XPastor tries to help churches by providing some of the essentials for running a church—items like job descriptions, employment applications, review forms and policies. Below are the Bylaws of Stough Memorial Baptist Church of Pineville, North Carolina.

Preamble to the Bylaws

Stough Memorial Baptist Church endeavors to be a Church of the Lord Jesus Christ as described, established, and mandated by the New Testament. The purpose of these Bylaws is to help us accomplish the task of this Church in a “decent and orderly” manner through the use of effective and efficient means of good stewardship of the body’s time, gifts and resources. Our ultimate desire is to bring glory to God through the Church.

These Bylaws are to provide general guidance on organization, governance and operation, based upon Biblical principles and practices. However; the ultimate authority for Stough Memorial Baptist Church’s organization, governance and operation is the Bible. When a conflict or ambiguity exists with regard to these Bylaws, deference is to be given to Biblical reference to resolve the conflict or ambiguity.

Article I—Name and Principle Office

The name of the Corporation is Stough Memorial Baptist Church. This Corporation will be further referred to in the Bylaws as the “Church.” The Church maintains its principle office at 705 Lakeview Drive, Pineville, NC 28134.

Article II—Membership

Section 1: General

The New Testament presents a picture of definable groups of people who, once committed to the Lord, identified themselves with and committed themselves to a particular local body. (Rom. 16:1; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 8:1; Phil. 1:1; Acts 11:26)

In order to implement the principles of accountability and commitment to the local body of Christ, as defined in the New Testament and practiced in the early churches, Stough Memorial Baptist Church recognizes the need for formal membership. Membership in this Church shall consist of all persons who have met the qualifications for membership and are listed on the membership role.

Section 2: Candidacy and Membership

Any person who has placed their faith in Christ for eternal life, who has received baptism by immersion as a testimony of their salvation, and who desires to be committed to Stough Memorial Baptist Church as a local body of believers may become members of Stough Memorial Baptist Church through the following procedures:

  1. Approach a staff member, deacon or other ministry leader, or come forward during one of the worship service altar calls and share their desire to join Stough Memorial Baptist Church.
  2. Attendance at New Membership Classes. Monthly membership classes shall be offered to provide, but not limited to, the following:
    1. Our Basic Beliefs
    2. Our Core Values
    3. Our Mission
    4. Our Vision
    5. Our Structure
    6. Our Strategy
  3. Signed Membership Covenant and Membership Application. A signed Membership Covenant shall be used as an instrument to affirm one’s desire for membership and to serve as formal record of one’s membership.

All such candidates may be received by vote of the church and by adding their name to the Stough Memorial Baptist Church membership roll and publicizing their name to the membership of Stough Memorial Baptist Church in the Church’s monthly publication and by placing their picture on the church’s new member board.

Section 3: Designations of Membership

In an effort to properly reflect the membership of the Church, two rolls shall be maintained. These rolls shall be updated periodically.

  1. Active Members: All members who reside within the Church’s ministry area or are currently active in the Church.
  2. Inactive Members: Members who have become inactive, or who have moved out of the Church’s ministry area, and have not joined another church or are unable to be located.

Section 4: Membership Covenant

Following is the Membership Covenant which generally outlines the responsibilities of membership at Stough Memorial Baptist Church.

“Believing that Christ has led to this day in my life, I covenant with Christ and His Church, Stough Memorial Baptist Church, to promote the kingdom of God in our world today. Believing that church membership is a privilege and a responsibility, I covenant to:

  1. Protect the unity of Stough Memorial Baptist Church (Rom. 14:19) by:
    1. … acting in love toward other members (1 Pet. 1:22)
    2. … refusing to gossip (Eph. 4:29)
    3. … following the leaders (Heb. 13:17)
  2. Share the responsibility of Stough Memorial Baptist Church by:
    1. … praying for its growth (1 Thes. 1:1-2)
    2. … inviting the unchurched to attend (Luke 14:23)
    3. … warmly welcoming those who visit (Rom. 15:7).
  3. Serve the ministry of Stough Memorial Baptist Church by:
    1. … discovering my gifts and talents (1 Pet. 4:10)
    2. … being equipped to serve by my pastors (Eph. 4:11-12)
    3. … developing a servant’s heart (Phil. 2:3-4, 7)
  4. Support the testimony of Stough Memorial Baptist Church by:
    1. … attending faithfully (Heb. 10:25)
    2. … living a Godly life (Phil. 1:27)
    3. … giving regularly (Lev. 27:30)

Section 5: Voting Rights of Membership

Every Active Member (except those members who are under the process of Church Discipline, see Article II, Section 7) shall have the right to vote at all church conferences.

Each Active Member is entitled to one vote. Voting by proxy is prohibited. Absentee ballots may be cast if notarized and received in the church office a minimum of 48 hours prior to the vote of the Church.

Section 6: Termination of Membership

Members shall be removed from the Church roll for the following reasons:

  1. Death
  2. Transfer of membership to another church
  3. By personal request of the member
  4. Dismissal by the Pastors and congregation according to a member’s life and conduct which is not in accordance with the Church Membership Covenant and is in such a way that the member hinders the ministry influence of the Church in the community. Procedures for the dismissal of a member shall be in accordance with Section 7 of this Article.

Section 7: Discipline of Members

Purpose

The purpose of Church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining (1) purity in the Church (1 Cor. 5:6), (2) protecting believers by deterring sin (1 Tim. 5:20) and, (3) promoting the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him or her to return to biblical standards of doctrine and conduct (Gal.6:1). Furthermore, upon joining this Church, all members are in agreement with Article VII (Binding Arbitration) of these Bylaws.

Process

Members and all other professing Christians who regularly attend fellowship at Stough Memorial Baptist Church who err in biblical doctrine or conduct shall be subject to discipline according to Matt. 18:15-18. (Such person hereafter will be referred to as an “Erring Person.”) Before such discipline reaches its final conclusion:

  1. It shall be the duty of any Church member who has knowledge of the Erring Person’s unbiblical beliefs or misconduct to warn and to correct such Erring Person in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If the Erring Person does not heed this warning; then,
  2. The warning member shall again go to the Erring Person accompanied by one or two witnesses to warn and correct such Erring Person, seeing his or her repentance and restoration. If the Erring Person still refuses to heed this warning; then,
  3. It shall be brought to the attention of the Pastors. (It is understood that this process will continue to conclusion, whether the Erring Person leaves Stough Memorial Baptist Church or otherwise seeks to withdraw from membership to avoid the discipline process.) The pastors will appropriately investigate any allegation brought by one Church member against another. If these allegations are warranted, two or more of the pastors will contact the Erring Person and seek his or her repentance and restoration. If the Erring Person refuses to be restored, the matter will be presented to the entire congregation, who will act to protect the Church by removing the Erring Person’s membership and notifying the Church in accordance with Matt. 18. However, even at this point, Stough Memorial Baptist Church will continue to pray for the restoration of the Erring Person.

Reinstatement

If such dismissed member heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement, he or she shall be publicly restored to membership through affirmation of the Pastors and notification of Stough Memorial Baptist Church membership.

Article III—Membership Meetings

Section 1: Place

Meetings of the members shall be held at a building on the Church property or at such other place or places as may be designated from time to time by the membership.

Section 2: General Meetings

General meeting of the membership shall be held monthly at such time as determined by the membership, officials, and staff. These general meetings shall serve as the primary source of information pertaining to church business and shall be the forum for conducting church business requiring a vote of the congregation. Subject to Section 4 of this Article, any proper business may be conducted at this meeting.

Section 3: Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called at any time by membership, officials, or staff for any purpose by giving notice to the members in accordance with Section 4 of this Article.

Section 4: Notice Requirements for Membership Meetings

General Requirements

Whenever members are required or permitted to take certain actions (listed below) at a meeting, notice shall be given to members no less than two (2) weeks prior to a meeting. Notification of membership meetings shall be given in any of the following manners, which shall be deemed to be a reasonable method of calling a membership meeting:

  1. Distribution of written material to the congregation in attendance at a regular weekend worship service
  2. Announcement of the meeting in the Church newsletter
  3. Delivery by United States mail to each member identified household on the resident membership roll.

Notice of Certain Agenda Items

Action by the members on any of the following proposals, other than by unanimous approval by those members present and entitled to vote, is valid only if the notice specifies the general nature of the proposal:

  1. Selection, rebuke, or dismissal of the Senior Pastor
  2. Amending the Articles of Incorporation
  3. Adopting, amending or repealing the Bylaws
  4. Disposing of all or substantially all of the Church’s assets
  5. Approving the acquisition of real property and related indebtedness
  6. Approving the election to dissolve the Church.

Section 5: Quorum

Those members present and voting at a meeting duly noticed and called shall constitute a quorum of the membership for the transaction of business.

Section 6: Voting

Church action shall be by concurrence of a majority of members present and voting, except for the calling or removal of the Senior Pastor which shall require and affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of those present and voting, and the amending of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws which shall require an affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of those present and voting. All voting shall be but those physically present at the Church meeting at which a vote is taken and those absentee ballots received as stated in Article II, Section 5. No proxy votes shall be allowed.

Section 7: Rules of Order

Except where these Bylaws state otherwise, Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the accepted pattern for the transaction of all Church business. The Church shall retain the right to appoint a parliamentarian to help in all Church meetings.

The Moderator for all Church meetings shall be elected on an annual basis by the congregation. In the absence of the Moderator, a member of the Pastors or Chairman of the Deacons will serve as the Moderator. The Senior Pastor will always be allowed to speak in Church meetings if he so elects.

The Church Clerk will be responsible for recording the minutes of the meeting. The minutes shall include who presided over the meeting, summary of actions taken at the meeting but in sufficient detail to clearly describe what was discussed and agreed upon to avoid any subsequent disputes.

Church meetings are open to any Church member desiring to attend.

Article IV Church Government

Section 1: Autonomy

This Church is a free, autonomous, independent body, congregational in nature with the authority to determine for itself in the manner set forth in these Bylaws, free of any outside control, authority or power, whether governmental or otherwise, the use of its property and all church policies.

Section 2: Congregational Government

The government of this Church shall be congregational. Realizing the Bible establishes special leaders in Acts 14:23, 20:28, Titus 1:5, 1 Pet. 5:1-2, and other scriptures in the Bible, on a day-to-day basis the Pastors working along with key leaders in the congregation will lead and guide the ministry and direction of Stough Memorial Baptist Church. Seeking to be a biblical church we also understand that with leadership comes accountability. Therefore, the membership shall have the final authority for the operation and management of this corporation. Members alone have the authority to adopt and amend Bylaws, approve budgets, receive members and govern and conduct the affairs of this Church.

Section 3: Oversight and Election of Corporate Officers

Annually, the congregation with recommendation of the Pastors will elect corporate officers to serve on the Stewardship Oversight Committee of the Church. These officers must meet the minimum qualifications of a Deacon and have shown the gifts and talents needed to fulfill this position.

The minimum number of Corporate Officers should be three with a maximum of five serving at any one time. The Corporate Officers will serve for a three year term, rotating so that no more than two Corporate Officers are needed for election at any one time.

These individuals shall act as the administrative officers of the Corporation of Stough Memorial Baptist Church. As administrative officers of the Corporation, they shall have the same duties and responsibilities as the same officials in a corporation formed for profit. They may also have other duties as directed or delegated by the Pastors, with approval from the congregation, or by these Bylaws.

These administrative officers shall manage Stough Memorial Baptist Church property, both real and personal, as fiduciaries. They shall represent Stough Memorial Baptist Church in all of its legal matters. They will work in cooperation with the Pastors, and report periodically to the Congregation.

The Senior Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of the Stewardship Oversight Committee.

The Pastor of Administration may serve as a consultant to the Corporate Officers, at the request of the Senior Pastor and/or Corporate Officers, to provide information on the day-to-day operation of the Corporation. The Pastor of Administration will not be included in the responsibility or function as the other Corporate Officers in regards to duties and responsibilities regarding legal matters and property.

The Senior Pastor and the existing Corporate Officers shall have the right to nominate a Corporate Officer for future service. All nominations must then be submitted to the Nominating Committee four weeks prior to the meeting at which the election shall take place.

The congregation shall be presented the opportunity to nominate other potential officers at large through a regularly scheduled conference. Each nominee shall be given to the Nominating Committee for review and recommendation.

The Senior Pastor and the remaining members of the Stewardship Oversight Committee shall meet with each nominee to determine that the nominee meets the minimum deacon qualification requirements and is willing to accept the position, should they be elected. They will then report back to the Nominating Committee. If any individuals are not qualified they will be taken off the Corporate Officer nominating list. If Stough Memorial Baptist Church is without a Senior Pastor the existing Corporate Officers shall meet with the nominees and determine qualification.

If, for any reason, an elected officer cannot fulfill the duties of the office for the entire year, or if they should become unqualified to serve as a Corporate Officer as defined through minimum qualifications, the Pastor and existing Corporate Officers shall once again submit nominations to the Nominating Committee and follow the election of the Corporate Officers as listed above.

The Pastor and existing Corporate Officers may choose to recommend that a replacement for an elected officer vacancy not occur until the regularly scheduled election, provided there maintains a minimum of three Corporate Officers serving at all times. This decision should be shared with the congregation with the approval of the Nominating Committee.

Stewardship Oversight Committee Duties:

While Scripture indicates that the Pastors bear the ultimate responsibility for the watch care of the Church, it does allow for the delegation of responsibilities. Therefore, the Church has designated the Corporate Officers, together with the Senior Pastor, as an ex-officio member, to serve as the Stewardship Oversight Committee with the responsibility of overseeing the legal, financial, business and executive matters of the Church.

This Committee will also oversee and provide for the care and maintenance of all properties owned by Stough Memorial Baptist Church by working in cooperation with the Standing Committees. The Stewardship Oversight Committee is accountable to the congregation in regards to all legal, financial, business, and executive matters of the church. They will provide at least quarterly updates to the congregation at regularly scheduled conferences.

The Stewardship Oversight Committee shall create whatever internal organization it deems appropriate, under the guidance of the Pastors, to carry out its responsibilities and to fulfill any requirements necessary for them to act as legal representatives of Stough Memorial Baptist Church.

The Senior Pastor, as an ex-officio member of the Stewardship Oversight Committee shall provide spiritual leadership, and coordination with other Pastoral Staff.

The Deacon Fellowship may be called upon by the Stewardship Oversight Committee to assist in meeting ministry and administrative needs of the Church as they arise.

Specific List of Responsibilities:

  1. To assist the Pastoral Staff and the Senior Pastor in the administration oversight of the Church. To determine and ensure that