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CONSTITUTION
MEADVILLE BAPTIST CHURCH
MEADVILLE, MISSISSIPPI
PREAMBLE

We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in relation to other churches.

    ARTICLE I.   Name

The name of this organization shall be Meadville Baptist Church, Inc., corner of Franklin and Edison Streets, Meadville, Missis­sippi, 39653, Franklin Association.

ARTICLE II. Objectives

To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, community, and throughout the world.

To be a worshiping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing his person, and responding in obedience to his lead­ership,

To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with—God and fellow believers.

To help people experience a growing knowledge of God and man.

To be a church which ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and the world in Jesus' name.

To be a church whose purpose is to be Christlike in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the lordship of Christ.

ARTICLE III. Statement of Faith

The Holy Bible is the inspired word of God and is the basis for our statement of faith. "The Baptist Faith and Message" adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, May 9, 1963, constitutes our articles of faith.

 

ARTICLE IV. Church Covenant

Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of 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, doc­trines, and discipline; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and the relief of the poor, 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, backbiting, and exces­sive anger; to abstain from the sale of and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to use our influence to combat the abuse of drugs and the spread of pornography; and to be zealous in our ef­forts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another 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 Savior 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.

 

ARTICLE V. Organization

Section 1. Polity and Relationships

The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. (See Article I of the Bylaws.)

All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.

This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and sup­port the association, the state convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Section 2. Direction

The affairs of the church shall be managed by the membership of the church acting in conference, who shall delegate such respon­sibilities as it sees fit to the following officers:

(1) Pastor - The pastor shall be the chief officer of the

church, and shall be responsible for filling the pulpit at all regular services of the church. He shall be moderator of all business meetings, ex-officio member of all committees, and

pastor and advisor to all organizations of the entire church fam­ily. The pastor shall direct the work of the church staff. He shall, together with the Church Council, recommend to the church a suggested program for each year, and with the Church Council be

 

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responsible for carrying out such a program as may be adopted by the church in conference. He shall, together with the deacons, care for the spiritual ministry of the church family as well as seek the salvation of the lost.

  1. Deacons - Nine deacons shall serve on an active basis, or as the circumstance and wishes of the church members may determine. Under the leadership and with the cooperation of the Pastor, they shall consider and formulate plans for the church, assist in administering the ordinances, and perform such other spiritual/ material duties as the church may designate from time to time.
  2. Trustees - Three members of this church shall have charge of the property thereof, shall make, execute all deeds, bonds, mort­gages, trusts and all other conveyances of said church, upon the order of the church and by resolution duly authorized in the By­laws of said church. The title of all property shall be vested in the name of the church.
  3. Such other officers as the church may see fit to elect. ARTICLE VI. The Church Year

The church year for the election of the officers, budget, and fi­nances shall extend from October 1 through the following Septem­ber 30 of each year.

ARTICLE VII. Amendments

This constitution and/or bylaws may be changed, altered, modi­fied, amended, revoked or annulled by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present. When such desires-a-Change shall have been announced to the church at a regular conference, the specific changes shall be presented in writing to the church the following Sunday at the Morning Worship Hour with action therein deferred until the next regular conference. Copies of the proposed changes shall be furnished the Pastor, Deacons, and the Church Clerk before being presented to the church.

BYLAWS

ARTICLE I MEMBERSHIP Section 1. General

This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the lord­ship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.

The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such mem­bership.

Section 2. Candidacy

Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:

  1. By baptism, upon a public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and acceptance by unanimous vote of the members present and voting at such time as the candidate is received.
  2. By statement from a church member of another denomi­nation who has made a profession of faith in Christ as Savior and has been baptized by immersion as a believer.
  3. By transfer of church membership from a Baptist church, such membership being in good standing.
  4. By statement, when records of former church membership are unobtainable.
  5. By restoration to membership of those who have held membership in a Baptist church, but for reasons of

their own have more recently affiliated themselves with other churches.

Section 3. Duties

Members are expected, first of all to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life; and also to attend habitually the services of this church, to give regularly for its support and its causes, and to share in its organized work.

Section 4. Rights of Members

 

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  1. Every member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present or pro­vision has been made for absentee balloting.
  2. Every member of the church is eligible for considera­tion by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
  3. Every member of the church may participate in the or­dinances of the church as administered by the church.

Section 5. Termination

The continuance of membership shall be subject to the principles and usages of the Southern Baptist churches, and especially as follows:

  1. This church shall send a letter of recommendation to any other Baptist church on behalf of any member of good standing, desiring to unite with that church.
  2. Should a member become an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of immoral or unchristian con­duct, or by persistent breach of his covenant vows, or non-support of the church, the church may terminate his membership, but only after due notice and hearing, and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and amendment.
  1. The membership of no person shall be terminated (except by letter of a sister church) at the meet­ing when the recommendation for such action is made.
  2. All requests for termination of membership, or action looking thereto, shall first be considered by the Deacons who shall make recommendation to the church.
  3. Restoration - Any person whose membership has been terminated for any offense may be restored by vote of the church, upon evidence of his repentance and reformation/or of an account of continued absence, upon satisfactory explanation.
  1. Death of the member terminates membership.
  2. Erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.

Section 6. Quorum

Five percent of the active roll of membership shall constitute a quorum, except that for the election of officers, ten per cent, 

and for the consideration of issuing a call to or dismissal of a staff member, twenty-five percent shall be necessary.

ARTICLE II THE PASTOR

Section 1. Calling the Pastor

A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever vacan­cy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice shall be given. A pulpit committee shall be appointed by the church to seek out a suitable pastor, and the committee's recommendation

shall constitute a nomination.    The committee shall bring to the
 church consideration of only one man at a time. Election shall    be by secret ballot, and affirmative vote of 80% of those present being necessary to a choice:_-`_—

When the church is without a pastor, a Pastoral Search Committee shall be elected in the following manner:

-The Pastoral Search Committee shall be composed of three (3) gentlemen and two (2) ladies, and two (2) alternates, who are members of Meadville Baptist Church. These shall be selected by the deacon body and presented to the church for election at a regular or special called business meeting. _At._.the_time the pulpit is vacated, the deacon body shall as soon as possible, not

to exceed thirty (30) days, select a committee.

....

Section 2. Role of the Pastor

The Pastor shall be the chief officer of the church and shall have charge of the welfare and oversight of the church. He shall preside at all meetings of the church. (In the absence of the Pastor, the chairman of the Deacons shall preside; or in the absence of them both, the Clerk shall call the church to order and a moderator pro tem shall be elected.) The Pastor shall be ex-officio member of all committees, and Pastor-advisor to all organizations of the church. He shall direct the work of the church staff. He shall be responsible for supplying the pulpit at all regular services of the church.

Section 3. Dismissal of the Pastor

  1. The Pastor may be dismissed from further service in this church by an affirmative vote of 80% of those present and constituting a quorum for this purpose. Such vote shall take place by secret ballot at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice shall be given.
  2. Action to dismiss a pastor may be initiated in one of the following ways:

a. By a resolution originating from the Deacon council, which shall have been adopted by a two-thirds

 

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majority vote of the entire active Deacon membership or

b. By a resolution originating from the membership at large, signed by at least twenty-five per cent (25%) of the resident membership and filed with the Deacons.

  1. In either case, the resolution shall be referred to the congregation by the Chairman of the Deacons at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on the resolution after due notice as required in Section 3 of this article.
  2. The vote on the resolution shall be taken by secret ballot, using printed ballots with the following words printed thereon:

For dismissal of the Pastor

Against dismissal of the Pastor

  1. The Chairman of the Deacons, the Vice-Chairman of the Deacons, the Secretary of the Deacons, and the Clerk of the Church shall conduct the vote, except that in their absence, substitutes shall be named by the moderator. The chairman of the Deacons, acting for the congregation, shall advise the Pastor of the results of the vote.
  2. In the event the vote is in favor of the dismissal of the incumbent Pastor, the notification of the results of the vote to the incumbent shall constitute a 30-day notice to the incumbent, and no salaries or expenses shall be paid to the incumbent beyond 30 days after his notification.

Section 4. The call or dismissal of other other staff personnel will follow the procedure as stated for the pastor.

ARTICLE III THE DEACONS

Section 1. Regular Meetings

  1. The Deacons shall hold regular monthly meetings, together with special meetings that may be set, and shall at the first regular meeting of each church year elect their own officers as they deem advisable.
  2. Special meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor, the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman (in absence of the chair­man) when deemed advisable.
  3. Permanent minutes of all its actions shall be kept by the Deacons. All actions of importance shall be submitted as recommendations to the church in conference for action.

Section 2. Absence from Meetings

The absence of a Deacon from three regular consecutive monthly 

meetings during a calendar year, without satisfactory cause, which cause shall be determined by the Deacons after appropriate consultation with said Deacon, shall result in the forfeiture by such Deacon of his office.

When a vacancy occurs under this rule, the Chairman and Secretary of the Deacons shall certify such fact to the church at its next business conference. Thereon, such vacancy shall be promptly filled by the church. The election to fill this vacancy shall proceed according to Article III, Section 3, Paragraph 4.

Section 3. Election of Deacons

The Deacon body shall consist of nine active deacons or as the church size warrants.

  1. Deacons shall serve on a rotation basis. Each year the assigned term of office of one third of the number of deacons shall expire. An Election shall be held to fill vacancies on the second Sunday in August each year.
  2. A deacon elected and serving for one year or more shall not be eligible for reelection until one year after the expiration of his term.
  3. Vacancies occurring because of death, resignation, withdrawal, transfer, or for any other reason shall be filled in the manner indicated in Section 3, paragraph 4.
  4. Election of Deacons shall be held by the church, by se­cret ballot. The number of nominees shall be equal to the vacancies to be filled. The ones who receive the highest vote shall be elected.
  5. No person shall be eligible to be elected as a Deacon until they have been a member of this church for at least one (1) year.
  6. At age 65, Deacons shall at the end of their current term become a Life Time Deacon. Life Time Deacons are free to attend any Deacon's Meetings. Life Time Deacons should be informed of all meetings.

Section 4. Deacon Self-Evaluation

Answer truthfully each of the following questions and prayerfully consider whether you qualify for this sacred office.

YES        NO

  1. Have you fully trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
  2. Do you agree that the purpose of the local church is evangelism and nur­ture, both local and global (see Matt.

28:18-20, Ephesians 4:11-13, Acts 1:8)? ________

 

Text Box: 6YES          NO

 

3. Will you support Meadville Baptist Church in regard to her leadership pro­grams, and policies as stated in her Constitution and Bylaws?

  1. Do you accept the whole Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God and our sole source of Authority?
  2. If elected by the Church, are you will­ing to serve and minister to the people as a deacon?

 

6. Are you willing to train for the deacon ministry?

7. Marital Status:

  1. Are you married?
  2. Is your wife living?
  3. Have you ever been divorced?
  4. If divorced and remarried, is your previous wife living?
  5. Has your wife ever been divorced?
  6. If your wife has been divorced, is her previous husband living?
  7. Is your wife a Christian?

8. Will your wife and family support your serving in the deacon ministry?

9. Tithing:

  1. Do you tithe? (give at least one-tenth of your income to the local church)
  2. If not, are you willing to start tithing?

10. Do you drink alcoholic beverages of any kind?

11. If elected to minister as a deacon and you agree to serve, will you work har­moniously at all times with your Pastor and fellow deacons?

12;, If at any time you disagree with a pro­posal, will you disagree in a spirit of love and continue to work in cooperation with the majority?

  1. If elected to serve in the deacon min­istry, will you refrain from actions or behavior that would harm your influence as a Christian and as a deacon?
  2. If you find your attitude out of harmony 

    with the majority of the deacons and you cannot work or cooperate with them, for the best interest of the Lord, Church, and Deacon body, will you offer your resignation as an active deacon?

    1. Will you regularly attend the monthly deacon's meeting?
    2. Will you commit yourself to faithful attendance of all regular church ser­vices? (Sunday School, Morning Worship, Discipleship Training, EVening Worship, and Wednesday night Prayer Meeting)

    If elected to serve in the deacon minis­try, will you keep matters discussed in the deacon's meeting confidential until they are brought to the Church?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Will you strive to keep unity, good-will, and love within the body of deacons and the church fellowship?
    2. Have you been ordained as a deacon?

    If yes, what church? ______________  
    Church Address

    Section 5. Qualifications of Deacons

    1. Deacons should be men of "honest report", good report both in the church and out of the church.
    2. Deacons should be men who are filled with the Spirit of God_; men whose lives and actions are motivated by Christ so much so, that the world can look at them and say, "they have been with Jesus."
    3. Deacons should be men of wisdom, and this does not come from the study of books but rather from your "Prayer Closet". Men need the wisdom of God in order to be sound thinkers in acting wisely and discreetly on church affairs.
    4. Deacons should be sober men. Upon becoming a member of a Southern Baptist church, you accept the "Church Covenant" which specifically requires the abstinence from both sale and use of all alcoholic beverages. No man should be considered for a Deacon who is in any wise engaged in the sale or use of alcoholic beverages.
     

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    and right to give an offering to other causes for Christ.

  3. Deacons should have but (1) living wife if married at all. (I Tim. 3:12)
  4. Deacons' wives must be above reproach, grave, not slanderers, sober and faithful to their husbands and to every part of the church program.
  5. Deacons should be men who have first been proven worthy of office. Their glorious salvation experience should be so real that they recall daily this glorious experience of being "born again". He should have proven himself through his faithfulness to every phase of the church activities for at least one full year.
  6. Deacons should be men of real convictions. If the world be against you, stand firm when you know you are right. Christ did and died that you might live.
  7. Deacons should be men who refrain from destructive criticism; men who carry the load of the church on their shoulders, but who are never so burdened that they can­not see something good in the worst of us.
  8. A deacon should be a servant of exemplary character, spiritually minded, faithful in his stewardship of possessions (at least a tithe), regular in attendance at all services of the church, missionary minded, a soul-winner visiting regularly and a devoted friend to the pastor and people.
  9. ARTICLE IV CHURCH OFFICERS

    In addition to the Pastor, Deacons, Trustees, as provided for in the constitution, other officers of this church shall be: Musi­cians, Clerk, Treasurer, Librarian, Church Hostess, Sunday School Director, Church Training Director, Woman's Missionary Union Director, Brotherhood Director and such other officers as the church may designate from time to time.

    ARTICLE V COMMITTEES

    In addition to the committees as provided for in the church policy manual, other committees of this church shall be as the church may designate from time to time.

    ARTICLE VI BUSINESS CONFERENCE

    Section 1. The church shall have a regular business conference on the Second Sunday of the month after morning services, unless postponed for a good cause to a later date announced in at least one stated meeting of the church.

Section 2. Special Business Conferences may be called by the Pastor, or Chairman of Deacons after advanced announcement in at least one stated meeting or service of the church.

Section 3. Robert's Rules of Order shall be the accepted pattern of parliamentary procedure in the transaction of all church business.

ARTICLE VII ORDINANCES

Section 1. the Lord’s Supper shall be observed at lest four times each year. It may also be observed at other times as deemed wish-111:the opinion of the Pastor and ordinance committee.

Section 2. The ordinance of baptism shall be observed as often as necessary under the discretion of the pastor and ordinance committee.

ARTICLE VIII REVIVALS

It shall be the policy of this church to hold at least two revivals each year, and there may be others as decided upon by the Pastor and Deacons, with the sanction of the church. The Pastor, with the advice of the Church Council shall recommend to the church personnel for any revival.

ARTICLE IX FINANCIAL PROGRAM

Section 1. The Financial Program of the church shall be under the supervision of the stewardship committee of the church.

Section 2. The Stewardship Committee shall prepare and recommend the annual budget to the deacon body and church for adoption. It shall be presented to the church seven (7) days before the vote.

 Section 3. The Stewardship Committee shall be charged with responsibility of periodically reviewing the church's financial condition and supervising expenditures of budgetary items.

Section 4. All bills shall be paid out of the church treasury according to the church budget as authorized. For expenditures outside the budget, deacon action and church action in conference is necessary.

Section 5. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church at each regular business

meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements of the preceding month, and it shall be adopted by the church.

 

 

ARTICLE X CHURCH POLICIES MANUAL

Established policies shall be maintained to supplement the constitution and bylaws, and shall be reviewed annually by the deacon body.

New policies shall be formed and existing ones modified as deemed necessary through the deacon body, and shall be submitted to the church for approval and final adoption.

ARTICLE XI ADOPTION AND AMENDMENTS

Section 1. These bylaws shall be considered adopted and in im­mediate effect if and when a two-thirds majority vote of the members present at the business meeting at which vote is taken shall vote in favor of same. This vote shall be taken not less than 7 days after formal presentation of the bylaws to the church.

Section 2. These bylaws may be amended, altered, or repealed by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present at any regular business meeting of the church provided, however, that notice and proposal of such amendment, alteration, or repeal, must be given in writing to the Pastor, and read to the congregation at the preceding regular business meeting of the church.

ARTICLE XII VALIDATION

Section 1. The adoption by the church of this constitution and bylaws shall repeal all previously adopted rules in conflict herewith provided, however, that no actions taken by the church prior to the adoption of this constitution shall be invalidated by the adoption of this constitution and bylaws.

Section 2. A copy of this constitution and bylaws shall be kept by the church clerk at all times in the church office. All amendments to or revisions thereof shall be prepared by the church clerk and attached to copies of the constitution and bylaws, and made available to any church member upon request.

ARTICLE XIII DISCIPLINE

Should any unhappy differences arise between members, the aggrieved member shall follow in a tender spirit the rules given by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17.