CB Northwest is an association of churches in covenant relationship who hold firmly to Biblical orthodoxy (doctrine) and orthopraxy (polity). We are committed to assist churches in developing and functioning according to a polity that reflects the biblical model for the church.

A church's "polity" is expressed in written form in their "bylaws". These bylaws provide the framework for how the church is organized and functions. The goal is to have bylaws that clearly guide the parameters for healthy ministry, without being too restrictive or inflexible.

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Two Overarching Guidelines for Creating Effective Bylaws

Historically, many churches inadvertently create Bylaws (or Constitutions) that are unnecessarily complex and cumbersome to live by. Also, it is not uncommon for modifications to be added to existing Bylaws that create contradictions and greater confusion. Therefore, the two overarching guidelines we use when assisting churches create bylaws are:

  • keep bylaws brief and simple, including only what is essential
  • use policy and procedure manuals to provide the procedural detail

Bylaws should focus on "what" should be done, while the policy and procedure manuals should go into detail "how" things will be done. Bylaws should be modified very infrequently. But policies and procedures may be modified often as churches learn how to improve their ministries.

What You Will Find On This Site

This site contains resources for you to use to assist your church in developing necessary polity documents. Since the legal requirements are slightly different for each state, we have organized the site by the four states of CBNW. For each state, we have provided helps such as Legal Requirements, Articles of Incorporation, Guidelines for Bylaws, and sample Bylaws. These documents are intended to be helpful by greatly reducing the amount of work necessary for you to produce effective polity documents. However, it is your responsibility as a local church to thoughtfully and prayerfully develop polity documents that are legally accurate and that enable you to function well in your unique ministry and cultural context.

This page and documents for each state were last checked and updated on 10/12/2011.

Choose your State


  • What is Polity?

    Polity describes how your church is structured for leadership, decision-making, and ministry implementation. What we mean by "ministry implementation" is this: if someone has a new idea or burden for a ministry, who reviews it, who decides if it is going to be implemented or not, and who figures out all that it will need in order to succeed?