Constitution and Bylaws

 

 

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Constitution

Preamble


We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in relation to other churches.


I. Name


This body shall be known as Refuge Baptist Church located at Dana, North Carolina.


II. Objective


To be a dynamic spiritual organism, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, community and throughout the world.

To be a worshiping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person, and responding in obedience to His leadership.

To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and man.

To be a church which ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and the world in Jesus' name.

To be a church whose purpose is to be Christ like in our daily living, by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the lordship of Christ.


III. Statement of Basic Beliefs


We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God, and the basis for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message, as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963. We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ, personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper.


IV. Church Covenant


Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the 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.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinance, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and spread the Gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings; faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, back biting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and principles of God's word.


V. Relationships


The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership.

All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church unless otherwise specified by church action.

This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Carolina Baptist Association, the North Carolina State Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.


Bylaws

I. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

 

bulletGENERAL

This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.

The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.


bulletCANDIDACY

Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:

bulletBy profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this Church.

bulletBy promise of letter of recommendation from another Baptist Church.

bulletBy restoration upon statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in a Baptist church when no letter is obtainable.


bulletNEW MEMBER ORIENTATION

New members of this church are expected to participate in the church's new member orientation. The Discipleship training director shall ensure this training is conducted as often as needed and that all new members are introduced fully to the life of our Church.

Every member of the church should be faithful to attend services; to regularly and systematically give of their time, talents and treasures, and to otherwise support the approved ministries of the church.


bulletRIGHTS OF MEMBERS

bulletEvery member of the church is entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in confidence, provided the member is present.

bulletEvery member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as a candidate for elective offices in the church.

bulletEvery member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.


bulletTERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP

Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:

bulletDeath of member.

bulletTransfer of letter to another Baptist church.

bulletExclusion by action of this church.

bulletErasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.


bulletDISCIPLINE

It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The pastor, other members of the church staff and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishments. (Gal. 6:1-5; 1 Cor. 4:21; 2 Cor. 2:5-8; 2 Thes. 3:14-15; Heb. 12:7-13; James 5:15-20).

If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a three-fourths vote of the members present is required; and the church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church.

The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by a three-fourths vote of the church, upon evidence of the excluded person's repentance and reformation.


II. CHURCH OFFICERS

 

Except for the pastor, all who serve as church officers shall have been members of this church for at least one year by the time they take office.

The officers of this church shall be the pastor, the deacons, the trustees, a clerk, and a treasurer. No person may hold more than one church officer position at a time.


bulletPASTOR

The pastor shall be selected and called by the church whenever a vacancy shall occur. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by either his written request, his death, or the church's request.


bulletQUALIFICATIONS

The pastor shall be an ordained minister of the gospel who is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, and a person whose Christian character qualifies him for the office of pastor as set forth in Acts 20:17, 18-31; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17-20; Titus 5:1, 5-9 and 1 Peter 5:1-3.


bulletDUTIES

The pastor shall conduct religious services on stated and special occasions, administer the ordinances, and minister to members of the church and community as an under shepherd of Jesus Christ. He shall have special charge of the pulpit ministry of the church. In cooperation with the deacon body, he shall provide for pulpit supply when he is absent, and arrange for persons to assist in revival meetings and other special services.

The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. The pastor shall have in his charge the welfare and oversight of the church, leading the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff to perform their tasks. The pastor, as administrative head, and the Personnel Committee shall recommend to the church the call and termination of vocational staff members. He shall approve all absences and vacations of the church staff. The actual hiring and termination of any church member shall be done by the pastor and the chairperson of the Personnel Committee jointly, with the chairperson of the Personnel Committee acting as spokesman.

The pastor shall preside at the services of the church. The pastor is an ex-officio member of all committees, programs, services and organizations of the church; he may serve as messenger to the Carolina Baptist Association, North Carolina State Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention. If the pastor's decision is to attend any of the above, his expenses will be paid by the church, as provided for in the church budget.

The pastor's compensation, time off, vacation, and sick leave shall be in accordance with church action and church staff policy.

The pastor shall be responsible to the church.

An absence of more than 30 days by the pastor may be considered a leave of absence. When a leave of absence is granted, the pulpit supply shall be determined by the deacon body.


bulletELECTIONS AND TERMINATIONS

When the need arises, the Nominating Committee shall oversee the process of selecting a five (5) member Pastor Search Committee. The Deacon Body, the Budget/Finance Committee and Personnel Committee, shall select one member from among their own group. With one week's written notice, nominations will be received for two (2) weeks from the Church for two (2) members-at-large. Those who are nominated must be active church members, willing and able to serve, and not a member of, nor a spouse to a member of the other groups represented. The two members-at-large shall be elected by secret ballot from those nominated. The Nominating Committee shall contact each nominee, shall prepare and count ballots, and shall announce the results.

The Deacon Body shall recommend as promptly as possible a candidate for interim pastor. One week's written notice shall be given and the church shall elect an interim pastor by secret ballot with three-fourths affirmative vote. The Deacon Body shall arrange, as they feel led, for speakers on a week-by-week basis until an interim pastor can begin.

Immediately upon election by the church, the Pastor Search Committee shall begin its work. They shall determine the needs of the church, consult with associational leaders, list those qualifications desired, review resumes, listen to tapes, visit churches, hear preachers, and then recommend one candidate at a time for the church to consider.

The voting on a pastor shall be by the recommendation of the Pastor Search Committee and in a called business meeting. The election shall be by secret ballot. An affirmative vote of three-fourths of the vote cast shall be required for the church to extend a call to the candidate.

The pastor may relinquish the office of pastor by giving at least 30 days written notice to the church at the time of resignation. The church may declare the office of pastor vacant. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon the recommendation of the deacons or by written petition signed by not less than one half of the active members. The moderator for this meeting shall be a member of the church, designated by majority vote of the members present, and he shall be someone other than the pastor. The vote to declare the office of pastor vacant shall be by secret ballot, and affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members present being necessary to declare the office vacant. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the pastor so excluded from office, the church shall compensate the pastor with not less than one twelfth of his total annual compensation. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in not more than thirty days.


bulletDEACON


bulletMEMBERSHIP

The active Deacon body shall consist of eight deacons, as shown by the records of the church, and of such additional deacons as the church may hereafter elect. Each member herein referred to, as "Deacon" shall serve until his term of office terminated as herein provided.


bulletQUALIFICATIONS

A deacon shall be a man who has been a member of this church for at least one year. He must be in good standing and possess the qualifications for a deacon as set forth in Acts 6:3 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.


bulletTERM OF OFFICE

The term of office of a deacon shall terminate upon:

bulletThe completion of four active years.

bulletHis death.

bulletHis resignation.

bulletTermination of his membership in the church

bulletHis removal from such office by the church


bulletNUMBER AND ELECTION

The number of deacons shall never be less than seven. Such number may be increased at any time by the election of additional deacons as recommended by the pastor and active Deacon Body, with regard to the current needs of the church.

During the first three weeks in July, a ballot box will be located in the foyer of the church. Members will be encouraged to submit names of men to fill the vacancies on the active Deacon Body. After review of the names submitted, the pastor and active deacons will, by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, determine the men qualified and willing to serve as deacons. The names of these men will be submitted to the church for election by secret ballot. The men who receive the most votes will be elected to serve four years, beginning on September 1.

After serving a term of four years, no deacon will be eligible for re-election until the lapse of at least one year. A deacon elected to fill an unexpired term of more than six months duration shall not be eligible for re-election, until the lapse of at least one year.


bulletRESPONSIBILITIES

Individual duties include the following:

bulletTo serve with the pastor and staff in performing pastoral ministry tasks.

bulletTo proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers.

bulletTo care for church members and other persons in the community.

bulletLead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry, and application.

bulletThe Deacon Body shall elect annually a representative, other than the Chairman, to serve as a member of the Budget/Finance, Personnel and Nomination committees.

bulletThe Deacon Body shall be available to any committee or individual, to bring items for their consideration and advice.

bulletThe Deacon Body has the authority to assume responsibility in situations where a committee cannot, or will not, take action the Deacon Body feels necessary.

bulletThe Deacon Body shall serve as a general pulpit supply committee. In case of temporary absence or inability of the pastor to serve, subject to advice from and in conference with him, the Deacon Body will provide for pulpit supply.

bulletThe Deacon Body shall meet regularly, or at the call of the Chairman, or if two or more deacons request a meeting, for the transaction of matters that pertain to their duties.

bulletDuring the August's deacons meeting each year, the deacons to serve for the new year shall elect from their membership officers and leaders to serve for the ensuing year. Members of the Deacon Body shall not be eligible to serve as Chairman during the first or last year of service. The deacons shall also review the pastor's job performance.

bulletThe Deacon Chairman shall moderate at church business meetings. He may also chair the Church Council in the absence of or as requested by the pastor.

bulletThe Deacon Body shall assist the pastor in serving the Lord's Supper and in conducting baptisms.


bulletTRUSTEES


bulletMEMBERSHIP

The church shall elect four trustees to serve as legal officers for the church for a term of service of four years with one rotating off each year.

At the beginning of each church year, the trustees shall elect from their number a chairman and representatives other than the chairman, to serve as a member of the Budget/Finance and Personnel committees. Trustees shall not be eligible to serve as chairman for the first or last year of their term unless they have previously been a trustee within the last two years. Trustees shall not be eligible to serve as chairman the last year of their term.


bulletELECTION

During the first three weeks in July, a ballot box will be located in the foyer of the church. Members will be encouraged to submit names of men to fill the vacancies of trustee. After reviewing the names submitted, the pastor and current trustees will determine, by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, those men whom are qualified and willing to serve as trustees. The names of these men will be submitted to the church for election by secret ballot. The one(s) with the most votes will be elected to serve the available term(s) of service beginning on September 1. When a vacancy occurs, a new trustee shall be elected, serve the unexpired term, not to exceed four years. Individuals completing their term shall not be eligible to serve again as trustee until the lapse of at least one year.


bulletRESPONSIBILITIES

The trustees shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote by the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any church property.

When the signatures of trustees are required, the trustees shall sign legal documents related to church approved matters. They shall be the legal representatives of the church in the event legal action is brought for or against the church.

The chairman shall be authorized to sign checks for the church in case of an emergency and in the absence of the church treasurer.

The trustees shall maintain an up-to-date inventory of all church property, property deeds, mortgage loans, and insurance on church property.

The trustees shall maintain church properties for ready use and recommended policies regarding use of properties. They shall oversee contracts related to the security, maintenance and general upkeep of church properties.


bulletCHURCH CLERK


The church shall elect annually a clerk, who shall be responsible for keeping a suitable record of all official actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a register of names of members with dates of admission, transfer of letter, death, or erasure, together with a record of baptisms. The clerk shall issue letters of transfer voted by the church, and preserve on file all communications and written official reports as indicated by these bylaws. The clerk shall be responsible for preparing the annual letter of the church to the Carolina Baptist Association.


bulletCHURCH TREASURER


The church shall elect annually a Church Treasurer as its financial officer. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church, at each regular business meeting, an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements of the preceding quarter.

The treasurer shall cooperate with the Budget/Finance Committee as they conduct an annual audit of all financial records, budget items and all accounts and church funds at the end of each fiscal year, with its acceptance and approval by the church the records shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk and church historian, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church.


III. CHURCH COMMITTEES

 

The committee ministries shall include the: Budget/Finance, Bus/Van, Children's, Youth, Senior Citizens, Nominating, Personnel and such other regular and special committees as the church shall authorize. Additional regular committees may be added by the amendment procedure prescribed within these bylaws. All church committee members shall be recommended by the church Nominating Committee and elected unless otherwise specified within these bylaws. Unless otherwise specified within these bylaws, committee members shall serve on a three-year rotation basis with one third to rotate off each year. A member shall be eligible for re-election to a committee where they have previously served after the lapse of one year off it. The Pastor is an ex-officio, non-voting member of all committees. All committee ministries will begin September 1st and serve through August 31st.


bulletBUDGET/FINANCE COMMITTEE


The Budget/Finance Committee shall include the church treasurer, one deacon, one trustee and three at-large church members elected to three-year terms with one rotation off each year. The three at-large members may not be a member of the Deacon Body or a Trustee.

The committee shall formulate the annual church budget. The church department heads or committee chairpersons shall submit an itemized budget request to the Budget/Finance Committee thirty days before the beginning of the church fiscal year.

The Budget/Finance Committee shall present the proposed church budget to the church body at least three weeks before the beginning of the church fiscal year, and it shall be voted on one week later at a special called business meeting.

Expenditures that alter the church budget must come through the Budget/Finance Committee for a suitable plan of financing.

The Budget/Finance Committee shall conduct an annual audit of all financial records, budget items and all accounts and church funds at the end of each fiscal year and/or when a new church treasurer is elected.



bulletBUS/VAN COMMITTEE


This committee shall oversee the operation, policies and all recommendations of all church vehicles, including scheduled maintenance, required inspections, needed repairs and approved drivers. The committee shall consist of four (4) members: a Trustee representative, other than the Trustee Chairman, who is appointed annually from the active board, and three (3) at-large members serving for three years each, with one at-large member rotating off annually, not to succeed themselves until one year has elapsed.



bulletCHILDREN'S COMMITTEE


The Children's Committee shall consist of six members elected to three-year terms with two rotating off each year.

The Children's Committee shall be responsible for meeting each quarter to plan and implement a program of activities for the children of the church. Plans and activities shall be coordinated through the Church Council. The Pastor and Minister/Director of Youth will serve as non-voting advisors to this committee.



bulletYOUTH COMMITTEE


The Youth Committee shall consist of six members elected to three-year terms with two rotating off each year.

The Youth Committee shall be responsible for meeting with the Minister/Director of Youth quarterly, to plan and implement a program of activities for the youth of the church. When no Minister/Director of Youth is on staff, the committee will meet to plan and implement the program. The plans and events shall be coordinated through the Church Council.

The committee will also serve as an advisory committee for the Minister/Director of Youth, in helping him/her understand the background of the youth program and what has been beneficial and well received in the past. The committee shall work in consultation with the Minister/ Director of Youth in selecting from among themselves a Youth Coordinator and assist the Minister/Director of Youth to obtain adult sponsors to help as chaperone and youth workers.



bulletSENIOR CITIZEN COMMITTEE


The Senior Citizen Committee shall consist of six members elected to three-year terms with two rotating off each year.

The committee shall be responsible for planning and scheduling social activities and events for the senior citizens of the church. All events will be coordinated through the Church Council. Church transportation for events will be scheduled by the committee with the church office.



bulletNOMINATING COMMITTEE


The Nominating Committee shall consist of seven members: the WMU Director, Sunday School Director, a Deacon representative from the Deacon Body, and four at-large members. The at-large members shall serve a two-year term with two members rotating off each year and may not be serving as WMU or Sunday School Director or as an active part of the Deacon Body.

Upon recommendation from the church, the Nominating Committee shall nominate members for such special committees as may be needed for a special purpose, such as Pastor Search Committee, Bylaws Review Committee, Building Committee, etc.

The Nominating Committee shall select, interview and enlist church program leaders and general church officers. These will be presented as nominations to the church body each year by the second week in August. The term of service shall be from September 1st through August 31st.



bulletPERSONNEL COMMITTEE


The Personnel Committee shall consist of five members: one Deacon and one Trustee to represent their respective bodies, and three at-large members of the church. The at-large members shall be elected for a three-year term, with one member rotating off each year. The at-large members may not be serving as a Deacon or Trustee.

The Personnel Committee shall serve as an advisory committee to the Pastor, and shall make recommendations to the church in consultation with him.

Specific duties shall include:


bulletAssist the Pastor to annually review job performance of current church staff.

bulletPrepare and update staff job descriptions and organizational charts as needed.

bulletConsider suggestions and recommend additional staff positions to the church.

bulletRecruit, interview, and recommend prospective employees in consultation with the Pastor.

bulletDevelop and recommend a salary program in consultation with the Budget/Finance Committee.

bulletDevelop and recommend personnel policies and procedures.

bulletServe as a grievance committee for church staff as needed.