The Bible admonishes us saying, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:40) To this end do we, members of the Calvary Baptist Church of Charlotte, Michigan, solemnly and sincerely set forth the following constitution by which we willingly and cheerfully agree to be governed.
The name of this church shall be the Calvary Baptist Church of Charlotte, Michigan.
The purpose of this church shall be to promote the evangelizing of the unsaved at home and abroad and to seek the spiritual growth of its members, as set forth in the Holy Scriptures. (Matthew 28:19, 20)
The Calvary Baptist Church of Charlotte, Michigan, shall be and remain independent and autonomous. However, it may participate in fellowship and activity with organizations of like doctrine for the promotion of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, as long as it does not infringe upon the independence or autonomy of this church. In the event this organization shall ever dissolve, the properties of said organization will revert only to a Bible-believing Baptist fellowship believing unequivocally in our stated doctrine and practice.
Confession of Faith
The Bible, as the Word of God, shall be considered the final authority in all matter of faith and practice. As expressive of our faith, we hereby adopt the New Hampshire Confession of Faith with the premillenial revision.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and on the profession of our faith in Him, 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, angels and this assembly most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, 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, in 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 spreading of the Gospel through all nations; as God thus prospers and provides.
- We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions; to educate our children biblically, to endeavor to seek their salvation and to direct them into the full fellowship of a church which upholds the same doctrinal statement, practices,and covenant which we uphold.
- We also engage to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk righteously in the world; to be just in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and unrighteous anger; to abstain from the use of intoxicating drink as a beverage and use of illicit drugs, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the work of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
- 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 in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation without delay, being mindful of scriptural principles.
- We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with another church of like faith and practice where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
Reception of Members
SECTION I – BAPTISM
Any person confessing the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and manifesting sincere purpose of a Christian life, and upon recommendation of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons, may be received as a candidate for baptism, after which he/she will be eligible for membership.
SECTION 2 – LETTER
A person may be received into membership by presentation of a letter or upon the promise of a letter from another church of like faith and practice. (See Note 1)
SECTION 3 – BY EXPERIENCE
Those persons requesting membership, who have previously been members of a Church of like faith and practice adhering to the principles and practices of this church, and are unable to obtain a letter of transfer from another church of like faith and practice, may be considered a candidate for membership upon their testimony as to their former baptism and their personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and upon evidence of a Christian life.
SECTION 4 – NOTES
- Note 1 – Baptism will be honored from those churches which practice baptism by immersion and immersion only, and which immersion is to portray the faith of the individual in the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and to symbolize the convert’s burial to the life of sin and resurrection through regeneration to a new life in the Lord Jesus Christ, and which holds essentially to the beliefs set forth in the Doctrinal Statement of this Church.
- Note 2 – All members must be in full accord with the Confession of Faith, ARTICLE IV, and the Church Covenant, ARTICLE V.
- Note 3 – All persons applying for membership in this church shall be examined by the Pastor or the Board of Deacons, and upon their recommendation the Church shall vote upon them. All candidates must receive at least ninety percent of the votes of the members.
- Note 4 – Membership privileges shall begin upon receiving the right hand of fellowship, which shall be given by the Pastor, or in the interim between pastors, by the Chairman of the Board of Deacons.
SECTION 1 – ACTIVE MEMBERS
Regular members shall be those who have been received into this church according to the conditions set forth in ARTICLE VI under “Reception of Members” and have all the rights, duties, privileges and obligations as set forth in this constitution.
SECTION 2 – ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
The “Associate Membership Roll” shall be composed of people of temporary residence, such as students, salesmen, persons in the armed services, etc., whose occupation, activity or personal circumstances prevent attendance at the regular services of their home church for a period of six months or more in any calendar year. Associate members shall be without voice, voting privileges, or the right to hold elective office.
Dismissal of Members
SECTION 1 – BY LETTER
A letter of transfer to unite with another church of like faith and practice may be granted upon request of any member on the church membership roll. All such letters shall be addressed to the church with which the member wishes to unite. The letter may be given directly to the dismissed member upon written request of said member and special recommendation of the Pastor and Board of Deacons.
SECTION 2 – BY ERASURE
- Any member absent from the regular worship services shall be contacted by the Board of Deacons or Pastor after an appropriate period of time.
- The names of all members who fail to express interest either through attendance or letter of testimony for a period of twelve months shall be automatically removed from the membership roll. These persons shall receive a letter from the Board of Deacons which states their names have been removed from the Church rolls because of inactivity.
SECTION 3 – REVIEW OF MEMBERSHIP
The membership rolls shall be reviewed by the Pastor and the Board of Deacons annually.
SECTION 4 – EXCLUSION (See ARTICLE IX)
SECTION 5 – DEATH
Upon the death of a member his/her name shall be removed from membership roll.
SECTION 1 – PROCEDURE
Since the Pastor, together with the Board of Deacons, is to supervise the “spiritual work of the Church” and is the membership committee, they shall also serve as the Discipline Committee. In the case of personal differences of members of the church, the Discipline Committee shall recommend that the parties involved endeavor to settle their differences as laid down by their Lord in Matthew 18:15 & 16. If, after taking such steps, either member considers it necessary to bring the case before the Church, he/she may do so, through the Pastor and Board of Deacons, and both parties shall have a hearing before them. The Pastor and the Board of Deacons shall report such conclusions and recommendations to the Church as they deem best.
When the Discipline Committee learns that a member is living a seemingly inconsistent Christian life, according to the Scriptures, they shall see to his/her restoration. If a member is charged with an offense which requires discipline, it shall be their duty to investigate the matter; and if it shall appear that the case requires it, they shall proceed in the following manner:
- They shall send to the offending member(s) a written statement of the specific charges made against him/her, and a notice of the time and place they wish him/her to appear before them to be examined of the charges against him/her and to make his/her defense.
- In the event the accused fails to appear at the specified time and place, without satisfactory reason, the Discipline Committee shall recommend to the Church, at its next business meeting, that the accused member’s name be removed from the membership roll, and said member be notified of such Church action by a letter signed by the Church Clerk.
- If the Discipline Committee, after careful examination of any case as directed in Note 1 above, decides that the facts thus disclosed require the Church to discipline the offending member, they shall so report to the Church and notify the accused of the time when his/her case shall be considered by the Church. If, after careful examination, any member fails to give satisfactory answer to the Church in relation to the charges preferred against him/her, or if he/she refuses to appear before the Church when cited, he/she shall be excluded.
- Note 1 – A three-fourths majority of the voting members present at a constitutionally called business meeting shall be required to exclude the member(s) who has been duly tried.
- Note 2 – An excluded member may be restored to full membership upon personal confession of the sin and a request of forgiveness to the Church. He/she must also be in full agreement with, and willing to abide by, the Church Covenant, ARTICLE V, and the Confession of Faith, ARTICLE IV. A three-fourths majority of the voting members present at the business meeting shall be required to re-instate any excluded member.
SECTION 3 – RESTRICTION OF MEMBERS
- The slandering of the character of any member of the Church, or divisive and destructive criticism of the methods and practices of the Church, the Pastor(s), or other officers of the Church, shall be considered good and sufficient grounds for discipline.
- The circulating of a petition among members without having secured the permission of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons shall not be permitted. The person(s) so doing shall be subject to discipline.
- The calling of a meeting with a purpose to hinder or interrupt the work of an officer, board, or committee is prohibited. Persons calling such meetings shall be subject to discipline.
SECTION 1 – SCRIPTURAL METHODS
The Church accepts the Bible as final authority in all matters of faith and practice. In matters of Church finance, we believe the Lord’s tithe and freewill offerings are biblical injunctions for giving. (Malachi 3:8-10; I Corinthians 16:2; and II Corinthians 9:6-16) We believe the tithe is the Lord’s and should be brought into the storehouse, which is the local Church.
SECTION 2 – UNSCRIPTURAL METHODS
This church shall be opposed to suppers, bazaars, fairs, garage sales, et cetera, as a means for raising money for church purposes.
Officers and Qualifications
The officers of the church shall consist of Pastor, Board of Deacons, Church Clerk, Treasurer, and Sunday School Superintendent.
SECTION 2 – PASTOR
The highest office of the local New Testament Church is that of the Pastor. (I Peter 5:2-4) The biblical synonyms for this office are:
- BISHOP which means “overseer” and has to do with the office, or that which he does. (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:28; I Timothy 3:1)
- ELDER, the term elder, was evidently derived from the synagogue and used chiefly by Jewish Christians to designate the same person, as the bishop, especially as in the synagogue elderly and dignified persons were selected as the official directors of religious affairs. (E.T. Hiscox, The New Directory for Baptist Churches, Judson Press, 30th edition, 1959) He is therefore the same man as the bishop.
- MINISTER which means, “servant”. (2 Timothy 2:24; Colossians 1:25)
- PASTOR, meaning “shepherd” is the same as the three mentioned above, and shall meet all of the biblical requirements for this high office. (I Timothy 3:1-7) The meaning of “one wife” means that the pastor has been married to only one woman in his lifetime, exception would be the widower who remarried. (I Timothy 3:12; Mark 10:11 & 12) The Pulpit Committee (ARTICLE XIV, Section 3) shall be responsible to thoroughly investigate the proposed candidate for this office to insure the Church that he meets all of the biblical qualifications of this important office in the local Church of Jesus Christ.
SECTION 3 – DEACON
A man eligible to hold the office of deacon shall have attained the age of twenty-one years and shall be a mentally, morally and spiritually mature spiritual leader as set forth in Acts 6:3; Mark 10: 11 & 12; I Timothy 3:8-13. The meaning of “one wife” means that the deacon has been married to only one woman in his lifetime, exception would be the widower who remarried.
SECTION 4 – ALL OFFICERS
A member holding any office of this church shall be in full fellowship with this Church, and be in full agreement with its Covenant and Doctrinal Statement. He/she shall also show evidence of living a dedicated Christian life, refraining from the use of alcohol as a beverage, tobacco, illicit drugs, and other worldliness upon which the Church may disapprove.
Election and Term of Office
SECTION 1 – PASTOR (See ARTICLE XVI)
SECTION 2 – DEACONS
This church shall have a Board of Deacons consisting of a maximum of ten men, which shall include the Treasurer and Sunday School Superintendent. The maximum time a deacon may serve is two consecutive, three year terms, after which he will not be eligible for re-election until at least one year has elapsed.
SECTION 3 – TREASURER
A male member of the Church shall be elected at the Annual Meeting, to serve one year as Church Treasurer. He shall be eligible for re-election until he has served three years, after which he shall be ineligible for re-election to this office, until at least one year has elapsed. He shall be a member of the Board of Deacons.
SECTION 4 – SUNDAY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT
A male member of the Church shall be elected at the Annual Meeting as Sunday School Superintendent for up to a three year term. He shall not be eligible for this office until at least one year has elapsed. He shall be a member of the Board of Deacons.
SECTION 5 – CHURCH CLERK
The Secretary of the Deacon Board will act as the Church Clerk to be assisted by the church secretary.
SECTION 6 – BEGINNING OF OFFICE
All officers shall be elected at the Annual Meeting and officially assume the responsibilities of their office January 1 following their election.
Duties of Officers
SECTION 1 – PASTOR
It shall be the duty of the Pastor to preach the Word of God, to administer the ordinances of the Gospel and to perform the various duties incumbent upon his office. He shall have the general oversight of the spiritual and material affairs of the Church and shall use the Board of Deacons as his advisors.
In his temporary absence he shall be certain that competent men, who are in full accord with the Doctrinal Statement of this Church, are available to supply the pulpit. The Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees, and shall serve as the moderator at all Church business meetings.
SECTION 2 – DEACONS
The term “deacon” means “servant” — to the Church, for the Lord. The term “deacon” also means “helper” — helper to the pastor in the Church, doing the work as a servant of the Lord. Therefore, the deacons serve the Church by helping the Pastor in the general supervision of the work of the Church.
The deacons shall elect their chairman and secretary at their first board meeting in January. The chairman of this board shall be vice-moderator of the Church. They shall have a monthly meeting, which time shall be mutually determined by the board. They may have additional meetings if the need arises, but no meeting shall be called without the knowledge of all members of the board.
They may also organize special committees as they feel necessary, for the efficient operation of the Church. Any member absent from three regular, successive monthly meetings, apart from a valid excuse acceptable to the board, shall be dropped from the board.
The deacons, together with the pastor, shall:
- be involved in the spiritual and physical care of the church members under the Pastor’s and the Board’s direction.
- assist the pastor with the ordinances of the Church, namely; the Lord’s Supper and Believer’s Baptism.
- assist the Pastor as the membership and discipline committee.
- Note 1 – An officer of the Church, failing to fulfill the duties of his office, shall be admonished by the Board of Deacons. If he continues to neglect to fulfill his duties, he may be removed from such office by the Board of Deacons. The Board of Deacons shall then appoint another member to fulfill the un- expired term of the officer thus disciplined.
- have oversight over all the ministries of the Church: music, Awana, youth, Golden Agers, ushers, etc.
- disburse all Church funds. They shall be authorized to spend one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for necessary items each month.
- have the authority of “trustees” for the legal conduct of the Church and shall represent the Church, legally, whenever necessary
- be responsible for the insurance, maintenance, cleanliness, of all Church properties and the comfort and safety of the Church’s members and friends while on Church property.
- have the authority to dispense the monies in the Deacon Fund.
- annually review for approval all workers in the ministries of Calvary Baptist Church.
SECTION 3 – TREASURER
It shall be the duty of the treasurer to count the church receipts, with at least one other member of the Board of Deacons. He shall see that an adequate, correct record is kept of these receipts and that said receipts are deposited in a bank which the Board of Deacons may select. He shall see that an accurate financial report is made at each regular business meeting of the Church. Up to three other members of the Board of Deacons may also be thus authorized.
SECTION 4 – SUNDAY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT
It shall be the duty of the Sunday School Superintendent to oversee the general operation of the Sunday School. He must collaborate with the Pastor in all phases of the Sunday School ministry of the Church.
SECTION 5 – CHURCH CLERK
It shall be the responsibility of the Church Clerk to see that accurate and permanent records of all Church business meetings are kept; sign all letters of dismissal; maintain a register of members in which shall be noted such changes as may occur. The Clerk shall enter upon records of the Church, current events in the life of the Church that are likely to be of historical value, making the Church records a true and complete history of the Church.
SECTION 1 – LADIES MINISTRIES COMMITTEE
The Ladies Ministries Committee shall be elected by the Church at the Annual Meeting. This Committee shall consist of a minimum of five spiritual lady members of the Church. The maximum term a member may serve is three years, after which she will not be eligible for re-election until at least one year has elapsed. The election shall be so arranged that approximately one-third of this committee shall have years remaining on committee; one third shall have two years remaining: and approximately one-third shall have one year remaining to serve on this committee. This committee shall elect a chairman and a secretary as soon after the annual meeting as possible. Those newly elected shall be permitted to sit on committee meetings but shall have no vote until they assume full responsibility of this committee on January 1 following their election. It shall be the duty of the Ladies Ministries Committee to:
- Assist the Pastor in ministering to the general welfare of the ladies and girls of the Church and community.
- Provide meals and flowers to the sick and bereaved.
- Provide and supervise, together with the Pastor, a nursery which will be in operation at all regular and special public meetings of the Church. They shall be responsible for the cleanliness and operation of the nursery. With the approval of the Pastor they shall appoint qualified person(s) to properly care for the nursery.
- Make arrangement for the hospitality of guest and special speakers.
- Prepare the Lord’s Supper, making certain the emblems and service are well cared for and adequate.
- Assist the ladies and girls in preparation for baptism.
SECTION 2 – NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The Nominating Committee shall consist of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons. There shall be one or more (preferably two) nominees for each office and committee, provided qualified persons, (ARTICLE XI) are available. No nominee shall have his/her name posted until he/she has been consulted and accepts the nomination. The list of nominees for the various offices and committees shall be posted at least two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. This Committee shall be a standing committee during the entire fiscal year and shall so act to fill any vacancies that may occur until the next annual election.
SECTION 3 – PULPIT COMMITTEE
The Pulpit Committee shall consist of the Board of Deacons. This committee shall secure pastoral candidates and provide pulpit supplies during the interim that the Church may be without a pastor. All candidates shall be thoroughly investigated. (See ARTICLE XVI, Section 1.)
SECTION 4 – MISSIONARY COMMITTEE
The Missionary Committee shall consist of twelve members appointed by the Board of Deacons. One member will come from the Deacon Board. The maximum term a member may serve is three years, after which he/she will not be eligible for appointment until at least one year has elapsed. The appointments shall be so arranged that approximately one-third of this committee shall have three years remaining on committee; one-third shall have two years remaining; and one-third shall have one year remaining. All terms shall begin January 1. It shall be the responsibility of this committee to:
- Encourage missionary efforts within the Church.
- Prepare a missionary budget for Church approval annually.
- Make necessary arrangements for Missionary Conferences.
- Make recommendations to the Board of Deacons for expenditures from the Missionary budget.
SECTION 5 – QUALIFICATIONS
All committee members shall be regular members of the Church in full fellowship. Members of the Nominating Committee, Ladies Ministries Committee, and Pulpit Committee shall have attained the age of twenty-one years.
SECTION 6 – REMOVAL FROM OFFICE
A member of any committee of the Church being absent from three consecutive meetings without an excuse acceptable to the Board of Deacons, may be removed from office by the Board of Deacons. This vacancy shall be filled immediately by appointment of the Board of Deacons.
MEETINGS OF THE CHURCH
SECTION 1 – SUNDAY SERVICES
Regular Sunday services shall be as follows: Sunday School, Morning Worship, Youth Meetings and Evening Services.
SECTION 2 – MID-WEEK SERVICE
There shall be a regular mid-week service which shall be devoted primarily to Bible study and prayer.
SECTION 3 – LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper shall be observed in connection with the regular services of the Church, at least once a month, preferably on the first Sunday.
SECTION 4 – QUARTERLY BUSINESS MEETING
There shall be a Quarterly meeting of the Church to conduct business in January, April and July. The date may be changed to another evening of the stated month, upon recommendation of the Board of Deacons. The Annual meeting shall replace the Quarterly Business meeting for the month of October.
SECTION 5 – ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING
The Annual Business Meeting of the Church shall be held in October. All Boards and Committees shall have a report made available to each member at this meeting.
SECTION 6 – SPECIAL BUSINESS MEETINGS
Special business meetings may be called by the Pastor or the Board of Deacons, provided that notice and purpose of such meetings shall be posted for at least two Sundays prior to the meeting and announced at the regular Sunday services during this period. An exception to this two Sunday rule may be made for a special meeting to vote on an emergency expenditure, if that meeting follows a regular Sunday service where the proposal has been announced. Any regular service may be used for the purpose of the congregation to vote upon the acceptance of or transfer of letters of members.
- Note 1 – No business other than that for which the special meeting has been announced and called, shall be discussed in said business meeting.
- Note 2 – No business meeting may be called apart from the recommendation of the Board of Deacons and the Pastor.
SECTION 7 – QUORUM
A quorum at any church business meeting shall consist of the active, eligible voting members of the Church present at any constitutionally called regular or special business meeting of the Church. One who has not attended at least one-third average (4 out of 12) services of the Church (Sundays, mid-week and special services) for the last thirty days prior to the business meeting, shall be considered ineligible to vote at the Church Business Meeting.
SECTION 8 – MAJORITY VOTE
A majority vote of the voting members present at a constitutionally called business meeting shall decide all matters, except when otherwise provided in other ARTICLES and sections of this constitution.
SECTION 9 – VOTING AGE
No member under the age of eighteen years shall have the privilege of voting.
SECTION 10 – PARLIMENTARY PROCEDURE
Robert’s Rules of Order shall be used to conduct all business meetings.
SECTION 11 – CHURCH POLITY
The church polity will follow the generally recognized Baptist form of congregational church government.
CALLING A PASTOR(S)
The Pulpit Committee shall thoroughly investigate and prayerfully consider all candidates and make a report to the congregation at least once a month. As the Holy Spirit leads, they shall present the name of one candidate at a time for the consideration and approval of the Church at a special meeting called for that purpose. The purpose of the meeting must be posted and publicly announced from the pulpit at least two Sundays prior to the meeting. Before the candidate is presented to the congregation for their vote, the Pulpit Committee must secure the candidate’s permission and present to the Church, at the time of voting, a signed statement by the candidate signifying his unreserved acceptance of this constitution; the Church’s Covenant; Doctrinal Statement and Pastoral Agreement. A three-fourths majority of the voting members present shall be required to call. The call shall be extended by the Church through a letter signed by the Church Clerk. Should the candidate fail to receive the required majority vote, or refuse the call, the Pulpit Committee shall seek another acceptable candidate. Only one candidate is to be considered at one time.
SECTION 2 – REMOVAL OF PASTOR
In case either the pastor(s) or the Church shall desire to sever the pastoral relationship, not less than two month’s notice shall be given by either party so desiring. However, this period may be shortened by mutual agreement. If the Pastor is found guilty of heresy or immorality he shall be dismissed immediately, (shall not preach, pastor or administrate the Church) with two weeks salary and the use of any housing for thirty days.
SECTION 3 – PASTORAL AGREEMENT
The Pulpit Committee shall present an agreement approved by the Church, to the pastoral candidate, which will include moving expense, salary, parsonage, utilities, car expense, vacation, conference expenses and all other expenses incumbent upon the office of the Pastor.
SECTION 4 – OTHER PAID CHRISTIAN WORKERS
The same procedure used in calling a Pastor shall be employed in calling assistants to the Pastor, including Christian Education workers, Youth workers, Counselors, Church Callers, Music Directors, etc., who receive all or part of their financial support from the Church. No one shall be considered apart from the recommendation of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons. Relationship may be terminated in accordance with the following:
- Mutual agreement with the Pastor and Board of Deacons for any date.
- May be dismissed with thirty days notice by a three-fourths majority vote of the Church upon recommendation of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons.
- If found guilty of heresy or immorality he/she may be dismissed immediately with two weeks salary and the use of any housing provided for thirty days.
This constitution may be amended at any business meeting of the Church by a three-fourths majority vote of the members present, provided that such amendment, in writing, shall have been approved by the Pastor and the Board of Deacons, and announced at the regular services on the two consecutive Sundays preceding said meeting and posted for two weeks immediately preceding the meeting in a conspicuous place within the church building. The intent of the amendment must be clearly stated and also announced publicly from the pulpit two weeks prior to the proposed business meeting.
The Doctrinal Statement may be revised but only under the following conditions: a written statement of the proposed change must be presented at the Annual Meeting to determine if the proposed change is to be considered.
Ninety percent of the voting members present at that Annual Meeting will permit the proposed doctrinal change to be considered at the next Annual Meeting. At least six months prior to the next Annual Business Meeting a written copy of the proposed doctrinal change which is signed by the Pastor and the full Board of Deacons, shall be mailed to each and every member of the church roll. After the proposed change has been duly and prayerfully considered at the Annual Meeting one year after its proposal, it may be voted upon. A quorum for this meeting shall be seventy-five percent of the eligible voting members of the Church. A ninety-five percent majority of the voting members present shall be required to change the Doctrinal Statement therein stated.