MT SINAI BAPTIST CHURCH BY LAWS
For the purpose of preserving and making secure the principles of our faith and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner, consistent with the teaching of God’s holy word, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church, and to preserve the freedom of action of this church with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith, we do declare and establish this constitution.
- Article I - Name
This body shall be known as Mt Sinai Baptist Church of Country Club Road, Pickens, South Carolina.
- Article II - Purpose
The purpose of this body shall be to provide regular opportunities for public worship, sustaining the ordinances, doctrines, and ethics set forth in the New Testament for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ; to nurture, teach, and train its members through a program of Christian education; to support with its offerings all phases of the Lord's work; and to preach and propagate among all people the gospel of our blessed Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ to the end that lost souls might be saved and God be glorified.
- Article III - Statement of Faith
(1) The Holy Scriptures
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the verbally and plenary inspired Word of God. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments are the complete and divine revelation of God to man. The scriptures are inerrant, infallible, and God-breathed. Indestructible and forever settled in Heaven are the Holy Scriptures; they are the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. We further believe that verbal inspiration demands providential preservation; and therefore, by necessity, the Holy Scriptures have been providentially preserved with exact precision. Likewise, it is our contention that to assume our sovereign and almighty God would carelessly abandon what, in the first instance, He gave to mankind is not only unreasonable, but also dishonoring to His divine character and holy nature. Moreover, we believe that a perpetual miracle has been wrought by God to preserve His Word and that the Authorized King James Version of the English Bible is the product of such a miracle. Based on this belief, the Authorized King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by this church. Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:89; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 119:130; Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5-6; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:18; Matthew 24:35; Luke 16:17; Luke 21:33; John 5:39; John 10:35; John 17:17; II Timothy 3:16-17; I Peter 1:23; II Peter 1:19-21; and Revelation 22:18-19
- (2) The One True God
We believe in THE ONE TRUE GOD: an intelligent, sovereign, spiritual, and personal Being; perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, holiness and love, wisdom and power; absolutely separate from and above the world as its Creator, yet everywhere present in the world as the Upholder of all things. He is revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons but without division of nature, essence, or being, and each having a distinct ministry in God’s relation to His creation and people. Genesis 1:1; Exodus 15:11; Psalm 83:18; Psalm 139:7-9; Matthew 28:19; John 10:30; and John 15:26.
(3) The Lord Jesus Christ
We believe in THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: the Second Person of the Triune God, the eternal Word and Only Begotten Son; that without any change in His divine Person, He became man by miracle of the Virgin Birth, thus to continue forever as both true God and true Man, one Person with two natures; that as Man He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin; that as the perfect Lamb of God He gave Himself in death upon the cross, bearing there the sin of the world, and suffering its full penalty of divine wrath in our stead; that He arose from the grave in a glorified body; that as our great High Priest He ascended into heaven, there to appear before the face of God as our advocate and intercessor. John 1:1,14,18; 3:16; Matthew 1:18-25; Galatians 4:4,5; Philippians 2:6-11; I Corinthians 15:3-7; Hebrews 4:14-16; and I John 2:1,2.
(4) The Holy Spirit
We believe in THE HOLY SPIRIT: the Third Person of the Trinity, and the divine Agent in nature, revelation and redemption; that He convicts the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement; that He regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals and anoints all who become children of God through Christ; that He further empowers, guides, teaches, sanctifies and fills believers who daily surrender to him. John 3:5-8; John 14:16,17, 26; John 16:7-14; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 12:13; II Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:13; and Ephesians 5:18.
(5) The Depravity of Man
We believe ALL MEN ARE BY NATURE AND CHOICE SINFUL AND LOST: that man was the direct creation of God, made in His image and likeness; that by personal disobedience to the revealed will of God, man became a sinful creature, the father of a fallen race which is universally sinful in both nature and practice, thus alienated from the life and family of God, under the righteous judgement and wrath of God, and has within himself no possible means of salvation. Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:16-17; Genesis 3:6; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23; Romans 5:12, 19; and Galatians 3:11.
We believe in SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH: that salvation is the free gift of God, neither merited nor secured in part or in whole by any virtue or work of man, but received only by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom all true believers have as a present possession the gift of eternal life, a perfect righteousness, sonship in the family of God, deliverance and security from all condemnation, every spiritual resource needed for life and godliness, and the divine guarantee that they shall never perish; that this salvation affects the whole man; that apart from Christ there is no possible salvation. Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5; John 1:12; John 3:14-16; John 10:28,29; Romans 8:1; and Philippians 1:6.
(7) Christian Conduct
We believe in RIGHTEOUS LIVING AND GODLY WORKS: not as a means of salvation in any sense, but as its proper evidence and fruit; and therefore, as Christians we should obey the Word of our Lord, seek the things which are above, walk as He walked, accept as our solemn responsibility the duty and privileges of bearing the gospel to a lost world; remembering that a victorious and fruitful Christian life is possible only for those who in gratitude for the infinite and undeserved mercies of God, have presented themselves wholly to Christ. Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:1,2; and Philippians 2:12-16.
(8) The Existence of Satan
We believe in THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN: originally created a holy and perfect being, but through pride and wicked ambition rebelled against God, thus becoming utterly depraved in character, the great adversary of God and His people, leader of all other evil angels and wicked spirits, the deceiver and god of this present world: that his powers are vast, but strictly limited by the permissive will of God who overrules all his wicked devices for good; that he was defeated and judged at the cross, and therefore his final doom is certain; that we are able to resist and overcome him only in the armor of God, by the blood of the Lamb, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:12; I Peter 5:8; I John 3:8; and Revelation 12:9-11,20:10.
- (9) The Second Coming of Christ
We believe in THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST: that His coming in the air to rapture His Church, which is our blessed hope, is always imminent; that when He has first by resurrection of the dead and translation of the living, removed from the earth His waiting Church, He will then pour out the righteous judgements of God upon the unbelieving world and afterwards descend with His Church and establish His glorious and literal kingdom over all the nations for a thousand years. Acts 1:11; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; James 5:8; Hebrews 10:37; Jude 14,15; and Revelation 19:11-16 20:4-7.
(10) Future Life, Bodily Resurrection, and Eternal Judgement
We believe in FUTURE LIFE, BODILY RESURRECTION, AND ETERNAL JUDGEMENT: that the spirits of the saved at death go immediately to be with Christ in Heaven, that their works shall be brought before the Judgement Seat of Christ for the determination of rewards which will take place at the time when Christ comes for his own; that the spirits of the unsaved at death descend immediately into Hell where they are kept under punishment until the final day of judgement, at which time their bodies shall be raised from the grave, that they shall be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire, the place of final and everlasting punishment. I Corinthians 15; II Corinthians 5:8-10; Luke 16:19-23; and Revelation 20:11-15.
(11) Church and State Relationship
We believe in the separation of CHURCH AND STATE as pertaining to two specific domains. First, we believe in separation of church and state with regard to the establishment of a national church. In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Vol. II, P. 728, former Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story commented:
The real object of the first amendment was…to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.
This local assembly adheres to this reasoning and believes that it is consistent with the original intent of our nation’s Founding Fathers.
Second, we believe in the separation of church and state in that each has definite and distinct spheres of influence and responsibility. Earthly government, under the leadership of men, regulates only the outward actions of individuals with the well being of society as a whole in final view; whereas, the Church, under leadership of the Triune God-head, ministers the Gospel of salvation to the hearts of individuals, with the magnification and honor of the Lord Jesus Christ in final view.
Although we believe in the separation of church and state concerning these two domains, we do not believe that government should divorce itself from the fundamental principles of honor and morality promoted by the Church of the Living God. Recorded in the Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. XVI, P. 291, Jefferson wrote:
- The liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will is a liberty deemed in other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.
- In the History of the United States, P. 339, Noah Webster also commented, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.” Likewise, from The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Vol. IX, P. 636, Adams declared, “Religion and virtue are the only foundations…of republicanism and of all free governments.”
Furthermore, we believe that civil government is of divine appointment; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously obeyed and respected; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the kings of the earth. Exodus 18:21-22; II Samuel 23:3; Psalm 72:11; Daniel 3:17-18; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 22:21; Matthew 23:10; Acts 5:29; Acts 23:5; Romans 13:1,3; Philippians 2:10-11; Titus 3:1; I Peter 2:13-14; I Peter 2:17; and Revelation 19:16.
(12) The Priesthood of All Believers
We believe in THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS: that Christ is our Great High Priest and through Him every born-again person has direct access into God’s presence without the need of a human priest; that the believer has the right and responsibility to personally study and interpret the Scriptures guided by the Holy Spirit. John 14:6; Hebrews 4:16; II Timothy 2:15; and I Peter 2:2,5, & 9.
(13) The Lordship of Jesus Christ
We believe in THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST: that He alone is Head of the body of Christ, into which all true believers are immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit; that all members of this spiritual body should assemble and identify themselves in local churches. I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22,23; Ephesians 4:11-16; Galatians 1:22.
- (14) The Importance of the Local Church
We believe in THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH: that a New Testament church is a local assembly of born-again baptized believers united in organization to practice New Testament ordinances, to meet together for worship, prayer, fellowship, teaching, and a united testimony, and to actively engage in carrying out the Great Commission. Acts 2:41,42; I Corinthians 11:2; and Matthew 28:19,20.
(15) The Independence and Autonomy of the Local Church
We believe in THE INDEPENDENCE AND AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH: that each New Testament church is free to govern itself without ecclesiastical interference, and should cooperate with other New Testament churches as the Holy Spirit leads; that it is responsible to follow the pattern of the New Testament church and is directly accountable to God. Matthew 18:17; Acts 6:1-5; Acts 13:1-3; and Acts 15:22,23.
(16) The Ordinances of the Local Church
We believe THE ORDINANCES GIVEN TO THE LOCAL CHURCH ARE TWO: BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER: that baptism is by immersion of believers, thus portraying the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ; that the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of the bread and cup by the believer as a continuing memorial of the broken body and shed blood of Christ. Matthew 26:26-30; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 2:41; Acts 8:38-39; and I Corinthians 11:23-34.
- Article IV - Church Covenant
The church covenant is a voluntary agreement by members of a Baptist Church whereby they pledge to conduct their lives in such a way as to glorify God and promote the ongoing of His church. The Church Covenant of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church reads as follows:
- Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, 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, 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, acquaintances, and all others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful to our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale or use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Saviour.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy of speech; to be slow to take offense, and always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Saviour, to secure reconciliation without delay.
Moreover, we 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.
May the God of peace, who raised up our Saviour by His own glory, work in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
- Article V - Membership
- Section 1. Qualifications
The membership of this church shall be composed of persons who have given evidence of regeneration, who have been baptized by immersion, who renounce sin and endeavor to live a consecrated life unto the Lord, who have subscribed to the covenant and constitution of this church, who have been received by a majority vote of the church, and upon compliance with any one of the following conditions:
(A) By letter of transfer from another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice;
(B) Anyone who has once been a member of a Baptist church, and in consequence of peculiar circumstances has no regular letter of dismission, may be received into our fellowship upon a statement satisfactory to the church;
(C) By testimony of faith, having been baptized by immersion; or
(D) By restoration, if having been removed from membership, upon majority vote of the congregation after confession is made publicly before the church membership of the sin or sins involved, and satisfactorily evidencing repentance to the pastor (or board of deacons if the office of pastor is vacant).
(E) No Member of a Secret Society shall be allowed to join this Church.
Section 2: Duties
On becoming a member of this church, each individual pledges to engage in a lifestyle that conforms to Biblical beliefs and practices; especially as designated in Colossians 3:5-17, I Peter 2:1-2, and I Peter 3:8-9 which read as follows:
- Colossians 3:5-17
(5) Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (6) For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: (7) In the which ye also walked some time when ye lived in them. (8) But now ye also put off these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (9) Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; (10) And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (11) Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scithian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (12) Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (13) Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (14) And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. (15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
I Peter 2:1-2
(1) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, (2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
I Peter 3:8-9
(8) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (9) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
- Members of this Church are also to love and pray for the pastor as well as recognize his authority in spiritual affairs of the church; members are to support the church in prayer, tithe and attend services regularly; and share in the church’s organized work with their time and talents.
Section 3. Dress Code
The purpose of this dress code is twofold. First, Philippians 2:15 instructs Believers to be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. Therefore, the dress code is to ensure that when this body of believers is assembled together, the world will not be able to lay a charge against it due to the inappropriate appearance of any of its members. Second, in Leviticus 11:44, God commands, For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy. We honor God in the most excellent way when we live to him in living like him. If, when assembled together, whether in our church building or while participating in a church sponsored activity, members are dressed in a manner not demonstrative of modesty, the holiness of our Divine Creator is not honored. Based on these two reasons, the dress code for this local assembly when in fellowship with one another is as follows:
1) All men shall wear pants and not shorts.
2) All women shall wear dresses or skirts at a length demonstrative of modesty (I Tim. 2:9-10).
3) At church socials or outings, men must wear pants and not shorts; women may wear modest length, “dress-like” culottes.
4) Children and teens are also held to this same standard. Although, this dress code is not enforced to the letter with regard to toddlers, parents are asked to dress toddlers in a manner appropriate to good taste.
Finally, the dress code is not to incite an atmosphere of legalism or self-righteousness, but to raise a standard of holiness.
Section 4. Rights and Privileges
During the election of officers and teachers, as well as any other time they deem necessary, the pastor and deacons shall review the membership roll. Upon examination of the membership roll and recommendation of the pastor and deacons, any member who is habitually absent from the worship and support of the church without due cause for a period of six months, shall be removed from the active membership and placed on the inactive membership list. Inactive members forfeit their right to vote in any business of the church. An inactive member must be active in the worship and support of the church for a period of at least six months before being reinstated as an active member of the church and regaining his or her right to vote in the business matters of the church. Pastor, deacons, and members shall make a sincere effort to reclaim spiritually those on the inactive list. Anyone who continues on the inactive list for a period of two years shall have his or her membership terminated. However, membership may be reinstated upon approval by the church. (Exceptions to termination of membership will be allowed due to military service or extended illness.)
Section 5. Discipline of a Member
Being that it is the responsibility of the individual believer to sustain a lifestyle that brings honor and glory to our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, so it is the responsibility of the local assembly, comprised of a body of believers, to maintain the same high moral standard as set forth in Section 2 of Article V.
In accordance to this responsibility, the local assembly is admonished in I Corinthians 5:11, Not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Verse thirteen of the same chapter provides the rationale for such an admonishment in these words, But them that are without God judgeth.
Therefore, toleration for the willful continuance in a lifestyle unbecoming of Biblical beliefs and practices by any single member or group of members will not be permitted since such behavior would directly bring reproach and condemnation from those without upon the collective body of believers attending this local assembly, and likewise, indirectly diminish its effectiveness in representing its Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in a manner suitable to His wonderful excellency.
In compliance with the above declaration, initial membership will be denied to any individual who insists on maintaining a homosexual relationship and lifestyle (declared sinful in Genesis 19:4-7, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-32, and I Corinthians 6:9) or a sexually active relationship outside the bonds of marriage, as well as any other lifestyle which does not conform to scriptural creeds and practices. Likewise, established membership will be revoked to any member who would willfully continue in the sinful lifestyles previously listed. This procedure clearly has God’s approval as evidenced by Paul’s instruction to the church of Corinth when he directed its believers concerning one practicing sexual immorality, Therefore, put away from among yourselves that wicked person (I Cor. 5:11).
Procedures for the revoking of membership are based on Matthew 18:15-17 and are as follows:
(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 deviation from the statement of faith, church covenant or the qualifications listed in Section 1 of Article V. If the pastor or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee. He shall be entitled to the same steps as other 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 spiritual growth and testimony, 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, preferably 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 members present at a duly called meeting for the purpose of considering disciplinary action. Notice of this disciplinary action will be published in the church bulletin two Sundays prior to said meeting.
(F) 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, all contact with him from that point forward should only be for the purpose of restoration (except family members).
It is; however, recognized by this body of believers that even after being justified by our Saviour’s blood (Rom. 5:9), Christians are still robed in a veil of flesh and are prone to sin as affirmed by I John 1:8 which reads, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Hence, this local assembly also joyfully complies to the instruction presented in Galatians 6:1 which states, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” In conformance with this passage of Holy Writ, this body of believers will receive back into fellowship any individual who has had membership revoked but returned with a repentant heart, confessing his or her sin to Almighty God.
Finally, just as our Saviour came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10), so this local assembly seeks to minister the glorious gospel of the blessed God (I Tim. 1:11) to all lost and dying souls. This local assembly will turn away no individual who has repented of his or her sin and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, no matter how great the degree of sin participated in prior to regeneration. However, this local assembly also follows our Saviour’s example with regard to His instruction to the adulteress after she had accepted Him as Lord. He commanded her, Go, and sin no more (John 8:11).
- Article VI - Officers
Section 1. Church Officers
The church officers are Pastor (see Article VII), Deacon (see Article XIII), Assistant Pastor (see Article IX), Sunday School Superintendent (see Article IX), Church Clerk (see Article IX), and Church Treasurer (see Article IX). One person may hold two or more offices, except that of pastor. The pastor, from time to time as he deems appropriate, may appoint other church officers, subject to a confirmation vote of the church membership.
Section 2. Eligibility for Office
(A) All church officers shall be in agreement with the Statement of Faith as set forth in Article III.
(B) All church officers shall be approved by the pastor and deacon board.
(C) Only church members are eligible for election or appointment to any church office or position.
(D) Any member who is also a member of a secret society is not eligible to serve in any office or position in the church.
Section 3. Terms of Office
The length of terms of office shall be as follows:
(A) The relationship between the pastor and the church shall be permanent unless dissolved at the option of either party under the guidelines set forth in Article VII, Sections 3 & 4. The severance of the relationship between the pastor and the church may be considered at any regular church administration meeting under the guidelines found in Article VII, Sections 3 & 4. Disciplinary removal of the pastor from office automatically terminates his membership.
(B) The term of service for all offices and positions in the church, with the exception of the pastor and deacons, shall be one year. Upon expiration of one year’s service, officers may be re-elected or re-appointed.
(C) A vacancy occurring in any office, except in the case of the pastor or deacons, may be filled in any regular church business meeting.
(D) All elected and appointed officers shall serve in their respective offices until their successors are duly elected or appointed.
Section 4. Election of Officers
The annual election of officers by the church membership shall occur during the second Sunday of August at the annual church election of officers and teachers.
Section 5. Pastor and Deacon Oversight of Officers and Staff
(A) Subject to the approval by the church membership, and on the condition that they become a member of the church upon assuming their duties, the pastor, with the approval of the deacon board, may hire associates and assistants to assist the pastor in carrying out his God-given responsibilities.
(B) All church staff, whether paid or volunteer, shall be under the supervision of the pastor.
- Article VII - Pastoral Qualifications and Guidelines
Section 1. Qualifications
Since God has chosen to manifest His word through preaching (Titus 1:3), the position of pastor carries with it the highest rank of all positions in a church body. It is through preaching that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is carried to the world for how shall they hear without a preacher (Rom. 10:14). It is also through preaching that the sheep are fed (John 21:15), with the flock’s watch and care being committed to the pastor’s trust.
Accordingly, an office of such importance demands the highest of Biblical qualifications. Therefore, the pastor of this local assembly must meet the qualifications set forth in I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. These passages read as follows:
- I Timothy 3:1-7
(1) This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. (2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; (4) One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (5) (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) (6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. (7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
(6) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (7) For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; (8) But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; (9) Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
- Based on these scriptural guidelines, no woman shall occupy the office of pastor in this church since it is not possible for a woman to be the husband of one wife. The advocacy and adoption of a female pastor would also be in direct contradiction to I Timothy 1:12 which reads, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man.”
Next, in accordance with I Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6, no divorced or remarried man shall occupy the office of pastor in this local assembly with the exception of he who has been widowed or never married. If the pastor is widowed and chooses to remarry, his second wife must also be widowed or never have been married.
Section 2. Duties
The pastor shall give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine (I Tim. 4:13), as well as giving himself continually to prayer (Acts 6:4); he shall have charge over the welfare, oversight, and services of the church. He shall preach the word, being instant in season and out of season (II Tim. 4:2), and he shall be apt to teach (II Tim. 2:24). His shall also be the responsibility for administering the ordinances and performing the usual duties of a Baptist minister.
The pastor shall be an ex officio member of all boards and committees; he shall be a member of this church; he may call a special meeting of the deacons or any committee as he deems necessary; he shall have special charge over the pulpit ministry of the church.
The pastor shall moderate the business sessions of the church. The assistant pastor may moderate regular business meetings, with the approval of the pastor or the chairman of deacons, when the pastor is away. If the church is presently without a pastor, the chairman of the deacons shall call the meeting to order and act as moderator.
Section 3. Pastoral Resignation Procedures
Upon a decision of resignation, the pastor will give the church not less than thirty days notice of his intention to discontinue as pastor unless otherwise mutually agreed, with both pastor and church seeking to follow the will of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Section 4. Pastoral Dismissal Procedures
The dismissal of the pastor will be initiated for the following reasons:
1) b Upon a pastor’s noncompliance with the doctrinal foundations set forth in this local assembly’s Statement of Faith.
2) b Upon actions of his doing that would deem him scripturally unqualified as determined in Section 1 of Article VII.
3) b Upon his noncompliance to faithfully adhere to the duties as described in Section 2 of Article VII.
A recommendation of dismissal will be submitted to the church body by the deacon board after they have diligently sought the sentiment of the assembly of believers they serve, and most importantly, after they have sincerely and patiently sought the will of God through prayer and meditation in the Holy Word.
The pastor shall be dismissed by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at a special meeting called for that purpose. Such a meeting shall be announced from the pulpit for two Sundays immediately preceding the date of such a meeting. Only members classified as active will be eligible to vote, and voting shall be by secret ballot. Upon a vote of dismissal, the pastor will be immediately removed from office.
Section 5. Purpose, Formation and Responsibilities of Pulpit Committee
Upon the resignation or dismissal of the pastor, a pulpit committee will be formed. The purpose of the pulpit committee is to seek out and nominate as pastor a minister of the gospel whose Christian character and qualification Biblically apply to the office of pastor.
The pulpit committee shall be made up of the deacon board, along with either two or three other men who have been elected by the church. The Chairman of the Deacons shall also act as Chairman of the pulpit committee.
The pulpit committee will be responsible for the pulpit supply. In the absence of a permanent pastor, an interim pastor shall be recommended by the pulpit committee and voted on by the church body after hearing him preach. A 75% vote will be necessary for the interim pastor’s election.
The pulpit committee shall carefully examine the candidate for pastor as to his salvation, doctrine, Christian conduct 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 Statement of Faith, Church Covenant, and Church Constitution. Any disagreement that he holds concerning these documents should be submitted to the pulpit committee in writing. He shall also state in writing any disagreement that he holds relating to church supported missions, groups, and other associations with which the church is in fellowship. The pulpit committee shall present only one man at a time for the consideration and vote of the church, and no nomination shall be made except from that of the pulpit committee.
Section 6. Procedures and Requirements for the Call of a Pastor
The call of the pastor shall take place at a meeting especially called for that purpose, of which at least two weeks notice has been given to the membership. Election shall be by secret ballot, and only active members will be eligible to vote. A 75% majority of those present and voting shall be necessary for a call. Should the one recommended by the committee fail to receive this vote, the committee will be instructed to seek out another minister. The meeting will then be adjourned without debate.
Upon the necessary majority vote, a written call and agreement shall be presented to the prospective pastor by the pulpit committee, giving details of church-pastoral relations, including salary, housing and car allowances, insurance, vacations, etc., after these matters have been discussed with the pastor and approved mutually. When a pastor accepts the call of the church, the services of the pulpit committee shall terminate immediately.
- Article VIII - Qualifications and Guidelines for the Office of Deacon
Section 1. Qualifications
This church shall be served by as many deacons as deemed necessary by the pastor and deacon board. These men shall be selected from those members, in good standing, who have proven themselves to be scripturally qualified based on I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:3 which read as follows:
- I Timothy 3:8-13
(8) Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; (9) Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience. (10) And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. (11) Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. (12) Let the deacons be the husband of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. (13) For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
(3) Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost, and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Based on these scriptural guidelines, no woman shall occupy the office of deacon in this church since it is not possible for a woman to be the husband of one wife. The advocacy and adoption of a female deacon would also be in direct contradiction to I Timothy 1:12 which reads, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man.”
- Next, in accordance with I Timothy 1:12, no divorced or remarried man shall occupy the office of deacon in this local assembly with the exception of he who has been widowed or never married; provided that his second wife has been widowed or never married.
Since the deacon must be proved (I Tim. 3:10) and hands are to be laid on no man suddenly (I Tim. 5:22), no man will be considered for the office of deacon without first being a member of this assembly for at least two years.
The Chairman of the deacon board shall be elected by the deacons from their own number.
Any time a member has been selected by the church body to serve as a deacon, having never been elected or ordained as a deacon by another church body, he must be ordained.
Section 2. Duties
Deacons shall at all times consider themselves servants of the church and be zealous to guard the unity of the church. They are to help the pastor in the oversight of the church, especially in the physical needs and the moral and spiritual problems of the members. With the pastor, and as the Holy Spirit may direct, they are to consider and make recommendations to the church in matters pertaining to its work and progress; to assist the pastor in the observance of the ordinances; and to supervise the financial program of the church. They shall arrange for regular meetings and for such committees as are necessary to the discharge of their duties. The pastor or deacon chairman may call the deacons into special session whenever need for such arises.
Section 3. Deacon Election
Candidates for the office of deacon shall be appointed by the pastor and approved by the deacon body. After the pastor and deacon board have agreed on specific men eligible for candidacy as a deacon, those names will be presented to the congregation for prayerful consideration.
Two Sundays following this recommendation, the church will elect the specified number of needed deacons. Candidates must be approved by a 75% majority vote. In the event that there is a vacancy by death, resignation, or by transfer of letter, the same procedure for filling the vacancy will be followed as for a new deacon election.
Section 4. Dismissal Procedures
At any time an active deacon fails to meet the scriptural qualifications as set forth in Section 1 of Article VIII, a hearing shall be held before the deacon board and the pastor. If, after such a hearing, it is deemed necessary by the deacon board and pastor, recommendation of a dismissal vote will be presented to the congregation, and notice of this vote will be given two weeks prior to said action. A simple majority vote shall disqualify and remove the deacon from the deacon board. If a deacon or deacons bring shame or reproach upon the church through actions such as lying, gossiping, or causing strife that would contribute to disunity within the church body, they are to be dismissed from the deacon board and are subject to church discipline as described in Article V, Section 5.
- Article IX - Other Church Officers
Section 1. Assistant Pastor
Under the direction and guidance of the pastor, the Assistant Pastor of the church shall assist the pastor in carrying out the ministries of the church.
Section 2. Sunday School Superintendent
The Superintendent of Sunday School shall supervise the Sunday School. In consultation with the pastor and deacons, he shall recommend the appointment of the teachers of the Sunday School to the Election Committee. He shall preside at the teachers’ meetings, and report on the condition of the Sunday School at the annual church administration meeting. An assistant superintendent will assist him.
Section 3. Church Clerk
The Church Clerk shall keep a record of church proceedings, of the membership roll, of all baptisms, of certificates of ordination, licenses and commissions as directed by the church, and preserve all documents, papers, and letters coming into his hands during his term of office. He shall present a reading of the preceding business meeting’s minutes at the regular monthly business meeting. All records are to be kept in the church office, and delivered to any successor upon leaving office. He shall keep an account of any special events in the life of the church which are of historical interest.
Section 4. Church Treasurer
The Church Treasurer shall account for all funds contributed to the church and shall disburse the same as ordered by the church. He shall present a written report of itemized disbursements at the regular monthly business meetings. All expenditures of the church, except miscellaneous petty cash disbursements, shall be paid by check.
- Article X - Church Organizations
Section 1. The Sunday School
A. b The purpose of the Sunday School is to win each pupil to the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour, and to instruct him or her in the Word and in Christian living, including church membership and attendance.
B. b All class officers of junior high age and above shall be members of the church.
C. b All officers and teachers of the school shall be appointed annually and shall be members of this church in good standing. Anyone whose conduct or teaching is considered injurious to the class, school, or church shall, upon recommendation of the superintendent, be referred to the pastor and deacons for necessary action. In accordance with I Timothy 2:12, no woman shall teach any class wherein are adult men.
D. b No church member who is also a member of a secret society will be allowed to teach in this local assembly.
E. b The pastor and deacons must first approve all teachers and officers before the church election.
F. b Approval of the literature shall be the responsibility of the pastor, deacons, and Sunday School superintendent.
G. b All teachers are to use the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. No other Bible is suitable for teaching a class in this church. Any teacher who refuses to use the Authorized King James Version of the Bible shall be considered subject to church discipline or dismissal.
- Article XI - Music Program
Section 1. Music Director
The Music Director, in cooperation with the Assistant Music Director, shall be responsible for providing worshipful music at all services. The Music Director is to direct the choir in practice and public singing, and is to cooperate with the pastor and other leaders in the selection of music and the devising of appropriate musical programs for all occasions where services are needed. A separate music director will be responsible for the Youth Choir’s practice and public singing.
Section 2. Musicians
All musicians shall assist the Music Director in a suitable program of music for the church.
- Article XII - Missions
It shall be the policy of this church to support missions engaged principally in evangelization and establishment of Independent Baptist Churches (which shall be known to be in hearty agreement with our Statement of Faith, both in doctrine and practice). Mission boards and social agencies, such as homes for the elderly, children’s homes, etc., shall also be considered an appropriate part of the missionary program. The resolution for supporting a missionary or missionary program will be determined by the following procedures:
(A) After prayerful consideration, the pastor will discuss with the deacon body his burden to support a particular missionary or missionary program. The amount of money to be used for this support will also be discussed.
(B) Upon mutual agreement between the pastor and deacon board concerning the support of a missionary or missionary program, the pastor will make a recommendation to the church body for supporting the said missionary activity. Included in the recommendation will be the intended monetary amount to be offered for the proposed support. This recommendation may be made at any given business meeting.
(C) A 75% majority vote by the church body will initiate support.
- Article XIII - General
Section 1. Use of Church Property and Name
A. b Use of the property for reasons other than regularly scheduled meetings shall first be approved by the pastor and deacons.
B. b All gatherings on the church property held in the name of the church shall be subject to approval of the pastor and deacons.
C. b No secret society will be permitted to hold meetings in this church.
D. b No pastor or pulpit orator will be permitted to preach in this church who fails to clearly confess the fundamentals of the faith once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). Any visiting speaker must have the approval of the pastor.
- Article XIV - Government of the Church
Section 1. The government of the church shall be in the hands of the members.
Section 2. Regular monthly church business meetings shall observe the following order of business:
1. b Reading of Minutes (including membership issues)
2. b Report of Finances
3. b Unfinished Business
4. b New Business
5. b Adjournment
Section 3. The Church business meetings shall be guided by the Robert’s Rules of Order except in cases especially provided for in this constitution.
A copy of this Constitution shall at all times be kept by the Church Clerk among his records and another copy in the church office, and all amendments to, or revisions thereof, shall, after passage by the church, be prepared by the clerk and put in the copies of the Constitution, and made available to the church members generally upon request.
Section 4. A. The active members of the church as determined by Article V, Section 4, shall be entitled to vote on any matter of church business.
B. A majority of the active members shall constitute a quorum and a simple majority of those present shall rule on the matters that constitute the necessary business of the church.
C. The church shall elect three Trustees who are authorized to make, execute, and deliver any deed, mortgage or other necessary documents on behalf of the church. Said trustees shall have no power except as authorized by a proper resolution adopted at a duly called congregational meeting at which a majority shall have voted in favor of the resolution. These trustees shall hold office for a period of time deemed necessary by the pastor and deacons being approved by the congregation.
- Article XV - Adoption and Amendments
Section 1. Adoption
This constitution shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when three-fourths of the members present at the regular business meeting, at which time vote is taken, shall vote in favor of the same. This vote shall be taken not less than 30 days after formal presentation of the constitution to the church.
Section 2. Amendments
This constitution may be amended or altered by a three-fourths vote of the church members present at any regular business meeting of the church, provided, that such amendments, or alterations, be given to the clerk in writing, and this proposed change shall be presented to the church at least thirty days prior to the time the vote is taken.
Church constitution Of Mt Sinai Baptist Church 830 Country Club Road Pickens, South Carolina