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.
This body shall be known as Refuge Baptist Church located at Dana, North
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
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.
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
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.
I. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
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.
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:
By profession of faith and for baptism according
to the policies of this Church.
By promise of letter of recommendation from
another Baptist Church.
By restoration upon statement of prior
conversion experience and baptism in a Baptist church when no letter is
NEW 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.
RIGHTS OF MEMBERS
Every 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.
Every member of the church is eligible for consideration
by the membership as a candidate for elective offices in the church.
Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances
of the church as administered by the church.
TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall be terminated
in the following ways:
Death of member.
Transfer of letter to another Baptist church.
Exclusion by action of this church.
Erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church
of another denomination.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
ELECTIONS 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
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
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.
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.
TERM OF OFFICE
The term of office of a deacon shall
The completion of four active years.
Termination of his membership in the church
His removal from such office by the church
NUMBER 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
Individual duties include the
To serve with the pastor and staff in performing pastoral
To proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers.
To care for church members and other persons in the community.
Lead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness,
education, ministry, and application.
The Deacon Body shall elect annually a representative, other
than the Chairman, to serve as a member of the Budget/Finance, Personnel and Nomination
The Deacon Body shall be available to any committee or
individual, to bring items for their consideration and advice.
The Deacon Body has the authority to assume responsibility
in situations where a committee cannot, or will not, take action the Deacon Body
The 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
The 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.
During 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.
The 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.
The Deacon Body shall assist the pastor in serving the Lord's
Supper and in conducting baptisms.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
SENIOR 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
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.
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:
Assist the Pastor to annually review job performance of current
Prepare and update staff job descriptions and organizational
charts as needed.
Consider suggestions and recommend additional staff positions
to the church.
Recruit, interview, and recommend prospective employees in
consultation with the Pastor.
Develop and recommend a salary program in consultation with
the Budget/Finance Committee.
Develop and recommend personnel policies and procedures.
Serve as a grievance committee for church staff as needed.