We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith, and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches.
ARTICLE I – NAME:
The name of this church shall be First Baptist Church located in Fairlea, West Virginia.
ARTICLE II – OBJECTIVES:
To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our Church, community, and throughout the world.
To be a worshiping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person, and responding in obedience to His leadership.
To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
To help people experience a growing knowledge of God and Man.
To be a church that ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and world in Jesus’ name.
To be a church whose purpose is to be Christ like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the Lordship of Christ.
ARTICLE III – STATEMENT OF FAITH:
The Holy Bible is the inspired word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith. The Church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the most recent edition of “The Baptist Faith and Message” as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention (a copy appended). We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to the lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
ARTICLE IV – RELATIONSHIPS:
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 recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as it is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the association and state convention affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
ARTICLE V – CHURCH COVENANT:
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We promise, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity, and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and the relief of the poor, and the spreading of the gospel through all nations.
We also promise to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further promise to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover promise that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
I – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: General
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.
Section 2: Candidacy
Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. These candidates shall be presented to the church, after counseling by the Pastor and/or Deacons, at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:
- By profession of faith and baptism
- By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church.
- By restoration when no letter is obtainable.
- Statement of prior conversion experience and baptism by immersion.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the pastor and the deacons for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days; a three-fourths vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
Section 3. New Member Orientation
New church members will be encouraged to participate in the church’s orientation plan.
Section 4. Voting Right of Members
Every member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all question submitted to the church in conference.
Section 5. Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
- Dismissed by letter to another Baptist Church.
- Removal by action of this church.
Section 6. Discipline
- It shall be the basic purpose of the First Baptist Church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The pastor, other members of the church staff, and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. Redemption rather than punishment should be the guideline, which governs the attitude of one member toward another.
- Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, every reasonable measure will be taken by the pastor and by the deacons to resolve the problem. A spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance shall pervade all such proceedings. But, finding that the welfare of the church will best be served by the removal of the member, the church may take this action by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a meeting called for this purpose; and the church may proceed to declare the offender to be no longer in the membership of the church.
- Any person whose membership has been terminated for any condition, which has made it necessary for the church to remove him, may upon his request be restored to membership by a vote of the church upon evidence of his repentance and reformation.
II – CHURCH OFFICERS
All church officers must be members of the church. The officers of this church shall be as follows:
Section 1. Pastor
The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament Church. The pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff to perform their tasks.
The pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in a church. As such he works with the deacons and the church staff to: (1) lead the church in performing its tasks, (2) lead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry, and application, (3) proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (4) care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for the purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given.
A Pulpit Committee shall be recommended by the Deacons and approved by the Church to seek out a suitable pastor. Its recommendations will constitute a nomination. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one name at a time, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present being necessary for a choice. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request. The pastor or the church shall give at least thirty (30) days notice, before terminating his responsibilities as pastor.
The pastor shall secure evangelists for all meetings with the approval of the church.
The church shall be financially responsible for Pulpit supplies when the pastor is (1) on vacation, (2) ill, (3) on business for the church, (4) two Sundays each year for revival outside the church. The pastor shall be responsible for all other services. The pastor and/or Deacons shall make necessary contact to fill the Pulpit during any absence of the pastor.
Upon recommendation of the stewardship committee and upon approval of the church, the church shall send the pastor to the Southern Baptist Convention and to the appropriate State Meetings each year.
The pastor shall have at least two weeks vacation with pay annually.
Section 2. Church Staff
The church shall call or employ such staff members, as the church shall need. A job description shall be written when the need for staff members is determined. Vocational staff members other than the pastor shall be recommended to the church by the church council and employed by church action. At least two weeks notice shall be given before resignation or termination. “Ministerial positions shall give (30) thirty days notice before terminating their responsibilities.”
Section 3. Deacons
- There shall be one deacon for approximately twelve resident church families. Deacons shall be elected at any business meeting of the church. The church shall ordain the deacons before commencing their duties unless previously ordained in a Baptist church.
The deacons shall serve on a rotation basis. Each year the term of office of one-third of the number of deacons shall expire, and election shall be held to fill the vacancies. In the case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the church may elect a deacon to fill the unexpired term. After serving a term of three years, a deacon shall be eligible for re-election only after the lapse of at least one year.
- In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice of the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church. The task of the deacons is to serve with the pastor and staff in performing pastoral ministries; proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; care for church members and other persons in the community; lead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry, and application; and lead the church in performing its tasks.
Section 4. Moderator
The pastor shall serve as moderator of the church. In the absence of the moderator, the chairman of deacons shall preside; or in the absence of both, the clerk shall call the church to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
Section 5. Clerk
The church shall elect annually a clerk. This clerk shall keep in a suitable book a record of all actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. He is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admission, dismission, or death, together with a record of baptisms. He shall issue letters of dismission voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary, as indicated in these bylaws, and record necessary legal forms. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary. All church records are church property and should be filed in the church office when an office is maintained.
Section 6. Treasurer
The church shall elect annually a church treasurer. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved, all money paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church at each regular business meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements for the preceding month. An auditing committee or public accountant shall audit the treasurer’s report annually. The treasurer shall be bonded.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of the fiscal year, and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church.
Section 7. Financial Secretary
All funds for any and all purposes shall pass through the hands of the financial secretary and be properly recorded on the books of the church and deposited in the bank. The officer(s) shall be bonded.
A system of accounting that will be adequate to provide for the receipts of all funds shall be the responsibility of the financial secretary.
Upon request by an individual, the financial secretary shall furnish a statement of contributions.
Section 8. Trustees
Three trustees (instead of the 6 trustees change made several years ago) elected by the church will hold in trust the church property. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property without a specific vote of the church authorizing such action. It shall be the function of the trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property or other legal documents where the signatures of trustees are required. Trustees shall serve a three- year term on a rotating basis, with one-third of the trustees being elected every year.
(The trustees assist the church in matters relating to property, administration. Its work includes such areas as maintaining all church properties for ready use, recommending policies regarding use of properties, recommending employment of maintenance personnel, and assigning responsibility to appropriate personnel for supervision.) See section #13 under Committee and Coordinating Groups.
III – COMMITTEES AND COORDINATING GROUPS
Section 1. General
All church committee members shall be recommended by the nominating committee and elected by the church unless otherwise indicated in the description below. The committee members shall serve on a three- year rotation system with one-third to be elected each year.
Section 2. Church Council
- The primary functions of the council shall be to recommend to the congregation suggested objectives and church goals, to review and coordinate program plans recommended by church officers, organizations, and committees; to recommend to the congregation the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities; and to evaluate program achievements in terms of church goals and objectives.
- The council, unless otherwise determined by vote of the church, shall have as regular members, the pastor, ministerial staff, clerk, treasurer, music coordinator, Sunday school director, Discipleship Training director, Women’s Missionary Union director, Brotherhood director, chairman of the deacons, chairman of the stewardship committee, and chairman of the trustees. building and grounds committee.
- The council shall serve as Missions committee until it chooses to recommend another committee.
- All matters agreed upon by the council, calling for action not already authorized, shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.
Section 3. Nominating Committee
The nominating committee coordinates the staffing of all church leadership positions. The nominating committee recommends persons for all volunteer positions to be elected by the church.
The nominating committee shall consist of (3) three members. One of the (3) three members elected shall serve as chairman.
The Sunday School director and Discipleship Training director shall be elected by June l, in order to serve with the nominating committee to staff their respective organizations in the succeeding church year.
Section 4. Stewardship Committee
The stewardship committee develops and recommends an overall stewardship information plan (including budget) and administers the gifts of church members, using sound principles of financial management.
The stewardship committee shall consist of (3) three members in addition to the treasurer, chairman of the deacons and chairman of the trustees. building and grounds committee.
One of the (3) three members elected shall serve as chairman.
Section 5. Hospitality Committee
A three (3)-member hospitality committee shall be responsible for church directed fellowships involving kitchen and dining facilities.
Section 6. Nursery Committee
A three (3)-member committee shall coordinate and organize a nursery program including operating personnel and necessary supplies.
Section 7. Church Usher Committee
The number of ushers as needed will be selected by the nominating committee and elected by the church. The nominating committee shall select the usher chairman. The ushers are to greet people as they enter and leave the church, seat people at the proper time, and provide bulletins and/or other materials at the time of seating. The ushers will be attentive to the needs of the congregation and pastor.
Section 8. History Committee
A three (3)-member history committee is to preserve and use the historical records of the church. The committee is especially concerned with gathering and preserving available church records, recording full and accurate records, and using records to help members understand and appreciate their heritage and mission.
The committee shall make at least one (1) report annually to the church.
Section 9. Flower Committee
A three (3) member flower committee is responsible for securing, arranging, and disposing of floral arrangements for church services and for securing flowers for bereaved members and immediate families.
Section 10. Church Library Service
The church library will serve as the resource center for the church. A three (3)-member church library committee, one of which will be Librarian, shall be elected. The committee will seek to provide and promote the use of printed and audiovisual resources. The committee will also provide consultation to church leaders and members in the use of printed and audiovisual resources. The librarian shall select any necessary workers or assistants.
Section 11. Youth Committee
The youth committee of First Baptist Church shall be comprised of the Minister of Youth and Education, three elected members of the church, and the workers from both Junior High and Senior High departments. The three (3) elected members of the committee shall serve on a three-year rotating basis. The function of this committee is to work with the minister of youth in the planning and implementing of the youth ministry/programs of First Baptist Church.
Section 12. Children’s Committee
The Children’s Committee of First Baptist Church shall be comprised of three (3) elected members of the church. They shall serve on a three-year rotating basis. The function of the Children’s Committee is to plan and implement special activities and ministries of the children of First Baptist Church.
Section 13. Building and Grounds Committee
The building and grounds committee assists the church in matters relating to property and its administration. Its work includes such areas as maintaining all church properties for ready use, recommending policies regarding use of properties, recommending employment of maintenance personnel, and assigning responsibility to appropriate personnel for supervision.
(The nominating committee will recommend 6 members for the Building & Grounds Committee. The committee members shall serve on a three-year rotation system with one-third to be elected each year. The first year shall have two members rotating off each of the next three years: 2016,2017,2018.)
Section 14. Other Committees
Other committees as the church deems necessary shall be established.
The Family Activity Center Committee is not listed in the bylaws under other committees. It was established by the recommendation from the Nominating Committee and approved by Church vote after the Activity Center was constructed. The membership of this committee was approved as follows:
Three members elected by the church shall serve on a three-year rotation system with one-third to be elected each year. One of these members elected shall serve as chairman.
- Minister of Youth & Education
- Member of Building & Grounds Comm.
- Awana Commander
- S.A.M. Director
IV – PROGRAM ORGANIZATIONS
Section 1. General
All organizations of the church shall be under church control, all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church.
Section 2. Sunday School
There shall be a Sunday school, divided into departments and classes for all ages and conducted under the direction of the Sunday school director for the study of God’s word.
The tasks of the Sunday school shall be to teach the biblical revelation; reach persons for Christ and church membership; perform the functions of the church within its constituency.
Section 3. Discipleship Training
There shall be a Discipleship Training/Program, divided into departments for all ages and conducted under the direction of a general director. The Discipleship Training/Program shall serve as the training organization of the church.
The tasks of the Discipleship Training/Program shall be to orient new church members; train church members to perform the functions of the church; train church leaders; teach Christian theology, Christian ethics, Christian history, and church policy and organization.
Section 4. Woman’s Missionary Union
There shall be a Woman’s Missionary Union with such officers and organizations as needed. The tasks of the Woman’s Missionary Union shall be to teach missions; engage in mission action; support world missions through prayer and giving.
Section 5. Brotherhood
There shall be a Brotherhood with such organizations as needed. A director shall direct this program. The tasks are to teach missions; engage in mission action, support world missions through praying and giving.
Section 6. Church Music Program
“There shall be a Church Music Program.” Such officers and/or organizations shall be included as needed. The music tasks shall be to teach music; train persons to lead, sing, and play music; provide music in the church and community.
V – ORDINANCES
Section 1. Baptism
A person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith; who professes him publicly at any worship service; and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord, shall be counseled and presented.
- Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
- The pastor or whomever the church shall authorize shall administer baptism. The deacons shall assist in preparation for, and observance of baptism.
- Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship.
- A person professing Christ and failing to be baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled. If negative interest is ascertained, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
Section 2. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, commemorates the death of Jesus Christ and anticipates his second coming.
- The Lord’s Supper shall be observed quarterly, preferably the first Sunday of the quarter, or as otherwise scheduled.
- The pastor and deacons shall be responsible for the administration of the Lord’s Supper.
- The deacons shall be responsible for the physical preparations of the Lord’s Supper.
VI – CHURCH MEETINGS
Section 1. Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for preaching, instruction, evangelism, and for the worship of Almighty God. These meetings will be open for the entire membership of the church and for all people, and shall be conducted under the direction of the pastor.
Section 2. Special Services
Revival services and any other church meetings, which will be essential in the promotion of the objectives of the church, shall be placed on the church calendar.
Section 3. Regular Business Meetings
Regular business meetings shall be held monthly on a designated Wednesday night.
Section 4. Special Business Meetings
The pastor and/or deacons may call a business meeting in time of emergency, provided said meeting is announced at a Sunday service.
Section 5. Quorum
The quorum consists of those members who attend the business meeting, provided it is a regular meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section 6. Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the church shall begin September 1 and end on August 31.
Section 7. Parliamentary Rules
“The latest edition of ‘Roberts Rules of Order’ is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
VII – CHURCH OPERATIONS MANUAL
Section 1. Organizational Chart
An organizational chart shall be prepared which will depict lines of responsibility in the administration of the church. This chart shall be reviewed annually and shall be revised as needed. A copy shall be filed in the church office.
Section 2. Policies and Procedures
Church policies and procedures shall be interpreted by the Church Council, and presented to the church for action.
VIII – AMENDMENTS
Changes in this constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church, provided such change shall have been presented in writing at a previous business meeting, and copies of the proposed change be furnished to each member present. Changes to the constitution shall be made by two-thirds vote of all members of the church present entitled to vote; changes to the bylaws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.
IX – AFFILIATIONS
Section 1. The Southern Baptist Convention.
Section 2. West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists.
Section 3. The Allegheny Baptist Association