Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the public confession of our faith, having been immersed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We propose, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge and holiness; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to attend its services regularly; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrine; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; to give faithfully of time and talent in its activities; to contribute cheerfully and regularly, as God has prospered us, to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel throughout all nations.
We also propose to maintain family and private devotions; to train our children according to the Word of God; 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 conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and unrighteous anger; to abstain from all forms of activity which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, cause stumbling to a fellow believer, or hinder the winning of a soul to Christ; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of Christ, our Savior; and to give Him preeminence in all things.
We further propose to encourage one another in the blessed hope of our Lord’s return; to watch over one 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; to be slow to take offense, and always ready for reconciliation, and, mindful of the rules of our Savior, to seek it without delay.
We moreover propose that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith and order where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. In the event there is no such church, we shall seek, with the Lord’s help, to establish one.
We, the members of the Trinity Baptist Church of Muskegon, Michigan, in order more perfectly to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and do the will of God as it may be revealed to us through His Word by the Holy Spirit, and in order to minister in the salvation of our souls, the edification of Christians through the teaching of God’s Word, the worldwide proclamation of God’s saving grace expressed in the shed blood and finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, and to promote Godly worship, the defense of the gospel and foundation of our faith, and in order to cooperate with Christian activity functioning in harmony with God’s Holy Word – the Bible – until He comes, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Section 1. The Church:
This association shall be a free and independent body corporate known as a church, which is supreme in the control of its own affairs, doctrines, property, associations and actions without supervision or direction by any other association, group, or body, and shall be organized, associated, and formed in accordance with and conformance to the Laws of the State of Michigan in those matters made and provided in all things temporal and subject thereto except in things opposed to the revealed will of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.
Section 2. Name:
The name of this church shall be “Trinity Baptist Church” of Muskegon.
Section 3. Location:
The church home shall be located in Fruitport Township, Muskegon County, and the State of Michigan.
Section 4: Authority:
The church as such a body corporate shall have full power of and in itself under the law to own property, both real and personal, corporeal, and incorporeal, for its own use and benefit in the accomplishment of the uses and purposes as declared and set forth in its Articles of Incorporation and the Constitution.
Section 5. Cooperation:
This church shall not cooperate with the purposeful advancement of liberalism or apostasy in any form whatsoever. II Corinthians 6:14, 17; Romans 12:1,2; Romans 16:17.
This church and the members thereof shall subscribe and adhere to the regular Baptist faith and doctrine generally set forth in the Holy Scriptures as follows:
Section 1. The Scriptures:
We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally inspired and the product of spirit-controlled men, and therefore is truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried. II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:19-21.
Section 2. The True God:
We believe there is one and only one living and true God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – equal in every divine perfection and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Exodus 20:2, 3; I Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11; I John 5:7.
Section 3. The Holy Spirit:
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person with God the Father and God the Son, and of the same nature; that He was active in the creation; that in his relation to the unbelieving world, He restrains the evil one until God’s purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer; and that the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) is the evidence of His indwelling rather than the speaking in tongues and other spectacular demonstrations. Matthew 28:19; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:32; John 3:5,6; Mark 1:8; Ephesians 1:13,14; John 14:16,27; Romans 8:16; Galatians 5:22,23.
Section 4. The Devil or Satan:
We believe in the personality of Satan, that he is the unholy god of this age and the ruler of all the powers of darkness, and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the Lake of Fire. Matthew 4:1-3; II Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10.
Section 5. Creation:
A. We accept the Genesis account of creation and believe that man came solely by direct creation of God and not by any process of evolution. Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; Genesis 1-2.
B. We believe that each day of creation was 24 hours in duration. Genesis 1:5.
Section 6. The Fall of Man:
We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not only by constraint, but of choice, and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Genesis 3; Romans 1:18,19; Romans 5:10-19.
Section 7. The Virgin Birth:
We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner, born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God, and God the Son. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:4.
Section 8. The Atonement for Sin:
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father freely took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the Just dying for the unjust; Christ, the Lord bearing our sin in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in Heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection. He is in every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate, and an all-sufficient Savior. Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24; John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7; Hebrews 2:14; Isaiah 53:4-7; Romans 3:25; I John 4:10; I Corinthians 15:3; II Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:34.
Section 9. Grace in the New Creation:
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again, and that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life. John 3:3, II Corinthians 5:17, I John 5:1, John 3:6, II Peter 1:4, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1, II Corinthians 5:19, Colossians 2:13, John 3:8, Romans 6:22
Section 10. Justification:
A. We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification. Romans 3:24, Galatians 2:16.
B. Justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life, on principles of righteousness. Romans 8:1, Romans 5:1
C. Justification is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood. His righteousness is imputed to us. Acts 13:39, Isaiah 53:11, Romans 5:9, II Corinthians 5:21
Section 11. Faith and Salvation:
We believe that repentance and faith are solemn obligations (Acts 20:21) and inseparable graces (Mark 1:15), wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God (Acts 2:27-38), thereby being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger, and helplessness and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy (Luke 18:13; Romans 10:13; Psalm 51:1-4, 7; Isaiah 55:6,7) at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior. Luke 12:8; Acts 4:12; Hebrews 10:12-14.
Section 12. The Local Church:
We believe that a local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its officers are pastors, deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures (Acts 2:41; I Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 4:11,12). We believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity. (Acts 20:17-28; I Timothy 3:16) We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government free from interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. (Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23, 24) On all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final. (Acts 15:13-29)
Section 13. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper:
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior; with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life, that it is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership. (Acts 8:35-39; John 3:22-24; Romans 6:2,3; Matthew 3:16) We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. (I Corinthians 11:23-29; I John 1:9; Psalm 51:3,4)
Section 14. Security of the Saints:
A. We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6; John 10:28, 29; Romans 8:35-39.
B. We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for the flesh. Romans 13:13,14; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15.
Section 15. The Righteous and the Wicked:
A. We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only such as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of our God are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, and the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost. Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 16:17,18; I John 5:19; Romans 7:6; Romans 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 6:25; Matthew 25:34-41; John 8:21-24.
B. We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural. Romans 6:12,13; Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 5:3-9.
Section 16. Civil Government:
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed, except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth. Romans 13:1-7; II Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21, 22; Acts 23:5; Matthew 22:21; Acts 4:19,20; Daniel 3:17,18.
Section 17. The Resurrection, Personal, Visible, Pre-Tribulational Rapture of Saints, Pre-Millennial Return of Christ, and Related Events:
A. We believe in the bodily resurrection. Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; I Corinthians 15:4; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:2-6.
B. The Ascension. Acts 1:9-11; Luke 24:51; Mark 16:19; Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 12:2.
C. The High Priesthood. Hebrews 8:6; I Timothy 2:5; I John 2:1; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 5:9,10.
D. The Resurrection of the Righteous Dead. I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:42-44, 52.
E. The Change of the Living in Christ. I Corinthians 15:51-53; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Phil 3:20,21.
F. The Tribulation. I Thessalonians 4:13-18; II Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 6-19.
G. The Second Coming. John 14:3; Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:16; James 5:8; Hebrews 9:28.
H. The Throne of David. Luke 1:32; Isaiah 9:6; Acts 2:29,30.
I. The Millennial Reign. I Corinthians 15:20-28; Isaiah 32:1; Isaiah 11:4; Psalm 72:8; Revelation 20:4-6.
Section 1. Application:
Any candidate applying for membership must:
A. Give testimony of the new birth according to the Scriptures and give evidence thereof in his or her daily walk.
B. Subscribe to the doctrinal teachings of the church.
C. Request and submit to baptism by immersion, except if previously baptized.
D. Pledge wholehearted support, both financial and in personal service, to the services, activities, work, and program of the church and undertake to maintain the church in the performance of its avowed purpose as set forth in this constitution.
E. Understand that any form or type of ongoing, purposeful, and unrepentant sin will disqualify a person from being or becoming a member of this church. (ex. sexual deviance, substance abuse, etc.) Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 1:24-28; 1 John 1:7
Section 2. Reception of Members:
Members may be received by confession of faith, experience, and baptism. All candidates for membership may be admitted to membership by application at any meeting of the church, regular or special, upon the favorable vote of a majority of voting members present at such meeting. Before any candidate may be voted upon, he or she shall meet with the Pastor(s) and the deacons for the examination. The Pastor(s) and deacons shall make the appropriate recommendation to the church.
Section 3. Active/Inactive Membership:
A. A member shall be considered active who adheres to and evidences the qualifications for membership application as given in Article III, Section 1.
B. Members who absent themselves from the regular services of the church, or who refuse to support the church, may be placed on an Inactive List and shall be ineligible to vote, hold office, or to receive a letter of good standing.
C. Those who have been placed on an Inactive List may be restored to the active membership of the church upon evaluation of the Pastor(s) and the deacons.
D. If a member remains on the Inactive List for an extended duration, his or her name may be removed upon their request or recommendation of the Pastor(s) and deacons.
Section 4. Suspension:
Any member may be suspended or dismissed from the church membership roll for cause upon recommendation of the Pastor(s) and deacons and majority vote of the members present at any meeting of the church or at a special meeting called for that purpose. No member shall be suspended or dismissed without first being given the opportunity to be heard in self-defense before the Pastor(s) and deacons and, if deemed necessary, before the church in proper meeting assembled.
Guilt of any of the following offenses shall constitute sufficient cause for said suspension or dismissal:
A. Any form or type of ongoing, purposeful, and unrepentant sin.
B. Inexcusable failure to regularly attend church services and join and assist in the program of the congregation and contribute to the support of the work of the church.
Section 5. Letter of Good Standing:
Upon written request, a letter of good standing from this church shall be granted for any active member who is not under church discipline, who wishes to unite with another church of like faith and order.
Section 1. Vested Authority:
The government of this church shall be vested solely in the members who are on the Active List of the church membership roll.
Section 2. Church Year:
The church year shall be from the first day of January to the 31st day of December in the same calendar year.
Section 3. Business Meetings:
A. Annual Meeting: The annual meeting shall be held the third week in January of each church year in the church building, and shall also be the first quarterly meeting of the church year. The business to be conducted at the annual meeting shall be the reading of minutes of the previous quarterly meeting and special business meetings, hearing reports and audits, and such other business as may be for the welfare and promotion of the church, its affairs, program, and avowed purposes. At this meeting’s adjournment, all newly elected and appointed officers and committees will assume their duties. Notice of the annual meeting shall be read from the pulpit two (2) Sundays immediately preceding the date of such meeting.
B. Quarterly Business Meeting: Regular business meetings of the church shall be held the third week of January, April, July, and October. All matters of business pertaining to the affairs of the congregation, its general welfare and promotion shall be considered and acted upon at such meetings.
C. Election of Officers: Election of officers shall be the third week of December each year.
D. Special Business Meetings: Special business meetings of the church may be held at any time upon the call of the Pastor(s) or deacons or upon written request to the Pastor(s) and deacons of seven (7) unrelated members of the church. Notice thereof shall be read from the from the pulpit the Sunday immediately preceding the date set thereof, and such notice shall clearly and fully state the purpose of the call and the business to be considered. Any business of importance to the congregation may be transacted at a special meeting, the same as at any regular meeting, provided notice had been given as required.
E. Quorum: Twenty-five (25) voting members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the church.
F. Moderator: The Pastor shall be the moderator of all church business meetings except in matters dealing with the dismissal of the Pastor. If the Pastor shall be unable to serve at any meeting, another Pastor or deacon may be appointed by him to serve as moderator in his place.
G. Vote: The vote of the church shall be by voice, show of hands, or by ballot, and the vote of the majority of the voting members present shall determine any questions, including the election of officers, except as otherwise provided by this constitution.
H. Eligibility to Vote: Only those church members who are on the Active List and who are at least sixteen (16) years old may vote, except they must be eighteen (18) when voting on matters dealing with property and constitutional changes.
I. Order of Business: The following shall be the order of business for the regular business meetings of the church or any of its official bodies:
1. Call to order
3. Reading of the minutes of the previous regular meeting and special meetings
4. Reports of committees and officers
5. Old business
6. New business
7. Adjournment with prayer
J. In the conduct of any meetings of the church or any of its official bodies or committees, any parliamentary question not covered by this constitution shall be decided according to the latest edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order”.
Section 4. Worship:
Regular morning and evening worship services, as well as Sunday school, shall be held each Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed once each month at a time arranged by the Pastor(s) and deacons. Prayer meeting shall be held one evening of each week. Additional meetings may be held which foster and promote spiritual growth and well-being (Bible studies, youth group, etc.).
Section 5. Pastor(s):
A. Qualifications: Pastor(s) shall be a man held in high respect by the brethren. He shall hold unwavering convictions relative to the verbal, plenary inspiration and divine authority of the Word of God and the fundamental and historic Baptist doctrines as set forth in the Doctrinal Statement of this constitution. His qualifications shall include those set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and those set forth for “Other Officers” in Article IV, section 6, letter B, item 2 of this constitution. He shall become a member upon taking office.
B. Election: Pastor(s) shall, upon recommendation of the pulpit committee, be chosen by a 75% affirmative majority vote of the voting members present at any church meeting, providing there has been at least one (1) week’s notice given at a regular church meeting. He shall hold office for an indeterminate term.
C. Duties: Pastor(s) shall, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, care for all worship services of the church, actively direct the church, and oversee church programs. He shall develop and actively lead the congregation in spiritual advancement and edification, be willing to serve the entire community regardless of race, creed, or sect, in all spiritual matters. He shall regularly call on members of the congregation and community, actively and diligently engage in pastoral work, promote the growth of the church, guard its general welfare, and otherwise increase its capacity for service in the spreading, teaching, and preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly acknowledging Him only as Lord and Master in all these things. Pastor(s) shall officiate, assist, or oversee all weddings and funerals held in the church. Arrangements shall be made and approved by the deacons in the Pastor(s) absence. Accountability shall be maintained among all Pastor(s). Pastor(s) shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees. Pastor(s) shall give at least 30 days’ notice if he wishes to terminate his relationship with the church, although a shorter time may be acceptable if agreed upon by both the Pastor(s) and the church.
D. Salary, Vacation, & Meetings:
1. Salary: The salary and benefits of the Pastor(s) shall be fixed by the church at the time of call and reviewed at least once each year. Changes in salary and benefits may be made at any regular quarterly business meeting of the church providing at least one (1) week’s notice has been given at a regular church meeting.
2. Vacation: Pastor(s) shall be entitled to an annual paid vacation, the length thereof to be determined by years in the ministry as follows:
1-4 years – 2 weeks
5-10 years – 3 weeks
11 years and over – 4 weeks
3. Additional time off may be arranged by the deacons and trustees. The church shall pay for the pulpit supplies while the Pastor(s) is on vacation.
4. Meetings: Pastor(s) may accept invitations to speak elsewhere pending the approval of the deacons.
E. Removal: When a grievance exists against a Pastor, the process of Matthew 18 correction is to occur, setting forth specific scriptural charges. If restoration is not achieved upon an individual conversation, at least two deacons are to function as a third party in the subsequent conversation. If restoration is not achieved, upon consensus of the board (Pastors and deacons) a special business meeting may be called for the purpose of resolution given at least one (1) week’s notice has been provided at any regular church meeting. At such meeting, the board shall make a recommendation to the congregation what action shall be taken. Only upon a 75% affirmative vote of the voting members present may the Pastor be dismissed. If a Pastor is dismissed, he shall receive severance compensation as determined by the board, beginning from the day of dismissal. (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 5:19-20)
Section 6. Officers
A. Designation: The officers of the church may include Deacons, Trustees, Christian Education Director, Church Treasurer, Missionary Treasurer, Financial Secretary, Church Clerk, Deaconesses, Head Usher, Parliamentarian, Church Historian, and their assistants, if any.
1. Deacons: The deacons shall be men whose qualifications are those set forth in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and also those set forth for other officers.
2. Other Officers:
a) They shall be members of this church, in good standing.
b) They shall be at least twenty-one years of age.
c) They shall evidence a separated, surrendered, and prayerful Christian life, maintaining personal time in the Word of God and modeling its moral precepts.
C. Salary: All officers of the church shall serve without salary.
1. Grounds for removal: Any officer may be removed and his or her office declared vacant if failure to meet the qualifications or neglect of responsibilities occur.
2. Means of removal: Any officer may be removed from office upon the recommendation of the board (Pastors and deacons) and by a majority vote by ballot of the church in any meeting regularly called. The church may fill a vacancy by special election for the expired term.
Section 7. Officer Election and Duties
Officers shall be elected by ballot by a majority vote of the voting members present at the election of officers meeting in December and shall take office immediately following the annual business meeting in January. No nominations from the floor shall be accepted for office; only the nominations as presented by the nominating committee (See article IV, section 9, letter A) shall be voted on.
1. Election: The deacons shall consist of a minimum of three (3) men and be added as ministerial needs require. Each deacon shall be elected for a term of three (3) years. No more than two (2) deacons shall be elected each year unless a vacancy exists and there is a need to fill an unexpired term. Each deacon may serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms. After two (2) consecutive terms are served, at least one (1) year must pass before a man is eligible for re-election. A partial term served to fill a vacancy shall be considered a term.
2. Duties: The deacons shall elect their own chairman and secretary. It shall be the duty of the deacons to assist the Pastor(s) in guarding, promoting, maintaining, and nurturing the spiritual welfare and the life of the church; to safeguard and preserve the teaching, preaching, and practical application of the doctrines as set forth in this constitution; to watch over, nurture, and promote spiritual development and edification of every member of the congregation; and in the love of Jesus Christ, our Savior, so chide, correct, and safely guide an erring member that he or she may be restored to an intimate and understanding fellowship in the Lord; to perform all services and obligations imposed by virtue of membership in that board and to visit the sick, the poor, the widows, and the needy; and otherwise faithfully perform all duties ascribed by the Scriptures to deacons. It may be the further duty of the deacons to attend at the ordinances of baptism and communions. They shall appoint members of the social and hospitality committee, music committee, and auditing committee, and review and approve all other elected and appointed officers of all auxiliary organizations of the church. It shall be their duty to examine prospective candidates for baptism and persons seeking membership by restoration, experience, or transfer of letter, and to make recommendation for the same to the congregation. When a vacancy exists in the pastorate, it shall be the duty of the deacons to act as a pulpit committee, to present to the congregation suitable candidates for their consideration. Also, in case of said vacancy, the deacons shall provide accountability for other Pastoral staff and collective leadership with them for the congregation. When the pastorate is vacant, the chairman of the deacons shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees. The deacons shall meet at least once a month and shall have charge of the Deacon’s Fund, consisting of money received for the benefit of the needy. The deacons shall also provide three (3) members for the nominating committee.
1. Election: The trustees shall consist of a minimum of three (3) members and be added as ministerial needs require, one of whom shall be the church treasurer. Each trustee shall be elected for a term of three (3) years. No more than two (2) trustees shall be elected each year, unless a vacancy exists and there is a need to fill an unexpired term. Each trustee may serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms except for the treasurer, who may serve any number of consecutive one-year terms. After two (2) consecutive terms, one year must pass before a man is eligible for re-election. A partial term shall be considered a term when filling a vacancy.
2. Duties: The trustees shall elect their own chairman and secretary with exclusion of the treasurer filling either of these roles. It shall be the duty of the trustees to hold, manage, control, maintain, and faithfully care for and preserve all of the property of the church, both real and personal. They shall prepare the yearly general budget and present it at the election of officers meeting in December after first having it posted in the church for at least one (1) week prior to said meeting. No sale or purchase shall be made in excess of $1,000 (one-thousand dollars) except by a majority vote of the church. No mortgage or indebtedness may be placed upon the church except by majority vote of the church. They shall also appoint two trustees to serve on the nominating committee.
C. Christian Education Director:
1. Election: The Christian Education Director shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: The Christian Education Director shall, with the advice, assistance, and counsel of the Pastor(s) and deacons, have charge of, promote, direct, maintain, manage, and govern the Sunday School, subject to the direction of the church. The Director may appoint at least one (1) Sunday School Secretary, one (1) Sunday School Superintendent for each Sunday School department. The Director shall be the chairman of and be assisted by the Christian Education Committee.
D. Church Treasurer:
1. Election: The church treasurer shall be a man elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: It shall be the duty of the church treasurer to collect, receive, safely guard, and keep all monies, funds, and credits due the church or which may come into its possession; to manage the finances of the church in accordance with the direction of the church; make disbursement of all funds upon the order and direction of the church; to render and make quarterly and annual reports and accounting of all receipts and disbursements and of his administration of this office; and otherwise do and perform all acts necessary and proper to the efficient, orderly, and businesslike administration and management of the finances and assets of the church. The treasurer shall be held strictly accountable to the church for his administration and shall be required to give an account for the faithful performance of his duties if and when the church shall so require. That church treasurer, by virtue of his office, shall be a member of the Trustees.
E. Missionary Treasurer:
1. Election: The missionary treasurer shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: It shall be the duty of the missionary treasurer to collect, receive, safely guard, and keep all missionary monies, funds, and credits due the church or which may come into its possession; to manage the missionary finances of the church in accordance with the direction of the church; to keep missionary records and accounts of the church; make disbursement of funds upon the order and direction of the church; to render and make quarterly and annual reports and accounting of the receipts and disbursements and of his/her administration of the office; and to otherwise do and perform all acts necessary and proper to the efficient, orderly, and businesslike administration and management of the missionary finances of the church. The missionary treasurer shall be held strictly accountable to the church for his/her administration and shall be required to give an account for the faithful performance of his/her duties if and when the church shall so require. He/she shall keep current missionary needs and interests before the church and shall supervise distribution of missionary literature. The missionary treasurer shall be chairman of the Missionary Committee.
F. Financial Secretary:
1. Election: The financial secretary shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: It shall be the duty of the financial secretary to keep an accurate record of all contributions to the work of the church, giving quarterly statements to all contributors upon request. He/she shall supply the contributors with offering envelopes for their giving. Such records of giving are to be kept in absolute confidence.
G. Church Clerk:
1. Election: The church clerk shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: It shall be the duty of the church clerk to keep all the minutes of all church meetings, keep all current records and reports.
1. Election: The deaconesses shall consist of a minimum of five (5) women. They shall be elected for a term of three (3) years. No more than two (2) deaconesses shall be elected each year unless a vacancy exists and there is a need to fill an unexpired term. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: The deaconesses shall elect their own chairman. The duties of the deaconesses are to assist in preparing the table for the Lord’s Supper, to assist at baptismal services, to visit sick and shut-in members, to constitute a cheer committee to take care of flowers and messages of sympathy or felicitations on behalf of the church, and to perform such other duties as requested of them by the Pastor(s) or deacons.
I. Head Usher:
1. Election: The head usher shall be a man elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: The head usher shall select his assistants as needed and upon approval of the Pastor(s) and deacons shall efficiently care for the regular ushering duties of the church. The ushers shall be neatly and conservatively dressed. The ushering duties shall include greeting worshippers at the main doors and the orderly seating of worshippers in the auditorium at all regular Sunday services; receiving public offering as required; recording the attendance at all services; preparing of the platform as instructed by the Pastor(s); control of the environmental conditions for the convenience and comfort of worshippers; the orderly care and disposition of all emergency situations.
1. Election: The church parliamentarian shall be elected for a term of three (3) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: The parliamentarian shall pass on the proper parliamentary procedure so requested by the chair, or a member of the congregation. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the reference in all matters of proper procedure.
K. Church Historian:
1. Election: The church historian shall be elected for a term of two (2) years. There shall be no restrictions against re-election.
2. Duties: The church historian shall preserve and care for all non-current records or documents dealing with the history of the church.
Section 8. Committee Designation, Qualification, Salary, Removal
A. Designation: The committees of the church may include the Nominating Committee, Pulpit Committee, Missionary Committee, Auditing Committee, Music Committee, Christian Education Committee, Social and Hospitality Committee, and other committees.
B. Qualifications, Salary, and Removal: Set forth in Article IV, Section 6, Letter B, Item 2, and in Article IV, Section 6, Letter C and Letter D, with the following exception:
The teens for Christ representatives to the Missionary Committee shall be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
Section 9. Committee Election and Duties:
A. Nominating Committee:
1. Appointment: The nominating committee shall consist of five (5) men, three from the deacons and two from the trustees, and shall be formed at the regular quarterly business meeting in October. They shall serve for a term of one (1) year and shall take office immediately following said October business meeting.
2. Duties: The Pastor (or chairman of the deacons if a vacancy exists in the pastorate) shall serve as the chairman of the nominating committee. The nominating committee shall, prior to the regular business meeting in December, prepare a list or ballot of nominees that will be voted upon at the election of officers in December. The nominating committee shall consider the qualifications for officers and committee members as set forth in this constitution and shall, when possible, list at least two (2) names for each office. The nominating committee shall cause the proposed ballot to be posted in the church for at least one (1) week before the regular business meeting in December. If an office during an unexpired term, the nominating committee shall prepare a list or ballot of nominees that shall be voted upon at a regular business meeting no longer than six (6) weeks after the office becomes vacant. When possible, at least two (2) names shall be listed for each vacant office and said ballot need not be posted before the election. If the congregation so desires, the vacant office may remain vacant until the next regular election of officers in December, in which case the nomination committee need not act on said vacancy.
B. Pulpit Committee:
The deacons shall act as the pulpit committee.
C. Missionary Committee:
1. Appointment: The missionary committee shall consist of the Missionary Treasurer and assistant, if any; the Sunday School superintendent; and one (1) member from each of the following: Women’s Fellowship groups, Men’s Fellowship groups, and Teen groups. The members from said groups shall be appointed by the groups they represent. The missionary committee shall serve for a term of one (1) year and shall take office immediately following the annual business meeting in January. Members of the missionary committee may serve repeatedly without restriction.
2. Duties: The missionary treasurer shall serve as chairman of the missionary committee. The missionary committee shall prepare the yearly missionary budget and present it at the December business meeting, after having posted it in the church for at least one (1) week prior to said meeting. No change to the missionary budget may be made except by a majority vote of the church.
D. Auditing Committee:
1. Appointment: The auditing committee shall consist of three (3) church members appointed by the Pastor and deacons. They shall serve for a term of one (1) year and shall take office immediately following the annual business meeting in January. They may serve repeatedly without restriction.
2. Duties: The auditing committee shall audit the records of the church treasurer and the missionary treasurer. The records to be audited are those from the year immediately preceding the year that the auditing committee holds office. The auditing must be completed no later than four (4) weeks after the annual meeting in January, and the auditing committee shall report its findings to the church.
E. Music Committee:
1. Appointment: The music committee shall consist of three (3) church members appointed by the Pastor and deacons. They shall serve for a term of one (1) year and shall take office immediately following the annual business meeting in January. They may serve repeatedly without restriction.
2. Duties: The music committee shall elect its own chairman. The music committee shall be responsible for the music ministry of the church, including special music and special music activities. They shall appoint the choir director, pianist(s), and organist(s) with the approval of the Pastor and deacons.
F. Christian Education Committee:
1. Appointment: The Christian education committee shall consist of the Sunday School superintendent and assistant, if any; one (1) deacon (appointed by the deacons); the Sunday School secretary(ies); and the Sunday School departmental superintendents. The Sunday School superintendent and one (1) deacon shall serve for a term of one (1) year and shall take office immediately following the annual meeting in January. The Sunday School secretary(ies) and departmental superintendents shall begin serving in this committee as soon as they are appointed by the Sunday School superintendent, and continue to serve until they are replaced.
2. Duties: The Sunday School superintendent shall be chairman of the Christian education committee. The committee shall promote religious education in the Sunday School; plan for and arrange for Daily Vacation Bible School; and shall appoint Sunday School teachers, leaders for teen groups, junior groups, children’s church, etc. The committee shall plan for teachers’ meetings and leadership training courses.
G. Social and Hospitality Committee:
1. Appointment: The social and hospitality committee shall consist of five (5) church members appointed by the pastor and deacons. They shall serve for a term of one (1) year and shall take office immediately following the business meeting in January. They may serve repeatedly without restriction.
2. Duties: The social and hospitality committee shall elect its own chairman. They shall arrange for or prepare refreshment for church fellowship functions when such duties are required and shall perform other related tasks requested by the Pastor or deacons.
H. Other Committees:
Other committees may be elected or appointed by direction of the church from time to time as is necessary.
Section 10. Christian Education Workers — Designation, Qualifications, Salary, Removal:
- Designation: The Christian education workers of the church are those who are approved by the Pastor and deacons and not elected by the church or appointed by the deacons, but have regular teaching or helping assignments somewhere in the church. These workers may include Sunday School teachers, secretaries, departmental superintendents, youth group leaders and helpers, etc.
- Qualifications, Salary, Removal: Set forth in Article IV, Section 6, Letter B, Item 2 and in Article IV, Section 6, Letter C and Letter D, except without age restrictions.
Use of the Church
No meeting or use of this church property shall be allowed for any purposes that are not in full compliance with the spiritual and scriptural beliefs as stated in this constitution. No pastor or pulpit orator shall be permitted to preach or conduct any service of or in this church who denies the fundamentals of the faith and/or who is not in agreement with the doctrine and practice of this church. Visiting speakers must have the approval of the pastor and deacons. No secret societies shall be permitted to hold services or the use of the church facilities for any purpose. The burial services for any person so associated may be held in the church only if conducted by the pastor of this church or one who has been approved by the Pastor and deacons. The secret society may have no part in the church service but may take charge after the body has been taken from the church property, at which time the pastor shall no longer be obligated to participate. Only church members shall have the privilege of using the church auditorium and facilities for weddings and receptions at no cost. Each such occasion must be approved by the Pastor and deacons. All weddings and funerals shall be performed or assisted by the Pastor of this church. In the Pastor’s absence, the deacons shall approve a replacement. Smoking and/or drinking of any alcoholic beverage whatsoever shall not be tolerated by anyone while using this church or its facilities nor shall any conduct be tolerated which is not in keeping with the moral and spiritual standard of this church. No suppers, bazaars, rummage sales, etc., shall be conducted in or by this church or any of its groups for the purpose of raising money for this church or for any church-sponsored program.
Since this church accepts the Bible as its final authority in all matters of faith and practice, it recognizes two, and only two, methods of raising money for church work, namely tithes and offerings. Every member is expected to set aside one-tenth of his or her income for the work of the Lord, to make such additional offerings as he or she shall be led by the grace of God in his or her heart to make, and to reap the blessings therefrom which are promised in God’s infallible Word. This is not a law to be enforced, but it is the ideal to be set before all members. Accordingly, the finances necessary to conduct the affairs of the church shall be provided by voluntary subscription of the members and departments or organizations within the congregation. Raising of money by bazaars, sales, suppers, entertainments, or programs by any member, groups of members, departments, or organizations is strictly prohibited by this constitution.
Licensing and Ordination
Section 1. Licensing:
Upon recommendation of the Pastor and deacons, any male member giving evidence that he is called of God to the ministry of the gospel, and having preached in the hearing of the church, may be granted a three-year license to preach by vote of the church. This license shall be subject to renewal. If a licensee shall fail to adorn the gospel of Jesus Christ by his life, or fall into doctrinal error, his license may be revoked by the vote of the church upon recommendation of the Pastor and deacons.
Section 2. Ordination:
A. Whenever a member of this church shall make it known to the pastor and deacons that he believes he has been called of God to serve in the Christian ministry, the Pastor and deacons shall promptly arrange to examine such member and if, as a result of a thorough examination, it shall be satisfied that such member has been called of God to such service, it shall, upon receiving authority from the church by vote of the majority of members present at any business meeting regularly assembled, in accordance with this constitution, call and conduct a council for ordination.
B. The ordaining council shall be composed of delegates from at least five (5) Baptist churches of like faith selected by the church, and only Baptist churches may be invited to participate.
C. The ordaining council shall thoroughly examine the applicant as to his conversion, Christian experience, call to and preparation for the Christian ministry, and doctrinal beliefs.
D. No person shall be considered for ordination unless he shall have the following specific qualifications:
1. He shall be a layman at least 21 years of age.
2. He shall have served at least six months as a pastor, assistant pastor, or in other definite Christian work.
3. He shall not use intoxicating liquor, drugs, or tobacco in any form, and shall be separated from worldly practices.
4. He shall not be guilty of acts or practices unbecoming to a Christian or which might bring disrepute to the Christian ministry.
E. This church shall have the power to revoke the ordination credentials or certificate it has granted to any minister if said minister is found guilty of unscriptural beliefs and practices in violation of this church constitution. The minister under trial shall have the privilege of presenting his defense before the church before any final action is taken by the church.
F. Under no circumstances shall a member of the female sex be licensed or ordained to the preaching ministry of Jesus Christ.
Revision and Amendments
Section 1. Amendments:
Amendments to this constitution may be introduced through formal motion at any regular business meeting, but shall not be acted upon until the following regular business meeting, at which time an affirmative vote of two-thirds majority of members voting shall be required for acceptance; providing, however, that in the meantime the members have been duly informed by public announcement of the proposed amendment at services on two successive Sundays. At no time can an amendment be adopted that would be contrary to historic beliefs and practices (i.e. BAPTISTIC).
Section 2. Previous Action:
This constitution supersedes all prior actions of the church and shall become operative upon its adoption.
Section 1. Legal Provisions:
A. This church shall have the right to own, buy or sell tangible properties both real and personal in its own name and through properly elected officers, when authorized by vote of the church.
B. No profit shall ever accrue to the benefit of any individuals from the assets, holdings, or other transactions in which this corporation may become involved.
C. In the event of the dissolution of this corporation, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied. None of its assets or holdings shall be divided among the members or other individuals, but shall be irrevocably designated by corporate vote, prior to dissolution, to such other non-profit religious organizations as are in agreement with the letter and spirit of the Confession of Faith adopted by this church and in conformity with the requirements of the United States Internal Revenue Service, Code of 1954 (Section 501 c-3).
This constitution, when accepted by the church, will supersede all other constitutions (accepted April 17, 1996).