Constitution

Article I – Name, Purpose and Affiliation

Section 1

The name of this organization shall be First Baptist Church, Clifton, Tennessee.

Section 2

This body of believers in Jesus Christ shall be constituted as a Baptist Church with the purpose of a New Testament Church to carry out the great commission of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; and Acts 1:8, and to develop Christian Fellowships among the saints and their growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus. Obedience to the Holy Bible and the spreading of the Good News of God in Christ shall be the primary task. The foundation for obedience and practicing faith is the Holy Bible as inspired, infallible Word of God without error for the complete salvation of man.

Section 3

This is an autonomous and democratic church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains into itself the right of exclusive self-government in all phases of the life of this church. The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognized the need of a spirit of cooperation among other Baptist churches. There shall be no cooperation with any group that permits the presence of apostates or apostasy, or that endorses any group that permits the presence of apostates or apostasy.

Section 4

This church shall fellowship with the Southern Baptist Convention and Tennessee Baptist Convention as long as the Association is characterized by Biblical convictions and vigorous opposition to apostasy and compromise.

If the SBC/TBC forsakes its present Biblical position, this church shall take appropriate action to withdraw from its fellowship.

Article II – Articles of Faith

Section 1 – The Scriptures

We believe in the authority and sufficiency of the Holy Bible, consisting of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, as originally written; that it was verbally and plenarily inspired and is the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore is infallible and inerrant in all matters of which it speaks.

We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creed and opinions shall be tried (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 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; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11).

Section 3 – The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal 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 (John 14:16, 17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; J0ohn 14:26; Luke 1:35; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:30-32; John 3:5, 6; Ephesians 1:13, 14; Mark 1:8; John 1:33; Acts 11:16; Luke 24:49; Romans 8:14, 16, 26, 27).

Section 4 – The Devil or Satan

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Devil; and that he was created by God as an angel but through pride and rebellion became the enemy of his Creator; that he became 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 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10).

Section 5 – Creation

We believe the Biblical account of the creation of the physical universe, angels and man; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man was created by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended for the historical Adam and Eve, first parents of the entire human race (Genesis 1, 2; Colossians 1:16, 17; John 1:3).

Section 6 – The Fall of Man

We believe that man was created in innocence (in the image and likeness of God) under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression Adam fell from his sinless and happy state, and all men sinned in him, in consequence of which all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam’s fallen nature, and are sinners by nature and by conduct, and therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse (Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 3:10-19; 5:12, 19: 1:18, 32).

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 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 1:14).

Section 8 – Salvation

We believe that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace through the mediatorial offices of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, by the appointment of the Father, voluntarily took upon Himself our nature, yet without sin, and honored the divine law by His personal obedience, thus qualifying Himself to be our Savior; that by the shedding of His blood in His death He fully satisfied the just demands of a holy and righteous God regarding sin; that His sacrifice 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 sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen for 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.

We believe that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only condition of salvation. Repentance is a change of mind and purpose toward God, promoted by the Holy Spirit, and is an integral part of saving faith (Jonah 2:9; Ephesians 2:8; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24, 25; John 3:16; Matthew 18:11; Philippians 2:7, 8; Hebrews 2:14-17; Isaiah 53:4-7; 1 John 4:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24).

Section 9 – Resurrection and Priesthood of Christ

We believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ and in His ascension into Heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest, interceding for us (Matthew 28:6, 7; Luke 24:39; John 20:27; 1 Corinthians 15:4; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:2-6, 51; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 8:6; 12:2; 7:25; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1; Hebrews 2:17; 5:9, 10).

Section 10 – Grace and the New Birth

We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; 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 by our sovereign God 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, faith and newness of life (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 5:1; Acts 16:30-33; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8).

Section 11 – Justification

We believe that justification is that judicial act of God whereby He declares the believer righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s shed blood (Romans 3:24; 4:5, 5:1, 9; Galatians 2:16; Philippians 3:9).

Section 12 – Sanctification

We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God, accomplished in a threefold manner; first, an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior; second, a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord’s return (Hebrews 10:10-14; 3:1; John 17:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4; 5:23, 24; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24, 25; Revelation 22:11).

Section 13 – Spiritual Gifts

We believe experience must never interpret Scripture, but rather Scripture must validate all we believe and practice. We recognize that the Holy Spirit gives to every believer the ability to do something of spiritual value for God, as He has willed (1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will). We recognize that God gave some, in the apostolic era, sign gifts (temporary gifts) that are not available to this present dispensation. We reject the phenomena attributed to God as working through man as speaking in tongues, or interpreting tongues. We reject the idea of man being able to perform miraculous signs and revelations (1 Corinthians 13:8, 14:1-40; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20; Jeremiah 23:16-32.).

We do believe in the ability of God to heal. We do not believe in so-called divine healers who say that they have the ability to heal. We believe that God uses physicians and other trained people to treat illnesses but that all healing comes from God.

We believe the true sign gifts that God gave to confirm revelations passed away with the apostolic era. We are opposed to all non-biblical, false religions that pose as Christian and seek to blur the division of truth and error (2 Peter 2:1-3; Jude 4; 1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:15-18; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 7-11). We recognize that the sign gifts were used to reach the unbelievers, particularly Israelites, with the Gospel and belief in Christ.

Section 14 – Perseverance of the Saints

We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (John 6:39; John 8:31; 1 John 2:27, 28; 3:9; 5:18; John 2:19; John 13:18; Matthew 13:20, 21; John 6:66-69; Romans 8:28; Matthew 6:30-33; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 2:12, 13; Jude 24, 25; Hebrews 1:14; 13:5; John 4:4).

Section 15 – The Church

We believe that a local church is an organized 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 and deacons, whose qualifications, claims and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the 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; that on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final (1 Corinthians 11:2; Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 2:41, 42).

We believe in the unity of all New Testament believers in the Church which is the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 1:22; 3:1-6; 4:11; 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Acts 15:13-18).

Section 16 – Separation

We believe in obedience to the Biblical commands to separate ourselves unto God from worldliness and ecclesiastical apostasy (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 10; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11).

Section 17 – Civil Government

We believe that 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 those things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming King of kings (Romans 13:1-7; 2 Samuel 23:3; Exodus 18:21, 22; Acts 23:5; Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:29; 4:19, 20; Daniel 3:17, 18).

Section 18 – The Righteous and the Wicked

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who are justified by faith in our 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, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire (Malachi 3:18; Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17, 18; 1 John 5:19; Romans 7:6; 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Luke 16:25; Matthew 25:34-41; John 8:21; Revelation 20:14, 15).

Section 19 – Marriage

We believe that God ordained the institution of marriage between one man (male) and one woman (female), to become one flesh. This is the only union that includes a divinely approved sexual relationship and any other sexual thought or conduct is sin, due the judgment of God. All practice of sex other than as God designed it to be enjoyed in male-female marriage is a statement of rebellious sinners against God. Homosexuality was not created or intended by God, but is a gross perversion by rebellious humans and is a total abomination to God (Genesis 2:22-25; Matthew 19:4-6; Hebrews 13:4; Romans 1:18-32; Leviticus 18:22-30).

Section 20 – The World to Come

We believe that the end of the world is approaching; that in the last day Christ will descend from Heaven and raise the dead from the grave to final retribution; that a solemn separation will take place; that the wicked will be judged to endless punishment, and the righteous to endless joy; and that the judgment will fix forever the final state of men in Heaven or Hell, on principles of righteousness (1 Peter 4:7; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Hebrews 1:10-12; Matthew 24:35; 1 John 2:17; Matthew 28:20; Acts 1:11; Revelation 1:7; Hebrews 9:28; Acts 3:21; 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:12-58; Luke 14:14; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28, 29; 6:40; 11:25, 26; 2 Timothy 1:10; Acts 10:42; Matthew 13:49; Matthew 13:37-43; 24:30, 31; Matthew 25:35-41; Revelation 22:11; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Mark 9:43-48; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-12; Hebrews 6:1, 2).

By-Laws

Article I – Membership

This Church shall consist of those who have accepted Jesus Christ and made a public profession of faith as their personal Lord and Saviour, and have received a scriptural baptism.

Section 1 – Reception of Members

  1. All persons applying for membership in this church shall be presented on recommendation of the pastor or a deacon, or associate or interim pastor.

  2. A person professing his faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour may be received into the church by baptism

  3. When seeking membership they must be examined by the pastor and deacons and counseled as to our Articles of Faith before being presented for membership. Such candidate must claim a rebirth experience. Any previous baptism other than by immersion symbolizing the death, burial, and resurrection with Jesus, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) will not be received as scriptural baptism and will require rebaptism. The pastor or deacons will make their recommendation concerning the candidate’s membership or rebaptism at the soonest possible service after council.

  4. No one shall be received into the church without the approval vote of those members present. Any objection to the reception of an applicant shall be referred to the deacons without delay.

Section 2 – Discipline of Members

  1. It is vital to the testimony of this church and the glory of our Lord that the purity of the church be preserved and its peace protected. With these ends in view, it shall be the duty of the Pastor and Deacons to seek diligently to reclaim any member known to be living in disregard of his Biblical and covenant obligations. It is specifically directed that the Pastor and Deacons move with promptness and vigor in dealing with anyone who is obstructing the work or disturbing the peace of the church by slander, falsehood, gossip, conspiracy or other unfair and unchristian methods. It is recognized that a Baptist church must be a theocracy operating as a democracy in which the majority shall rule. It is recognized further that while the minority has the right of private opinion in all questions and the right of appeal in any constitutional and proper manner, it shall not have the right to engage in secret or open propaganda, or of deliberately disturbing the peace and interrupting the work of the church. It is further recognized that when the church, by regular order and proper vote, has determined upon a course of action, that course becomes the duty of every member of the church. If any member cannot conscientiously follow the decision of the church, he is to quietly and peacefully withdraw from the membership.

  2. If a member is walking disorderly in conflict with the above principles, or is involved in any known immorality, dishonesty or public scandal, and such members cannot be restored to fellowship through confession and correction of his sins, he shall be dealt with on the basis of Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5. His case shall be brought before the church by recommendation of Pastor and Deacons.

  3. During the last quarter of each year the Pastor, Deacons and Church Clerk shall review the membership roll. Any member habitually absent from the services of the church without due cause, and who is negligent to spiritual duties, shall be removed from active membership upon recommendation of the Pastor, Deacons and Church Clerk and placed on the inactive membership list. The individual shall be informed of this action. This section shall be implemented only after faithful efforts to reclaim the member. Restoration to active membership shall be by vote of the church, upon recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons, only after there is satisfactory evidence of a renewed spiritual walk.

  4. No person on the inactive membership list shall be entitled to vote, hold office or teach.

  5. The Pastor, Deacons and members shall make a sincere effort to reclaim spiritually those on the inactive list. During the last quarter of each year the Pastor and Deacons shall review the inactive members list and determine which inactive members to remove from the church roll.

  6. In the event of difference between members, it is recommended that they be settled personally in accordance with Matthew 18:15 and 16.

  7. If a member desires to prefer charges against another member, including violation of covenant obligation or of immoral, improper or unchristian conduct, such charges must be submitted to the Pastor and Deacons in writing, and must be duly signed by the accuser.

  8. In order to prevent unnecessary public scandal, the Pastor and Deacons may hear the charges, pro and con, in any disciplinary case, if this is mutually satisfactory with the accused and the accuser. If dismissal is recommended by the Pastor and Deacons, the recommendation must be presented to the church, preferably without details, for final action. The entire matter must be brought before the church at the request of the accused, or of the church. No member may be dismissed except by vote of the church.

Section 3 – Dismissal of Members

  1. Dismissal shall be by death, letter or exclusion.

  2. Any member in good standing may be granted a letter of transfer to any church of like faith and order upon its request. The letter shall be sent to the church with which the member wishes to unite.

  3. A letter of dismissal without recommendation may be sent to any other church.

  4. By written personal request.

Section 4 – Additional Regulations

  1. The church votes on each candidate before baptism, to receive him into the membership following baptism.

  2. Only active members shall be entitled to vote or hold office.

  3. Any person who has not attended a business meeting/regular services in 3 months will not be allowed to vote in a business meeting, except in the case of sickness or circumstances beyond their control.

  4. Only active members shall serve as regular teachers in the church, Sunday School or other groups. It is expected that they shall attend regularly the services of the church.

  5. The church shall conduct regular, periodically, according to need, classes for new members. These shall be taught by the Pastor or some other competent leader. They shall include instruction on such things as the ordinances, church government, responsibilities of church members, stewardship, prayer, Bible reading, witnessing for Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention and basic doctrines (including separation to God from worldliness and apostasy).

  6. It shall be deemed proper to receive members or grant letters at any business meeting of the church. If disciplinary action is involved, it shall require a special business meeting of the church, the purpose of which shall be announced by letter to the members of voting age at least two weeks in advance.

Article II – Ordinances

Section 1 – Baptism

Those professing faith in Christ shall, upon authorization of the church, be immersed in water by the Pastor or someone else appointed by the church. Only those shall be baptized who are being received into the church membership. Immersion, as a believer, shall be a prerequisite to church membership.

Section 2 – The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper shall normally be served to the assembled church by the Pastor, or some other person authorized by the church, on the first Sunday of each quarter, or at such other time as may be decided by the Pastor or Deacons, or by the church. Since it is the Lord’s Table, none that are His shall be barred, but the Pastor shall frequently state the scriptural order, which places baptism as a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper, and shall explain the meaning of the ordinances. The elements shall be unleavened bread and grape juice. The Lord’s Supper shall not be served outside of a church meeting.

Article III – Officers

Section 1 – Officers of the Church

  1. The elected officers of the church shall be Pastor (or Pastors), Deacons, Trustees, Clerk, Treasurer, Sunday School Director and such other general officers as the church may designate.

  2. No one shall be elected to office who has not been a member of this church for at least one year, with the exception of staff members. Upon recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons, a person may be considered by the church for office after six months of membership.

  3. All officers shall be spiritually mature, of unquestioned Christian character, loyal to the Word of God, dedicated and devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the spiritual and material welfare of this church. They shall also be faithful in attendance and participation, both in regular services and business meetings of the church. Their moral conduct shall be beyond reproach and free of carnal indulgences. In the light of 1 Timothy 3, Pastor/Deacon, all qualifications must be considered, not singling out one specific qualification and placing less emphasis on the others.

  4. All officers shall normally assume their duties on the 1st Sunday in September. Retiring officers shall hold office until the terms of newly elected officers begin.

  5. Any officer unable or unwilling to fulfill the duties of his office shall resign. If any officer refuses to subscribe to the articles of faith, the constitution and the church covenant, his resignation shall be requested by the Deacons. If it is not received within three months, the office shall be declared vacant by vote of the church.

Section 2 – The Pastor

  1. The Pastors qualifications are set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

  2. A candidate for the pastorate shall be carefully examined by the pulpit committee as to his salvation, doctrine, Christian conduct and call to the ministry. If he has served in other churches, his ministry there should be explored. He shall be required to state his acceptance of and adherence to the articles of faith, constitution and covenant of the church. Any difference which he holds concerning these documents should be submitted to the pulpit committee in writing. He shall also state in writing any differences which he holds relating to groups and associations with which this church is in fellowship. The pulpit committee shall present only one man at a time for consideration and vote of the church.

  3. A call to a Pastor shall be extended at a meeting of the church called for that purpose and announced from the pulpit for two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting. A three-fourths majority of those present and voting shall be necessary for a call and agreement shall be presented to the prospective Pastor, giving details of Church-Pastoral relationship, including salary, housing and car allowances, insurance, vacations, etc., after these matters have been discussed with the Pastor and approved mutually.

  4. The Pastor shall continue in office until he resigns or is dismissed by a three-fourths majority of those present and voting at a special meeting called for that purpose. Such a meeting shall be announced from the pulpit for two Sundays immediately preceding the date of such a meeting.

  5. The Pastor shall give the church not less than thirty days nor more than sixty days notice of his intention to discontinue as Pastor. The church shall give the Pastor not less than sixty days notice of dismissal. If, in the judgment of the church, the conduct of the Pastor justifies immediate termination of his ministry, the church may declare the pulpit vacant and pay two months salary beyond that date.

  6. The Pastor shall have charge of the spiritual welfare of the church; he shall preach the gospel, teach the Word and have charge of the services of the church; he shall administer the ordinances and perform the usual duties of a Baptist minister.

  7. The Pastor shall moderate the business sessions of the church. In his absence, the chairman of the Deacons shall call the meeting to order and the church shall elect a moderator. If the Pastor is to be under discussion in a business session, another moderator shall be elected, and the Pastor and his family shall withdraw from the meeting.

  8. The Pastor shall be the only ex officio member of all boards and committees. He shall also be a member of this church.

  9. Other workers, such as the Christian education director, youth or music director, will be called by the church, but are to be individuals fully approved by the Pastor and shall work under his direction.

  10. Pastor’s Vacation, Salary and Benefits

A. The Pastor shall have not less than two weeks paid vacation each year.

B. The first 1 to five years the Pastor shall have 2 weeks vacation.

C. From 6 to 9 years the Pastor shall have 3 weeks vacation.

D. From 10 years the Pastor shall have 4 weeks vacation.

E. The Pastor’s salary shall be revised and determined at least once a year, with consideration also being given to rising costs of living.

F. The Pastor shall receive 14 days sick leave. In the event of a major illness the church shall meet together to discuss the situation.

G. The Pastor will be allowed to preach 2-weeklong revivals per year for no more than 14 days per year.

H. The Pastor shall not vacate the Pulpit more than 2 weeks in any month without prior approval of the church.

I. This church will participate in the Minister’s Retirement Plan.

J. The church shall send the Pastor to the Southern Baptist Convention and the Tennessee Baptist Convention each year, when possible.

  1. It is the Pastor’s responsibility to fill the pulpit when he is away, except when incapacitated.

  2. The church shall be responsible for compensation for pulpit supply during the Pastor’s vacations. The Pastor will be responsible for Pulpit supply compensation during revival absences.

Section 3 – Deacons

  1. No man shall be ordained by this church as a Deacon except after duly proving himself to the church and provided he meets the qualifications as written in the New Testament in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

  2. In case any of those elected are not ordained at the time of their election, the Pastor shall see that plans be made for an ordination service, in accordance with Acts 6:1-7.

  3. It shall be pertinent for the church to promote to honorary life membership any Deacon who by reason of age or infirmities shall, after honorable service, be no longer able to render active service.

  4. No man will be considered a candidate for Deacon until he has been a member of this church for one (1) year.

  5. Election of Deacons. The church in conference will nominate from the floor qualified man for the office of deacon. These men nominated will be reviewed by the pastor and current deacons on the basic scriptural qualifications (1 Timothy 3) and of their willingness to serve if elected. Then, those men willing to serve and meeting the basic scriptural qualifications will be presented to the church for approval by ballot.

  6. Term of Service. The term of service for a Deacon will be annually, unless that person shall become an offense to the office by unfaithfulness to the church or acts of unchristian or immoral conduct. After every attempt has been made by the Pastor and remaining Deacons to bring said Deacon to repentance and amendment, if the church deems it necessary, said Deacon shall be removed from office by the church, and will not be eligible for the office of Deacon until evidence of his repentance and reformation; or, if on account of unfaithfulness to the church, upon satisfactory explanation.

  7. Duties and Responsibilities

A. They are to serve as a council of advice and conference with the Pastor in all matters pertaining to the welfare and work of the church.

B. They are to minister spiritually to the church and the community.

C. They shall assist the Pastor in administering the Lord’s Supper.

D. They shall make recommendations for church action regarding matters of business, and they shall take in hand any business matters arising between business sessions.

E. They are to serve as a membership committee, having oversight concerning matter of church discipline.

F. They shall serve as a pulpit supply committee, either filling the pulpit in the Pastor’s absence or securing someone to fill the pulpit.

G. They shall appoint two men to the budget committee for the drafting of the annual budget

H. It is also their responsibility to study and bring recommendations to the church relative to any matter of major expenditure not included in the budget.

  1. Movement in Deacon Service

A. It shall be pertinent for the church to promote any Deacon, who is unable to serve by reason of age or infirmities, and after honorable service, to Honorary Deacon with all rights and privileges of an active Deacon

B. If an active Deacon proves to be unfaithful or displays an un-Christian like conduct that shames his calling and the church, upon the recommendation of the Deacon body and church approval, he may be rotated to the inactive roll, or if action so warrants, to revoke his ordination. The Deacon shall be afforded the opportunity to answer all charges before the church in a regularly called business meeting.

C. When an active deacon moves his church letter, such letter will state his service as a Deacon.

  1. Method of Procedure. The Deacons shall be organized as a unit for the consideration of all problems and general policies and shall have a regular meeting date each month. Any special called meeting will be announced before the church.

Section 4 – Clerk

The church shall elect annually a church clerk. The clerk shall keep a full and complete record of all proceedings of the church, and shall read the minutes of the previous meeting, or meetings, at each business session of the church. The clerk shall keep an accurate register of the names of members, with dates of admissions, dismissals, deaths, and a record of baptisms. The clerk shall attempt to be present at each church service in order to assist new members in filling out membership cards. The clerk shall make known to the church the request for letters of church membership from other churches. The clerk shall write letters of request for membership, letters of dismissal to other churches, and any other letters ordered by the church. The clerk will grant letters on request, with church approval, to other Southern Baptist churches. The clerk shall prepare the associational letter in time for church approval and submission to the association.

Section 5 – Treasurer

  1. It shall be the duty of the treasurer, together with one or more of the Deacons, to count and record in a permanent record all monies received in the offering of the church. This shall be done following each service of the church.

  2. Records shall be kept in accordance with written instructions issued by the auditing committee on an annual basis and approved by the church.

  3. The treasurer shall be responsible for depositing all funds in the bank, including monies received from organizations within the church or from individuals.

  4. The treasurer shall provide the treasurer with a record of all monies received and deposited, specifying the distribution into various funds, as indicated by the donors or by special offerings.

  5. The assistant treasurer shall assume the duties of the treasurer in the absence of the latter, except that he may not assume the duties of the treasurer as outlined in Section 6 simultaneously.

  6. Said church shall insure all funds. The Auditing committee will make a quarterly report regarding the condition of the treasurer’s books.

  7. The treasurer shall be responsible for the recording of all financial transactions in permanent records and shall make monthly and annual reports to the church.

  8. The treasurer shall pay the bills of the church. He/she shall write, sign, record and mail all checks.

  9. The treasurer shall keep the books of record and report financial transactions in accordance with written instructions issued by the auditing committee and approved by the church.

Section 6 – Trustees

  1. Trustees shall be a minimum of four (4). The trustees shall be elected by the church annually with the other officers and teachers of the church.

  2. The duties of the trustees shall be the management of the property of the church under the direction of the dictates of the membership of this church. They shall make and execute all contracts, deeds, bonds, notes, negotiable instruments, mortgages, trust and all other instruments of the indebtedness or conveyance as directed by vote of the church. All titles to property of any nature however shall remain in and be vested in the name of the church.

Section 7 – Church Council

  1. The Church Council shall consist of the Pastor, one Deacon, who is the Chairman of the Deacons, Department Heads and all of the other officers of the church as named in Article III.

  2. It shall meet at the call of the Pastor, or in the absence of a Pastor, the chairman of the Deacons shall be the vice-moderator.

  3. The clerk shall keep the minutes and include a report on the activities of the council in his/her regular reports to the church.

  4. It shall be the duty of this council to prayerfully consider major matters of church business or of policy and to recommend to the church for action such matters as are deemed worthy.

Section 8 – Custodian

The custodian will be responsible for keeping the building clean and shall be responsible for locking all doors after each service. The custodian will serve under direction of the Building and Grounds Committee.

Section 9 – Associational Representatives

  1. Board Member. The board member will be elected annually by the church with an alternate to serve for one year. The board member will attend Executive Board Meetings and represent the church and its interests in associational affairs.

  2. Messengers to the Annual Board Meeting. Four (4) messengers will be elected annually to represent the church at the annual Executive Board Meeting on behalf of the interests of the church concerning the association.

Article IV – Committees

The committees as provided under these by-laws shall consist of:

Section 1 - Building and Grounds Committee

  1. Members shall be elected by the church.

  2. Responsibilities include:

A. Survey of the buildings and grounds to determine repairs needed

B. Prepare budget request

C. Work within the boundaries of budget requests

Section 2 – Auditing Committee

  1. This committee shall consist of three (3) members appointed by the Church Council following the annual election.

  2. It shall audit all accounts of the church and its organizations and certify same, reporting at the annual business meeting.

  3. The auditing committee, subject to the approval of the Church Council, shall be responsible for establishing the procedures and methods to be followed by the treasurer in maintaining the financial records.

  4. The church may vote to authorize the audit by a professional auditing firm rather than by a committee.

Section 3 - Nomination Committee

  1. This committee shall consist of no less than 3 members elected by the church. The chairman will be a man. When the Sunday School Director and at least on Deacon have been elected by the church in August, they shall be added to the committee.

  2. After receiving the nominations, the committee shall approach each nominee and secure consent to serve in harmony with the Pastor and the constitution of the church, if elected.

  3. Members who wish to submit nominations should give their suggestions in writing to the nominating committee at least three weeks before the election to enable the committee to ascertain qualification under this Section and Article IV, Section 1, B and C.

Section 4 – Election of the Committees

Election of these committees, unless otherwise specified in these by-laws previously, shall be by the church and nomination only. It is to be specifically understood that no committees can be appointed by any person or persons in the church. All nominations shall come from the nominating committee. When necessary, a special committee may be elected from the floor during a regular business meeting in order to fulfill specific needs.

Section 5 – Size of Committees

The size of the committee shall be determined by the church according to the scope of the work, however no committee shall have fewer than three (3) members.

Section 6 – Duties of Committees

  1. The duties of the committees are to prepare and execute the work as generally prescribed by the church and to report to the church any recommendations of said committee and serve the request of the membership action in carrying on the work of each committee. Each committee is responsible to the church and has no authority except as delegated by the action of the church.

  2. The pulpit committee shall investigate fully all pastorial prospects, visit in town where prospective pastor is residing, attend services and report in full to the church before prospective pastor is invited to preach a trial sermon. Only one prospect shall be presented to the church until he has been voted upon.

Additional committees may be recommended for church approval when warranted. A pulpit committee will be elected as required by the church in a business meeting.

Article V – Church Meetings

Section 1 - Worship Services

The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, evening and on Wednesday evening for preaching, prayer, instruction, evangelism and worship of the Almighty God. These meetings shall be open for members and visitors and shall be conducted under the direction of the pastor, or one authorized by the deacons or pastor. These services may be called off only by church approval, or by the pastor and deacons when they feel an emergency situation so exists that would threaten the safety of the members.

Section 2 - Business Meetings (Church Conference)

  1. A regular monthly business meeting shall be held on the Wednesday after the first Sunday of each month.

  2. Special business meetings may be called by the pastor or deacons. The notice of a special business meeting must be given at the Sunday morning service before the special called meeting. Only announced business may be transacted at a special called business meeting.

  3. The pastor shall serve as moderator. In his absence the chairman of the deacons shall serve. If he is unavailable, the church shall elect a temporary moderator. (The clerk shall preside over such an election)

  4. Roberts Rules of Order shall be used in all business sessions of the church unless the issue is specifically addressed in this constitution.

  5. Only members eighteen (18) years of age and above shall be eligible to vote. Only members eighteen (18) years of age and above shall be eligible to vote upon the corporate matters such as buying, selling or mortgaging of property, or election of trustees.

  6. 10% of the active church membership shall constitute a quorum.

  7. A simple majority of votes cast is required for the approval of a motion, except in the election of a pastor or staff-personnel which shall require a three-fourths (3/4) majority of votes cast.

  8. As authorized by the church budget or other church authorization, the pastor or chairman of the deacons or any church designated or authorized member may purchase goods or services for the church, but only as authorized.

Article VI – Use of the Church Facilities

Section 1 - General Usage

All functions within the Church facilities will be in strict accordance with Christian principles of love, fellowship, and Spiritual Growth. Alcohol and tobacco use is prohibited in the Church facilities.

Section 2 - Permission

All church members and their immediate families have use of the Church facilities by request through the pastor. One should share in advance the time, date, and purpose so to prevent conflict with other church events.

Section 3 - Restrictions

The use of any part of this church building will be restricted from non-church members, unless specifically authorized by the church.

Section 4 - Priority

Church-wide functions will have precedence or priority over individual functions for the benefit of the entire church body. Church leadership shall endeavor to schedule and announce church-wide functions as far in advance as possible so as to help individuals schedule their use of facilities.

Section 5 - Care

  1. The person or persons responsible for reserving the Church facilities will be responsible for putting any tables or chairs that are moved, back into their original place immediately after use. Those reserving the facilities will be responsible for cleaning them after use.

  2. The church custodian is not responsible to clean after individual functions and use of the facilities unless the particular group or person making reservations has made prior arrangements.

Section 6 - Church Wedding/Fellowship Hall Policies

We are always happy when a request is made by our members to use the church sanctuary for a wedding. It seems that marriage is made more sacred and is on a more secure foundation when the vows are exchanged in God's house.

As we offer these church wedding policies, we have no thought of discouraging church weddings - indeed we encourage them - but we merely seek to clarify some questions that often arise.

Let it be remembered by all that marriage is sacred and holy beyond words. While a wedding ceremony is a time of happiness, it is not a time of frivolity nor levity on the part of anyone participating in or attending the ceremony. Reverence and respect for God's house should prevail at a wedding or use of fellowship hall as much as at any other religious service.

The following policies have been adopted by the church concerning weddings or use of our fellowship hall in accordance with our Constitution and By-Laws, page 15, ARTICLE VI - Use of the Church Facilities.

  1. Arrangements. All persons desiring the use of any of the facilities of the church for weddings will arrange for same through the Pastor. It is well to arrange the time and date of your wedding well in advance. In order to avoid disappointment, consult with the Pastor before a definite date is selected.

  2. Counseling. The Pastor shall counsel with both the bride and bridegroom prior to the wedding date. (The advised procedure is that the bride schedule a conference with the Pastor as soon as the wedding date is set, and then at a later time the Pastor counsel with both the bride and groom - additional conferences can be scheduled if needed.)

  3. Members. No fee or charge of any type shall be made for the use of church property as long as one or both members of the parties are active members of this church, or children of active church members provided it is a family or church related event. The wedding party will be responsible for clean-up after each use, unless prior arrangements have been made with the church.

  4. Non-members. The church has adopted the following as a fee for church facilities when used by non-members (Fees for use of church facilities shall be evaluated annually):

Rehearsal, wedding and reception

Rehearsal, wedding only

Fellowship Hall use only

Custodian Clean-up Fee

        Payments must be in advance of reserved date.

  1. Minister. Any minister approved by the Pastor of this church may perform the ceremony.

  2. Music. Arrangements for music and use of the musical instruments can be made through the Pastor of this church. All music in connection with wedding ceremonies shall be in keeping with the sacred character appropriate dignity of the wedding service.

 Any honorarium given to the musicians is left to the discretion of the wedding party.

 We encourage that an honorarium be given.

  1. Floral Decorations. The choice of a florist is made by the bride and groom. Only dripless candles may be used and must be placed in candelabra that rest upon plastic material so as to insure no drippings on the carpet. In the event of drippings, florists will be responsible for the cleaning. No decorations may be attached to any of the woodwork in the sanctuary.

  2. Reception. Receptions may be held in the fellowship hall of the church. Arrangements for receptions must be made through the Pastor. It is required that all dishes be washed and kitchen must be restored to original conditions by caterer or other persons in charge of reception unless prior arrangements have been made with the church.

  3. No Smoking or Alcohol. There shall be no smoking in the building at any time. No degree of alcoholic beverages are served at any special function (wedding or otherwise) at First Baptist Church, and those participating in the rehearsal of ceremony are expected to abstain during the time of same.

  4. No rice. No rice or bird seed is to be thrown in connection with weddings either in the sanctuary, fellowship hall or hallways of the building.

  5. Responsibility. All parties using the church for weddings shall assume full responsibility for any injuries or damage to church property, at replacement value.

  6. Other Problems or Questions. If there are other questions or problems, please call the Pastor.

Section 7 - Funerals

Church services will not be discontinued due to funerals

Article VII – General

Section 1 – Use of the Church Property and Name

  1. Use of the property for other than regularly scheduled meetings shall first be approved by the Pastor/Deacons.

  2. All gatherings of the church property held in the name of the church shall be subject to the approval of the Pastor and Deacons.

Section 2 – Church Policy

The church policy not treated herein shall be governed by the principles set forth in Roberts’s newest revision.

Section 3 – Monetary Principles

The systematic giving of money for the support of the work of the Lord is worship as well as duty. It must be kept on the plane of voluntary, freewill offerings, untarnished by any hope of material gain. All members are expected to give regular financial support to the church and to the advancement of the projects it shall sponsor. No monies shall be raised for the support of the church and its various activities by any but the Biblical plan of tithes, offerings and gifts.

Section 4 – Legal Provisions

  1. 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.

  2. No profit shall ever accrue to the benefit of any individuals for the assets, holdings or other transactions in which this corporation may become involved.

  3. 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 nonprofit religious corporations as are in agreement with the letter and spirit of the articles 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).

Article VIII – Amendments and By-laws

This constitution may be amended, altered or revised at the March or September business meeting by a three-fourths vote of the members present and voting, provided such proposed changes shall have been submitted in writing not later than the August meeting preceding. Amendments, alterations and revisions will not apply to Constitution - Article I, Sections 2 & 3 or Article II or By-Laws Article II.

The church may adopt from time to time such by-laws in amplification hereof as may be necessary or desirable, and shall provide therein for amendment of the same.