So that things may be done decently and in order in accordance with the accepted tenets of other churches of like faith we declare and establish this constitution to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
ARTICLE I -Name And Purpose
SECTION 1 – NAME:
This congregation of believers shall be known as the VALLEY BAPTIST CHURCH OF MERCED.
SECTION 2 – PURPOSE:
(A) 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), including, but not limited to, for such purposes, the establishing and maintaining of religious worship, the building, maintaining and operating of churches, parsonages, schools, radio stations, television stations, day care centers, and camps, and any other ministries that the Church may be led of God to establish.
(B) The Church shall also ordain and license men to the Gospel ministry; evangelize the unsaved by the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; educate believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture, both in Sunday and weekday schools of Christian education; maintain missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country; and engage in any other ministry that the Church may decide, from time to time, to pursue in obedience to the will of God.
ARTICLE II – Statement Of Faith And Covenant
SECTION 1 – STATEMENT OF FAITH:
(A) The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally and plenarily inspired Word of God. The Scriptures are inerrant, infallible and God-breathed, and therefore are 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 (2Tim.3:16,17; 2Pet.1:20,21).
(B) The Godhead
We believe in one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections (Deut.6:4; Matt.28:19; 2 Cor.13:14; John 14:10,26).
(1) God The Father
(a) We believe God the Father to be the great I Am who is from everlasting to everlasting. He is Father of creation, of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the nation Israel, and of all believers, adopted as sons and daughters according to His foreknowledge. (Psalms 90:2; Eph. 1:3-6).
(b) God is love. He created man in His own image. His love was so exemplified that He gave His only begotten Son for the salvation of men, for He does not wish any to perish. We rejoice that He concerns Himself in the affairs of all men, that He hears and answers prayers, and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:9; Gen. 1; I John 4:8; John 3:16; John 1).
(2) The Person And Work Of Christ
(a) 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).
(b) 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 2:22-36; Rom.3:24,25; I Pet.2:24; Eph.1:7; I Pet.1:3-5).
(c) 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 1:9-11; Heb.9:24; 7:25; Rom.8:34; I John 2:1-2).
(3) The Person And Work Of The Holy Spirit
(a) 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; I Cor.12:12-14; 2 Cor.3:6; Eph.1:13-14).
(b) 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; I John 2:20,27).
(c) 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 assembly in order that they can do the work of the ministry (Rom.12:3-8; I Cor.12:4-11; Eph.4:7-12).
(d) We believe that the gift of speaking in tongues and the gift of healing were signs to validate the claims of Christ and the apostles until the New Testament was completed. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit and that ultimate deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection, though God frequently chooses to answer the prayers of believers for physical healing (I Cor.1:22; 13:8-10; 14:21-22).
(C) 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; and, that 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).
We believe that salvation is the gift of God brought to man by grace and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of our sins. When we receive Christ we are instantly a new creation. God now attributes Christ’s righteousness to us as believers, fully justifying us before God. Any work we perform is an act of obedience to God whom we wish to obey as He directs us day by day (John 1:12; II Cor. 5:17; Eph.1:7; 2:8-10; I Pet.1:18-19).
(E) The Eternal Security And Assurance Of Believers
(1) We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom.8:1,38-39; I Cor.1:4-8 I 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 for the carnal desires of the flesh (Rom13:13-14; Gal.5:13; Titus 2:11-15).
(F) The Church
(1) We believe that the local church, which is the body of Christ, is solely made up of born-again persons (I 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 Scriptures (Acts 14:27; 20:17, 28-32; I Tim.3:1-13; Tit.1:5-11).
(3) We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom.16:1,4; I Cor.3:9,16; 5:4-7,13; I 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; 18:18; I Cor.11:23-26).
We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Lord and Savior; and, that separation from all religious apostasy, all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices and associations is commanded of God (Rom.12:1-2; 14:13; 2Cor.6:14-7:1; 2Tim.3:1-5; I John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).
(H) The Second Advent Of Christ
We believe in that “blessed hope,” the personal, imminent return of Christ Who will rapture His Church prior to the seven-year tribulation period. 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; I Thess.1:10; I Thess. 4:13-18; Titus 2:13; Rev.3:10; 19:11-16; 20:1-6).
(I) 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 (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29; John 11:25-26; Revelation 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; I 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).
(J) The Personality Of Satan
We believe that Satan is a fallen angel, 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).
We believe that God created the heaven and earth, including all life, each after its own kind, by direct act, and not by a process of evolution, in six literal, 24-hour periods. (Genesis 1-2; Exodus 20:11).
(L) 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; I Pet.2:13-14).
(M) Human Sexuality
We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity should be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest and pornography are perversions of God’s original intention of sexuality (Gen.2:24; 19:5,13; 26:8-9; Lev.18:1-30; Rom.1:26-29; I Cor.5:1; 6:9; I Thess. 4:1-8; Heb.13:4).
(N) Divorce And Remarriage
We believe that God hates divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Because we live in a sinful world divorce does happen and it seems to be allowed for adultery or desertion. (Mal.2:14-16; Rom.7:1-3; Matt.19:3-12; I Cor. 7:10-16).
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 of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well-being of the mother are acceptable (Job 3:16; Psa.51:5; 139:14-16; Isa.44:24; 49:1,5; Jer.1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44).
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 world 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).
(Q) 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 (I Cor.6:1-8; Eph.4:31-32).
We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated to support his local church financially. 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 the tithe or offering once the gift has been made (Gen.14:20; Prov.3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; I Cor.16:2; 2 Cor.9:6-7; Gal.6:6; Eph.4:28; I Tim. 5:17-18; I John 3:17).
SECTION 2 – 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 teaching of the Bible, and therefore, is binding upon all members.
SECTION 3 – MEMBER’S COVENANT:
Having received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and having been obedient in believer’s Baptism, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, sincerely and joyfully enter into this covenant with one another.
With the help of the Holy Spirit we will walk together in Christian love; strive together for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, unity, and service; participate in its worship, ordinances, and ministries; submit to its discipline; and give cheerfully and regularly to its support.
We will also endeavor to meditate daily in God’s Word; to uphold each other in prayer; and to seek the salvation of the lost.
We further promise that where personal habits, lifestyles or indulgences may be contrary to the principles of Scripture, detrimental to ourselves, or cast a stumbling block in the path of others, we will voluntarily abstain in order to maintain the unity of the body and our witness in the community.
We also promise that when wronged, or shown that we are wrong we will humbly seek reconciliation. If after prayer and appeals we are not able to resolve an issue we will quietly remove ourselves from this fellowship.
ARTICLE III – Membership
SECTION 1 – QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP:
Application for membership can be made at the invitation of the pastor following any service of the church, or after a membership class made for that purpose. Applicants will then meet with at least two deacons to determine if their lives evidence a genuine experience of regeneration through faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior; who renounce sin; who endeavor to live a consecrated life wholly unto the Lord; who fully subscribe to the Statement of Faith contained herein; and who enter into the Church covenant contained herein; and are in compliance with any one of the following conditions:
(A) A public confession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior, through baptism by immersion;
(B) A letter of transfer from another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice, provided the applicant has been baptized by immersion subsequent to a profession of faith;
(C) A testimony of faith, having been baptized by immersion; or
(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 and/or the Board of Deacons.
Having been examined and met the above qualifications, upon favorable recommendation of the deacons and a majority vote of the members present at any Church service, membership shall be extended to the applicant and will be consummated with a “right hand of fellowship” before the church body.
SECTION 2 – DUTIES OF A MEMBER:
On becoming a member of this Church, in addition to the covenant contained in Article II, Section 3, each one further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the Pastor; to pray for him; and to recognize his authority in the spiritual affairs of the Church; to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the Church; to support the Church in prayer, regular attendance, tithes, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and to support through their lifestyle the beliefs and practices of the Church.
SECTION 3 – PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP:
This congregation functions, not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the Head ship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the Pastor as the under shepherd, with the counsel of the Board of Deacons. Membership in this Church does not afford those individuals with any property, contract, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government. Determination 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 Board of Deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the Pastor. The membership of the Church has a voice and a vote in; calling a Pastor, electing officers, adopting budgets and other matters as directed by this constitution.
SECTION 4 – DISCIPLINE OF A MEMBER:
(A). When necessary the pastor, the deacons, or 33% of the membership can request a Discipline Committee be formed. The pastor and at least two deacons shall select at least two members, approved by the congregation, to hear the charges as a joint committee. This committee shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the Church Covenant or Constitution. If the Pastor or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the Discipline Committee. He shall be entitled to the same steps as other Church members and be subject to the same discipline.
The steps for disciplining a member are as follows:
(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 spiritual growth and testimony, 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 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 Discipline Committee, as the Church representatives responsible, shall hear the matter. If the matter is not resolved during the hearing before the Discipline Committee, the Committee shall recommend to the Church that they make an effort to seek that member’s restoration.
(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.
(F) No matter may be heard by the Discipline Committee or the Church unless the steps outlined in subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, except in the case of a blatant public offense.
(G) If an unrepentant, offending party is removed from the Church membership, any association with him from that point forward must be for the sake of restoration (except family members).
SECTION 5 – TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP:
Members, not under the disciplining process of Section 4, may request that letters of transfer be sent to another church of like faith and practice.
SECTION 6 – TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP:
(A) The membership of any individual may be automatically terminated if the member in question has not attended a regular worship service of the Church in the preceding six months. Upon good cause being shown to the deacons, this provision for termination may be waived or the member may be placed on an “inactive” list. Terminated or inactive members will be notified of the board’s intention. Inactive members shall have no voting privileges. They may be placed back on the active rolls by a majority vote of the Deacon board or the church membership.
(B) No member of this Church may hold active membership in another local church at the same time.
ARTICLE IV – Officers
SECTION 1 – CHURCH OFFICERS:
The Church officers are Pastor (see Article V, Section1), deacon (see Article V, Section 2), church clerk (see Article V, Section 3), church treasurer (see Article V, Section 4), financial secretary (see Article V, Section 5), minister of Sunday School (see Article V, Section 6), Children’s Club Commander (see Article V, Section 7), and minister of hospitality (see Article V, Section 8). One person may hold two or more offices, except that of Pastor. The deacons may appoint other Church officers, as needed, subject to a confirmation vote of the Church membership.
SECTION 2 – DESIGNATION OF CORPORATE OFFICERS:
As an accommodation to legal relationships outside the Church the Pastor shall serve as president of the corporation; the chairman of the board of deacons shall serve as vice president of the corporation; the treasurer shall serve as treasurer of the corporation; and the financial secretary shall serve as secretary of the corporation.
SECTION 3 – QUALIFICATIONS FOR OFFICE:
All Church officers shall meet the qualifications of leadership listed in the Scriptures. Generally, they must be “full of the Spirit and wisdom,” suited for the job, have a good reputation, be above reproach, loyal to their mates if married, able to manage their household well, not in bondage to any habit, sensible, respectable, hospitable, gentle, mature and not quick-tempered. (Acts 6:3; I Tim. 3; Titus 1)
SECTION 4 – ELIGIBILITY FOR CONTINUANCE IN OFFICE:
(A) All Church officers shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith (as set forth in Article II) annually.
(B) Only Church members are eligible for election or appointment to any Church office or position.
SECTION 5 – TERMS OF OFFICE:
The length of terms of office shall be as follows:
(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 Church administration meeting, provided notice to that effect shall have been given from the pulpit to the Church two Sundays prior to said regular Church administration meeting. A three-fourths majority of the members present and voting shall be required to decide the matter. 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 Article III, Section 1(D).
(B) The term of service for all offices and positions in the Church shall be one year, at the expiration of which they may be re-elected or re-appointed, with two exceptions; the Pastor as noted above, and the deacons. Deacons shall serve a term of two years. Terms shall be staggered so that they don’t all come up for re-election at the same time.
(C) A vacancy occurring in any office or board, except in the case of the Pastor, may be filled until the next annual Church administration meeting by the deacons.
(D) All elected and appointed officers shall serve in their respective offices until their successors are duly elected or appointed.
SECTION 6 – ELECTION OF OFFICERS:
The annual election of officers by the Church membership shall occur during the month of June at the annual Church administration meeting. A minimum of three men (3) men shall be elected to the board of deacons with sufficient additions to provide for an effective caring ministry to the membership. Voting shall be by secret ballot. A two-thirds majority of those voting shall confirm election.
SECTION 7 – PASTORAL OVERSIGHT OF OFFICERS AND STAFF:
(A) Subject to the approval of the deacons and a vote of the Church membership the Pastor may call associates and assistants, to aid in carrying out his God-given responsibilities, on the condition that they shall become members of the Church.
(B) All Church staff, paid and/or volunteer, shall be under the supervision of the Pastor who has the authority to dismiss the same.
ARTICLE V – Duties Of Officers
SECTION 1 – 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. He shall administer the ordinances of the Church, oversee the teaching ministries of the Church, supervise the educational ministries of the church and tenderly watch over the spiritual interests of the membership. He may act as the moderator at all Church meetings for the transaction of Church matters or defer the responsibility to the Board of Deacons .
(B) He shall serve as the president of the corporation. He shall publicly inform all newly-elected officers of the particular function and the responsibilities of their respective offices. He shall extend the right hand of fellowship to all new members on behalf of the Church and perform such other duties as generally appertain to such a position. The Pastor shall be free to choose the means and methods by which he exercises the ministry that God has given him. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and boards.
SECTION 2 – THE BOARD OF DEACONS:
(A) The board of deacons shall assist the Pastor in promoting the spiritual welfare of the Church, in conducting the religious services, and in performing all other work of the Church. They shall make provision for the observance of the ordinances of the Church. They shall interview all applicants for Church membership. They shall see that expenditures are made in compliance with the adopted budget. They shall, in cooperation with the Pastor, collect and disburse a benevolence fund. They shall assist in caring for the membership, in visitation and all other evangelistic efforts of the Church. They shall fill by appointment any vacated offices until the next annual election.
(B) They shall form a Pulpit Committee when the pastoral office is vacant and shall provide the pulpit supply and act as leaders for Church meetings until the position is filled. The Pulpit Committee shall consist of a cross section of church leadership elected by a majority vote for that purpose at a business meeting called by the deacons or the membership of the church for that purpose. They shall interview, select and present to the church possible pastoral candidates in a timely manner.
(C) Immediately following the annual Church administration meeting, the board of deacons shall assemble and elect, from their own number, a chairman, who shall be vice president of the corporation, a vice chairman, and a secretary.
(D) The board of deacons shall constitute the board of trustees of the corporation. The board of trustees shall exercise only the following specific powers in consultation with the pastor:
(1) to purchase, hold, 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 the 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.
(3) to secure, insure and maintain the property as benefiting the church’s testimony in the community; to authorize an annual audit;
(4) to exercise all powers necessary for the dissolution of the Church corporation, if such action is mandated by a vote of the Church membership.
SECTION 3 – THE CHURCH CLERK:
The clerk shall keep a record of Church proceedings, of the membership roll, of all baptisms, of certificates of ordination, licenses and commissions as directed by the Church, and preserve all documents, papers, and letters coming into their hands during their term of office. All records are to be kept secure, and delivered to any successor upon leaving office. They shall keep an account of any special events in the life of the Church which are of historical interest and shall give a report at the annual Church administration meeting of the status of the Church membership roll in the past year.
SECTION 4 – THE CHURCH TREASURER:
The treasurer shall disburse all funds contributed to the Church as established by the Church budget. They shall present a monthly written report of receipts and itemized disbursements to the deacon board and make a general report for the year at the annual Church administration meeting. All expenditures of the Church shall be paid by check. All checks shall be signed by the treasurer and/or authorized deacon. Two signatures shall always be required. The treasurer shall also serve as treasurer of the corporation.
SECTION 5 – THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY:
The financial secretary shall be responsible for receiving, recording, and depositing all moneys of the church. All collections shall be counted with at least one other individual and recorded before being given to the financial secretary. Funds shall be kept secure and promptly deposited. A weekly report shall be given to the treasurer. A confidential and complete record of each individual’s tithes and special offerings shall be maintained. A signed report of an individuals offerings shall be given when requested or at the end of each calendar year for income tax purposes.
SECTION 6 – THE MINISTER OF SUNDAY SCHOOL:
The minister of Sunday school shall supervise the Sunday school. He shall endeavor to enlist the hearty cooperation of the entire church in Bible study and instruction. He shall preside at regular teachers enrichment meetings and periodically evaluate their teaching skills. In consultation with the Pastor he shall appoint the teachers of the Sunday school. He shall report on the life of the Sunday school at the annual Church administration meeting.
SECTION 7 – THE CHILDREN’S CLUB COMMANDER:
The children’s club commander shall supervise the weekly children’s ministry of the church. He shall enlist directors, leaders and secretaries as necessary for the functioning of the club in consultation with the Pastor. He shall preside at regular leaders meetings for training and outreach. He shall prepare a budget and report on the life of the club at the annual Church administration meeting.
SECTION 8 – THE MINISTER OF HOSPITALITY:
The minister of hospitality, in cooperation with the Pastor, shall appoint a sufficient number of assistants to care for the work of ushering and extending the official hospitality of the Church to its members and visitors.
SECTION 9 – ASSOCIATE PASTORS:
Under the direction and guidance of the Pastor, the associate pastors of the Church and the school principal shall assist the Pastor in carrying out the ministries of the Church.
SECTION 10 – DUTIES OF ALL OFFICERS:
(A) All officers shall prepare a written report of their work for the annual Church meeting and shall surrender any records in their possession to the church clerk at the close of their term of office to be filed as a permanent record of the work of the Church. All records are the property of the Church and the permanent record must be kept in the Church office.
(B) Any officer who neglects his duties as outlined in the constitution for a period of three months may be removed from his office at the discretion of the deacons and pastor and another may be appointed to serve the unexpired term.
SECTION 11 – INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS:
A public installation service in which all newly-elected officers of the Church are to be dedicated to their respective offices and the ordination of newly-elected deacons shall be held at a public Church service in July following their election at the annual Church administration meeting in June.
ARTICLE VI – Committees
SECTION 1 – NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The nominating committee shall consist of at least three members elected at the annual Church administration meeting and one appointed from the deacons. They shall be charged with the responsibility of interviewing and presenting candidates who meet the qualifications outlined in the Constitution to the church for the offices which need to be filled at the annual Church administration meeting. The slate of officers must be announced and posted at least two Sundays prior to the election.
SECTION 2 – BUDGET COMMITTEE
The budget committee shall consist of at least two members elected at the annual Church administration meeting, the incumbent treasurer, and one appointed from the deacons. They shall be charged with the responsibility of presenting a budget to the church for the next fiscal year. After approval by the deacon board, the budget must be announced and posted at least two Sundays prior to the vote for adoption.
ARTICLE VII – Meetings
SECTION 1 – MEETINGS FOR WORSHIP:
The Church shall meet each Sunday for worship, prayer, instruction in the Word and evangelistic effort. Other meetings shall be planned as desired.
SECTION 2 – ORDINANCES:
(A) Those professing saving faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior shall be Baptized by the Pastor at a public worship service. Baptism shall be by immersion after a public testimony of faith. Baptism by immersion shall be a prerequisite for church membership.
(B) The Lord’s Supper (Communion) shall be regularly served to the assembled church by the Pastor and the deacons. It is open to all who have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
SECTION 2 – MEETINGS FOR CHURCH ADMINISTRATION:
(A) An annual Church administration meeting shall be held near the end of June. Officers shall be elected, a new budget adopted and other business conducted as necessary for the life of the church. A quorum shall consist of twenty percent (20%) of the active membership present. Voting for officers or the expenditure of money shall be by secret ballot. There shall be no absentee ballots.
(B) An annual meeting of the church for the presentation of reports and the completion of unfinished business shall be held in July.
SECTION 3 – SPECIAL MEETINGS:
(A) The Pastor, or deacons, or 33% of the active membership, 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 two Sunday mornings and not less than two weeks prior to said meeting. The calling of a special meeting for the discipline of a member or a pastor is outlined in Article III Section 4. A special meeting for the purpose of calling a Pastor must be announced by the pulpit committee from the pulpit at least two Sunday mornings and not less than two weeks prior to said meeting.
SECTION 4 – FISCAL YEAR:
The fiscal year of the Church shall begin July 1st and end June 30th.
ARTICLE VIII – Ministry Of Education
SECTION 1 – PURPOSE:
The Church believes that it has a Biblical mandate to encourage and assist it’s member’s who are parents with the education of their children. To this end, the Church shall engage in a Christian day school and other ministries of education in keeping with the following dictates:
SECTION 2 – 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 and/or deacons may permit non-Church members to participate in Church educational programs or courses of instruction provided they are in agreement with our Statement of Faith and submit to our standards and policies.
SECTION 3 – STAFF MEMBERSHIP:
All instructors, support staff, board members and the principal shall be members of this Church. This provision may be waived by the Pastor and/or deacons for instructors, support staff and up to fifty percent (50%) of the school board members.
SECTION 4 – STATEMENT OF FAITH ACCORD:
All instructors, support staff, board members and the principal shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith (as set forth in Article II) annually in writing. Any of the above who do not affirm their agreement with the statement of faith or teach dissimilar doctrine shall be subject to termination.
SECTION 5 – UNITY:
All policies and procedures adopted by the Ministry of Education shall be in accord with this Constitution.
SECTION 6 – TEACHING:
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted consistent with the church’s understanding of the Word of God and be presented in full accord with the Statement of Faith of the Church (Article II).
SECTION 7 – CHRISTIAN WALK:
The principal and all instructors, and support staff shall demonstrate a lifestyle consistent with the Statement of Faith of the Church (Article 2) and the precepts which they teach, whether in or out of the classroom.
SECTION 8 – ADMINISTRATION:
(A) The Christian day school and associated educational ministries shall be administered by a School Board under the authority of the deacons. The school board may submit a slate of nominees to the church nominating committee for consideration on the school board. School board members shall be elected by the congregation to serve for a period of two years. Terms of office shall be staggered to provide overlap of service.
(B) The School Board shall exercise supervision over the operation and development of the day school and be responsible for complying with all laws and regulations pertaining to the health and safety of school children. They shall make minutes of the meetings available to the deacon board. They shall approve an annual balanced budget, submitting it to the budget committee for adoption by the members at the annual church administration meeting. Expenditures not included in the operating budget must be approved by the deacon board if over five thousand dollars ($5,000.00).
(C) The School Board shall be responsible for the employment, promotion and dismissal of all school personnel, except the principal. Qualified members of the church shall be given first consideration for any employment openings in the school. They shall employ a principal, in cooperation with the deacon board and pastor, who shall carry out the operational procedures and educational policies of the church and the school. The principal shall work closely with the pastor and shall be supportive of the mission and ministries of the church, be an active member of the church, and conduct the day to day operation of the school. The principal shall regularly report on the life and ministry of the school to the pastor and the church, and at the annual Church administration meeting give a written report. The principal’s covenant will be reviewed annually and the principal may be dismissed by a majority vote of the deacons and the pastor. The Pastor shall serve as Superintendent of the school and in the principal’s absence or vacancy of office perform the tasks of the principal.
ARTICLE IX – Unauthorized Expenditures
Any expenditure of five hundred dollars ($500.00) over a budgeted category must be authorized by a special meeting of the congregation. Any expenditure of designated funds must be approved by the deacons. The one exception, for the ministry of education, is noted in Article VIII, Section 8 (B).
ARTICLE X – Ordination
SECTION 1 – ORDINATION QUALIFICATIONS:
Any member of this Church or its mission churches, who gives evidence of a genuine call of God into the work of the ministry and possesses the qualifications stated in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, may be ordained as a minister of the Gospel.
SECTION 2 – ORDINATION PROCEDURE:
(A) Upon a conference with the Pastor and after the Pastor has approved the candidate for ordination, the Pastor shall call a council to examine and pass on the qualification of the candidate. The ordination council shall consist of ordained ministers of like faith invited to participate in the examination of the candidate.
(B) If the candidate is found worthy of the ordination by the council, the ordination council may ordain the candidate on behalf of the Church.
(C) The Pastor and the chairman of the deacons shall arrange for the ordination service.
ARTICLE XI – Tax-exempt Provisions
SECTION 1 – PRIVATE INUREMENT:
No part of the net earnings of the Church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the Church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article I, Section 2 hereof.
SECTION 2 – POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT:
No substantial part of the activities of the Church shall be the carrying on of propaganda or other-wise attempting to influence legislation. The Church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
SECTION 3 – DISSOLUTION:
Upon the dissolution of the Church, the Trustees shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the Church, dispose of all of the assets of the Church to such organization or organizations organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(C)(3) or the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as the Trustees shall determine. Assets may be distributed only to organizations which agree with the Church’s Statement of Faith.
SECTION 4 – RACIAL NONDISCRIMINATION:
The Church shall have a racially nondiscriminatory policy and therefore shall not discriminate against applicants, students, and others on the basis of race, color, or national or ethnic origin.
ARTICLE XII – 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. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Pastor and the
Board of Deacons. 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 Article I, Section 2.
ARTICLE XIII – Amendments
This Constitution may be revised or amended by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting at any annual Church administration meeting, provided that said revision or amendment has been submitted in writing for review at a previous regular or special business meeting and announced from the pulpit two Sundays before the vote is taken.
This Constitution was adopted by a unanimous vote of the members present and voting at a duly-called meeting of the Church in which a quorum was present.
This Constitution and By-Laws supersedes any other constitutions and/or by-laws of Valley Baptist Church of Merced.