Summary of Proposed Bylaw Amendments
Board Composition: There are three changes of note. One, at Article VI, Section 6.3, the restriction that no more than five persons serving on the board may be “employees of the corporate headquarters” (the terminology used in current bylaws) is better defined and applies to all seats on the board. Two, the district process for selecting persons to serve on the board representing the district is clarified at Section 6.3.B. And three, new paragraph 6.3.D. is recommended to give direction for dealing with the procedure to follow when a board member, otherwise in good standing, becomes disqualified from further service on the board due to a change in the board member’s personal circumstances.
President’s Role in Foursquare Missions: Article VII, Section 7.1.1.D. states the president’s role in Foursquare missions. With time and the growing partnership of the U.S. Foursquare Church with sister Foursquare churches around the world, the role of the president has evolved; the description in the bylaws currently is out-of-date. The bylaw committee, with assistance from our current president and director of missions, is recommending an updated description of the president’s role in world missions.
President-Elect Orientation and Training: The role of Foursquare president is a substantial undertaking and responsibility, and a new idea is being proposed that would have a new president elected early to a “president-elect” role to assist in a more informed and orderly transition. New paragraph 7.1.2 K. describes when a president-elect would be selected 15 to 16 months early and what the job of the president-elect would be. Selecting the president-elect prior to taking office will give the incoming president orientation to the role and its responsibilities and pace; time to become acquainted with key executives, colleagues and global leaders; opportunity to observe and work with the current president in planning cabinet, convention, yearly budget and themes; and latitude to make orderly transitions from prior responsibilities and personal circumstances. The board will determine on a case-by-case basis when the president-elect responsibilities should begin.
Ministry Extension Tithe Fund: The 2016 convention body expressed concern that the language describing use of the retained Ministry Extension Tithe Fund “in the areas of leadership development, church transformation, and church multiplication, at the discretion of the local church” was too limiting. The concern is addressed with the recommended removal of specified missional categories. See Article IX, Section 9.2.2.B. (Ministry Extension Tithe Fund) and Article XIII, Section 11.3 (Requirements of a Local Foursquare Church). In addition, Section 9.2.B. is further revised for clarity and to indicate that the local churches will report annually on the use of retained METF funds.
Church Council Responsibility Re: Electronic Business Transactions: As online and other electronic transactions become increasingly common, local churches need the ability to do business electronically. This has not been possible under existing bylaws that describe the powers and duties of the church council. For the convenience of local churches, the bylaw committee recommends revision of Article XVI, Section 16.1.F. to permit local churches greater flexibility in day-to-day business activities. For safety and integrity, the National Church Office has already developed and communicated guidance and instructions regarding board-approved internal controls. They can be found online at the Foursquare website in the “Administrative Toolkit.”
“Catch-up” and Other Miscellaneous Amendments
Community Church Use of Trade Name “Foursquare”: A limited consent to use the ICFG-owned trade name “Foursquare” is being added to the definition of a Foursquare Association “Community church.” Actually, it is being returned to the definition of Community church. This limited consent to make use of the ICFG-owned trade name “Foursquare” was in the bylaws for many years but inadvertently deleted last year. That was a scrivener’s error. The mistakenly deleted language is here restored at Article III (Definitions) Section 3.8. A.
Community Minister Application Process: Language is being added at Article III (Definitions) Sec. 3.8.B. to outline an application process for becoming a Foursquare Association “Community Minister.” The process parallels the process for becoming a Foursquare Association Community church already stated in the bylaws at Section 3.8.A.
Cabinet Role Clarification: Proposed amendment of Article V (Meeting of Members), Section 5.3.B. (Reports) will remove an ambiguity. The proposed amendment makes clear that the cabinet recommends special reports for presentation to the convention body, but not necessarily who the presenter of the report will be. Also, the bylaw committee recommends a new paragraph E. at Article II, Section 11.1.2. (Powers and Duties of the Cabinet). The cabinet reviews the convention business agenda routinely, but it has not been expressly stated in the bylaws previously.
Bylaw Reorganization Re: Selection of President: The cabinet’s participation in the process of determining the nominees for the office of president, currently stated in Article XI, would be placed in Article VII instead so that all of the process for selecting a president, from start to finish, is located in one article of the bylaws. There was no change in the process, just a relocation within the bylaws.
Non-Foursquare Place of Ministry: A Foursquare minister may retain a Foursquare license when serving in a ministry position unrelated to The Foursquare Church, provided the minister has been recognized to do so by the board. Revision of the bylaw section addressing this process, Article XII, Section 12.2.1.B., is recommended to bring clarity and resolve some inconsistencies. The big change is the use of the word “recognition” rather than “appointment.” But the board may recognize the minister as serving in a place unrelated to Foursquare, thus allowing the minister to keep their Foursquare license. The board cannot legally appoint a minister to a place of service with a ministry unrelated to Foursquare. Foursquare ministers, even though recognized by the board, are not agents of ICFG when serving in a place of ministry legally unrelated to The Foursquare Church.
Compiled by El Clark, Chairman of the Bylaw Committee