I. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. General
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 conditions of such membership.
Section 2. Candidacy
Any person may offer himself/herself as a candidate for membership in this church. The Pastor, a minister or any other person as designated by the church body will have the power to receive any prospective candidate for membership into the church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:
(1) By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church.
(2) By Watch Care designation (when requested), and/or based upon past Christian Experience.
(3) By restoration upon a statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in any church, regardless of denomination.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidates, such dissent shall be referred to a membership or nominating committee for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days.
Candidates undthese conditions may be accepted by the Pastor into the membership at the time of application and such application shall be pending. A three-fourth vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
Section 3. New Member Orientation
New members of this church are encouraged to participate in the church's new membership orientation. The Pastor will be responsible for the new member orientation.
Section 4. Rights of Members
Membership to the church shall not be denied any person who has publicly confessed his/her sin, publicly stated his/her acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior and is willing to abide by the policies of the church.
Membership shall not be denied based upon race, color or creed (former religious beliefs). Membership may be denied any person relative to them moral character and human behavior.
(1) Every active member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present or provision has been made for absentee balloting. The voting age in this church body shall be twelve (12) years and above.
(2) Every active member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
(3) Any member who has an issue and wishes to bring that issue before the church conference body may do so after consulting with the Pastor and Deacon Board.
(4) Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.
Section 5. Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
(1) death of the member, (2) dismission to another church, (3) exclusion by action of this church, or (4) Non-participation in church services, within the last 12 months excluding sickness, away in school or armed service.
Section 6. Discipline
It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The Pastor, other members of the church staff and Deacons are available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.
Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the Pastor and the Deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accord with Matthew 18. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds 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. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance.
The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by vote of the church upon evidence of the excluded person’s repentance and reformation.
Section 7. Qualifications of Active Membership
Membership is active when an attend or participates in regular church services at least fifty percent (50%) of the Sunday 11:00 a.m. worship services within each calendar year; in addition, active membership may be judged by the dates and number of financial envelopes, as well as visual contact by the church body as a whole. Those individuals who are sick and shut in, away attending a higher institution of learning, fulfilling armed service responsibilities are excluded from active membership and by their own personal choice may request to remain an active member of the church. Those individuals whose employment requires them to be at work during the Sunday morning worship services are encouraged to attend Sunday evening Bible study, afternoon and evening worship services, or midweek prayer services in order to maintain their spiritual growth and active membership.
The church shall welcome and encourage any non-member who wishes to attend worship services, church programs and participate in aiding and helping any individual, department, committee or organization of the church.
Section 8. Qualifications of In-Active Membership
Those individuals who have not attended fifty percent (50%) of the worship services within the last twelve (12) months shall automatically be placed in the inactive membership status on the church roll. Such inactive membership may remain in an associated membership status until the church decides to purge their names from the church rolls. Those who verbally express a desire to remain an associated member are excluded from the church's roll purge. Those individuals who wish to remain in the associate membership status shall do so by notifying the Pastor or Church Clerk verbally or in writing.
All active members shall exercise full rights and privileges of church membership including voting privileges on all church matters and priority watch care. Non-active and associated membership shall not exercise the full rights and privileges of church membership which limits shall be evaluated and set by the church body. Non-active and associated members shall not be allowed to exercise the right to vote on any church matters.
II. CHURCH OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
All who serve as officers of the church; and those who will serve as officers of committees, auxiliaries and in the Sunday School shall be active members of this church.
Section 1. Church Officers
The officers of this church shall be the Pastor, the Church Staff, the Deacons, Sunday School Superintendent, a Moderator, a Clerk, a Treasurer, Trustees, Committee and Auxiliary Officials. The duties and functions of each church officer shall be found in the Hiscox Baptist Manual. All duties shall be performed to the glory and honor of Christ and the Church.
(1) The Pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. 'Ihe Pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the Church Staff to perform their tasks. The Pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such he works with the Deacons and Church Staff to: (1) lead the church in the achievement of its mission, (2) proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (3) care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given.
A Pastor selection or pulpit committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable Pastor, and its recommendations will institute a nomination. Any church member has the privilege of making other nominations according to the policy established by the church. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one name at a time. Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present being necessary for a choice. The Pastor, when elected, shall serve on a permanent tenure until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church's request. He shall preside at all business meetings of this church, and be so designated to serve as Moderator in all business meetings in keeping with the rules of order authorized in these bylaws.
The Pastor may relinquish the Pastoral office by giving at least four weeks notice to the church at the time of resignation; then the church may declare the office of the Pastor to be vacant. Such action shall take place at a call meeting called for that purpose only, of which at least one week's public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon the recommendation of a majority of the Deacon and Trustee Boards and/or by written petition signed by not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the active church membership roll. The Moderator for this meeting shall be designated by the members present by majority vote, and he shall be someone other than the Pastor. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by secret and/or absentee ballot; an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the active membership being necessary to declare the Pastoral office vacant. Except in instances where the church by seventy-five percent (75%) active membership vote dismisses the Pastor; the church will compensate the Pastor with no less than $10,000.00; or as provided in a separate Pastoral Contract. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in not more than thirty days.
(2) The Ministerial Staff shall be called and employed as the church deter mines the need for such offices. A job description shall be written when the need for a staff member is determined. 'Ihose staff members of whom the church requires evidence of a personal call of God to minister shall be recommended to the church by the Pastor and Deacon Board and called by church action. At the time of resignation, at least two weeks notice shall be given to the church. The church may vote to vacate such positions upon recommendation of any church official, such termination being immediate and the compensation conditions not being the same as for the Pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual's compensation that is due him or her.
Nonministerial staff members shall be employed as the church determines the need for their services. The church congregation shall have the authority to employ and to terminate services of nonministerial staff members. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the Pastor, Deacons, Trustees, Supervising Staff Member and, as appropriate, with the consultation of related committees of the church.
An Associate Minister status can only be established by the approval of the Pastor, Deacon Board and Church congregation. Any Associate Minister must follow and work within the confines of the Pastor's approval and authorization.
Any Associate Minister wishing to be ordained must first complete a formal training and work outline as planned by the Pastor. The training outline shall be approved by the church body.
The Pastor and church body shall be willing and ready to work with any person called to God to the ministry. Such ministry may include, but is not limited to preaching, music, and other services to the church.
(1) The church shall elect Deacons or Deaconesses by ballot vote at regular business meetings of the church. There shall be a Deacon elected for assigned service for a specified number of church families. All Nominees for deaconship shall be approved by the Pastor before their names are presented before the Church Conference for approval.
All Deacons shall serve on a rotation basis. Each year the assigned term of office of one-third of the number of Deacons shall expire, and election shall be held to fill vacancies and to add to the Deacons such numbers as the church size warrants. In case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the church may elect a Deacon to fill the unexpired term. After serving a term of three years assignment, a Deacon shall be eligible for reelection only after the lapse of at least one year. There shall be no obligation to constitute as an assigned Deacon one who has been a Deacon in another church; but in such instances as one might be chosen by this church for assignment as a Deacon, his previous ordination by another church of like faith and good order shall suffice for this church.
In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament, Deacons are to be servants of the church. Their task is to serve with the Pastor and staff in performing the pastoral ministries tasks of
(1) leading the church in the achievement of its mission, (2) proclaiming the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (3) caring for the church's members and other persons in the community.
(4) The Pastor shall be the Moderator and preside at all church conference and called church meetings. In the absence of the Moderator, the Chairman of Deacons shall preside; and in the absence of both, the Clerk shall call the church to order and preside for the election of an acting Moderator, or the church body may elect any active member to moderate the meeting.
(5) The church shall elect annually a Clerk as its clerical officer. The Clerk 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, dismission, death, or erasure, together with a record of baptisms. The Clerk shall issue letters of dismission voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give required notice of all meetings where notice is necessary, as indicated in these bylaws. The Clerk shall be responsible for preparing any official letter from the church to the Association, and any other official church business. This includes invitations and providing information relative to church business.
The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a Church Secretary who will assist the elected clerk. All church records are church property and shall be kept in the church office when an office is maintained.
(6) The church shall elect annually or as often as necessary 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 month. The Treasurer's report and records may be audited annually by an auditing committee or public accountant as necessary. The Treasurer shall be bonded, if necessary, the church paying for the bond.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be delivered by the Treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church.
(7) The church shall elect three or more Trustees to serve as legal officers for the church. They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote of 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 they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church approved matters.
Trustees shall serve on a rotation basis, with one new Trustee being elected every three years.
All Church Officers including Church Auxiliaries and Committee Officers, shall automatically vacate their positions no later than January 1, of each year. Automatic resignation will not apply to those positions in a 3 year rotating system. Any church officer not fully performing his or her duties shall be cause for removal from their office or position.
Section 2. Church Committees
The committees of this church shall be an Advisory Committee, a Nominating Committee, a Hospitality Committee, a Communion Committee, a Food Service Ministry and such other regular or special committees as the church shall authorize. Additional regular comittees may be added by the amendment procedure prescribed within these bylaws. All church committee members shall be recommended by the church Nominating Committee and church conference and elected by the church unless otherwise specified within these bylaws. The Nominating Committee shall serve on a three-year rotation basis with one-third to be elected each third year.
(1) The Nominating Committee coordinates the staffing of all church leadership positions filled by volunteer workers, unless otherwise specified herein. Persons considered for any such positions shall first be approved by the Nominating Committee before they are approached for recruitment. The Nominating Committee shall present to the church for election all who accept the invitation to serve.
(2) The Trustee Board assists the church in matters related to employed personnel administration, including those called by church action. Their work includes recommendations in such areas as determining staff needs, employment, salaries benefits, other compensation, policies, job descriptions, and personnel services. The Trustee Board shall evaluate, study and make a proposed annual church budget to be presented at the regular church meeting no later than the last week in November of each year.
Section 3. Church Election of Officers
All church officers with the exception of the Pastor shall be elected to serve no later than the last week in November of each year. All elected church officials or committee chairpersons will be required to attend a church leadership workshop prior to serving in their elected position. The Pastor and/or other qualified individuals will be prepared to conduct the leadership workshop. Any elected officer failing to attend the leadership workshop will not be officially recognized by the church as serving in their tentative elected position.
III. CHURCH PROGRAM ORGANIZATIONS
The Church, Pastor and Sunday Church School shall maintain programs of Bible teaching; church member training, church leader training, new member orientation; mission education, action, and support; and music education, training, and performance. All organizations related to the church programs shall be under church control, all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church, and all program activities subject to church coordination and approval. The church shall provide the human resources, the physical resources, and the financial resources for the appropriate advancement of these programs.
(1) The Sunday School shall be the basic organization for the Bible teaching program. Its tasks shall be to teach the biblical revelation, reach persons for Christ and church membership, perform the functions of the church within its constituency, provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
The Sunday School shall be organized by departments and/or classes, as appropriate for all ages, and shall be conducted under the direction of the Sunday School Superintendent elected by the church.
(2) The Pastor's Church Training Workshop shall serve as the training unit of the church. Its tasks shall be to train church members to perform the functions of the church; train church leaders; orient new church members; teach Christian theology, Christian ethics, Christian history, and church polity and organization; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
Church training shall be organized as necessary for all members and conducted under the direction of a general director and the Pastor.
(3) The Missionary Union shall be the mission education, mission action, and mission support organization of the church for men, women, young men young women, boys, girls, and preschool children, Its tasks shall be to teach missions; engage in mission action; support world missions through praying and giving; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church denomination.
The Missionary Union shall have such officers and organizations as the program requires.
(5) The Church Music organization, when created shall be under the direct ion of the church-elected music director, who shall be in charge of the music education, training, and performance organization of the church. Its tasks shall be to teach music; train persons to lead, sing, and play music; provide music in the church and community; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
The Church Music program shall have such officers and organization as the program requires.
IV. CHURCH PROGRAM SERVICES
The church shall maintain spiritual services and recreation services for the purpose of enriching and extending the ministries and programs of the church.
(1) The Church Council will be the planning resource center for the church. Its personnel will seek to provide and promote the use of Christian printed and audiovisual resources. They also will provide consultation to church leaders and members in the use of printed and audiovisual resources.
V. CHURCH COUNCIL (Christian Board of Education)
The Church Council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, conducting, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organizations.
The primary functions of the Church Council shall be to recommend to the church suggested objectives and church goals; to review and coordinate ministry and program plans recommended by church officers, organizations, and committees; to recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities; and to evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals.
Regular members of the Church Council shall be the Pastor, other church members, directors of church program organizations, Media Center Director, Recreation Director, Deacons, Church Officers, and Chairpersons of Church Committees.
All matters agreed upon by the council which call for action not already ap proved shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.
The Church Council and Advisory Committee may evaluate the Pastor on an annual basis for his performance toward his pastoral charge. This evaluation may take the form of non-performance or a vote of confidence.
VI. CHURCH ORDINANCES
Section 1. Baptism
This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
(1) Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
(2) The Pastor, or whatever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism. The Deacons and those authorized by the Pastor shall assist in the preparation for, and the observance of, baptism.
(3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
(4) A person who professes Christ and is not baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the Pastor and/or Staff or Deacons. If negative interest is ascertained on the part of the candidate, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
Section 2. The Lord's Supper
The church shall observe the Lord's Supper monthly, the first Sunday of each month, unless otherwise scheduled by the church. 'Ihe observance may alternate between the morning and the evening services of worship. The Pastor, Deacons and Communion Committee shall administer the Lord's Supper, the Communion Committee being responsible for the physical preparations. The Communion Committee shall consist of the wives of active Deacons and Trustees and others as chosen by the Pastor who are fit to serve. All children under the parental or adult guidance should be encouraged to partake in the communion services. Full communion services shall be observed during the Easter Season at the discretion of the Pastor. Full communion service consist of the act of breaking bread, partaking of the communion cup, act of feet washing and Christian fellowship.
VII. CHURCH MEETINGS
Section 1. Worship Services
The Pastor shall be the worship leader during regular Sunday morning service. He shall be in full control of the worship services. He shall guide all phases of worship which include the music, announcements, offering, praise, prayer and preaching services. The Pastor will conduct the worship services in a manner that will create positive worship and spiritual experiences for all members and age groups in the congregation. The Pastor shall be responsible for planning and conducting the order of worship in the church.
The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening (optional), and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services. The Pastor shall direct the services for all the church members and for all others who may choose to attend. Other preaching services conducted by visiting ministers shall be done only by written or verbal invitation from the Pastor.
Section 2. Special Services
Revival services and any other church meetings essential to the advancement of the church's objectives shall be placed on the church calendar. All church organizations interested in inviting visiting ministers, choirs or other groups for their programs shall first contact and inform the Pastor. The Pastor will be responsible for officially inviting all visiting ministers, choirs or other groups via official church stationery or other means of communication.
Section 3. Regular Business Meetings
The church shall hold regular business meetings quarterly or semi-annually on a designated night to be announced at least two weeks in advance. Any and all items of business discussed and voted upon in the Deacon and Trustee meeting shall be reported to the church during regular business meetings.
Section 4. Special Business Meetings
The church may conduct called business meetings to consider matters of special nature and significance. A one-week notice must be given for the specially called business meeting unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, the date, time and place; and it must be given in such a manner that all active members have opportunity to know of the meeting. No business or Board meeting (Deacons and Trustees) shall be called or held without the Pastor's knowledge.
Section 5. Quorum
The quorum consists of those members who attend the business meeting, provided it is a stated meeting and one that has been properly called.
Section 6. Parliamentary Rules
Robert's Rules of Order (Revised), and Christian conduct is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
VIII. CHURCH FINANCES
Section 1. Budget
All church departments and committees, in consultation with the Church Council, shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all operating and other expenses. Offering envelopes will be provided for members' use. The Church will take up one main offering during regular worship service which will include operations and mission. At the request of the Pastor, an emergency mission or extra mission offering may be taken. All members are encouraged to tithe with the church. It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular gifts. Annually there shall be an opportunity for all church members to make a pledge of financial support to the church.
Section 2. Accounting Procedures
All funds received or raised in the church by an individual, committee, auxiliary or organization of the church for any and all purposes shall pass through the hands of the Church Treasurer, or Financial Secretary, and be properly recorded on the books of the church. The treasurer shall maintain control of all church funds which shall be dispensed only for church related use or functions, with the signed authorization of one or more of the church trustees. Those who have responsibility that involves actual handling of funds may be bonded, the church paying the bond. (See Article II, Section 1, (6) regarding the Church Treasurer).
A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the Trustee Board and Treasurer.
Section 3. Fiscal Year
'Ihe church fiscal year shall run concurrently with the church year which begins on January 1 and ends on December 31.
IX. CHURCH OPERATIONS MANUAL
The Church Council of the church shall develop a church operations manual to include the church constitution bylaws, policies and procedures and organization charts depicting lines of responsibility in the administration of the church. The manual shall be kept in the church office and trade available for use there by any member of the church. The Church Clerk shall maintain the manual. The Church Advisory Council or a special committee shall review the manual at least annually, with authority to recommend changes for the church to consider. Any church member or church organization may initiate suggested changes in the manual.
Addition, revision, or deletion of church policies requires: (1) the re commendation of the church officer or organization to whose areas of assignment the policy relates, (2) discussion by the advisory or the Church Council, and (3) approval by the church.
Procedures may be added, revised, or deleted by: (1) recomendation of the church officer or organization to whose areas of assignment the procedures relate, (2) approval by the church or advisory council, and (3) approval of the church.
X. COMMUNITY SERVICE
The church structure and premises shall be made available to the community for community projects, Christian services and funeral services. Churches and non-members who wish to use the church for community projects, weddings and funerals shall first contact the Pastor for arrangenents, scheduling and coordination. Ministerial services may or may not be available for non-members during weddings, funerals and other community projects. There shall be no compensation required by any family for the use of the church when conducting funeral services.
Any non-member or church family using the church for funerals or weddings shall secure their own minister and shall be responsible for any compensation if required by the servicing minister. The church may not be made available for community services if the church already has scheduled activities or programs in place at the time when an outside request is made. All such services shall be coordinated through the Pastor.
XI. MINISTERIAL AND CHURCH SERVICE OPERATIONS
Any individual, department, committee or organization planning to request a visiting minister to render service for their projects or programs in the church, shall be responsible for the honorariums and compensation to the visiting minister. The church shall be responsible for the honorarium and compensation for any ministerial service officially requested by the authorized representative of the church.
If the Pastor is absent from his regular Sunday morning worship service by his own design and choosing, the Pastor will be responsible for compensating the visiting minister who will come at the request of the Pastor. In the event that the Pastor does not fulfill his preaching charge due to illness or death in his immediate family, the church shall be responsible for acquiring and compensating the visiting minister for the Sunday worship service.
Any church official or employee who is employed and compensated by the church for their service in the church, shall not be compensated if service is not provided. And where applicable a prorated compensation shall be computed if the service not provided is in part, except as provided by written contract or notice and knowledge of the full Trustee Board.
The only exclusion to this policy is the Pastor's vacation time which shall consist of any five (5) weeks per year. Any unused vacation by the Pastor shall not be carried over into a new church year unless the church gives approval.
Musicians selected by any of the church choirs shall be compensated by the church at the established rate approved by the church body. Any musician accompanying the Pastor and choir by official invitation from other churches or groups to render service shall be compensated by the church at the established rate set by the church body.
XII. YOUTH SERVICES
Support and self-governing consideration shall be given to the youth and youth leaders of the church so as to encourage youth participation in the church services, projects and programs. Emphasis shall be given to all planning efforts that will enhance the personal, physical and spiritual growth of youth in the church. The youth supervisor shall produce an annual operating budget for youth activities to be presented to the church for adoption. Such youth activities shall include Junior Missionaries, Junior Deacons, and other church related organizations that would encourage youth participation in the church.
XIII. SPIRITUAL AND THEOLOGICAL MATTERS
The Pastor and Deacons shall be the only ones qualified in the church to receive and counsel with members relative to doctrinal and theological differences or matters.
Any member of the church who has any concern relative to matters taught or preached in the church by anyone, are first encouraged to contact the Pastor far consultation on the matter in question. Otherwise, a member may contact any Deacon of the church who may counsel with him/her relative to the matter. Out of ethical and professional church protocol, the Deacon should confer with the Pastor on such issues. At the request of any concerned member, any spiritual or theological issue may be presented in any regular church conference for evaluation of theological soundness and Christian value.
All church officers shall be responsible for knowing the difference between church business and church spiritual matters so that they may be able to make a proper referral. Other church officers shall not interfere or become involved in Deacon's work or responsibilities.
The Pastor, Deacons and all other church officers shall be governed and guided by the Hiscox Baptist Manual and Bible as to church officer responsibilities in addition to the powers and limits that may be established by the church body.
Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church. Amendments to the constitution shall be by two-thirds vote of active church members present. Amendments to the bylaws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the active members present and voting.
October 3, 1986
ARTICLE V. CHURCH COUNCIL (Christian Board of Education)
Amended to add paragraph 6:
The President of the Pastor's Aid Auxiliary shall preside over and conduct the pastoral evaluation. The evaluation shall occur prior to October lst. The Pastor shall not attend the called church conference meeting for the evaluation.
XV. ON SAME SEX AND HOMOSEXUALITY
We the congregation of The New Jerusalem Baptist Cathedral hereby set forth these bylaws relative to same sex matters in the operation and church life within our church. These bylaws express our basic Christian views and beliefs within this church on same sex issues, and therefore are governed by the following written bylaws relative to the homosexuality confronting our church and community.
Our Christian Position:
We as a majority body in this church have come to the conclusion that avowed, practicing homosexual people are not God's gift or God's wish for humanity. Our Christian belief recognizes that there is a distinction between homosexual orientation (an inner feeling of same sex affection) and homosexual behavior (acting out the homosexual sexual feeling). We believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, based upon our belief in what the Holy Bible teaches about this subject. We also believe that the homosexual orientation is not in itself sinful. Therefore, an avowed practicing homosexual person cannot be ordained into any office of NJBC church ministry (pastor, deacon, trustee, musician, choir member, Sunday school teacher or teaching ministry) within this church. No same-sex marriages celebrations, birthdays, baby showers or any anniversaries of an avowed homosexual individual or couple shall be performed or held within this church or on its property at any time.
This does not mean homosexual people cannot become members of our church congregation by their faith in Christ. However, as with all Christians, to continue openly in sinful behavior without sustained repentance and abstinence does mean it is not appropriate to ordain avowed and practicing homosexuals into the ministry in this church or from this church.
The Prime Biblical Texts Which Governs Our Rejection of Active Same Sex Behavior:
In Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27, homosexual behavior between consenting adults is addressed and judged by God to be a sin. The text in Leviticus calls homosexuality an "abomination" to God. This is an insult to God's creative design for human sexual relationships. In Romans 1:26-27, St. Paul says that God gave them up to practice their
unnatural human relationship bringing reproach upon themselves. Paul's reference to what is "natural" does not apply to the culture or to the individual but to God's created and intended order as male and female, and the "natural" heterosexual relationship, i.e., same sex couples cannot reproduce and multiply. And this difference is essential to God's intended task for husband and wife.
In The Book of Genesis and Judges 19:16-26, and Jude 7 records two texts which addresses a desire for homosexual rape and sexual perversion. God's servant Lot offered up his young daughters to the homosexual men so as to keep them from raping the Angels of God and visiting guest respectively, who were visiting in the homes.
Paul includes homosexuality in a list of sins that keeps us from inheriting the Kingdom of God. We take note of the biblical fact that Paul puts no greater weight upon homosexuality than he does adultery, fornication. Greed, pride deceit and jealousy. None of the above would qualify a person to hold positions in-our church ministry, regardless of sexual orientation. This church does not debate the origin or causes of homosexuality. We see all sin as a sin as called out in the Holy Scriptures.
This church recognizes no "progressive" revelation of any "new" theology, which overrides or supersedes the original biblical texts listed above, which indicates God has changed His mind and has included same sex culture into His Kingdom. We recognize Genesis I and 2 in which we discover God's holy intentions for all sexual relationships. The origin of marriage lies with God's original plan and marriage consists of one man and one woman. And they became as 'One" in God's sight. "Therefore, and man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to "His wife" - the woman.
In Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus reaffirms God's intention for heterosexual intercourse, enduring marriage between husband (man) and wife (woman), and affrrms godly celibacy for those living outside of the marriage covenant. We believe that any same sex marriage is less than God's original intention and design for man and woman, and therefore ultimately distorted and harmful in the Christian's experiences
This church believes that God tells all that everyone is of exalted worth in His eyes. And that we, as Christians, must treat every human being with respect, honor and dignity without prejudice. This must be done, so as to openly display God's love in us, which we must share with others without prejudice. Therefore, all same-sex individuals and couples are welcome to our worship services and bible teaching programs. Same sex individuals and couples may even join our church, under the exceptions and conditions as listed above in "Our Christian Positions."
This Bylaw voted upon and adopted by a majority vote by members of the New Jerusalem Baptist Cathedral, who were present at a duly scheduled church conference on this day of September 20, 2013.
Brenda J Caldwell,
Church Clerk, New Jerusalem Baptist Cathedral