First Baptist Church of Alva

 BYLAWS

ARTICLE 1

NAME AND PURPOSE

Section 1.01—Name

This congregation of believers shall be known as The First Baptist Church of Alva. It is incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Florida.

Section 1.02—Purpose

This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law), for such purposes including, but not limited to, the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; the establishing and maintaining of religious worship; the educating of believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture; and the maintaining of missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country

ARTICLE 2

STATEMENT OF FAITH AND COVENANT

Section 2.01—Statement Of Faith[1]

(A)       The Holy Scriptures.  We believe the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God.  The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed and are, therefore, the final authority for faith and life.  The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to Man.  The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning.  The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official translation used by the church.  (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21)

(B)       Dispensationalism.  We believe that the Scriptures interpreted in their natural, literal sense reveal divinely determined dispensations or rules of life that define man’s responsibilities in successive ages. These dispensations are not ways of salvation, but rather are divinely ordered stewardships by which God directs man according to His purpose. Three of these dispensations—the law, the church, and the kingdom—are the subjects of detailed revelation in Scripture. (Gen. 1:28; 1 Cor. 9:17; 2 Cor. 3:9-18; Gal. 3:13-25; Eph. 1:10; 3:2-10; Col. 1:24-25, 27; Rev. 20:2-6)

(C)            

 (D)      The Person and Work of Christ.

(1)        We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, became man, without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God and redeem sinful men. (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Luke 1:35; John 1:1-2, 14; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Gal. 4:4-5; Phil. 2:5-8)

(2)        We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice, and that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. (Acts 2:18-36; Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Peter 1:3-5)

(3)        We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of Representative, Intercessor, and Advocate.  (Acts 1:9-10; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24; 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2)

(E)       The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit.

(1)        We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and, that He is the Supernatural Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ, indwelling and sealing them unto the day of redemption. (John 16:8-11; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13-14)

(2)        We believe that He is the divine Teacher who assists believers to understand and appropriate the Scriptures and that it is the privilege and duty of all the saved to be filled with the Spirit.  (Eph. 1:17-18; 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27)

(3)        We believe that God is sovereign in the bestowal of spiritual gifts to every believer.  God uniquely uses evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip believers in the church to do the work of the ministry.  (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 28; Eph. 4:7-12)

(4)        We believe in the fullness of the Holy Spirit or indumenta with power with one or all of the manifestations of I Corinthians Chapter 12.

  (F)     The Total Depravity of Man.  We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God; but that in Adam’s sin the human race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. Man is totally depraved and, of himself, utterly unable to remedy his lost condition. (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 3:22-23; 5:12; 6:23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19)

(G)      Salvation.  We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed His blood on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins.  We believe that all sins, except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, are forgivable.  (Matt. 12:31-32; John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:9)

(H)       The Eternal Security and Assurance of Believers.

(1)        We believe that once a person is saved, he is kept by God’s power and remains secure in Christ forever.  (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 8:1; 38-39; 1 Cor. 1:4-8; 1 Pet. 1:4-5)

(2)        We believe that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word; which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion to the flesh. (Rom. 13:13-14; Gal. 5:13; Titus 2:11-15)

(1)        We believe that the local church, which is the body and the espoused bride of Christ, is solely made up of born-again believers.  (1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27)

(2)        We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament.  (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)

(3)        We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or controls, and any affiliations, societies, organizations, associations, or agencies this church affiliates with to further the objectives stated in the Purpose Statement are not authoritative in matters of church practice or belief. (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)

(4)        We recognize water baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age.  (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 8:36-38; 1 Cor. 11:23-26)

(5)        We believe in the prayer of faith and anointing with oil for the sick and or afflicted in accordance with James 5:13-16.

(J)        Separation. We believe that believers should maintain a godly testimony and live in such a way that that their lives do not bring reproach upon their Savior. God commands His people to separate from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations, and to refrain from all immodest and immoderate appearances. We stand against any and all worldly philosophies that seek to destroy or undermine the truth of Biblical Christianity. (Lev. 19:28; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11)

(K)      The Second Coming of Christ. We believe in that blessed hope, the personal, imminent return of Christ, Who will rapture His church.  At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will personally and visibly return with His saints, to establish His earthly Messianic Kingdom, which was promised to the nation of Israel.  (Ps. 89:3-4; Dan. 2:31-45; Zech. 14:4-11; 1 Thess. 1:10, 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev. 3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6)

(L)       The Eternal State.

(1)        We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment.  (Matt. 25:46; John 5:28, 29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13)

(2)        We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord.  (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6)

(3)        We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment.  (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15)

(M)      The Personality of Satan.  We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the Fall of Man; that he is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire.  (Job 1:6-7; Isa. 14:12-17; Matt. 4:2-11; 25:41; Rev. 20:10)

(N)       Creation.  We believe that the Genesis account of creation is neither allegory nor myth, but a literal, historical account of God’s creation of the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin.  (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)

(O)       Civil Government.  We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions:  1) the home, 2) the church, and 3) the state.  Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word.  God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other.  The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God.  (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)

(P)       Human Sexuality.

(1)        We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman.  We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance.  (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)

(2)        We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman.  (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)

(Q)       Family Relationships

(1)        We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church.  The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (Pastors, Elders, and Deacons) of the church.  Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)

(2)        We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society.  The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church.  The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ.  Children are an heritage from the Lord.  Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction.  (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)

(R)       Divorce and remarriage.  We believe that God disapproves of and forbids divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of Pastor, Elder or Deacon.  (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)

(S)       Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being.  Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life.  Abortion is murder.  We reject any teaching that abortions due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)

(T)       Euthanasia.  We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention.  Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death.  Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God.  Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment.  (Ex. 20:13, 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28)

(U)       Love.  We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly.  God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)

(V)       Lawsuits Between Believers.  We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes.  We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members.  We do believe, however, that a Christian may seek compensation for injuries from another Christian’s insurance company as long as the claim is pursued without malice or slander.  (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32).

(W)      Missions.  We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all nations so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ we must use all available means to go to the foreign nations and not wait for them to come to us.  (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20)

(X)       Giving.  We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support financially his local church.  We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel.  We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of his tithe once the gift has been made. (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)

                        (1) In order for funds to be considered tax deductible for IRS purposes the Church must retain ultimate control of the funds, and the giver understands that designated giving is in effect advisory only.

                        (2) The Church office will maintain an accounting of gifts that are given with the intent to be designated for a specific purpose.  If it becomes necessary for the funds to be used for anything other than what they were intended to be used, the Pastor or Elders will report that deviation at the next regular business meeting of the Church.

Section 2.02—Authority Of Statement of Faith

The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe.  We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teachings of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members. All literature, whether print or electronic, used in the church shall be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith.

Section 2.03—Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of our Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God 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 give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and 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 personal devotions; to educate our children in the truth of God’s Word; to seek the salvation of our families, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid backbiting, excessive anger, and all gossip or secretive meetings regarding personal issues of church members, church leadership or practice; to be free from all oath-bound secret societies and partnerships with unbelievers; to abstain from the abuse of drugs and the sale or use of pornography, 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 of speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready to secure reconciliation 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.

ARTICLE 3

MEMBERSHIP

Section 3.01—Qualifications For Membership

Those seeking membership must, through their actions, words, lifestyle and affiliations, evidence a genuine experience of regeneration through faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Candidates for membership will be encouraged to attend a new member’s class or complete a new member’s course of study which will include the Statement of Faith, the bylaws of this church, general church practices, and expectations of members. At the conclusion of the class, the pastor may direct that candidates be interviewed by the pastoral staff and/or Elder board prior to being recommended for membership to ensure they fully subscribe to the Statement of Faith contained herein and agree to submit to the authority of the church and its leaders.  After such recommendation, membership will be granted upon a majority vote of the members present at any church service or meeting, and upon compliance with any one of the following conditions:

(A)       By baptism (immersion) at this local church following a profession of faith as a believer in Christ Jesus as personal Savior;

(B)       By letter of transfer from another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice, or other written statement of good standing from the prior church if the applicant has been baptized by immersion subsequent to a profession of faith;

(C)            

(D)       By restoration, if having been removed from membership, upon majority vote of the          congregation after confession is made publicly before the church membership of the sin or sins            involved, and satisfactorily evidencing repentance to the pastor.

Section 3.02—Duties Of A Member

On becoming a member of this church, in addition to the covenant contained in Section 2.03, each member further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the Pastor; to pray for him; to recognize his authority in the spiritual and day-to-day affairs of the church; to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the church; to support the church in prayer, tithes, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and in accordance with Biblical commands, to support through a lifestyle walk affirming the beliefs and practices of the church.

Section 3.03—Privileges Of Membership

(A)       Only members at least eighteen years of age who are physically present at a duly called meeting of the church shall be entitled to vote.  There shall be no proxy or absentee voting. The eligible membership of the church may only exercise voting privileges in those areas that are defined and limited by these bylaws. Members may not vote to initiate any church action, rather the vote of a member is to confirm and ratify the direction of the church as determined by the Pastor and Elders (if appointed).

(B)       This congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the Pastor as the under-shepherd with the counsel of the Elders and Deacons (if appointed).  Determinations of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures.  The pastor shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church.  The Elders and Deacons (if appointed) shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor and deacons.

(C)       Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government.  Although the general public is invited to all of the church’s worship services, the church property remains private property.  The pastor (or the Elders, if appointed) has the authority to suspend or revoke the right of any person, including a member, to enter or remain on church property.  If after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, the person may, in the discretion of the Pastor, or Elders (if appointed), be treated as a trespasser.

(D)     A member may inspect or copy the prepared financial statements of the church and the minutes of 

           the proceedings of church and committee meetings, provided he shall have made a written request

           upon the church and the church has received the written request at least five business days before

           the requested inspection date.  Minutes from Pastor and Elder meetings are exempt from this

           provision and are not subject to inspection or copy.

(1)        A member may not, under any circumstances, inspect or copy any record relating to individual contributions to the church, or the accounting books and financial records of the church.

(2)        The church may impose a reasonable charge, covering the costs of labor and material, for copies of any documents provided to the member before releasing the copies to the member.

Section 3.04—Discipline Of A Member

(A)       There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the Pastor, Elders, and the board of Deacons.  These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the church covenant.  If the Pastor, Elders or a Deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee.  The Pastor, Elders, and Deacons shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline.

(B)       Members are expected to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another.  When a member becomes aware of an offense of such magnitude that it hinders the spiritual growth and testimony of an individual in the local church or the body as a whole, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother.  Before he goes, he should first examine himself.  When he goes, he should go with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration. 

(C)       If reconciliation is not reached, a second member, either a Deacon, Elder, or the Pastor, is to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter.  This second step should also be preceded by self-examination and exercised in a spirit of humility with the goal of restoration.

(D)       If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, the church, being Biblically responsible for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter. 

(E)       If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (B), (C), and (D) have been taken, such members who refuse to repent and be restored are to be removed from the membership of the church upon a majority vote of the membership present at a meeting called for the purpose of considering disciplinary action. The member subject to disciplinary action is not entitled to vote on his/her own discipline.

(F)             

(G)      If an unrepentant offending party is removed from the church membership, members of the church should have no social contact with him, and any contact from that point forward (except by family members) must be for the sake of restoration. Persons placed under church discipline must immediately return any property belonging to the church.

(H)       The procedures provided in this section are based on Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:1-11; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 10-15; 1 Tim. 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.

Section 3.05—Transfer Of Membership

Members not under the disciplinary process of Section 3.04 may request that letters of transfer be sent to another church.

Section 3.06—Automatic Termination Of Membership

(A)       The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member in question has not attended a regular worship service of the church in the preceding twelve months. Upon good cause being shown to the pastor, this provision for termination may be waived in the case of any individual member at the discretion of the pastor.

(B)       No member of this church may hold membership in another church. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member unites in membership with another church.

(C)       The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the Deacons, Elders, or pastor become aware of a member’s open and unrepentant involvement in any sexual misconduct described in Section 2.01(P) or if a member files a lawsuit in violation of Section 2.01(V).

(D)            

(E)             

(F)             

(G)            

(H)       A member may resign at any time, but no letter of transfer or written statement of good standing will be issued upon such resignation, except at the discretion of the pastor and elders.

SECTION 3.07-- AFFILIATED CO-LABORER

Those desiring fellowship, accountability and opportunities for service with this assembly on a temporary basis but who maintain active membership in a like body of believers outside this city, may be granted affiliated co-laborer status with this church. The affiliated co-laborer may be eligible to serve in certain capacities determined by the Pastor and Elders, and Deacons may attend fellowship events granted for members. In no way, however, does this affiliation grant membership or the rights of membership to the individual(s) so granted. Affiliated co-laborers shall not be entitled to hold any office, vote in or have any say in any church matter, and shall not be counted for quorum purposes. A person wishing to become an affiliated co-laborer with this assembly must request so of the Pastor or Elders, who will, in consultation with the Deacons if necessary, decide if affiliated co-laborer status may be granted to the individual. If the Pastor so determines, the person may be granted such upon a majority vote of the church membership at any public service or church administration meeting.

ARTICLE 4

OFFICERS

Section 4.01—church Officers

The church officers are Pastor, Elder, Deacon, Church Clerk (Church Secretary or Office Administrator), Financial Secretary and Church Treasurer.  One person may hold two or more offices, except that the Church Treasurer and Financial Secretary may not be the same person, and the Pastor may not hold any other offices. Officers of the church must be elected by a majority of the present, voting membership at a regular church administration meeting. The Pastor, from time to time as he deems appropriate, may appoint other church officers, subject to a majority confirmation vote by present, voting church members at any regular or special church administrative meeting.

Section 4.02—Designation Of Corporate Officers

As an accommodation to legal relationships outside the church, the Pastor shall serve as president of the corporation; the Vice President and Treasurer of the Corporation will be elected at the annual business meeting.

Section 4.03—Eligibility For Office

(A)       The church shall not install or retain an officer who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith set forth in Article 2.  All church officers, upon request of the Pastor, shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith.

(B)       All church officers must be approved initially and thereafter annually by the Pastor in order for them to commence or continue in their offices.

(C)       Only church members are eligible for election or appointment to any church office or position. Affiliated co-laborers with this ministry are not eligible for such election or appointment.

Section 4.04—Terms Of Office

(A)       The relationship between the Pastor and the church shall be permanent unless dissolved at the option of either party by the giving of a month’s notice, or less by mutual consent.  The severance of the relationship between the Pastor and the church may be considered at any regular or special church administration meeting by following the procedures outlined in 6.04, provided notice of the meeting shall have been given from the pulpit to the church two Sundays prior to the meeting. A two-thirds majority of the eligible members present and voting shall be required to sever the relationship between the Pastor and the church.  Disciplinary removal of the Pastor from office automatically terminates his membership.  A restoration to membership after disciplinary removal will be subject to the requirements of Section 3.01(D).

(B)       The term of service for all offices and positions in the church, except the Pastor, shall be one year, at the expiration of which the officers may be re-elected or re-appointed.

(C)       A vacancy occurring in any office or board, except in the case of the pastor, may be filled at any regular church administration meeting by a majority vote of present members.

(D)            

(E)       Elders and Deacons may be removed from office for unbiblical conduct, as determined by the elders, upon a majority vote of the remaining Elders and Pastor.

Section 4.05-- Calling a Pastor

Upon the resignation, death or dismissal of the Pastor, the church shall seek a candidate who subscribes to the Statement of Faith, the Covenant and bylaw provisions of this church, and whose life aligns with the qualifications of a Pastor as described in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The church shall abide by the following guidelines for calling a Pastor:

(A)       The Elders (or in the absence of Elders, Church Council) shall select a pulpit committee to consist of five other members elected by a simple majority. The pulpit committee shall interview potential candidates and will only consider men who completely subscribe to the Statement of Faith and Covenant contained herein;

(B)       Prior to being announced to the congregation as a formal candidate, any man being considered for pastoral candidate must preach at least one Sunday service. Thereafter, upon a majority vote, the pulpit committee may formally announce the candidate to the church, after which the candidate must preach at least two regularly scheduled services and be available for a church-wide question/answer time prior to being voted upon by the congregation;

(C)       Notice from the pulpit must be given 2 consecutive Sundays prior to a formal candidate’s preaching services;

(D)       The candidate must be elected as Pastor by a majority vote of qualified, present voting members. The pulpit committee will only present for consideration to the church one candidate at a time, and an up or down vote must be cast prior to consideration of other potential candidates.

Section 4.06—Election Of Officers

The annual election of officers by the church membership shall occur during the month of October at the annual church business meeting.

Section 4.07—pastoral Oversight Of Officers And Staff

(A)       Subject to appropriate budgetary allowance, and on the condition that they shall become a member of the church upon assuming their duties, the Pastor may hire associates and assistants to assist him in carrying out his God-given responsibilities.

(B)       All church staff, whether paid or volunteer, shall be under the supervision of the Pastor who has the sole authority to dismiss the same.  No employee or volunteer shall be hired, appointed, or retained who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.

ARTICLE 5

DUTIES AND POWERS OF OFFICERS

Section 5.01—The pastor

(A)       The Pastor shall preach the Gospel regularly and shall be at liberty to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God as the Lord leads him. The Pastor and Elders shall administer the ordinances of the church, act as moderator at all church meetings for the transaction of church matters, supervise the teaching ministries of the church, and tenderly watch over the spiritual interests of the membership.

(B)       The Pastor and Elders shall appoint the members of the various committees at the annual church business meeting or, in the case of a vacancy or newly created committee, at other duly called or regular meetings.  The Pastor shall serve as the president of the corporation.  He shall publicly inform all newly elected officers of the function and responsibilities of their respective offices.  He shall extend the right hand of fellowship to all new members on behalf of the church and shall perform such other duties as generally appertain to such a position. 

(C)            

(D)            

(E)             

Section 5.02—The elders

(A)       The Elders shall assist the Pastor, in such manner as he shall request, in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, in conducting the church services, and in performing all other work of the church. The Elders are responsible for making preparations to observe church ordinances and shall, if requested by the Pastor, consider applications for church membership and affiliated co-laborers.  They shall assist him in visitation and all other evangelistic efforts of the church.  The Elders shall assist the Pastor in caring for the administrative needs of the church’s various ministries.  They shall provide the pulpit supply and choose a moderator for church meetings if the Pastor is unavailable or the office of Pastor is vacant.  Upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of the Pastor, the Elders or Church Council may appoint a pulpit committee.

(B)       The Pastor and Elders shall constitute the board of directors of the corporation. The board of directors shall exercise only the following specific powers, upon authorization by a majority vote of the members present at a duly called church administration meeting:

(1)        To purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and to take real and personal property by will, gift, or bequest on behalf of the church;

(2)        To sell, convey, alienate, transfer, lease, assign, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, and to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the real and personal property of the church, to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose and use of the church; to cause to be executed, issued, and delivered for the indebtedness, in the name of the church, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness; and to secure repayment by deeds of trust, mortgages, or pledges; and

(3)              

(4)              

Section 5.03—Church CLERK

The Church Clerk shall:

(A)            

(B)             

(C)       Sign, certify, or attest documents as may be required by law; see that reports, statements, certificates, and all other documents and records required by law are properly kept and filed;

(D)       See that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws. (In case of the absence or disability of the Church Clerk, or his or her refusal or neglect to act, notice may be given and served by the Pastor or by the Elders;

(E)      Give a report at the annual church business meeting of the status of the church membership roll

            in the past year;

Section 5.04—FINANCIAL SECRETARY

The financial secretary shall:

(A)            

(B)             

(C)            

(D)            

SECTION 5.05—The Church Secretary or Office Administrator

The church secretary or office administrator shall:

(A)            

(B)             

(C)            

(D)            

Section 5.06—Associate pastors

Under the direction and guidance of the Pastor, the associate Pastor(s), and Elders of the church shall assist the Pastor in carrying out the ministries of the church.

Section 5.07—Duties Of All Officers

(A)       All officers shall prepare a report of their work for the annual and scheduled church business meetings.   All records and minutes are the property of the church and must be kept in the church office.

(B)       Any officer who neglects his duties as outlined in the bylaws for a period of three months may be removed from his office, at the discretion of the Pastor or Elders, and another may be appointed by the Pastor to serve the un-expired term.

ARTICLE 6

MEETINGS

Section 6.01—Meetings For PUBLIC Worship

Unless otherwise determined by the Pastor and Elders, the church shall meet each Sunday for public worship both morning and evening and at least once during the week for Bible study and prayer. 

Section 6.02—Meetings For church Administration

(A)            

(B)       The moderator shall utilize Robert’s Rules of Order but incorporate a sense of fairness and common sense, giving all members a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter.  The moderator is the final authority on questions of procedure, and his decision is final and controlling. The following order shall be observed at the regular church business meetings:

             1.  Scripture & prayer

             2.  Reading of minutes

             3.  Reception of members

             4.  Dismissal of members

             5.  Report of officers

             6.  Reports of standing committees

             7.  Reports of special committees

             8.  Unfinished matters

             9.  Election of officers

           10.  New matters

           11.  Adjournment

           12.  Benediction

(C)       For any meeting under this article, the moderator (pastor or elders), in their sole discretion, shall have full and unilateral authority to require nonmembers to leave the meeting room and to order the immediate removal of any member or other person present who is deemed by the moderator to be disruptive to the proceedings by act or presence.  The moderator shall have full authority to order the removal of all children (ages to be determined by the moderator) if the moderator determines, in his sole discretion, that circumstances so warrant.  If the moderator determines that compliance with his order of removal is unsatisfactory, the moderator may, in his sole discretion, revoke the disruptive person’s right to remain on the premises in accordance with Section 3.03(C) and treat the person as a trespasser. 

Section 6.03—Special Meetings

(A)       The Pastor (or Elders if the office of pastor is vacant or the Pastor is the subject of possible disciplinary action) may call a special meeting by giving notice of such a meeting and the purpose for which it is called to the church from the pulpit at least one Sunday and not less than one week prior to said meeting.  A meeting for the calling of a Pastor or the severance of the relationship between the church and Pastor shall be called in accordance with the provision of Sections 4.04(A) and 4.05.

(B)          Bible conferences, missionary conferences, and revivals may be held as the Pastor deems beneficial.

SECTION 6.04—MOTIONS

Members who desire in advance that a certain motion be made or subject matter be discussed during an annual, regular, or special business meeting should out of courtesy of the church administration communicate the intent of the business in advance of the meeting.  This is not to be construed as a requirement, but a recommendation so that staff can be prepared to address the issue from an informed perspective. 

Section— 6.05 Fiscal Year

The fiscal year of the church shall begin January 1st and end December 31st. Approval of the budget and other required items of the coming year will be presented annually during the October Business Meeting.

ARTICLE 7

EDUCATIONAL MINISTRIES

Section 7.01—Purpose

The church believes that the home and church are responsible before God for providing a Christian education. To help fulfill this responsibility of imparting biblical truth and furthering the Great Commission, this church shall establish and maintain an educational program (or Sunday School program) for the purpose of winning souls to Christ, and teaching Bible doctrine, godly worship, and biblical Christian living.  To this end, the church shall engage in educational ministries in keeping with the following dictates.

Section 7.02—church Participation

All educational programs or courses of instruction formulated and offered by the church shall be primarily for the benefit of the members of the church; however, the Pastor may permit non-church members to participate in church educational programs or courses of instruction if he deems it in the best interest of the church.

Section 7.03—Staff Membership

All instructors, teachers, and administrators shall be members of this church.  This provision shall not apply to visiting missionaries, evangelists, or preachers engaged for the purpose of delivering sermons, conducting revivals, or other special meetings on a temporary basis.

Section 7.04—Agreement with Statement of Faith

All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be taught and presented in full agreement with the Statement of Faith of the church.  The church shall not hire, appoint, or retain any employee or volunteer for its educational programs who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith or who adopts or lives a lifestyle inconsistent with the beliefs and practices of Statement of the Faith or this church, whether in or out of the classroom.

Section 7.05—Unity

All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted as an integral and inseparable ministry of the church.

Section 7.06—Teaching

All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted consistent with the teaching of the inerrant Word of God.  Any assertion or belief that conflicts with or questions a Bible truth is a pagan deception and distortion of the truth which will be disclaimed as false.  It is the responsibility of every instructor or teacher to present the inerrant Word of God as the sole infallible source of knowledge and wisdom.

ARTICLE 8

ORDINATION AND LICENSING

SECTION 8.01  ORDINATION QUALIFICATIONS

(A)       Any male member who meets the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, may be considered for ordination as a minister of the Gospel. Candidates for ordination must be members of this local assembly or one of its mission churches. No other persons may be ordained by this church.

(B)       The candidate must have an experience of conversion, a divine call to the ministry, a consistent Christian walk, a vital concern for the souls of men and for the edification of the church at home and abroad.

(C)       The candidate must affirm his unequivocal adherence to the Statement of Faith set forth in Article 2 of these bylaws. His doctrinal position on matters not specifically addressed in the Statement of Faith must be based on the Scriptures as the Word of God.

(D)       Graduation from a four-year Bible college, or its equivalent, is recommended. Any uncertainty as to call or other obvious disqualifications should bar a man from ordination regardless of educational attainments.

(E)       All persons licensed or ordained by this church must be in full agreement with the Statement of Faith and Covenant. 

SECTION 8.02 – ORDINATION PROCEDURES

(A)       Upon a majority vote at a duly noticed church business meeting, the church may call an ordination council for the purpose of considering the qualifications for the ordination candidate.  The ordination council shall consist of men of like faith invited by the Pastor to participate in the examination of the candidate.

(B)       After organizing itself the council will examine the candidate with respect to his spiritual experience, call to the ministry and view of Christian doctrine.  The council should take its responsibility seriously and examine the candidate carefully. The outcome of the examination will be a recommendation to the church whether or not to ordain.  If the council recommends ordination, the church shall vote to adopt or reject the council’s recommendation at a duly noticed church administration meeting.

(C)            

SECTION 8.03  REVOCATION OF ORDINATION

(A)       Should a minister ordained by the church be found living a life unbecoming a servant of the Lord or preaching and teaching contrary to the Word of God, the pastor may call a council to hear the charges and the minister’s defense. 

(B)       The reviewing council shall consist of the elders and men of like faith invited to participate in the hearing of the charges and the minister’s defense.

(C)       Upon a recommendation by a majority vote of the council, the church will then revoke the minister’s ordination certificate. 

SECTION 8.04  LICENSE

(A)       Those who desire to prepare for the gospel ministry may be issued a license to preach by this church after the Pastor and Elders have examined the candidate’s divine call and qualifications.

(B)       The Pastor and the Elders may license an associate or assistant Pastor as a preliminary step to ordination at a later date. 

(C)       A license to the ministry shall be considered the equivalent to ordination, but shall be considered probationary in nature.  It is expected that the licensed minister will be considered for ordination within four years of being licensed.

ARTICLE 9

INDEMNIFICATION

Section 9.01—Actions Subject To Indemnification

The church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, deacon, elder, officer, employee, or agent of the church, against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful. This determination of good-faith intent shall be made (a) by a majority vote of the Pastor and Elders who were not and are not parties to or threatened with the action, suit, or proceeding; (b) if the described quorum is not obtainable or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested Elders so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion; or (c) by a majority vote of the members of the church.

Section 9.02—Timing Of Indemnification

Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article may be paid by the church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the board of Elders in the specific case, so long as the Pastor, Elders, officer, employee, or agent agrees  to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the church.

Section 9.03—Extent Of Indemnification

The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the church, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under this Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a Pastor, Elder, Deacon, officer, employee, or agent and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person.

Section 9.04—Insurance

The church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a Pastor, Elder, Deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the church against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in that capacity, or arising out of his status in that capacity, whether or not the church would have the power to indemnify him against liability under the provisions of this Article.

ARTICLE 10

COMMITTEES

section 10.01—standing committees

The Pastor (or the Elders if the office of Pastor is vacant) shall appoint standing committees as he deems appropriate and shall designate a chairperson and the membership for each standing committee except when otherwise specifically provided in these bylaws.

SECTION 10.02—SPECIAL COMMITTEES

The Elders, in its discretion, may create special committees to provide the board with advice and information regarding matters submitted to the committee by the board for consideration.  The committee shall have no authority to act on behalf of the corporation. Nominations for special committee members shall be made by the Pastor or such persons as he shall appoint to make such nominations. The members of the committee shall be chosen by a majority vote of the Elders and shall serve solely at the pleasure of the board.  The special committee shall be subject to the control and direction of the board at all times.

SECTION 10.03--- ACTIONS OF COMMITTEES

Committees, whether standing or special, have no authority to act on behalf of the corporation. Their primary function is to research and recommend. Committees shall make available upon request all records and materials to the Pastor or Elders, who shall have the right to overrule any plans or decisions made by the committee.

ARTICLE 11

DESIGNATED CONTRIBUTIONS

From time to time the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. All contributions to these funds shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature and shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Pastor and the Elders.  No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Section 1.02.

ARTICLE 12

BINDING ARBITRATION

Section 12.01—Submission To Arbitration

Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of this church agree to submit to binding arbitration any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bring any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.

Section 12.02—Notice Of Arbitration

In the event of any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement arising out of or relating to these bylaws or any other church matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions, or disagreement as befits Christians.  To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and, recognizing their mutual interests not to disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution.  If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions, or differences shall be finally settled by arbitration as described in Section 12.01, above, and such Procedures for Arbitration as are adopted pursuant to Section 12.04, below.

Section 12.03—Limitations On Arbitration Decisions

(A)       Should any dispute involve matters of church discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures for church discipline, as outlined under Section 3.04, were followed.

(B)       Should any dispute involve the removal from office of the Pastor or any church officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures set forth in Sections 4.04, 4.07,  or 5.07  were followed.

Section 12.04—Arbitration Procedures

The Procedures for Arbitration shall be as adopted by the Pastor and the Elders.

ARTICLE 13

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

SECTION 13.01—PURPOSE

The purpose of this conflict of interest policy is to protect the church’s interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or director of the church or might result in a possible excess benefit transaction.  This policy is intended to supplement but not replace any applicable state or federal laws governing conflicts of interest applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

SECTION 13.02—DEFINITIONS

(A)       Interested Person:  Any director or officer who has a direct or indirect financial interest.

(B)       Financial interest:  A person has a financial interest if the person has, directly or indirectly, through business, investment, or family:

(1)        An ownership or investment interest in any entity with which the church has a transaction or arrangement,

(2)        A compensation arrangement with the church or with any individual or entity with which the church has a transaction or arrangement, or

(3)        A potential ownership or investment interest in, or compensation arrangement with, any entity or individual with which the church is negotiating a transaction or arrangement.

(4)        A financial interest is not necessarily a conflict of interest. A person who has a financial interest may have a conflict of interest only if the board of directors decides that a conflict of interest exists.

(C)       Compensation:  Compensation includes direct and indirect remuneration as well as gifts or favors that are not insubstantial.

(D)       Board:  The term “board” refers to the board of Elders of the Corporation.

SECTION 13.03—PROCEDURES

(A)       In connection with any actual or possible conflict of interest, an interested person must disclose the existence of the financial interest and be given the opportunity to disclose all material facts to the directors considering the proposed transaction or arrangement.

(B)       After disclosure of the financial interest and all material facts, including any presentations by and discussion with the interested person, he shall leave the board meeting while the determination of a conflict of interest involving the transaction or arrangement is discussed and voted upon.  The remaining board members shall decide if a conflict of interest exists by a majority vote.

(1)        The chairman of the board shall, if appropriate, appoint a disinterested person or committee to investigate alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement.

(2)        After exercising due diligence, the board or committee shall determine whether the church can obtain with reasonable efforts a more advantageous transaction or arrangement from a person or entity that would not give rise to a conflict of interest.

(3)        If a more advantageous transaction or arrangement is not reasonably possible under circumstances not producing a conflict of interest, the board shall determine by a majority vote of the disinterested directors whether the transaction or arrangement is in the best interests of the Corporation, for its own benefit, and whether it is fair and reasonable.  In conformity with the above determination it shall make its decision as to whether to enter into the transaction or arrangement.

(C)       If the board has reasonable cause to believe a member has failed to disclose actual or possible conflicts of interest, it shall inform the member of the basis for such belief and afford the member an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose.

(D)       If, after hearing the member’s response and after making further investigation as warranted by the circumstances, the board determines the member has failed to disclose an actual or possible conflict of interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action.

SECTION 13.04—RECORDS OF PROCEEDINGS

(A)       The minutes of the board shall contain the names of the persons who disclosed or otherwise were found to have a financial interest in connection with an actual or possible conflict of interest, the nature of the financial interest, any action taken to determine whether a conflict of interest was present, and the board’s decision as to whether a conflict of interest in fact existed.

(B)       The minutes of the board also shall contain the names of the persons who were present for discussions and votes relating to the transaction or arrangement, the content of the discussion, including any alternatives to the proposed transaction or arrangement, and a record of any votes taken in connection with the proceedings.

SECTION 13.05—COMPENSATION

A voting member of the board who receives compensation, directly or indirectly, from the church for services rendered may not vote on matters pertaining to that member’s compensation.

ARTICLE 14

AMENDMENTS

These bylaws may be revised or amended by a majority vote of the members present and voting at any regular church business meeting, provided that said revision or amendment has been submitted in writing and announced from the pulpit for at least two consecutive Sundays, and at least fourteen (14) days before the vote is taken.

Proposed amendments or changes must be made available to voting members for review at least one week prior to the meeting at which the vote to amend the bylaws will be taken.

ADOPTION

These bylaws were adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called meeting of the church in which a quorum was present.

These bylaws supersede any other bylaws or constitution of the First Baptist Church of Alva.