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.
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:
- 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.
- Attendance at New Membership Classes. Monthly membership classes shall be offered to provide, but not limited to, the following:
- Our Basic Beliefs
- Our Core Values
- Our Mission
- Our Vision
- Our Structure
- Our Strategy
- 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.
- Active Members: All members who reside within the Church’s ministry area or are currently active in the Church.
- 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:
- Protect the unity of Stough Memorial Baptist Church (Rom. 14:19) by:
- … acting in love toward other members (1 Pet. 1:22)
- … refusing to gossip (Eph. 4:29)
- … following the leaders (Heb. 13:17)
- Share the responsibility of Stough Memorial Baptist Church by:
- … praying for its growth (1 Thes. 1:1-2)
- … inviting the unchurched to attend (Luke 14:23)
- … warmly welcoming those who visit (Rom. 15:7).
- Serve the ministry of Stough Memorial Baptist Church by:
- … discovering my gifts and talents (1 Pet. 4:10)
- … being equipped to serve by my pastors (Eph. 4:11-12)
- … developing a servant’s heart (Phil. 2:3-4, 7)
- Support the testimony of Stough Memorial Baptist Church by:
- … attending faithfully (Heb. 10:25)
- … living a Godly life (Phil. 1:27)
- … 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:
- Transfer of membership to another church
- By personal request of the member
- 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
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.
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:
- 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,
- 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,
- 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.
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
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:
- Distribution of written material to the congregation in attendance at a regular weekend worship service
- Announcement of the meeting in the Church newsletter
- 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:
- Selection, rebuke, or dismissal of the Senior Pastor
- Amending the Articles of Incorporation
- Adopting, amending or repealing the Bylaws
- Disposing of all or substantially all of the Church’s assets
- Approving the acquisition of real property and related indebtedness
- 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:
- To assist the Pastoral Staff and the Senior Pastor in the administration oversight of the Church. To determine and ensure that all of the administration committees of the Church are performing their designated responsibilities.
- Provide oversight and development for all legal, financial, and executive related committees. Review and update the fiscal policies and procedures and responsibilities of these committees.
- Perform and maintain a fiduciary responsibility to the Church in all legal, financial and executive matters.
- Review and make recommendations for Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation revisions.
- Execute all legal documents relative to contracts, Church property, and other business matters as conditioned by these Bylaws.
- Participate in the strategic planning of the Church.
Article V—Church Leadership
Section 1: Pastoral Leadership
“Paul and Barnabus appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” (Acts 14:23)
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
“The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.” (Titus 1:5)
The New Testament clearly teaches that the Church is to be led by a plurality of godly men. Their assignment falls into four categories: First, these men are given both the responsibility and authority to skillfully and lovingly lead the flock. Next, they are to feed the flock, offering accurate and insightful teaching of the Scripture. Third, they are to care for the flock. This care is shown in the love, concern, prayers, ministry, and adept management of the Church resources. Finally, they are to protect the flock from harmful influences and beliefs.
These leaders are known by three titles, each of which reveals a separate aspect of their function. All three titles are used in 1 Pet. 5:1-2:
“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve.”
They are first called “elders.” An elder (Greek presbuteros) is a godly leader whose wisdom and maturity are respected by God’s people. Next, they are men who give oversight. That is, they are “overseers” (Greek episkapos). An overseer is a person who is a good manager of resources and a guardian of people. Finally, these leaders are called “shepherds,” which is also translated as “ministers” (Greek poimen). This word refers to the role of caring for and leading the flock.
It is important to note that within the New Testament model of the church organization, authority for leadership is not granted to just one individual pastor, nor is it given as democratic rule by the congregation. Instead, the Scripture states that authority for leadership is conducted by a plurality of leaders who are appointed by the Church and accountable to God. The Scripture further teaches that when the Church supports elders, both the Church body and individual Christians will flourish (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thes. 5:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:1-5; Acts 20:28).
Stough Memorial Baptist Church seeks to be a New Testament Church committed to the teachings of the Bible. No other authority or tradition is to guide the means, faith, or structure of the Lord Jesus Christ’s Church. The pastoral and administrative structure for a New Testament Church is to utilize a “plurality” form of leadership. Stough Memorial Baptist Church will follow this scriptural example.
To achieve this New Testament model, Stough Memorial Baptist Church requires qualified men to serve as elders, also called Pastors. These men must meet specific moral and spiritual qualifications before they can serve. Selection will be based on biblical directives such as character (1 Tim. 3:1-10), giftedness (1 Cor. 12:12-31), function (Rom. 12:3-8) and results (Eph. 4:11-16). They must be publicly installed into office (1 Tim. 5:22; Acts 14:23). They must be motivated and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do their works of ministry (Acts 20:28). After review, examination, and appointment, as described in this Section, men affirmed by Stough Memorial Baptist Church to serve as elders shall constitute the Pastoral Staff. To effectively perform their duties, the Pastors need the prayers, support (1 Tim. 5:17-18) and assent of members of Stough Memorial Baptist Church (Heb. 13:17). Stough Memorial Baptist Church is called upon to honor their Pastors and to protect them against false accusations (1 Tim. 5:9). Finally, if a Pastor falls into sin, and continues to sin, he must be publicly rebuked (1 Tim. 5:20).
Qualifications and Discipline
“An overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, and free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping children under control with all dignity … and not a new convert, he must have a good reputation with those outside the Church, so he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” 1 Tim. 3:2-7
“If a man be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion … above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word … that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict.” Titus 1:6-9
Above reproach: Pastors must be blameless, presenting no pattern of Scriptural disobedience or grounds for accusation.
Husband of one wife: Pastors, if married, must be devoted spouses.
Temperate: Pastors must be self-controlled, enslaving to nothing, free from excesses.
Prudent: Pastors must be sober, sensible, wise, balanced in judgment, not given to quick, superficial decisions based on immature thinking.
Respectable: Pastors must demonstrate a well-ordered life and good behavior.
Hospitable: Pastors must be unselfish with their personal resources. They must be willing to share blessings with others.
Able to teach: Pastors must be able to communicate the truth of God and exhort sound doctrine in a non-argumentative way (2 Tim. 4:2; 2:24).
Not addicted to wine: Pastors must be free from addictions, and must be willing to limit their liberty for the sake of others.
Not pugnacious: Pastors must be gentle and characterized by forbearance and tenderness—not having a quick temper.
Uncontentious: Pastors must not be given to quarrelling or selfish argumentation.
Free from the love of money: Pastors must not be stingy, greedy or out for sordid gain. They should not be preoccupied with amusing material things, but rather should be a model of giving.
Manage own household: Pastors must have a well-ordered household, a healthy family life, and well-behaved children (pertains to those children still under the authority of the parents).
Not new convert: Pastors must not be new believers. They must have been Christians for long enough to demonstrate the reality of their conversion and the depth of their spirituality.
Good reputation with outsiders: Pastors must be well respected by unbelievers, and must be free from hypocrisy.
Not self-willed: Pastors must not be stubborn, insensitive or prone to force opinions on others. They must be more interested in service than self-pleasure.
Not quick tempered: Pastors must be able to exercise self-control and patience in difficult situations.
Loves what is good: Pastors must desire the will of God in every decision.
Just: Pastors must be fair and impartial. Their judgments must be based on Scriptural principles.
Devout: Pastors must be reverent, continually desiring to be separated from sin. They must be devoted to prayer, the study of Scripture and the guarding of their own spiritual walk (Acts 20:28).
Holding fast the faithful Word: Pastors must be stable in the faith, obedient to the Word of God, continually seeking to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
It is the Pastors’ responsibility to make recommendations to Personnel regarding the discipline and/or removal of any staff member who no longer fulfills the qualifications of a Pastor, who fails to fulfill his responsibilities, or who violates the intent of these Bylaws. Discipline or removal shall be by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the congregation after the discrepancies are made known.
The Senior Pastor will represent the interests of the pastoral and support staff of the Church.
It is the pastors’ duty to exercise personal holiness. Pastors shall oversee, lead, shepherd, and care for the spiritual condition of the Church, as set forth in Scripture (1 Tim. 5:17, Titus 1:9; 1 Pet. 5:1-2).
Specific List of Responsibilities:
- Shepherd the flock. Serving in all humility, pastors are to guide, direct, guard and protect the members of the body, seeking to meet their needs and assist in any way possible, warning against harmful influences and guarding against false teachers (Acts 20:35).
- Lead through example. Pastors are to provide a Scriptural role model and are to set a pattern before the flock of a rightly ordered life—with a single purpose, to glorify God (1 Tim. 3:4-5; 5:17).
- Teach and exhort. Pastors are to see that the flock is fed through insightful and accurate Biblical instruction and admonition. Teaching will be centered on equipping the members of the body to perform works of ministry (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9-16; John 21:17).
- Refute those who contradict truth. Pastors are to confront those who are teaching what they should not teach or who are coming in a pattern of behavior contradictory to Biblical truth. Thus, pastors are to keep closing potential entrances for Satan, so that the truth of Christ will remain credible to both the congregation and the community (Acts 2:17, 28-31; 1 Thes. 5:12).
- Manage the Church of God. Pastors are to oversee the life of the Church, with the assistance of other godly leaders. They must be people who can “rule well.” Deacons who are qualified men and women are to be selected to assist and support the pastors in the ministry of the Church (1 Tim. 5:17).
- Pray for the sick. Pastors are to pray for the spiritual and physical well-being of members of the congregation (James 5:14-15).
Pastors, like Church members, have no individual authority but must act as a Leadership Team to represent the best interest of the Church. The pastors may also establish various advisory committees to assist them in both administrative and ministry matters.
The congregation has the authority to hire, select and dismiss the Senior Pastor. All other support staff positions shall be hired, selected, dismissed, and have their salaries set by recommendation from the Senior Pastor to the Personnel Committee.
Section 2: Senior Pastor
Duties of the Senior Pastor
The Senior Pastor is primarily to be a teacher of the Word of God—the Bible. He is to teach and exhort by precept and example. His goal is to help mature believers through insightful and accurate presentation and proclamation of the Word, equipping them to effectively perform works of ministries within the Body of Christ. Thus, the Senior Pastor’s time is to be given to his primary function as a teaching and equipping pastor. Though the Senior Pastor can and will share in other functions of the Pastors (i.e. administration, counseling, visitation, etc.) his primary use of both time and energy is to be devoted to the Word of God. Therefore, we see the need for plurality of pastors with complementary gifts that together undertake all the various areas and aspects of the ministry.
The Senior Pastor is also responsible to lead the Church to function as a New Testament Church and ultimately achieve its mission, statement of purpose and ministry objectives and goals. This individual is to give oversight direction and leadership to the ministries of Stough Memorial Baptist Church. As such, he will work closely with other staff, key leaders and ministry teams. The Senior Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and ministry teams, and his leadership shall be recognized in all of them. The Personnel Committee will prepare a Position Description for the Senior Pastor, which outlines more specific responsibilities and duties.
The Senior Pastor is the spiritual leader of the Church and, as such, shall minister to the spiritual needs of the Church members. In fulfilling this role, he shall:
- Lead the Church in an effective program of worship, witnessing and evangelism, and Bible study.
- Proclaim the Gospel to both believers and non-believers.
- Exhibit concern and compassion for members and non-members of the Church.
- Supervise the ministerial staff, leading them spiritually and see that their duties are performed satisfactorily.
Specific responsibilities of the Senior Pastor shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- To deliver sermons, which focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ and toward an understanding of the Old Testament and New Testament.
- To counsel with members who have special needs.
- To lead the deacons to increase their effectiveness in service.
- To keep the Church informed of associations, state, and national denominational affairs andBaptist World Alliance matters of mutual interest between these organizations and the Church.
- Be in charge of the welfare and oversight of the Church.
- Be ex-officio member of all organizations.
- Have special charge of the pulpit ministry of the Church.
- Provide for pulpit supply when he is absent
- Arrange for revival meetings and other special services.
Election of Senior Pastor
The Senior Pastor shall be chosen and called by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a Church meeting called specifically for that purpose of which at least two week’s notice has been given to the membership.
Pastor Search Committee
When a vacancy in the Senior Pastor position exists, a Pastor Search Committee shall be established with Church membership approval. The Search Committee will be responsible for screening all resumes, interviewing applicants, and confirming the qualifications and experience of top candidates. The congregation will be kept advised during the search process. The recommendation of the Pastor Search Committee will constitute a nomination.
The Pastor Search Committee will be compromised of the Chairman of Deacon Fellowship, Chairperson of Finance, chairperson of the Personnel Committee, and five (5) members elected at large by the Church body. The five members of the team elected by the Church body are to be elected in a called church conference with at least one week’s notice. At the Church’s discretion, two (2) alternates may be elected.
The Pastor Search Committee shall bring the consideration of the Church only one candidate at a time. Once the Pastor Search Committee has selected a candidate, the anticipated compensation package will be presented to the Finance Committee, and upon their agreement that the compensation package can be supported, the candidate will be encouraged by the Pastor Search Committee to preach at least one trial sermon to the Church. An affirmative vote, by written ballot, of three-fourths (3/4) of those present in a duly called membership meeting is necessary for an affirmed choice of the Senior Pastor. The vote shall include the details of the compensation package to be offered to the candidate, to include base salary. The Senior Pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his or the Church’s request pursuant to the following section. Should the one recommended by the Pastor Search Committee fail to receive three-fourths (3/4) vote, the Committee will be instructed to seek out another candidate and the meeting shall be adjourned without debate.
Tenure of Office of Senior Pastor
The tenure of the office of Senior Pastor may be terminated at any time by the Senior Pastor or the Church. If the Senior Pastor relinquishes the office, he may do so by giving at least two (2) weeks notice at the time of resignation.
The Church may declare the office of Senior Pastor to be vacant if circumstances dictate. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, with at least a two (2) weeks written notice given to all members. The meeting may be called only upon the recommendation of the Stewardship Oversight Committee and the deacon Fellowship or by written petition signed by not less than one- third (1/3) of the resident Church membership. The moderator of this meeting shall be the Church elected Moderator. The vote to declare the office of Senior Pastor vacant shall be by written ballot with three-fourths (3/4) affirmative vote of those present.
Section 3: Other Pastoral Staff
Pastors (excluding the Senior Pastor) are called to serve by the recommendation from the Senior Pastor and Personnel Committee and are empowered by the congregation for running the day-to-day ministry operations of the Church. Pastors can act individually to enter into transactions regarding their specific area of ministry, conditioned upon budgetary constraints, but they are subject to the oversight of the Senior Pastor and congregation and authorization levels given to them by the Senior Pastor and the Personnel Committee. If a Pastor exceeds his or her authorization level in a church transaction, the Pastor may be held personally responsible for any obligations incurred as a result. The Senior Pastor is responsible, and will be held accountable to the congregation for the oversight of all Pastors of the Church.
All pastoral staff members will be required to meet elder qualifications regardless of their specific area of ministry. Each pastoral staff position shall be called and employed by the church upon the recommendation of the Senior Pastor and Personnel Committee.
Tenure of Office of Other Pastoral Staff
Other Pastoral Staff members shall serve at the pleasure of the Church, with privilege of resigning at any time with adequate notice. They may be dismissed upon agreement of the Pastor and the Personnel Committee. Notice shall be given to the Church of such actions by the Personnel Committee.
Section 4: Support Staff
The oversight of support staff members will be performed by the Church Administrator in consultation with the Senior Pastor. Guidelines for the hiring and termination of support staff positions are documented in the Personnel Section of the Policies and Procedures Manual.
Section 5: Deacon Fellowship
Deacons are the servant-ministers of the Church. No specific, on-going deacon roles are mentioned in Scripture, probably because service needs change, and so the role of the deacons must remain flexible. Therefore, this is why qualifications for deacons are stressed in Scripture rather than specific tasks. Deacons are to give their primary attention toward caring for the congregation’s physical welfare. Deacons have the honor of modeling, for the local Church and the lost world, God’s compassion, kindness, mercy and love. As the Church compassionately cares for people’s needs, the world sees a visible display of Christ’s love, which will draw some people to the Savior. Deacons are able to be an example of commitment, unity, and harmony in their service.
Examples of specific service would be: the collectors of funds, the distributors of relief, and the agents of mercy. They help the poor, the jobless, the sick, the widowed, the elderly, the homeless, the shut-in, and the disabled. They comfort, protect, and encourage people, and help to meet their needs. Although they do in many ways meet spiritual needs of those whom they serve, their primary service is related to physical needs.
Number, Election, Terms of Office
There shall be at least three deacons for the first one hundred members of the Church. There shall be at least three additional deacons for each one hundred members up to five hundred, then as many additional deacons as the Church may require can be added. Deacons will serve three-year terms with one-third (1/3) of the Deacons rotating off the Deacon Fellowship each year. No Deacon will be eligible for re-election for at least one year. If an unexpected vacancy occurs prior to one hundred and eighty (180) days before January election, refer to election process.
The term of office of Deacons shall expire on December 31 of their third (3rd) year of service. After serving as a Deacon, no person shall be eligible to serve another term until the lapse of at least one (1) year.
Any man or woman who is a member of the Church over twenty-five (25) years of age and meets the qualifications of Scripture shall be eligible for the office of Deacon, provided he or she is willing and able to serve. They shall also have been an active member of the Church for a period of at least one (1) year at the time of their election. Any man or woman joining Stough Memorial Baptist Church by profession of faith shall have been an active member of this Church for a period of at least two (2) years before he or she is eligible for election. They shall also meet the qualifications of Acts 6:3 and 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
Deacons shall at all times consider themselves servants of the Church, understanding that they do not have authority over the Church except when that authority has been delegated to them by the Pastors and congregation. Their duties are church-wide, covering areas of need, ministry, soul-winning, etc. Deacons, both individually and as a Fellowship, must be supportive of the Senior Pastor, staff and ministry philosophy of Stough Memorial Baptist Church. All new and returning Deacons must complete a Deacon Nomination Questionnaire.
Specific List of Responsibilities:
- As the Holy Spirit directs, the Deacon Fellowship, working in cooperation with the Standing Committees and Pastors, may consider and make recommendations to the Church in any matter pertaining to the work and progress of the Standing Committees for the purpose of being a positive encouragement to these committees.
- The Deacon Fellowship will be the primary pool of spiritually qualified individuals who the Pastors and Stewardship Oversight Committee will call upon to assist them in meeting ministry and administrative needs of the Church as they arise, including but not limited to:
- Oversight of the Care Giving ministry of the Church as described in the Organizational Manual.
- Observance of the Lord’s Supper.
- Ushering and Greeting during regularly scheduled services.
- The Deacon Fellowship will arrange to meet regularly with the Pastors to participate in strategic planning of the Church, at which time they may consider and make recommendations to the Pastors in matters pertaining to but not limited to:
- Ministry functions of the Church
- Stewardship programs of the Church
- Evangelistic emphases of the Church
- Fellowship opportunities for the Church
In this capacity, they will be considered by the Pastors as an advisory team for the purpose of being a positive encouragement to the Pastors as the Pastors seek to implement the vision of the Church as directed by the Holy Spirit.
- The Pastors or Chairman of Deacons may call a special meeting whenever a need for such arises.
- The Deacon Fellowship shall elect annually, among them, a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary and likewise organize themselves to best enable their ministry.
Section 6: Stewardship Oversight Committee
While Scripture indicates that Pastors bear the ultimate responsibility for the watch of the Church, it does allow for the delegation of responsibilities. Therefore, the staff and congregation of Stough Memorial Baptist Church have specifically delegated to the Stewardship Oversight Committee t