Church Guidelines

Understanding Governance

1. NLCI functions in three intersecting spheres of leadership, relationships, accountability and vision:

  • a) Local
  • b) Regional
  • c) National

 

2. We acknowledge the autonomy of local churches but as a family of churches we embrace interdependence. To enjoy healthy relationships there may be certain circumstances in which Regional Leaders and/or A.L.T. will intervene e.g.

  • a) Financial misappropriation by the pastor
  • b) Moral failure of a pastor
  • c) Abuse of pastoral authority

 

3. In such circumstances other ordained leaders should:

  • a) Deal with the matter locally
  • b) If it cannot be resolved locally then call in the Regional Leader
  • c) If it cannot be resolved at the regional level then refer to the A.L.T

 

4. All NLCI Churches are encouraged to facilitate and enhance city/area wide initiatives for unity and action as one church in a city/town/region with many congregations.

 

A Senior Minister considering removing his/her church from NLCI must dialogue with the Regional Leader and A.L.T.  Removing a church requires the approval of at least 65% majority of church members.  Such a poll should be conducted in association and dialogue with the A.L.T and Regional Leader.

 

GENERAL CHURCH GUIDELINES 

As a movement of like‑minded yet diverse churches NLCI expects a high standard of practice and ethics, so determining our corporate witness. 

A.    Finances

"If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?" (Luke 16:10‑12)


General Accounting Guidelines for NLCI Pastors and Churches

  • (a) Proper internal control should be in place.
  • (b) Pastors should avoid handling money. This should apply to his family as well.
  • (c) Pastors should countersign cheques only as necessary.
  • (d) Proper filing systems should be in place.
  • (e) Qualified people should advise on taxation matters.
  • (f) A pastor should be meticulous in his claim for expenses and provide supporting documents.
  • (g) Maintaining your Charities Commission registration is critical.

If you need help, please contact the Admin Team at National Office.

 

Finance - Missions

Each member church is encouraged to budget for a part of all income to be invested in mission beyond its own church life. Please ensure that tax receipts honour the Charities Commission rules regarding overseas donations.

 

Annual Accounts

  • (a) The annual accounts of the church should be prepared by qualified people and independently reviewed or audited.
  • (b) Annual accounts should be displayed or a report annually to church members.

NLCI credentialed ministers are expected to be responsible in areas of Pastoral Direction.  A Pastor should give pastoral direction in the area of finance because all resources including financial resources and their allocation will be determined by the vision of the church. Other competent people should however act as checks and balances.

  

B. Understanding Power & Authority

"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely", so said Lord Ashton. The only person who can handle power perfectly is God because of his perfect character. All other beings must have:

  • (a) limits to power
  • (b) built in checks and balances

Only God has absolute authority over individuals. All humans have circumscribed (limited) authority.

The power God entrusts to His leaders is power for, not power over.

 

C. Local Church Governance

  • 1. Pastors should voluntarily co-operate with regional and national leaders, being willing to submit to their authority. 
  • 2. Elders are to support the pastors (Aaron and Hur supporting the hands of Moses Exodus 17:12); complement pastors (Paul - I planted and Apollos watered 1Cor 3:6); provide a spiritual covering for the pastor and the church. 
  • 3. The New Testament indicates a mix of 3 components in Church government:
  • (a) Pastors (Episcopalian pattern)
  • (b) Elders (Presbyterian pattern)
  • (c) Congregation (Baptist pattern)

The degree of mix would depend partly on the type of decision to be taken e.g. if it is a property purchase all three should be involved in some way. We need to guard against autocracy on one hand and democracy on the other.  Resource: The Church in the New Testament - by Kevin Conner

 

D. Trust Deeds

NLCI churches normally hold property locally (not centrally), under an appropriate trust document.

The appointment of trustees is crucial; this should be in the hands of senior leadership. It is suggested that trustees comprise Senior Minister, elders and other church members with the appropriate character and skills.

All NLCI churches are to be registered with the Charities Commission.

Advice on Trust Deeds is available from National Office.

 

E. Pastoral Appointments

1.  Assistants and Associates

In the appointing of pastors it is recommended that the Regional Leader be consulted for his/her input. This will give a more objective assessment.

 

2.  Senior Ministers

  • To ensure smooth transition the incumbent Senior Minister should not retire or resign his/her church to take up another appointment until a successor has been appointed. Again it is recommended that the Regional Leader be consulted for advice.
  • The successor needs to be, or apply to be, a credentialed NLCI minister; must be someone with the appropriate vision and gifting to develop the church.
  • Senior Pastors should be training a successor. There is truth in the saying "success without a successor is failure".
  • A church receiving a Senior Minister should ensure the incoming minister has been released from his/her previous church before making an appointment.

No practising homosexual or lesbian person shall be appointed or function as a minister of the New Life Churches International. On disclosure of such conduct they would be expected or requested to relinquish credentials.

 

F. Guidelines for Handling Relational Issues

"If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall" (1 Cor 10‑12)

"Flee the evil desires of youth" (2 Tim 2.22) 

  • 1. Neither a pastor nor his staff should visit a person of the opposite sex in their home alone. Either they take their spouses with them or see them at the office at a time where others are present in the vicinity.
  • 2. As much as possible men should counsel men and women with women.
  • 3. A pastor should be accountable to 2 or 3 mature Christians or a mentor/supervisor who could ask straight questions to guard against immorality.
  • 4. The best protection against infidelity is a healthy relationship with a spouse.
  • 5. Build in other margins of safety

 

NLCI Credentialing 

 

Part A - Credentialing Guidelines for Ministers 

  • 1. Credentials will be given to functioning ministers based in, ministering from or significantly related to a public established and viable NLCI church (ie pastoral/other gifted ministry)
  • 2. Such ministers (male or female) will be the senior pastor or assistant / associate ministry of or accountable to an NLCI church led by a NLCI pastor who has completed a provisional period and carries full credentials.
  • 3. All applications for credentialing are to be endorsed by appropriate Regional Leader and a sponsoring NLCI Minister and ratified by presentation at the next Apostolic Leadership Team (A.L.T) meeting (or by email).
  • 4. All credentials will be reviewed every two years. *Charges apply - see current policy.
  • 5. All new credentials will be issued provisionally for 2 years during which time Unleashed 1, 2 and 3 must be completed (see #9 below).  Full credentials will be issued after completing a satisfactory review process involving Regional Leader & A.L.T.
  • 6. A.L.T and Regional Leaders will have the discretionary power to withdraw credentials if the above credentialing criteria are not adhered to, or if the credentialed person ceases to function in, be based in, or associated with a NL church.
  • 7. At the discretion of the A.L.T, provision will be made for ministers to be in fellowship with NL, with the privilege of observing and attending regional gatherings, MAS and conferences, while not holding NL credentials.
  • 8. Both husband and wife are to apply for credentialing separately. It will not be automatic for the spouse to be co‑credentialed.
  • 9. All newly credentialed ministers will be required to attend our 3 week (3 one week modules over two - three years) UNLEASHED Ministers' personal and professional development seminars.
  • 10. All New Life credentialed ministers will be required to engage in regular personal supervision from suitably trained persons outside their home church.
  • 11. All New Life churches are required to participate in the comprehensive NLCI National Liability Insurance plan. Premiums are payable annually in advance based on congregation size. 

 

Part B - Required Response of Minister & Senior Minister Applicants 

I understand that New Life Churches International in New Zealand is a fellowship of ministers and a movement of interdependent churches, each governed by its own leadership yet recognising the anointing and authority of National (A.L.T.) and Regional leadership to advise, counsel and encourage. In accepting credentials, I enter into the following agreement: 

  • 1. I am willing for my church and I, to seek the advice, counsel and as necessary the intervention of the Regional Leader for my region.
  • 2. I commit to maintaining strong relationships, continual learning & enhancement of our values through active participation in regional events and National Conference.
  • 3. In the event of any conflict not being resolved at a local church level, I agree to refer such conflict to the Regional Leader/s. If resolution is not reached, I agree for this to be referred to the Apostolic Leadership Team (A.L.T.) for their deliberation and counsel.
  • 4. In matters of substance concerning my tenure of ministry, my church and its future and assets, I agree to seek the counsel of the Regional Leader/A.L.T.
  • 5. I understand credentialing with New Life Churches International in New Zealand requires each church to pay an annual levy based on a percentage (currently at 2.5%) tithe income of each church.
  • 6. I will attend UNLEASHED ministers training as detailed in Part A, Clause 9.
  • 7. I agree to accept and maintain regular, objective and continuing Pastoral supervision.

 

Part C - Required Response of Senior Minister Applicants Only

I agree:

  • 1. For my church to pay an annual levy based on a percentage (currently at 2.5%) of the church's annual Tithes & Offerings income.
  • 2. To pay this levy on a regular basis with an annual reconciliation & settlement.
  • 3. To my church paying the required premium for Liability Insurance.
  • 4. Attach a minuted statement from the trustees/elders agreeing to pay the levy and insurance.