FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
Adopted July15, 2018
Article I. Membership
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptistchurchunder the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the right of exclusive self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this churchand the conditions of such membership.
Any person may offer themselves as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the churchat any regular worship service for membership in any of the following ways:
(1) By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church
(2) By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church
(3) By restoration upon a statement of prior conversion experience and baptism by a Baptist churchwhen no letter is obtainable
Candidates for membership shall be accepted as members upon vote by majority of the members in attendance at any service, regular, or special church business meeting.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the Pastor and the deacons for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the churchwithin thirty (30) days. A three-fourths vote of these members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
In the rare event a member objects to the acceptance of a candidate for membership, the objecting member must immediately notify the pastor and discuss the objection. The objecting member should try to resolve issues by conferring with the candidate as soon as possible. If it’s not possible or proper for the objecting member to meet with the applicant, the Pastor may consent to accepting the applicant as a member upon the Pastor’s affirmative recommendation that the applicant meets all membership requirements, and the applicant shall be accepted as a member. If the Pastor cannot in good faith recommend that the applicant be accepted as a member, he shall deny the application. His decision is final and there is no appeal to the membership or other team body.
Section 3- Rights of Members
Every member of the churchis entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the churchin conference, provided the member is present.
Every member of the churchis eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
Every member of the churchmay participate in the ordinances of the churchas administered by the church.
Conduct shall be dealt with according to the biblical process of churchdiscipline. This is always to be done for the ultimate goals of glorifying God, purifying the church, and restoringof the individual.
The first step in this process shall be for fervent, continual prayer to be made on the behalf of the sinning member by the one who has knowledge of the sin(James 5:16-20).It shall also be the responsibility of any member of the body who has knowledge of a sinning member’s heresy or misconduct to reprove and seek correction and restore the sinning member in private. (Matthew 18:15-18and Galatians 6:1).If said member does not heed this reproof, then the reproving member shall again go to the sinning member accompanied by one or two witnesses to reprove, correct, and restore. One of these should be the Pastor of the churchsince he has the rule over the membership and is responsible for them before God(Hebrews 13:17).
If,after reproof from the Pastor of thechurch, the sinning member still fails to repent, the Pastor shall informthe churchof the members refusal to repent, and not disclose the members particular sin (Matthew 18:17).If the sinning member still refuses to repent, the Pastor shall announce the sinning member’s public removal from churchmembership and fellowship,and he or she is to be treated as an unbeliever. (Matthew 18:17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15).There shall be no appeal to any court from that decision.
However, if after removal of fellowship,the sinning individual repents, he or she shall be joyfully restored back into fellowship(Luke 17:3-4 and 2 Corinthians 2:6-9).
If during the process of Christian discipline,the member withdraws membership voluntarily but continues in the identified sin, the churchshall still be responsible to seek the sinning individual’s restoration through the process outlined in Scripture above.
The actions described in this section must at all times be carried out with a gentle, loving,and humble attitude with a sensitivity to God’s timing, and with the ultimate goal of glorifying God, purifying the church, and restoring the individual.
Upon the disciplined removal of a member, the membership relationship is terminated and there are no letters of membership to forward to a churchrequesting the same. In rare circumstances of serious problems that may endanger other individuals or churches, the churchhas a spiritual responsibility to inform another churchwhere the former member may be attending in regard to the risks related to that former member’s participation at the church. The churchhas no obligation to transfer or forward a letter of membership or a positive affirmation of the disciplined former member. Because of spiritual duties to other Christian churches, all members understand that the churchhas qualified privileges to communicate any facts of beliefs behind the church’s decision that it cannot recommend that a former member be accepted into another church. All members waive any right to assert any claim of wrongdoing or tortious misconduct against the churchbased on such communications. Both as a matter of biblical responsibility and by way of the members’ consent to these bylaws, all members waive and release the churchfrom any claims or liability for any alleged or actual liability to the member for such disclosures as authorized herein and protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Section5- Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
(1) death of the member
(2) transfer to another Baptist church
(3) exclusion by action of this church
(4) erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church
Article II. Ministry Staff
Section 1- Staff Members
The churchrecognizes two offices of the church, that of the Pastor/overseer and Deacon (1 Timothy 3:1ff). The officers of the churchshall be Pastors/overseers and Deacons.
Section 2 – Pastor
The Pastoris responsible for leading the churchto function as a New Testament church. The Pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the churchstaff to perform their tasks.
The pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such he works with the deacons and churchstaff to: (1) lead the churchin the achievement of its mission, (2) proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (3) care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the churchwhenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given.
A pastor selection committee shall be elected by the churchto seek out a suitable pastor, and its recommendation will constitute a nomination. Any churchmember has the privilege of making other nominations according to the policy established by the church. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the churchonly one name at a time. Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present being necessary for a choice. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request. He shall preside at meetings of this church, and serve as moderator in all business meetings in keeping with the concepts of order and decorum generally set out in Robert’s Rules of Order.
The pastor may relinquish the office as pastor by giving at least two weeks’ notice to the churchat the time of resignation.
The church may declare the office of pastor to be vacant. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon the recommendation of a majority of the personnel committee and the deacons or by written petition signed by not less than one- fourth of the resident churchmembers, who must be present for the vote to declare the office vacant. The moderator for this meeting shall be designated by the members present by majority vote, and he shall be someone other than the pastor. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by secret ballot; an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members present being necessary to declare the office vacant. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the pastor so excluded from office, the churchwill compensate the pastor with not less than one-twelfth of his total annual compensation. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in no more than thirty days.
Section 3 – Associate Pastor
A associate pastor selection committee shall be elected by the churchto seek out a suitable associate pastor, and its recommendation will constitute a nomination. Associate pastors shall be called and employed as the churchdetermines the need for such offices. Associate pastors are responsible to the pastor. A job description shall be written when the need for a staff member is determined. Those staff members of whom the churchrequires evidence of a personal call of God to minister shall be recommended to the churchby the personnel committee and called by three fourths majority vote of the church. At the time of resignation at least two weeks’ notice shall be given to the church.Such positions may be vacated by a majority vote ofa five personpersonnel committee, such termination being immediate and the compensation conditions being the same as for the pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual’s compensation.
Article III. Deacons
Section 1 – Deacons
Deacons must be men who have been members at least one year and are in good standing withFBC Dewar,and possess the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. “Good standing” for purposes of this section shall mean continuous and meaningful participation in the church, performance of the duties of deacon, and regular attendance so long as the deacon is physically able and desirous of serving. These qualifications are listed below:
In accordance with the meaning of the “performance of deacon”,deacons are to be servants of the church. The task of the deacon is to serve with the pastor in performing pastoral ministries tasks; proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; care for the churchmembers and other persons in the community; lead the churchto engage in a fellowship of worship witness, education, ministry, and application;and lead the churchin performing its tasks.
Section 2 -Procedure For The Selection Of Deacons Minimum Qualifications
A candidate for Deacon must be a maleand
scripturally qualifiedin the following ways:
Must be well respected.(1Tim. 3:8)
Must not be double-tongued.(1Tim. 3:8)
Must not beaddicted to much wine.(1Tim. 3:8)
Must not befond of sordid gain (financially honest).(1Tim. 3:8)
Must hold to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience.(1Tim3:9)
Must be Tested.(1 Tim 3:10)
Must be beyond reproach.(1 Tim 3:10)
If married, the deacon’s wife must be dignified, not a malicious gossip, temporate, and faithful in all things.(1 Tim 3:11)
Must be husband of only one wife. (1 Tim 3:12)
Section 3 -Deacon Nomination Procedure
The request for nomination of deacon candidates may be initiated at any time upon a vote of thechurchbody during a regularly scheduled business meeting. The churchbody shall also determine the number of deacon candidates needed. Upon such a vote the following procedure will be followed.
- The nomination period for deacon candidates will be scheduled for a specific period of time that shall include at least three Sundays. The nomination process shall be announced in all services, published in the worship bulletin and included in the churchnewsletter .
- Churchmembers may nominate individuals in light of the qualifications by filling out and signing a nomination form and placing the form in the designated drop box.
- Churchmembers should enter the nomination after much prayer and it should be based on their best knowledge of the individual. This should in no way be interpreted as meaning that the churchmember is to conduct their own inquiry into an individual s qualifications to serve as a deacon. (The deacon body will contact nominated individuals regarding qualifications and calling to serve.)
- The nominations will be reviewed by the deacon body at a scheduled meeting and the individuals receiving the greatest numbers of nominations will be considered “candidates”.
- The deacons will contact these individuals to determine if they do meet the qualifications and to regard the candidate’s willingness to serve and their calling to serve.
- The deacon body will present willing, called, and qualified candidates to the churchfor approval at a regularly scheduled business meeting. Upon a two-thirds vote of approval by the church, the individuals shall be considered as Deacons in Training, for a period of at least one year.
Article IV. Church Officers
Section 1 – Non-ministerial Staff
Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the churchdetermines the need for their services. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the personnel committee and supervising churchOfficer staffand approved by churchaction.
Section 2 – Moderator
In the absence of the Pastor,anAssociate Pastor or Chairman of Deacons shall presideas moderator. In the absence of both, the clerk shall call the churchto order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
Section 3 – Clerk
The churchClerk shall keep a suitable record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admission,dismissal, or death, together with a record of baptisms. The Clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, preserve on file all communication and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meetingswhere such notice is necessary, as indicated in these bylaws. The churchmay delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a churchsecretary. All churchrecords are churchproperty and should be filed in the churchoffice when one is maintained. These records are not to leave the churchbuilding. The Clerk shall serve a term of three (3) years, with the same individual not exceeding two (2) consecutive terms. An individual may be re-elected to the office of Clerk after at least one idle term.
Section 4 -Treasurer/Co-Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be employed by the church. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to preserveand payout, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by the authorized personnel, all moneyor things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements for the preceding month.
The Co-Treasurer is responsible for supporting all the duties and responsibilities of the Treasurer. It is the duty of the Co-Treasurer to be available in the absence of the Treasurer to continue the functions of the office.
The Treasurer shall receive the empty collection envelopes after the money has been removed and counted by the Counting Committee selected by the churchto serve. The Financial Secretaryshall keep the envelopes for references for a period of five (5) years. Additionally, the Treasurer will fill out sheet for the monthly balance, which will indicate receipts from envelopes, plate or loose, and miscellaneous or special offerings. Moreover, the Treasurer shall also be responsible for distributing or mailing annual records of contributions to all contributing members by January 31. The churchmay delegate some of the Treasurer responsibilities to a churchsecretary.
Section 5 -Board of Trustees
It shall be the function of the Trustees to consummate and finalize legal transactions authorized by vote of the members, including without limitation, the sale, mortgaging, or purchase or rental of property. The officers of the corporation shall serve as its Board of Trustees unless the members choose to elect other Trustees. In the case of election, each Trustee shall be elected to a term of three (3) year, and their terms shall be staggered such that an annual rotation of one (1) trustee occurs each year.
Committees, Councils, Ministries,and Task Forces
Section 1 – General
All committees, councils, ministries, and task forces of the churchshall be under churchcontrol, all officers being elected by the churchand reporting regularly to the church. It is understood that the pastor is an ex officio officer of all of thechurch’sboards, committees, councils, ministries, and task forces, and his leadership is to be recognized in them.
Section 2 – Committees
The churchshall elect such committees deemed necessary to effectively carry on the work and ministry at the church. Committees exist to provide the ministries, councils,and churchprogram organizations the resources (people, equipment, supplies, literature, building space, etc.) needed to accomplish the work assigned to them.
A “churchCommittee Manual,” giving general guidelines and responsibilities for these committees, shall be maintained in the churchoffice and periodically distributed to the membership of the church. The standing committees of the churchare Building and Grounds, Counting,Nominating, Personnel,and BudgetOther committees, standing or temporary, may be added at the church’s discretion. Only members of this churchmay serve as members of these committees.
Section 3 – Ministries
Definition: A “Ministryis a group of lay people who volunteer to do a certain kind of work. The work may be for the benefit of the churchbody or some of its members, or the community outside the body. Each ministry will have a leader who gives direction to the ministry.
Section 4 – Task Forces
Definition: A “Task Force” is a group of churchmembers to whoareassigned a specific, limited work to be accomplished, usually on a short term basis. Task Force members serve until the assigned task is completed.
Article VI. Church Ordinances
Section 1- Baptism
This churchshall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
(1) Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
(2) The pastor, or whomever the churchshall authorize, shall administer baptism. The deacons shall assist in the preparation forand the observance of baptism.
(3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
(4) A person who professes Christ and is not baptized after reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the pastor and/or staff or deacons. If negative interest is ascertained on the part of the candidate, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
Section 2 – The Lord’s Supper
The churchshall observe the Lord’s Supper at least quarterly as scheduled by the church. The pastor, deacons, and their designees shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparations.
Article VII. Church Meetings
Section 1 – Worship Services
The churchshall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services. The pastor shall direct the services for all the churchmembers and for all others who may choose to attend.
Section 2 – Regular Business Meetings
Regular business meetings shall be held at least quarterly on a designated Wednesday or Sunday night.
Section 3 – Special Business Meetings
A specially called business meeting may be held to consider special matters of significant nature. A one-week notice must be given for the specially called business meeting unless extreme emergency renders such notice impractical.
Section 4 – Quorum
The quorum consists of those who attend the business meeting, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section 5 – Parliamentary Rules
Roberts Rules of Order, Revisedis a guideline for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church
Article VIII. Church Finances
Section 1 – Budget
The FinanceCommittee, shall prepare and submit to the churchfor approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses.
Section 2 – Accounting Procedures
All funds received for any and all purposes shall be received by the Counting Committee and treasurer/co-treasurer, and shall be properly recorded on the books of the church.
A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the FinanceCommittee.
Section 3 – Members Support Expected
It is understood that the members of the churchwill give regular, proportionate gifts (a tithe is recommended and encouraged, but not required) to the support of the life, work and ministries of the church. Each new member shall be informed of the need for a commitment to the church’s unified budget. Additional plans shall be made annually for securing a worthy pledge/commitment from each member of the churchfamily.
Section 4 – Fiscal Year
The churchfiscal year shall begin on January 1 and ends on December 31.
Article IX. Church Marriage Policy
Section 1 – Definition
One of our fundamental biblical convictions is that Christian marriage is, by definition, the spiritual and physical uniting of one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime. Christian marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church.
Section 2 – Beliefs
Wedding ceremonies on churchproperty are spiritual observations of worship of God who created this divine institution; as worship services, weddings on churchproperty shall be officiated by one or more ordained ministers of the gospel and/or legal official, with the approval of a Pastor from this church, embracing the same conviction described herein
Section 3 – Church Authority
The churchmay decline to make its facilities or ministers available for any wedding if it is determined that one or both of the parties are not biblically and/or legally qualified to marry. Such determination may alsobe made by a Pastor of this churchand/or theDeaconsof this church, with the advice of legal counsel when deemed necessary, subject to the direction of the congregation. Additionally, no Pastor/Minister or employee of this churchshall officiate at any marriage ceremony unless such marriage is consistent with this policy. Furthermore, the churchmay decline to make its facilities available for any reception or usage of any kind if it is determined that such utilization is inconsistent with the fundamental biblical conviction stated herein.
Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the churchprovided each amendment hasbeen presented in writing at a previous business meeting and copies of the proposed amendment have been furnished to each member present at the earlier meeting. Amendments to the constitution shall be by two-thirds vote of churchmembers present. Amendments to the bylaws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.