FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
AdoptedJuly 15, 2018
We declare and establish this constitution for the preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and that this body may be governed in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches.
Article I. Name and History
This body is incorporated under the laws of the State of Oklahoma and shall be known as the “First Baptist Church of Dewar, Oklahoma, a corporation”, located at 507 West 6thStreet, Dewar, OK 74431, and said church shall be a Southern Baptist Church. This legal corporation will be further referred to in the Bylaws as the “Church.” The Church was originally established in 1916.
Article II. Statement of Purpose
First Baptist Church Dewar exists for the purpose of glorifying God and expressing the Lordship of Jesus Christ through our:
- Worship and praise (Jn. 4:23; Col. 3:16)
- Application of the inerrant and infallible Word of God to all of life as our only authoritative source (Js. 1:22)
- Support of the total life and work of the church
- Personal, group, and church-wide evangelism(Matt. 28:18-20)
- Missions at home and abroad
- Christian education (Isa. 1:17; II Tim. 3:16-17; Dt. 6:1-25)
- And loving ministry to the needs of people in and out of the church family.
Article III. Statement of Faith
Authority – We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, our only and final authoritative source, and the foundation for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000, as a faithful, but not exhaustive, statement of belief. We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Marriage – 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.
Article IV. Church Covenant
Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do, in the presence of God and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We resolve to:
- Loveour brothers and sisters in Christ and those not yet in Christ
- Serve one another as Christ has already demonstrated; we also endeavor to serve our community in a manner that is far-reaching and extends to the ends of the earth
- Connect people to Christ and disciples of Christ for the purpose of fellowship and the edification of the body through meaningful relationships
- Reach the lost as Christ has commanded without compromise.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrines, and discipline; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; and to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in sickness and distress; and to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling, always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
ARTICLE V. BIBLICAL SPIRITUAL
RELATIONSHIPS FREE FROM GOVERNMENT
INTERVENTION OR REVIEW
Acknowledgement of God’s Ultimate Control- This Church, in all of its ministries and activities, exists solely to serve the Lord and bring glory to Him. It is subject to the authority of God’s truths as set forth in the Holy Bible and to the guidance from His Spirit as He leads the Church to fulfill the purposes for which this Church was created and for which its members come together as a body and then return to serve Christ in their unique spheres of influence in the world.
Bylaws as a Guide – Acknowledging the spiritual realities of the Church, the bylaws are an informed guide to the Church in its support and service to each of its ministers, employees, leaders, and members. The bylaws guide our effort to fulfill our calling, utilize our spiritual gifts, and maximize our service to the Lord as He directs and blesses. The bylaws are designed to maximize the impact of the members as a whole, while preserving the agreed liberties of the members. The bylaws protect the biblical rights and freedoms of the Church to take appropriate action in relation to its members, other churches, those who do not know Christ personally, society, and government.
Spiritual Leadership and Relationships – The Church pursues its purposes and ministries with the intent to obey God and follow His divine will in all matters. God reveals His will through His Word and by the indwelling Holy Spirit impressing His will upon our members. God wants to reveal His will in all circumstances, so the members covenant to seek His will in all matters. God’s ways are above our ways and He often directs His people to do things that do not make sense or are unexplainable in human wisdom, but are clearly the right thing to do according to His will. Church members, gathered together in God’s presence, have the authority to resolve all matters at issue before the Church. All members consent to be bound to such decisions as far as it concerns the Church’s ministries and as it concerns the members’ relationships with this Church.
Waiver of Right of Judicial Review – The bylaws are a spiritually driven guide to direct the spiritual process of the Church. They are not legalistic controls of the power of God in Church decisions. The bylaws will be followed subject to the prioritized obligation to follow the Lord’s will when He provides guidance to act in a certain manner, even if contrary to the express terms of the bylaws. Any failure to comply with the bylaws, when approved by the required percentage of members present and voting, does not create a basis for a review of the Church’s decisions by a secular court, including actions contrary to the bylaws. The members waive any right to take the spiritual matters of the Church governance, ministry, ecclesiastical oreven secular to a court of law. All members shall obey God’s word by resolving all matters through internal mediation herein set forth.
No Creation of Judicially Enforceable Rights – The bylaws are not a legally binding contract between the church, its employees, or its members. The bylaws do not create rights that are enforceable against the spiritual Church, the corporate Church, or its properties, or against any member. If any judge or government officer determines that any provision of the bylaws or another Church governing document creates a legal right or cause of action enforceable in a court or government agency, that provision is stricken from any such document(s) and shall remain valid only as spiritual guidelines.
Church’s Right to Seek Judicial Intervention – Nothing in the bylaws shall be construed to limit the church’s right to pursue any legal action to defend the Church, its members, or its property, or to remove trespassers, or former officers, employees, or members who have to be removed by the vote of the members in the case of the senior pastor, or by administrative action from majority vote of the five member personnel committee in the case of associate pastors and church employees.
Limitation on Activities – To properly reflect statements required by the United States government, and subject to the full assertion of the Church’s rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, no substantial part of the activities of this Church shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation (except as otherwise provided by the Internal Revenue Code), and the Church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements), any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the bylaws, this Church shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by a church under a proper interpretation of Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Article VI. Polity and Relationships
The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members in accordance with the provisions of Article III, Section 2 of the Bylaws, shall constitute the membership.
All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.
This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the North Canadian Baptist Association, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and the Southern Baptist Convention.