ARTICLE I - MEMBERSHIP
These By-Laws are adopted, ordained, and established for our government and plan of worship and service. They are meant to implement the provisions of the Constitution and Articles of Incorporation. Thus, no by-law shall be effective that is contrary to those two instruments.
SECTION 1: RECEPTION OF MEMBERS - Any person who has accepted Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior and Lord, has been baptized by immersion according to the command and example of the Lord Jesus, and is in agreement with the church's Doctrinal Statement and Covenant, may be received into the church membership by baptism, by experience, by letter, or by restoration. All candidates shall be examined by the Elders, and upon their recommendation be received into membership by vote of the church. They shall receive the right hand of fellowship at the next regular communion service, or at any other service so designated by the Pastor or deacons Elders.
SECTION 2: DUTIES OF MEMBERS - In order that those applying for church membership may be informed as to the duties of members; they shall have the church Covenant presented to them by an Elder, and they shall subscribe to it, both in letter and in spirit. Members in good standing will strive to keep their Covenant obligations and support the worship and business meetings with their attendance, and will seek to serve the Lord through this local church. They will honor and esteem their Pastor, pray for him, and assist him in carrying out the program of the church. They will endeavor to preserve the unity of the church and, if at any time they find themselves opposed to the fundamental doctrines of this church, or if for any other reason are unable to harmonize with others, they will not seek to disrupt its fellowship but will quietly withdraw from its membership.
SECTION 3: STATUS OF MEMBERS – Reception into active or associate membership shall be referred to the Elders for their recommendation, and executed by vote of the congregation. Changes in membership status shall be by action of the elders.
- Active members. All members are expected to remain active participants in the fellowship and carry out the duties of their membership in this local church. In the event that this is impossible due to geographic or physical limitations, members may be classified as non-resident, infirm, or inactive.
- Associate members. Temporary residents of the area who meet all the qualifications for membership may be accepted as Associate Members. They shall have all the privileges of Active Members except that of voting and holding the office of Elder, and may concurrently retain membership in another church.
- Non-resident members. Members moving out of the area on a temporary basis, or for military or Christian service, may receive this status until they return to the area. They are expected to report to the church or the Pastor at least annually. They may temporarily unite with another church in their assigned locale while retaining this status. They shall be classified as active members while on furlough at home and fulfilling their Covenant duties to the church. Members moving from the area permanently may receive this status for one year, during which time a favorable letter of transfer will be granted. After one year they will be considered inactive.
- Infirm members. Those unable to attend the church on a weekly basis due to physical limitations may receive this status. Such members will receive ministry in their home on a periodic basis.
- Inactive members. Any member guilty of continued absence from the services of the church for three months, will, by such action place themselves automatically on the inactive membership list and give up their right to speak and vote at church business meetings and hold a church office. They may return to active status under the provisions made by the elders or a vote of the congregation.
SECTION 4: DISMISSAL OF MEMBERS - Members may be dismissed from the church as follows:
- Transfer. Members in good standing may, at their own request, have their church letter sent directly to the church with which they desire to unite. Letters are not granted to persons to carry or keep in their possession. Members leaving the city permanently remain members of this church until they transfer by letter or until their names are dropped from the roll.
- Exclusion. Any member who is guilty of serious misconduct and who persists in the same after due admonition by the Elders (this to be done according to Matthew 18:15-17) may be excluded from the membership of the church by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting, at any regular business meeting, providing notice of the contemplated action shall have been announced at a regular church meeting and to the offending member(s) for two weeks prior to action.
- Inactivity. Any member who has been inactive for a period of one (1) year and has failed to attend, contact, or support the church during that time shall be contacted in person or by letter if possible. If contact is not possible or no reply is received within 3 (three) months, the person shall be dropped automatically from the rolls for dereliction of duties. The congregation shall be notified of such action at the next regular business meeting, with the individual being notified by mail thereafter. When a near relative is still an active member of the church, this process may be altered according to the wishes of the Elders or congregation.
ARTICLE II - ELDERS
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION - The Elders shall include all pastoral staff as well as other Scripturally-qualified men of Godly character chosen for this office. Hereafter, the terms Elder and Elders are considered to be interchangeable to whichever applies. The Elders shall oversee the church affairs and act in behalf of the congregation except in those areas stipulated otherwise. They shall constitute the official board of the church when they meet in formal session. The congregation has the ability to overrule any decision of the Elders at any regular or special business meeting of the church. The Elders shall serve as the legal Trustees of the church, along with the church Clerk, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer.
SECTION 2: QUALIFICATIONS -
- All Elders shall be Godly men who meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
- Paid pastoral staff shall also meet those additional criteria set by the congregation prior to the call being issued.
SECTION 3: SELECTION -
- The Senior Pastor shall be recommended by the Pulpit Committee and called by a 3/4 majority vote of the congregation.
- Pastoral staff candidates and other qualified laymen may be confirmed as an Elder after unanimous approval by the Elders, and a 3/4 majority vote of the congregation. The church must have a Senior Pastor when any new Elder is approved.
- If there are fewer than three Elders, the Elders shall recommend one to four Deacons to assist the current Elders in overseeing the work of the church. These Deacons shall serve with the Elders, are accountable to them, and shall follow all other Deacon criteria as established in Article VII, Sections 1-5. If appointed, these Deacons shall also serve with the Elders as Trustees of the church during their one year term of service.
SECTION 4: TERM OF SERVICE -
- Confirmation to the office of Elder is for an indefinite period of time.
- All non-paid Elders will receive a one year sabbatical after six years of service unless waived by mutual agreement and a vote of the congregation. Any non-paid Elder may request a one year leave at any time. As much as possible, not more than one Elder shall be on leave during any one year unless there are more than seven Elders.
- Termination of an Elder's service at the church shall be by: 1) mutual consent of all Elders, 2) resignation with 30 days notice, or 3) termination due to dereliction of duties, misconduct, disqualification according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7, disagreement with the church's doctrinal statement, or inability to harmonize with the other elders. Such termination shall be determined by congregational vote after the reading of a recommendation by the Board of Elders on the matter. Any such vote shall be preceded by public announcement on at least the two consecutive Sundays prior to the vote. The offending Elder has a right to be presented with the exact charges in writing, to be given a chance to change his ways or make amends if appropriate, and to present a defense before the congregation. Any paid elder will receive 30 days full pay and benefits in addition to accumulated leave following a contested dismissal. Any additional remuneration and/or severance pay will be decided by congregational vote.
SECTION 5: DUTIES -
- To fulfill all the responsibilities of Elders as given in Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Peter 5:1-4, and other appropriate Scriptures.
- To insure that the church purpose statement is fulfilled to the best of the church's ability.
- To oversee the ministries of the church and the Deacons who administer them.
- To insure sound doctrine is taught at all times in all ministries of the church.
- To minister to the church members and their needs, encouraging membership and participation in ministry by all believers, and to follow-up those who fall away from the fellowship.
- To interview all potential church members and present them with an Elder recommendation for a congregational vote.
- To recommend to the congregation any disciplinary action or termination of membership as needed.
- To oversee the administration of the ordinances.
- To appoint a moderator for all business meetings.To annually appoint the nominating committee which shall then be ratified by congregational vote.To recommend all pastoral salary packages (except his own, if a paid elder) and a total annual budget to the congregation for the fiscal year after considering the requests from the various Deacons and Deaconesses.
- To notify any Elder of any meeting where the performance of his duties or his tenure as Elder are to be discussed and report to him the results if he is not present.
- To support this church and its various services with their attendance and financial support.
SECTION 6: SPECIFIC OFFICES AND DUTIES - The Elders shall elect annually their own Vice-chairman and Secretary, as well as a Benevolence Treasurer.
- Senior pastor.
- He shall ensure a proper diet of God's Word for the congregation through preaching and teaching.
- He shall serve as Chairman of the Elder Board and make sure the Elders are fulfilling their collective duties given in Section 5 above.
- He shall attend all Elder meetings unless hindered by special circumstances.
- He shall be an ex-officio voting member of all committees.
- He shall oversee the ministry of all other pastoral staff and ministers.
- Other Pastors. They shall report directly to the Senior Pastor who shall supervise their day to day responsibilities. They shall fulfill their individual job descriptions as agreed upon at the time of their call and as amended from time to time by the Senior Pastor or Elders.
- Vice-chairman. He shall assist the Chairman (Senior Pastor) as requested. In the absence of a Senior Pastor, he shall act as chairman of the Elder Board. The Elders shall collectively be responsible for covering or providing for the remaining duties of the Senior Pastor until the church calls a new Senior Pastor.
- Secretary. His duties shall include taking accurate minutes at all Elder Board meetings, enacting all correspondence for the Elder Board, and such other related duties as requested by the Elder Chairman or Vice-chairman.
- Benevolence Treasurer. The Elder Board shall appoint an Elder or Deacon to be Treasurer of the Benevolence Fund of the church. If a Deacon is appointed, he shall be a member of the Ministry and Benevolence Committee. His duties shall include: writing checks to needy individuals as directed by the Elders or, if they so designate, the Ministry and Benevolence Committee; keeping an accurate accounting of all funds in his care; giving a general accounting of this fund to the congregation annually with no names ever reported; and giving a specific accounting with names to the Elders annually.
SECTION 7: OTHER PAID MINISTERS AND EMPLOYEES - They shall not be Elders, but shall be responsible to answer to the Elders or their representatives as appropriate. Their contracts shall be recommended by the appropriate committee or Senior Pastor and approved by the Elders in accordance with the budgetary restraints and approved by the congregation.
ARTICLE III - DEACONS AND DEACONESSES
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION - They shall include all church leaders other than Elders, chosen to serve as an officer, committee chairman, or ministry program director.
SECTION 2: QUALIFICATIONS - They shall be men and women who meet the "servant" qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and such other qualifications as their ministry might require.
SECTION 3: SELECTION - They shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee, approved by the Elders, and elected by vote of the congregation at the annual meeting. Ministry program directors and other Deacons and Deaconesses may be appointed by the Elders directly to a specific ministry when deemed appropriate by the Elders or congregation.
SECTION 4: TERM OF SERVICE - They shall serve a one year term beginning at their election and continuing until their successor is appointed or elected the following year. They may serve a maximum of six consecutive terms. If a Deacon or Deaconess resign or neglect their duties, their replacement may be appointed by the Elders for the duration of their term of service.
SECTION 5: DUTIES -
- To serve faithfully in the area of their ministry under the direction of the Elders and fulfill their individual job descriptions.
- To develop goals annually for their area of ministry.
- To meet with the Elders as requested, but at least annually.
- To sign all bills submitted to the Treasurer which are to be paid from any budget category under their control.
- To submit a budget proposal annually to the Elders which will allow their area of ministry to fulfill its purpose to the best of their ability.
- To support this church and its various services with their attendance and financial support.
SECTION 6: SPECIFIC OFFICES AND DUTIES - Complete job descriptions will be kept in the Principles and Policies of the church. The Clerk, Financial Secretary, and Treasurer shall serve with the Elders as legal Trustees of the church.
- Clerk. The Clerk shall keep an accurate record of all church business meetings; keep an accurate record of the membership, dedications, baptisms, and other statistics; and handle all correspondence and membership actions authorized by the church.
- Financial Secretary and Assistant. The assistant shall act as Financial Secretary in the Financial Secretary's absence or when the office is vacant, and shall assist the Financial Secretary with those duties as requested. The Financial Secretary shall count all offerings with the help of at least two other counters and deposit said funds as soon as practical in the bank. The Financial Secretary shall supply the Treasurer with deposit records and shall not disburse any funds. The Financial Secretary shall also keep a detailed record of individual contributions through church envelopes by envelope number and furnish an annual statement to the contributors.
- Treasurer and Assistant. The assistant shall act as Treasurer in the Treasurer's absence or when the office is vacant, and shall assist the Treasurer with his duties as requested. The Treasurer shall never participate in counting or receiving funds for the church, but shall receive a report from the Financial Secretary of all funds contributed. The Treasurer shall dispense such in accordance with the church budget as authorized by those overseeing the individual areas. All bills must be signed by the appropriate Deacon or Deaconess. Single transactions over $500 must be signed by one of the Elders. The Treasurer shall present a written report of disbursements monthly to the Elders and Stewardship Chairman, showing the actual financial condition of the church. All expenditures shall be paid by check. The Treasurer shall also give an itemized report at all regular business meetings of the church.
- Committee Chairpersons. These shall include those areas mentioned in Article VIII, unless directly carried out by the Elders or their designates, as well as those other committee chairpersons so designated by the Elders or congregation. They shall make sure the job description for their committee is fulfilled and the committee carries out its purpose. They shall call meetings as needed to fulfill these duties and appoint a secretary to keep accurate records.
- Ministry Program Directors. These shall include those ministry programs mentioned in Article V, as well as those so designated by the Elders or congregation. They shall serve on the Christian Education Committee where appropriate and lead their ministry to fulfill its purpose to the best of their ability.
- Other. Other Deacons and Deaconesses may be appointed by the Elders or elected by the congregation to accommodate the needs of the church.
ARTICLE IV - COMMITTEES
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION - Committees shall be elected to serve under the Deacon or Deaconess elected to a specific area of responsibility as requested by the Elders or congregation. Committees do not necessarily need to be elected in each area in Section 6 if such area is able to be adequately covered by the Elders or their designates.
SECTION 2: QUALIFICATIONS - Committee members should be active members in good standing. Committees may, with approval of the Elders, include regular attenders who are not members of the church. Christian Education, Pulpit, and Nominating Committee members must be active church members in good standing.
SECTION 3: SELECTION - Except for those committees listed below and those other committees designated by the Elders or congregation, committee members shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the congregation at the annual meeting.
- The Christian Education Committee shall consist of all directors and assistant directors of Christian Education ministries. The Sunday School Secretary shall serve as the committee's secretary unless another is chosen.
- The Pulpit Committee shall consist of the Elders, at least one current Deacon and Deaconess recommended by the Elders to the congregation, and one member-at-large elected by vote of the congregation.
- The Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the Elders and confirmed by vote of the congregation. It will normally include at least the Senior Pastor, another Elder, a Deacon, and a Deaconess.
SECTION 4: TERM OF SERVICE - Except for those committees listed below and those other committees designated by the Elders or congregation, committee members shall serve a one year term beginning at their election and continuing until the next annual meeting. They may serve a maximum of six consecutive terms.
- The Christian Education Committee members shall serve for the duration of the time they are in leadership of a Christian Education ministry.
- The Pulpit Committee members shall serve until the congregation has called a new senior pastor.
SECTION 5: DUTIES -
- To serve faithfully in the area of their ministry under the direction of the Elders and fulfill their individual job descriptions.
- To meet with the Elders as requested.
- To support this church with their attendance and financial support.
SECTION 6: SPECIFIC COMMITTEES AND DUTIES - Complete job descriptions will be kept in the Principles and Policies of the church.
- Winning Souls (Evangelism).
- Outreach. They shall encourage and lead the church in winning the lost to Christ in and around Morrisville through local outreach and related events.
- Missions. They shall encourage the church to fulfill the Great Commission outside the local area and throughout the world by sending our own members as short-term and career missionaries, and supporting other Baptist missionaries with prayer, finances, and encouragement who agree with the church doctrinal statement.
- Building Saints (Edification).
- Christian Education. They shall coordinate the Christian Education ministries of the church so as to provide: discipleship for all believers at different ages and different levels of spiritual maturity; qualified leaders, teachers, and workers; adequate teacher training and leadership development; and maximum use of the church personnel and facilities in these efforts.
- Fellowship. They shall encourage fellowship among the membership of the church, both inside and outside of the church setting, by providing activities and other means of achieving this objective.
- Ministry and Benevolence. They shall assist the Elders with the care for the sick and needy through visitation, food and financial assistance, and maintenance of a prayer chain. They shall also prepare the communion elements and assist at baptisms.
- Praising God (Exaltation). Worship. They shall coordinate all aspects of church worship as requested by the Senior Pastor. This will normally include providing special music, accompanists, and ushers for all services, arranging for a choir director, recommending any paid musicians to the Elders for their approval, and scheduling other worship assistants. The head usher shall be a member of the committee and shall keep a record of attendance for all services.
- Other committees.
- Building and Grounds. They shall keep all grounds, property, buildings, vehicles, and equipment of the church in good repair at all times and provide for proper maintenance as needed. Contracts for janitorial services may be recommended to the Elders for approval.
- Stewardship. They shall provide at least two counters for all offerings to assist the Financial Secretary; annually arrange for the audit of all financial records; make sure all church bills are paid in a timely fashion within the constraints of the budget; and make sure that all funds are administered in a professionally accepted manner, recognizing that we are only stewards of the Lord's possessions and should handle them according to the principles of Scripture. Counters and auditors shall be appointed by the chairman and approved by the Elders, or elected by the congregation in the usual fashion.
- Nominating. They shall nominate annually to the congregation those Deacons, Deaconesses, and committee members needed to carry out the work of the church, as directed by the Elders.
- Pulpit. They shall seek wise counsel from the Conservative Baptist Association of Pennsylvania to determine the best way in which to proceed in the process of recommending to the congregation a qualified candidate to the office of Senior Pastor. In no case shall more than one candidate be presented to the congregation at a time. Other pastoral positions shall be filled in the normal manner for other Elders.
- Other. Other committees and sub-committees may be appointed by the Elders or elected by the congregation to accommodate the needs of the church.
ARTICLE V - MINISTRY PROGRAMS
SECTION 1: SPECIFIC MINISTRY PROGRAMS -
- Sunday School. This ministry program shall have a Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Secretary, and Treasurer, if available.
- Vacation Bible School.
- Youth ministries. These may include such ministries as club programs, youth groups, et cetera, as approved by the Elders or congregation.
- Specialized ministries. These may include such ministries as support groups, senior citizens ministries, Bible study groups, et cetera, as approved by the Elders or congregation. Leaders of these ministries shall not be Deacons unless so designated by the Elders or congregation, but shall serve on the Christian Education Committee, if so designated.
SECTION 2: LEADERSHIP AND WORKERS - Directors and assistant directors shall be Deacons or Deaconesses of the church and appointed by the Elders or elected by the congregation. Leaders and teachers shall be active members in good standing with the church. Those who are not church members may be used in short-term teaching positions or as assistants or helpers at the Elders' discretion.
SECTION 3: FINANCES - Needed finances shall be requested annually to be included in the church budget. No ministry program may accept or solicit funds or offerings without the permission of the Elders. The director of the ministry program given permission to do such, shall appoint a Treasurer, approved by the Elders, to accurately account for those funds and to give an annual report to the congregation accounting for those funds.
ARTICLE VI - MEETINGS
SECTION 1: REGULAR SERVICES -
- The church shall meet regularly every Lord's Day, Sunday, for public worship of God.
- Other weekly events will normally include:
- a Sunday School program
- a Sunday evening service
- a week-night Prayer Meeting and/or Bible Study
- a children and youth ministry
- The Lord's Supper shall be observed at least once each month, preferable on the first Sunday.
- No meetings of the church or any of its auxiliary bodies shall be allowed to interfere with the weekly stated meetings, except by special permission of the Elders.
SECTION 2: BUSINESS MEETINGS -
- The Annual Business Meeting of the church shall be held the third or fourth week of January, and shall be publicized through the church bulletin. Each officer, board, committee, and department of the church shall submit a written report to be included in the Annual Report of the church presented at the Annual Business Meeting.
- Quarterly Business Meetings may be held in April and July if needed, at the discretion of the elders. A quarterly financial report shall be made available to the congregation. Officers and committees shall be elected at the congregational meeting held in October or November and begin their terms of service on January 1st. Elders may be confirmed at any business meeting after all other qualifying criteria has been met.
- Special Business meetings may be called by the Senior Pastor or Elders, or upon the request of twenty-five percent (25%) of the active members of the church in writing. Special Business Meetings for any purpose other than the reception of members must be announced at least ten (10) days in advance of the meeting, and the purpose of the meeting inserted in the church bulletin the Sunday preceding the special meeting. Members may be received by vote into the fellowship at any Sunday church service or regular business meeting.
- It shall be the duty of the Moderator appointed by the Elders to conduct the Business Sessions in an orderly and business-like manner, and to carefully state and explain all items of business. Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the church in its transaction of business.
- Only active members sixteen (16) years of age and older will be allowed to vote. A majority of over fifty percent (50%) shall carry a motion unless a higher percentage is required elsewhere by the Constitution or By-laws. A voice vote will normally be sufficient, however, a vote by raise of hands or secret ballot shall be granted if requested by any voting member, with the latter method taking precedence. Absentee voting will not be allowed.
- A quorum for all business meetings shall consist of twenty percent (20%) of the active members present and voting, except where a higher quorum is required elsewhere by the Constitution or By-laws.
- The following order shall be observed in the regular business meetings:
- Prayer and the reading of Scripture
- Reading of minutes of previous meeting.
- Considering of membership candidates and dismissals.
- Hearing reports of officers and committees.
- Unfinished business.
- New business.
- Closing prayer.
SECTION 3: FISCAL YEAR - The fiscal year of the church shall begin with the first of January and end December 31.
ARTICLE VII - LICENSING AND ORDINATION
SECTION 1: LICENSING - Any male member who, in the judgment of the church, gives evidence, by his piety, zeal, and "aptness to teach," that he is called of God to the work of the ministry, after having preached in the hearing of the church, may be licensed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, provided, three-fourths (3/4) of the members present at any business meeting shall agree thereto.
SECTION 2: ORDINATION - If the church decides by a ninety percent (90%) majority that one of its licensed preachers possesses the scriptural qualifications for full ordination, it shall call a council of ministers and brethren to examine the qualifications of the candidate, the report of which council shall be referred to the church for final action.
ARTICLE VIII - AMENDMENTS
These By-laws may be amended at any regular or special business meeting of the church by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting, providing that notice of such meeting and the proposed changes shall have been signed by five (5) members, published in a conspicuous place at least three weeks prior to the meeting, and announced publicly from the pulpit at least two Sundays prior to the meeting.