BY-LAWS Of FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH Cashion, Oklahoma Adopted August 15, 2004
Article 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 right of exclusive 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.
Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular worship service for membership in any of the following ways:
(1) By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church.
(2) By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist Church.
(3) By statement of prior conversion experience and baptism by a Baptist church or church of like faith and practice after examination and written recommendation of the pastor when no letter is obtainable. – Ref. Article V.
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 these members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
Section 3- Rights of Members Every member of the church is entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present or provision has been made for absentee balloting.
Every member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices and/or teaching positions in the church.
Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.
Section 4- Termination of Membership Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
(1) Death of the member
(2) Dismissal to another Baptist Church
(3) Exclusion by action of this church
(4) Erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.
Section 5- Discipline It shall be the practice of this 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. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for restoration rather than punishment.
Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons* will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accordance with Scripture. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds vote of the members present at an open meeting is required; and the church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church. The person so excluded is to be notified in person within two weeks. A spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance shall pervade all such proceedings.
The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by vote of the church upon evidence of the excluded person’s repentance and reformation.
Article II. Church Officers
Section 1- Church Officers
The officers of this church shall be the pastor, the deacons*, a clerk, a treasurer, and three (3) trustees.
(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 the church. As such he works with the deacons* and church staff to: (1) lead the church in the achievement of its mission, (2) proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (3) 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. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given.
A pastor selection committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor, and its recommendation will constitute a nomination. Any church member has the privilege of making other nominations according to the policy established by the church. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one name at a time. Election shall be by ballot, 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 may relinquish the office as pastor by giving at least two weeks’ notice to the church at the time of resignation.
The church may declare the office of pastor to be vacant. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon the recommendation of a majority of the personnel committee and the deacons* or by written petition signed by not less than one- fourth of the resident church members. The moderator for this meeting shall be the elected moderator for regular Business Meeting, and he shall be someone other than the pastor. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by secret ballot; affirmative votes of two-thirds of the members present being necessary to declare the office vacant. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the pastor so excluded from office, the church will compensate the pastor with not less than one-twelfth of his total annual compensation. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in no more than thirty days.
(2) Deacons*: 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 deacon is to serve with the pastor in performing pastoral ministries tasks; proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; care for the 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.
Procedure For The Selection Of Deacons Minimum Qualifications:
A candidate for Deacon must be a male.
A candidate for Deacon must be at least 21 years of age.
A candidate for Deacon must be a member of First Baptist Church of Cashion for a period of at least six months prior to nomination.
A candidate for Deacon must be scripturally qualified (1 Timothy 3).
The request for nomination of deacon candidates may be initiated at any time upon a vote of the church body during a regularly scheduled business meeting. The church body shall also determine the number of deacon candidates needed. Upon such a vote the following procedure will be followed.
The nomination period for deacon candidates will be scheduled for a specific period of time that shall include at least three Sundays. The nomination process shall be announced in all services, published in the worship bulletin and included in the church newsletter. Church members may nominate individuals in light of the qualifications by filling out and signing a nomination form and placing the form in the designated “drop box.” 4. Church members should enter the nomination after much prayer and it should be based on their best knowledge of the individual. This should in no way be interpreted as meaning that the church member is to conduct his or her own inquiry into an individual’s qualifications to serve as a deacon. (The deacon body will contact nominated individuals regarding qualifications and calling to serve.)
The deacon body and pastor at a scheduled meeting will review the nominations and the individuals receiving the greatest numbers of nominations will be considered “candidates”. The deacons will contact these individuals to determine if they do meet the qualifications and to regard the candidate’s willingness to serve and their calling to serve. 7. The deacon body will present willing, called, and qualified candidates to the church for approval at a regularly scheduled business meeting. Upon a vote of approval by the church, the individuals shall be considered as “Deacons in Training,” for an appropriate time period.
8. At the conclusion of the training period, the deacons will review the “Deacons in Training” and present for ordination those candidates who are still considered qualified.
(3) Ministerial Staff: Staff ministers shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. A job description shall be written when the need for a staff member is determined. Those staff members of whom the church requires evidence of a personal call of God to minister shall be recommended to the church by the personnel committee and called by church action. At the time of resignation at least two weeks’ notice shall be given to the church. The church may vote to vacate such positions upon recommendation of the personnel committee, such termination being immediate and the compensation conditions being the same as for the pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual’s compensation.
(4) Non-ministerial Staff: Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the church determines the need for their services. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the Personnel Committee and supervising staff member and approved by church action.
(5) Moderator: The moderator shall be a member of the church for at least 6 months elected by the church body. In the absence of the moderator, the Chairman of Deacons* shall preside. In the absence of both, the clerk shall call the church to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
(6) Clerk: The Clerk shall be a member of the church for at least 6 months. The Clerk shall keep a suitable record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admission, of dismissal, or death, together with a record of baptisms. The Clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, preserve on file all communication and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meeting where such notice is necessary, as indicated in these by-laws. 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 one is maintained. These records are not to leave the church building. The Clerk shall serve a term of three (3) years, with the same individual not exceeding two (2) consecutive terms. An individual may be re-elected to the office of Clerk after at least one idle term.
(7) Treasurer/Co-Treasurer: The Treasurer and Co-Treasurer shall be a member of the church for at least 1 year. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to preserve, and payout, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by the authorized personnel, all money, or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements for the preceding month.
The Co-Treasurer shall be a member from the Finance Committee and is responsible for supporting all the duties and responsibilities of the Treasurer. It is the duty of the Co-Treasurer to be available in the absence of the Treasurer to continue the functions of the office.
The Treasurer and Co-Treasurer must have each served at least one term on the Budget/Finance Committee at First Baptist Church prior to their election. (This term need not be immediately prior to serving as Treasurer.)
The Treasurer and Co-Treasurer shall receive the collection envelopes and all other monetary contributions. They shall keep records for references for a period of five (5) years. They will fill out a monthly balance sheet,
which will indicate receipts from envelopes, plate or loose, and miscellaneous or special offerings. There shall be at least 2 people, at least one being a member of the Finance Committee, to receive and count the offering each week. They shall also be responsible for distributing or mailing annual records of contributions to all contributing members by January 31. The church may delegate some of the Treasurer responsibilities to a church secretary.
(8) Trustees: Three trustees elected by the church will hold in trust the church property. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, to transfer any property without a specific vote of the church authorizing each action. It shall be the function of the trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents involving the sale, mortgaging, or purchase or rental of property or other legal documents where the signatures of trustees are required. The Trustees shall be members of the church for at least 6 months and will be elected to three (3) year terms. The terms shall be staggered such that an annual rotation of one (1) trustee occurs.
Article III. Committees, Ministries and Task Forces Section 1- Committees The church shall elect such committees deemed necessary to effectively carry on the work and ministry at the church. Committees exist to provide the ministries and church program organizations the resources (people, equipment, supplies, literature, building space, etc.) needed to accomplish the work assigned to them.
A “Church Committee Manual,” giving general guidelines and responsibilities for these committees, shall be maintained in the church office and periodically distributed to the membership of the church. The standing committees of the church are Building and Grounds, Nominating, Personnel, Youth and Budget/Finance. Other committees, standing or temporary, may be added at the church’s discretion.
Only members of this church may serve as members of the following committees: Nominating, Personnel/Planning, Budget/Finance, and Pastor Search (when there is a need for Pastor Search).
Section 2- Ministries Definition: A “Ministry” is a group of lay people who volunteer to do a certain kind of work. The work may be for the benefit of the church body or some of its members, or the community outside the body. Each ministry will have a leader who gives direction to the ministry.
Section 3- Task Forces Definition: A “Task Force” is a group of individuals nominated and elected by the church at a regular business meeting to whom is assigned a specific, limited work to be accomplished, usually on a short-term basis. Task Force members serve until the assigned task is completed
.Article IV. Church 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. It is understood that the pastor is an ex officio officer of all the organizations named, with the exception of Budget/Finance, Personnel, and Pastor Search and his leadership is to be recognized in them.
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. Sunday School is to be conducted each Sunday morning.
The task of the Sunday School shall be to teach the biblical revelation: lead in reaching all prospects for the church, lead all church members to worship, witness, learn, and minister daily; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination. Section 3- Discipleship Training There shall be a provision for a Discipleship Training Organization, divided into departments for all the ages and conducted under the direction of the Church Training Director. Discipleship Training is to be conducted each Sunday Evening, or as otherwise scheduled. It shall serve as the training organization of the church. Section 4- Woman’s Missionary Union There shall be a Woman’s Missionary Union with such officers and such forms of organization as needed. The tasks of the Woman’s Missionary Union shall be to teach missions; lead persons to participate in missions; provide organization and leadership for special mission projects of the church; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination. Section 5- Brotherhood There shall be a provision for a Brotherhood, made up of such standard organizations, including Royal Ambassadors, as needed. This program shall have a director who shall be elected by the church. The tasks are to teach missions; lead all men, young men, and boys to participate in mission activities; provide organization and leadership for special mission projects of the church; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination.
Section 6- Church Music Program There shall be a Church Music program under the direction of the Minister of Music or designee. Such officers and/or organization shall be included as needed. The music tasks shall be to teach music and hymnody; provide music and musicians for the congregational services and the organizations of the church; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
Article V. Church Ordinances Section 1- Baptism This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received 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.
(1) Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
(2) The pastor shall administer baptism, or whomever the pastor and chairman of deacons* authorize shall administer baptism. The deacons* shall assist in the preparation for, and the observance of baptism.
(3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
(4) A person who professes Christ and is not baptized after reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the pastor and/or staff or deacons*. If negative interest is ascertained on the part of the candidate, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
Section 2- The Lord’s Supper The church shall observe the Lord’s Supper at least quarterly as scheduled by the church and it shall be open to all believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The pastor, deacons, and/or their designees shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparations.
Article VI. Church Meetings Section 1- Worship Services The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services. The pastor shall direct the services for all the church members and for all others who may choose to attend. Section 2- Regular Business Meetings Regular business meetings shall be held bi-monthly on a designated Wednesday or Sunday night. (Amended at May 20, 2015, Business Meeting to change from monthly business meetings.) Section 3- Special Business Meetings A specially called business meeting may be held to consider special matters of significant nature. A one-week notice must be given for the specially called business meeting unless extreme emergency renders such notice impractical.
Section 4- Quorum The quorum consists of those who attend the business meeting, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section 5- Parliamentary Rules Roberts Rules of Order, Revised is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
Article VII. Church Finances Section 1- Budget The Budget/Finance Committee shall prepare and submit to the church for approval a general budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses. The budget shall be submitted annually for approval before the beginning of the fiscal year. Offering envelopes will be provided for members’ use.
Section 2- Accounting Procedures
All funds received for any and all purposes shall be received by the Church Treasurer and a member of the Finance Committee, and be properly recorded on the books of the church.
A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the Budget/Finance Committee. All funds shall go through the Treasurer including but not limited to General Funds, Special Offerings, and Youth Funds.
Section 3- Members Support Expected It is understood that the members of the church will give regular, proportionate gifts (a tithe is recommended and encouraged) to the support of the life, work and ministries of the church. Each new member shall be informed of the need for a commitment to the church’s unified budget. Additional plans shall be made annually for securing a worthy pledge/commitment from each member of the church family.
Section 4- Fiscal Year
The church fiscal year shall begin on September 1 and ends on August 31.
Article VIII. Church Policy Manual The church shall maintain a manual to include church policies, procedures and responsibilities for the administration of the church. The manual shall be kept in the church office and made available for use there by any member of the church. The deacons* shall review the manual at least annually, with authority to recommend changes for the church to consider. Any church member or church organization may initiate suggested changes in the manual.
Church property and facilities shall always be used in conformity with the Statement of Faith as recorded in the church constitution and in conformity with Church policies and procedures on record. (Amendment—approved at May 20, 2015, Business Meeting to add this paragraph.)
Addition, revision, or deletion of church policies requires: (1) recommendation of the Pastor or a church officer or organization to whose areas of assignment the policy relates, (2) review by the Pastor, and (3) approval by the church.
Procedures may be added, revised, or deleted by: (1) recommendation of a church officer or organization to whose areas of assignment the procedures relate, (2) approval by the Pastor, and (3) approval of the church.
Article IX. Amendments Changes in the constitution and by-laws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous business meeting and copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to each member present at the earlier meeting. Amendments to the constitution shall be by two-thirds vote of church members present. Amendments to the by-laws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.
*The Planning and Personnel Committee shall stand in place of the deacon body until such time as a deacon body can be established.