CONSTITUTION

 

Preamble

We, the members of Blythewood Baptist Church, for the preservation and security of the Church Covenant and Declaration of Faith, and to the end that this assembly of baptized believers may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the New Testament order; we, therefore, band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ and hereby adopt for our government and method of labor for the Lord the following Constitution and By-Laws. 


Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 2

Article I – Name.. 5

Article II – Affiliation.. 5

Article III – Purpose.. 5

Article IV – Church Covenant.. 5

Article V – Doctrinal Statement.. 6

Section 1 -  The Holy Scriptures. 6

Section 2 -- The Doctrine of God.. 6

The Person and Work of God the Father. 6

The Person and Work of Christ 6

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit 6

Section 3 --  Doctrine of Creation.. 7

Section 4 -- The Doctrine of Man.. 7

Section 5 -- The Doctrine of Sin.. 7

Section 6 -- The Doctrine of Satan.. 7

Section 7 -- The Doctrine of Salvation.. 7

Repentance. 8

Regeneration.. 8

Justification.. 8

Sanctification.. 8

The Eternal Security of Believers. 8

Glorification.. 9

Section 8 -- The Church.. 9

An Organism... 9

An Organization.. 9

Section 9 -- The Two Natures of the Believer.. 9

Section 10 – Separation.. 9

Section 11 – Missions. 10

Section 12 -- Spiritual Gifts. 10

Section 13 – Dispensationalism... 10

Section 14 -- The Second Advent of Christ.. 10

Section 15 -- The Eternal State.. 10

Section 16 --  Tongues Movement.. 11

Section 17 --  Human Sexuality.. 11

Section 18 --  Family Relationships. 11

Section 19 --  Divorce and Remarriage.. 11

Section 20 --  Abortion.. 11

Section 21 --  The Role of Women in the Local Church.. 12

Section 22 --  Civil Government.. 12

Section 23 --  Music.. 12

Article VI – Membership.. 13

Section 1 -- Becoming a Member.. 13

Section 2 -- Being a Member.. 13

Section 3 -- Terminating Membership.. 14

By Death.. 14

By Request 14

By Erasure. 14

By Exclusion.. 14

Section 4 – Inactive Members.. 15

Article VII – Discipline.. 15

Section 1 -- Identifying Situations Requiring Discipline.. 15

Section 2 -- Responsibility for Church Discipline.. 15

Section 3 -- Procedure For Accomplishing Church Discipline.. 16

Section 4 -- Restoration.. 17

Article VIII – Church Government.. 17

Article IX – Church Officers / Staff / Workers. 17

Section 1 – Pastor.. 18

Qualifications. 18

Procedures of Appointment 18

Interim and Pulpit Supply. 20

Tenure of Office. 20

Procedures for Termination.. 21

Salary. 21

Leave. 21

The Person of Pastor. 21

The Work of the Pastor. 22

The Pastor As Under Shepherd.. 22

The Pastor as Elder / Bishop.. 22

The Responsibility of the Church to the Pastor. 23

Section 2 -- Associate Pastor.. 23

Section 3 -- Deacons. 23

The Office of Deacon.. 23

The Appointment of Deacons. 24

The Term of Office for Deacon.. 24

The Procedures for Dismissal of a Deacon.. 25

The Person of Deacon.. 25

The Work and Responsibilities of the Deacon.. 25

Section 4 – Trustees.. 26

Section 5 – Treasurer.. 26

Section 6 --  Staff and Workers.. 26

Article X – Meetings.. 26

Section 1 --  Regular Services (for fellowship, worship, and evangelism) 26

Section 2 --  Regular Business Meetings.. 27

Section 3 --  Special Business Meetings.. 27

Section 4 --  Annual Business Meeting.. 27

Section 5 – Moderator.. 27

Section 6 – Rules of Order.. 28

Article XI – Organization.. 28

Section 1 -- The Deacon Board.. 28

Section 2 --  The Chairman.. 28

Section 3  --  The Deacons. 29

Section 4 -- Support staff.. 29

Section 5 -- Accountability.. 29

To the Lord Jesus Christ 29

To the Deacon Board.. 29

Article XII -- Finances. 29

Section 1 -- Budget.. 30

Section 2 -- Accounting.. 30

Section 3 -- Fiscal Year.. 30

Article XIII --  Committees.. 30

Section 1 --  Nominating Committee.. 30

Section 2 --  Other Committees.. 30

Article XIV --  Ministries. 30

Article XV --  Literature.. 30

Article XVI --  Missions.. 30

Article XVII --  Licensing and Ordination.. 31

Article XVIII -- Administrative Matters. 31

Section 1 – Adoption and Amendments to the Constitution.. 31

Section 2 --  Recording of Amendments.. 31

Section 3 -- Policy Statements. 31

Section 4 -- By-Laws. 32

Section 5 --  Miscellaneous.. 32

Article IX – Property, Buildings, and Equipment.. 32

Article XX --  Tax Exempt Provisions.. 32

Article XXI --  Dissolution of Corporation.. 32

History of Amendments. 32

 


Article I – Name

 

The name of this organization, as incorporated under the laws of the State of South Carolina, shall be the Blythewood Baptist Church of Blythewood, South Carolina. Its meeting place shall be at 101 Bass Road in Blythewood.

 

Article II – Affiliation

 

This church is autonomous in its government, having no organizational or ecclesiastical relationship to other bodies.  However, it recognizes the obligation of mutual counsel and fellowship with all other churches of like faith and practice.

 

Article III – Purpose

 

              1.  The purpose of this church is TO GLORIFY GOD.  Individually this involves every thought, word, and deed.

 

a.  What we are is reflective of what we think.  The Lord Jesus Christ said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and Solomon said, “for as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

 

b.  What we say is our witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ.  “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.”

                                     

c.  What we do reflects His workmanship. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

 

2.  The purpose and ministry of this local church is the salvation of lost souls, the edification of Christians through the teaching of God’s Word, the administration of the ordinances of the New Testament, the encouragement of members to do the work of the ministry, the worldwide proclamation of God’s saving grace through the shed blood and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, the promotion of Godly worship, the defense of the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3), and cooperation with Christian activities functioning in harmony with God’s Holy Word, until Jesus comes for His church.

 

3.  The purpose of this local church is to corporately function as the Body of Christ in the local community and to glorify God by our testimony, both verbal and active.  This involves three relationships: to God, among ourselves, and to the world.  Ten specific activities are listed in fulfilling this purpose:

 

                                a.  The promotion of godly worship, both individually and corporately,

                                b.  Teaching God's Word; for edification unto maturity,

                                c.  To administer the ordinances of Baptism and Communion,

                                d.  To equip the saints for the work of the ministry,

                                e.  To encourage fellowship among believers; specifically in prayer and communion,

                                f.  To discipline church members when necessary; in order to maintain unity,

                                g.  To promote the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel,

                                h.  To minister to both believers and unbelievers,

                                i.  To promote the education of children and adults based upon the principles of God's Word,

                                j.  To contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints and to be set for the defense of the gospel                                            (Philippians 1:17; Jude 3).

 

4.  Blythewood Baptist Church shall engage in activities and conduct ministries which may include, but are not limited to, worship services, evangelistic meetings, prayer meetings, Sunday school, youth activities, radio and television programs, day school, bus ministry, missionary activities, nursing home ministry, jail ministry, Bible institute, Bible college and/or seminary, camps, sister churches, and other means of promoting Christ.

Article IV – Church Covenant

 

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 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.

Article V – Doctrinal Statement

 

Section 1 -  The Holy Scriptures

 

We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Bible, “as it is in truth, the Word of God...” (I Thessalonians 2:13). We believe in verbal, plenary inspiration in the original writings, and God's preservation of His pure words to every generation (II Timothy 3:16, Psalms 12:6-8). The Masoretic Text of the Old Testament and the Received Text of the New Testament (Textus Receptus) are those texts of the original languages we accept and use; the King James Version of the Bible is the English translation we use and believe to be a completely accurate.  The Bible is our sole authority for faith and practice.

 

Section 2 -- The Doctrine of God

 

We believe in one triune God, eternally existing in three persons -- -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- -- co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfection (Deuteronomy 6:4; II Corinthians 13:14).

The Person and Work of God the Father

 

We believe that God the Father exists as the First Person of the Trinity, the Father of all creation, the Father of the eternal Son, and the Father of all who believe unto the salvation of their souls.  His work includes:  all the decrees of God, preservation of His creation, providence in guiding the affairs of His creation, revelation of Himself, sending His Son to reveal His grace in redemption, all the aspects of Fatherhood of the redeemed (Matthew 3:17; John 3:16-17; John 10:30, 20:21; Ephesians 1:3).

The Person and Work of Christ

 

1.  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, God manifest in the flesh, in order that He might reveal God, and redeem sinful men (1 Timothy 3:16; John 1:1-3, 14; Luke 1:35).

 

2.  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice by the shedding of His blood for the remission of sins (see also Section 7 -- Salvation).  We also believe that our justification was verified by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead (Romans 3:24-25; I Peter 1:3-5; Leviticus 17:11; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22).

 

3.  We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and that He is now exalted at the right hand of God; where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24, 7:25; Romans 8:34-39; I John 2:1-2).

 

4.  We believe in the imminent coming of Jesus Christ for the saints just prior to the beginning of the tribulation period.  We believe in the physical and literal return of Jesus Christ after the seven years of tribulation and will reign on earth as King of kings for one thousand years; and that he will judge evil works of darkness at the end of that time.  (1 Corinthians 15:50-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:4-15)

The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

 

1.  We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and that He is the supernatural agent in regeneration, indwelling, and sealing them unto the day of redemption (John 14:16-17, 16:8-11; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 12:12-14; II Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30; Titus 3:5).

 

2.  We believe that He is the Divine Teacher, who guides believers into all truth; that He intercedes for believers according to the will of God; and, that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 5:18; I John 2:20, 27).

 

3.  We believe that He bestows spiritual gifts to the members of the body of Christ for their mutual edification (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:1-21). 

 

4.  We believe He produces the fruit of the Spirit in the life of the believer (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Section 3 --  Doctrine of Creation

 

1.  We believe the Genesis account of creation is neither allegory nor myth, but rather, a literal historical account of the direct immediate creative acts of God without any evolutionary process; that man (spirit, soul, and body) was created by a direct work of God (Genesis 1-2:25; John 1:3,10; Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 11:3).

 

2.  We believe in a literal six twenty-four hour day creation period and reject the notion that creation took place over a long period of time.  To believe otherwise would violate the principles of literal interpretation of Scripture and the doctrine of verbal, plenary inspiration by shaping the scriptural record to harmonize with evolutionary theory. 

 

3.  The evolutionary theory has so pervaded our society that those who hold to a literal six twenty-four hour day creation are often regarded as being intellectually simplistic, uninformed, and unscientific.  This attitude has in many cases resulted in organizations, churches, and individuals attempting to maintain respectability through their accommodation of evolutionary theories claiming that creation took place over a long period of time.  Such accommodation violates the principles of literal interpretation of Scripture and the doctrine of a verbal, plenary inspiration by shaping the scriptural record to harmonize with evolutionary theory.   This compromised position could serve as the initial catalyst for doctrinal deviation and further interpretational distortion.

 

4.  Blythewood Baptist Church does reaffirm our belief that the proper method of interpretation is to take all Scripture in its natural and literal sense.

 

Section 4 -- The Doctrine of Man

 

We believe that man was created by God in His image and likeness, being sinless and innocent, but through Adam's disobedience, sin entered into the world, and death by sin.  Therefore, the entire race fell away from God; the image was marred, and man inherited a sinful nature and became alienated from God.  Man through choice and an inherited evil nature is totally depraved, and if not saved after the age of accountability will endure eternal punishment in the lake of fire (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7-3:24; 2 Samuel 12:33; Psalm 51:5; Matthew 18:10-14; Romans 5:12, 6:23; 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Galatians 5:17; Revelation 20:14-15)

 

Section 5 -- The Doctrine of Sin

 

We believe that sin is the transgression of the Law of God; we believe in the universality of sin; that it separates man from God; that there is no remission of sin apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and man’s repentance. (Luke 24:46-47; Romans 3:10-26, 6:23, 7:23-24; 1 John 3:4).

 

Section 6 -- The Doctrine of Satan

 

We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; that he is presently the god of this world, the accuser of the brethren, the prince of the power of the air, and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:2-11, 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

 

Section 7 -- The Doctrine of Salvation

 

We believe that salvation of sinners is only of grace through faith, a free gift of God in the person of Jesus Christ; that salvation is received individually by a repentance from sin and a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; that through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by the shedding of His blood and death made a full and vicarious sacrifice for our sins, for He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  He is in every way an all-sufficient Saviour (John 1:12; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 9:24-25, 10:19, 12:24; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 1:5).

Repentance

 

1.  We believe that repentance and faith are necessary for biblical salvation, therefore repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, since Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  Repentance and faith are distinct operations of the Holy Spirit and responses of the sinner being saved, yet are intimately connected and cannot necessarily be separated in time.  “Repentance is not faith, and faith is not repentance.  Repentance is denying (negative); faith is affirming (positive).  Repentance looks within, faith looks above.  Repentance sees our misery, faith our Deliverer.  Repentance is hunger, faith is the open mouth, and Christ is the living food.” Stewart (Luke 2:47; Acts 20:21, 26:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).  

 

2.  We believe that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  The call to repentance is universal and to be preached to all nations. Therefore we do not believe that Christ died only for the elect’s sake. 

 

3.  We believe that repentance is not a work of salvation.  It is not reforming, or doing penance.  Repentance is not merely acknowledging sin or a confession, it is not merely turning from unbelief to belief, and it is not simply changing our minds or automatically included in believing.  Repentance is not merely sorrow or remorse.  “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”  We recognize that there is a godly true repentance and a worldly false repentance. The outward fruit or evidence of genuine repentance is one's faith towards Jesus Christ. If there is a change of heart and mind toward sin, this then is evidence of saving faith.  If there is no change of heart or mind, there is no salvation (Matthew 9:13; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 26:20; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Regeneration

 

                We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again. In the new birth, the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of His divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God.  Proper evidence of salvation appears in the holy fruit of repentance and newness of life (John 3:33; 2 Peter 1:4; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 2:13; John 3:8).

 

Justification

 

We believe that justification is the judicial act of God whereby He declares us to be righteous by faith in Christ Jesus; that justification includes the pardon of sin and the imputation of God’s righteousness; that it is bestowed, not by any work which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood sacrifice (Acts 13:3,9; 2 Corinthians 5:18-25; Romans 5:1, 8-9; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:11).

Sanctification

 

We believe that sanctification is an act and a process whereby God sets apart all believers unto holiness.  He then conforms them to the image of Christ, completing the process of sanctification at the return of Christ for His saints (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:3-4; 1 John 3:2).

The Eternal Security of Believers

 

1.  We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God's power, and are thus secure in Christ forever.  At the same time, we must be diligent to make our calling and election sure.  Scripture gives no assurance to those who profess salvation yet whose lives are characterized by continued sin. 

 

2.  We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh (John 6:37-40, 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38, 39, 13:13-14; I Corinthians 1:4-8; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15; I Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:10; 1 John 3:7-10).

  Glorification

 

We believe that when Christ comes for the Church, all believers will be changed in the “twinkling of an eye” and will become like Christ at His appearing; that our mortal bodies will become immortal; that our corruptible bodies will become incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 1 John 3:2).

 

Section 8 -- The Church

 

We believe that the church exists in two aspects:

An Organism

 

We believe that the Church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again persons. We believe that Christ gave Himself for the church, and that He is its only true Head.  (Ephesians 1:20-23; 3:3-11; 5:25-27; Colossians 1:18; I Corinthians 12:12-14; II Corinthians 11:2).

An Organization

 

1.  We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches are clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures.  We believe that the church as an organization is an assembly of baptized believers, voluntarily associated by covenant in the faith for fellowship, worship, and service; that its mission is the spread of the gospel to all men, and to earnestly contend for the faith.

 

2.  We believe that its officers are pastors and deacons whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures.  We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that its only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending of the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; and that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and methods of its cooperation. 

 

3.  On all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline and benevolence, the will of the local church is final. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 14:27, 20:17, 28-32; 1 Corinthians 3:9-17, 16:19; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:2; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11; Revelation 2:3).

 

4.  We believe in the autonomy of the local church, free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4, 15:19-31, 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; I Corinthians 3:9, 3:16, 5:4-7, 5:13; I Peter 5:1-4).

 

5.  We believe the ordinances of water baptism and the Lord's Supper are a scriptural means of testimony for the church in this age (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42, 18:8; I Corinthians 11:23-26).

 

Section 9 -- The Two Natures of the Believer

 

We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural (Romans 6:13, 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 3:5-9).

 

Section 10 – Separation

 

1.  We believe that the Christian is commanded by God, in the Scriptures, to separate themselves unto Christ and as much as possible, from any participation in or endorsement of sin; from ecclesiastical organizations and religious personalities that deny the faith or compromise its message; from brethren that walk disorderly or who unrepentantly continue in sin or engage in the compromise aforementioned. 

 

2.  We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Saviour and Lord.  God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances.  Each member shall seek to live a holy life; separating himself from and forsaking all that might weaken his personal testimony, dishonor God, or cast discredit on God’s cause.  (Romans 12:1-2; 14:13; 2 Corinthians 6:14- 7:1; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:10-20). 

 

Section 11 – Missions

 

We believe that it is the obligation of the redeemed to witness by life and by word to the truths of Holy Scripture; and to seek to proclaim the Gospel to all mankind by financial support, by prayer support, and by personal involvement (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8; II Corinthians 5:19-20).

 

Section 12 -- Spiritual Gifts

 

1.  We believe that there are gifts of the Spirit given to each believer for ministry within the body of Christ, and for the building up of the body.  However, we believe these gifts are to be exercised in balance with the fruit of the Spirit, and that they are in fact ineffectual without the corresponding fruit of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:8-10, 13:1-13; Ephesians 4:11; I Peter 4:10; Galatians 5:22-23).

 

2.  We believe that certain of the gifts mentioned in Scripture were sign gifts given to authenticate the ministry of the apostles and were thereby temporary in nature (I Corinthians 1:22, 13:8-10, 14:22; Hebrews 2:2-4).

 

Section 13 – Dispensationalism

 

We believe that the Scriptures, interpreted in their natural, literal sense, reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life that define man's responsibilities in successive ages.  These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose.  Three of these--the age of law, the age of the Church, and the age of the millennial kingdom--are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture (John 1:17; I Corinthians 9:17; II Corinthians 3:9-18; Galatians 3:13-25; Ephesians 1:10, 2:7, 3:2).

 

Section 14 -- The Second Advent of Christ

 

We believe in that "Blessed Hope," the personal, imminent, pre-tribulation, and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones. We also believe in His subsequent return to earth with His saints to establish His millennial kingdom (I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-6; I Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9; Revelation 3:10).

 

Section 15 -- The Eternal State

 

1.  We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men; the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26; Revelation 20:5-6, 12-13).

 

2.  We believe that the souls of the redeemed are at death absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord (Luke 23:43; Revelation 20:4-6; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23, 3:21; I Thessalonians 4:16-17)

 

3.  We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain after death in conscious misery until the second resurrection, when the soul and body reunited shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire; not to be annihilated, as some teach, but to suffer everlasting.

 

Section 16 --  Tongues Movement

 

We stand irrevocably opposed to the present day “Tongues Movement,” believing it not to be of God.  We will not permit its teaching, either directly or by inference, in the church, Sunday school, or any other meeting sponsored by this church (Acts 2:7-11; 1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

 

Section 17 --  Human Sexuality

 

1.  We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.  We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.  We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.  (Genesis 2:24; 19:5,13; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).  While we view pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, and homosexuality as sin, we do view those engaged in such practices as objects of the grace of God to be reached and won to the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Saviour of sinners.

 

2.  We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman.  (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23).

 

3.  We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church.  The husband is to be the leader of the home and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church.  Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:4-5,12).

 

Section 18 --  Family Relationships

 

1.  We believe that that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.  The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church.  The wife is to submit herself to the scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the leadership of Christ.  Children are a heritage from the Lord (1 Timothy 3:4,5).

 

2.  We believe parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including scriptural corporal correction (Genesis 1:26-28; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mark 10:6-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

 

Section 19 --  Divorce and Remarriage

 

We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies.  Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon (Malachi 2:14-17; Matthew 19:3-12; Romans 7:1-3; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6).

 

Section 20 --  Abortion

 

We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being.  Abortion constitutes the unjustified, inexcusable taking of a human life.  Abortion is murder.  We reject any teaching that abortion of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well-being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Psalm 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).

 

Section 21 --  The Role of Women in the Local Church

 

1.  We believe that since the age in which we live is one in where society's attitudes toward women are in a state of change, this has created a growing uncertainty and misunderstanding regarding the ministry of women in the local church; and their role in God’s divine order.  Secular and Evangelical Feminism and other similar movements have erred in their efforts to redefine the role of women in the church and, in fact, have succeeded in leading many away from the biblical teaching regarding the distinction between the roles of men and women.

 

2.  We believe that God has given women significant ministries, roles and involvement in the local church.  We also recognize the God-given resource they are to the church and show a proper respect and appreciation for their sacrifice and service in the common faith.

 

3.  We believe that the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to men and women of God (1 Cor. 12:7-11), and the Scripture teaches that men and women are to use those spiritual gifts in ministry which is edifying to the body of Christ.  As such, their ministry is crucial to the effective functioning and growth of the local church (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Cor. 12:12-26). 

 

4.  We believe that according to the scriptures, God does not provide for a woman to serve in the office of pastor or deacon (or any office of equivalent authority).  Nor are women to teach men in the congregation or other public Bible or church study functions (1 Tim. 2:11,12; 1 Cor. 14:34; Eph. 5:24).  This prohibition is not by reason of some inferiority, but by reason of God's ordained order pertaining to leadership in the church (1 Tim. 2:11-14; 3:2,12; Gal. 3:28). 

 

5.  We believe that this is consistent with the woman’s role, both in the church and at home.  The wife is to be in subjection to her own husband (Eph. 5:23-26; 1 Cor. 11:3).

 

Section 22 --  Civil Government

 

We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: 1) the home; 2) the church; and 3) the state.  Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word.  God has given each institution specific biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other.  The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God (Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-24; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14).

 

Section 23 --  Music

 

1.  Worship has been defined as "reverent devotion and allegiance pledged to God." It usually is extended to include the rites or ceremonies by which our devotion and allegiance are expressed. Our English word worship is basically the same word as worth. Worship is really "worth-ship" and denotes that God is worthy of receiving the praise and honor we bring to Him.   The Bible makes it clear that the worship of God must be in Spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24, Phil. 3:3).  We believe that God must be worshipped in an attitude of holiness.  "Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness." (Psalm 29:1-2)  This worship is to be spiritual and sincere (John 4:24).  It is not to degenerate into a mere mechanical, ritualistic, or liturgical form (Matt. 15:8).

 

2.  We do not believe that so-called contemporary services, using Rock’n Roll music or dance music glorifies God.  Church worship is not traditional or contemporary; it is either biblical or false.  The church will not be divided by two standards of music.  The admonition of Blythewood Baptist Church is that we are to prove all things and hold fast that which is good (1 Thess. 5:21).  At no time will any services of this church, Sunday school, youth group or other church related functions use music that is not in keeping with the standards described in this article.

 

Article VI – Membership

 

Section 1 -- Becoming a Member

 

Any person is eligible to become a member of Blythewood Baptist Church who has by faith received the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

 

1.  Upon presenting himself for membership to the Pastor, the candidate for membership must satisfy the inquiry of the Pastor as to his salvation experience by giving personal testimony of salvation.  The candidate will have an opportunity to ask any questions concerning the church constitution, policies and order, to their satisfaction.  The candidate may also be asked to give a satisfactory account as to their present walk with the Lord and doctrine (see also Article V -- Doctrinal Statement).

 

2.  Upon satisfactory completion of this interview with the Pastor and provided the candidate subscribes to the Constitution along with the Covenant and Declaration of Faith, the candidate is then presented to any regular assembly of the church to be received into membership. This is an excellent time for the congregation to hear the candidate's testimony, which public testimony is considered optional--not mandatory.

 

3.  Should the candidate for membership not yet have been baptized by immersion subsequent to his experience of salvation, he shall be required to do so at the next baptismal service of the church; such baptismal service being made available not less than quarterly.

 

4.  A letter of recommendation will be requested from the previous church (if being of like faith and order), for those transferring membership.

 

5.  Associate members will be received based on two additional considerations.  First, they must be in fellowship with their home church; and, second, the associate membership is of a temporary nature.  This temporary nature restricts the ability to hold office.  However, missionaries and former pastors may serve in an advisory capacity to the Pastor as he deems necessary.

 

6.  Children are assumed to be a part of Blythewood Baptist Church under the enrollment of their parent(s)’ or guardian’s membership.  Children are encouraged to participate in all spiritual life, activities, functions and ministries of the church as appropriate.  However, children are not eligible to vote in church matters until they become 18 years of age.  At that time, as a young adult, they must make a request to the pastor for their individual membership as an adult.  Membership is granted provided the individual does meet all existing membership requirements.  As members, they are then eligible to vote in church business matters.

 

Section 2 -- Being a Member

 

The member and the church have entered into a mutual commitment to each other.  The member, in requesting membership and proceeding with the interview and full acceptance into membership by the church, implies a commitment on his part to the church body.  The church, by receiving the individual into membership, implies a certain commitment to that member.

 

1.  Each member is understood to have entered into a covenant relationship with the other members of the church for the purpose of mutual edification.  Realizing that the accomplishment of the Christian goals for life requires a high level of commitment and involvement from each one, each member is expected to pursue those goals for themselves and for the church in general.  To accomplish the spiritual growth and desired maturity, commitments include:

 

a.  Regular attendance at and participation in the services and activities of the church (Hebrews 10:24-25).

 

b.  Regular financial support, as he is able, and as God has prospered, through his offerings to the church and to the support of missions (I Corinthians 16:2; II Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 6:6-10).

 

c.  Contributing the use of his spiritual gifts and abilities as he has opportunity (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11-12; I Peter 4:10).

 

d. Living a life that is characterized by godliness (Matthew 5:13-14; Philippians 2:14-16; Titus 2:11-12).

 

e. Avoiding ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:11-12; I John 2:15-17).

 

2.  In addition to the commitment each member makes to the church, the church also makes a commitment to him for spiritual guidance, edification, counsel, and fellowship. This commitment includes the providing of instruction from the Word of God to supplement his own study of the Word; to encourage, exhort, admonish, and even rebuke him when necessary to accomplish the fulfillment of God's Word in his life; to share the life of the Lord Jesus Christ together.  In short, to hurt when he hurts and to rejoice when he rejoices, to provide an opportunity for developing his spiritual gifts and abilities in an atmosphere of acceptance and love; and to minister to the needs of his family as much as is possible.

 

3.  We realize that perfection is a goal. It is not an accomplished reality. Therefore, we agree to be accepting of each other at whatever stage of maturity we may be. The member is not expected to have reached perfection, and he must not expect that the church will be perfect. However, both the member and the church must evidence a positive attitude toward the things of the Lord and the active seeking of spiritual growth and fellowship in general.

 

Section 3 -- Terminating Membership

By Death

By Request

 

1.  Any member who personally wishes to withdraw from the fellowship of the church (No letter is granted).

 

2.  Any member moving from this location to another and desiring to terminate his membership in this local fellowship for the purpose of uniting with another fellowship of believers of like precious faith may do so by notifying the church either in person or by letter.  If a letter of commendation to the new fellowship is desired, it may be given based upon that member's present standing in the church.

By Erasure

 

Any member who unites with another church to which a letter of recommendation could not be granted for reasons of unlike faith or practice will be dismissed.

 

By Exclusion

 

1.  Any member who fails to participate in the activities of the church without communicating a valid reason for his absence will, after six months, be automatically removed from membership and a letter of such action will be sent to his last known address.  Upon good cause being shown to the pastor, this provision for removal may be waived in the case of any individual member at the discretion of the pastor.

 

2.  Any member, including pastor and staff members, who becomes an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of immorality, non-Christian conduct, or by persistent breach of covenant vows, may be dismissed from the membership of this church after proper church discipline has been observed.

 

3.  A member may be removed from membership by action of the church. When all other attempts to restore fellowship with a member have failed, the only course of action left may be dismissal from membership. This process is discussed more fully in the article on church discipline (See Article VII below).

 

Section 4 – Inactive Members

 

1.  Any member who habitually absents himself from the services of this church for a period of three consecutive months, without notifying the pastor or deacons of just cause, shall be placed on the inactive membership list.

 

2.  Inactive members, desiring to be reinstated on the active membership roll may do so by attending services on at least four consecutive Sundays.  At this time, voting rights will be reestablished.

 

Article VII – Discipline

 

Church discipline seems to have a negative aspect in the minds of many.  This is something that we would like to correct from the outset of this article. Our view of church discipline and the teaching of Scripture are that church discipline is a good thing. It is the means of restoring a believer to fellowship and growth from the place of sin and rebellion.

 

If he is out of fellowship with God and the church through his sin, he is already on a downward course from which he needs to be rescued. Love and concern for his welfare require that we seek to accomplish just that, his restoration to fellowship.

 

Section 1 -- Identifying Situations Requiring Discipline

 

Various cases requiring discipline are mentioned in the Word of God. Some of these are:

 

1.  Disputes between brethren (Matthew 18:l5-l7, 5:23-24).

 

2.  The believer who sins (1 Timothy 1:l9-20; II Corinthians 13:2; I Corinthians 5:4,5,11; II Corinthians 2:6-11).

 

3.  Teachers of false doctrine (II John 10-11; II Corinthians 13:2; Romans 16:17; Galatians 5:10-12; II Thessalonians 3:6; I Timothy 6:3-5; Titus 1:10-11,13; Titus 3:10)

 

4.  One who is rebellious (II Thessalonians 3:6,14,15; I Timothy 6:l-6).

 

5.  The weak brother (Romans 14:1-23, 15:1; Galatians 6:l).

 

6.  The pastor that commits grievous sins (I Timothy 5:l9-20).

 

7.  The believer’s lack of separation from worldliness (II Corinthians 6:14-l5; I Corinthians 7:39).

 

Section 2 -- Responsibility for Church Discipline

 

1.  In every case, it is the congregation's responsibility to enforce church discipline. However, the responsibility falls upon those in leadership--specifically the pastor and deacons--to initiate the required action. 

 

2.  The extremes are generally observed in the exercise of church discipline. The first is a laxness in enforcing discipline--specifically in excluding false teaching and practice--which laxness results in corruption in the church. The second is harshness in enforcing discipline--specifically in the area of lack of knowledge on the part of the member--which practice results in division within the body. Both of these extremes need to be avoided.

 

Section 3 -- Procedure For Accomplishing Church Discipline

 

A member who falls into sin, or who teaches false doctrine, must be dealt with according to the principles and procedures given in Matthew 5:23-24, 18:15-20; I Corinthians 5:l-6, 11,13; I Timothy 1:20, 5:19-20; Titus 3:10.

1.  The situations exist in which a member is required to initiate the action to accomplish the reconciliation or repentance of a sinning brother.

 

a.  The first is knowledge of a problem that exists between that brother and himself (Matthew 5:23-24).

 

b.  The second is knowledge of a brother's sinning when that sin was not specifically against the one observing or having knowledge of the sin (Galatians 6:1).

 

2.  Two private attempts at reconciliation and repentance must be made before bringing the matter to the church (Matthew 18:15-16).

 

a.  The first attempt is a personal and private effort to effect a solution to the problem.

 

b.  The second attempt is required when the first fails. This involves taking one or two others with you on a second attempt to restore the sinning member to fellowship.

 

3. When the second attempt fails, the matter must then be brought to the church (Matthew 18:l7).

 

a.  It would however, be inappropriate to make a public announcement of the matter to the congregation at this time.

 

b.  The matter is first brought to the church by informing the pastor and deacons of the problem, since they represent the church in their position of leadership.

 

c.  The pastor then properly confronts the individual(s) (admonish, Romans 15:l4) with the fact of his sin, the fact of the attempts to accomplish a reconciliation, and the fact of impending disciplinary action by the church (Matthew 18:17).

 

d.  The pastor and deacon(s) speak to him for the church. "But if he fails to hear the church" implies an attempt by the church as the third effort toward restoration.

 

4.  If he fails to hear the church, he must then be treated as if he were an unsaved individual -- "let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican" (Matthew 18:l7).

 

a. A decision for disciplinary action may be initiated only within the committee of the pastor and deacons.  A public recommendation to consider termination of membership shall be made only by the pastor and deacons.

 

b.  When every effort has failed to restore such a member, the pastor and deacons shall, by majority vote, recommend to the congregation disciplinary discharge from the membership of the church.

 

c.  The member in question shall then be notified by letter, forwarded by the chairman of the deacons and the pastor, as to the nature of the offenses and outlining the steps of restoration that were made.  This letter is not to be circulated publicly and any copies are to be kept as confidential records and stored in a secured location.

5.  A letter of recommendation from the committee shall be presented to the church membership, being read to the assembled membership of the church, stating the facts and nature of the discipline, action taken and recommendations. 

 

a.  Members of the church shall be notified at least one week in advance of the actual meeting to recommend disciplinary discharge.  The letter shall not include any more information than that which is necessary to indicate clearly sufficient grounds for disciplinary discharge.  Copies of this letter are not to be circulated but kept as confidential and stored in a secured location.

 

b.  Only voting members will be present during the church meeting, and a majority vote of eligible voting members present and voting shall be required for passage of the recommendation.

 

6.  The discipline of the church then is not optional. The individual thus refusing repentance and reconciliation must be:

 

a.  Regarded by everyone as a "heathen" and a "publican" (Matthew 18:17).

 

b.  He must be denied fellowship in any form -- "with such an one no not to eat" (I Corinthians 5:11).

 

c.  His exclusion goes beyond that of an unsaved individual in that he once participated and now is excluded. Therefore, no member may associate himself with the excluded member (I Corinthians 5:9-l3).

 

7.  During the various steps of this procedure, agreement in prayer must be sought prior to any action. The context of Matthew 18:l5-20 includes the statement of "if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask...." Therefore, a consensus in prayer is essential to the accomplishment of these actions.

 

8.  The person discharged for disciplinary reasons shall be regarded lovingly by the church.  The church shall endeavor by prayer and invitation to win him back into fellowship with Christ, hoping constantly for restoration with the church. 

 

Section 4 -- Restoration

 

Upon confession to God of personal offenses and having given satisfactory evidence of repentance, those who have been excluded from the membership of the church may have their membership restored by a majority vote at a regular service of the church, following recommendation by the pastor and deacons.

 

Article VIII – Church Government

 

1.  The congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the pastor as the undershepherd with the counsel of the deacons.  Determination of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures.  The pastor shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church.  The deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor as requested by him.

 

2.  By action of the church in electing its officers, the immediate direction of spiritual and temporal affairs of the church shall be committed to said officers during the term of office as further provided elsewhere in this constitution. 

 

3.  This church, as a corporation, shall be non-profit, and an exclusively religious corporation.  It shall not as a church become an official member of any denomination, convention, fellowship, or other religious body of a compromising nature.  This church is an independent Baptist church that is totally self-governing and subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body.

 

Article IX – Church Officers / Staff / Workers

 

1.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. Therefore, He is the one to direct its activities. But while He is the Chief Shepherd, there are under shepherds who are charged with the responsibility of "feeding" and "tending" His "sheep", even as He instructed Peter in John 21.

 

2.  Shortly following Pentecost, it became necessary to appoint others to a specific ministry of service. The Apostles, who were the elders in Jerusalem, would have been required to leave their ministry of prayer and the Word in order to deal with the problem. Instead they appointed others who could take care of that need. These later came to be known as Deacons. (Acts 6:l-6).

 

3.  Later as Paul went about establishing churches in every place, he ordained elders (pastors) in every church, and he wrote to Timothy and Titus about ordaining elders to oversee the work of the ministry (Acts 14:23; I Timothy 3:l; Titus 1:5).

 

4.  So we conclude that under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are two specific offices and leaders in the local church: The pastor is also called the overseer, elder, or bishop (See Section 1, Work of the Pastor).  There is also the server or servant, who is called the deacon.

 

5.  In Article IX, these two church leaders in respect to the office, the person, and the work will be reviewed and explained.

 

Section 1 – Pastor

 

There are many Scriptures that pertain to the pastor in reference to his qualifications and responsibilities, both as an elder and as the under shepherd. Here we list a few key ones; John 21:15-l7; Acts 20:l7-32; Ephesians 4:7-15; I Timothy 3:l-7, 14-l5; Titus 1:5-9; and I Peter 5:l-4.

Qualifications

 

1.  The pastor shall be a male called of God to preach and meet the scriptural demands and requirements set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-11.  He must believe and unqualifiedly adhere to the Word of God, the Constitution/By-laws, Articles of Faith, spiritual and moral standards as set forth in this document, and be uncompromising in the preaching, declaring “all the counsel of God.”

 

2.  There is no higher calling on the face of the earth than to the place of under shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ. Someone has said of pastoring, “If God calls you into the ministry, don't stoop to be President of the United States.”  Paul said, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine" (II Timothy 5:17). While this refers specifically to financial remuneration, the aspect of honor is inherent.

 

a.  The author of Hebrews says. "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation (way of life)" (Hebrews 13:7).

 

b.  Again in Hebrews, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Hebrews 13:l7).

 

c.  It is clear that the office of pastor is one of honor and prestige as well as authority and responsibility. It is not a position of honor that a person assumes unto himself, but rather honor which comes to him as a result of making himself a servant of all (Mark 10:43-45).

Procedures of Appointment

 

The following procedures are established as to appointment, term of office, and termination of the pastor.

 

1.  When the church finds itself in the position of having to call a pastor, the functions of a pulpit committee will be performed by the active deacon board without forming a separate committee for that purpose.  The Chairman of the deacons will have the oversight of the pulpit committee.  Should there be less than three active deacons in the church at the time, inactive deacons may be temporarily instated to assist in the task.  Furthermore, the pulpit committee will select, by consensus, two other spiritually minded men, in good standing and faithful members of the church (for at least one year), to sit on the pulpit committee.  Once a pastor has been selected, the pulpit committee will be terminated.

 

2.  Locating the candidate.  Procedures for selecting an interim pastor or pulpit supply, refer to section; “Interim and Pulpit Supply” below.  The pulpit committee will avail themselves of whatever means or sources of information they deem suitable to learn of the availability of, and to make contact with any potential candidate.

 

3.  When an interest is expressed by an individual, whom the initial information indicates may be qualified to meet the church’s needs and desires, the chairman of the deacon board will require of him:

 

a. A written doctrinal statement

 

b. A resume of education, experience, and other information pertinent to his qualification

 

c. A recommendation from other pastors, school officials, teachers, or churches previously served, etc.

 

4.  Upon receiving the written information, the pulpit committee will make the determination to either extend to him an invitation for a personal interview with the committee; or to not pursue his candidacy further, in which case he must be notified promptly that he is no longer being considered.

 

5.  If there is complete agreement among the members of the committee to continue the interview process with the candidate, a future meeting will be arranged with the candidate.  Careful examination by the committee will be made of his person, doctrine, family, ministry, performance, and if being in full agreement with the church's doctrinal position and philosophy of ministry outlined in this constitution, the committee must come to a consensus before proceeding. 

 

6.  The committee must be in agreement to extend an invitation to the candidate and to give him an opportunity to preach at a regular morning and evening service.

 

7.  The pulpit committee shall inform the congregation of his credentials prior to his appearing.  The candidate should be informed by the committee concerning the proposed call, responsibilities, tenure, financial stipulations, and all facets of the church’s ministry, prior to visiting.

 

8.  When sufficient opportunity to get to know the candidate has occurred, and the candidate has preached during a scheduled morning and evening service, a vote will be scheduled and announced.

 

9.  Upon proper announcement by the committee, the membership shall vote by ballot the following Wednesday or Sunday on his being called to the pastorate.  A meeting will be called after the regular scheduled services for this explicit purpose.  He shall be elected by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of those eligible voting members present and voting, provided there is a quorum.  A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a simple majority of the eligible voting membership.

 

10.  At no time will more than one person be considered at a time.  Each individual must be considered on his own merits without being compared to someone else. This will avoid being involved in voting on attractive personalities as in a "beauty contest." The decision must be based on the conviction that this is God's man for us. If that conviction is absent, then the church does not yet have a pastor.

 

11.  The candidate must be assured of the Lord’s leading, as well as the church’s approval, before accepting and assuming the position.

 

12. Once a pastor has been chosen, the position of interim pastor will be terminated.  The pulpit committee will be terminated.  The new pastor will chair the deacon board as outlined by the constitution and assume all the responsibilities of the pastor.

 

                Interim and Pulpit Supply

 

Any time a church is without a pastor, it is important that the spiritual needs and ministries of the church are not unduly interrupted, or that spiritual leadership, organization and harmony are not compromised.  Too often, in these circumstances, churches suffer because procedures are not clear for selecting a new pastor in an orderly and godly manner.   The following order is to be followed during the vacancy of the office of the pastor.

 

1.  Upon the vacancy of the office of the pastor, and if there is no associate pastor, the Chairman of the deacon board will form a pulpit committee as stated above “Procedures for Appointment.”  He will be responsible for moderating the deacons’ meeting and conducting the church business meetings and vote, in accordance to this constitution.

 

2.  If there is an associate pastor, he will serve in the office of the senior pastor and chair the deacon board meetings, and organize the pulpit committee for the purpose of finding a pastor.  If the associate pastor believes he is called to be the senior pastor, the board of deacons will give first consideration to his appointment.  However, it will require a vote of the church members as outlined above.

 

3.  The board of deacons will be responsible for selecting an interim pastor in the event there is no associate pastor.  The deacon board will be responsible for the pulpit supply in the event an interim pastor is not necessary.  They will be responsible for scheduling all pulpit speakers for the appointed times of services until the office of the pastor has been filled.  In the event an interim pastor is required, the board of deacons will be responsible to approve and appoint an interim pastor until such time when the church has selected a new pastor.

 

4.  If an interim pastor is deemed necessary, he must meet the requirements and qualifications of a pastor.  As interim, he must agree not to seek the office of the pastorate, nor advise, or chair the deacon board meetings, or in any way (as a non-church member) influence the process as the church seeks for a pastor. 

 

5.  The interim pastor may not have any policy changing powers, or participate in the church business affairs, or vote, unless he is an active member of Blythewood Baptist Church.  The Chairman of the deacon board will conduct the business meetings of the church as moderator until a pastor has been selected.

 

6.  If at some point the interim pastor believes he is called to candidate for the position of pastor, he will relinquish his position as interim.  He will be given consideration under the same procedures as outlined above (Procedures of Appointment).

 

7.  The interim pastor or pulpit supply will receive financial remuneration as agreed upon prior to serving in that capacity.  This amount will be determined and agreed upon by the board of deacons and by the approval of the church via a vote of the active members.  The board of deacons should consider the financial needs of the interim pastor, the time and required duties, the church budget, etc.  Guest speakers and other pulpit supply will be governed by church policies specifying the amounts to be paid to guest speakers.  Other compensations may be required, i.e., travel expenses, lodging and meals. 

 

8.  Once a pastor has been chosen, the position of interim pastor will be terminated.  The duties of the pulpit committee will be terminated and the new pastor will assume his office and chair the board of deacons as outlined by the constitution.  He will assume all the responsibilities of the pastor.

 

Tenure of Office

 

Having been properly elected, the pastor shall serve until the time he resigns his office or until such time he is requested by the church to resign his office according to the procedures set forth below for termination.

Procedures for Termination

 

The relationship between the church and the pastor may be terminated by either party. The following procedures are for the benefit and protection of both.

 

1.  Should the pastor desire to terminate the relationship, one month's notice of such intent is considered sufficient notification.  The thirty-day notice may be dispensed with by mutual consent of the pastor and the deacons.

 

2.  Should the church desire to terminate the relationship without adverse reflection upon the pastor as a minister of the gospel, one month's notice must be given.  In addition, upon termination an additional month's salary will be due him for the purpose of helping him to relocate.

 

3.  Termination by church vote will require a three-fourths majority vote of eligible voting members present and voting in a special meeting called for that purpose, announced one week in advance, and provided there is a quorum present.  A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a simple majority of the eligible voting membership.

 

4.  Should it become necessary to terminate the relationship under adverse circumstances, the deacons will be at liberty at all times to recommend to the church the dismissal of the pastor when circumstances justifying this type of termination.  These may include: teaching of false doctrine, immorality and unrepented sin, severe personality conflicts that are adversely affecting the church, violation of his Church Covenant obligations, departure from the Declaration of Faith, Constitution/By-Laws, or if he no longer agrees with the uncompromising stand of the church, etc.  In all such situations there must have been first the attempt to resolve the problem (see Article VII Church Discipline), and failing in that attempt, there must be complete agreement among the board of deacons that this course of action is necessary.

 

Salary

 

The pastor’s salary and allowance shall be fixed prior to the time of election and will be reviewed annually by the Board of Deacons.  The amount of salary may be changed at any regular business meeting of the church provided that the usual public notice of two weeks has been given previously.  The amount shall be recorded by the church treasurer.

 

Leave

 

The pastor shall be entitled to an annual vacation for two (2) weeks after one year; for three (3) weeks after three years of service; and four (4) weeks after five years of service.  The pastor shall keep the deacons informed concerning his absence from regular services.  Consideration shall be given to him for missionary trips and attendance at conferences, which benefit him and the church.  As funds are available, the church shall assist in paying for expenses.

 

           The Person of Pastor

 

1.  The pastor must desire that office.

 

2.  Having the desire he must then meet specific qualifications.

 

a.  On the negative side, he must not be self-willed, unruly, a brawler, a striker, given to wine, rebellious, covetous, or fond of sordid gain.

b.  On the positive side, he must be a lover of good, above reproach, self-controlled, of good behavior, patient, sober, and vigilant.

 

3.  He must have very high standards in his relationships, to his family as well as to others, being the husband of one wife, having children who believe and who are well disciplined, managing his own house well, being hospitable, and enjoying a good reputation among those who are not believers.

 

4.  In his personal devotions, experience, and abilities, he must be righteous, holy, faithful to the Word, able to teach, and not be a novice.

 

           The Work of the Pastor

 

1.  The term pastor, elder, and bishop describe the same office in the assembly, but referring to three different aspects of his work, duties, and responsibilities as church leader.  The terms are used to refer to the same office (Titus 1:5,7; Acts 20: 17, 28; 1 Peter 5:2).  The work of pastor falls into these three major categories: that of pastor, as the shepherd of the flock; as elder, as to the pastor’s maturity and spiritual example; and then as Bishop, referring to the pastor’s authority to oversee the flock of God. This is not an attempt to list the tasks performed by the Pastor, but rather to show the broad range of responsibilities that are inherent upon his office.

 

2.  The authority of the pastor is one of submission to the Lord and the humility of a servant or steward (1 Corinthians 3:9; 4:1; 12:7; Titus 1:7; 1 Peter 4:10).   The limitations of pastoral authority reside completely in the authority delegated to him by the Word of God.  The church is to follow the pastor only as he is following Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).  Pastors are warned not to lord over God’s flock (1 Peter 5:2,3).

The Pastor As Under Shepherd

 

As under shepherd the work may logically be divided into three categories: feeding the flock of God, tending the flock of God, and equipping the saints (John 21:15-l7; Ephesians 4:11-12).

 

1.  Feeding the Flock of God:  The pastor, as an under shepherd, is responsible to Jesus Christ, and he shall preach the Word, and administer the ordinances of the church.  He shall be the spiritual leader of the church and shall advance the spiritual life of the congregation.  Preaching and teaching the Word of God is of paramount importance.  Two specific concerns are evidenced in the Lord Jesus Christ's commission to Peter in John 21:15-l7. The first is "feed My lambs" that indicates a care for the newborn. His flock needs to be grounded in the faith and taught how to feed on the Word for themselves, and other matters of introducing them to their new life. The second concern is indicated by "feed my sheep." Here the continuing nourishment of the mature believer is in view.

 

2.  Tending the Flock of God:  The word POIMEN used by the Lord Jesus in John 21:16 to indicate taking care of the flock is also used in various other passages to show the under shepherd's responsibilities in regard to the flock: (Matthew 2:6, 9:36, 25:32; Mark 6:34; Luke 2:8-20, 17:7; John 10:1-16, 21:16; Acts 20:28; I Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 4:11; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 2:25, 5:2; Revelation 2:27, 7:17, 12:5, 19:15). In all of these, the all pervasive picture is the responsibility in caring for sheep; whether feeding, leading, bringing back the strays, taking care of wounds, protect the church from false doctrine and teachings, etc. All of these things are inherent upon the pastor in his responsibility for "tending" the flock of God.

 

3.  Equipping the Saints: In Ephesians 4:11-12, the pastor is listed as having the responsibility of equipping (the KJV word is perfecting) the saints for the work of the ministry. The pastor equips, and by example, he leads the saints to do the work of the ministry (1 Thessalonians 2).  It is the word KATARTISMON, and is the idea of equipping, mending, repairing, and getting ready for action. The pastor's responsibility is to provide whatever is needed in preparing the believer for his task of ministry. This involves many facets of ministering the Word to the believer, helping to develop his specific gifts and abilities, guiding him in the exercise of those abilities, etc.

The Pastor as Elder / Bishop

 

As the pastor, he has the responsibility for the spiritual oversight (management- supervision) of the church.  He is the overseer of all phases of the church work (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).  He is at liberty to schedule special meetings such as Bible conferences, revivals, missionary conferences, and special guest speakers as he is led of the Lord.  The pastor is the ex officio member of every committee and organization of the church. This responsibility includes fulfilling the Biblical aspects of supervision as well as the principles outlined in this constitution. (Organizational information is included in a separate article.). 

 

1.  The pastor is responsible to ensure that a well-balanced ministry is occurring; taking steps to maintain an active missions’ program, a vital evangelism outreach, and a dynamic fellowship among the members.  In short, to carry out the teaching of the Word of God in daily practice, and to fulfill the broad concepts of ministry outlined in this constitution.

 

2.  The pastor is also responsible to train and supervise those in leadership positions within the church, equipping them for their specific tasks and supervising them in the accomplishment of those tasks.  The details are stated more fully in the article on organization.  The pastor has the oversight of the flock, and in this relationship, he teaches them by “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12), and as to the way they are to minister to those under their care.

 

                The Responsibility of the Church to the Pastor

 

                1.  To esteem him highly in honor and love (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. 1Timothy 5:17).

               

                2.   To obey his teaching and instruction (Ephesians 4:11-12; Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 3:14).

 

                3.  To follow his example (Hebrews 13:7; 1 Peter 5:1-3).

 

                4.  To submit to his oversight (Hebrews 13:17).

 

                5.  Be careful about accepting or giving accusations against him (1 Timothy 5:19).

 

                5.  To pray for him (Hebrews 13:18, 19; Ephesians 6:18, 19; Colossians 4:2, 3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2).

 

                6.  To provide for his physical needs (1Timothy 5:17, 18 2 Corinthians 9:6-10).

 

Section 2 -- Associate Pastor

 

The office, person, and work of associate pastor along with qualifications and procedures for calling, terminating, etc., will be the same as for the pastor. The associate pastor serves under the supervision of the senior pastor as his assistant.

 

Section 3 -- Deacons

 

The word "deacon" is translated "servant" and also translated "minister” into English (Colossians 4:12; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:4, 6; 11:23; Ephesians 3:7).  The word "deacon" is a transliteration of the Greek word. Therefore the actual office or function of a deacon is service. Two primary passages of scripture apply to the deacon (Acts 6:l-6; I Timothy 3:8-13).

 

           The Office of Deacon

 

Deacons shall be male and shall meet the Scriptural qualifications of the office as set forth in 1Timothy 3:8-13.  Divorced persons may not be considered for the office of deacon.  They shall have been active members of the church for at least one year.  As spiritual leaders, they shall be expected to adhere to the standards for spiritual leadership. Very little is given in Scripture pertaining to the office of deacon.  Practical guidelines for the appointment, term of office, and dismissal of deacons are given in the following paragraphs.

  The Appointment of Deacons

 

Acts 6:l-6 gives a clearly defined procedure or appointment of those who were to relieve the Apostles of a secondary task in order that they (the Apostles) would be able to give themselves fully to the ministry of the Word and prayer.

 

1.  The selection involved "the multitude of the disciples."

 

2.  They were to look among themselves for men to "appoint over this business."

 

3.  They were to be:

 

a.   Men of honest report

b.   Full of the Holy Ghost

c.   Full of wisdom

 

4.  Seven were appointed, however, the number seems to have been the perfect number according to need.  A smaller congregation may not need seven and a larger one may need more.

 

5.  They were appointed for a specific ministry -- "this business" (Acts 6:3). The implication is that a deacon is appointed for a specific ministry, and when that ministry has been completed, his office as deacon is also completed.

 

6.  When a need for a deacon exists, the board of deacons and pastor shall prepare a list of those active members of the church that meet the qualifications, and who have expressed a desire to serve in that capacity. The list of recommended candidates shall be voted on by the members of Blythewood Baptist Church.  Only those meeting the approval of the board will be recommended to the congregation for a vote.

 

7.  Upon proper announcement by the board, the membership shall vote by ballot the following Wednesday or Sunday to determine those being called to serve as deacons.   This meeting shall be called after the regular scheduled services for this explicit purpose.  Each deacon shall be elected by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of those eligible voting members present and voting, provided there is a quorum.  A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a simple majority of the eligible voting membership.

 

8.   After concluding the results of the vote, the pastor will confirm and make a recommendation by appointing the individual to the office of deacon.

 

9.  The installation of new deacons will be by a dedication service following their election

  The Term of Office for Deacon

 

1.  The term of office for the regular deacon will be three years, with the terms expiring on alternate years to allow for continuity on the board.  This term of office will apply to all the regular services required of deacons.

 

2.  Deacons may be re-elected after being out of office one year.  The pastor, at his discretion and in individual circumstances, may waive the requirements to be inactive for the one year period.

 

3.  The term of office for the special deacon will be only for the duration of the specific task for which he is appointed.

 

4.  The number of deacons shall be determined by the needs of the church and available men scripturally qualified to serve. .

The Procedures for Dismissal of a Deacon

 

In addition to the expiration of his term of office, the deacon may be dismissed under the same procedures as a pastor that are outlined in Section 1 of this Article under “Procedures for Termination.”

 

           The Person of Deacon

 

The Apostles in Acts 6:1-6 mentioned three qualifications for those appointed to care for the widows.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to Timothy, lists ten additional requirements.

a. Honest report

b.  Full of the Holy Spirit

c.  Full of wisdom

d.  A man of dignity (KJV: grave)

e.  Not double-tongued

f.  Not given to much wine

g.  Not fond of sordid gain (KJV: not greedy of filthy lucre)

h.  Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience

i.  Having been proven

j.  Being found blameless

k.  Husband of one wife

l..  Ruling well his own children

m.  Ruling well his own house

 

           The Work and Responsibilities of the Deacon

 

1.  The primary biblical passage depicting the work of deacons is Acts 6:1-6. Deacons are men who are selected to be in a special position of servitude to the pastor and to the church, continually watchful and helpful in any way necessary to free the pastor for his God-given duties; such as, the ministry of the Word and prayer.  Since there has developed a certain number of required tasks within the local church, it is possible to indicate a few of these to give us an understanding of the work of deacons.

 

a.  Treasurer

b.  Financial Secretary

c.  Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds

d.  Superintendent of Ushers

e.  Benevolence

f.  Social works

g.  Trustees

                                h.  Sunday School Superintendent

 

2.  The deacons shall assist the pastor, in such manner as he shall request, in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, in conducting the religious services, and in carrying on the work of the church.  They shall relieve the pastor of many responsibilities so that he can better meet the needs of the church.  They shall, in cooperation with the pastor, disburse the benevolence fund.  They shall be vitally active in the soul winning ministries of the church and assist in the ordinances of the church.  They shall provide the pulpit supply if the office of pastor is vacant.  The chairman shall be elected at the first meeting of the church year.

 

3.  The deacons shall have general oversight of the finances of the church and the distribution of church funds.  They shall be responsible for setting all church employee compensation packages and benefits.  Prior to the annual business meeting, the deacons and pastor shall be responsible to prepare a recommended budget for the church, which shall be submitted at the annual meeting and considered for adoption for the ensuing year.  All non-budget expenditures exceeding $250 must meet the approval of the deacons.  Non-budgeted expenditures exceeding $1,000 must be presented to the membership for a vote.

 

4.  Deacon meetings shall be required to convene at a minimum on a quarterly basis, however, as the need changes and in order to conduct the business of the church, meetings may be held on a monthly basis.  The pastor shall be the moderator for all meetings.  Special meetings may be called by the pastor as needed.

 

5.  Any deacon who is remiss in his responsibilities or whose life or family brings reproach to his office shall be recommended by the pastor to the congregation for dismissal.  No deacons’ meetings shall be held without the pastor’s presence or his consent.

 

6.  Nowhere in the New Testament are deacons referred to as rulers in the church or seen as ruling over the pastors.  There are times when the deacons or other men in the church must assume control.  Examples of this would be: in the absence of a pastor, or if a pastor has sinned, or failed so seriously as to be under church discipline or expelled.   Once the deacon board and church has chosen another God-called, qualified pastor, the leadership of the church must once again be transferred to him.

 

Section 4 – Trustees

 

The deacons shall serve as trustees.  The number of trustees shall be three (3) or more.  If the number of active deacons does not constitute the minimum number of trustees, the pastor and deacons shall recommend a person or persons to temporarily fill the positions(s) until such time as the minimum number of trustees is met by active deacons.  They shall act as the legal agent of the church.  They are the guardians of the church’s legal papers and valuables.  Upon incorporation, the trustees are the officers of this corporation in legal matters.  They act only by direction of the congregation.  If the church has a safety deposit box, entry into the safety deposit box must be by stipulation and then by no less than two trustees.  Proper records noting the contents of the safety deposit box must be maintained and submitted to the treasurer so that an accounting can be given at any time.

 

Section 5 – Treasurer

 

An active deacon will fill the position of treasurer.  The treasurer shall be selected at the annual deacon’s board meeting.  He is responsible to keep an accurate account of all monetary receipts and disbursements.  The treasurer shall supervise the payment of all accounts consistent with the budget of the church or special vote of the church.  He is to post financial statements quarterly and provide them as needed.  Financial records are to be available to the pastor and deacons upon request, or by others designated to examine them.  The treasurer and other designated individuals shall sign all checks.  An assistant treasurer may be elected to assist.  Individuals, appointed by the deacons, shall count the offering on a rotating basis.  At least two shall be entrusted with this responsibility at a time.  The books of the treasurer must be available for audit or inspection at any time the deacons may deem necessary.

 

Section 6 --  Staff and Workers

 

In order to meet the needs of the congregation adequately, the pastor, in counsel with the Board of Deacons, is at liberty to fill positions, salaried and unsalaried, with personnel who are equipped for the task, meet the proper spiritual qualifications as determined by the pastor, and subscribe wholeheartedly to the Constitution/By-Laws, Church Covenant, and Declaration of Faith.  These positions include, but are not limited to, church secretaries, youth and music directors, assistants, and other staff members and workers.  Salaried personnel may be hired only after the congregation has allocated funds for that position in the budget.  The pastor is entrusted with the responsibility of dismissing staff members and workers who violate the conduct required of their position, or who are remiss in their duties.  The pastor will keep the deacons alerted to all aspects of the dismissal.  All staff and workers, salaried and unsalaried, shall be directly responsible to the pastor. 

 

Article X – Meetings

 

The pastor shall moderate all business meetings; in his absence, the chairman of the deacons shall serve as moderator, or a moderator pro tem may be appointed by the pastor.

 

Section 1 --  Regular Services (for fellowship, worship, and evangelism)

 

1.  Sunday Services:  morning and evening

 

2.  Mid-week prayer and Bible study

 

3.  Baptismal services:  when needed, usually in conjunction with other regular services.

 

4.  The Lord’s Supper, as scheduled by the Pastor

 

5.  Special emphasis meetings such as missionary conferences, Bible conferences, revival services, etc., as the pastor senses the Lord’s leading.

 

Section 2 --  Regular Business Meetings

 

1.  The regular business meetings of the pastor and the board of deacons shall be held at least quarterly or more often as needed.  The time and place of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit or in the bulletin at least one week in advance of the meeting.  A meeting agenda will be provided for the members of the church at least two weeks prior to the scheduled meeting and copies will be made available during the regular church services.

 

2.  Minutes of the business meetings will be made available at least one week after the meeting.  A continuous flow of information is necessary from the Pastor and church leaders to the congregation and from the congregation to the Pastor and church leaders.  Therefore these reports will be given in a timely manner for the purpose of passing information to the church members.

 

3.  The Board of Deacons agenda and minutes will help to facilitate not only communication, but also membership participation.

 

Section 3 --  Special Business Meetings

 

1.  Special business meetings shall be called for by the pastor or upon his approval.  Special meetings may be called at any time provided notice is given in a regular service prior to the special meeting.  If such a meeting should be called, a majority of the eligible voting membership must be present in order to conduct business.

 

2.  These meetings may be called to take care of specific items of business that may arise.  In such cases adequate information must be given prior to the meeting to ensure that the purpose of the meeting will be accomplished. Specifically, the congregation must have adequate information and time to reflect on that information if they are to reach any decision at a called meeting.  At least two weeks notice should be given for any called meeting. A longer time may be necessary in some instances, as determined by the pastor.

 

Section 4 --  Annual Business Meeting

 

1.  An annual meeting of the congregation will be held on the third Wednesday night of January for the purpose of reporting to the congregation the activities of the church for the past year, and for any business that needs to be conducted by the entire church body. 

 

2. In addition to the verbal reports given in the annual business meeting, a written report will be prepared.  It will include a financial report for the past year, a proposed budget for the coming year, a brief summary of the church's activity for the year, history of the church's development, and other items as deemed appropriate by the Board of Deacons and Pastor.

 

Section 5 – Moderator

 

The pastor shall moderate all business meetings, unless he is personally involved; in his absence, the chairman of the deacons shall serve as moderator, or a moderator pro tem may be appointed by the pastor.

 

Section 6 – Rules of Order

 

1.  It shall be the duty of the moderator to keep order, and in case the church is equally divided on any question, he shall give the deciding vote.  The moderator shall determine the rules of procedure according to his sense of fairness and common sense, giving all eligible voting members a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter.  The moderator is the final authority on questions of procedure, and his decision is final and controlling.

 

2.  The meeting shall be opened and closed with prayer.

 

3.  The order of the business shall be:

 

                                a.  Reading of the minutes of the previous meeting if called for by the moderator;

                                b.  Reports of committees;

                                c.  Unfinished business;

d.  New business.

 

4.  The church in conference shall entertain no proposition for discussion that has not been presented for the consideration of the deacons, not being listed on the agenda or minutes. 

 

5.  All motions shall be carried by the vote of the simple majority of eligible voting members present and voting, unless stated otherwise in this constitution.

 

6.  Quorum:  A quorum is necessary only for the calling or dismissal of a pastor (Article IX), special business meetings (Article X), or amendments to this constitution (Article XVIII).

 

7.  Rescheduling:  Meetings may be rescheduled by the pastor in consultation with the deacons or by a majority vote of the congregation.

 

Article XI – Organization

 

1.  This congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the pastor as the undershepherd with the counsel of the deacons.  Determinations of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures.  The pastor shall oversee and or conduct all aspects of this church in accordance with the articles of this constitution.  The deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor as requested by him.

 

2.  By action of the church in electing its officers, the immediate direction of spiritual and temporal affairs of the church shall be committed to said officers during the term of office as further provided elsewhere in this constitution.

 

3.  The church, as a corporation, shall be non-stock, non-profit, and an exclusively religious corporation.  It shall not, as a church, become an official member of any denomination, convention, fellowship, or other religious body of a compromising nature.  This church is an independent Baptist church that is totally self-governing and subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body.

 

Section 1 -- The Deacon Board

 

Functionally the Deacon Board will take care of the business of the church.  It will consist of the pastor and the deacons. The board will function together to provide the leadership for the church in all aspects of its life and activities.

 

Section 2 --  The Chairman

 

The Pastor will serve as the chairman of the Deacon Board, and will be responsible to direct the meetings and the business affairs as needed.  Duties associated with the Chairmanship include providing the agenda for the meetings, publishing minutes following the meetings, assigning action responsibilities and suspense dates for projects, follow-up with persons responsible to ensure that the appropriate actions are carried through to completion, and other duties associated with the position of Chairman.

 

Section 3  --  The Deacons

 

Collectively the Board of Deacons functions as the trustees for the church, the auditing committee for financial matters, and in general managing the material needs or assets of the church. The members of the Deacon Board, in addition to their specific responsibilities as deacons, will comprise the decision making and policy making body for the church.  Each will bring to the Board specifics about his area of supervision.  Each deacon will have an area of responsibility that is categorized as a spiritual ministry, such as; Financial Secretary, Treasurer, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, etc. The members are responsible to the Chairman for assigned responsibilities as far as supervision and accountability are concerned, then ultimately to the entire board as they hold each other accountable.

 

 

Section 4 -- Support staff

 

The pastor may recognize the need to add staff positions as the church develops. These staff positions will be specifically assigned under the supervision of the pastor and the deacon for whom that staff person is added to assist.  The person in charge of that functional area will prepare Job qualifications and job descriptions.

 

Section 5 -- Accountability

 

           To the Lord Jesus Christ

 

As a faithful minister of the Lord, each individual from the Pastor to the last member of the church is responsible to give account to the Lord for the fulfillment of his ministry. There are two aspects of that accountability; the first is while here on earth, and the second is when we stand before the Bema Seat in Heaven. Each should give account of himself so as to hear "well done thou good and faithful servant." (I Corinthians 3:11-15; II Corinthians 5:10).

 

           To the Deacon Board

 

Each member of the Board of Deacons is accountable to the Board, as an entity, for his functional area of responsibility on a day to day basis.  He will report to the Board concerning the functioning of his area of responsibility on a regular basis as the Board meets to conduct the business of the church.  In addition, he will prepare any written records or reports the Board deems necessary to have for working papers, or to file for the record.

 

Article XII -- Finances

 

1.  The church is to be supported by the offerings of its members. There are references in the Old Testament in which a specific amount was designated to be given. Other places only indicate an offering without designating an amount. Both were means of meeting the financial needs of God's people and of God's activities in the world.

 

2.  In the New Testament much is stated about the attitude in giving, and toward money in general. Throughout Scripture God's method of meeting the need was through the giving of His people. Therefore, we believe that church bazaars, church suppers, professional fund drives, rummage sales, etc., are not in accordance with the purposes of God in teaching His people to trust Him and to give of themselves to the work of the ministry.

 

Section 1 -- Budget

 

The Pastor, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, and other deacons make up the Financial Committee for the church.  It will be their responsibility to prepare a proposed budget to present first to the deacon board for review, and then to the congregation at the Annual Business Meeting for approval.

 

Section 2 -- Accounting

 

1.  The deacons, other than the treasurer, shall be responsible to receive and record all moneys received into the treasury. These moneys will then be turned over to the Treasurer for deposit into the church's appropriate account.  The recording of these moneys will be maintained by the Financial Secretary as a separate record from that maintained by the Treasurer.

 

2.       The Treasurer shall maintain an accurate account of all funds, depositing all moneys in the proper account at the bank; and issuing a check for all disbursements, recording the withdrawal in the appropriate fund. He shall also prepare a monthly financial statement for publication and distribution.

 

3.  The deacons shall conduct an annual audit of the financial records sufficiently in advance of the annual meeting as to be able to give a report of the findings at that meeting.

 

Section 3 -- Fiscal Year

 

The fiscal year of the church shall run concurrently with the calendar year, ending on 31 December.

 

Article XIII --  Committees

 

 Section 1 --  Nominating Committee

 

The pastor and deacons shall serve as nominating committee for all general elections.  The committee will recommend qualified and willing persons to the church for a vote.  No further nominations will be made from the floor.

 

Section 2 --  Other Committees

 

All other committees, including their personnel, shall be considered, set up, and appointed as needed by the pastor and deacons.  All such committees, along with their personnel, shall be responsible to the pastor and deacons.

Article XIV --  Ministries

 

All ministries, departments, organizations, classes, and groups are subservient parts of the church and shall under no circumstances be considered as separate and apart from the church or operating independently of the church, its pastor and the deacons.  Each group shall be careful to function in harmony with, and in subjection to, the pastor, the deacons, and the congregation.

 

Article XV --  Literature

 

Any literature which officially represents this church or which is used by any ministry of this church must first be approved by the pastor or his appointee.

 

Article XVI --  Missions

 

The church shall maintain an active missions program; it shall encourage its members to surrender for missionary service; it shall support missions financially and with prayer.

 

The pastor and deacons shall make recommendation to the church regarding the financial support of missionaries; they shall also make recommendations regarding the deletion of missionaries and their financial support according to the Missions Policy document.  The church shall vote on these recommendations.

 

All missionaries and mission boards will be required to read and sign our missions policy statement prior to receiving support from this church and shall affirm the same annually or as required.

 

Article XVII --  Licensing and Ordination

 

Any male giving evidence of a divine call to the gospel ministry and manifesting the gifts and grace belonging to the ministry, may be licensed and/or ordained to the ministry by this church.  He must first state his acceptance, without reservation, of the Constitution and By-Laws of the church, and must be recommended by the pastor of this church.  In case of ordination, an ordination council composed of ordained ministers whom the pastor considers wise to invite shall thoroughly examine the candidate for ordination with regards to his doctrinal soundness, moral and spiritual qualifications, and personal fitness.  After satisfactory examination by the council, he shall be recommended to the church for ordination.  The church by a majority vote must agree with the recommendations of the council if the candidate is to be ordained.

 

Article XVIII -- Administrative Matters

 

The following procedures are established to cover the amending of the constitution, publishing policy statements, and other matters that may later be included.

 

Section 1 – Adoption and Amendments to the Constitution

 

1.  Upon adoption, this constitution (including Declaration of Faith, Church Covenant, and By-Laws) bears immediate and complete constitutional authority upon this church.

 

2.  To amend the constitution, the proposed re-write must be submitted to the Board of Deacons to obtain a majority agreement on the Board that the proposed change is necessary and appropriate.  Then a final draft is prepared, reviewed by the Board, and printed for distribution to the church members. After sufficient time for discussion, a minimum of two weeks, giving everyone a chance to discuss or question as they feel the need, a congregational meeting will be scheduled to vote on the amendment.

 

3.  Amendments to the Church Covenant, Declaration of Faith, Constitution, and By-Laws may be made by a majority vote of the eligible voting membership present and voting, provided that a quorum is present at the vote and that the business meeting for this purpose was announced (from the pulpit or in the bulletin) fourteen (14) days before the vote is taken.  A quorum for this purpose shall be a simple majority of the eligible voting membership.  A copy of the proposed amendment shall be posted in the church or printed in the bulletin during the fourteen days before the vote is taken.

 

Section 2 --  Recording of Amendments

 

The chairman of the deacon board shall record all amendments to this constitution in a book solely for that purpose.  All said amendments shall be added to later additions of the constitution with the amendment date noted.

 

Section 3 -- Policy Statements

 

The pastor and deacon board may publish various policy statements adopting a specific position in regard to major issues of concern.  These need not be incorporated into the constitution, but must have a majority of agreement of the deacon board before being published as a "position paper" or "policy statement" of the church.  These policy statements may include but are not limited to issues such as, on the negative side: liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, Pentecostalism, neo-Evangelicalism, unbiblical church renewal movements, etc.; or on the positive side: endorsement for political action groups, programs, projects, evangelistic associations, faith mission organizations, etc.

 

Section 4 -- By-Laws

 

Decisions of the pastor and deacon board may be set forth in writing and are determined to be the operating procedures of this fellowship of believers. These are generally recorded in the form of minutes of the Board's meetings and represent the decisions arrived at by a majority of agreement among the board members.

 

Section 5 --  Miscellaneous

 

1.  The King James Version of the Bible is to be used in the pulpit and by all teachers and workers.  No other version or translation is to be used in preaching or teaching.

 

2.  Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights based on principles of democratic governments.  Although the general public is invited to all the church’s worship services; the church property remains private property.  The pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the deacons) has the authority to suspend or revoke the rights of any person to enter or remain on church property.  If after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, the person may, at the direction of the pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the deacons); he is treated as a trespasser.

 

Article IX – Property, Buildings, and Equipment

 

All buildings, property, and equipment shall be used only by permission of the pastor or his appointee.  They shall be principally for the use of the church, its functions, and related activities.

 

Article XX --  Tax Exempt Provisions

 

No part of the net earnings of the church shall insure to the benefit of, or be distributed to, its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in this document.

 

Article XXI --  Dissolution of Corporation

 

In the event of the dissolution of this church, the dissolution shall be in accordance with the Articles of Incorporation.

 

History of Amendments 

 

Amendment to Article I -- Name June 21, 1998

The name of this church shall be the Blythewood Baptist Church of Blythewood, South Carolina.