most Bible-based group I know. What then?
Look at the Statement of Beliefs. If you agree that is correct, then study the Constitution.
No person or group is allowed to become a voting member of the Christian Churches of God for three full years. This is a compulsory period of Admission to Fellowship. Thus there are two categories of fellowship: general Fellowship and full, voting Membership. This allows us to look at each other and see if we are walking together.
Once your group is agreed that they wish to become Christians and go onto affiliation with CCG for the three-year period leading up to membership, they should write to make application for admission to fellowship. This will then prompt consideration by the officials of the World Conference.
The National Conference of the nation in which you reside, if it is already formed, will be asked for their opinion. Other churches or people in your region will be asked for their objections. If there are no objections, and people wish to work with you, and you are willing to work with them, you will be invited to participate within the terms set out in a Letter of Understanding.
Where there is not a national Church formed we will provide help in getting one started.
In three years you are then eligible to apply for full membership.
Why should we be interested in this action? What does the Christian Churches of God want to achieve?
The mission of the Church is listed in the Constitution of CCG.
We aim to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations.
We are commanded to make disciples of Jesus Christ of all men.
We would like to set up places of worship and study, and for keeping the Feast, in all areas where our members are found throughout the world.
There is no reason why the Church should not have had its own properties, with large halls for meeting at Feasts, and for accommodating the brethren, on a festival and emergency basis. We should also have our own care facilities for the aged and the infirm.
We should be able to feed and shelter large numbers of our people on an emergency basis.
We hope to also set up our own correspondence education network, in cooperation with formal tertiary correspondence institutions. This hopefully will be open to all of our people throughout the world.
What about our funds?
The Church operates on the tithes and offerings of its people. Each nation is financially independent, except for the mandatory tithe of the tithe, which goes to the World Conference. The nations work on projects under the World Conference and fund their share of activities on a cooperative basis, as determined with the World Conference. Nations are grouped in regions.
Each local region is established with a local funds capacity.
Churches are envisaged as having their own local building fund, in the long term.
The special arrangements of each church needs to be discussed and laid out in the Memorandum, or Letter of Understanding.
There are many differing requirements and situations, but all fit into similar broad categories.
The CCG has a policy of no paid ministry. That is, no one can get paid for what they do on the Sabbath. That does not mean that our people, including ministers, can not be paid. It is written: You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads the grain.
However, gone are the days of the minister having morning tea at the mother’s club on Wednesday, and doing little else from Sunday to Sabbath, until he brushed up an old sermon over two hours to deliver on Sabbath.
Our ministers are professionals, who labour for the propagation of the Faith. Some are disabled or retired. Some are successful businessmen. Some are qualified academics. Some are qualified in social professions. Deacons are also able to give the sacraments of the Church, or to be administrators, and so they have responsibilities that under the old Church system are perhaps in excess of what you have previously been accustomed
There are many tasks that a minister can find to do. We have need of many capable people in the work of the Church. If your minister has a skill, we can use it. We need people for Bible correspondence courses. We need translators, academics and administrators. As the Church grows we will need care for the elderly and the disadvantaged. Our need for people is only limited by the growth and expansion of the Church, and the funds and imagination of the members.
Ministers who want to work in the Faith and in care
All right. I am a minister but I have no other qualifications and I would like to get better qualified?
If you have a group that wishes to support you to do that, we will do our utmost to help you be re-qualified and to be used in the Church in some way. We will also help others of the group become teachers.
If you are now in a position that you do not have a viable group, we will examine your position and see what help we can get for you and what we can do for you ourselves. You undoubtedly have important skills. You should not underestimate the power and love of God. If you are prepared to work we are prepared to help you. If you are retired or disabled, then we will help you with your entitlements and we will see what can be done for you to make you an effective worker.
With the current electronic technology we are able to put teams together that span the globe. You can stay with your people and still work on other projects, which you have not previously thought possible, or perhaps have not been allowed to undertake.
We are able to help groups in developing countries that do not have technology also. We can overcome these problems in various ways.
Look at what we have done in the last few years. How much more can we all do with a larger committed Church, full of spirit-begotten sons and daughters of God, all working towards the same goals?
Contact us at the email address or PO Box and discuss your situation and how we can work together.