- CHURCH NAME
- CHURCH GOVERNMENT AND AFFILIATION
- CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
- CHURCH OFFICES
- DUTIES OF CHURCH OFFICERS
- CHURCH BOARDS, COMMITTEES, AND ORGANIZATIONS
- DUTIES OF CHURCH BOARDS AND COMMITTEES
- CHURCH MEETINGS
- CHURCH VOTING
- CHURCH FACILITIES AND PROPERTY USAGE
Reposing our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, believing in the teaching and practices of New Testament Baptists, and in those great distinctive principles for which they have stood, and accepting as a general summary of doctrine and duties a covenant and Articles of Faith contained herein:
We, therefore, bind ourselves together, as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ and adopt for our government and plan of worship and service the following articles:
- CHURCH NAME
The name of this church under the authority of God alone, shall be the Midlands Bible Baptist Church of Bellevue, Nebraska.
- CHURCH GOVERNMENT AND AFFILIATION
Section A. Government.This church is an autonomous body of baptized (immersed) believers, the government being vested in its active membership and exercised through its duly elected officers. The instruments of government are the Holy Bible (66 canonized books), the Articles of Faith, Church Covenant and Bylaws.
Section B. Autonomy.(1) We, the Midlands Bible Baptist Church of Bellevue, Nebraska, shall be known as an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church.(2) This church reserves the right to fellowship with any Christian organization which clearly holds to our Articles of Faith, and in no way lays claim to any of our property. In no wise shall this church become a permanent “affiliate” or “member” of any organization; we forever reserve the right to withdraw fellowship.
Section C. Separation.(1) In no wise shall this church cooperate, fellowship or contribute to any organization identified or connected with the National Council of Churches and/or World Council of Churches or future progenitors of such.(2) In no wise shall this church cooperate, fellowship or contribute to any organization identified or connected with the so-called “Charismatic Renewal.”
- CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Section A. Church Membership Defined.This church shall consist of baptized believers in Christ, who take the Holy Bible as their only rule of faith and practice.
Section B. Membership Acquisition.Persons may be received into the membership of this church (a) by letters of recommendation from other Baptist churches of like faith and order; or, (b) by relation of the Christian salvation experience, having previously been baptized into a Baptist church of like faith and order; or, (c) by confession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and following Him in scriptural water baptism. In each case, the candidate must give evidence of a change of heart, the testimony of a Christian life, and the adoption of the views of faith and practice held by this church.
Section C. Membership Dismissal and Status.(1) A member in good standing may be dismissed to the fellowship of another Baptist church by a letter of recommendation. A member wishing to withdraw from the church to enter some other denomination shall be dropped from the membership roll.(2) To be considered an active member of this church, and maintain ones voting privilege, a member must have attended at least twelve (12) regular services during the preceding six (6) months, unless providentially hindered. Those who willfully absent themselves for this stated period of time shall automatically be placed on an inactive list, forfeiting the voting privilege afforded active members.
Section D. Church Discipline.(1) All members of this church shall hold themselves subject to the discipline of this church and shall conduct themselves in accordance with the articles of this instrument, and the covenant of faith of this church.(2) In a case where offense is believed to have been given, and that for the sake of the church the offender should be disciplined by the church, those who are in possession of evidence concerning the alleged offense, must present that evidence in writing to the Discipline Committee for consideration. Because the Office of Pastor is worthy of double honor, no accusation shall be received against the pastor without two or three (2 or 3) witnesses (I Timothy 5:17, 19).(3) The Board of Deacons shall constitute a standing committee of discipline to whom all cases of apostasy and grievous moral delinquencies shall be referred. No one shall have the right to accuse any member of the church at any public meeting of the church unless this person, or group of persons has first presented the charge to the Committee on Discipline.(4) A member under church discipline is prohibited from all the rights of membership, including dismissal to another Baptist church. If found guilty of the charges made, he may, by three-fourths (3/4) vote of the active members present and voting, be excluded; provided, however, that due notice of the meeting be given to all active church members in advance, and the accused member afforded an opportunity to appear in his own behalf; and provided also that the steps pointed out by the Master in the 5th and 18th chapters of the Gospel of Matthew be strictly followed to secure reconciliation and forgiveness, if possible, before the church takes action.(5) If a member under church discipline shall voluntarily make a confession to the church, and manifest an evidence of true repentance, no further proceedings shall be entertained. One who has been excluded from membership may be reinstated to full fellowship by making a voluntary confession, showing true repentance, and by expressing a desire to reunite with the church fellowship.
- CHURCH OFFICES
Section A. The Existent Offices.The offices of this church shall consist of pastor, deacons, trustees, church clerk, church treasurer, assistant treasurer, and finance clerk. All persons holding such offices shall be members of this church.
Section B. The Office of Pastor.(1) A pastoral candidate for this church must meet the qualifications of that office as listed in I Timothy 3:1-7, and rigorously adhere to the Articles of Faith adopted by this church.(2) The pastor shall be elected for an indefinite term of office by the process prescribed in paragraph five (5).(3) The pastor/church relationship may be dissolved by mutual agreement after thirty (30) days notice. This time may be extended to meet the needs of the pastor or church by mutual agreement.(4) On occasion of a pastor or church desire to terminate the relationship without mutual agreement, either party may disregard mutual agreement and terminate the relationship. If the pastor terminates the relationship, the church is automatically relieved of any further obligation as to salary or regularly extended church facilities. Other arrangements may be made by mutual agreement. If the church should terminate the relationship, the church will extend regular church facilities and salary for one (1) month.(5) The call or dismissal of a pastor shall come before the church at a regular or specially called business meeting, with notice of such meeting and its purpose having been announced from the pulpit on two successive Sundays previous. A three-fourths (3/4) vote of all active members present and voting shall be necessary to make such action valid.(6) In the event of a vacancy occurring in the pulpit due to death, resignation or termination, the Board of Deacons shall constitute the Pulpit Committee (see Article VII, Section E for duties of the Pulpit Committee).(7) Any speaker occupying the pulpit or otherwise addressing this church membership must first be approved by the pastor (or Pulpit Committee, if a pulpit vacancy exists).
Section C. The Office of Deacon.(1) Those individuals designated as Church Deacons must meet the qualifications of that office as listed in I Timothy 3:8-13. A proving period (as mentioned in vs. 10) shall be defined as six (6) months of prior membership in this church, and eighteen (18) months tenure as a born- again believer.(2) This church shall have sufficient number of deacons (such number determined by the pastor), who constitute the Board of Deacons, provided such men are available who meet the requirements of paragraph one (1).(3) An incumbent deacon, derelict in his qualifications or duties, shall be asked to resign his office. If a resignation if refused, said deacon may be removed from office in a special church business meeting, duly announced, by a simple majority vote of active church members present and voting.(4) All nominations for the Office of Deacon shall be submitted to and accepted by the Nomination Committee within a period of one to three (1 to 3) weeks prior to the annual business meeting. Those individuals nominated for the Office of Deacon shall be screened by the Nomination Committee so as to determine candidate status.(5) Each deacon shall be elected for a one-year term of office by the active church membership at the annual business meeting, and shall hold office until a successor is elected, or he vacates that office as prescribed in paragraphs three (3) or six (6).(6) A deacon who moves his place of residence a distance prohibiting regular attendance, automatically vacates his office. Vacancies left by death or other causes may be filled by pastoral appointment for the unexpired term of office. Otherwise, vacancies will remain until the next annual business meeting.(7) Whenever the number of deacon offices is increased (such need determined by the pastor), the total number required to fill all vacancies will be elected at the next annual business meeting. Newly elected deacons shall be installed according to Acts 6:1-7.
Section D. The Office of Trustee.(1) The pastor shall be Chairman of the Board of Trustees. In the event of a pulpit vacancy, the President of the Board of Deacons shall act as Chairman. The trustees of this church shall be the Pastor, President of the Board of Deacons, Treasurer and two (2) Trustees at Large. (Amendment I) (2) The Trustees at Large shall be elected from the Board of Deacons by the Board of Deacons. (3) In the event of a non-existent deacon board, or insufficient number of deacons, the church trustees, or balance of such, shall consist of men nominated by the pastor and duly elected by the active church membership.
Section E. The Office of Church Clerk. The church clerk shall be appointed by the pastor.
Section F. The Offices of Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer. (1) The church treasurer and assistant treasurer shall be elected from the Board of Deacons by the Board of Deacons. (2) In the event of a non-existent Board of Deacons, the treasurer and assistant treasurer shall be appointed by the pastor.
Section G. The Office of Finance Clerk. The finance clerk shall be appointed by the pastor.
- DUTIES OF CHURCH OFFICERS
Section A. General Responsibility.In order to promote a high spiritual standard in the church, all officers, teachers, and committee men will be members of this church and will be expected to attend the regular services of the church faithfully when not providentially hindered.
Section B. Duties of the Pastor.(1) The pastor shall preach the Gospel regularly, administer the ordinances, act as moderator of all meetings for the transaction of business, supervise the teaching ministry of the church, tenderly watch over its membership and spiritual interest, and organize and develop its strength for the best possible service.(2) In the event of illness, absence, or pulpit vacancy, the associate pastor shall act as business meeting moderator. If there be no associate pastor, the President of the Board of Deacons shall act as moderator. If the President is not available, someone duly elected from the Board of Deacons shall moderate that particular meeting. (Amendment I)(3) The pastor shall be given liberty by the church to conduct revivals, Bible conferences, or other such meetings, as he feels led of the Holy Spirit to do so. He shall be at liberty to attend seminars, fellowship meetings, and conferences he deems necessary to his ministry. When the pastor is absent from his pulpit, he is responsible to engage a suitable supply.(4) The pastor shall hire, discharge and accept or reject resignations of all salaried personnel of this church.(5) The pastor shall possess authority for the appointment and removal of all church staff not holding elected offices (superintendents, teachers, clerks, etc.).(6) The pastor shall be Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chief Executive Officer of the church. (Amendment I)
Section C. Duties of the Deacons.The deacons shall officiate with the pastor at the Lord’s Supper, attend to the necessities of the poor, and act as an advisory committee to the pastor in planning the work of the church financially and otherwise. With the pastor, they will make such recommendations to the church as they deem wise, and aid the pastor in zealously guarding and fostering the spiritual life of the church. A quorum for the transaction of business shall be a majority of the deacons.
Section D. Duties of the Trustees.The trustees of this church, at the direction of the membership (such direction having been attained by a three-fourths (3/4) affirmative vote of all active members present and voting), shall conduct all legal business of the church.
Section E. Duties of the Church Clerk.The church clerk shall (a) keep a correct record of the proceedings of the church at all meetings (e.g., business meetings, deacon board meetings, and various committee meetings necessitating his (or her) presence); (b) keep a complete registry of membership; (c) be responsible for the issue of dismissal letters and call for letters of recommendation as directed by the church; (d) preserve all papers and letters coming into his (or her) hands during the term of office, and delivering the same and all records kept by the church clerk to his (or her) successor.
Section F. Duties of the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer.(1) The church treasurer and assistant treasurer shall receive and account for all funds contributed and shall disburse the same as ordered by the church and Finance Committee.(2) The church treasurer shall present a monthly financial report of church receipts and disbursements to the Finance Committee. A detailed report showing the financial condition of the church will be submitted to the entire church at each annual business meeting.(3) All general fund checks in the amount of $100.00 or more, all payroll checks, all building fund checks, and all mission fund checks shall be signed by the treasurer and assistant treasurer.(4) In absence of the treasurer, the assistant treasurer shall perform the duties of the treasurer. In absence of the assistant treasurer, a person designated by the Board of Deacons shall perform the duties of assistant treasurer. In all instances, a double signature shall be required on those checks listed in paragraph three (3).(5) General fund checks for an amount less than $100.00 may be singularly signed by a person designated by the Board of Deacons.
Section G. Duties of Finance Clerk.The finance clerk shall assist the treasurer and/or assistant treasurer in the receiving and accounting of all funds contributed. He (or she) shall not possess any legal or administrative authority.
- CHURCH BOARDS, COMMITTEES, AND ORGANIZATIONS
Section A. General Principles.It shall be understood that all organizations of this church are a part of this church and subject to its jurisdiction. They shall not conduct themselves in any way that is unbecoming to the Christian faith or that shall bring discredit to the body of which they are a part. They shall in no way allow any activities which are contrary to scripture or disapproved by this church.
Section B. The Role of the Pastor.The pastor shall be an ex-officio, voting member of all boards, committees, and organizations of this church.
Section C. The Board of Deacons.Qualified men, each elected to a one-year term of office, shall constitute the Board of Deacons. Personal requirements and a description of the office are found in Article IV, Section C.
Section D. The Organization of Committees.(1) Any subsequent committee, deemed necessary for a proper church function by either the pastor or Board of Deacons, will be reviewed by the pastor and Board of Deacons, whereby its necessity and outline of duties will be determined. (2) A decision by both parties (pastor and deacon board) to create any permanent church committee (e.g., Missions Committee) will require the submission of such recommendation to a church vote. If church approval is obtained, an amendment will be made (see Article X) to these bylaws listing the committee in Article VI and outlining its duties in Article VII.(3) A decision by both parties (pastor and deacon board), in accordance with paragraph one (1), to create any temporary committee (e.g., Building Committee) will not require a church vote or bylaws amendment.
Section E. The Discipline Committee.(1) The Board of Deacons shall constitute a standing Committee of Discipline to whom all cases and charges of Christian discipline to whom all cases and charges of Christian delinquency shall be referred.(2) In the event of a matter being referred to the Discipline Committee and there be no deacons (see Article IV, Section C, paragraphs 2, 3, & 6), the pastor alone shall be referenced.
Section F. The Finance Committee.The Board of Deacons shall constitute a standing committee of finance.
Section G. The Nomination Committee.(1) The Board of Deacons shall constitute the committee to whom church officer nominations shall be submitted.(2) In the event of a non-existent deacon board, church officer nominations shall be submitted to the pastor.
Section H. The Pulpit Committee.(1) The Board of Deacons shall constitute the Pulpit Committee. The President of the Board of Deacons shall act as Chairman of the Pulpit Committee and shall convene the committee at the earliest possible time after the pulpit has been vacated. (Amendment I)(2) In the event of a pulpit vacancy and there be no deacons (see Article IV, Section C, paragraphs 2, 3, & 6), three (3) men, duly elected by the church, shall convene for the sole purpose of seeking pastoral candidates. After a pastor is named, this interim Pulpit Committee shall be dissolved.
- DUTIES OF CHURCH BOARDS AND COMMITTEES
Section A. Duties of the Board of Deacons.The duties of the deacon board are found in Article V, Section C.
Section B. Duties of the Discipline Committee.It shall be the duty of the Discipline Committee to review and investigate accusations of apostasy, gross immorality, dishonesty, and worldliness among members of this church allegedly guilty of such charges and the avenues open to committee action are outlined in Article III, Section D.
Section C. Duties of the Finance Committee.(1) It shall be the duty of the Finance Committee to make recommendations to the church for overall distribution of all funds. It shall be their duty and responsibility to keep the expenditures of the church within limits conducive to sound business and in proportion to the income of the church. When it is necessary to consider a major expense or to assume additional expanded expenses due to church growth, it shall be the duty of the Finance Committee after careful study, to report to the church in detail and secure church approval before legally committing such funds.(2) Such expenditures as the purchase of office equipment and supplies, special missions gifts, and/or other similar expenditures may be made with the approval of the Finance Committee and pastor.(3) Salaries of all full-time or part-time employees of this church will be set and regulated from time to time, as necessity requires, by the Finance Committee and pastor.
Section D. Duties of the Nomination Committee.It shall be the duty of the Nomination Committee to interview and screen individuals nominated for offices to be filled, and to obtain favorable advance commitment for qualified nominees to serve, if elected.
Section E. Duties of the Pulpit Committee.(1) The Pulpit Committee shall be authorized by the church to investigate and consider all names of pastoral candidates received by them, and to invite such candidates to visit the church. Each pastoral candidate invited to visit, in anticipation of a call, shall be voted on by the church before another candidate is invited to visit.(2) The Pulpit Committee shall be responsible for interviewing the pastoral candidate, and placing in his hands a copy of this instrument, the Articles of Faith, and the Church Covenant. A pastor can only be called by this church at a duly-called meeting (see Article IV, Section B, paragraph 5).
- CHURCH MEETINGS
Section A. Deacon Board Meetings.(1) All deacon board meetings shall be called by the pastor, who will also act as moderator of the meetings. No meeting is to be called in the absence of the pastor except to conduct necessary routine business. Such a meeting may be called by the elected President of the Board of Deacons. (Amendment I)(2) No changes in accepted policies shall be voted on at a meeting where the pastor is not present.
Section B. Church Business Meetings.(1) The annual business meeting shall be held each year on the first Wednesday night of February. The fiscal year for this church shall be from January 1 to December 31. (Amendment III)(2) The pastor shall moderate at all church business meetings.(3) All church business meetings shall be opened and closed in prayer.(4) All motions shall be presented in writing when requested. The names of all who make and second motions shall be included in the church minutes. Those individuals making and seconding motions shall stand and respectfully address the moderator.(5) Another motion shall not be entertained until all consideration and discussion of the current motion has been disposed of.(6) Discourteous language or remarks intended to injure the reputation or feelings of any member shall be ruled out of order and such speaker shall forfeit his (or her) right to be heard.(7) The introduction of any matter foreign to the subject at hand shall be ruled out of order.(8) Special business meetings, with a minimum advance notice of three days given at a regularly scheduled service, may be called by the pastor whenever such meetings are deemed necessary.(9) A special business meeting may be called by any active member of this church by submitting a petition, which states clearly the date, time, and purpose of such meeting, and includes the name or names of the petitioners. Said petition shall be composed by the church clerk, endorsed by three (3) church officers, and three (3) unrelated members at large. Such a meeting shall be announced from the pulpit on two (2) successive Sundays previous, stating the date, time, and purpose to the meeting.(10) All special business meetings must be in reference to those topics duly announced (see paragraphs 8 & 9). Any motion to the contrary shall be ruled out of order.(11) Any and all “secret” or unauthorized meetings of this church shall be invalid.(12) A quorum for all annual and special business meetings of the church shall consist of at least twenty percent (20%) of the active church membership, sixteen (16) years of age or older.
- CHURCH VOTINGS
Section A. Method.Unless otherwise authorized by this church, all voting at this church shall be by ballot.
Section B. Qualifications.All scripturally baptized members of this church who are in good standing, sixteen (16) years of age or older, and in possession of “active member” status (see Article III, Section C, paragraph 2) shall be entitled to vote.
Section C. Requirement.Unless otherwise stated, a simple majority affirmative vote of all members present and voting, who are in compliance with the qualifications of Section B, is required for church business.
- CHURCH FACILITIES AND PROPERTY USAGE
Section A. General Rule.Uniformly, any activity on the premises of the church property, or as a church function/event away from the premises, will be, in both spirit and practice, in compliance with the Holy Bible (66 canonized books) and the church’s Constitution (Articles of Faith, Church Covenant, and Bylaws). All activities or uses, on-site or off-site, in any way associated with the church entity and/or its properties, will be under the authority, approval, and oversight of the church.
Section B. Membership Usage.The use of church property, facilities, and/or equipment, on-site or off-site, by the church membership is limited to individual members or groups of members in good standing (see Article III, Sections A, B, C). Approval for all such use will be obtained from a full-time employed administrative church staff member.
Section C. Non-Member Usage.(1) Instances in which individuals or entities from outside the church membership request use of church staff, property, facilities, and/or equipment, all such requests will be reviewed and approved by the church in the manner it determines. Approval or disapproval, for whatever reason(s), is(are) entirely at the discretion of the church.(2) All activities in or uses of church properties by non-members will conform to the doctrines, policies, standards, responsibilities, and specific determinations of the church. Church policy and/or church determination trumps any and all public or governmental policy.(3) An agreement form addressing church requirements regarding usage will be signed and subscribed to by the approved party(ies) requesting use.
Section A. Bylaws.These bylaws may be changed or amended at any regular or special business meeting by a three-fourths (3/4) affirmative vote of all active members present and voting, provided, however, a written notice of such changes shall have been proposed and announced at a regular service to the church at least one month previous, and such alteration does not conflict with the Articles of Faith or Covenant of the church.
Section B. Articles of Faith and Church Covenant.(1) In no wise shall an amendment, change or alteration be considered or enacted with reference to the Articles of Faith and/or Church Covenant, or Bylaws so related.(2) Any member, or group of members, who shall subject the Articles of Faith and/or Church Covenant to ridicule, unbelief or amendment shall face charges of apostasy before the Discipline Committee.
No part of the net earnings of this church shall ever become the personal benefit of any donor, member or officer of the church. No private individual, donor, member or officer shall be entitled to share in the distribution of church assets. Upon dissolution, any assets of this church shall be distributed to one or more Baptist churches of like faith and order, to be voted on by this church body.