THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
GOSPEL LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH
Pelham, Alabama – Organized On June 22, 2003
ARTICLE I – NAME AND PURPOSE
ARTICLE II – COVENANT AND ARTICLES OF FAITH
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
ARTICLE IV – OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
ARTICLE V – COMMITTEES
ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS
ARTICLE VII – MISSIONS
ARTICLE VIII – SUB-ORGANIZATIONS
ARTICLE IX– GENERAL
We the members of the Gospel Light Baptist Church do ordain and establish the following articles to which we voluntarily submit ourselves.
ARTICLE I – NAME AND PURPOSE
Section 1.01 – Name
This congregation of believers shall be known as GOSPEL LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH. It is incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the state of ALABAMA.
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 II – COVENANT AND ARTICLES OF FAITH
Section 2.01 – Covenant
Having been led as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 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 contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry; the expenses of the church and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings; faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling and backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of and the use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling, and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage, that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
And may the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, even our Lord Jesus, make us perfect through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Section 2.02 – Articles of Faith
- The Divine Authority and Inspiration of the Scriptures.
We believe that the Holy Bible, as originally written, consisting of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, was written by men divinely inspired and is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction; that it has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture of error for its matter; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried. The Scriptures shall be interpreted according to their normal grammatical-historical meaning, and all issues of interpretation and meaning shall be determined by the pastor. The King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the church. II Timothy 3:16, 17; Isaiah 8:20; I Thessalonians 5:21
2. 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, coequal in power and glory, and having the same attributes and perfections. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; John 14:10, 26; 2 Cor. 13:14)
3. The Personality, Deity, and Present Work of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Holy Spirit as a Divine person is the source and power of all acceptable worship and service; and that He is our abiding Comforter and Helper; and that He never takes His departure from His Church, seeking to occupy us with Him and not with ourselves or our experiences. John 7:38-39, 14:16-17, 15:26, 16:13-14; Acts 1:8, Romans 8:9; Phillipians 3:3
4. The Personality of Satan.
We believe that Satan is a person, the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning and the great deceiver of all the nations; that he will be finally overcome by the Lord Jesus Christ as the Seed of the Woman, and that he will be cast into the bottomless pit for one thousand years, and finally shall be committed to the Lake of Fire with all his angels to be tormented for ever and ever. Job 1:6-12; John 8:44; II Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2, 6:12-16; Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10.
We believe that there is a literal hell and a literal fire of hell as a place for the eternal and conscious punishment of all the unsaved. Matthew 25:41-16, Mark 9:43-50; Revelation 20:14-15, 21:8.
6. The Fall of Man.
We believe that man, originally created by God in His image and after His likeness fell from his high and holy estate by eating the forbidden fruit, and as a consequence of his disobedience, the threatened penalty of death was then and there inflicted, so that his moral nature was not only grievously injured by the fall, but he totally lost all spiritual life, becoming dead in trespasses and sins and subject to the power of Satan. Genesis 1:26, 2:17; John 5:40, 6:53; Ephesians 2:1-3; I Timothy 5:6; I John 3:8.
7. The Total Depravity of Man.
We believe that this spiritual death or total corruption of human nature has been transmitted to the entire race of men, the Man Christ Jesus alone excepted; and hence that every child of Adam is born into the world with a nature which not only possesses no spark of divine life, but is essentially bad, being enmity against God, and incapable by any educational process whatsoever of subjection to His law. Genesis 6:5; Psalms 14:1-3, 51:5; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:16; Romans 5:12-19, 8:6-7.
8. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit
We believe that owing to the universal death and depravity in sin, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless born again; and that no degree of reformation however great, no attainment in morality however high, no culture however attractive, no humanitarian and philanthropic schemes and societies however useful, can help the sinner take even one step toward Heaven; but a new nature imparted from above, a new life implanted by the Holy Spirit through the Word is absolutely essential to salvation . John 3:5, 3:16-18; Galatians 6:15; Philippians 3:4-9; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; I Peter 1:23.
9. Virgin Birth
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost, in a miraculous manner; born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God, and God, the Son. Gen. 3:15; Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; Mark 1:1; John 1:14; Psa. 2:7; Gal 4:4; I John 5:20; I Cor. 15:47
10. Atonement by the Blood of Christ.
We believe that our redemption has been accomplished solely by the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was made to be Sin and a curse for us, dying in our place and stead; and that no repentance, no feelings, no faith no good resolutions, no sincere efforts, no submission to the rules and regulations of any church or of all churches that have existed since the days of the Apostles can add in the very least to the value of that precious blood, or to the merits of that finished work, wrought for us by Him, who united in His person true and proper deity with perfect and sinless humanity. Leviticus 17:11; Matthew 26:28; Romans 5:6-9; II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:18-19.
11. Salvation by Grace through Faith.
We believe that Christ is received by Faith alone, and that the moment we trust in Him as our Saviour, we pass out of death into everlasting life, being justified from all things, accepted before the Father according to the measure of His acceptance, loved as He is loved, and having His place and portion as linked to Him and one with Him forever. John 5:24, 17:23; Acts 13:39; Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:4-6, 13; I John 4:17, 5:11-12.
12. The Believer’s Security.
We believe that it is the privilege, not only of some, but of all who are born again by the Spirit through faith in Christ as revealed in the scriptures, to be assured of their eternal salvation from the very moment they have taken Him to be their Saviour; and that this assurance is not founded upon any fancied discovery of their own worthiness, but wholly upon the testimony of God in His written word, exciting within His children filial love, gratitude, and obedience. Luke 10:20, 12:32; John 3:36, 5:24, 6:45, 10:28; Romans 8:33-39, II Corinthians 5:1, 6:8; II Timothy 1:12; John 5:13.
13. The Gospel Church.
We believe the church to be a congregation of scripturally baptized believers who have covenanted together through the leadership of the Holy Spirit to perform the work of the gospel in this dispensation. The church is to observe the ordinances of Christ, be governed by His laws, and exercise the gifts, rights and privileges invested in it by His Word. Its officers are pastor, deacons; and the church has the absolute right of self-government directed by the Holy Spirit and answerable only to Christ. In all matters of membership, policy, government, discipline and benevolence the will of the church is final.
We believe that it is both unscriptural and impractical to apply the word “church” as referring to the entire Christian family or as referring to the churches of a particular denomination or to anything other than an actual, local assembly. Also, it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate together in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the gospel. Each church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. I Corinthians 1:2; I Timothy 3:1-5; Acts 2:41-47, Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 6:4-5; Acts 14:23: Acts 11:19-30.
We believe that we are called with a holy calling to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and so to live in the Spirit that we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural. Romans 6:13, 8:12-13, 13:14; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:1-10; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 3:5-9.
15. The Pretribulational-Premillennial Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the world will not be converted during the present dispensation, but is fast ripening for judgment, while there will be a fearful apostasy in the professing Christian body and that the Lord Jesus Christ will come in Person before the Tribulation to judge and reward His own and again to introduce the millennial age, when Israel shall be restored to their own land and the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and that this personal and premillennial advent is the blessed hope set before us in the Gospel for which we should be constantly looking. While the Lord tarries He has left us a commission to be His witnesses, and to preach the Gospel of the Grace of God to every creature. Zechariah 14:4-11; Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 12:35-40, 18:8; II Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-15; Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-6; I Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9, Revelation 3:10.
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a regenerate person in water to show forth in solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour. In this ordinance we identify with Him and show our desire to walk in “newness of life”. The ordinance is to be performed under the authority of the church by the pastor or other designated member. John 3:23; Acts 2:41, 3:-8, 8:36-38, 18:1-5; Romans 6:3-6; Colosians 2:2.
17. The Lord’s Supper.
We believe that the Lord’s Supper or Communion is the church ordinance commemorating the Lord’s death until He comes again, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. We believe that participation in this ordinance is scripturally limited to those genuine, baptized believers who have been received into the fellowship of a local assembly or church; and that the Christian should therefore join a church and so partake of the Lord’s table when observed. Matthew 26:26-29; I Corinthians 11:23-34.
We believe that every true Christian should faithfully give at least a tithe (1/10) of his income to God through the church for the work of the ministry and the spreading of the gospel. God owns all (Colossians 1:16-19) and we are but His stewards (I Corinthians 4:1-2). Our giving is not to be as unto men (Matthew 6:1-4) but as an act of worship. I Corinthians 16:1-3; Malachi 3:10; Galatians 6:7-8; Genesis 14:18-20; II Corinthians 9:6-7
We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s own image and after His own likeness; that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only “after their kind.” Gen. 1:1, 11, 24; Gen. 2:21-23; Ex. 20:11; Acts 4:24; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 11:3
20. 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)
21. Human Sexuality and Marriage.
(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 God created male and female and a person’s gender is determined by their biological sex at birth. 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). This church will not permit any pastor, staff member of the church, nor others, to use any part of Gospel Light Baptist Church facilities or property, to perform any type of marriage, cohabitation, or covenant ceremony for persons who are of the same sex, or for those who have changed their gender assigned at birth, or for those who desire poly amorous marriage.
22. 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 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)
23. 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 and abandonment. 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 or deacon. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
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)
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)
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)
27. 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).
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)
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 or offering 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)
Section 2.03 – 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.
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
Section 3.01 – Qualification:
Qualifications for membership shall consist of satisfactory evidence of regeneration, belief in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; in the verbal inspiration of the Holy Scriptures as originally given; in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ; that salvation is by grace through faith in Him who dies for our sins and rose again for our justification; in the bodily resurrection of the dead, both the just and the unjust, in the eternal joy of the saved and the eternal punishment of the lost; in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to take His Church to be with Himself and to take His great power and reign.
Section 3.02 – Acceptance:
Anyone desiring to unite with this church may do so by presenting himself as a candidate for membership at any of the church services. All such candidates must be recommended to the church by the Pastor and must be voted in by a majority vote of the members present. Membership is open to any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving evidence of regeneration, and fully subscribing to the Statement of Faith and Church Covenant held by this church, agreeing to submit to the authority of the church, its leaders as set forth herein, and upon compliance with any of the following conditions:
(A) By baptism (single immersion) according to the teaching of the Bible, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
(B) By letter or statement from a church of like faith and order.
(C) By testimony of faith, having been baptized by immersion in a church of like faith and order.
(D)By restoration – Any person who has lost his membership in this church for any disciplinary reason may be restored to membership upon the recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons and a majority vote of the members present at a business meeting of the church.
Section 3.03 – Duties of Members:
- On becoming a member of this church, in addition to the covenant contained in Section 2.01, 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.
- Each member should endeavor to lead a Godly life, observe the ordinances, be diligent in prayer, and for his own self-edification attend the public worship services unless providentially hindered.
- Members of this church should study and practice the principles of Christian stewardship in recognition of God’s ownership. It is earnestly requested that all members practice, as an act of worship, the Bible method of regularly giving (I Corinthians 16:2). Church ministries shall be supported by tithes, offerings and gifts. This shall be the only method of support for the ministries of the church.
- Let us be deeply sensible of a division in principle, spirit, or practice, and of its tragic consequence to ourselves and others. Therefore:
- Let us each one study to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed.
- Let us pray earnestly for one another and speak freely one to another.
- When we meet, let us not part without prayer, if prayer is at all practicable.
- Let us take care not to despise on another’s spiritual gifts.
- Let us never speak lightly of one another.
- Let us defend one another’s character in everything as far as is consistent with the truth.
- Let us labor in honor, each preferring another before himself.
Section 3.04 – 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. The eligible membership of the church has certain limited areas to exercise a vote. Members may not vote to initiate any church action, but rather the vote of a member is to confirm and ratify the direction of the church as determined by the pastor, the board of deacons, and/or the board of trustees.
(B) This congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus and the direction of the pastor as the under-shepherd with the counsel of the board of deacons. 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. Deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the pastor.
(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 in his absence, an individual designated by the board of deacons, and/or trustees) 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 in his absence, an individual designated by the board of deacons), 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 deacon board, trustee meetings and discipline committee 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, the list of names and addresses of the church members, 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 3.05—Discipline Of A Member
(A) There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the pastor 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 or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee. The pastor 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 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 Biblically responsible for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter. If the matter is not resolved during the hearing before the discipline committee, the committee shall recommend to the members of the church that they, after self-examination, make an effort personally to go to the offending member and 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. The member subject to disciplinary action is not entitled to vote on his/her own discipline.
- 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 public offense.
(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 3.06—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 3.07—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 six 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 or pastor become aware of a member’s open and unrepentant involvement in any sexual misconduct described in Section 2.01(21) or if a member files a lawsuit in violation of Section 2.01(27).
- The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member openly opposes any provision found in the Statement of Faith.
- The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member in a spirit of dissension actively engages in secretive discussions and/or intentionally organized, secretive meetings in a concerted effort to overthrow the pastor or present church leadership.
- The membership of an individual will automatically terminate upon his or her death.
- No provision contained in this section shall be subject to or governed by the procedures regarding discipline of members set forth in Section 3.05.
(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.
ARTICLE IV – OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
Section 4.01 – List of Officers
Officers of the church shall be the pastor, deacons, officers, trustees, clerk and treasurer.
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, secretary/treasurer shall be determined by the group. Their office shall continue until one of them fails to meet the qualifications of these by-laws or they no longer wish to be a corporate officer.
Section 4.03 – Pastor
- The pastor shall have the responsibility, as ascribed by Scripture, to be the shepherd of the flock; to have the general oversight of the work of the church in all departments; and to guard the Truth from perversion and error.
- The pastor shall, under the direction of the Holy spirit, plan and conduct the services of the church; administer the ordinances of the Lord’s supper and Baptism and to perform other duties incumbent to his office, acknowledging Christ only as Lord and Master in all these things.
- The pastor shall serve for an indeterminate term, as he feels led under God, and a two month notice shall be given to the church of his resignation. He shall be discharged only upon proof of improper or immoral conduct and a three fourths vote of the membership shall be necessary to discharge him.
- The pastor shall provide a substitute if he becomes temporally unable to carry on his duties. Should he become permanently unable to carry on his duties as pastor, the deacons shall arrange for pulpit suppliers during the interim between pastors, and to find and recommend to the church suitable candidates.
- The pastor’s schedule and vacations shall be at his discretion.
Section 4.04 – Deacons
- The deacons shall meet the scriptural qualification for deacons as set forth in Acts 6 and I Timothy 3. NOTE: Deacons may simultaneously serve as trustees/officer.
- This church may operate with either a board of officers, board of deacons or a board of trustees. It may have any or all of them in operation.
- The deacons and trustees/officers shall cooperate with the pastor in the performance of his duties of guarding, promoting and nurturing the spiritual life and unity of the church.
- The deacons and trustees/officers shall prepare for and assist the pastor in the administration of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- The deacons and trustees/officers shall assist the pastor in the ministry of the church to the sick, poor and aged.
- Each deacon and trustee/officers is expected to tithe his income to the church; to attend faithfully the worship services and prayer meetings, unless providentially hindered; and to maintain a reputation of good Christian deportment.
- The deacons and trustees/officers shall meet with the pastor as may be necessary for the carrying on of their work. A record of the meetings shall be kept and reports of recommendations made at the next appropriate business meeting. The duty of the deacons and trustees is not executive but advisory to the pastor.
Section 4.05 – Trustees and Officers
- The trustees/officers shall be men of high character; full of faith and the Holy Spirit; participating and supportive of the outreach ministries of the church.
- The trustees/officers shall have the handling of all legal matters and sign all deeds for the mortgage, transfer or dealings in real estate on order of the church.
- The trustees shall, with the advice and counsel of the pastor, prepare a budget of the financial needs of the church to be submitted to the annual meeting of the church for adoption.
- The pastor’s salary shall be recommended by the trustees/officers in proportion to the growing income of the church.
- The trustees/officers shall care for and maintain all the physical property of the church, the church buildings, grounds and other buildings thereon. They shall be authorized to make necessary repairs.
- The trustees/officers shall meet with the pastor as necessary for the carrying on of their work. Minutes of the meetings shall be kept and reports made along with recommendations at the following regular membership meeting.
Section 4.06 – Clerk
- The clerk shall keep a correct record of the proceedings of the membership meetings.
- The clerk shall preserve in a safe place at the church office, all legal documents pertaining to the properties and business of the church, making these available to the pastor and trustees.
- The clerk shall keep a correct register of the membership with date and manner of admission and dismissal.
- The clerk shall issue letters of transfer or dismissal based upon the action of the church.
- The clerk shall inform all members of their election or appointment to an office or committee.
- The clerk shall perform such other duties as may be requested by the pastor.
Section 4.07 – Treasurer
- The treasurer shall, with one of the trustees, or other designates, count all offerings and collections of the Sunday School and Church, and deposit all monies in the bank.
- The treasurer shall, as well as other designated church officers, be authorized to sign all checks.
- The treasurer shall co-operate with the church clerk or financial secretary in keeping regular books of accounts and shall present a written financial report of offerings monthly and a summarized report in writing for the entire year shall be given at the annual membership meeting and shall perform such other duties as may be required.
Section 4.08 – Other Offices
Other offices may be created and filled by election from year to year as may seem necessary for the carrying on of the work of the church.
Section 4.09 – Term of Service
Officers shall serve for the term of one year and shall be eligible for re-election as long as their faithfulness and usefulness is acceptable to the church.
Section 4.10 – Vacancies
Should a vacancy occur before the expiration of any officer’s term, such vacancy may be temporarily filled by an appointee of the pastor until the next annual membership meeting.
Section 4.11 – Qualifications of Officers
- They shall be at least twenty-one years of age.
- They shall have experienced the new birth as set forth in John 3:3-7.
- They shall be in hearty agreement with and shall support the doctrine, program and purpose of this church as set forth in the constitution.
- They shall be living a surrendered, prayerful, Christian life, obeying the precepts taught in the Work of God for believers.
Section 4.12 – Termination
Any officer who fails to perform his duties in compliance with scripture and with the provisions of these by-laws may be removed from their office by majority vote of the deacons/trustees or remaining deacons/trustees and the vote of the Pastor at any duly called officers meeting. Upon such removal of any deacons/trustees or officer, a new officer may be elected by an affirmative vote of the active membership in attendance at a special business meeting of the church or at the annual meeting.
When, and if, any deacon/trustee or officer shall become inactive by failing to attend the regular meetings of the deacons/trustees, or perform such other duties as are required of a deacon/trustee or officer, for a period of three months, unless sickness or some other legitimate reason prevents such activities, then his office as deacon/trustee shall terminate. It shall be the duty of the secretary of the deacons/trustees to notify such member of the deacons/trustees of the termination of his office.
ARTICLE V – COMMITTEES
Section 5.01 – Pulpit Committee
When a vacancy occurs in the Pastorate, the deacons/officers shall elect a committee consisting of two deacons/officers and two members of the church. The chairman of the deacons shall be the chairman of this committee. The duty of the committee shall be to seek a suitable pastor for the church. Upon the formation of this committee they shall meet weekly for times of prayer and fasting to seek the will of God for a Shepherd. The candidate for the pastorate shall be carefully examined by the pulpit committee as to his salvation, doctrine, Christian conduct, standards, separation and call to the ministry. If he has served in other churches, his ministry there should be explored. He shall be required to state his acceptance of and adherence to the articles of faith, constitution and covenant of the church. Any difference that he holds concerning these documents should be submitted to the pulpit committee in writing. He shall also state in writing any differences that he holds relating to groups and associations with which this church is in fellowship. The pulpit committee shall present only one man at a time for the consideration and vote of the church at the next scheduled Sunday service after the candidate has preached. A unanimous vote of the committee shall be required before the committee may recommend any candidate to preach in view of a call for the Pastorate.
(A) Calling a Pastor
A call to a pastor shall be extended at a meeting of the church called for that purpose and announced from the pulpit for two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting. A three/fourths (75%) majority of those present and voting shall be necessary for a call. A written call and agreement shall be presented to the prospective pastor, giving details of church-pastoral relationship, including salary, housing and car allowances, insurance, vacations, etc., after these matters have been discussed with the pastor and approved mutually.
(B) Moderator of Pulpit Committee
The moderator shall be the chairman of the deacons/Trustees or the deacon/Trustee present with the most seniority.
Section 5.02 – Other Committees
Other committees may be appointed by the pastor from time to time as may be necessary for the carrying on of the work of the church.
ARTICLE VI – MEETINGS
Section 6.01 – The Lord’s Day
The church shall meet regularly on each Lord’s Day for public worship. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at such times as the pastor shall designate.
Section 6.02 – Mid-Week Service
At least once in each week the church shall meet for prayer and Bible study.
Section 6.03 – The Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of this church for the presentation of written annual reports from all officers and the departments of the church, the election of officers, to hear and act upon recommendations from the pastor and board, and the transaction of such other business as may be necessary, shall occur at the first mid-week service of February of each year. The term of office shall continue until the election of their successors.
Section 6.04 – Special Meetings
Special meetings may be called by the pastor as it may be necessary. All other meetings shall be announced from the pulpit on the Sunday before the meeting shall occur.
Section 6.05 – Conducting Business
The Gospel Light Baptist Church may transact the business of the election of candidates for membership or the granting of church letters or letters of dismissal at any of the preaching or mid-week services.
Section 6.06 – Moderator
The pastor or his chosen representative shall be moderator of all church meetings; by virtue of his office, the pastor shall be a member of all boards and committees and no meetings of the church or boards shall be called apart from his direction and/or co-operation.
Section 6.07 – Quorum
The voting members present after proper announcement shall be considered a quorum for the transaction of business, except as otherwise stated in this constitution. Members who have attained the age of 18 and upward shall be eligible to vote, except as otherwise stated.
Evangelistic meetings, Bible and Missionary conferences, or other such endeavors shall be planned by the pastor, and it shall be the pastor’s privilege to invite speakers to fill his pulpit occasionally.
ARTICLE VII – MISSIONS
Section 7.01 – Mission Policy
It shall be the policy of the church to proclaim the gospel and to support only missions engaged in evangelism and in establishing New Testament Churches or furthering the ministry of New Testament Churches. Missions supported by the church shall be in hearty agreement with our doctrinal statement, both in doctrine and in practice. (Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20). No missionary or Mission Board that is a member of the National Council of Churches or any group connected with the ecumenical movement shall be supported by this church.
Section 7.02 – Selection of Mission Programs
The Pastor shall recommend the support of any Mission Board or missionaries and a majority vote of the active membership of the church in attendance shall be required for approval.
ARTICLE VIII – SUB-ORGANIZATIONS
All sub-organizations of the church shall be subject to the rules of the constitution and by-laws of the church and shall operate in harmony with them. Officers of sub-organizations shall be members of the church unless otherwise provided in these articles. No sub-organization shall at any time take any action that would tend to nullify, change, or supersede action taken by the church body.
ARTICLE IX– GENERAL
Section 9.01 – Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the church shall be the calendar year.
Section 9.02 – 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.
- 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.
- If the candidate is found worthy of ordination by the council, the ordination council may ordain the candidate on behalf of the church. The pastor and the chairman of the deacons shall arrange for the ordination service.
Section 9.03 – Appointive Offices
All paid staff shall be hired and fired by the pastor.
Section 9.03 – Church Leaders and Teachers
- The leadership of the church, all departments being subject thereto, resides in the scriptural office of the Pastor (also called in the scriptures “Bishop or Elder”), who is appointed by the Holy Spirit as the overseer of the flock; the Deacons (the word meaning “Faithful, Humble, Confidence-deserving, Fit Servants”) being selected by the Pastor and Church (Acts 6) to help and assist the Pastor by responding and giving effect to such leadership as he, by the Spirit’s help, may be enable to give.
- In order to attain the highest spiritual achievements, and maintain in our church the unanimity of the Faith, that all officers, teachers and leaders appointed by the Pastor and the Church, accept such office or appointment on the clear Christian understanding of the job description of that office that they give whole-heartedly their loyalty and support to the guidelines of their office and to the recognized scriptural leadership of the Pastor and the voice of the church body.
- And that if or when any officer, leader or teacher decides that he or she cannot accept or support this declared policy of the church, that such person shall declare their positions by declining to accept office, or resigning from office in order that their office may be filled by those who are prepared to give their loyalty and support to the policy and leadership of the church.
Section 9.04 – Literature
- All teaching materials of the Sunday School and affiliated organization shall be in accordance with doctrinal statement as set forth in this constitution.
- All literature placed in the church or church library, or circulated among the members shall be examined and approved by the pastor.
- The pastor shall be allowed the purchase of pulpit supplies such as study material, tracts, and pamphlets for new converts, marriage counseling, etc., the amount to be specified by the budget.
Section 9.05 – Versions of the Bible
The King James Version of the Bible shall be the only version for preaching and teaching in the Church.
Section 9.06 – Affiliated Organizations
The activities of each organization within the church, being a part of the church life, shall conform to the constitution, shall be responsible to the church, shall keep correct records of their work and funds and shall make reports whenever so directed by the church.
Section 9.07 – Amendments
- Except as otherwise stated, this constitution may be amended at the annual meeting or at the special meeting called for that purpose, by a favorable vote of two thirds of the membership, provided no amendments shall be presented for adoption at any meeting unless it has been read from the pulpit at least two successive Sundays prior to such meetings.
- Article 4.03, Number 3 shall remain unchanged during the tenure of office of the present pastor, but may be amended upon agreement between a following pastor of the church.
Section 9.08 – Certain Meetings Prohibited
No called meeting shall be held without specific approval of the Pastor. No action taken at any meeting held in violation of this provision shall be valid, other than a meeting for the purpose of considering the Pastor’s dismissal, and then the Pastor must be aware of such a meeting.
Section 9.09 – Circulation of Petitions
No petitions of any kind shall be circulated among the church membership without prior submission of such petition to and approval of the Pastor. Breach of this section shall subject the member involved to disciplinary action.