CONSTITUTION OF DELEVAN (INDEPENDENT) BAPTIST CHURCH
Section 1. Preamble
We, the members of Delevan (Independent) Baptist Church, do ordain and establish the following constitution and by-laws, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
This organization shall be called the Delevan (Independent) Baptist Church of Delevan, New York.
Section 2. Introduction
Since the Scriptures declare that in the last days many shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and many will be engaged in scattering broadcast the final seeds of error, directly affecting the honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and the destiny of the soul, we feel constrained by fidelity to Him to adopt the Statement of Doctrine herein contained, to which we ask the assent of all applicants for membership including Pastors.
Section 3. 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, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly, for the maintenance of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us, for the support of the poor, and for the spread of the Gospel over the earth.
We further engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to educate our children scripturally and to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances. To this end, remembering we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we will seek divine aid to enable us to deny ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and to walk circumspectly in the world. 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 be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to seek 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 the principles of God’s Word.
Section 4. Purpose
It is the purpose of this church to help carry out the Great Commission as given by our Lord in Matthew 28:19-20. It shall further be our purpose to maintain facilities and programs (i.e., educational, missionary, evangelistic) that will encourage all members and non-members to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, and that will help them to develop spiritual maturity; furthermore, such facilities and programs will promote missions, Christian Education (whether on Sunday or throughout the week as an alternative to the course of instruction offered by the public schools), etc. All personnel, literature, programs, and behavior will be controlled to help attain this (these) purpose (s).
Article II Doctrinal Statement
Section 1. The Scriptures
We believe in the Holy Scriptures, accepting fully the writings of the Old and New Testaments as the very Word of God. This Word was given by inspiration, both verbal and plenary (11 Peter 1: 20, 21). Therefore this Word, as originally given by God, is wholly without error, and is altogether sufficient in itself as our only infallible rule of faith and practice (11 Timothy 3:16, 17; John 17:17; 10:35).
A. Plenary: This means that divine inspiration extends equally and fully to all parts of the Word as originally given.
B. Verbal: This means that divine inspiration extends to every Word as originally given.
Section 2. The Godhead
We believe that there is only one living and true God (I Corinthians 8: 6), infinite in every excellence; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three personal distinctions, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one in substance and equal in every divine perfection (Matthew 28:19; II Corinthians 13:14; John 6:27; Hebrews 1: 8; Acts 5:3, 4).
A. God the Father: We believe in God the Father, who is the Father over all creation (Acts 17: 28, 29), Father over the nation Israel (Exodus 4:22), Father of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:17), and Father of believers in Christ (Galatians 3:26). God the Father is the author of the decree, i.e., “the decree of God is His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His own will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” (Psalms 2:7-9). God the Father is the begetter and sender of Christ (John 3:16). He is also the disciplinarian of His children (Hebrews 12:6-9).
B. God the Son: We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1: 20-23). He is true God and true man (John 1: 1, 2, 14), and was crucified, giving Himself upon the cross for our sin. (I Corinthians 15: 3). The third day He arose from the dead and was glorified in the same body in which He suffered and died (I Corinthians 15: 4). He is now our High Priest in heaven, appearing before the face of God as Advocate and Intercessor (Hebrews 9: 24, I John 2: 1). We believe in His bodily, personal, premillennial return, and that He will come before the seven year tribulation to catch away His church, coming only into the air (I Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18). We further believe that He will come with His church at the close of the tribulation to judge the living nations and to set up His kingdom (Matthew 25:31, 46; Revelation 19:11-21; 20:15).
C. God the Holy Spirit: We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, equal with the Father, and the Son, and of the same nature and substance (Matthew 28: 19); that He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16: 7-11), bears witness to the truth (John 16:13), is the agent of the new birth (Romans 8: 14-27), and that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses to, sanctifies and helps the believer, indwelling every true child of God (Ephesians 1: 13, 14; John 14: 16, 17; 15: 26, 27).
Section 3. Man
We believe man was created innocent, but by deliberate transgression he fell from his innocent state (Genesis 1: 26-28; 3: 1-7). Through the sin of Adam all men were born sinners in nature and conduct (John 8: 42-44; Romans 3: 19, 23; 5: 12; Ephesians 2: 3). Therefore all mankind is under condemnation without defense or excuse (Romans 1: 20).
A. Salvation: We believe in salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2: 8). Men are justified on the single ground of faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 13: 38, 39; 16: 31; Ephesians 2: 9). We further believe that those who truly receive the Lord as Savior and Lord are born of God, and that through this birth they become children of God (John 1: 12, 13; Galatians 3: 26). We believe that those born again possess two natures, and that they may be victorious over the old through the power of the new, but that the eradication of the old is unscriptural (Romans 6: 12, 13; Galatians 5: 16-25; Ephesians 4: 22-24; Colossians 3: 10).
B. Priesthood of the believer: We believe that each born again believer has access to God without any human intercessor (I Timothy 2: 5; I Peter 2: 5,9).
C. Individual Soul Liberty: We believe that each born again believer is free to interpret, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, without the interference of any individual, church, or religious organization (I John 2: 27; John 16: 12, 13).
D. Security of the believer: We believe that those born again are kept by the power of the triune God and can never be lost (John 5: 24; 10: 28, 29; Romans 8: 38, 39; II Timothy 1: 12).
E. Resurrection: 1. Saved: We believe that born again believers will be resurrected by the Lord Jesus Christ at His return, and that they will be presented faultless before the presence of His Glory. They shall live forever with Jesus Christ (Acts 24:14,15; I Corinthians 15; II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1: 21-23).
2. Unsaved: We believe in the eternal punishment of the ungodly, who will be eternally separated from God (Matthew 25: 46; Jude 11-13; Revelation 20: 15).
F. Good Works:
We believe in righteous living and good works. Good works do not produce salvation in any case, but are the proper evidence and fruit of the new birth (John 15: 1-17; Galatians 2: 16; Ephesians 2: 8-10; Titus 2: 14).
Section 4. Satan
We believe that Satan is a distinct personality (Matthew 4: 1-3); that he is the god of this age (II Corinthians 4: 4); author of all the powers of darkness and sin (John 12: 31; Ephesians 2: 2); and is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire (Revelation 20: 10).
Section 5. The Church
A. The body of Christ: We believe that the true church is the mystical body of Christ, of which He is the head, and regenerate believers are the members (Ephesians 1: 22, 23; Colossians 1: 18; Ephesians 5: 23).
B. The local church: We believe that this church is manifested through the local church, which is a congregation of immersed believers joined by the covenant of faith and the fellowship of the gospel (Acts 2: 41, 42); observing the ordinances of Christ (I Corinthians 11: 2); and that its offices are those of pastor and deacon. The qualifications for those holding the office of pastor or deacon are clearly defined in the Scriptures (I Timothy 3: 1-13; Titus 1: 5-9). We further believe that in matters of membership, polity, government, discipline, fellowship, and all other matters pertaining to its operation, the will of the church is final.
1. Baptism: We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water, under the authority of the local church, thus giving testimony of salvation, and picturing to all our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection; and our death, burial, and resurrection with Him. We also believe that baptism is a prerequisite to church membership (Acts 8: 36-39; John 3: 23; Romans 6: 3-5; Colossians 2:12).
2. The Lord’s Supper: We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He returns, to be administered by the local church, and to be preceded by solemn self-examination (Acts 2: 41, 42; I Corinthians 11:23-28).
3. Biblical Order: We further believe that the Biblical order of the ordinances is that of baptism first, to be followed by participation at the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 28:19, 20). We also believe that there is nothing in the ordinances themselves that is miraculous, mystical, or redemptive.
Section 6. Separation
A. Personal separation: We believe, as individuals, in obeying the Biblical commands to separate entirely from worldliness, in desire, motive, and action (II Corinthians 6: 17; I John 2: 15-17).
B. Ecclesiastical separation: We also believe that we should, as a church, obey the Biblical commands to be separated from apostasy, including false doctrine, unto God (Romans 16: 17; II Thessalonians 3: 6; II John 9,11).
C. Separation of church and state: We also believe that there should be no organic union of church and state. Such union should not be tolerated, but entire separation maintained. The church should neither ask for, nor accept, special favors from civil authority, since to do so would imply the right of civil dictation and control (Mark 12: 17; Acts 5: 29).
Section 7. Other Matters
We understand that the above statements do not by any means exhaust the contents of our creed which is the whole Word of God, and that they are not intended to set a limit beyond which faith cannot go within this Word; but we do believe that, insofar as these articles extend, they are a true presentation of the sound doctrine taught in Scriptures, and are therefore binding upon us as Christian believers.
Article III Character of Government
Section 1. Policy
A. This church shall be informal in ritual and the government is vested in the body of believers of which the church is composed. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body and no denominational or associational representatives shall ever sit in judgment or council over its affairs.
B. This church’s fellowship shall be determined by the action of the church.
C. Unless otherwise stipulated, the will of the church shall be determined by majority vote.
Section 2. Doctrine
This church receives the Scriptures as its authority in all matters of faith and practice.
Section 3. Support
The expenses of this church, including the pastor’s salary, and all expenses of the various societies and organized bodies of the Church and Bible School, shall be raised by voluntary freewill tithes and offerings of God’s people. This Church will not condone or permit the raising of funds any other way.
Article IV Membership
Section 1. Introduction
A. All requests for admission to, or dismissal from the church shall be submitted to the deacon-trustees, who shall recommend action to the church.
B. In all cases acceptance to the membership of the church will be based on 3/4 majority vote of all members present and voting. A 2/3 vote of all members present and voting shall be necessary for dismissal. Membership vote shall be taken by show of hands.
C. The church extends the right to vote only to those active members who have reached their 18th birthday, or in matters governed by law their 21st birthday. Members failing to support the church by attendance for a period of three months, shall be placed on an inactive list and so lose their right to vote. The inactive list shall be compiled, reviewed and posted by the deacon-trustees. Members whose names appear on the inactive list will be considered active upon attendance at services on three consecutive Sundays.
Section 2. Reception
A. Each candidate shall meet with the deacon-trustees and pastor and give testimony of personal salvation and experience of baptism by immersion following salvation. They shall be required to state their agreement with the church covenant and articles of faith. Any candidate failing to meet these requirements shall not be eligible for membership until such requirements are met. The deacon-trustees will report their findings with recommendation to the church for their action. Names of candidates recommended by the deacon- trustees shall be posted during at least two regular services prior to church consideration.
B. Candidates referred by any church letter shall be required to meet the conditions outlined in Section 2, A.
C. Any person dismissed from the membership for disciplinary reasons may be reinstated by repentance and confession of the cause which made it necessary to have dismissed him. Such confession shall be made before the deacon-trustees and before the church. Candidate shall meet the conditions outlined in Section 2,A.
Section 3. Dismissal
A. Dismissal by letter
Letters shall be granted only to members in good and regular standing.
1. Dismissal by letter of transfer to unite with a church of like faith and order.
2. Dismissal by letter of recommendation to unite with a church other than Baptist holding an evangelical faith.
3. Dismissal by letter of dismission when a member is known to have united with another church.
B. Dismissal by discipline
1. Members of the inactive list for one year may be removed from the membership by action of the church.
2. All other matters which may result in disciplinary action shall be presented to the pastor and deacon-trustees by the concerned member(s), keeping in mind the Biblical order established in Matthew 18:15-17. If the matter cannot be resolved by the intervention of the pastor and deacon-trustees, the deacon-trustees will present the matter with their recommendation to the church for their action.
Article V Church Officers
Section 1. Introduction
The election of officers of this church shall consist of a pastor, at least six, but no more than nine, deacon-trustees, three deaconesses, a clerk, a financial secretary, a church treasurer, a missions treasurer, a building fund treasurer, and a Bible School superintendent. These officers, except for the pastor, shall have been members of this church for at least one year.
Section 2. Staff
A. Calling a pastor:
A pastor shall be called by a three-fourths majority vote of church members present and voting. Notice of the meeting in which a vote shall be taken shall be announced in at least three services prior to said meeting, by the pulpit committee, or in the case of an associate pastor, by the Sr. pastor or deacon-trustees. When a new pastor assumes office, he shall become a member of this church as soon as possible.
B. Duties of the Sr. pastor:
It shall be the duty of the Sr. pastor to preach at the stated services of the church, unless otherwise arranged with the deacon-trustees; to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and to perform other various duties connected with his office. He shall be moderator of the church, and shall preside at its business meetings. He shall be a member of all committees and organizations of the church, with the right to vote. He shall be responsible for, and in charge of, the pulpit and the various services of the church. He shall arrange for pulpit supplies in his absence, in cooperation with the deacon-trustees. Should it be determined that additional staff is required, he shall superintend the activities and involvement of all church staff members.
C. Duties of associate pastor(s):
General duties are to be determined by the Sr. pastor and deacon-trustees. They shall be directly accountable to the Sr. pastor alone in all responsibilities. They shall cooperate with the Sr. pastor in the discharge of the total church program. They shall be faithful in church attendance.
D. Termination of a pastor:
A pastor shall hold office indefinitely. When either the pastor or the church wishes to terminate the pastor, the party desiring such termination shall give the other party at least two months notice of such a decision. Should it occur that 25 percent of the families with active adult members in the church believe that the ministry of the pastor is completed, and so notify the deacon-trustees, with their reasons in writing, signed by them, the deacon-trustees may, by a majority vote of those deacon-trustees present and voting, call a special meeting of the church for a purpose of taking a vote of confidence. Notice of such a meeting, with its purpose clearly stated, shall be given on the two successive Sundays preceding the meeting. At this meeting, the chairman of the deacon-trustees shall state that a vote of confidence has been called for, shall allow no public discussion, and shall proceed to take the vote by ballot. A majority of those present and voting shall determine the outcome of the vote. A vote of “no confidence” shall be considered a notice of termination of the pastor. However, the deacon-trustees shall have authority to terminate the pastor’s ministry at any time within the two-month’s period, should they deem it for the best interest of the church to do so. In such a case, the pastor shall be entitled to one month’s salary and allowances.
E. Staff Secretary (s):
Their appointment or termination shall be determined by the Sr. pastor and deacon-trustees, effective by church vote. They shall be responsible for general secretarial and receptionist duties. Their regular hours shall be established by the Sr. pastor and the deacon-trustees, said hours to be served in the church office. Salary to be determined by church vote reviewed annually or as often as requirements change.
Section 3. Deacon-Trustees
A. Election and organization
The deacon-trustees shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church, for a term of three years, one-third of their number being elected each year. They shall, at their first meeting following the annual meeting, choose from their number a chairman and a secretary. They shall conduct regular monthly meetings, and shall meet otherwise at the call of the chairman or the pastor. Two thirds of their number shall constitute a quorum.
1. It shall be the duty of the deacon-trustees to visit the sick; to prepare and distribute the elements of the Lord’s Supper; to assist the pastor in the general supervision of the spiritual work of the church, its discipline, and the performance of his work. They shall authorize expenditures of the deacon’s fund.
2. It shall further be the duty of the deacon-trustees to care for the property of the church, to hold, repair, and preserve the same, including the hiring and supervision of the custodian; to superintend any improvements that are not entrusted to a special committee; and to perform such business concerns of the church as shall from time to time be assigned to them by the church.
The deacon-trustees shall not incur an expenditure exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) for any one month beyond the regular current expenses of the church. The deacon-trustees are at all times servants of the church, and subject to its corporate action. The deacon-trustees shall not have authority to sell, lease, give away, or dispose of, church property in any manner; nor to encumber the same with debt, except, as the church shall order by corporate action.
Section 4. Deaconesses
The deaconesses shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church for a term of three years, one being elected each year. It shall be their duty to visit any of the women of the church in time of sickness or other need, and to assist women and girls in preparation for baptism. It shall also be their duty to take charge of the nursery facilities; both baby and toddler, keeping them staffed and supplied as necessary. They shall also arrange for meals and lodging for all guest speakers.
Section 5. Clerk
The clerk shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church, for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the clerk to keep a record of the proceedings of the church; to take charge of the records, keep a register of church membership, and dispatch all letters and correspondence authorized by the church. All records, membership files, and copies of correspondence are to be kept in the church office.
Section 6. Financial secretary
The financial secretary shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the financial secretary to record accurately all funds received for the work of the church, and distribute them to the proper treasurers. He shall issue a written order to the treasurer for the expenditure of general funds, as authorized by action of the church or deacon-trustees; and of memorial funds, as authorized by action of the church. He shall keep a record of individuals’ contributions, and issue a receipt to such contributors at the end of each calendar year. He shall also issue both a “thank you” note and a receipt for special gifts necessitating immediate acknowledgement. In case of memorial gifts, he shall notify the family of such gifts. He shall present a written report to the deacon-trustees monthly; and to the church quarterly and annually.
Section 7. Church Treasurer
The church treasurer shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the church treasurer to receive, record, and disburse general funds and memorial funds on order of the financial secretary. He shall present a written report to the deacon-trustees monthly, and to the church quarterly and annually.
Section 8. Missions Treasurer
The missions treasurer shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the missions treasurer to receive, record, and disburse all missions funds on order of the church. He shall present a written report to the deacon-trustees monthly, and to the church quarterly and annually.
Section 9. Building Fund Treasurer
The building fund treasurer shall be elected at the annual church meeting for a term of one year. It shall be the duty of the building fund treasurer to receive, record, and disburse all building funds, on order of the church. He shall present a written report to the deacon-trustees monthly, and to the church quarterly and annually.
Section 10. Bible School Superintendent
The Bible school superintendent shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church for a term of (3) three years. It shall be the duty of the Bible school superintendent to secure the election of the other officers of the school by the vote of the teachers. He shall appoint the teachers, and approve substitutes in case of sickness or temporary absence, subject to the approval of the pastor and deacon-trustees. He shall be responsible for conducting the Bible school including all special plans and programs of the school. He shall also call and conduct teachers and officers meetings when necessary.
Section 11. Miscellaneous
Names shall be placed in nomination by a nominating committee, as provided for in Article VI, Section 1.
a. Any officer wishing to resign shall submit a letter of resignation to the deacon-trustees. They shall interview the resigner, and if he wishes to resign, the deacon-trustees shall present said letter to the church for their acceptance.
b. Should any officer’s name be placed on the inactive list, as outlined in Article IV, Section 1 c, his office shall be considered vacant.
c. Should the church determine that an officer is unfit spiritually for his office, or is not properly performing the responsibilities of his office, that office shall be declared vacant. This action shall be initiated by referral to and recommendation of the deacon-trustees.
Vacancies may be filled at any regular or special business meeting of the church, by voting on a ballot prepared for this purpose by the last active nominating committee, according to the procedures outlined in Article VI, Section 1.
C. Simultaneous Offices:
No one person may hold more than one of the above offices simultaneously, except with the prior approval of the pastor and the deacon-trustees before the election.
D. Successive Terms:
If an officer serves two consecutive terms in the same office, he must take a recess from that office of at least one year, except when conditions prevail which make this requirement unreasonable.
E. General Responsibilities:
In order to promote and hold a high spiritual standing in our church, it shall be the duty of all officers and committeemen to attend the spiritual services of the church (this includes morning worship, evening services, and mid-week services). If any shall fail in this respect, he shall not be eligible for re-election.
Article VI Committees
Section 1. Nominating Committee
There shall be a nominating committee, composed of the Sr. pastor, two deacon-trustees, whose terms do not expire, and two other members, all chosen by the church at the quarterly business meeting prior to the annual meeting. It shall be the duty of the nominating committee to propose a ballot for presentation at the annual meeting of the church, nominating at least one candidate for each elective office of the church, and shall cause such ballot to be posted one month prior to the annual meeting.
Any voting member of the church shall have the privilege of suggesting, in writing, a nominee to the nominating committee. These nominees, if qualified and willing, shall be added to the ballot. These suggestions shall be given at least two weeks before the annual meeting. Nominations from the floor shall not be accepted at the annual meeting.
Section 2. Auditing Committee
There shall be an auditing committee, composed of the Sr. pastor, at least one deacon-trustee, and two other members, chosen by the deacon-trustees at their last meeting prior to the annual meeting. It shall be the duty of the auditing committee to audit the records of the financial secretary and all the treasurers of the church at the close of the calendar year and to report their findings to the church at the annual meeting.
Section 3. Pulpit Committee
There shall be a pulpit committee, composed of six members, at least three of whom shall be deacon-trustees, elected by the church at the termination of a pastorate. They shall choose a chairman, and a secretary, from their number. It shall be the duty of the pulpit committee to supply ministers for services between pastorates, and to secure and recommend to the church, pastors, who are available for full-time work. They shall be dismissed from their duties when a new pastor comes to the church.
Section 4. Missionary Committee
There shall be a missionary committee, composed of the Sr. pastor, the deacon-trustees, and the missions treasurer. It shall be the duty of the missionary committee to present to the church a recommendation of regular expenditures, and also to disburse missions funds which accumulate from time to time, with the approval of the church. It shall be the duty of the missionary committee to screen each missionary; to be sure their beliefs are in agreement with our covenant and doctrinal statement.
Article VII Meetings
Section 1. Sunday Services
Regular Sunday morning and evening services shall be conducted, and the ordinance of the Lord’s supper shall be administered on the first Sunday of each month during regular pastorates, and when possible between pastorates. Between pastorates, the ordinance of the Lord’s supper shall be administered under the direction of the pulpit committee.
Section 2. Mid-week Services
Regular prayer services shall be held on one of the weeknights, said night to be decided upon by the church as needed.
Section 3. Business Meetings
A. Annual Meeting
1. The annual business meeting of the church shall be held on the third Monday of January each year. The order of business at the annual meeting shall be as follows: (a) prayer, (b) reading of the minutes, (c) reports of officers, (d) reports of organizations connected with the church, (e) reports of standing committees, (f) reports of special committees, (g) election of officers, (h) unfinished business, (I) new business, (j) appointment of committees, and (k) adjournment with prayer.
2. Agenda:The agenda for the Annual Meeting shall be drawn-up by the Deacon-Trustee Board at their December meeting. Anyone wishing an item to be considered should express this in writing to the Deacon-Trustee Board before their December meeting. NO ITEMS FROM THE FLOOR SHALL BE CONSIDERED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING. The agenda, with the pertinent information, shall be circulated among the membership on or before the Sunday preceding the Annual Meeting.
B. Quarterly Meetings
Quarterly business meetings of the church shall be held on the second Monday of April, July and October, to conduct such business as may be necessary.
C. Special Meetings
Special meetings for business may be called at any time by the pastor, or the chairman of the deacon-trustees, upon at least one week-prior notification.
D. Secret Meetings
No secret business meeting shall be valid.
Twenty-five percent of the active adult members shall constitute a quorum to transact business, except in matters pertaining to a pastor, altering or amending the constitution or by-laws, or for the mortgaging or selling of church property, when it shall require fifty percent of the active adult members to constitute a quorum. An adult is defined in Article IV Section 1, C.
Article VIII Miscellaneous
Section 1. Organizations
A. Adult: All officers of adult organizations affiliated with the church must meet the requirements outlined in Article V Section 1 and Section 11, E.
B. Youth: Officers of the senior youth group must be active members of the church.
C. Disbanded: All funds and properties of disbanded or dissolved organizations or classes of the church or Sunday school shall automatically become the property of the church.
Section 2. Publicity
All printed or broadcast publicity of the church, whether as a paid advertisement, or a news item, must first receive the approval of the pastor, who is the director of all publicity of the church and its various affiliated organizations.
Section 3. Change of constitution or by-laws
Any alteration or amendment to the constitution or by-laws shall be presented to the deacon-trustees in writing, signed by the author. After their approval, it shall be presented by the deacon-trustees to the church at a regularly called business meeting, posting such alteration or amendment at least one month prior to said meeting. It shall require a 3/4 (seventy-five percent) majority vote of those present and voting to alter or amend this constitution or by-laws.
Section 4. Dissolution
In the event a decision is made to dissolve this corporation, known as the Delevan Baptist Church, Inc., provision shall be made by the vote of the church, prior to the dissolution of the corporation, to assign all of the assets to one or more fundamental, Bible believing, Baptist, non-profit organization(s), such as churches, missions, schools, or associations. None of the assets shall be given to any individuals.
Article IX Conclusion
The foregoing constitution including by-laws, was adopted by vote of the church on May 26, 1977 and shall take effect and be enforced on and after that date. It replaces any and all previous constitutions of the church. (Various changes have been voted on and approved since this date. These are in the church records. A list of the changes made, and the dates approved, are in the church clerk’s records.)
By-law no 1. Standards (covenant)
It shall be the goal of each member, and the requirement of each officer and teacher, to live, by God’s enabling grace, a consistent and separated Christian life. (Colossians 3:17; II Corinthians 6:17; Romans 12:1,2). We shall endeavor to be spiritually mature, of unquestioned Christian character, loyal to the word of God, dedicated and devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the spiritual and material welfare of the church. Furthermore, our moral conduct should be beyond reproach and free of carnal indulgences and practices of gossip (I Corinthians 12:20), the use of intoxicating beverages (Ephesians 5:18), tobacco in all forms (I Corinthians 6:20), narcotic drugs, and other worldly practices (attendance at movies and dances being two examples of such) which reflect against one’s Christian testimony. In the light of I Timothy 3, the home and family relationships must be considered.
By-law No 2. Voting
The phrase “present and voting” used throughout the constitution indicates that only affirmative or negative votes are to be counted in the tabulation of votes. This applies whether the voting is by voice, by show of hands, or by ballot. Blank ballots, failure to show a hand, or abstaining from a “yes” or “no” voice vote, shall not be counted as a vote.
By-law No 3. Membership
1. Applicants for membership in this church shall make application in writing, using a form prepared by the deacon-trustees.
2. Letters There are forms, approved by the church, on file in the church office for the following:
1. Request for letter of transfer
2. Letter of transfer
3. Letter of recommendation
4. Letter of dismission
By-law No 4. Responsibilities of deacon-trustees
At the first deacon-trustee meeting following the Annual meeting, the deacon-trustees shall appoint individual members, from their number, to serve in the following areas. These appointments may be changed annually, or continued, at the discretion of the deacon-trustees.
These duties in no way bestow final authority upon individual deacon-trustees, but rather, each deacon-trustee is empowered to make such recommendations as he feels to be in the best interest of his particular area to the entire body of the deacon-trustees, or to the congregation, as the situation may warrant. The deacon-trustees chosen as chairman and secretary shall not be assigned these additional duties.
Deacon of Property – to handle matters pertaining to the physical property of the church; and the use of such property, both real and personal.
Deacon of Finances – to work with the various treasurers, and the financial secretary, of the church, and to evaluate the financial situation of the church periodically, and to report such evaluations to the other deacons, and to the church, when necessary.
Deacon of Missions – to be responsible, with the pastor, for the overall missionary program of the church, including women’s groups, youth groups, and other activities in the area of missions.
Deacon of Christian Education – to work with, and correlate, the entire education program of the church, including Sunday School, Youth groups, Children’s Church, Released Time or other out-of-church programs, Vacation Bible School, etc., in cooperation with the pastor, and the leaders in the various areas of the church education program.
Deacon of Membership- to interview prospective members, and to maintain contact with all members, helping the pastor and the other deacons to understand special needs and/ or problems. He shall keep a current list of active members and shall post quarterly those members on the inactive list. He shall also notify those members whose names are on the inactive list.
Deacon of Statistics- to be responsible to maintain accurate records of attendance at all services of the church, both regular and special, including members attending, visitors, etc., giving reports of such information from time to time.
Deacon-at-large- to serve with other deacon-trustees wherever most needed throughout the year.
In case the pastor is unable to discharge all his responsibilities due to illness or other reasons, or if pulpit is vacant, the chairman of deacon-trustees shall temporarily assume the pastor’s responsibilities in areas such as moderator of church business meetings, approving publicity, etc.
By-law No 5. Appointments
All non-elected positions required for the operation of the church, such as Head Usher, Organist, Pianist, Choir Director, Song Leader, Youth Leaders, Librarian, etc., shall be filled by appointment of the deacon-trustees. Each appointment shall become affective only after church approval. These appointees shall serve for indefinite periods, under the supervision of the deacon-trustees.
By-law No 6. Missionary Policy
The Delevan Baptist Church shall support, from its Missions Fund, only Baptist missionary outreaches approved by the church.
Designated gifts to missions shall be accepted and forwarded only with church approval.
By-law No 7. Use of Church Funds for Meals
The use of Church Funds to cover cost of meals pertaining to special activities held in the church, such as Tri-County Baptist Fellowship Rallies, Missionary Conferences, Fellowship Suppers, Banquets, etc., shall have prior approval of the church.
This approval may be given by a one-time vote covering certain specified activities, or by vote concerning particular situations, as these situations may arise.
Supplement: Standards for Service
These are some expected standards of those who in any way serve at Delevan Baptist Church. Why have any standards? Please see 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 10:31: and 2 Cor. 5:10 for and answer.
Note: The following is NOT MEANT to set aside or replace what is already stated in our Covenant and By-Laws. Our aim is to summarize what is said there, with some additional items that are in keeping with the spirit and intent of our Covenant/By-Laws. Furthermore, these “standards” are intended to encourage you, a servant of the Lord, to ALWAYS be at your best, and to be a yearly reminder to you as to what is expected of you by your church.
May the Lord use your labors for His glory, till Jesus comes.
A. Spiritual standards
1. I know I am saved, and my Scriptural assurance is _________________(state reference).
2. I have been baptized by immersion following my salvation, and I am a member of Delevan Baptist Church.
3. I will endeavor to attend a minimum of 2 services per week (Sunday School not included), unless prohibited by my work schedule or some other necessary activity: otherwise, I can expect to be dismissed from my area of service. Those serving in elected and/or appointed positions should attend the regular business meetings.
4. I will strive to have regular, personal devotions.
5. I will strive at all times to maintain a good testimony at church, home, work, school, or wherever I am.
6. My service will be given from a willing heart to glorify my Savior.
7. In my service, I will not propagate any teaching(s) which is (are) contrary to the stated position of the church, and if during this year of service I have any doctrinal disagreement(s) with the church, I will at once discuss it (them) with a pastor (or with the chairman of the Deacon-Trustees if the church is without a pastor) and then with the Pastor and Deacon-Trustees, if not resolved in the former meeting.
8. I do not endorse the charismatic movement with its unscriptural emphasis upon “speaking in tongues”, healing, and its ecumenical thrust.
9. If serving in a musical capacity, I will select only songs with a Scriptural message and music in which the melody is predominant. (If in doubt about a particular selection, the Pastor or chairman of the music committee should be consulted.)
10. While teaching, preaching, or giving a devotional, I will use the King James Bible. (Note: this does not exclude the use of other translations for comparative or illustrative purposes.)
Note: Of course, #2 (latter part) will not apply to guest speakers or musicians. Also, these standards may not necessarily be applicable to small children; e.g., Christmas program participation, Sunday School class presentation, or even on an individual basis. In other words, in the case of children, some common sense and adult discretion should be exercised.
B. Personal standards
If my service or any part of it is carried out in a regularly scheduled meeting, I will:
1. Be sure that I am adequately prepared. (No preparation/practice will result in your being embarrassed, so do yourself a favor and be ready).
2. Strive to be on time.
3. Be neatly dressed.
a. Men: coat or dress sweater with appropriate slacks (no blue jeans); or a suit; tie; dress or casual shoes (no sneakers or athletic shoes).
b. Women: modest dress or skirt and blouse; dress or casual shoes (no sneakers or athletic shoes); discreet in the use of make-up (if any).
4. Have my hair neatly groomed, as becomes my sex; i.e., a man ought to look like a man, and a woman ought to look like a woman.
5. Have exercised some personal hygiene.
1. March 12, 1979 – Article I, Sect. 4. Addition. Section 4. Purpose – “It is the purpose of this church to help carry out the Great Commission as given by our Lord in Matthew 28:19 & 20. It shall further be our purpose to maintain facilities and programs (i.e., educational, missionary, evangelistic) that will encourage all members and non-members to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, and that will help them to develop spiritual maturity; furthermore, such facilities and programs will promote missions, Christian Education (whether on Sunday or throughout the week as an alternative to the course of instruction offered by the public schools), etc. All personnel, literature, programs, and behavior will be controlled to help attain this (these) purpose (s).”
2. January 12, 1998 – Article V, Sect. 1 Introduction. Omission. Original read:
“The elected officers of this Church shall consist of a pastor, at least six, but no more than nine, deacon-trustees, three deaconesses, a clerk, a financial secretary, a church treasurer, a missions treasurer, a building fund treasurer, and a Bible School Superintendent. These officers, except for the pastor, shall have been members of this Church for at least one year. “No divorced person shall be eligible to hold an elected office or teaching position.”
3. November 12, 1989 – Article V, Sect. 2 (a). Addition. “or in the case of an associate pastor, by the Sr. pastor or the deacon trustees.
4. November 12, 1989 – Article V, Sect. 2 (b). Addition: b. Duties of the Sr. Pastor.
“It shall be the duties of the Sr. pastor to preach at the stated services of the church, unless otherwise arranged with the deacon-trustees; to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; and to perform other various duties connected with his office.”
5. Article V, Section 2 (b). Addition: “Should it be determined that additional staff is required, he shall superintend the activities and involvement of all church staff members.”
6. November 12, 1989 – Article V, Sect. 2 (c). Addition: “Duties of associate pastor (s) – General duties to be determined by the Sr. pastor and deacon-trustees. They shall be directly accountable to the Sr. pastor alone in all responsibilities. They shall cooperate with the Sr. pastor in the discharge of the total church program. They shall be faithful in church attendance.”
7. November 12, 1989 – Article V, Sect. 2 (d). Omission. “Termination of a Pastorate”
8. November 12, 1989 – Article V, Sect. 2 (e). Addition. “e. Staff Secretary – Their appointment or termination shall be determined by the Sr. pastor and deacon-trustees, effective by church vote. They shall be responsible for general secretarial and receptionist duties their regular hours shall be established by the Sr. pastor and the deacon-trustees, said hours to be served in the church office. Salary to be determined by church vote reviewed annually or as often as requirements change.”
9. January 16, 1982 – Article V, Sect. 3 (c). Amount change from “one hundred dollars ($100.00)” to five hundred dollars ($500.00). Original read as: “The deacon-trustees shall not incur an expenditure exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00).
10. November 12, 1989 – Article V, Sect. 10. Change of term duration from one (1) year to (3) years. Original read as: “The Bible school superintendent shall be elected at the annual meeting of the church, for a term of one year.”
11. January 12, 1981 – Article VII, Sect. 3 (a). Change of Annual Meeting date from “first Monday” to “second Monday”. Original read: “The Annual meeting: The annual business meeting of the church shall be held on the first Monday of January each year.”
12. January 13, 2002 – Article VII, Sect. 3 (a). Change of Annual Meeting date from the “second Monday” to the “third Monday”. Original read: “The Annual meeting: The annual business meeting of the church shall be held on the “second Monday” of January each year.”
13. January 12, 1981 – Article VII, Sect. 3 (b). Addition of (b). “Agenda – The agenda for the Annual Meeting shall be drawn-up by the Deacon-Trustee Board at their December meeting. Anyone wishing an item to be considered should express this in writing to the Deacon-Trustee Board before their December meeting. NO ITEMS FROM THE FLOOR SHALL BE CONSIDERED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING. The agenda, with the pertinent information, shall be circulated among the membership on or before the Sunday preceding the Annual Meeting.”
14. March 12, 1979 – Article VII, Sect. (b). Change of Quarterly Meeting date from “first Monday” to the “second Monday”. “Quarterly business meetings of church shall be held on the first Monday of April, July and October, to conduct such business as may be necessary.
15. January 16, 1982 – Article VII, Sect. 3 (e). Addition of phrase. “Twenty-five percent of the active adult members hall constitute a quorum to transact business, except in matters pertaining to a pastor, altering or amending the constitution or by-laws, or for the mortgaging or selling of church property, when it shall require fifty percent of the active adult members to constitute a quorum.”
16. January 16, 1982 – Article VIII, Sect. 3 Change of Constitution or by-laws. Omission. Original read: “Any alteration or amendment to the constitution or by-laws shall be presented to the deacon-trustees in writing, signed by the author. After their approval, it shall be presented by the deacon-trustees to the church at a regularly called business meeting, Posting such alteration or amendment at least one month prior to said meeting. It shall require ¾ (seventy-five percent) majority vote of those present and voting to alter or amend this constitution or by-laws.”