Preamble: We, the born again members of the Northside Bible Baptist Church of Oakdale, Louisiana, do hereby establish and adopt the following articles as the constitution to which we and all subsequent members do voluntarily submit ourselves. Note that the organization is a nonprofit, charitable Church corporation without capital stock and is incorporated under the laws of the state of Louisiana.
Property Rights: The members of this church have no property rights in the assets of this church. Upon termination of membership by any means, the individual(s) shall be entitled to no interest in the assets and property of the church. In the event of termination and dissolution of the corporation, the assets and property of the church shall be distributed according to the vote of the majority of the church's members in Oakdale, Louisiana.
Name: Northside Bible Baptist Church
Purpose: The church is committed to the declaration of all the council of God (Acts 20:27) and to worship The Triune God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), by continuing to steadfastly assemble ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25) under the bylaws of this constitution which we believe to be according to the New Testament pattern (Matthew 16:18), in order that the lost might be evangelized (Matthew 28:18-20), the saved edified (Ephesians 4:12), and The Lord exalted (Ephesians 3:21).
Membership in this assembly may be gained in three ways, and lost in four ways.
We shall add to our membership those who:
- Profess faith in Christ and come for scriptural baptism.
- Come by letter from a church of like faith and order.
- Come by statement, a letter being impossible or impractical to secure, that they are saved and scripturally baptized. [One coming by statement must be for a reason acceptable to this assembly and can by no means be accepted if scripturally disciplined from a sister church.]
We shall delete from our membership those who:
- Die and go to be with The Lord.
- Are dismissed by a letter of good standing to a Baptist Church of like faith and order in another locality.
- Are dismissed for doctrinal or moral apostasy.
- Are dismissed for non-attendance. [Note: All members of this church are required by scripture to be faithful to attend its services unless providentially hindered. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25) Those who prove themselves to be unfaithful in attendance for a period of six months shall be visited on two separate occasions by at least two other members of this assembly in an attempt to encourage that member to attend services. If, at this time, the member still refuses to attend services on a regular basis, he or she shall be dismissed as a member of this church.]
The assembly, as organized under the bylaws of this constitution, may elect from its membership the following officers.
The pastor is the ordained overseer and under-shepherd of the assembly. His qualifications are recorded in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:1-9. He shall act as moderator in the business meetings. In the event this church is without a pastor, any brother may be appointed temporary moderator by a simple majority vote of the members.
- The pastor shall serve for an indefinite period of time; he is not elected annually.
- A pastor shall be dismissed only when he fails to perform his duties, lives in an ungodly manner, or practices that which does not become a Christian minister. When dismissal of a pastor becomes necessary, it shall be done decently, openly, and in order. He shall be admonished and the grievances clearly stated to him by a group of not less than three male members, who have been appointed by the majority of the church. If he will not be admonished, or if the problem cannot be resolved, a special business meeting shall be called before the membership body of the church for the stated purpose of considering the dismissal of the pastor. The meeting shall be announced at least one Sunday prior to its occurrence. The pastor shall, in no wise, hinder the calling or publicizing of this meeting. In the meeting, the charges shall be specifically declared and shall be established by two or more witnesses (I Timothy 5:19). The pastor shall then, at his option, be given opportunity to answer the charges against him. If the problem cannot be resolved, a motion should then be made to declare the pulpit vacant. The motion must be seconded and carried by the majority of the members present. Anyone who has not been an active member for the six months preceding the meeting shall be ineligible to vote in such a meeting.
- In case of death, resignation, or dismissal of a pastor, a pulpit committee, of at least three male members, shall be selected by the church. These shall be men of good character, spiritual discernment, and of good standing in the church. They are to search out Baptist Brethren of like faith and practice to preach in the assembly in view of a call as pastor by the majority of the church. This is a Baptist church, and only Baptist preachers of like faith are to speak in any of its services.
DEACONS - The deacons are officially recognized servants in the church (Acts 6:1-7). They may be appointed as the need arises and publicly ordained to fulfill their office. The duty of the deacon is to visit the sick; to prepare and distribute the elements of The Lord's Supper; to cooperate with and assist the pastor, as he may require; to care for the outward needs of the pastor and membership; to assist the spiritual unity and growth of the flock.
TRUSTEE - The church shall appoint trustees, which are required by law to act on behalf of the assembly in legal matters. The trustees shall have no authority to dispose of property in any manner, except as the church shall order by corporate act.
TREASURER - The treasurer is to receive all monies of the church; to keep a true and fair record of accounts; make a full report to the church as directed by the church.
CLERK - The clerk shall keep a fair and complete record of all proceedings; have charge of all records; keep a register of all members of the church; write letters of dismissal when called for.
Government and Operation
We are not bound by iron clad parliamentary law; however, all business meetings, whether routine or special, shall be conducted decently and in order, with Christian love and courtesy (I Corinthians 14:40).
REGULAR MEETINGS - The regular meetings of the church shall be sufficient for purpose of both worship and business. The man is to fill the spot of leadership in the public assembly; the woman being subject to the man according to Divine order (Ephesians 5:23-24; Genesis 3:16). It is, therefore, the responsibility of the man, and not the woman, to do the preaching and speaking within the assembly (I Corinthians 14:34-35, I Timothy 2:11-14).
SPECIAL MEETINGS - One special meeting must be held by the assembly annually for the purpose of electing and verifying the church's legal trustees. Public notice must be given at The Lord's Day Worship Service at least one week prior to a special meeting, stating the purpose. A special meeting must be called by the Pastor for the amending of this constitution. To amend this constitution, the vote must be unanimous. A special meeting must be called by the assembly for the dismissing or calling of a pastor, should the occasion arise. A special meeting may be called by the Pastor to handle a matter that cannot wait until the next regular meeting.
PROCEDURE OF BUSINESS
The suggested guideline for all business meetings is as follows:
- Call to order by the moderator.
- Minutes of last meeting to be read, corrected or approved as read.
- Financial report to be read, corrected or approved.
- Unfinished business.
- New business.
RULES OF DECORUM
- Prayer is always in order prior to the moderator's call to order, and he decides on all votes and rules of order.
- No one is to speak unless recognized by the moderator, and only members may vote, but not by proxy.
- Any male member may stand and, when recognized by moderator, may submit his question or motion.
- When two male members arise to speak at the same time, preference shall be given the one farthest from the moderator.
- If any member does not understand a proposition to be voted on, any male member may ask a question for clarification.
- All remarks must be conveyed in a Christian manner to the matter at hand or be ruled out of order.
- The majority of the vote settles all questions.
- To reconsider a motion that has passed, only those who voted for it may make the motion to reconsider.
- A motion and second to adjourn is not debatable and is always in order, except when someone is speaking (in order) or a vote is being taken.
- No business meeting shall be held when the pastor is absent, unless the church is without a pastor or the pastor elects one of the brethren in his absence.