DISTRICT COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS (DCCM)
Is your congregation considering amending or revising its constitution and bylaws?
Knowing how the process works will help things go more smoothly and (hopefully) quickly. With that in mind, here are some things you should know.
From start to finish the process works like this:
1. We receive the revised documents approved by your voters—ideally, we like to see all related documents (Articles of Incorporation; constitution; and bylaws) even if you’re only revising the bylaws. This helps us see the overall picture of your governance structure and make sure all three documents are in synch with each other.
2. Documents should be in MS Word format—we find this somewhat “universal” format easier to work with. We will add line numbers for easier reference. Under the odd circumstance, we will accept PDF and convert it to Word. And we ask that your church then work with these documents throughout the process (again, so we can be “on the same page”)
3. Church reviews changes recommended by DCCM—once reviewed (actual review may take several months, as we are a very small volunteer committee), we will return the documents with suggested revisions/amendments/etc. (some parliamentary, some legal [such as ex officio no longer being allowed for pastors], others for consistency of process, and some grammatical or formatting)
4. Amended/approved documents are returned to DCCM for final review—email revised documents to DCCM for acceptance by the DCCM and final preparation for submission to the district Board of Directors for review/approval at their next meeting (the BOD meets in March, June, September, and December)
5. If necessary, step #4 is repeated—sometimes there are “differences of opinion” on required changes requiring negotiations between the committee and the congregation. If so, we do additional reviews, make additional recommendations, and (hopefully) come up with solutions. Whatever the outcome at this point, the BOD has the final say on acceptance of the submitted documents
As you can see, the entire process can take several months, if not a year or more given the potential back-and-forth with the committee and your congregation (as well as other normal complications of congregational life). In the meantime, please note: until the process of revision and final acceptance of the revised documents by the Board of Directors is complete, your new governance documents are not valid and cannot be legally used (the old ones will still be in effect). The goal of our committee is to expedite this in as successful a fashion as possible (with the Lord’s and the District’s blessing!)
There are additional resources you can access as well from Synod as well as District:
CNH’s DCCM docs can be found here.
Our goal is the same as yours—to develop a strong set of governance documents that will serve the Lord, His people, and those “yet to hear” dynamically and effectively for years to come!