CONSTITUTION OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS PREAMBLE

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1 CONSTITUTION OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS PREAMBLE We, the people of First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, Arkansas, in order that we may secure to ourselves and those who come after us the rich blessings of joining our efforts together that we may better serve Christ, the living Son of God, in peace, serenity and love; to provide for the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith; to insure that this church may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with New Testament teachings; to preserve the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith; to preserve and protect the highest kind of spiritual unity and Christian love and fellowship which we seek to ever know and share with each other, and that we may not forget our duty to take Christ to the lost here and everywhere, do declare and establish this Constitution and its By-Laws. ARTICLE I - NAME The name of this congregation shall be the First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas. ARTICLE II - COVENANT This church adopts and accepts as its Covenant and Articles of Faith the Church Covenant as set forth in Pendleton's Church Manual and the Articles of Faith also set forth therein and known as the New Hampshire Articles of Faith, and as revised and adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention of May 9, ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP The membership of this church is composed of those persons whose names appear upon the church roll in good standing. (see By-Laws, Article I, Section 1) ARTICLE IV - CHURCH POLICY Section 1 - The government of this church is vested solely in the body of the members who compose it, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It shall be subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body. Section 2 - so far as may be consistent with the principles and teaching of God's Word, this church shall cooperate with and have representation in the denominational causes sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention, the Arkansas Baptist State Convention and the Washington-Madison County Baptist Association. We shall cooperate with various Christian denominations when the end to be attained is self-justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament. 1

2 ARTICLE V - AMENDMENTS This Constitution and its By-Laws adopted in compliance thereto may be amended by a twothirds (2/3) vote of the membership present and voting at any meeting of the church called for that purpose, the proposed amendment being inserted in the call, such call to be in writing and placed before the church at a business meeting not less than one month before the time of the proposed action, and read from the pulpit at the morning service on the Lord's Day next preceding such proposal. ARTICLE VI - REGULATIONS In order to carry out and make effective the principles and declaration contained in this Constitution as set forth and contained in the afore-mentioned Church Covenant and Articles of Faith, this church enacts and ordains the following By-laws: BY-LAWS Section 1 - Reception of Members: Applicants for membership may be approved at any scheduled meeting at which they present themselves. Members may be received in the following ways: a) By Baptism: Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and giving evidence of a change of heart, and accepting our views of faith as stated in the Church Covenant and Articles of Faith, may, upon baptism, be received into the membership of this church. Baptism as a pre-requisite for membership in this church may be waived by vote of the church membership for those individuals who are obviously physically unable to be baptized. b) By Letter: An applicant from another Baptist Church of like faith and order may be received upon receipt of a letter of recommendation from his former church. Pending receipt of the letter, the applicant is received under Watchcare of the church. c) By Statement: 1) When church letters cannot be obtained because of loss of records or similarly unavoidable circumstances, applicants from another Baptist Church of like faith and order are received upon their own statement affirming their faith, baptism and church membership. 2) An applicant who was scripturally baptized in a church of another faith and who accepts our Church Covenant and Articles of Faith may be received upon his statement. Scriptural baptism is total immersion of a believer symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried and risen Saviour. d) By Restoration: A member of this church who has been dismissed for cause may be restored to membership upon application to and approval by the Church. 2

3 Section 2 - Member in Good Standing: A member in good standing is expected to observe the Church Covenant and Articles of Faith, to perform the duties essential to the Christian life and service of the church, to give regularly to the support of the church and its causes, and to share in its organized works. Section 3 - Removal of Members: Members may have their names removed from the church roll in the following manner: a) By death. b) By Letter: Letters of dismissal for any member who is in good standing with the church shall be granted to any church of like faith and order upon proper request. c) By Request of said Member. d) By Exclusion: The church may after due notice and hearing and kindly effort to make such action unnecessary, exclude a person from membership for cause. It shall be the policy of the church to follow the New Testament teaching in the matter of church discipline. ARTICLE II - MEETINGS Section 1 - For Worship and Work: a) Public worship services shall be held each Sunday morning and evening and each Wednesday evening. b) There will be Sunday School and Church Training meetings each Sunday. c) There will be a Woman's Missionary Union and its auxiliaries, and other organizations which may be deemed advisable for teaching and training in Christian life and service. d) The Church shall conduct evangelistic meetings, Bible study classes, and other meetings for spiritual emphasis as determined by the church. e) Exceptions to Items A and B of this section: 1) may be approved by majority vote of those in attendance at a regular or special business meeting. 2) by circumstances such as adverse weather conditions, beyond the control of the membership, as determined by the church staff and Chairman of the Deacons. Section 2 - For Transaction of Business: a) Business Meetings are the third (3rd) Sunday of each month, following the Sunday evening worship hour, for the due and regular time of transaction of any and all business of the church. Before recommendations from the Deacons and standing committees may be acted on, they must have been published in the First Baptist Voice or Sunday Bulletin. 3

4 b) Special business meetings of the church may be called by the moderator at a designated time and notice of the time, place and purpose of such meeting shall be given at the regular morning worship services on the Lord's Day preceding such meeting. c) Emergency Business Meetings may be called by the moderator at any regular stated meeting of the church for the purpose of transaction of emergency matters. The matter of emergency shall be determined by the pastor and the deacons. d) A Quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting shall be the members of the church present at such meeting. A majority vote of the members voting shall determine any matter voted upon, except as provided for in ARTICLE V of the Constitution. e) In all questions of procedure at any business meeting, the church shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order. f) The moderator shall preside at all business meetings. In the absence of the moderator, the Chairman of the Deacons shall preside. In the absence of both, the church clerk shall call the meeting to order and a moderator-protem shall be elected. ARTICLE III - OFFICERS Section 1 - Qualifications: All officers of this church, or any organization established by the church, shall be members of this church in good standing, and qualified to perform the duties demanded by the office to which they are elected. Section 2 - Pastor: Whenever a vacancy occurs, the pastor shall be called by secret vote at a called meeting of the church at a Sunday morning worship service, and shall serve indefinitely at the will of the church. The Pastor shall have in charge the welfare and oversight of the church, shall minister unto the church at all times for worship and service and to the committees of the church and its organizations. Section 3 - Moderator: The moderator shall be elected annually at the regular election of church officers. Nominations for moderators shall be made by the Nominating Committee or from the floor. The moderator shall be a non-voting member of all standing and special committees of the church. Section 4 - Deacons: There shall be three (3) types of deacons as follows: a) Active deacons shall be voting members of the fellowship of deacons. b) Inactive deacons are deacons who have been ordained or recognized by this church and are not presently serving as active or emeritus deacons but who may attend all meetings as nonvoting members. An active deacon may be placed on inactive status by indicating his desire, in writing, to the Chairman of the Diaconate. 4

5 c) Deacon Emeritus are recognized deacons who have reached seventy (70) years of age, who shall be members of the active fellowship of deacons for life with full active member privileges. 1) Qualifications: The qualifications for the office of deacon are as follows: a) A deacon must meet the spiritual qualifications as outlined in I Timothy 3 and Acts 6 in the Bible. b) A deacon must be at least twenty-one (21) years of age and have been a Christian for at least one year. c) A man must be an active member of our church for a period of at least one year before being considered as a candidate for the office of deacon. d) A deacon shall regularly contribute to the financial program of his church and shall believe in, and practice, tithing a tenth of his income. e) A deacon shall be a faithful steward of his time and shall regularly support, by his attendance, the organizations of the church and the regularly scheduled meetings of the church. f) If a deacon is found unfaithful to the above qualifications, a committee from the fellowship of deacons shall be sent to give Christian warning and if the deacon fails to take heed he shall be removed from the active fellowship of deacons and shall be classified as an inactive deacon. 2) Election of Deacons to be Ordained: Deacons to be ordained by the church shall be elected as follows: a) The Diaconate shall be invested with the responsibility of preparing and recommending to the church a set of guidelines outlining the procedure and the time schedule for submitting nominations, evaluation of the qualifications of each nominee, and the presentation of a list of qualified nominees to the church for the purpose of electing the number of new deacons required. These guidelines will be prepared by the Diaconate and presented to the church for approval, after which they shall serve as the procedure for election and ordination of new deacons until such time as changes recommended by the deacons are approved by a majority vote of the church in business session. b) The Diaconate, in consultation with the pastor, shall determine the number of new deacons required and subsequently recommend to the church for election in any one calendar year. c) Copies of the nomination form and the guidelines for the procedure of election of deacons will be made available to the church membership in printed form each year during the nomination period. 5

6 3) Recognition of Deacons Ordained in Another Church: A deacon who has been ordained in another church and has been accepted as a member of First Baptist Church Fayetteville, Arkansas, may be recognized as a deacon in full standing under the following procedure: a) The deacon must serve as an active member of the church for a period of at least six (6) months. b) The Diaconate will question the deacon and will, by a majority vote, make its recommendation to the church for final action. c) When duly recognized by the church, the deacon will be eligible for full participation in the activities of the Diaconate. 4) Absenteeism of Active Deacons at Regular Meetings: An active deacon who misses six (6) consecutive deacon's meetings without due cause shall be reclassified as an inactive deacon and notified by mail. 5) Reinstating Deacon to Active Status: For an inactive deacon to become an active deacon again at First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas, the deacon must follow the same procedures that a deacon ordained by another Baptist church must follow. Section 5 - Treasurer: The treasurer shall be elected annually by the church at the regular annual election of officers of the church and shall be an officer of the corporation. The treasurer shall be an ex-officio member of the Stewardship Committee. The church financial secretary shall keep a correct record of all financial transactions. The financial secretary is authorized to disburse funds only as set forth in the budget unless so ordered by the church. The church shall require an annual audit of the church's accounts at the end of each fiscal year. Due publicity shall be given this report of audit. Section 6 - Clerk: The clerk shall keep a careful and correct record of all the official acts of the church, make monthly reports to the church, giving detailed information pertaining to the membership roll, and perform all duties pertaining to the office. The clerk shall be elected annually at the regular annual election of officers. Section 7 - Officers: The officers of the church, as a corporation, shall, consistent with the church's Articles of Incorporation, consist of the Chairman of the Diaconate, Vice-Chairman of the Diaconate, and Treasurer, and shall transact all legal matters approved by the church. ARTICLE IV - COMMITTEES Section 1 - The Committees of this church shall be classified as: a) Standing Committees. b) Special Committees. 6

7 All committees of the church, unless otherwise specified, shall be considered as standing committees. Members of standing committees shall be elected for a term of three (3) years, unless otherwise specified, one-third being elected each year, and their terms shall begin January 1st of each year following their election, unless otherwise specified. Members of special committees will be discharged upon completion of the assignment. Each committee shall elect its own chairman. Section 2 - The church shall have a nominating committee. It shall be a special committee of five members elected by the church for one year upon recommendation of a committee composed of the pastor, chairman of deacons, superintendent of Sunday School, Director of Church Training, and President of the W.M.U. The Nominating Committee shall recommend to the church nominations for all other church committees and officers to be elected during the church year. The Nominating Committee will be elected at the annual election in December to serve for the following calendar year. The church shall have such other standing and special committees as it shall deem necessary. Standing committees will be elected at the annual election in December. Special committees will be elected as the need arises. Record of all committees will be published, distributed, and kept on file in the church office. held. Nominations may be made from the floor at any business meeting at which an election is ARTICLE V - METHOD OF FILLING VACANCIES Section 1 - When a vacancy occurs in any office or committee by reason of death, removal or resignation, the unexpired term of such person may be filled by the church at any regular or called meeting in the same manner as provided in ARTICLE IV, COMMITTEES, SECTION 2 of BY-LAWS. ARTICLE VI ORDINANCES Section 1 - Baptism: The ordinance of baptism may be administered at any worship service for the benefit of all candidates who have united with the church upon public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Section 2 - Lord's Supper: The Lord's Supper shall be observed at least once every three months. ARTICLE VII - REPEAL Section 1 - This Constitution and By-Laws repeals, supersedes, and makes void all former or similar documents adopted by the First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas. 7

8 ARTICLE VII - EFFECTIVE DATE Section 1 - This Constitution and By-Laws shall become effective upon its adoption by the church. CHURCH COVENANT Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and 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 to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor and the spread of the gospel through all nations. We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings; faithful in our engagements, and to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior, We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay. We moreover engage, that when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the Spirit of the Covenant and the principles of God's Word. 8

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