CONSTITUTION

OF

FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH

Benzonia, Michigan

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ARTICLE                                                                                                                   

PREAMBLE 

 ARTICLE I      --  NAME

ARTICLE II      --  DEFINITION OF CHURCH

ARTICLE III     --  PURPOSE AND MINISTRY

ARTICLE IV     --  CHARACTER AND FELLOWSHIP

ARTICLE V   --  CONFESSION OF FAITH

ARTICLE VI     --  CHURCH COVENANT

ARTICLE VII   --  BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES

ARTICLE VIII --  CHURCH ORDINANCES

ARTICLE IX   --         MEMBERSHIP

Section  1.       Reception of new members

Section  2.       Active members

Section  3.       Associate members

Section  4.       Inactive members

Section  5.       Letters of dismissal

Section  6.       Deletions

Section  7.       Review of membership

Section  8.       Separation

Section  9.       Discipline

Section  10.     Restrictions

ARTICLE X    --  OFFICERS

Section  1.       Qualifications

Section  2.       Pastor

Section  3.       Deacons

Section  4.       Treasurer

Section  5.       Financial Secretary

Section  6.       Church Clerk

Section  7.       Superintendent of the Bible School

Section  8.       Head Usher

Section  9 .      Vacancies

 ARTICLE XI   --  STANDING COMMITTEES

Section  1.       Qualifications

Section  2.       Christian Education Committee

Section  3.       Missions Committee

Section  4.       Nominating Committee

Section  5.       Auditing Committee

Section  6.       Other Committees    

Section  7.       Removal from Committee

ARTICLE XII   --  AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS

Section  1.       Definition

Section  2.       Responsibility

ARTICLE XIII   --      MISSIONS

Section  1.       Selection of a Candidate

Section  2.       Financial Policy

ARTICLE XIV   --      MEETINGS

            Section  1.       Meetings for Worship           

            Section  2.       Meetings for Business

            Section  3.       Fiscal  Year

            Section  4.      Quorum

            Section  5.       Rules of Order           

ARTICLE XV   --  FINANCES         

            Section  1.       Method of Raising Money

            Section  2.       Designate Gifts          

ARTICLE XVI   --  USE OF CHURCH PROPERTY

            Section  1.       Approval

            Section  2.       Restrictions

ARTICLE XVII   --  LICENSING

            Section  1.       Eligibility

            Section  2.       Duration         

ARTICLE XVIII   --  ORDINATION           

            Section  1.       Calling a Council      

            Section  2.       Examination

            Section  3.       Restrictions

            Section  4.       Revoking

ARTICLE XIX   --  AMENDMENTS

ARTICLE XX   --  DISSOLUTION

 

PREAMBLE                                                                                                              

As a body of baptized believers, we place our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. Having bound ourselves together in fellowship and believing it necessary to govern ourselves, under the Lordship of Christ, in an orderly and efficient manner (I Corinthians 14:40), we do hereby adopt the provisions of this constitution.

ARTICLE I -- NAME

The name of this church shall be the FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH located in Benzonia, Michigan and hereafter referred to as 'this church'.

ARTICLE II -- DEFINITION OF CHURCH

For purposes of clarification in principle and operation, this church shall adhere to the view that a Baptist Church is a company of born again believers, baptized on a credible confession of faith, having New Testament officers of pastor(s) (Philippians 1:1) and deacons, perpetuating the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, self-governing in polity, voluntarily banded together for worship, education, fellowship, work and the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel.

ARTICLE III -- PURPOSE AND MINISTRY

The purpose of this church shall be:

1. To provide spiritual fellowship among believers in our community, by maintaining an independent Baptist Church.

2. To promote worship and prayer through the teaching of the Word of God; to administer the New Testament ordinances of baptism by immersion and the Lord's Supper. (Romans 6:3-6; I Corinthians 11:23-32)

3. To cultivate spiritual life and Christian fellowship by maintaining regular meetings for worship, prayer and Bible study. (Hebrews 10:25)

4. To provide a center of training for the whole family in Bible knowledge and Bible doctrine (teaching), with the goal of fulfilling Ephesians 4:12-16 in each life.

5.To give training and incentive to a program of continuous witnessing under the direction of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8)

6. To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and urge the personal acceptance by faith, of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and to promote fundamental Baptist missions at home and abroad. (Matthew 28:19-20)

7. To proclaim the whole council of God and earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. (Acts 20:26-27; Jude 3-4)

8. To promote and/or cooperate in programs designed to alleviate sorrow and suffering of both members and non-members, when deemed practicable and conforming to the constitution.

ARTICLE IV -- CHARACTER AND FELLOWSHIP

SECTION 1. CHARACTER  

A.  The Faith Baptist Church shall be and remain an independent, autonomous and sovereign Baptist Church which is democratically governed by and with the consent of its members. The polity and practices of this church are patterned after the churches of the New Testament.

B. Faith Baptist Church shall be a law unto itself as to qualifications for it's membership and officers, discipline and all rules governing it's own proceedings, affiliations, policies and, answerable only to the Lord Jesus Christ.

SECTION 2. FELLOWSHIP

A. As a New Testament Baptist Church cannot join anything outside of itself, but can only affiliate therewith on the grounds of fellowship, this church may vote to seek fellowship only with those of "like precious faith" who maintain a position of separation from apostasy. This church shall have the right to fellowship with those of like faith and practice as it shall determine and decide for itself by a three-fourths (3/4) ballot vote at a special business meeting, (quorum is necessary). This church shall also have the right to withdraw from any fellowship or association by a three-fourths (3/4) ballot vote at a special business meeting.

B. This church will not be connected with or co-operate with the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, their subsidiary organizations or any group that compromises with, permits, endorses or co-operates with apostasy or liberalism. (Romans 16:17;  I Corinthians 5:11; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1;  Ephesians 5:11;  II Thessalonians 3:6;  I Timothy 6:3-5; II Timothy 3:1-5)

C. Should a division take place in the membership of this church the property and assets shall remain with those members who shall continue to adhere to the constitution.

ARTICLE V -- CONFESSION OF FAITH

The doctrines (teachings) of this church shall be in conformity with those generally accepted by historic fundamental Baptist churches and summarized in this Confession of Faith as follows.

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 Testament, as originally written; (a) that it was verbally and plenarily inspired and is the product of Spirit-controlled men, and (b) therefore is infallible and inerrant in all matters of which it speaks.

We believe the Bible (C) to be the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian unity and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creed and opinions shall be tried.

(a) II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21; Acts 1:16; 28:25

(b) Psalms 119:160; Luke 24:25-27; 44-45; John 17:17

(c) Psalms 119:89; Proverbs 30:5-6; Romans 3:4; I Peter 1:23; Revelation 22:18-19; John 12:48; Ephesians 6:17; Romans 15:4; Luke 16:31; Psalms 19:7-11; John 5:39, 45-47.

SECTION 2. THE TRUE GOD

We believe there is (a) one and only one living and true God, an infinite, sovereign, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; (b) inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love;. (C) that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption.

(a) Exodus 20:2-3; Deuteronomy 6:4; Genesis 17:1; I Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; John 4:24; Psalms 147:5; 83:18; 90:2; Jeremiah 10:10;

(b) Exodus 15:11; Revelations 4:11; I Timothy 1:17; Romans 11:33;  Mark 12:30

(c) Matthew 28:19; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 10:30; 17:5;

I Corinthians 12:4-6; I John 5:7; Acts 5:3-4; I Corinthians 2:10-11; Philippians 2:5-6; Ephesians 2:18; II Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:8

SECTION 3. THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST       

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, (a) the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem man.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ (b) was tested as we are, yet without sin and as the perfect Lamb of God accomplished our redemption through (c) His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice; (d) and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead.

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ (e) ascended to heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Intercessor and Advocate.

(a) Matthew 1:23;. Luke 1:35; John 1:11 14; Colossians 2:9

(b) II Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 2:22, 24

(c) Isaiah 53:5-6; Matthew 20:28; Galatians 3:13

(d) Luke 24:39-43; John 20:15-16, 25-28.

(e) Acts 1:11; Hebrews 9:24; 7:25; I John 2:1

SECTION 4. THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine person; (a) equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; (b) that He was active in the creation; (C) that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; (d) that He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment; (e) that He bears witness to the truth of the gospel in preaching and testimony; (f) that He is the agent in the New Birth; (g) that He seals, baptizes, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer.

We believe that the (h) gifts of evangelists, pastors and teachers are God's provision for the edification of the believer today.

We believe that, the (i) baptism of the Holy Spirit is that sovereign act which takes place at conversion by which the believer is organically and vitally placed into Christ and His body.

We do not believe that this baptism is accompanied by speaking in tongues, spectacular demonstrations, eradication of the sin nature, sinless perfection, or (j) is it to be confused with the infilling which may occur many times and is a result of yieldedness, the fruit of which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. The gifts of tongues and healing were (k) sign gifts given for Israel as authentification of the manifestation of the Divine authority of God's message and messenger until the Scriptures were completed and their authority became established (around 90 or 100 A.D.), at which time the gifts ceased.

(a) Matthew 28:19; Luke 1:35; John 14:16-17, 26; Hebrews 9:14

(b) Genesis 1:1-3, 26

(c) II Thessalonians.2:7

(d) John 16:8-11        

(e) John 15:26-27; Acts 5:30-32       

(f) John 3:5-6; Titus 3:5; John 6:63; I Peter 1:23

(g) Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16, 24:29; John 1:33, 14:26, 16:13; Acts 11:16; Romans 8:14, 16, 26-27; Ephesians 1:13-14; II Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2

(h) Ephesians 4:11-13; I Corinthians 14:26

(i) I Corinthians 12:13; .Galatians 3:27

(j) Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:18-21

(k) Isaiah. 28:11-12; Acts 2:4; I Corinthians 1:22, 13:8-12, 14:21-22; Hebrews 1:2, 2:3-4

SECTION 5. THE DEVIL, OR SATAN

We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, the Devil (a) who was created by God a perfect and holy angel, but through pride, rebellion and willful ambition to be as the Almighty, sinned and (b) drew after him a host of angels; that he is now (c) the prince of the power of the air and the unholy god of this world. He is (d) man's greater tempter, (e) the enemy of God and His Christ, (f) the accuser of the saints, (g) the author of all false religions, the chief power behind the present apostasy, (h) the lord of the Antichrist and (i) the unholy god of this age and the ruler of all powers of darkness. God has destined him (j) to final defeat at the hands of His Son and (k) to the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.

(a) Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:14-17

(b) II Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:9

(c) John 8:44, 14:30; Ephesians 2:2

(d) Matthew 4:1, 3; I Thessalonians 3:5; I Peter 5:8

(e) Zachariah 1:3; Matthew 13:25, 37-39; Luke 22:3-4; I John 3:8

(f) Revelation 12:10

(g) Mark 13:21-22; I Corinthians 11:13-15

(h) I John 2:22, 4:3; II John 7

(i) II Corinthians 4:4; II Thessalonians 2:8-11; Rev1ation 13:13-14           

(i.) Revelation 12:7-9; 19:11, 16, 20; 20:1-3

(k) Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10

SECTION 6. THE CREATION         

We believe in the (a) Biblical account of the creation of the entire universe, angels, man, animals and vegetable life; that this account is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of the direct, immediate creative acts of God in six literal solar days without any evolutionary process, either naturalistic or theistic; (b) that man was created in God's own image and after His own likeness by a direct work of God and not from previously existing forms of life; and that all men are descended from the historical Adam and Eve, the first parents of the entire human race.

(a) Genesis 1:1, 11, 24; 2:7, 21-23; Exodus 20:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Jeremiah 10:12; John 1:3; Acts 4:24; 17:23-26; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 10:6

(b) Genesis 1:26-27; I Corinthians 11:7

SECTION 7. THE FALL OF MAN

We believe that (a) man was created in innocence (in the image and likeness of God) under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, (b) and all men sinned in him, thus all men are totally depraved, are partakers of Adam's fallen nature, not only by constraint, but of choice; and (c) therefore are under just condemnation without defense or excuse.

(a) Genesis 3:1-6, 24; 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; Colossians 1:15; Romans 5:12, 19; I Timothy 2:12-14

(b) Romans 1:18; 3:10-19; Ephesians 2:1, 3; Ezekiel 18:19-20

(c) Romans 1:20, 28, 32; Galatians 3:22      

SECTION 8. THE VIRGIN BIRTH

We believe (a) that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner; born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and (b) that He is both the Son of God, and God the Son.

(a) Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Psalms 2:7; Matthew 1:18-25; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; John 1:14; Galatians 4:4

(b) Matthew 16:16-17; Hebrews 1:8; I John 5:20

SECTION 9. THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN

We believe (a) that the salvation of sinners is divinely initiated and wholly of grace (b) through the mediatorial office 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; (c) that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the 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; (d) 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 every way qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and an all-sufficient Savior.

(a) Jonah 2:9; Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8

(b) Isaiah 53:4-7; Matthew 18:11; John 3:16; Romans 3:25; I Corinthians 15:3; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:7-8; Hebrews 2:14-17; I John 4:10

(c) Isaiah 53:11; John 10:18; Galatians 1:4; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18

(d) Isaiah 53:12; I Corinthians 15:20; Hebrews 7:25; 9:12-15; I John 2:2

SECTION 10. RESURRECTION AND PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST

We believe in the (a) bodily resurrection of Christ, (b) in his ascension into Heaven, (c) where He now sits at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest interceding for us.

(a) Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:2-6, 39; John 20:27; I Corinthians 15:4

(b) Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9-11

(c) I Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:17; 7:25; 8:6; 12:2; 5:9-10 I John 2:1; Revelation 3:21      

SECTION 11. GRACE IN THE NEW BIRTH

We believe (a) that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; (b) that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; (c) that it is instantaneaus and not a process; (d) 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; (e) 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; (f) that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.

(a) John 3:3    

(b) II Corinthians 5:17           

(c) Luke 5:27; John 3:6-7; Acts 2:41; 16:30-33; I John 5:1

(d) Romans 6:23; II Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13; II Peter 1:4          

(e) John 3:8; John 1:12-13

(f) Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9

SECTION 12. THE FREENESS OF SALVATION

We believe (a) in Cod's electing grace; (b) that the blessings of salvation are made free to all through the gospel; (c) that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith; and (d) that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own inherent depravity and voluntary, rejection of the gospel,  (e) which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation.

(a) John 15:16; Romans 3:29-30; 11:5-6; Ephesians 1:3-14; Colossians 3:12; I Thessalonians 1:4; II Timothy 1:8-9; Titus 1:1; I Peter 1:1-2

(b) Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 11:23; John 6:37; Romans 10:13;

Revelation 22:17

(c) Isaiah 55:6; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38; 17:30; Romans 1:15-17; 16:25-26 

(d) Isaiah 55:7; Matthew 23:37; John 3:15-16; 5:40; Acts 13:46; Romans 9:32; I Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 2:4-5;I Timothy 1:15

(e) Matthew 11:20-24; John 3:28, 36; II Thessalonians 1:8-9

SECTION 13. JUSTIFICATION .      .           .

We believe that justification (a) is the judicial act of God whereby He declares the believer, righteous upon the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ; that justification includes the pardon of sin; and (b) that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood.

(a) Isaiah 53:11; Acts 10:43; 13:39; Romans 3:24; 8:1; Titus 3:5-7;

(b) Acts 13:39; Romans 1:17; 4:5; 5:1, 9; II Corinthians 5:18-21; Galatians 2:16; 3:11; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 10:38        

 SECTION 14. REPENTANCE AND FAITH

We believe (a) that repentance is a change of mind and purpose toward God promoted by the Holy Spirit; (b) that it is characterized by the conviction of guilt and godly sorrow for sin as offensive to God and ruinous to the soul; (c) that true repentance is inseparably related to true faith; and (d) at the same time receiving the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and openly confessing Him as our only and all sufficient Savior.

(a) Mark 1:15; Luke 15:7, 18-21; Acts2:38; 8:22; Romans 2:4; II Corinthians 7:10-11

(b) Luke 18:13; John 16:3; Acts 2:37

(c) Luke 12:3; Acts 20:21

(d) Luke 18:13; John 3:16; Acts 3:19; 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-13, 17; Ephesians 2;8; Hebrews 7:25; I John 5:1

SECTION 15. SANCTIFICATION

We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner; (a) first and eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer, in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior; (b) second, a continuing process in the believer Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the life; (c) third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lords return.

(a) Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-26; Hebrews 10:10-14

(b) John 17:17; II Corinthians 3:13; Philippians 1:9-11; 3:12-13; I Thessalonians 3:13; 4:2-7; 5:23-24; Hebrews 6; I Peter 1:15:16

(c) Ephesians 5:27; I John 3:2; Jude 24-25; Revelation 22:11

SECTION 16. THE SECURITY OF THE SAINTS

We believe that all who are truly born again are kept by the power of God.

John 10:23-29; Romans 8:35-39; Philippians 1:6; 2:12-13; Hebrews 1:14; 7:25; 13:5; I Peter 1:3-5; I John 4:4; Jude 1, 24-25           

SECTION 17. THE CHURCH           

We believe that the body of Christ, (a) of which He is the founder and head, is composed of all true believers from Pentecost to the Rapture.

We believe (b) that the church is manifested through the local church which is a congregation of (c) immersed believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the gospel; (d) observing the ordinances of Christ; (e) governed by His laws; and (f) exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His Word; (g) that the scripturally designated officers are pastors and deacons, whose qualifications, claim and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures. We believe the true mission of the church is (h) found in the great commission: first, to make individual disciples; second, to baptize them; third, to teach and instruct, as He has commanded. We hold that the local church has (i) 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; (j) that it is scriptural for true churches to co-operate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its co-operation, (k) on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence the will of the local church is final.

(a) Matthew 16:18; I Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-20; 4:15; 5:23-29, 32; Colossians 1:18, 24

(b) I Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 1:22-23; 3:1-6; 5:23; Colossians 1:18

(c) Matthew 18:17; Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11; 8:1; 11:21-23; I Corinthians 1:1-13; 4:17; 14:23-26; III John 9

(d) Matthew 18:15-20 Romans 6:3-6; 1 Corinthians 11:2, 23-24 II Thessalonians 3:6

(e) Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:15, 21; 15:12-14; Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 1:22; I Thessalonians 4:2; I John 4:21; II John 6, All of the Epistles

(f) I Corinthians 12:4, 8-11, 14:12; Ephesians 4:7, 11-12; Philippians 1:27

(g) Acts 6:5-6; 14:19-23; 15:22-23; 20:17, 28; Philippians 1:1; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9

(h) Matthew 28:18-20

(i) Ephesians 5:23-24; Colossians 1:18; I Peter 5:1-4

(j) Acts 15:22; I Corinthians 16:1-2; II Corinthians 3:23-24; Jude 3-4

(k) I Corinthians 5:11-13; 6:1-3

SECTION 18. THE ORDINANCES: BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER

We believe that Christian baptism is (a) the single immersion of a believer in water, (b) in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; (c) to show forth, in a solemn and beautiful emblem, our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Savior, through Whom we died to sin and rose to a new life, (d) that baptism is to be performed under the authority of the local church, and that it is pre-requisite to the privileges of church membership.

We believe (e) that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and (f) should be preceded always by solemn self-examination, (g) that the Biblical order of the ordinances is baptism first and then the Lord's Supper, and that participants in the Lord's Supper should be immersed believers.

(a) Acts 8:36-39; Matthew 3:6, 16; Mark 16:16; John 3:22-23; 4:1-2; Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12; 16:14-15, 32-33; 18:8

(b) Matthew 28:19; Acts 10:47-48; 19:4-5

(c) Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12

(d) Acts 2:41-42; Matthew 28:19-2.0

(e) Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; I Corinthians 11:23-26

(f) I Corinthians 11:28; 5:8-11; 10:3-32; 11:17-32

(g) Acts 2:41-42

SECTION 19. SEPARATION

We believe in obedience to the Biblical commands to separate ourselves unto God from worldliness and ecclesiastical apostasy.

Romans 16:17; I Corinthians 5:11; II Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1; Ephesians 5:11; I Thessalonians 1:9-10; II Thessalonians 3:6; I Timothy 6:3-5; II Timothy 3:1-5; II John 9-11

SECTION 20. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED

We believe (a) that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; (b) that only those who are justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of God are truly righteous in His sight; (c) while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; (d) and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting happiness of the saved in Heaven and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire.

(a) Genesis 18:23; Proverbs 11:31; 12:26; Malachi 3:5-l8

Acts 10:34-35; Romans 6:17-18

(b) Romans 1:17; 6:18, 22; 7:6; I Corinthians 11:32; 15:22

I Peter 4:17-18; I John 2:29; 3:7

(c) Psalms 10:4; Isaiah 55:6-7; 57:21; John 3:36; Romans 5:23; 7:6; Galatians 3:10; I John 5:19

(d) Proverbs 10:24; 14:32; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Matthew 7:13-14; 10:28; 25:34, 41; Luke 9:23-26; 12:4-5 16:25; John 8:21; 12:25-26; II Peter 2:9

SECTION 21. CIVIL GOVERNMENT

We believe (a) that civil government is of divine appointment for the interest and good order of human society; (b) that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored and obeyed; (c) except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ; (d) Who is the only Lord of conscience, and the coming King of kings.

(a) Exodus 18:20-22; II Samuel 23:3; Romans 13:1-7

(b) Matthew 22:20-21; Acts 23:5; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13-14, 17

(c) Daniel 3:16-19; Acts 4:19-20; 5:29

(d) Psalms 72:11; Matthew 10:28; 23:9-10; Philippians 2:10-11; Revelation 17:14; 19:16

SECTION 22. ISRAEL

We believe (a) in the sovereign selection of Israel as God's eternal covenant people; (b) that she is now dispersed because of her disobedience and rejection of Christ; and (c) that she will be regathered in the Holy Land and, after the completion of the church and the Tribulation, a remnant will be saved as a nation at the second advent of Christ.

(a) Genesis 13:14-17; 15:4-7, 18; 17:19-21

(b) Ezekiel 33:10-11; Matthew 23:37-39

(c) Ezekiel 37:10-14; Romans 11:1-32

SECTION 23. ANGELS

We believe (a) that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings known as angels; that one, "Lucifer, son of the morning" sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great company of angels followed him in his moral fall: (b) that a great company of angels kept their holy estate and are before the throne of God, from whence they are sent forth as ministering spirits to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation; (c) that man was made lower than the angels; and that, in His incarnation, Christ took for a little time this lower place that He might lift the believer to His own sphere above the angels.

(a) Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 148:2, 5; Isaiah 14:12-15; Hebrews 12:22; II Peter 2:4; Jude 6

(b) Matthew 25:31; 18:10; Mark 8:38; Luke 15:10; Hebrews 1:14; Psalms 91:11; Revelation 7:11-12

(c) Hebrews 2:6-10

SECTION 24. RAPTURE AND SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

We believe (a) in the imminent, premillennial return of Christ for His church; that at that moment the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies and the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death; and (b) all believers shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of Tribulation which follows the rapture of the Church; (c) that the Tribulation will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to set upon the throne of David to establish the millennial kingdom; (d) after this shall be the judgment of the Great White Throne when the unsaved dead shall be raised and judged to an eternal punishment in the lake of fire which is the second death; (e) and that the saved shall then enjoy eternal glory with God.

(a) I Corinthians 15:51-53 (20-58); II Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; I Thessalonians 4:13-18

(b) Matthew 24:21-22; I Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 3:10; 20:4-6

(c) Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1-9; Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew-24:29-31;

Luke 1:30-33; Acts 2:29-30; Revelation 20:1-4, 6

(d) John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 21 and 22

(e) John 14:1-3; II Corinthians 4:17; Revelation 19:1; 21:3, 27; 22:3, 14

ARTICLE VI -- CHURCH COVENANT

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, as our Savior, (Isaiah 12:2; John 1:12; 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8; II Thessalonians 2:13)

And, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:36-38; 10:48; 16:31-34)

We do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ (John 15:5; Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12:14-27)

We shall endeavor therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, (Amos 3:3; Romans 15:5-6; I Corinthians 1:10; II Corinthians 3:5; I John 2:10, - Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12:14-27)

To strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; (I Samuel 12:23; Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 10:24; II Peter 3:18; James 5:16)

To promote its prosperity and spirituality (I Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 4:11-12; I Thessalonians 5:14)

To sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; (Matthew 18:15-17; Acts 2:42; Romans 6:3-14; Hebrews 10:25; 13:17; I Peter 2:9)

To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry through this local church, which includes the spreading of the gospel through all nations, and the expression of Christian love to those in need (Malachi 3:10, Luke 10:7; II Corinthians 8:14; 9:7; Galatians 6:6; I Thessalonians 5:14)

We shall also endeavor to maintain family and secret devotions, (Matthew 6:6; 7:7; Luke 18:1; II Corinthians 8:5)

To educate our children concerning the Lord and His Word, (Deuteronomy 6:7-12; Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; II Timothy 3:15)

To seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; (Matthew 5:16; 28:19-20; Romans 9:3)

To walk circumspectly in the world, (Ephesians 4:1-3; Colossians 3:17; I Thessalonians 5:15; I John 2:15)

To be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment (Philippians 3:16-18; Hebrews 13:20-21; I Peter 2:12)

To avoid all gossiping, tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; (Proverbs 26:20; Matthew 12:36; Romans 1:30; Ephesians 4:26)

To abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and the illicit use of drugs and narcotics, (Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-32;' Ephesians 5:18: I Thessalonians 5:22)

And to be zealous in our efforts to advance the work of our Savior. (John 15:16; 1 Corinthians 15:58; II Corinthians 5:20)

We further shall endeavor to watch over one another in brotherly love: (Romans 14:7; Galatians 6:2; I Corinthians 5:11-13; II Thessalonians 3:14-15)

To remember each other in prayer, (Ephesians 6:18; Hebrews 13:18)

To aid each other in sickness and distress, (Romans 12:15; Philippians 4:16)

To cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; (Colossians 3:17; 4:6; James 3:13; I John 3:17-18)

To be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, mindful of the laws of our Savior, to secure it without delay; and not to bring forward to the church a complaint against any member for any personal trespass until we have taken the first and second steps according to Matthew 18,      private offenses which can be privately settled we will never make public. (Matthew 18:15-22; Romans 14:19; I Corinthians 6:7)

We, moreover, shall endeavor when removing from this place, to 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. (Acts 9:19; 18:27; Romans 16:1-2; Galatians 1:9; Hebrews 10:25).

ARTICLE VII -- BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES

We believe in the historical scriptural principles that distinguish Baptists from other denominations

B - Born again membership -- Acts 2:41, 47

A - Authority of the Scriptures -- II Timothy 3:16-17

P - Priesthood of believers --Revelations 1:5-6

T - Two officers (Pastor and Deacons) -- Philippians 1:1

I - Independence of the local church --1 Timothy 3:15

S - Separation of Church and State -- Matthew 22:21

T - Two ordinances (Baptism and the Lord's Supper) -- Acts 2:41-42

S - Security of the believer -- Romans 8:35-39

ARTICLE VIII -- CHURCH ORDINANCES

SECTION 1. BAPTISM

Those professing saving faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior, having expressed their desire to be obedient in following the Lord in baptism shall, by the pastor, or some person authorized by the deacons, be immersed in water in accordance with the Scriptural teaching. Immersion shall be a prerequisite to church membership. (Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12, 36-39, 16:14-15, 32-33, 18:8; Romans 6:3-5;           Colossians 2:12)

SECTION 2. THE LORD'S SUPPER

The Lord's Supper shall normally be observed on the first Sunday of the month. The pastor shall frequently set forth the Scriptural prerequisites to the Lord's Supper, and shall explain the meaning of the ordinance. The elements shall be unfermented, non-alcoholic grape juice and unleavened bread. (I Corinthians 11:23-26)

ARTICLE IX -- MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1. RECEPTION OF NEW MEMBERS

A. QUALIFICATIONS AND PROCEDURES

1. Anyone who has received the Lord Jesus as Savior, who gives evidence of the New Birth and is willing to accept the Constitution and Confession of Faith of this church may, upon recommendation of the deacons and by a majority vote of the church, be received into membership providing they have been baptized by immersion after they received Christ as Savior.

2. Each applicant shall be given a copy of the church constitution for their careful study and examination.

3. Each applicant shall meet with the deacons and shall give satisfactory testimony of personal salvation, believers baptism and adoption of the faith and practice held by this church.

4. All new members shall be instructed in church doctrine, church government and the individual, member's responsibility to this church in order to promote better acquaintance and harmony among its members. The time, place and number of sessions of the instruction class shall be under the direction of the pastor and deacons.

5. Letters of commendation will be received from other churches of like faith All other requirements of this ARTICLE shall be fulfilled.

6. No person holding membership in an oath-bound secret society shall be eligible for membership.

7. Each applicant shall give a personal testimony before the church.

B. RIGHT HAND OF FELLOWSHIP

Membership privileges shall begin at the time of the church vote The right hand of fellowship shall be given at any regular meeting of the church by the pastor, or in the absence of the pastor, by the vice-moderator of the church, as a public welcome into the membership.

SECTION 2. ACTIVE MEMBERS

Active members shall be those who have been received into this church according to the conditions set forth in SECTION 1 of this ARTICLE. Active members have all the rights, duties, privileges and obligations as set forth in this constitution.

SECTION 3. ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

The associate membership roll shall be composed of people of temporary or part-time residence whose occupation, activity or personal circumstances prevent attendance at regular church services for a period of four (4) months or more in any calendar year. Any regular member whose status changes sufficiently to come under this section shall be automatically placed on the Associate membership roll. Upon their return they shall immediately be placed on the Active roll. Associate membership shall be without voice, voting privileges or the right to hold elective office Associate membership shall never allow for dual or multiple church membership.

SECTION 4. INACTIVE MEMBERS

A. Any member absent from the regular worship services, without sufficient cause, for three (3) consecutive months shall be placed on the Inactive membership roll and shall not be allowed a voice, voting privileges or the right to hold elective office. A reasonable effort shall be made by the pastor and deacons to restore the erring member.

B. Any inactive member who fails to express interest either through attendance or letter of testimony, for a period of twelve (12) months will be dropped from the membership providing that:

1. The pastor and/or deacons have endeavored to restore the member.

2. The member was given a three (3) week written notification, sent to the last known address, stating the policy of the church and requesting the member to show cause for membership to continue. (Acts 2:41, 47, Hebrews 10:25)

SECTION 5. LETTERS OF DISMISSAL

A. Letters of dismissal to other Baptist churches shall be granted by the church upon recommendation of the deacons and shall be sent by the church clerk direct to the church named in the letter.

B. Letters of Christian character may be granted to members uniting with churches of other denominations

SECTION 6. DELETIONS

A. See SECTION 4-B of this ARTICLE

B. Names of individuals to be dropped must be posted publicly in the church building for two weeks before the individual's name will be deleted from the membership roll.

C. EXCLUSION (See SECTION 9)

D. DEATH

SECTION 7. REVIEW OF MEMBERSHIP

Review of the membership roll shall be conducted by the pastor and deacons quarterly.

SECTION 8. SEPARATION

Since the Word of God clearly teaches both personal and ecclesiastical separation, every member of this church shall endeavor to live a life separated unto God from sin, worldliness and apostasy. (Romans 16:17; I Corinthians 5:11; 6:9-20; II Corinthians 6 14 - 7:1; Galatians 5:13-24; Ephesians 4:24- 5:11; II Thessalonians 3:6; I Timothy 6:3-5; II Timothy 3:1-5)

SECTION 9. DISCIPLINE

In all matters of discipline the church must adhere faithfully to the scriptural principles and order in endeavoring to settle differences between its members and to restore any who have fallen into sin. (Matthew 18:15-18; I Corinthians 5:1713; II Corinthians 6:14- 18;  II Thessalonians 3:6-15; I Timothy 5:19-20; Titus 2:1-6, 12-,-15; 3:1-2, 8-11, Hebrews 10:24-25)

Since the deacons, together with the pastor, are to supervise the "spiritual work of the church" and are the Membership committee, they shall also serve as the Discipline Committee. In the case of personal differences of members, the deacons shall first recommend that the parties endeavor to settle their differences as laid down by their Lord in Matthew 18:15-16. If, after taking such steps, either member considers it necessary to bring the matter before the church, he shall do so, through the pastor and deacons, and both parties in the matter shall have a hearing before them. The deacons may report such conclusions and recommendations to the church as they deem best.

When the pastor and deacons learn that a member is living an inconsistent Christian life according to the Scriptures, they shall seek his restoration. If a member is charged with an offense which requires discipline, it shall be the duty of the deacons, with the pastor, to inquire into the matter, and if it shall appear that the matter, requires it, they shall proceed with a thorough investigation. They shall send to the offending member(s) a written statement of the specific charges made, and a notice of the time and place when they wish the accused to appear before them to examine these charges and make his defense. In the event the accused fails to appear at the specified time and place without satisfactory reason, the matter shall be presented to the church for action at a specially called meeting within thirty days. As a guide, see Hiscox, Edward T., New Directory for Baptist Churches, the Judson Press, Philadelphia, 29th edition, 1958, chapter VII "Church Discipline."

If the pastor and deacons, after completing their investigation of any matter as directed in the previous paragraph, decide that the facts thus disclosed require the church to discipline the offending member, they shall so report to the church and shall notify the offender of the time when the matter will be considered by the church.

If, after careful examination, any member fails to give a satisfactory answer to the church in relation to chargers placed against him or if he refused to appear before the church when cited, he shall be excluded from membership.

Any person removed from membership through discipline may be restored to membership upon recommendation of the deacons, and by vote of the church, after such person has given satisfactory explanation or acceptable evidence of honest repentance and have made full confession of wrong doing.

SECTION 10. RESTRICTION OF MEMBERS

A. The slandering of the character of any member of the church, or hurtful destructive criticism of the methods and practices of the church, the pastor(s), or other officers of the church, shall be grounds for discipline.

B. The circulating of a petition among members without having secured the permission of the deacons shall not be allowed. The person(s) so doing shall be subject to discipline.

C. The calling of a meeting with a purpose to hinder or interrupt the work of an officer or committee is prohibited. Persons calling such a meeting shall be subject to discipline.

ARTICLE X -- OFFICERS

SECTION 1. QUALIFICATIONS

A. All officers and leaders of the church shall be members of the church. They shall be of honest report, full of faith and loyal to the Word of God and this church. They shall be exemplary in their life, free from all worldly habits and live the victorious life. They shall be students of the Word, unquestionably Christian in their attitude, highly honored in their households and totally devoted to their church. (Acts 6:3; I Timothy 3)

B. They are expected to be faithful in attendance at the services and business meetings of the church realizing that all church members should be faithful, but especially those who by virtue of their position as leaders ought to be "an example of the believers". (I Timothy 4:12)

C. All officers, except the pastor, shall have been a member of this church for a period of at least one year, except that upon recommendation of the pastor and deacons a person may be considered by the church after six (6) months of membership.

D. Any officer unable, unwilling or found to be unqualified to fulfill the duties of office or can no longer subscribe to the Covenant and Constitution must submit his or her resignation to the deacons in a reasonable length of time or the office will be declared vacant by vote of the church.

SECTION 2. PASTOR

The highest office of the local New Testament Church is that of the pastor (I Peter 5:2-4). The pastor shall be recognized as the spiritual leader and advisor of the church and as such shall be given the Christian love, prayer and hearty cooperation of all members.

The Biblical synonyms for this office are:

1. BISHOP (Overseer -- the office, what he does) Titus 1:5-7; I Timothy 3:1

2. ELDER       (President of the assembly -- the man, what he is) I Timothy 5:1

3. MINISTER-PASTOR (Servant, shepherd) Ephesians 4:11; II Timothy 2:24; Colossians 1:25

A. HIS QUALIFICATIONS

1. The pastor (meaning "shepherd") shall reasonably meet all of the Biblical requirements for this high and holy office. (See I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:579). The Pulpit Committee shall be responsible to thoroughly investigate the proposed candidate to insure the church that he reasonably meets the Biblical qualifications. If he cannot be trusted with this Biblical leadership, then he should never be considered for the pastor of this church.

2. He shall be a minister of the Gospel who is of good report, sound in doctrine, Biblical in separation and Baptist in name and convictions. He must believe, without reservation, the Confession of Faith and agree to uphold this Constitution. He is to be in agreement with the church regarding their fellowship with associations and organizations. This will be known by his own statements and present associations.

3. I Timothy 3:2 shall be interpreted to mean that no man who has been divorced, or is married to a divorced person shall qualify to be pastor.

B. HIS CALL

1. The Pulpit Committee consists of the deacons. Preliminary investigation of the candidates shall begin as soon as possible after the resignation, death or removal of a pastor.

2. A candidate shall be invited by the deacons to candidate for one or more Sundays and to meet with the deacons. The deacons must secure his permission and present to the church, at the time of voting, a statement signed by the candidate signifying his unreserved acceptance of the church's Constitution, which includes the Confession of Faith and Church Covenant.

3. A special business meeting shall be called by the deacons to consider a call for the prospective pastor.     Public notice of the meeting shall be posted for one week and given from the pulpit for two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) vote of the voting members present (quorum is necessary) shall be required to call a pastor. Voting shall be by ballot.

4. The results of the vote shall be made known to the candidate as soon as possible. If the vote is favorable the call shall be extended by the church through the church clerk. If the call is accepted, he shall become pastor and he (and his wife, if married) shall become members of this church.

5. Details of the call, such as salary, housing, utilities, car expenses, insurance, etc., shall be included in the written invitation.

6. A second candidate for the pastorate shall not be heard until the first is voted upon.

C. HIS TENURE

1. He is called for an indeterminate period of time and shall continue as long as that relation is mutually agreeable to both pastor and church:

2. Termination of the office.

a. BY RESIGNATION

The pastor may resign at any time and his duties terminated thirty (30) days from the date of his written resignation, or at another time mutually agreeable to both the pastor and the church. Should the pastor reconsider his resignation the church must follow the procedures of SECTION 2-B-3 of this ARTICLE.

b. BY CHURCH ACTION

Accusations against the pastor shall be submitted to the deacons in writing and shall not be considered unless signed by three or more witnesses (I Timothy 5:19). A copy of the charges shall be given to the pastor immediately. If he err in doctrine or conduct the deacons shall, in brotherly love, attempt to correct him (Galatians 6:1). If this is not effective, the matter shall be referred to the church which alone has authority to act in a special business meeting. A majority vote (quorum is necessary), by ballot, is necessary to dismiss a pastor. In such cases, his pulpit, pastoral and administrative duties shall terminate immediately and his salary and use of church provided housing shall cease thirty (30) days from the date of dismissal.

D. HIS DUTIES

1. As shepherd of the flock the pastor shall be charged with the responsibility of the oversight of the spiritual life and program of the church, the pulpit ministry and the administration of the ordinances and to perform the various duties incumbent upon his office.

2. He shall be the moderator of the church business meetings except when the pastoral office is involved.

3. He shall be the presiding officer of the deacons.

4. He shall be an ex-officio member (co-equal with the chairman) of all committees of the church.

E. HIS PRIVILEGES

1. He may call for a meeting of the church, or of any committee thereof, at such times as experience proves necessary.

2. He shall make appointments as he may deem necessary, when such appointments do not conflict with the electoral policy of the constituted offices of the church. All appointees shall be members of the church. Such authority does not extend to paid personnel unless the church has authorized the position.

3. When feasible, he and his wife shall be sent by the church to the annual state association meetings, the national association meetings and such other meetings approved by the deacons, as funds are available. These meetings shall not be counted against his vacation time.

4. After one year he may take an annual vacation of three weeks, but not to exceed two Sundays, with full pay. The deacons may consider his years of experience in the pastorate and recommend to the church a longer vacation.

F. HIS STAFF

1. All pastoral staff members shall meet the qualifications of pastor. (ARTICLE X, SECTION 2-A)

2. The pastor shall engage the services of additional personnel, with the approval of the deacons, as provided in the budget.

3. All staff members shall be responsible to and under the direction of the pastor.

4 The pastor shall have the right to dismiss any staff member without being required to state the reason to the church or deacons, if in his judgment the church can best be served by keeping the reason confidential.

5 Any staff member dismissed, or who submits a written resignation, shall receive two (2) weeks salary and the use of any church provided housing for thirty (30) days.

SECTION 3 DEACONS

The term "deacon" means "servant" or "helper" -- helper to the pastor and the church. Therefore, the deacons shall serve the church by helping the pastor in the general supervision of the work of the church.

A. THEIR QUALIFICATIONS

1. A man eligible to hold the office of deacon shall have attained the age of 21 years and be a capable spiritual leader as set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:3.

2. I Timothy 3:12 shall be interpreted to mean that no man who has been divorced or is married to a divorced person shall qualify to be a deacon.

B. THEIR ELECTION AND TERM OF OFFICE

1. The deacons are chosen by "the whole multitude" (Acts 6:5), that is the congregation, and appointed "over this business" (Acts 6:3), in order that the spiritual ministry of the church, "prayer" and "the ministry of the Word" (Acts 6:4) may be kept pre-eminent.

2. There shall be three (3) deacons, elected on an equal rotation basis for a three year term.

a. At the implementation of this constitution one deacon shall be elected for a three (3) year term, one for a two (2) year term and one for a one (1) year term.

3. A deacon shall be added for each 25 members after the membership has reached 75.

4. A deacon who has served a full three (3) year term will be ineligible for re-election for one year, providing there are qualified men to serve as deacons.

C. THEIR ORGANIZATION

1. Soon after the annual election of officers the deacons shall elect one of their number to be vice-moderator. In the absence of the pastor, or at those times when the business pertains to the pastoral office, he shall be moderator of the deacons and of the church business meetings.

2. They shall annually elect one of their number to be secretary. He shall keep confidential minutes of all deacon meetings A copy of these minutes shall be signed and given to the pastor after each meeting.

3. They shall annually elect three of their number to sign all legal documents and hold in trust the property of the church as authorized by vote of the membership.

4. Two-thirds (2/3) of the deacons shall constitute a quorum.

D. THEIR DUTIES

The deacons, together with the pastor, shall:

1. Share the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of the church family, the visitation program, the care of the needy and the widows. (Acts 6:3-4; I Timothy 5:3-14)

2. Hold regular meetings at such time and places as may be deemed advisable and for the best interest of the church.

3. Examine all candidates for baptism and/or membership.

4. Review the membership roll quarterly and make recommendations pertaining to all requests for transfer of membership.

5. Serve the elements of the Lord's Supper.

6. Prepare and recommend an adequate church budget.

7. Audit and authorize all the bills to be paid by the treasurer, except regular salaries, missions, utilities and payments.

8. Supervise the disbursement of any benevolent funds. This fund will be subject to an audit by the deacons only; however, an annual report shall be given to the church showing only the total of receipts and expenditures. This ministry of mercy shall be kept confidential.

9. Constitute the Disciplinary Committee.

10. Constitute the Nominating Committee.

11. Constitute the Pulpit Committee.

12. Appoint an Auditing Committee.

13. Review and approve the literature and materials to be used in the educational program of the church.

14. See that proper maintenance and repair of the church buildings, equipment and property is provided.

15. Review annually, or as directed by the church, and recommend to the church any change in the salary or benefits of all employees.

16. Review and recommend to the church adequate insurance against hazards and liabilities.

17. Obtain bids, when necessary, and recommend to the church the purchase of equipment.

18. Be permitted to spend up to five hundred dollars ($500) per project for any emergency situation on church property, without the vote of the church.

19. Select a safety deposit box or other receptacle for the safe keeping of all important church papers, such as deeds, insurance policies, mortgages and etc.

20. Not have authority to sell, lease, give away, or dispose of church equipment or property of value, nor to mortgage or encumber the same except as ordered by vote of the membership.

SECTION 4. TREASURER

A. The treasurer shall be elected for a two year term.

B. His/her duties shall be:

1. To count all receipts with the financial secretary. In the absence of either, the vice-moderator shall assist in counting the receipts for that particular occasion. Should both the treasurer and financial secretary be absent the vice-moderator or pastor shall appoint another officer to assist. Three signed statements (two signatures) of the receipts shall be completed for each offering received. One copy for the treasurer, one for the financial secretary and one for the pastor.

2. To accurately record and deposit all the receipts, in the name of the church, in a bank designated by the deacons.

3. To pay all bills and salaries, by check, as authorized by the deacons according to the approved church budget or by official church action, and shall send all missions money as directed by the church.

4.To keep a permanent itemized record of the receipts and expenditures and provide a written monthly report to the pastor and a quarterly and annual report to the church All books, records, accounts and receipts of this office are the property of the church and must be surrendered at the end of the term of office or when requested by the deacons.

SECTION 5. FINANCIAL SECRETARY

A. The financial secretary shall be elected annually.

B. His/her duties shall be:

1. To assist the treasurer in counting all the offerings of the church and to keep a permanent record of the same.

2. To keep a confidential record of the giving of members, by check or envelope, and to provide them with an annual report of their giving. The records of all individual gifts shall be guarded as a sacred trust.

3. In the absence of the treasurer the financial secretary shall be authorized to write checks for the payment of bills and salaries.

4. To prepare an annual report showing only the total receipts of the church.

5. All books, records, and receipts of this office are the property of the church and must be surrendered at the end of the term of office or when requested by the deacons.

SECTION 6 CHURCH CLERK

A. The church clerk shall be elected annually.

B His/her duties shall be:

1. To keep a correct and permanent record of all the business meetings.

2. To care for the official correspondence, as authorized by the church, including letters of transfer and dismissal.

3. To maintain a complete and accurate registry of the members with their current address, method of admission, voting status and any other pertinent information.

4. To preserve all papers, valuable letters and records that belong to the church.

5. To certify to the bank the names of officers who are authorized to sign checks and have access to any safety deposit boxes. (This ARTICLE, SECTION 4-B-3 and SECTION 5-B-3)

6. To record the current events of the church that are likely to be of historical value, making the church records a true and complete history of the church.

7. To immediately release all records, letters, documents and any other church property to the deacons upon termination of office or when requested by the deacons.

SECTION 7. SUPERINTENDENT OF THE BIBLE SCHOOL

A. The superintendent of the Bible school shall be elected annually.

B. His duties shall be:

1. To be a member of the Christian Education Committee.

2. To have general supervision of the Bible school.

3. To recommend to the Christian Education Committee, for appointment, those church members he desires to use as assistant superintendent, departmental superintendents, teachers, secretaries, pianists and other such workers necessary for efficiency.

4. To recommend to the Christian Education Committee all changes in teacher personnel.

5. To review any good fundamental Baptistic study materials suggested by the teachers and give evaluation to the Christian Education Committee.

6. To lead the Bible school teachers and officers in periodic staff meetings to:

a. Consecrate themselves to the Lord.

b. Practice and promote New Testament evangelism in soul winning, separation and consecration in their classes.

c. To visit in the homes of their students and prospective students.

SECTION 8. HEAD USHER

A. He shall be appointed annually, and with counsel and approval of the deacons, shall select men to serve with him for one year.

B. The duties of the ushers shall include:

1. To greet and seat people.

2. To receive the offerings.

3. To count those present at all church meetings.

4. Any other related duties as directed by the head usher.

SECTION 9. VACANCIES

A. Vacancies in any of the elected offices may be filled by the church at any quarterly business meeting providing two weeks notice of such action is given. ARTICLE XI, SECTION 4-F gives procedure.

B. Any office can remain vacant if there is no qualified member to fill it. If offices necessary to meet any legal requirements are vacant the pastor and deacons shall appoint a member to represent the church until there is a qualified member elected to fill the constituted office.

ARTICLE XI -- STANDING COMMITTEES

SECTION 1. QUALIFICATIONS

All committee members shall be active or associate members of the church.

SECTION 2. CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COMMITTEE

A. The Christian Education Committee shall consist of the pastor, the Bible school superintendent, one deacon and two members from the church appointed annually by the pastor.

B. Annually they shall elect a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary.

C. They shall supervise, co-ordinate and staff, with approval of the deacons, the educational ministry of the church including, but not limited to, the Bible School, Junior Church, nursery, youth groups, clubs, Vacation Bible School, weekday activities, summer camps and any other educational activities. All teachers and leaders shall be church members except itinerant teachers and workers who, by invitation, are assisting the church. All such workers shall be in full agreement with the Confession of Faith of the church.

D. They shall review and recommend to the deacons for approval the curriculum, selection of materials to be used, proper facilities and equipment needs for all educational departments of the church.

E. They shall recommend to the deacons an annual budget which seems essential to carry out the functions under their supervision.

F. The Christian Education Committee shall be responsible to, and report at least quarterly to, the deacons.

SECTION 3. MISSIONS COMMITTEE

A. The Missions Committee shall consist of the pastor, one deacon who shall serve as chairman, and three members of the church appointed by the deacons annually. An additional church member will be appointed for each 50 members after the membership has reached 100.

B. They shall co-ordinate and promote missions within the church. They shall plan a periodic missionary event and/or a Missionary Conference to enlighten and mobilize the church in missionary work.

C. They shall investigate areas of need and make recommendations to the deacons for the support of missionary work in accordance with the Missions Policy of this church. (See ARTICLE XII)

SECTION 4. NOMINATING COMMITTEE

A. The Nominating Committee shall consist of the deacons            (ARTICLE X SECTION 3-D-10)

B. They shall, at least one month before the annual election meeting, prepare and distribute to the resident voting members a primary nominating ballot indicating the elected offices of the church, those who occupy each office, those whose terms expire, and other pertinent information and instruction necessary to complete the nominating ballot.

C. They shall prepare an election ballot from the qualified nominees who are willing to serve the Lord and this church. There shall be one or more (preferably two) nominees for each office and committee, providing qualified (ARTICLE X, SECTION 1; SECTION 3-A) candidates are available. No nominee shall have his name posted until he has been consulted and accepts the nomination to the ballot.

D. The list of nominees for the various offices shall be posted at least two (2) weeks in advance of the annual meeting.

E. All nominations are to be made in this manner and no new nominations will be made from the floor at any meeting.

F. This committee shall be a standing committee during the entire fiscal year and shall so act to fill any vacancies that may occur. Normally, a vacancy will be filled by the appointment of a member who had been nominated for that office.

SECTION 5. AUDITING COMMITTEE

A. The Auditing Committee shall consist of two members of the church who shall be appointed annually by the deacons to audit, or have audited, the financial records of the church and present a written report at the annual business meeting.

B. All auditing of the books done by church members shall be done in the presence of the treasurer.

SECTION 6. OTHER COMMITTEES

As the need arises, other permanent or temporary committees may be recommended by the deacons and ratified by the church at a regular or special business meeting (Building Committee, Music Committee, Social Committee, etc.)

SECTION 7. REMOVAL FROM COMMITTEE

A member of any committee being absent from three consecutive meetings without excuse acceptable to the deacons, may be removed from the committee by the deacons. This vacancy shall be filled by another appointment.

ARTICLE XII -- AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS

SECTION 1. DEFINITION

Any organizations of/or within the church shall be considered an auxiliary organization.

SECTION 2. RESPONSIBILITY

All auxiliary organizations and/or ministries (existing or future) must be recognized by the church and be responsible to the church in all matters. All programs and activities must be for the general welfare of the church and in harmony with this constitution.

ARTICLE XIII -- MISSIONS

This church shall support missions and missionaries involved in evangelization and the establishment of New Testament churches as set forth by our Lord in Matthew 28:18-20, and such benevolent social agencies, which assist the  local church ministry. They shall be Baptist in name, fundamental in doctrine and separated from all forms of apostasy. They shall be known to be in agreement with our doctrine, practice and policies They shall further meet all the requirements of church policy.

SECTION 1. SELECTION OF A MISSIONARY

A. To become a missionary of this church, the candidate shall respond in full to the approved missionary questionnaire and be a member in good standing of a fundamental Baptist church. First consideration will be given to the missionary candidate who has been a member of this church for at least one year before the date of application.

B. The candidate must be approved by a recognized Baptist Mission agency whose doctrine and practice is in conformity to that of our church and whose missionaries practice believer's baptism by immersion and the establishment of local New Testament Baptist churches. The policy of the mission must be that all personal support and gifts, given by our church, will go to the account of the approved missionary. The mission agency must not be in fellowship with the National or World Council of Churches or other groups which include modernists.

C. The candidate shall declare his agreement, without reservation, to the Confession of Faith of this church and will earnestly try to live up to the principles of the Church Covenant.

D. The candidate shall meet with the Missions Committee to give testimony and be questioned before  recommendation will be made to the church.

E. The Mission Committee shall recommend the support, or withdrawal of support, of a missionary, which shall be approved by a three-fourth (3/4) ballot vote at any regular called church business meeting.

F. When a supported missionary returns to give a personal report to the church he shall also meet with the Missions Committee.

G. The approval and support of any missionary shall cease at once if he transfers to another mission organization, an independent work, resigns, is dismissed, or by church action. To reinstate such support the missionary must follow the usual procedure for a new missionary.

SECTION 2. FINANCIAL POLICY FOR MISSIONARY SUPPORT

A. Support shall begin the following month, unless otherwise directed.

B. A missionary's support may only be discontinued while he is in the United States, unless action is taken according to SECTION l-G of this ARTICLE, and the missionary shall be informed as soon as possible.

C. A continuation of support must be authorized by the church if a missionary should continue on deputation longer than three (3) years or on furlough longer then twelve (12) months.

D. Neither the church nor any auxiliary organization shall give financial aid to missionaries, fields or projects not in accord with our doctrinal beliefs.

E. Designated gifts will only be received for missionaries and projects approved by the church. Furthermore, such designated giving will be honored insofar as it is in conformity with accepted mission agency policy and IRS guidelines.

F. In the event of insufficient funds to meet the monthly commitments of the budget, the available funds will be pro-rated in proportion to the amount of all regular support of missionaries. As funds are available a reasonable attempt will be made to make up any shortage.

ARTICLE XIV -- MEETINGS

SECTION 1. MEETING FOR WORSHIP

A. The church shall normally meet each Sunday for Bible school and for the morning and evening worship services.

B. A midweek service shall be held for prayer, edification and instruction of the church family.

C. Other meetings for membership classes, youth, teacher training, education etc., shall be held as deemed necessary.

D. The regular services of the church may be temporarily changed by the pastor and deacons, or by an act of God.

SECTION 2. MEETINGS FOR BUSINESS

A. The annual meeting of the church for reports and business shall be held during the third or fourth week of January.

B. The annual election of officers shall be held early in December. Voting shall be by ballot.

C. The quarterly business meetings shall be held during the second or third week of April, July and October.

D. Incidental business may be conducted at any regular meeting of the church. Incidental business may include receiving members, granting letters and authorizing messengers.

E. A special business meeting may be called by the pastor or two-thirds (2/3) of the deacons. The purpose, date and time of the meeting shall be posted for one (1) week (two Sundays) prior to the meeting and announced at all regular services during this period. No business shall be transacted except that for which the meeting was called. All voting shall be by ballot.

F. An agenda will be followed for the quarterly and annual business meetings. Any voting member can submit to the pastor and deacons, in writing, any item of business they desire to have discussed, two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. The pastor and/or deacons shall then respond to the member or place it on the agenda. The agenda shall be posted in a conspicuous place one week in advance of the meeting. Only items on the agenda will be considered at each business meeting.

SECTION 3. FISCAL YEAR

A. The fiscal year of the church shall follow the calendar year.

B. All officers, except the pastor and his staff, and appointees shall normally assume their duties on January 1st and shall continue for the calendar year, unless otherwise stated in this Constitution. (ARTICLE X, SECTION 1-D .and 4-A)

SECTION 4. QUORUM

A. In quarterly business meetings, fifteen per cent (15%) of the active membership, eighteen (18) years of age and over, shall constitute a quorum.

B. In the annual election, the annual meeting and special business meetings twenty-five per cent (25%) of the active members, eighteen (18) years of age and over, shall constitute a quorum.

C. In incidental business meetings (SECTION 2-D of this ARTICLE) the active members present constitute a quorum. (Robert's Rule of Order -- Revised edition, page 258)

D. A majority vote of the voting members present shall decide all matters, except the calling of a pastor, the amending of the constitution, missionary support or withdrawal of support, or the purchase, sale or mortgaging of church property. These shall require a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote. (See ARTICLE X, SECTION 2-B-3, ARTICLE XIII, SECTION l-E, ARTICLE XIX)

SECTION 5. RULES OF ORDER

A. Robert's Rules of Order shall be used to conduct all business meetings except as otherwise ordered in the constitution.

B. Hiscox's, "The New Directory for Baptist Churches", shall be the recognized authority for procedure in all matters not provided for in this constitution.

C. Christian courtesy shall be shown in all deliberations and discussions.

ARTICLE XV --  FINANCES

SECTION 1. METHOD OF RAISING MONEY

A. The systematic and voluntary giving for the support of the work of the Lord is worship as well as duty. All members are encouraged to give regular financial support to the church and to the projects it shall sponsor. The Scriptures teach that one-tenth (1/10) of one's income (Malachi 3:7-12;       Hebrews 7:4-10; I Corinthians 16:2) should be faithfully and cheerfully given (II Corinthians 9:6-7), and the offering is our love gift to God above the tithe, for all we have belongs to Christ (I Corinthians 29:14, 16; Acts 4:36-37).

B. All monies shall be raised, for the support of the church and it's various activities, by the Biblical plan of tithes, offerings and gifts.

C. If it shall become necessary to borrow money or sell bonds, for the cause of building or for some special project, the above policy shall be used to repay the debt.

D. No part of the receipts shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributed to its members, except for reasonable compensation for services rendered.

SECTION 2. DESIGNATED GIFTS 

A. Special designated gifts to the church for new projects, programs or activities from members or non-members, shall be accepted at the discretion of the deacons.

B. A designated gift for a new project, program or activity will not mandate the commencement of the same. If the project, program or activity is not approved or requires more funding the church must approve the same or the treasurer will be instructed to return the gift to the donor.

ARTICLE XVI -- USE OF CHURCH PROPERTY

SECTION 1. APPROVAL

A. Use of the church property, for other than regularly scheduled meetings and activities of the church, shall first be approved by the pastor and deacons.

SECTION 2. RESTRICTIONS

A. No secret society or other organization, whose beliefs, principles and practices are not in agreement with this constitution, will be permitted to hold services on the church property.

B. No minister or pulpit orator who denies the fundamentals of the faith once delivered unto the saints, or who is not in full accord with this constitution and doctrinal position will be permitted to preach or to conduct any service on the premises. Speakers for evangelistic meetings or conferences who are called to conduct such meetings are to be in sympathy with the beliefs and practice of the church. The pastor and deacons shall be responsible for the enforcement of this provision.

ARTICLE XVII -- LICENSING

SECTION 1. ELIGIBILITY

When a man in this membership is called to the Christian ministry and desires to be licensed, he shall make his desire known to the pastor. When the pastor and deacons are satisfied concerning his salvation, call to the ministry and consistent Christian living they shall recommend to the church that a license be granted. The church may act upon this recommendation at any regular business meeting providing the provisions of ARTICLE XVIII, SECTION 3-B and C are also met.

SECTION 2. DURATION

The duration of the license shall be for one year but may be renewed annually after a review by the deacons No license shall be valid after the licensee removes his membership from this church. A license can be annulled or withdrawn at any time should the church, in its judgment, have sufficient reason for such action.

ARTICLE XVIII -- ORDINATION

SECTION 1. CALLING A COUNCIL

When, in the judgment of the pastor and deacons, a man in this membership is called to the Christian ministry, it shall be within their power to recommend to the church that a council, composed of a pastor and two messengers from churches of like faith and practice, be called for the purpose of examining the candidate. This council will be called by church action.

SECTION 2. EXAMINATION

The council shall thoroughly examine the applicant for ordination as to his call to the Christian ministry, education, Christian experience, reputation, character, doctrinal belief and demonstrated efficiency in Christian service. If the council recommends, the church may proceed with the ordination.

SECTION 3. RESTRICTIONS

The following shall not be ordained to the Gospel Ministry:

A. A man who has not served six months as pastor, assistant pastor, or in definite Christian work in such manner as to convey reasonable evidence of God's call to the ministry.

B. A man who uses intoxicating liquor, drugs (except as prescribed by a recognized physician), or tobacco in any form, or who brings disrepute upon his ministry through worldly practices and associations. (Romans 12:1-2; I Corinthians 6:14-18)

C. A man who is divorced or married to a divorced woman. (I Timothy 3:2 "one woman kind of man"). The Scriptures teach that divorce disqualifies a person from the position of pastor. Though we are confident that they are forgiven through the blood of Christ, yet the scars of this act will remain until the physical life is terminated. The standards of I Timothy 3:2-7 speak for themselves and illustrate the behavior and character of the pastor. Particular attention should be given to verses 4,5 and 7. One who has been divorced cannot possibly comply for his testimony already has been tarnished.

SECTION 4. REVOKING

It shall be within the power of the church to revoke the ordination credentials of any minister ordained by this church, if the said minister is found guilty of any of the above practices after an impartial hearing conducted in the attitude of I Corinthians 13. The minister shall have the privilege of presenting his case before the church before any final action is taken.

ARTICLE XIX -- AMENDMENTS

This constitution may be amended, revised or altered by a three-fourths (3/4) ballot vote of the active members present and voting at any special business meeting providing:

1. The purpose, date and time of the meeting shall be posted for two (2) weeks and two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting and announced at all regular services during this period.

2. The proposed amendment(s) has been posted in a conspicuous place within the church building and read, or distributed, at the regular services for two (2) consecutive Sundays preceding the business meeting.

ARTICLE XX -- DISSOLUTION

Should it become necessary to dissolve this church, known as Faith Baptist Church of Benzonia, Michigan, provision shall be made by ballot vote prior to the dissolution to assign all of the assets to one or more fundamental, Bible-believing, Baptist, non-profit organizations, such as churches, mission agencies, Bible schools or associations that would be in doctrinal agreement with this constitution. None of the assets shall be given to any individual.