welcome - July 2022

Bylaws – Boring or Building Block?

September 29, 2022

In a couple weeks Browncrofters will revisit our church bylaws at our annual congregational meeting. That may not seem too exciting for most of us. But what it symbolizes IS exciting. This process is one aimed at placing us on the best footing possible to continue our 100-year old mission as a church in the Rochester community.

On May 17, 1922, a group of Christians gathered in what is now the North Winton Village area of Rochester to formally launch Brighton Community Church. It was intentionally organized as an independent church — one free from denominational identification — in order to produce an unhampered “New Testament Gospel Testimony” in its neighborhood.

And just like that a new Bible-believing church was established. One with a clear mission – share the Gospel message and meet the needs of the community.

Now fast forward 100 years and many things have changed…

  • Brighton Community Church is now Browncroft Community Church.
  • Services have moved from Winton Road to Browncroft Boulevard.
  • Giving of our tithes and offerings happens online (mostly) and not in plates.
  • Many people join us every Sunday morning outside the walls of our building via our internet platforms.

But one thing has not changed… our mission. At Browncroft we remain passionate and committed to inviting people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus to make and mobilize disciples that reach our community and our world.

As a church, we need to be in love with our mission. But we should not be married to our methods. If we want to reach more people with the Gospel, we need to regularly evaluate the methods we use to achieve this mission.

“In the future, churches that love their method more than they love the mission will die.”

Carey Nieuwhof

The bylaws are a legal document that formalizes an agreement between the members of the church regarding how the church is to operate as a religious nonprofit organization in New York State. They define our governance structure, particularly the responsibilities of church members and those appointed to leadership positions. Our bylaws also clearly articulate what we believe as a church in our Articles of Faith.

While our Articles of Faith are strong (I commend to you Pastor Rob’s sermon series on them earlier this year), our operational procedures and institutional structures could benefit from modernizing and streamlining. Those elements of the bylaws have remained largely unchanged for the past 30 years, and we know our mission will be well-served by bylaws that better support our 21st century methods of ministry along with current nonprofit legal requirements and governance best practices.

For those reasons our Elder Board is bringing a new bylaws proposal to our church membership at our Annual Meeting on October 11, 2022. You can find an FAQ and a host of other information about these proposed bylaw changes, as well as information about the upcoming Annual Meeting, using the button at the end of this article.

I pray that the love and passion of our church family for our mission will continue to unite us as we discern improved methods to invite, make, and mobilize disciples to reach our world in the years and decades ahead.

About The Author

Further reading

The Reach Initiative 2024

This past Sunday, as we launched a new year and a new sermon series, I shared a new challenge with the congregation: to raise one million dollars in 90 days.
Read more

Engaging with the Bible in 2024

This year, I pray that Browncroft and the Church in America can root themselves in the Word of God. Rather than being carried by the whims of the world, we should allow Scripture to ground us in the reality of God's sovereignty.
Read more