Guidelines for Church Operations
Victoria Fellowship Church
Table of Contents
- Objectives of the Guidelines
- Governance Structure for Accountability to God and Church Family.
- Roles and Responsibilities of Church Council, Pastoral Affairs Committee and Board of Trustees.
- Lines of Reporting
- Election/Selection into Church Council, Pastoral Affairs Committee and Board of Trustees.
- Worship: Lay Assistance, Holy Communion, Universal Church Events, VFC Calendar.
- Missions: Conditions for Partnerships, Programmes and Projects.
- Church Finances: Accountability, Audits.
- Church Administration: Coordination of activities and groups.
- Remuneration Policy: Permanent and Temporary Staff.
- Volunteering: Efficient Stewardship
- Standing Committees: Advisory Roles
- Welfare: Focus on the Church’s Strategic Intervention
- Doctrine: Baptism, Holy Communion, Marriage, Divorce, Births and Deaths etc.
- Ethics, Discipline and Conflict Resolution
- Digital Communication
- VFC PAC Guidelines
- VFC Financial Guidelines 2016
- Lay Assistance Guidelines
- Requirements for a Sunday School Teacher
- VFC Mission Categorisation and Prioritisation Policy
- Service Level Agreement
- VFC Marriage Guidelines 2014 (updated in 2016)
- Incorporated Trustees Research (BoT)
- VFC Holy Communion Guidelines
- Standard Operations Procedures for Disbursement of Grants
- VFC Welfare Guideline
- Objectives of the Guidelines
The main objectives of the Guidelines are as follows:
- Enhance good stewardship of God’s blessings.
- Maintain order in the Church.
- Use individual spiritual and secular gifts to benefit the body of Christ.
- Develop enduring governance structure to ensure that functions are diligently and faithfully carried out.
- Ensure officers of the Church understand their roles and mandates.
- Establish non-overlapping roles and responsibilities for departments, minimize information gaps and avoid unilateral decisions and actions.
This document is subject to review from time to time as required.
- Governance Structure for Accountability to God and Church Family
- VFC as a Lay-Led Church
- Victoria Fellowship Church (VFC) is lay-led, modelled after the Early Church in Acts 6:1-7, with the leadership elected from among the members by the members.
- All church members are encouraged to develop a Christ-like servant-hood spirit (Philippians 1: 1-2), leading to an eagerness to serve, and to function within the framework of the VFC Constitution and Guidelines.
- VFC members shall perform their duties diligently as admonished in Colossians 3:23 and 1 Corinthians 14:40.
- The congregation is the ultimate decision-making body, and authority is exercised through a Board of Trustees (BoT) for statutory matters, elected Church Council for administrative and management matters, and a Pastoral Affairs Committee (PAC) for spiritual matters.
- Being lay-led, it is desirous that committee members commit to grooming fresh volunteers.
- VFC as a Lay-Led Church
- Church Membership
- The Pastoral Affairs Committee (PAC) shall organise Membership Classes for people seeking to be members of the Church, as contained in Section 1 of VFC PAC Guidelines in Appendix a.
- Roles and Responsibilities of Church Council Members
- Council Chairman
The Council Chairman is responsible for providing strategic direction, initiative, coordination and collaborative leadership for the Church Council and the Congregation, all working together to fulfil the mission of VFC.
The Council Chairman shall:
- Head the Council and preside over all its meetings.
- Be accountable for the realisation of the mission and purpose of the Church as contained in the Constitution.
- Be an ex-officio member of any committee or office of the Church that may be formed.
- Ensure that decisions taken by departments and directorates are in the overall interest of the Church, and may review such decisions where necessary.
- Be self-informed of the activities and decisions of all the directorates and committees of the Church.
- Inform the Chairman of the Board of Trustees not less than seven days (except in emergency situations) of any absence of himself or herself from the Church in writing.
- Council Vice-Chairman
The Vice-Chairman is responsible for supporting and assisting the Council Chairman in coordinating Church leadership especially in relation to special projects or specific assignments of the Church as may be required.
The Council Vice-Chairman shall:
- Have oversight for the maintenance of all Church buildings and equipment.
- Act on behalf of the Chairman in his/her absence and.
- Be an ex-officio member of committees relevant to his duties such as: Utility, Technical and Tenders committees.
- Take decisions in consultation with relevant committees and report to the Church Council.
- Carry out any other duties that may be assigned by the Chairman
- Church Secretary
The Church Secretary is responsible for the running of the Church Secretariat, liaison with the Church Legal Adviser, and facilitation of meetings of the Church.
The Church Secretary shall:
- Perform all the secretarial duties of the Church.
- Keep proper records, documents, minutes of meetings and books of the Church, the Council or of the Church in general meeting.
- Under the direction of the Chairman, be responsible for convening meetings whether of the Council or of the Church in general meeting.
- Be responsible for the maintenance of an adequate inventory of all Church properties; such list shall be presented to the Church at least once a year.
- Be responsible for all VFC’s written correspondence.
- Ensure an adequate insurance cover is kept for all Church Assets.
- Be accountable for the preparation and review of agreements on behalf of the Church.
- Ensure proper record keeping of all Legal and Regulatory Documents of the Church, and liaise with the Church Legal Adviser on Legal and Regulatory matters pertaining to the Church.
- Supervise the Church Secretariat and Church Administration.
The Treasurer is responsible for the accurate accounting and handling of all church finances, maintaining financial records and statutory obligations, and preparing the financial reports and budget of the Church.
In addition to the accountabilities stated in the current VFC Financial Guidelines in Appendix b, the Treasurer shall:
- Keep accurate records of all financial transactions, including: collection records, expense vouchers, cheque books/cheque stubs, deposit slips, etc.
- Monitor all payments into the Church’s bank accounts and ensure that (a) returned cheques are collected, regularised and re-presented, and (b) sources of payments into the Church’s bank accounts are identified and are consistent with the Church’s principles or are otherwise returned to the source.
- 14 days before the yearly Annual General Meeting (AGM), ensure that the budget is ready for presentation to the General Meeting .
- Ensure that expenses incurred by the various Directorates are within their approved budgets.
- Carry out bank reconciliation each month to ensure preparation of the monthly report presented at the monthly Council meeting.
- Ensure monthly reporting of income, expenses and balances to be presented at the monthly Council meeting.
- Ensure timely preparation of various Management Accounting reports as required by the Constitution and Church Council.
- Promptly prepare the yearly financial accounts and liaise with the Auditors to ensure the accounts are audited prior to the AGM.
- Adhere to Section 8(b) of Guidelines on Audits of this document.
- Worship Director
The Worship Director is responsible for coordination of the administration of the spiritual activities of the Church such as worship, and other activities pertaining to worship in conjunction with the PAC.
The Worship Director shall:
- Prepare the Church Annual Calendar and submit same to the Church Council for approval not later than its March meeting.
- Implement the quarterly sermon series as prepared by the PAC, and the Church’s speaking schedule.
- Circulate the quarterly sermon series to members of the Church Council, and make it available on the church’s website.
- Lead the Worship Committee, which shall have 2 permanent members (Worship Director and PAC member) responsible for worship, screening of speakers and potential new speakers for the church, which membership shall be determined by the PAC and the Church Council.
- Prayerfully secure Speakers from a list pre-approved by the PAC for each service and give them notice at least 14 days before the date they are slated to speak and reminders as well as send them invitation letters electronically or, if they so request, in hard copies on church letter head paper.
- Appoint a Lay Assistant to lead each worship service in line with the Lay Assistant Guidelines issued by the Church Council from time to time.
- Organise Lay Assistant trainings at least once each quarter.
- Manage announcements from the altar. The Council Chairman or the Lay Assistant shall make all announcements, except for specific announcements that have been pre-agreed to be made by others.
- Make all arrangements for the Holy Communion service, that is, appoint members to serve Holy Communion; give them one week’s notice and a reminder the Saturday before the Communion service, enjoin them to attend morning prayers in the Vestry before the service; and allot service points to each server after the morning prayers in the Vestry. Where an appointed server is not at the morning prayers in the Vestry, the Worship Director shall immediately appoint any member at the prayer meeting to stand in their stead.
- Prepare the weekly service bulletin and plan services for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, weddings, funerals, and any other service approved by the Church Council.
- Oversee the Ushering Unit of the church.
- Work with a constituted Worship Committee whose primary duty is to pray concerning church worship and to assist in any area of worship or other duties pertaining to worship in the Church. Terms of Reference are as contained in Appendix C.
- Children’s Education Director
The Children’s Education Director is responsible for planning, conducting, and evaluating the children’s educational church programmes and activities in conjunction with the PAC.
The Children’s Education Director shall:
- Oversee the children’s ministry and Sunday Schools.
- Through instruction in Christian education and character, use the bible study materials as approved by the PAC.
- Lead the children to grow in the knowledge of Christ by inculcating sound Christian principles and virtues in their lives and teaching the nature and character of God through scripture memory and lessons.
- Plan and organise activities for the children such as music, drama, arts/crafts and ensure that where required, their teachers mentor them.
- Where the need arises, disciple the children so that they become effective and active members of the Church in Christian service; and support parents in their discipleship and spiritual nurturing.
- Encourage the children in their responsibility to the world programme of Missions through their life, time, finances, praying and going.
- Supervise the Sunday school teachers as stated in the guidelines on “Requirements of a Sunday School Teacher”, provided in Appendix D.
- Missions & Evangelism Director
The Mission & Evangelism Director is responsible for developing and promoting the evangelistic and outreach ministries and liaises with mission organisations and partners on activities that the Church supports and approves.
The Missions & Evangelism Director shall:
- Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, execute the Church’s approved programmes including, but not limited to Outreach Programmes, Church Neighbourhood Street Evangelism, Prayer Stand Evangelism, Internally Displaced Persons, Alpha Prison Course, and Field Visits.
- In conjunction with the Missions and Evangelism Committee, identify programmes for each Church year with each of the Mission Organisations and Mission Partners of VFC, and present these to the Church Council for approval.
- Provide evangelistic support for programmes of other directorates such as Guest Service, Evening of Songs, and the Legacy event.
- Prepare and present Annual Mission Awareness Programme and Annual Mission Day Celebration to the congregation.
- Sensitise and mobilise the congregation to respond to immediate and dynamic mission needs and challenges such as Voice of Christian Martyrs, Rural Lekki, and Internally Displaced Persons.
- Ensure quarterly reports are received from Missions Organisations and Missions Partners on joint missionary projects with VFC.
- Organise field visits to Mission Organisations and Mission Partners in operational and secretarial bases; and attend their special programmes and conventions to determine alignment with VFC’s strategic plan and policy.
- Update missionary database and ensure disbursements of partnership funds for Mission organisations, Mission Partners and Charity Organisations in line with VFC’s Missions, Categorisation and Prioritisation Policy as shown in Appendix E.
- Youth Fellowship Director
The Youth Fellowship Director is responsible for planning, coordinating, and promoting youth programmes of the Church including special projects, specific assignments and recreational events that the Church may approve from time to time.
The Youth Fellowship Director shall:
- Develop and execute activities that promote spiritual growth of the youth in VFC and serve as a focal person for them to share concerns, ideas, and issues that need church attention.
- Provide one-on-one mentorship or refer youth who require mentoring to other members.
- Coordinate monthly youth-led church services and monthly Bible Study for Youths and provide relevant materials for such activities.
- Plan and execute the annual VFC Family Day, the Annual Legacy Event with supervision from the Outlook Committee, and address life skills and needs of Youths in VFC.
- Promote close bonds among the youth and encourage them to be actively involved in VFC activities.
- Budget and arrange the disbursement of funds for activities of the youth.
- Fellowship Director
The Fellowship Director is responsible for organising all fellowship activities of the Church and coordinates the welfare of members of the church as may be required.
The Fellowship Director shall:
- Supervise Bible Study (including Adult Sunday School, Men’s and Women’s Fellowships), and Prayer and Home Fellowship Meetings, and liaise with leaders of all Fellowships for the provision of materials and study guides for the activities and as approved by the PAC in Article VII.k. vi. of the VFC Constitution.
- Collate the records of Church Membership, Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Child Dedications, and Deaths and report on these to the Church as required.
- Welcome visitors at church services and subsequently follow up on them, and assist new members to integrate into the Church.
- Coordinate the welfare of Members and visits to members from time to time.
- Music Director
The Music Director is responsible for the total music ministry of the Church, coordinating music ministrations at all worship occasions contained in the Church Calendar.
The Music Director shall:
- Organise music education for church members and oversee music ministration at worship occasions.
- Ensure the Choir is prepared to support songs that are chosen for worship occasions.
- Select members of the Praise Team.
- Organise annual worship events such as Choir Festivals, Easter Cantatas, and Carol Services as provided in the Church Calendar.
- Ensure that paid musicians keep to the terms of their contractual agreement with Victoria Fellowship Church and as stipulated in the Service Level Agreement in Appendix F.
- Supervise all musicians.
- Church Administrator
The Church Administrator is responsible for coordination of the administration of the business affairs and day-to-day activities of the Church and the Church Office. It is important that the incumbent possesses the required skills, knowledge and competencies, including business-based acumen and spiritual, as VFC may prescribe.
The Church Administrator shall:
- Work with the Church Council, administrative staff and other committees to administer the business of the church and to coordinate the functions of all directorates to meet the church’s goals.
- Work closely with staff members to support council members and volunteers.
- Supervise administrative staff and ensure appropriate job descriptions are in place for each position.
- Monitor and oversee performance of all administrative staff and coordinate job performance evaluations annually.
- Monitor and guide directorates in their budget spending.
- Take responsibility and accountability for the church office
- Oversee the church database and its use.
- Alert directorates of things needed to run the church smoothly and manage office resources to support church projects.
- Work with the Worship Director to coordinate necessary resources for worship events.
- Prepare the quarterly church office report for the Church Council.
- Be responsible for facilities management of the Church premises.
- Manage administrative office policy enforcement, notice boards and the flow of supplies.
- Work with the Treasurer and Directors to facilitate annual planning and budget process.
- Work with the Vice-Chairman and requisite committees to supervise the maintenance and renovation projects of the church.
- Work with the Church Secretary to organise meetings, elections and all aspects of the church office.
- Responsibilities Common to All Church Council Members
Each member of the Church Council shall:
- Attend all Council Meetings in any given year with the proviso that permission is sought and obtained from the Chairman of Council at least 5 days prior to any absence.
- Provide handover notes to his assistant for any period of travel of more than 7 consecutive days.
- Prepare monthly reports and work plans to be presented at monthly or any designated meetings that may be determined. Such reports must represent all aspects of the functions of the Directorate.
- Ensure that they provide the necessary information, inputs and strategic plan towards preparation of each budget and shall be accountable for all monies expended by their Directorates, and be responsible for providing quarterly reports of same.
- The Chairman shall hand over to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and the Directors shall handover to the Chairman of the Church Council where they are absent for any period of travel at least 5 days prior to the said travel with written handover notes of the current situation of their functions.
- Deputy Directors shall be active members of their departments engaging in the planning and execution of programmes during the church year.
- All Committees of the Church, whether standing or ad hoc, shall be constituted by the Church Council.
- It is expedient that all members of VFC Leadership align with the rules and guidelines of the Church stated in this document and in the Church Constitution ensuring that decisions are taken collectively and not unilaterally, for the benefit of the Church.
- Roles and Responsibilities of Pastoral Affairs Committee (PAC)
The Pastoral Affairs Committee shall be responsible for ALL spiritual matters in VFC as enshrined in The Declaration of Faith in Articles IV and V of the 2007 Constitution of the Church to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to protect the gospel from heresy.
The Pastoral Affairs Committee shall:
- Liaise with the Chairman of the Church Council and its Directorates in ensuring the smooth running of the Church and its activities at all times.
- Ensure that the Fellowship Director adheres to guidelines stated in the Constitution regarding the admission of new members.
- Coordinate ALL prayer meetings of the Church including but not limited to the monthly prayer and fasting service and quarterly night vigil services for focus and direction.
- Handle all counselling requirements of the Church and appoint and train counsellors to ensure individual spiritual upliftment of members.
- Be responsible for teaching baptismal classes and the carrying out of Water Baptism by full immersion for members who are born again and wish to symbolise their union and identification with Christ.
- Dedicate children in open Church on dates agreed with the Church Council.
- Provide pastoral care and support for the family of a deceased member.
- Officiate marriage ceremonies, or marriage blessings for members following the VFC Marriage Guidelines and Standard Wedding Programme as stated in Appendix G.
- Counsel and discourage married members from separation and divorce in honour of God’s laws.
- Prepare a framework for the Church for the visitation of members on a continuous basis.
- Provide to the Worship Director an approved list of speakers for the church.
- Monitor and oversee the spiritual content of various teaching and study materials used by the church.
- Grow the faith of members by creating a framework for discipleship.
- Ensure pastoral care for the family of a deceased member and liaise with the Church Council regarding spiritual matters.
- Roles and Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the statutory function of the Church liaising with the Church Council to ensure that the church is compliant on all regulatory issues.
The Board of Trustees shall:
- Ensure that Victoria Fellowship Church is compliant with the terms of the VFC Constitution, Guidelines of Operation and the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), and all other statutes affecting the Church.
- Ensure that the church’s statutory financial reporting and audits are kept up to date.
- File all statutory annual returns and ensure compliance with regulatory and statutory rules.
- Meet once a quarter for church performance review.
- Be guided by the report of the Church’s Legal Adviser concerning compliance with Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) requirements for Incorporated Trustees in Appendix H.
- Swear in new members of the church council at the beginning of each church year
- Lines of Reporting
Lines of Reporting for the effective governance of the church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit shall be adhered to as contained in the VFC Constitution with respect to inter-relationships between the Board of Trustees, Church Council and the Pastoral Affairs Committee.
- The Chairman of the Church Council shall report all statutory requirements of the Church to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, including reports on Church activities, on a quarterly basis.
- The Vice-Chairman and all Directors shall report directly to the Chairman of the Church Council.
- In the absence of the Council Chairman all directors shall report to the Vice-Chairman.
- All Deputy Directors shall report to their Departmental Directors and in their absence to the Chairman of the Council.
- The Church Administrator shall report directly to the Council Chairman and shall have dotted line reporting to the Church Secretary and the Treasurer.
- In addition:
- The Church Administrator shall not be a member of the Church Council but may attend Council Meetings at the discretion of the Church Council.
- To give effect to the operational structure of the Church, the Church Administrator shall be a member of VFC.
- Election/Selection into Church Council, Pastoral Affairs Committee and Board of Trustees.
- Board of Trustees
Elections/Selections into the Board of Trustees shall be guided as reflected in the VFC Constitution, and in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
- Pastoral Affairs Committee
Elections/Selections into the Pastoral Affairs Committee, including its composition, appointment and terms of office, shall be guided as reflected in Article VII of the VFC Constitution.
- Church Council
Elections/selections into the Church Council, including its appointment/terms of office shall be in conformity with Article X of the VFC Constitution.
- Worship: Lay Assistance, Holy Communion, Universal Church Events, VFC Calendar
- Lay Assistance
- Members of the church can serve as Lay Assistant for Sunday Service and shall do so in accordance with guidelines on Lay Assistance shown in Appendix C.
- The worship director shall maintain a pool of people as Lay Assistants, who have undergone training and are confirmed as Lay Assistants by the Church Council.
- Lay Assistance
- Holy Communion
The Worship Director shall:
- Ensure that prior notice is given to the preacher for a Holy Communion Sunday; and must provide the preacher with the agreed VFC format and time limit for Holy Communion as stated in Appendix I.
- Give all members who will be involved in serving Holy Communion at least one week’s notice to enable proper preparation on their part. Such members shall also compulsorily attend the pre-worship prayer.
- Enjoin members of the congregation desiring to partake in Holy Communion in VFC, to ensure they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour as stated in the VFC Holy Communion Guidelines in Appendix I.
- Ensure Holy Communion is preceded by a very brief exhortation based on 1 Corinthians 11 (or similar scripture) on the Lord’s Supper, which is sufficient for those who affirm their faith in Jesus Christ to step forward to receive Holy Communion.
- Universal Church Calendar
The Church Council and the Pastoral Affairs Committee shall recognize universal church events and announce these in church as they may deem fit.
- VFC Calendar
- The Church Council shall adopt and take ownership of only activities stated in the VFC Calendar and weekly bulletin.
- Church members are encouraged to be involved in activities originating from their individual visions and initiatives.
- The Pastoral Affairs Committee and the Church Council shall ratify all programmes and activities outside the church calendar before adoption.
- Where there are special Sundays such as Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day, ChoirFest etc., the Worship Director shall proactively plan with the groups to ensure church service is run in line with the guidelines for Lay Assistance.
- Missions – Conditions for Partnership, Programmes and Projects.
Eligibility criteria for the support of mission organisations and partners of the church have been established as follows:
- Every mission organisation and mission partner shall be registered under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990.
- Directors of mission organisations and mission partners shall be members of a Bible Believing Church or National/Global Ministry or Christian Organisation.
- Projects of mission organisations and partners shall align with the mission of VFC as encapsulated in its Constitution.
- Mission organisations and partners shall be considered for support after completion of the VFC Partnership Agreement Form and acknowledgement; and shall be retained for future sponsorships based on received progress reports of their performance with respect to the projects.
- Support for mission organisations and partners shall be based on the following categorization: budget size, number of branches, number of personnel and the scope of reach.
- Church Finances – Accountability, Audits
All guidelines pertaining to the accountability and audits of finances of the Church shall be in accordance with the VFC Financial Operations Manual 2016 as shown in Appendix B.
The Victoria Fellowship Church Financial Operations Manual 2016 streamlines the processes and procedures for budgeting and funds disbursements.
Where not already considered in the Manual, the following shall apply:
- VFC shall not extend loans to any member.
- Where the PAC is inclined to give out grants in specific cases (health & medical, shelter & food, education &school fees) this will be subject to a limit set by the Annual General Meeting for the year in question.
- To avoid conflict of interest, no member of the church shall be a part of a decision that affects him/her regarding adjudications for grants.
- All requests for grants shall be considered in line with the Standard Operating Procedure in Appendix J and those approved shall be documented and communicated to the Church Council for disbursement.
- A guideline on Audits has been included requiring the Treasurer to prepare annual financial statements for internal and external audit, towards meeting statutory requirements.
- These statements must be prepared before the end of the Treasurer’s tenure in office, and before handover to the incoming Treasurer.
- Remuneration Policy: Permanent and Temporary Staff
The Church shall:
- Offer competitive remuneration consistent with employees in similar churches.
- Pay employees’ salaries above the nation’s minimum wage.
- Determine when salaries of employees shall be reviewed as it considers necessary.
- All employees will earn 50% of their monthly salary as Christmas bonus at the end of every year.
- Volunteering: Efficient Stewardship(Special Roles)
Victoria Fellowship Church welcomes volunteers for special roles or responsibilities that may arise within the Church. Such roles must be approved by the Church Council in writing and must be subject to the following:
- The nature of the role must be specified.
- The tenure of the role must be determined and shall not be of a “standing” nature.
- Responsibility and the reporting line must be stated in the document giving effect to it.
- Volunteers shall be held to efficient stewardship and accountability in such roles.
- Standing Committees: Advisory Role
- Standing Committees of the Church shall be set up for specific advisory/project implementation roles. The Church Council shall prepare the terms of reference for the operations of the standing committee and any updates for them.
- There shall be standing committees for the following: Outlook, Tenders, Security, Audio/Visual and other committees as the Church Council may deem fit.
- The Church Council shall be responsible for overseeing the work of all such committees.
- All such committees must be engaged in the work of the directorate by way of signing off on all requests for authorizations presented to the Church Council.
- All committees shall be provided with a copy of the roles and responsibilities of the Directorates under which they serve (where this applies).
- Meetings must be regular as determined by the requirements of each directorate or standing committee.
- Welfare – Focus on Strategic Intervention
The purpose of the Welfare Committee of the Church, which is domiciled under the Fellowship Directorate, is to assist members in overcoming temporary material needs.
- Following on from this, church members seeking temporary help shall be screened for veracity of their claims for assistance based on the criteria and guidelines for providing welfare as stated in Appendix K.
- The Welfare Committee shall make every effort to take care of such people by creating a clear path to attaining material independence and, in conjunction with their families, take necessary steps to monitor recipients closely for accountability.
- Other welfare matters are as stipulated in Section 8 a. iv of this document.
- Baptism, Marriage, Divorce, Death
- Baptism in VFC shall be by full immersion in water in front of the Church congregation following baptismal classes for candidates over a prescribed period of time.
- Baptismal classes shall be organised by the PAC, which has responsibility for this ministry.
- Baptismal certificates shall be presented to candidates following the ceremony and a register shall be maintained by the PAC on an ongoing basis on behalf of the Church, of all such baptisms.
- Pre-marriage Counselling Screening
- Members planning to get married shall notify the Church through the Council Chairman or the Chairman of the Pastoral Affairs Committee before undertaking commitments such as traditional engagements or Registry process.
- Couples shall be handed over to the Marriage Committee which will commence interviews and necessary due diligence not later than 12 weeks before the intended wedding to establish whether the proposed marriage is consistent with the Holy Bible, the guidelines of the Church and the laws of the land.
- During the screening the committee will seek to establish the following:
- That the marriage will not cause or create disharmony between the couple and their parents or guardian where they are still under the authority of parents or guardians; and where such exists, take steps if required, to intervene to help secure the consent of key stakeholders if the Church deems it reasonable to do so.
- That the intending couple have a place of abode where they can live together away from parents or any other relatives
- The intending couple should also note the following procedural requirements:
- Pre-marriage Counselling Screening
- Obtain a Notice of Marriage from the Marriage Registry at least 21 days before the intended wedding
- Prepare a Wedding Service programme modelled in line with VFC’s Standard Wedding programme
- Schedule a rehearsal of the wedding programme in the Church before the wedding day.
- Once it is established that the proposed marriage would be appropriate, the Chairman will:
- Hand over the couple to a nominated team (typically a married couple) within the Committee for counselling
- Authorize announcement of the proposed marriage to the Church during at least 2 regular/Sunday morning worship services before the ceremony.
- Where the Committee deems a proposed marriage inappropriate, but the couple insists on going ahead with it, the Church shall not be involved in any way.
- The Church recognises that there are situations where the couple or one of them does not reside in Lagos or is not a member of VFC but would like to be wedded in VFC. In such situations, the couple must still submit to the screening by the Committee. The Committee can however approve for the couple to undergo counselling in their local church and provide evidence of same. Where neither of the wedding parties is a member of VFC, the Committee will still screen the couple to ensure that the marriage would be consistent with VFC principles, and if so, recommend approval to the Church Council.
- A marriage certificate will be issued to the couple after the wedding ceremony.
- VFC takes the Scripture view that divorce is outside God’s plan for man. Consequently, where a troubled marriage among members is brought to the attention of the Church, the PAC shall make all effort in the first instance to intervene through prayers and counselling, with the objective of reconciliation.
- It is recommended, based on 1 Timothy 3: 1-7; Titus 1: 5-9 that divorcees not be allowed to marry in VFC or take up key positions in the Church.
- VFC shall ensure that any member that dies is buried in a Christian manner unless the family members disagree.
- Wherever the Church is involved in the burial of a member, the Church shall sponsor a team of not more than five members to the ceremony unless the deceased had expressly instructed otherwise, or the relations so object.
- Where there is death of a member or a direct family member of a member, two sponsored members of the Church will represent the Church at the funeral service.
- These guidelines are only applicable within the shores of Nigeria.
- Ethics, Discipline and Conflict Resolution
- All conflicts and civil matters within the Church, will be assigned for resolution based on the nature of the conflict: BoT – Statutory, PAC – Spiritual/Pastoral and Church Council – Administrative
- Parties to a conflict will be encouraged to accept the resolutions arrived at as final involvement of the Church and under the ambit of scripture (1Corinthians 6: 1-8) with the aim of avoiding litigious processes.
- Where the nature of the conflict cuts across the purview of the three bodies, the Chairman of Council shall constitute a Committee made up of members of the three bodies to resolve.
- All resolutions on conflicts and disciplinary recommendations shall be transmitted to the Church Council for implementation.
- A committee of 5 persons consisting of chairmen of council, bot, PAC plus 2 ex-officio members shall serve as apex body to resolve any issues outside or beyond the scope of sections 14.1 to 14.4. It should be noted that if any of the members of the committee is involved in the conflict being resolved he/she will recuse him/herself from the Committee meeting resolving the matter.
- All donations to support church activities shall be paid directly into the church account or treasury.
- Donations in response to appeals outside Church-approved disbursements shall as much as possible be made directly by the donors to the end beneficiaries.
- Where the donation is to support a Church activity, whoever collects the donation, shall give a written account of collected funds to the Treasurer.
- The Church shall take every reasonable measure to ensure that funds accepted by the Church are not questionable. Sources of direct lodgements into the Church’s bank accounts shall be established and, if such lodgements are deemed potentially controversial, the Church shall request the bank to return same to source.
- Ministries or organisations may solicit for funds from members of the Church only as approved by the church council.
- Digital Communication
The Church appreciates the value and effectiveness of digital communication for mutual edification and to build God’s Kingdom and encourage members to use them to these ends. However, considering that such media can also be used to create and promote destructive interaction, the following rules shall apply to the use of digital communication such as email, instant messaging and social media (Whatsapp, Twitter, etc.) that bear VFC’s label:
- Ensure posts are truthful, edifying or stimulate positive discussions.
- Verify posts from other platforms by ensuring such are accompanied by a traceable link to the original source before posting such.
- Avoid appending “Forwarded as received” to absolve oneself of responsibility of sending such a post.
- Avoid echoing publications in the public media that may be seditious, libellous or generate sectional controversies.
- While members of VFC may freely and prayerfully identify with political organisations; VFC-labelled communication channels shall not be used to promote political ideologies of any political group through materials such as articles, opinions, pictures and videos.
- Members shall ensure that they respect the different perspectives of others in open discussions on any issues presented.
- The use of condescending language, derogatory remarks and insults, whether open or covert, is prohibited.
- All communication on the Church electronic platforms shall be in conventional English Language.
- Vernacular songs shall be translated.