THE BYLAWS OF EMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH
I. Church Membership
Membership of Emmanuel Baptist Church shall consist of people who have made a public profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who, having been baptized by immersion, are in agreement with the Articles of Faith in our Constitution, and intend to actively follow our Lord in the work of this ministry.
B. Orientation of New Members:
Candidates for membership follow the direction of the elders for the orientation of new prospective members to learn and understand the privileges and responsibilities of members to God and the church, and they will agree with the adopted doctrinal statement(s) and covenant of the church.
C. Member Responsibilities
Active members shall have the right to a voice and responsibility to vote in all church transactions and shall have the right and privileges to full participation in the life and work of the church.
Members bear the responsibility and obligation to uphold the Articles of Faith, Constitution and Bylaws.
Membership in the church may be attained by a majority vote of members present at any of its regular business meetings and in one of the following manners:
By scriptural baptism by immersion after profession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.
By transfer of church letter from another Southern Baptist church, or church of like faith.
By a statement of faith of their prior experience of conversion and scriptural baptism by immersion in another evangelical church of like faith and practice.
By restoration to the church membership after having been dismissed.
Membership in this church shall be terminated when a member:
Requests a letter of transfer to join another Baptist church, or church of like faith.
Is dropped from the membership roll when he or she joins another church that does not subscribe to our Articles of Faith. A letter of transfer is not necessary.
Is dismissed by a vote of the church due to reasons and circumstances provided in the church discipline. The elders and fellow members will counsel the member in question for restoration prior to action of dismissal or a request of the member to be dismissed from the church membership.
II. Church Officers
All church officers must be members of the church in good standing. Officers may only hold one office at a time, unless provided otherwise herein, but may serve on the committees.
A. Elders / Overseers (also called Pastors):
The elder body shall be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Their training, skills, and experiences are needed in this area of leadership.
The elder body includes the Senior Pastor, but also may consist of qualified members of the paid staff, and/or qualified members of the church who are unpaid (hereafter: “lay elder(s)”).
Lay elders shall be elected for a term of service of three years as voted upon by the church. A lay elder may be elected to serve up to six (6) consecutive years, however the elder will then be ineligible to serve further until one (1) year passes.
a) These generally fall into the following areas: Preaching, teaching, pastoral counseling, administration, planning, and guiding the church to fulfill its purposes.
b) Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1–6 and I Peter 5:1–4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.
c) They shall moderate church member meetings, and otherwise lead the church the organizations, and all leaders of the church in performing their tasks in worship, proclamation, education, and evangelism.
d) The elders shall be ex officio members of all church standing committees.
e) They shall be responsible for securing pulpit supply for times in the absence of the Senior Pastor, even assuming this duty at times when he is absent.
f) The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world missions. Further, the elders should seek to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, affirm our fundamental gospel convictions and do not teach our church anything contrary to the Statement of Faith.
g) The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The elders may also propose funding for new paid staff positions. The membership shall approve all candidates to fill the positions of senior and associate pastor. The scope and approval of job descriptions for any staff position shall reside in the hands of those with hiring authority for that position.
h) Each year the elders, after consultation with the deacons, and the membership, shall present to the church an itemized budget. This budget shall be presented for discussion at a regular or specially- called budget meeting and called up for a vote at the following members’ meeting. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders.
a) The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the church triennially.
b) An elder's term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the other elders and, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and I Timothy 5:17–21. Any of the elders may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members present at any members’ meeting of the church.
6. The Senior Pastor
a) The Senior Pastor shall be be an elder / overseer. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Article II, Section A, Subsection 4, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
b) His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article II, Section A, Subsection 3.
c) The senior pastor shall have primary responsibility for the supervision and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may, on a case- by-case basis, be delegated to another staff member.
d) In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastor the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.
7. Associate Pastors
a) The church may call additional pastors whose relationship to the senior pastor is that of associate.
b) An associate pastor shall be an elder / overseer, and as such shall be subject to the qualifications and responsibilities of an elder, and he shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
c) His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article II, Section A, Subsection 3.
d) He shall assist the senior pastor in the performance of his regular duties and shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of pastor, or as set forth in the constitution, or which may be specifically assigned to him by the congregation.
e) In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastor for defined periods of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the associate pastor(s) shall assume the responsibility for his duties under the oversight of the elders.
a) A senior pastor shall be chosen and called whenever a vacancy occurs.
b) A Pastor Search Team shall consist of the remaining elders (lay and staff) and a committee of eight persons, led by and answerable to the elders, being nominated by the church body. This team will be confirmed by a majority vote of members present and appointed by the church to seek out a suitable pastor. Their recommendation will serve as a nomination for his call.
c) The Pastor Search Team will recommend only one candidate at a time.
d) The pastor's election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week notice shall be given to the members.
e) An affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of those members present is necessary for a choice.
9. Terms of Service:
a) The chosen pastor shall serve until the relationship is terminated by either his request or that of the church. In either case, at least 2 weeks notice shall be given unless otherwise mutually agreed.
B. Church Staff:
This church shall employ or call staff, as it shall need.
Staff members other than that of the pastor shall be recommended to the church for employment by the elders.
A written job description and proposed compensation will be prepared when the need for church staff is determined.
Staff members will be elected to serve by an affirmative vote of 2⁄3 of the membership present.
Termination: A member of church staff shall be terminated by recommendation of the elders and a majority vote of the membership present at a church meeting.
1. Term of office:
Deacons shall be elected for a term of service of three years as voted upon by the church. A deacon may be elected to serve up to six (6) consecutive years; however, the deacon will then be ineligible to serve further until after one (1) year passes.
a) A church deacon must meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3: 8-13. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1-6, these members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as servants of the church body.
b) A deacon shall demonstrate an exemplary Christian testimony in private, family, and public life; a committed Christian leader and partner of the pastor; supporter and promoter of the church faith, practice, programs, and ministries.
a) Whenever the elders deem necessary, they shall announce nominations of deacons to the church body to be voted on at a regular or specially called member meeting.
b) The elders will enlist active men to be recommended to the church. The duties, qualifications, and importance of the office of a deacon will be interpreted to the candidates and be reviewed to the church prior to the scheduled election of deacons.
c) A listing of qualifications for deacons will be made available to the church at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline for nominations to be received. Following the nomination period, the active deacons will review the qualifications of those men who were nominated. Those nominees who are qualified will be contacted notifying them of their nomination and inquiring about their willingness to serve if elected. Those men who are nominated, qualified, and willing to serve will be presented to the church for election on an announced date.
a) Selection, election, and ordination of deacons is a privilege of the local church.
b) The elders shall examine the deacon candidate(s) to ensure that the qualifications for the office are met.
c) When the elders recommend the ordination of deacons, the ordination service shall be led by the pastor.
a) Assist the elders in serving the temporal needs of the members of the church as directed by the elders.
b) Attend to the accommodations for public worship
c) Encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration.
d) Assist the pastor in administering the church ordinances.
a) A deacon shall cease to serve if he resigns or no longer meets the qualifications as affirmed by the church body at a regularly or specially called member meeting.
1. It shall be the duty of the clerk to record the minutes of all regular and special members’ meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the elders or the church.
2. The clerk, who shall be a member in good standing, shall be nominated by the elders.
3. In the absence or incapacity of the clerk, the elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church clerk.
4. The clerk shall keep a register of the names and addresses of the church members, with dates of admission, dismissal, dedication of children, and deaths of members of the church family.
5. The clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church and write letters of transfer of membership, prepare written reports of the church, and keep an accurate history of the church.
The clerk shall cease to serve if requested by recommendation of the elders and a majority vote of members present at a church meeting.
The church treasurer shall be an active elder, deacon, or member in good standing, recommended by the elders and elected by the church to serve as the custodian of all moneys of the church and shall disburse these moneys by checks as authorized by the church. The term shall be three years. A treasurer may be elected to serve up to nine (9) consecutive years, however the treasurer will then be ineligible to serve further until after one (1) year passes
The treasurer shall keep, at all times, an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements and shall render a monthly and annually written report of this account to the church.
The treasurer's report shall be audited annually by an auditing committee.
The treasurer may delegate responsibilities of a bookkeeping nature to a church secretary; however, responsibility for the duties shall remain with the treasurer.
The treasurer shall cease to serve if requested by recommendation of the elders and a majority vote at a church meeting.
F. Financial Secretary:
The church financial secretary, for purposes of transparency and security of funds, may be selected from candidates that are not members of this church.
The church financial secretary shall be recommended by the elders and the Nominating committee and voted on by the church to be responsible for seeing that the offerings are properly received, counted, and deposited in the church's bank account.
He or she shall properly credit each contributor and their offerings.
He or she shall be responsible for preparing for mailing a quarterly or annual record of contribution to donors.
The financial secretary may delegate responsibilities of a bookkeeping nature to a church secretary; however, responsibility for the duties shall remain with the financial secretary.
The financial secretary shall cease to serve if requested by recommendation of the elders and a majority vote of membership present at a church meeting.
At least three (3) trustees shall be recommended by the Deacon board and elected by the church to hold in trust the property of the church, and will serve at the discretion of the Deacon board.
They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property of the church without a specific vote of the church authorizing each action.
It shall be the function of the trustees to sign any, and all legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or lease of church property or any other legal documents requiring the signature of the trustees for and in behalf of the church.
The trustees shall cease to serve if requested by recommendation of the elders and a majority vote of membership present at a church meeting.
In case of vacancy in any office, except that of the pastor and staff members, the vacancy shall be filled by the church through recommendation of the elders at a regular or special meeting as soon as possible after such vacancy has occurred.
III. Church Ministry Teams
Church ministry teams, also referred to as committees, will be administered by the elders who will make adjustments as necessary. A document containing a list of ministry teams/committees and responsibilities will be kept on file in the church office.
IV. Church Meetings
A. Worship Services:
The church shall meet regularly on Sunday morning and any additional time(s) the elders deem necessary for the worship of God, for preaching, instruction, evangelism, prayer and Bible study. These meetings will be open for the entire membership of the church and for all people and shall be conducted under the direction of the elders.
B. Regular Member Meetings:
Regular member meetings shall be held once every quarter. The agenda shall be circulated or made known to the church prior to the member meeting. Should there be any special meeting or matter of special interest to be brought before such regular meeting, notice shall be given to the membership at least one week prior to that meeting.
C. Special Member Meeting:
A special called member meeting may be called by the elders, or by action of the church to consider special matters of a significant nature. A two-week written notice or announcement will be given for the special called business meeting.
The quorum consists of those members who attend the business meeting, provided
it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
E. Parliamentary Rules:
Robert's Rules of Order (revised edition) is adopted as the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all member meetings of the church and for all other meetings that demand voting of the church members, including committee meetings.
The process for church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:
Substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, should be an integral part of the election process;
Nominations should proceed with the support of the elders;
All candidates for church office should be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow members;
The election process shall express that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration that is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Election of Officers
The selection of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church. Names of nominees to serve as elders, deacons, clerk, or treasurer shall be presented by the elders at the previous members’ meeting, and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.
The elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership in the nomination process. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.
The moderator shall declare elected all men receiving a two-thirds majority of all votes cast for the office of elder at a regularly-scheduled members meeting. For all other offices, the moderator shall declare elected all persons receiving a simple majority of all votes cast; abstentions will not be considered as votes cast.
The persons elected shall assume their respective offices upon election, unless another date has been specifically designated.
VI. Church Discipline
A. Should any unhappy difference arise among members, the aggrieved member shall follow in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17.
B. Should any case of gross breach of covenant, or of public scandal occur, the elders and church members shall endeavor to resolve the conflict; and if this effort fails, shall report the case to the church.
C. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance, but should an adverse decision be reached, the church may proceed to admonish or declare the offender to be no longer in the membership of the church.
D. Any person whose membership has been terminated for any offense may be restored by vote of the church, upon evidence of his repentance and reformation; or if an account of continued absence, upon satisfactory explanation.