If you’ve planting a church, or somehow responsible to someone who is, go ahead and download “The Church Constitution Guide” (PDF, 350kb) published by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Yes, you heard me.
There are two good reasons:
1. It has a to-do timeline that we would probably benefit from emulating. Taking five years to grow a congregation of 30 does nobody any favors.
2. It helps conceptually integrate the three documents we’re OK with — corporate articles, constitution (or bylaws) and covenant — with one we don’t integrate well: a theological statement, whether that be the UUA’s Principles and Purposes or a Universalist avowal.