Constitution of Covenant Baptist Church

Preamble

We, the members of Covenant Baptist Church, do ordain and establish the following articles, to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.

(Click on an Article below)

Article I: NAME

Article II: PURPOSE

Article III: CONFESSION OF FAITH

Article IV: CHURCH GOVERNMENT

Article V: CHRUCH MEMBERSHIP

Article VI: CHURCH DISCIPLINE

Article VII: CHURCH OFFICERS

 

Jesus Christ is the pre-eminent and rightful head of His church, and all believers are in subjection to Him (Ephesians 1:22).  As the Head, He has ordained the offices of Elder (1Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3) and Deacon (Acts 6:1-6; 1Timothy 3:8-13).  In addition, this Church has established the offices of Church Clerk and Church Treasurer.  Other offices may be established for the benefit of the Church by the congregation, affirming the recommendation of the Elders.

Section 1: Body of Elders

A. Composition

The Body of Elders, which includes the Senior Pastor, shall consist of a plurality of godly men who meet the qualifications found in the Bible, especially 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

We understand the New Testament term “one-woman man” (1Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6) to mean that an elder, must not have experienced a divorce since the time he became a believer in Jesus Christ.  In addition, an elder who is married must have the character of being devoted to one woman.  This does not mean his marriage relationship must have been perfect.  It does require that his commitment to his wife and reputation in the community with respect to that commitment be unquestioned, and that, with respect to those things, he be able to represent Christ and His church in the community without maligning the reputation of either.

This way of understanding the passage springs from a desire to honor Jesus Christ by the selection of exemplary men for leadership in His church.

Widowers who have remarried are eligible to be considered.  

B. Selection

i.The process will begin with either public teaching or private letters informing the Church regarding the definition and function of elders, and an explanation of the selection process.

ii.Following a period of prayerful consideration, members of the congregation will be allowed to recommend male Church members for the office of Elder.

iii.Those who are recommended and are willing to serve will be interviewed, along with their wives, by the active Elders.

iv.After thoroughly interviewing the candidate, and others if necessary, and taking counsel from one another, the active Elders will make a prayerful determination as to whether the candidate is qualified.

v.Those found by the Elders to be biblically qualified will share a public testimony of salvation and be available for interview by the congregation.

vi.Following another period of prayerful consideration, the congregation will be given forms that allow them to affirm or not affirm each candidate.

vii. Candidates affirmed by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the forms returned will be ordained to the office of Elder, unless a scriptural disqualification becomes apparent during the affirmation process.

C. Term of Office

Elders shall serve an indefinite term:

i.Elders will typically serve six years and receive a one-year sabbatical before resuming official responsibilities.  However, the timing and length of the sabbatical may be adjusted by the Elder Body according to the needs of the Church.  Active leadership in ministry, apart from attending meetings, is required to continue in service as an Elder.

ii.The status of any Elder, with respect to his character or marital status may be reviewed by the active Elders at any time, in accordance with biblical guidelines (1 Timothy 5:19), potentially resulting in a judgment that an individual is no longer qualified to serve.  In such an instance the guidelines in Article VII. Section 1. C. iv. would apply.

iii.An Elder may resign his office.

iv.Any Elder who for any reason no longer meets the biblical qualifications for the office, or who is unwilling or unable to carry out the duties of the office, shall be subject to the following procedure:

Following review and upon recommendation by the Body of Elders, a special Church conference, open only to members, shall be called to consider the matter. The matter shall be presented to the Church body with opportunity for the Elder in question to respond.

The Elders shall recommend appropriate action to the Church body.

Upon recommendation of removal (1 Timothy 5:17-20), an Elder shall be removed by Church vote.  Voting shall be by written ballot and shall require two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members present and voting.

Once removed from office, and after completing a restoration process prescribed by the Elder Body, a man may be eligible to serve as an Elder through the normal Elder selection process.

D. Leadership of the Body of Elders

The Elder Body shall appoint administrative leadership from within the Elder Body.  However, each Elder shares equally in responsibility and accountability for the congregation as a whole.  

E. Responsibilities of Elders

The Elders shall:

i.teach and counsel Church member from the Word of God.

ii.interview and counsel those requesting membership in this Church.

iii.give leadership to providing pastoral ministry for the members of the Church.

iv.oversee the ministries, activities and business of the Church based on biblical truths and principles.

v.recommend or delegate actions to the Church when congregational involvement and decision making will enhance ministry without violating biblical principles.

vi.appoint leaders for various ministries and activities of the Church.

vii.employ and oversee Church staff, including associate pastor(s) and other personnel.

As an accommodation to legal relationships outside the church, the Elders shall designate the following corporate officers: Senior Pastor, president; Clerk, secretary; Treasurer, treasurer, and an additional elder as vice president.

In addition, the Elders shall also have the power and responsibility to serve as the Trustees of the Church.  As Trustees, they are empowered to make and execute all contracts, deeds, bonds, notes, negotiable instruments, mortgages, trusts and all other instruments of indebtedness or conveyance of said corporation upon the other thereof.  The title to all property, however, shall be vested in the name of the Church.  The Elders shall authorize sale of any and all real property and/or tangible or intangible personal property, other than cash, received by the Church as a contribution, donation, or any other form of lifetime gift, or by devise or bequest under will, at such price as the Trustees deem in the best interest of the Church, provided however that all such sales be for cash, and placed in the Church’s general fund unless otherwise previously agreed to by the donor and the Church.  They shall represent the Church in any litigation brought by or against the Church.

Section 2: The Senior Pastor

A. Responsibilities of the Senior Pastor

The Senior Pastor will provide spiritual direction to the Body of Elders.  The Senior Pastor shall be the primary teaching elder; a great percentage of his “work time” shall be spent in the study of God’s Word.  It shall be his responsibility to equip and disciples the people of God for ministry.  The Senior Pastor shall be engaged in intercessory prayer for the congregation.  The immediate supervision of the Church staff is the responsibility of the Senior Pastor.

B. Call of a Senior Pastor

i.When a pastoral vacancy occurs or is anticipated, the Body of Elders shall appoint a Pastor Search Committee, including both Elders and other members of the Church.

ii.The Pastor Search Committee shall begin a prayerful search for the Senior Pastor.  By consent of the full committee and recommendation of the Elder Body, the search shall be narrowed to one candidate.  This candidate shall be thoroughly interviewed by the Pastor Search Committee.

iii.By consent of the full Committee, the candidate shall be invited to speak to the Church body.  The Church body shall be given opportunity to get acquainted with the candidate through formal and informal interview sessions.

iv.Upon recommendation of the Pastor Search Committee that the candidate be extended a call to become Senior Pastor, the congregation shall assemble at a special conference called for the purpose of considering that recommendation.

v.The affirmation of three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the members present and voting shall be necessary to ratify the recommendation of the Committee.

C. Term of Office

The Senior Pastor shall serve an indefinite period; however, he may resign his office or be removed from office as any other Elder under the previous provisions of this document.

Section 3: Body of Deacons

A. Composition

Based on Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13, it seems to us that deacon ministry in the New Testament church was given leadership by Christian men who had particular character qualities.  However, we also acknowledge and take seriously:

i.that 1 Timothy 3:11 makes specific reference to qualifications for “the women,” which has to be accounted for,

ii.and that in Romans 16:1-2, sister Phoebe is referred to as “a diakonos of the church in Cenchrea.”

Taking these things into account, along with the ideas that a biblical marriage could be strengthened as a man and his wife work with other husband/wife teams as servants of Jesus Christ, and that it may not enhance a biblical marriage for men and women to work intimately in ministry apart from their marriage partners, we have come to the following determinations based on biblical evidences and spiritual wisdom.

The Body of Deacons shall consist of a number of godly men who meet the qualifications found in the Bible, especially 1 Timothy 3:8-10, 12-13.  If these men are married, their wives must meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:11, and work along side them, as companions and helpers to their husbands in the deacon ministry.

We understand the New Testament term “one-woman man” (1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6) to mean that a deacon must not have experienced a divorce since the time he became a believer in Jesus Christ.  In addition, a deacon who is married must have the character of being devoted to one woman.  This does not mean his marriage relationship must have been perfect.  It does require that his commitment to his wife and reputation in the community with respect to that commitment be unquestioned, and that, with respect to those things, he be able to represent Christ and His church in the community without maligning the reputation of either.

This way of understanding the passage springs from a desire to honor Jesus Christ by the selection of exemplary men for service in His church.

Widowers who have remarried are eligible to be considered.  

B. Selection

i.The process will begin with either public teaching or private letters informing the Church regarding the definition and function of deacons, and an explanation of the selection process.

ii.Following a period of prayerful consideration, members of the congregation will be allowed to recommend male Church members for the office of Deacon.

iii.Those who are recommended and are willing to serve will be interviewed, along with their wives, by the active Elders.

iv.After thoroughly interviewing the candidate, and others if necessary, and taking counsel from one another, the active Elders will make a prayerful determination as to whether the candidate is qualified.

v.Those found by the Elders to be biblically qualified will share a public testimony of salvation and be available for interview by the congregation.

vi.Following another period of prayerful consideration, the congregation will be given forms that allow them to affirm or not affirm each candidate.

vii. Candidates affirmed by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the forms returned will be ordained to the office of Deacon, unless a scriptural disqualifications becomes apparent during the affirmation process.

C. Term of Office

Deacons shall serve an indefinite term:

i.Deacons will typically serve six years and receive a one-year sabbatical before resuming official responsibilities.  However, the timing and length of the sabbatical may be adjusted by the Elder Body according to the needs of the Church.  Active leadership in ministry, apart from attending meetings, is required to continue in service as a Deacon.

ii.The status of any deacon, with respect to his character or marital status may be reviewed by the Elders at any time, in accordance with biblical guidelines (1 Timothy 5:19), potentially resulting in a judgment that an individual is no longer qualified to serve.  In such an instance, the guidelines in Article VII. Section 3. C. iv. would apply.

iii.A Deacon may resign his office.

iv.Any Deacon who for any reason no longer meets the biblical qualifications for the office, or who is unwilling or unable to carry out the duties of the office, shall be subject to the following procedure:

Following review and upon recommendation by the Body of Elders, a special Church conference, open only to members, shall be called to consider the matter.  The matter shall be presented to the Church body with opportunity for the Deacon in question to respond.

The Elders shall recommend appropriate action to the Church body.

Upon recommendation of removal, a Deacon shall be removed by Church vote.  Voting shall be by written ballot and shall require two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members present and voting.

Once removed from office, and after completing a restoration process prescribed by the Elder Body, a man may be eligible to serve as a Deacon through the normal Deacon selection process.

D. Responsibilities of Deacons

The role of a Deacon is that of a servant.

i.They will respond to benevolent needs within and outside of the Church, on behalf of the Church, under the supervision of the Elders;

ii.They will care for other matters assigned to them by the Elders.

iii.The Deacons may call on other Church members to assist with their designated ministries.

Section 4: Church Clerk

A. Qualifications

The Church Clerk shall meet the moral and spiritual qualifications that are recorded in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

B. Selection and Term of Office

The Church Clerk shall be appointed by and serve under the direction of the Body of Elders until such a time as another Church Clerk is appointed.

C. Responsibilities

i.Record actions of the Church at any Church conference.

ii.Maintain an accurate membership roll.

iii.Request Letters of Transfer for new members from other churches.

iv.Process personal requests for terminations from the Church roll and requests for Letters of Transfer to other churches.

v.Make necessary certifications of actions of the Church in conference.

vi.Attest to the corporate seal of the Church on any official document.

vii. The Church Clerk shall occupy the office of secretary for the corporation.

Section 5: Church Treasurer

A. Qualifications

The Church Treasurer shall meet the moral and spiritual qualifications that are recorded in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

B. Selection and Term of Office

The Church Treasurer shall be appointed by and serve under the direction of the Body of Elders until such a time as another Church Treasurer is appointed.

C. Responsibilities

i.The Church Treasurer shall have custody of the Church funds and securities, shall ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books (electronic or traditional) belonging to the Church.  The Church Treasurer shall ensure that all monies and other valuable effects are deposited in the name of and to the credit of the Church in such depositories as may be designated by the Elders.

ii.The Church Treasurer shall reconcile all Church bank accounts monthly and will supervise the preparation and administration of the monthly financial statement published by the Church.  The Church Treasurer shall be responsible for making sure that an annual audit of the Church financial records is done by a firm outside the Church membership.

iii.The Church Treasurer shall occupy the office of treasurer for the corporation.

 

Article VIII: GUIDELINES FOR CHURCH ADMINISTRATION MEETINGS AND GOVERNMENT

Article IX: AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION  

Article X: BYLAWS

Amendments