C H U R C H M E M B E R S H A N D B O O K OF
P L E A S A N T R I D G E B A P T I S T C H U R C H
628 Wilderness Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40509
BRIEF ORGANIZATIONAL AND PASTORAL HISTORY. Our church was started as a mission in 1952 in the residence of Horace & Teresa Bradburn on Wilderness Road, under the authority of the Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Clarence Walker, Pastor. Our first pastor was Wallace York under whose leadership the mission was organized into a church in 1954 by authority of Ashland Ave. Bapt. Ch. Earl W. Thomas was called to the pastorate in 1957.
INDEX OF CONTENTS
Preamble - Article I, Name, Purpose and Character..............1
Church Covenant .................................................................... 1
Article II - Statement of Faith .................................................1
Article III - Membership ...........................................................7
Article IV - Ordinances ............................................................8
Article V - Meetings .................................................................8
Article VI - Officers ..................................................................8
Article VII - Voting ..................................................................11
Article VIII - Financial Policy ..................................................11
Article IX - Committees ...........................................................11
Article X - Amendments and By-Laws ...................................12
Compilation of Material by the Pastor Earl W. Thomas
Reprinted 1995 -Word Processing by Carolyn Hauter
Minor Revisions and Reprinted in 1996
P R E A M B L E
We, the members of Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church, organized February 28, 1954, who have "contended earnestly for the faith" with great determination and godly zeal for these years since, do now feel that in order for the work of this church to be carried on "decently and in order", "with charity (love)" and "unto edifying", and that all church obligations and duties may be clearly set forth, known and attended to, and that interested inquirers and prospective members may know the "things most surely believed among us", have hereby set forth in published form a statement of faith and articles of constitution and By-Laws. Adopted by unanimous vote on July 21, 1971.
A R T I C L E I - Name, Purpose and Character
Section 1. This Church shall be known as the Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church of Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky.
Section 2. The purpose of this Church shall be to carry out the Great Commission as given by our Lord. This involves the preaching of the Gospel to every creature, the handling of the ordinances, and the teaching of the Word of God that the saved might observe to do all things which Christ has commanded.
Section 3. This Church shall be an independent, sovereign, self-governing body of believers, subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body or organization. This Church shall maintain a separatist position towards all modernistic, unbiblical organizations and ecclesiastical groups. This Church shall, however, recognize and sustain the obligations of mutual co-operation and fellowship amongst Baptist Churches of like faith and position.
C H U R C H C O V E N A N T
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort: to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expense 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 and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to 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 one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
It is understood that every member, upon his uniting with this church thereby subscribes to this covenant and pledges to fulfill it to the best of his ability with the help of God.
ARTICLE II - STATEMENT OF FAITH
"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us....that thou mightest know the certainly of those things". (Luke 1:1-4)
The purpose of this statement of faith may best be explained in words of Mr. C. H. Spurgeon who wrote the following paragraph for prefacing a confession of faith used in his day.
"This little volume is not issued as an authoritative rule, or code of faith, whereby you are to be fettered, but as an assistance to you in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. Here the younger members of our church will have a body of divinity in small compass, and by means of the scriptural proofs, will be ready to give a reason for hope that is in them.
Be not ashamed of your faith; remember it is the ancient gospel of martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all, it is the truth of God, against which the gates of Hell cannot prevail.
Let your lives adorn your faith, let your example adorn your creed. Above all live in Christ Jesus, and walk in Him, giving credence to no teaching but that which is manifestly approved of Him, and owned by the Holy Spirit. Cleave fast to the Word of God which is here mapped out for you."
Upon its organization our church adopted the New Hampshire Confession of Faith as an expression of our beliefs. We are not engaged in an effort to change that, but only to make an attempt towards enlarging upon certain areas where a fuller explanation would be helpful and a better means of expression could make the meaning easier to understand.
For the sake of brevity we are including only a few Scripture references. For more proof one should turn to a book on Bible Doctrines which is prepared to furnish such in greater detail. Keep in mind that the purpose of this booklet is merely to state our beliefs not necessarily to prove them to the readers satisfaction.
I. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe in the infallible, verbal inspiration of the whole Bible, as originally written in Hebrew and Greek, that it is the product of Spirit-controlled men, and, therefore, that God is its author, that it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter; that it is a perfect treasure of heavenly instruction with the salvation of sinners and the instruction of the saints unto all good works for its end; that it reveals the principles by which God will judge us; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the world, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man, the true center of Christian union; the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, doctrines and opinions should be tried.
A. By the "Holy Bible" we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which as originally written does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but is the Word of God.
B. By "inspiration" we mean that the books of the Bible were written by Holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired and free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be. II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21; John 17:17
II. THE TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one, and only one living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, whose name is Jehovah, the Maker, and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the work of redemption. Exodus 20:2-3; I Cor. 8:6; Rev. 4:11; I John 5:7
III. JESUS CHRIST
We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit in a miraculous manner; born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman, and that He is both the Son of God, and God, the Son; that He took upon Himself our nature yet without sin; that He was God manifest in the flesh; that He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Divine and ceremonial laws of Moses; that God laid upon Him our sins; that He bore them in His own body on the cross; that He died for our sins, not for an example but as the substitutionary Lamb of God; that in Him was fulfilled and ended all the sacrifices and offerings for sin; that He was buried and bodily rose again the third day; and after forty days ascended "to the right hand of God" in heaven itself; that He is there now our merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, our only advocate and intercessor, the only mediator between God and men; that this same Jesus shall come again suddenly, bodily, personally and visibly; that He will judge both the saved and the unsaved; that He will sit upon the throne of David and rule and reign with His Blood-washed redeemed people of every kindred and tongue and people and nation for ever and ever; that it is the duty of all believers to constantly look for Him and live in readiness for His coming, making manifest to all the reality and power of this hope in Christ. Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14
IV. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person; equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature, the third person set forth in the Divine Trinity; that He was active in the creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains the evil one until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, endues, guides, enlightens, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies and helps the believer. John 14:16-17, 26; 16:7-13; Matt. 28:19
V. THE DEVIL, OR SATAN
We believe that Satan is a literal personality; that he was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and drew after him a host of angels; that he is now the malignant prince of the power of the air, and the unholy god of this world; that he is a diabolical inventor, and arch-deceiver, and the father of all lies; that he is man's great tempter, the enemy of God and his Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the present apostasy, the Lord of the anti-Christ, and the author of all the powers of darkness; that he is limited in his activity by the wisdom and power of God; that he is destined to final defeat at the hands of God's Son, and to the judgment of an eternal justice in the Lake of Fire, a place prepared for him and his angels. Matthew 25:41
VI. THE CREATION
We believe in the Genesis account of creation; that it is to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God's own image and after his own likeness; that man's creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species, or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life was made directly, and God's established law was that they should bring forth only "after their kind." Gen. 1:1, 24-27; 2:7, 21-24; Col. 1:16-17; John 1:3
VII. THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that the first three chapters of Genesis are the historical facts of God's creation of all things and that the creation was the direct act of God; that man was created in innocence, in the image of and in the likeness of God, under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners, not by constraint but by choice; being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse. Roman 5:12
VIII. THE WAY OF SALVATION - ATONEMENT FOR SIN
We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was a voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner's place, the Just dying for the unjust; Christ, the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in Heaven, and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection, He is in every qualified to be a suitable, a compassionate and all-sufficient Saviour. Roman 3:24-25; I Cor. 15:3
IX. ELECTION - GOD'S PURPOSE OF GRACE
We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God, according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, being infinitely free, wise, holy, and unchangeable, that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, love, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of His free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it may be ascertained by its effects in all who truly believe the gospel; that it is the foundation of Christian assurance, and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves demands and deserves the utmost diligence. II Tim. 1:8-9; II Thess. 2:13-14; II Tim. 2:10; Romans 8:28-31; II Peter 1:10-11
We believe that justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of righteousness of all sinners who believe in Christ; that justification includes the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life; that it is bestowed not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemer's blood; by virtue of which faith His perfect righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and makes available every other blessing heedful for time and eternity. Acts 13:39; Rom. 5:1, 9; 4:4-5
We believe that sanctification is a divine work of grace; that it is not a state of sinless perfection attained through a "second blessing" or through a special "Baptism of the Holy Ghost;" that it is an act of grace by which the believer is separated unto God and dedicated unto His righteous purpose; that by it we enter into divinely appointed privileges and thus become larger partakers of His holiness; that it is a progressive work, begun in regeneration, and carried on in the life of every believer by the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God; and that it is nurtured only by Heaven's appointed means, especially by the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and the saved through his self-examination, obedience, self-denial, watchfulness, and prayer. I Thess. 4:3; 5:23; I Tim. 4:5; John 17:17; Rom. 15:16
XII. REPENTANCE AND FAITH
We believe that repentance and faith are sacred duties, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the regenerating Spirit of God; whereby being deeply convinced of our guilt, danger and helplessness, and of the way of salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession, and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and relying on Him alone as the only and all sufficient Saviour. Mk. 1:15; Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 10:9-13; Acts 16:31, 20:21
XIII. FREENESS OF SALVATION
We believe the Scriptures teach that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the gospel; that it Is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, penitent and obedient faith, and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth but his own determined depravity and voluntary rejection of the gospel; which rejection involves him in an aggravated condemnation. Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17; Acts 17:30; Rom. 16:25-26; John 3:19
XIV. THE LOCAL CHURCH
We believe that a local church is a congregation of Scripturally immersed believers associated by covenant of Faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by His word; that there is no Scriptural authority for the doctrines of either the Universal Visible Church or the Universal Invisible Church, both are repudiated by us; that its officers are pastors, and deacons whose qualifications, claims and duties, are clearly defined in the Scriptures; we believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self-government; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ, the Head, thus making it free from any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; that it is Scriptural for true churches to co-operate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel; that each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its co-operation; that on all matters of membership, of polity, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final; that the Holy Bible constitutes its only rule of faith and practice; that Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission, outlines the mission of the church to the world. Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:41-42; I Co. 11;2; Eph. 1;22-23; 4:11; I Tim. 3:15; Col. 1:18
XV. THE CHURCH-MISSIONARY AND INDEPENDENT
We believe that the Missionary Baptist Church originated, not at the reformation, not in the dark ages, nor in any century after the Apostles; that no personality this side of Christ Jesus is a satisfactory explanation of their origin; that the first Baptist Church was the church at Jerusalem which originated during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ; that Baptist principles are as old as Christianity; that the likeness of Baptist churches to the churches during the days of the Apostles constitute them the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ; that each church possesses the inalienable right to be unaffiliated with any convention or association of churches; that its independent stand is Scriptural and not to be viewed with contempt; that its stand is not necessarily a judgment against all churches who hold such affiliation; but that unaffiliation is to be chosen rather than to be party to an organization where apostasy, modernism, liberalism and un-Baptistic methods prevail as ruling forces; that all churches of the New Testament were Independent and Missionary, Acts 13:1-4a, and that conventions are innovations of recent origin and that therefore, membership in a convention or lack of it, is not to be judged the determining factor in a church's New Testament standing or acceptance.
XVI. THE ORDINANCES
We believe that the ordinances delivered unto the churches for preservation unto every generation are two, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. We believe: 1. BAPTISM is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the authority of the local New Testament Baptist church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is pre-requisite to the privileges of a church relation and to the Lord's Supper. We refuse to recognize as valid any baptism performed under the authority of a church that does not in our considered opinion meet the requirements of a New Testament church. John 3:23; Acts 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3-5. 2. THE LORD'S SUPPER is the sacred use of unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine in which the members of the church are to commemorate together the death of the Lord Jesus Christ until He come; that it should be preceded always by solemn self-examination; that it is symbolic not sacramental; that it is restricted to members within each local church and not open to non-members over whom the participating church has no discipline. Matt. 26:26-29; I Cor. 11:23-29
XVII. REGENERATION - THE NEW BIRTH
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life; that it is not the result of our character, culture, or any works of righteousness which we have done. John 3:3-8; II Cor. 5:17; John 1:12-13; Titus 3:5-7; Eph. 2: 1 & 5; I Peter 1:22-23; II Peter 1:4
XVIII. PRESERVATION AND PERSEVERANCE OF BELIEVERS
We believe that such only are real believers as endure unto the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special providence watches over their welfare, and they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation which culminates in the final glorification of the saints. That these believers cannot fall from grace nor become lost again as some erroneously teach, but that they are eternally secure in Christ, cannot be condemned, and that the doctrine of once in grace always in grace is gloriously true. John 8:31; 6:37-39; 10:27-29; I John 2:19; Phil. 1:6; I Peter 1:3-5
XIX. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous (saved) and the wicked (lost); that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved in Heaven with Christ, and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in Hell and the Lake of Fire. Mal. 3:18; Rom. 6:17-18; I John 5:19-20; Matt. 25:34, 41, 46; Rev. 20:11-15
XX. CIVIL GOVERNMENT AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
We believe that God alone is Lord of the conscience, and that He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word; that Church and State should be separated. The State owes the Church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends, in providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group of denomination should be favored by the State more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, for the interests and good order of human society, deserves to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The Church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The Gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The State has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The State has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right to free and unhindered access to God on the part of men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the Civil power. Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 4:19-20; Titus 3:1-2; I Peter 2:13-15; Acts 5:29; I Tim. 2:1-3
XXI. THE LORD'S DAY - CHRISTIAN SABBATH
We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreation, by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by regular assembly of ourselves together with the church; and that absenteeism is excused only in cases of decidedly providential hindrance, confining illness or works of unavoidable necessity. Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Rev. 1:10; Heb. 10:24-25
XXII. THE LORD'S RETURN
We believe that Christ Jesus is coming back to earth a second time; that this imminent event shall unfold in two separate phases, (1) the Rapture, pre-tribulational, which shall be the time that the dead bodies of believers are raised, and the living believers changed and both caught up to meet the Lord, I Thess. 4:13-18, and (2) the Revelation, pre-millennial, and post-tribulational, which is the personal, audible, visible, and bodily revelation of Christ to all men on earth as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jude 14-15; Rev. 19:11-16; that between these two phases shall be the time for the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb for believers which shall transpire somewhere in Heaven, but that on earth shall come the period known as the Great Tribulation which culminates in the battle of Armageddon, II Cor. 5:10; Rev. 19:7-9; 19:17-21; that this 'day of the Lord' shall bring victory over the enemies of God and His Christ, and will usher in the millennium in which Christ shall take up the throne of His father David, and rule and reign from His Kingdom, with His saints, for one thousand years of righteous government and peace on earth. Rev. 20:4-6
XXIII. THE BODILY RESURRECTION
We believe that Christ arose bodily from the grave on the first day of the week; that His miraculous emergence from the tomb forecasted a like bodily resurrection for every member of the Adamic race; that in the Rapture, the dead in Christ shall rise first in glorified bodies like His, with which their souls, having been with Christ, not asleep in the grave, shall be re-united, and instantaneously caught up to meet the Lord in the air; that the dead in trespasses and sins, or the dead out of Christ, shall rise at the close of the millennium, to be re-united with their souls which have been suffering in Hell, and then be brought before the Great White Throne judgment; that degree of suffering and punishment shall be established in accordance with their earthly works, and be sentenced to be cast body and soul into the endless torment of the Lake of Fire. Luke 24:1-12; John 5:28-29; I Cor. 15:12-23; I Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20:5-6, 10-15; 21:8
XXIV. HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe the bodies of men after death return to dust, and see corruption, Acts 13:36; but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them, Eccles. 12:7. The souls of the righteous being then made perfect in holiness, are received into paradise, the Father's House, or the third Heaven, all of which are names for the dwelling place of God, where they shall be with Christ, and behold the glories of God, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies, II Cor. 5:1, 6, 8; Phil. 1:23; Heb. 12:23. The souls of the wicked, those having never truly received Christ as Saviour, are upon death of their earthly form cast into hell; where they remain in torment, reserved to the judgment of the great day, Luke 16:23-24; Rev. 20:13. We accept these as literal places, not as symbols, and besides these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges none.
XXV. THE GRACE OF GIVING
We believe that giving is one of the fundamentals of the Faith II Cor. 8:7. We are commanded to bring our gifts into the store-house (common treasury of the church) upon the first day of the week, I Co. 16:2. Under grace, we give, and do not pay the tithe, 'Abraham gave a tenth part of all' Heb. 7:2-4, and this was 400 years before the Law, and is confirmed in the New Testament; Jesus said concerning the tithe, 'These ye ought to have done', Matt. 23:23. That the tenth of our income should be the minimum below which no believer should allow himself to fall, and that in addition, to achieve excellence in stewardship of possessions, an endeavour should be made towards offerings and sacrificial gifts. Phil. 4:15-18; II Cor. 8:5; 9:6-8; I Cor. 4:2
A R T I C L E III - MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. QUALIFICATIONS
Any person in sympathy with the aim and purpose of this Church who will put the same into practice, acknowledging Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour, and who has been Scripturally baptized, is entitled to membership here.
Section 2. DUTIES
All members are expected to be faithful in all the spiritual duties essential to the Christian life; to attend habitually the services of the Church; to give regularly to its support and to its charities, 'as the Lord has prospered,' and to share in its organized work.
Section 3. PRIVILEGES
All members who are in full fellowship, according to sections one and two of this article shall be eligible to vote in the transactions of this Church according to Article VII, Section 1.
Section 4. ADMISSION
(A) Each applicant for membership is to be given a copy of this constitution upon his request to be received by this church, in order that he may examine the faith, and practices of this Church. Failure to express intentions of abiding by the covenant and Constitution will without further question disqualify the person from membership here.
(B) Any person professing saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving evidence of a true experience of salvation, may be received as a candidate for baptism, and, after baptism, be considered received into the full fellowship of this Church.
(C) Members from other Baptist churches of like faith and order, may be received upon a public statement of request before the church. They shall be immediately entitled to full voting privileges and participation in all church functions including the Lord's Supper. Letters of recommendation and dismissal from their former church will be requested. The arrival of such letter shall serve as a verification of their membership standing and status in said church, and acknowledgement of its termination. Any discrepancy uncovered in the new members statement for purposes of uniting here, must be resolved to the satisfaction of the church or be subject to rescission of the original motion to receive them.
(D) Any person who has once been a member of a recognized Baptist church, but who in consequence of some peculiar occurrence or circumstances, cannot secure a letter of recommendation or dismissal, such as, by lapse of membership, lost or destroyed records, termination, etc., may upon statement of the fact, and avowal of their faith and love to Christ, by a unanimous vote of the church, be received into our membership. Excluded members may likewise be restored to membership upon evidence of repentance.
(E) Each applicant for membership must be presented to the Church for consideration, and must be ratified by the unanimous vote of members present. Any dissenting voters and the applicant will meet with the Advisory Committee, after which the committee will recommend to the Church whether or not the applicant is a proper candidate for membership.
Section 5. DISMISSAL
(B) Letters of transfer may be granted to any member in good standing for the purpose of uniting with another New Testament Baptist Church, providing the request comes from the church. Membership status is to be stated in the letter in accordance with the considered opinion of the clerk.
(C) Any member of this church who unites with a church of another denomination thereby forfeits their standing with us and shall be considered as having departed from the faith and shall have their names immediately dropped from our membership. Letters of church membership or recommendation to churches who are not of like faith and order with us shall not be granted by this Church.
(D) The Advisory Committee shall when requested by the Church, review the membership record. Members who have neglected their responsibility to the church shall be contacted and encouraged to renew their interest in the Lord and His church. Continued indifference may result in the Advisory Committee recommending to the church that their names be dismissed from the church roll. Since church attendance is the basis for all effective church life, we shall consider the absenteeism of any member for a habitual length of time without justifiable or excusable reason to constitute a breach of fellowship with the body. If continued, they place themselves in jeopardy of the disciplinary action of the church for unfaithfulness to Christ and non-attendance of His church.
(E) Members of this Church involved in public scandal, adultery, drunkenness, robbery, violence, etc. shall without apology, be brought before the assembly for exclusion from its membership.
Section 6 RE-INSTATEMENT
A member suspended according to Section 5D or 5E of this article may be reinstated by a public rededication of his life and by the public affirmation of his willingness to abide by this constitution.
A R T I C L E IV - ORDINANCES
Section 1. BAPTISM
As there are qualified candidates, the ordinance of baptism shall be administered usually upon the last Sunday of the month.
Section 2. THE LORD'S SUPPER
This ordinance shall be observed quarterly (Jan. Apr. July and Oct.)
A R T I C L E V - MEETINGS
Section 1. WORSHIP
Unless otherwise provided, the Church shall meet each Sunday for worship both morning and evening, and during the week on Wednesday for prayer. Sunday School, Vacation Bible Schools, Revivals, Youth Meetings, and other special meetings shall be held as the Church may be directed by the Holy Spirit.
Section 2. BUSINESS MEETINGS
(A) No regular meetings are held. Business is brought before the Church under the direction of the Pastor as it becomes necessary during any regular service, but more particularly on Wednesday meetings. The Pastor may call men's meetings to discuss business matters before presentation to the Church. Nothing can be decided for the body by such meetings, but through them the details may be decided upon of how various matters should be placed before the Church publicly for vote. Any major proposals agreed upon shall whenever possible be stated to the Church in advance of the time upon which it is agreed to place the motion before the Church for vote.
(B) No business meetings may be called in the absence of the pastor, except by the mutual consent of both Pastor and Deacons
(C) All business which is to be brought up from the floor must first be made known to the pastor sometime prior to the business meeting. This rule may be waived at the discretion of the moderator.
(D) All regular business of the Church shall be held in the place where the Church is regularly meeting.
(E) All members in good standing shall have equal rights to express their desire by vote without the fear of intimidation or coercion. Only male members shall be allowed to speak in our assemblies where both sexes are present.
A R T I C L E VI - OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH
Section 1. PASTOR
(A) According to the New Testament, the Pastor of the church is the 'overseer', the 'undershepherd', the 'ruler', of the assembly. The pastor is to give special attention to the spiritual needs of the members, to preach, to administer the ordinances of the New Testament, to watch tenderly over the flock of God, to act as moderator in all matters for the transaction of business, except when he is personally involved, to serve as ex-officio member of all committees of the church, to be the executive leader and officer of the church in its local and denominational relationships, and to perform any other duties that he and the Church may agree upon as incumbent upon his office.
(B) The pastor of the church shall be called by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, upon recommendation of a duly appointed pulpit committee. The call for this vote shall be given one week in advance. This action in calling a pastor shall be understood to be an indefinite call, that is, the duration of time for service as our pastor is without specification, and no annual vote is required for his continuance as same. Only one man may be considered as Pastor at any given meeting. (See Article IX, Section 2, dealing with Pulpit Committee).
(C) Before a man shall be considered as a candidate he shall affirm to the Pulpit Committee his agreement with the following:
1. The doctrinal statement or articles of faith of this church.
2. His marital situation fits into the framework of the New Testament as presented in I Tim. 3 and Titus 1.
3. That he is a member of a Baptist Church completely severed from all forms of liberalism. 4. He shall affirm willingness to co-operate with the particular affiliations of this church . (D) He shall serve doing the pleasure of the church with the privilege reserved to him in giving up the pastorate at any time deemed by him to be for the best interest of himself, or of the church, or cause of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit might direct. The pastor shall give at least 30 days notice before leaving the church. If the church feels that the pastor has finished the work God called him to do in the church and the community, they shall ask him to resign, giving him 30 days notice. The church can only ask the pastor to resign by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting after having notified the church two-weeks in advance that such a vote shall be called for. He may or may not, as he sees fit, remain for that 30 days. He is to be paid during that period whether he remains or not.
Section 2. DEACONS
(A) In accordance with the meaning of the word and the practice of the New Testament as set forth in Acts 6:1-7 and I Timothy 3:8-13, the deacons are to be the servants of the church.
(B) The deacons shall be elected for an indefinite term of office and the number of deacons shall be as many as the church may deem necessary.
(C) The deacons shall be elected upon the recommendation of the nominating committee which shall prayerfully consider each man's scriptural qualifications as set forth according to paragraph A above.
(D) The deacons shall be zealous to guard the unity of the spirit within the church. They shall act as ushers, take the offerings, assist in counting the offerings, serve at the Table of the Lord, aid in visitation, assist in baptismal services, cooperate with the Pastor in the performance of his duties, serve as the Pulpit Committee, and help in any way that they are asked by the Pastor or the church.
(E) The deacons shall meet as often as is necessary in order that their duties might be carried out in an orderly manner. They shall organize themselves by choosing a chairman who shall act as their leader. In their meetings they shall appoint those of their number, or others within the church membership, who shall take the offerings, usher, etc. These meetings shall be held in counsel with the Pastor.
(F) A deacon is expected to be regular in church attendance, and he is to participate in the activities of the church. No man shall be considered for ordination or election to the deaconship who has not, by previous service proven himself faithful to the church covenant and is a commendable example of a Christian gentleman in his home, business, and social contacts. No man shall be ordained to the deaconship who does not tithe his income faithfully.
(G) A deacon who for any reason feels that he cannot faithfully fulfill the qualifications and duties of an active deacon, may resign by notifying the pastor or the church to that effect and the matter will be presented to the church for acceptance of that resignation. The church reserves the right to remove from office any deacon whose conduct becomes a reproach to his office and his church.
Section 3. CHURCH TREASURER
(A) A treasurer shall be elected for an indefinite term and in cooperation with the financial secretary shall receive and count, with the aid of other deacons or ushers, all funds received through all channels, depositing them in the name of the church at the banking institution approved by this church.
(B) The treasurer shall make all payments of all accounts of the church and shall disburse by check all monies consistent with the budget of the church, any exceptions to be made upon the authority of the finance committee or the church in conference.
(C) The treasurer shall be the custodian of all money, insurance policies, bills of sale, and all other valuable papers of the church which have to do with the regular expenditure of money.
(D) The treasurer shall make a detailed statement of all obligations incurred, purchases made, and of all receipts and disbursements, and in the form of a monthly report which will be made available to the church. The treasurer shall prepare a yearly report to be given in January which shows the financial standing of the church. Auditing or bonding shall be only as requested by the church.
Section 4. CHURCH CLERK
(A) There shall be one church clerk to be elected for an indefinite term.
(B) The duties shall be to keep accurate record of the business meetings of the church, to keep an accurate register of the membership of the church, to record the date and manner of admission and dismissing of members, and to perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office. The Church Clerk shall preserve all documents, papers and letters and deliver the same with all records to a successor.
Section 5. FINANCIAL SECRETARY
(A) The Financial Secretary shall be elected for an indefinite term. And shall count with the Treasurer, and other deacons or ushers, all funds of the church and make a proper record of same. And shall keep the membership acquainted with the financial needs of the church. In event of the treasurers absence, shall serve as an assistant for the performance of those duties and be authorized to sign checks.
(B) This person also shall serve as chairman of the Finance Committee.
Section 6. SUNDAY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT
(A) It shall be the duty of the Sunday School Superintendent to take general charge of all matters pertaining to the school. He shall strive to make the school tributary to the building up of the Church. Elected for an indefinite term.
(B) He shall appoint all teachers of the school, but these in turn are subject to the approval of the church to whom he shall be directly responsible.
Section 7. TRUSTEES
(A) The trustees shall consist of five men of the church who shall be elected by the congregation.
(B) They shall be incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the purpose of acquiring and retaining title to real and personal property, for the use and benefit of the members of the congregation of the church.
(C) It shall be the duty of the trustees to provide for the wants of the house of worship, and see that the church property, of whatever kind, is properly cared for, and rendered in every way the most serviceable to the church. To accomplish this purpose they shall organize themselves into a house committee designating specific duties to each member and enlisting other members of the church to assist them in performance of these particular duties as is necessary.
(D) The trustees shall perform all their duties, as above defined, subject at all times to the direction and oversight of the church. Hence they shall report or recommend to the church such matters as are deemed important enough to be approved by the church before attempting to accomplish same.
Section 8. MISCELLANEOUS OFFICERS
Custodian, Sunday School Teachers, Youth Directors and Teachers, Choir Director, Song Leader, Musicians, and Assistants to all offices, Bus Drivers, etc.
(A) All of them shall be appointed by vote of the church for indefinite terms. However, temporary fill-ins, or try outs, need not be voted upon. Such persons shall meet the approval of the Pastor by whom also they are usually requested to render a particular service on a temporary basis.
(B) Separation from worldliness, dedication to Jesus Christ, faithfulness in giving and serving, showing forth a worthy example at church and at home and at all other places, shall be required of them. Anyone whose conduct becomes a habitual problem to the spiritual life of the church through the office which they hold, shall demand better of themselves or resign said office. Those who fail in proper conduct and will not take corrective measurers, shall be removed from office by vote of the church.
Section 9. TERM OF OFFICE
All persons who are appointed to positions in the church by vote of the assembly, are so installed on an indefinite basis. That is, no time limit is set for their service in said office, nor is a yearly re-election necessary for their continuance in it. They shall render service so long as they and we believe it to be for the best interests of the church. Those wishing to be relieved of a responsibility shall make request to the church through the Pastor for the appointment of a replacement. The church shall be at liberty to make changes at any time which it believes will result in the more efficient arrangement for the carrying out of its program. Any member who neglects his duties or who removes his place of residence so that he cannot do the work required by the church, shall be such neglect or removal vacate said office and the church shall appoint a successor.
A R T I C L E VII - VOTING
(A) Members of the church in full fellowship, according to Article III, Section 1 and 2, are eligible to vote.
(B) In all ordinary matters each member shall be entitled to vote regardless of age. But, in the dismissal of members; in the call and dismissal of a pastor; in the purchase and sale of property; in all cases of discipline, in amending of these articles only members eighteen years of age or older shall be eligible to vote.
(C) A majority vote of members present constituting a Quorum is sufficient to pass any motion pertaining to regular items of business.
(D) Only members in good standing shall be qualified to vote in any business meeting. Those members in good standing present at a duly called business meeting shall constitute a quorum.
Voting by secret ballot will be used for the item under consideration if requested by any member of the Church. In such a case, the Moderator will appoint three (3) or more tellers who will count the votes and make a written report to the church clerk as soon as possible during the meeting.
A R T I C L E VIII - FINANCIAL POLICY
Section 1. SOURCE OF SUPPORT
(A) The operating expense money shall be raised in public services by receiving the tithes and offerings of God's people.
(B) All special solicitation for funds shall be sanctioned by and under the direction of the church. No public solicitations of funds shall be made by any body for any person or cause, in any
class or assembly, which has not been recognized and approved by vote of the church. Consultation with the Pastor is advised whenever offerings other than the regular church offerings are desired to be taken.
Section 2. DESIGNATION OF FUNDS
Believing that the Word of God gives definite teaching concerning the tithes and offerings of God's people, the position of this church shall be that the members shall bring their contributions unto the Lord through the collections received at church. The Church is the storehouse which corresponds to Malachi 3:10. We believe that our tithes and offerings may properly be given only to true New Testament churches and should be given where our membership is maintained. Therefore:
(A) All monies received by this church shall be designated and dispersed as the church authorizes.
(B) The Church shall receive no designated offerings other than to those persons and projects authorized by the church.
(C) This Church is designated scripturally as one body in Christ. It shall be the duty of this one body to be a faithful steward unto the Lord.
A R T I C L E IX - COMMITTEES
Section 1. PASTOR'S ADVISORY COMMITTEE
(A) This advisory committee shall be constituted of Deacons, Trustees, Finance Committee members, and such officers as Sunday School Superintendent, Clerk, Treasurer, Financial Secretary, the heads of all organizations within the Church, and any ordained ministers in the church.
(B) This committee is to have no power except in an advisory capacity. It shall be called by the pastor at his discretion to advise with him concerning matters of vital concern to the church.
(C) At the Pastor's request this committee may make recommendations to the Church itself for approval or rejection.
Section 2. PULPIT COMMITTEE
(A) In case of a vacancy in the pulpit, the Church shall elect a Pulpit Committee composed of the Deacons and if necessary other leading men of the church sufficient to total seven (7).
(B) This Committee shall take steps necessary to secure a pastor. They shall investigate the merits of every man under consideration, in regard to his personal character, ministerial record, doctrinal beliefs, and preaching ability, in determining his fitness for the pastorate. When a suitable candidate is found the committee shall recommend him to the Church. Read Article VI, Section 1.
(C) The Pulpit Committee shall be responsible for supplying the pulpit in the interim. When the new pastor is called the work of this committee is finished and they are automatically discharged.
Section 3. FINANCE COMMITTEE
(A) These shall consist of the Financial Secretary, who shall serve as Chairman, the Treasurer, along with the Pastor.
(B) If requested by the Church, this committee shall prepare and submit a proposed yearly budget for approval. This budget shall be subject to review and revision by the membership of the Church before adoption.
(C) This Committee shall act in accordance with Article VI, Section 3, Paragraph 3, which has to do with necessary expenditures not included in the budget, or exceptions for which an expenditure must be made before it can be voted on by the church due to insufficient time or lack of favorable opportunity. Limit $200.
Section 4. NOMINATING COMMITTEE
(A) This committee shall be composed of five (5) members appointed by the Pastor subject to the approval of the Church. They shall be appointed when needed and shall serve throughout the year in which elected.
(B) This Committee, in counsel with the Pastor, shall recommend persons to fill vacancies created throughout the year because of death, resignation, etc.
A R T I C L E X - AMENDMENTS
(A) These articles may be changed or amended at any announced business meeting provided that written notice of such change shall have been proposed and read to the Church at least one month previous; and, provided, that such alteration shall not conflict with the Articles of Incorporation of this Church.
(B) Two-thirds vote of the members present shall be required to adopt any amendment.
1. This set of rules and regulations, when adopted by the church, shall take the place of all other rules or regulations heretofore in effect.
2. The pastor shall moderate all business meetings, except in matters pertaining to himself, at which time the Chairman of the Deacons shall serve in that capacity.
3. 'Hiscox New Directory for Baptist Churches' shall be considered the standard procedure in business meetings and matters of policy.
4. The church year shall begin with January 1st, and all reports of statistics, changes and matters relating to Church progress, shall state facts with reference to that date.
5. All motions when requested shall be presented in writing.
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