Constitution & Bylaws

Bylaws and Constitution

Of

First Baptist Church

Article One - Covenant

Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, Angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ. 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 the knowledge of holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship ordinance, discipline and doctrine; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the pastor, the expenses of the church, and the relief of the poor and the spread of the Gospel throughout the nations. We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to religiously educate our children, to seek the salvation of the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from the use and sale of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior. We further engage to watch over on another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech. We also 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 principles of God’s Word.

 

Article Two – Purpose

 

To teach the gospel of Jesus Christ as near and as far, as often and as truly as by the grace of God it is possible.  This is to be understood that every honest means, as a church, we shall strive to leave no stone unturned in a continuous effort to get the people to the gospel and the gospel to the people.

This shall be accomplished by:

  1. The promotion of spiritual worship (John 4:24, II Timothy 4:1-5)
  2. The proclamation of the gospel to all the world (Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15)
  3. The defense of the faith once delivered to the saints (Hebrews 10:23, Jude 3)
  4. The ministry of love and compassion to the needy and hurting of our church

           membership and of our community (I Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:11-16)

  1. The administration of church ordinances of baptism (Matthew 28:19, 20) and

           The Lord’s Supper (I Corinthians 11:23-34)

 

Article Three – Policy

Section 1:        This church shall be supported by tithes and offerings. It shall not be the policy of this church to promote suppers, parties, or any other project for the purpose of raising funds.  We do recognize the use of limited fundraising by our youth for the purpose of subsidizing the cost of youth activities, youth camps and missionary trips.

 

Section 2:        The Authorized or King James Version of the Bible shall be the ONLY Bible text used to teach or preach in worship services, Sunday school, Youth meetings, or any other function of this church. All preaching, teaching, and devotional use shall be from this text. We do not authorize nor recommend any other English Translation of the Scriptures.

 

Section 3:        This church shall never be associated or be a member as a corporate body of any convention, association or other body. This church is and shall remain unaffiliated and INDEPENDENT in structure.

 

Section  4:       Missions and missionaries supported by this church shall be of like faith and practice, and shall be examined to ensure they are so.

 

Article Four – Membership

 

A.  Individuals may be received into the membership of this church by:

 

1.   Baptism by immersion – Persons giving testimony of having been saved and agree to uphold the doctrines of this church, may be received into membership by being baptized.

2.   Letter – Persons coming from other churches of LIKE FAITH AND PRACTICE who have been saved and scripturally baptized into that church, may come by letter.

3.   Statement of Faith – Persons may be received upon the testimony of having been saved and scripturally baptized.

4.   Restoration – Persons who have been church disciplined may be restored to church membership, after true confession and repentance of sin have been made.

 

 

B.  Termination of Membership may occur in the following ways:

                       

1.   Death

2.   By Request

3.   Transfer of Membership by letter

4.   Church Discipline – Any Member who is Church Disciplined looses all privileges of a member, until restored back into the church.

 

a.   Any person disagreeing in any point with the Confession of Faith is completely severed from membership of this church.  The complete dismissal of such person does not require church action.

 

  1. Church Discipline:  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.. (Matt.:18 15-17)
  2. The excluded member, after meeting with the Pastor and deacons, may be fully restored to the Church membership by a vote of approval by the Church.  The excluded member must repent and confess his sins, which brought about the exclusion before the church.
  3. Any member who neglects to attend the worship service for a period of six months,  Unless the  non-attendance is due to cause beyond his or her control, shall be automatically put on the inactive membership roll.  Any member who is on the in-active membership roll, will not be allowed to vote on any matters that come before the church.  Restoration may be brought about by attending regular services four consecutive weeks.

  

C.  Duties of a Member

On becoming a member of this church, in addition to the Confession of Faith, each one further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the pastor, to pray for him; recognize his authority in all affairs of the church; to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the church; to support the church in prayer, tithes, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and in accordance with Biblical commands to support through a life-style walk affirmation of the beliefs and practices of the church.  Members agree according to Article 14 of the Confession of Faith never to enter into litigation with each other or the Church.

 

D. Privilege of Membership

The congregation functions, not as a pure democracy, but a body under headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the pastor as the under shepherd.  Membership in this church does not afford those individuals with any property, contract, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government.  Determination of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures.  The pastor shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church.  Deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor as requested by him.  The membership of the church has certain limited areas of exercising a vote.  Members may not vote to initiate any church action, but rather the vote of a member is to confirm and to ratify the direction of the church as determined by the Pastor.

 

Article Five – Meetings

 

Section 1:        The regular meetings of the church for worship shall be as follows:

 

            Sunday School                                                  9:30 am

            Morning Worship                                            10:30 am

            Evening Worship                                              6:00 pm

            Wednesday Evening                                         7:00 pm

              

The Pastor may change times of services, however, on a regular basis, there shall be a minimum of three services per week.

Section 2:        The Lord’s Supper shall be held at the Pastors discretion.

 

Section 3:       Additional services and special meetings may be scheduled at the discretion of the Pastor.

 

Section 4:        The annual business meeting of the church shall be held the third Sunday of February. Special business meetings may be called by the Pastor, though due notice to the congregation must be given.

 

Section 5:        All business meetings of the church, annual, or special, shall be open to all members over eighteen (18) years of age.

 

Section 6:        To be eligible to vote at any meeting of the church, on any question, a member shall have the following qualifications:           

A.  The member must be regular in attendance (at least one meeting a week except for good and just cause)

B.  The member must be a Tither

C.  The member must be in harmony with all the doctrines of this church.


Section 7:        Any questions concerning eligibility to vote shall be decided by the officers of the church. A majority vote of all active members present constitutes the final decision on all matters except in the case of revising the Constitution, Bylaws, or electing or discussing the Pastor, in which case all active members shall be notified in writing and a two thirds vote of all voting members eighteen years of age or older, present is required for final action.  Voting shall be of an open nature, except in such cases that the officers deem a signed, secret ballot appropriate.

 

Article Six – Officers

 

Standard Qualifications: 

They must be a member of this Church and a regular in attendance at the services of the Church.  Their life must be exemplary in conduct and manifest an unquestionable testimony before all.  They must abstain from all appearances of evil, careful to evidence the fruits of the Spirit as defined in Galatians 5:22-26.

 

Section 1:

Pastors Qualifications: 

This is a True saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  - I Timothy 3:1-7

 

Section 2:

Pastors Duties:

The spiritual leadership of the church and congregation shall be in the hands of the pastor. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees. He shall always be a Trustee and the chairman of the Finance Committee. He shall have the power to call meetings of any of the committees. He shall have the following powers: Employ any person or persons on behalf of the church; set the salary or wage of such person or persons; and to discharge such person or persons who have been employed. He shall act as moderator at all business meetings of the church; and shall have power to purchase all supplies regularly necessary for the work of the church. His term of office shall be indefinite. If at any time his personal belief, preaching, or teaching is not in full accord with the Word of God, according to the church’s doctrinal statement, a  and after investigation by the Deacons and/or Trustees found guilty; and by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the members, his service as Pastor shall be terminated.

 

Section 3:

Deacons Qualifications:

Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.  - I Timothy 3:8-13  

 

Section 4:

Deacons Duties:

The Deacons are to be servants of the church. It shall be the duties of the Deacons to:

A.  Look after the poor of the church and visit the sick.

 

B.  Assist in the preparation and distribution of the Lord’s Supper and perform such other spiritual duties as the church may direct.

 

C.  In the event of illness of the Pastor, the deacons, after consulting with the Pastor, shall be responsible to see that the pulpit is filled.  In the event that the pulpit is vacated by an emergency such as: death, serious accident, etc, the deacons shall be responsible to see that the pulpit is filled. The man called shall be of Like Faith and Practice as this church.

 

D.  Act as the pulpit committee, to secure the service of someone to supply the pulpit when the church is without a pastor and to investigate any candidate for the pulpit as to his record, and to consult with the candidate in regards to terms, salary, etc. The Deacons shall report their findings to the church for formal action and decision. The Deacons shall also request visiting candidates to come for a minimum of three consecutive services, with a vote to be held on the last service. A majority vote (3/4) is required to constitute a call.

 

E.  Discuss and recommend to the church for final action all important business of the church.

 

F.   All deacons shall be faithful members of the church, attending at least two (2) services per week unless for good and just cause. They shall be consecrated, cooperative, and of clean character .

 

G.  Each deacon elected by this church shall serve a four year term as an active deacon. At the end of his term a new deacon may take his position. Any deacon not continuing in his position, or ending his term, must remain inactive as a deacon for one calendar year, and then may be re-elected.

 

H.  Deacons shall fulfill the state mandate for office of Trustee. In the event there are not  sufficient Deacons to meet state requirements, the Pastor may nominate a man from the congregation to act as Trustee until the Lord calls another Deacon within or to the church.

1.   Trustees:

Shall be the legal custodians of the Church property and conduct all legal work of the Church.  They shall familiarize themselves with the state and county laws, rules, codes and restrictions pertaining to the Church property, functions, or any matter that requires legal work or signature.  They shall sign documents as directed by the Church even if they are not in accord with the transaction.  They shall have no power to buy, sell, pledge the credit of the Church, mortgage, lease or transfer any property without a specific vote by the church authorizing such action. No new structures, alterations, disfigurations, or removal of Church property shall be done by anyone without the approval of the Pastor. They shall supervise the care of all buildings and property belonging to the Church, maintain repairs and insurance.

 

Section 6:

The Clerk

The clerk shall keep record of the proceedings of the church and shall have charge of all documents, papers and letters unless otherwise provided.  He or she shall issue letters of dismissal and recommendation.  He or she shall keep register of the month and minutes of all business meetings.

 

Section 7:

The Treasurer           

The Treasurer, along with other appointed persons, shall be authorized to collect all monies and deposit them in an authorized account in the corporate name.  The Treasurer shall keep a record of all money coming into the church and all money paid out by the church.  The Treasurer will prepare a quarterly financial statement to be given to the members of the church.

 

Section 8:

Election of Officers

The election of all officers (except Pastor) shall be held at annual business meetings.  All officers shall be elected by those eligible to vote under Article 5, Section 6.

 

 

Article Seven – Employees/ Workers in Church

 

Section 1:        Any employee of the church must be in accord with The Confession of Faith.  Employees must hold to the same qualifications as an officer.  The Pastor has the sole right to terminate any employee for any reason, including but no limited to the employee being found not in accord with the Confession of Faith, or living a lifestyle not holding to Biblical Standards.

Section 2:        All workers in direct contact with children under 18 years of age, will voluntarily submit to a criminal background check.  The purpose of the check is to ensure that no persons with a history of crimes against children shall be allowed to work with children in this Church.

 

 Article Eight – Indemnification

 

Section 1:

Actions Subject to Indemnification

The Church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the Church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the Church, against expenses, including attorney’s fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Church and, with respect to any criminal action, or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful.  The termination of any action, or suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.

 

Section 2:

Expenses Subject to Indemnification

To the extent that a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in that action, suit or proceeding, he or she may be indemnified against expenses, including attorney’s fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.

 

Section 3:

Limitations of Indemnification

Any indemnification made under this Article, may be made by the Church only as authorized in the specific case on a determination that indemnification of the pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard if conduct set forth in Sectin1 of this Article.  The determination shall be made (a) by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of the pastor and deacons who were not and are not parties to, or threatened with, the action, suit, or proceeding;(b)if the described quorum is not obtainable, or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested deacons so directs, by independent legal counsel in written opinion; or (c) by a majority vote of the members of the church.

 

Section 4:

Timing of Indemnification

Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article, may be paid by the Church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the Board of Deacons in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the Church.

 

Section 5:

Extent of Indemnification

The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the Church, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under this Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent and may inure to benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person

 

Section 6:

Insurance

The Church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a pastor,  deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the Church against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in that capacity, or arising our of his status in that capacity, whether or not the Church would have the power to indemnify him against liability under the provisions  of this Article.

 

Article Nine – Designated Contributions

 

From time to time the church, in the exercise of it religious, educational and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals.  Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than a mandatory in nature.  No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contributions for general purposes.

 

Article Ten – Binding Arbitration

 

Section 1:

Submission to Arbitration

Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of this church agree submit to binding arbitration any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bringing any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court  having jurisdiction thereof.

Section 2:

Notice of Arbitration

In the event of any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement arising out of or relating to these Bylaws or any other church matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions, or disagreement as befits Christians.  To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and recognizing their mutual interests not to disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution.  If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions, or differences shall be finally settled by arbitration as described in Section 1, above, and such Procedures for Arbitration as are adopted pursuant to the following two sections.

Section 3:

Limitations on Arbitration Decisions

  1. Should any dispute involve matters of church discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether proper church discipline according to Matthew 18:15-17, has been followed.
  2. Should any dispute involve the removal  from office of the pastor or  any church officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether proper procedures were followed.

 

Section 4:

Arbitration Procedures

The procedures for the arbitration shall be adopted by the Pastor and the Deacons.

 

Article Eleven – Amendments

These By-Laws may be amended by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the membership qualified to vote at a meeting duly called for such purpose; with the exception of Article One, Covenant and Article Two, Policy.