Placing our complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation and believing the Holy Bible to be the uniquely inspired, infallible, and authoritative word of God, we band ourselves together as a body of immersed believers and hereby adopt this Constitution and By-Laws as our method of labor for the Lord.
The name of this organization shall be the Beulah Baptist Church. It is incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Florida. ARTICLE II
The purpose of this church shall be the glorification of God through the proclamation to all the world of the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation; the preaching and teaching of the whole council of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures; the holy worship of the Triune God in word and in music; the administration of the ordinances of the New Testament; the establishment of Christian education; and the exercise of charitable care for the brethren and beyond. ARTICLE III
Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior 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, as the Holy Spirit directs us, to walk together in brotherly love; to exercise Christian care and watchfulness over one another; to participate in one another’s joys and sorrows; to be slow to take offense and always ready to make reconciliation; to encourage one another unto love and good works; and to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together. We engage to strive for the advancement of the Beulah Baptist Church in grace, knowledge, and holiness; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace; to sustain its worship, ordinances, and doctrines; and to contribute cheerfully and liberally to the financial support of its ministries, giving special attention to the evangelism of the world and the care for the needy.
We further engage to maintain personal and family devotions; and to educate our children in the Word of God, bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; and to avail ourselves of the great privilege of prayer for one another and for all men. Finally, we engage to walk circumspectly and watchfully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our testimony; to refrain from gossip, backbiting, and excessive anger; to maintain a clear separation from all religious apostasy and all worldly and sinful pleasures, practices, and associations; endeavoring by example and by word to win souls to Jesus Christ, for whose glory and by whose power we live.
Section 1. Admission
Persons wishing to become members of the church shall notify the pastor of their desire. Upon such notification they shall become candidates. A candidate shall meet with the pastor to verify that he or she meets the following conditions of membership:
A. Profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ followed by baptism by immersion (or provide a letter of recommendation from another church of like faith and order); or by
B. Demonstration (open profession and testimony) that he or she has been born again and scripturally baptized; and
C. Wholehearted agreement to the constitution, the covenant, and the declaration or statement of faith.
Each candidate for membership shall give their testimony of salvation to the pastor and deacons. Upon recommendation of the pastor and deacons, the church members shall vote on granting membership during a Sunday service or regular business meeting.
Section 2. Dismissal
A member may be dismissed as a member only upon the occurrence of one or more of the following:
B. Request, provided however, any member that wishes to transfer to another church of like faith and order shall be granted a letter or recommendation upon vote of the church in a regular business meeting;
C. Erasure, by uniting with another church to which a letter of recommendation cannot be granted for reasons of unlike faith or practice, or in the case of a member's continuous absence from the services of Beulah Baptist Church for six months without satisfactory reasons (e.g. extended illness, college, etc.). If this person's address is known, then the pastor will mail them by a letter notifying them that their name will be removed;
D. Dismissal, as a result of apostasy, heresy, or becoming an offense to the church by reason of flagrant non-Christian conduct without repentance. (Dismissal may occur only in accordance with the provision of Section 3)
Section 3. Discipline
There must be a recommendation for dismissal. Such a recommendation may be made only by the pastor or at least one (1) deacon and it must be in writing to the body constituted of the pastor and the deacons. The recommendation shall describe the actions justifying the recommendation of dismissal with reasonable specificity and the specific spiritual means of persuasion and prayer used to draw the errant member back to acceptable behavior and be signed by a member in good standing.
B. Pastor and deacons’ determination
Upon receipt of a recommendation for dismissal the pastor and deacons shall, by majority vote, make a determination that all reasonable spiritual means of persuasion and prayer have not effected a change in the errant member’s actions and that the conduct of the errant member justifies dismissal. Upon making such determination the deacons shall recommend to the members the dismissal of the errant member from the membership of the church. If such a determination is not made the matter shall be dropped and any written record of a recommendation for dismissal shall be destroyed.
C. Notice to errant member
The pastor and one deacon shall then notify the errant member of the determination, recommendation, and the date and time the church members will vote on disciplinary action. This notification must be at least one (1) week before the day of the church business meeting in which the dismissal is to be brought before the members.
D. Content of deacons’ recommendation to the membership
The deacons’ recommendation shall include only the grounds necessary to justify dismissal.
E. Membership vote on dismissal
Only voting members may be present during consideration of disciplinary dismissal, and passage of the dismissal shall require an affirmative three-fourths (3/4) vote of a quorum. If the voting members fail to vote for dismissal all written records of the actions taken leading to the vote (including but not limited to the initial recommendation, the determination, and the deacons’ recommendation for dismissal to the membership) shall be destroyed.
F. Consideration of dismissed member
The church shall lovingly regard any individual dismissed from membership, endeavoring by prayer and invitation to restore the errant individual back into fellowship with Christ and the church.
Section 4. Restoration
Upon confession to God personal offenses that resulted in removal, erasure, or dismissal, giving satisfactory evidence of repentance and demonstrating the desire for restoration as a member, the individual that has been dismissed from the membership may be restored to membership by a majority vote of the members at a Sunday service of the church, following recommendation by the pastor and deacons.
Section 5. Associate Membership
Associate membership shall be available to those desiring it and shall be subject to all policies governing regular membership. Because associate membership is usually temporary, associate membership shall not include the privilege of holding the office of deacon or of pastor/elder. ARTICLE V
Section 1. Regular Services
Regular Services (for instruction, worship, evangelism, and fellowship) shall include the following:
.A Sunday services, morning and evening
B. Midweek prayer and Bible study;
C. Baptismal services when needed, usually in conjunction with other regular services.
D. The Lord’s Supper, at least once per quarter, usually during a Sunday service; and
E. Special emphasis meetings such as missionary conferences, Bible conferences, revival services, as the pastor senses the Lord’s leading and informs the deacons of such meetings.
Section 2. Business Meetings
A. Regular Business Meetings
Regular business meetings of the church shall be held in Quarterly September, December, March, and June, unless otherwise voted by a majority of members of the church at a regular or special business meeting. The time and place of the business meeting shall be announced from the pulpit on at least two (2) Sundays prior to the meeting. Written notice shall be posted in a prominent place in the church during regular services from the date of the first announcement until the meeting.
B. Special Business Meetings
Special business meetings shall be called for by the pastor or upon a majority of the deacons at any time, provided notice is given in the manner required for regular business meetings.
C. Budget Meetings
Budget meetings for adopting the proposed budget or other necessary business shall be held during the regular business meeting in July and December or at a specially called meeting for that purpose prior to January 1 of the year the budget is to go into effect. The church fiscal year shall begin January 1 and conclude December 31.
D. Election Meetings
Election meetings for the election of officers and workers shall be held during the quarterly business meeting in September. Officers and workers shall assume the responsibility for their positions on the first Sunday in October. The church year for officers, workers, classes, and committees shall commence and end with the first Sunday in October. The church operations year shall begin on October 1 and conclude on September 30.
The pastor shall moderate all meetings described in this section 2A, B and C. In his absence a person appointed by the Pastor the chairman of the deacons or a person appointed by the pastor shall serve as moderator pro tern.
In all business meetings, the presence of twenty-five percent (25%) of the members shall be considered a quorum. A quorum shall be required for the validity of all actions that require the vote or approval of the members.
Meetings may be rescheduled by the pastor in consultation with the deacons or by a majority vote of the congregation.
Generally all members of the church in good standing and those who are18 years of age present in person may vote on matters of business that are properly presented at any business meeting. However, only members eighteen (18) years and older may vote on the following:
1. the call or dismissal of a pastor;
2. annual budget or ten percent (10%) of the book value of all church property;
3. the disposal of church property;
4. changes in the Constitution and By-Laws; or
5. the dissolution of the corporation, along with the distribution of its assets.
6. Voting will be conducted by hand completed ballot at officially called business meetings. Ballots will not identify the members’ names who voted. Votes will be counted by deacons and presentation of the vote outcome will be by the Pastor.
I. Rules of Order
In matters not covered by this constitution, Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the authorized procedure for all church business meetings.
J. Unauthorized Meetings. Action taken at a meeting called or held in a manner other than as set forth in this article is void.
Officers and Workers
Officers and workers are in positions of respect and example. All those elected or appointed to offices or positions as workers must conscientiously endeavor to live faithfully to the Lord. All officers and workers must be church members living in dedication to the Lord. They shall:
A. Abstain from worldly practices and amusements that hinder their own spiritual life and testimony or that set a poor example for young Christians;
B. Be faithful in personal Bible study and prayer, soul-winning efforts, stewardship responsibilities, and attendance at all regular church services unless providentially hindered; and
C. Set the example in all matters of Christian conduct as set forth in, but not limited to, the church covenant.
The officers and workers of the church shall be installed when the need arises and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Section 1. Pastor
The pastor shall be a male having been called of God to preach and meeting the scriptural qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-11. He must believe and adhere to the Word of God, the constitution and by-laws, the articles or statement of faith, the spiritual and moral standards set forth in this document, and be uncompromising in preaching these truths.
A pulpit committee, of a number to be determined by the pastor and deacons, at the time the committee is formed, composed of the deacons and other spiritually minded members elected by the church at a business meeting shall unanimously recommend a qualified man to pastor the church. After careful examination of his person, family, ministry, doctrine, and character, they shall bring him (a candidate) to preach at all Sunday services and have him interviewed by the congregation. The committee shall inform the congregation of his credentials prior to his visit. They shall have already informed him about the proposed call, the pastoral responsibilities, tenure, and financial stipulations, along with all other matters pertaining to the church's ministry and stand. More than one candidate may be considered at one time. Upon proper announcement by the pulpit committee, the membership shall vote on the candidate's call to the pastorate by secret ballot. Voting shall take place at a business meeting called for that purpose. He shall be elected by no less than a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the qualified members present. The church shall notify the candidate in writing whether they have voted to extend a call to him or not. The candidate shall notify the church in writing whether he accepts the church's call or not. Only when the need occurs and the membership is notified in a regular service shall the pulpit committee act.
The pastor, as under-shepherd responsible to Jesus Christ, shall preach the Word and administer the ordinances of the church. He shall be the spiritual leader of the church and shall advance the spiritual life of the congregation. He is the overseer of all phases of the church work. He is at liberty to schedule special gatherings such as Bible conferences, revivals, missionary conferences, and special guest speakers as he is led of the Lord and in consultation with the deacons. The pastor is the ex officio member of every committee and organization of the church.
The pastor’s salary and allowances shall be set prior to the time of election and may be changed at any business meeting of the church (special or regular), provided that the usual two (2) week public notice has been given. The amount to be voted on shall have been determined and approved by a budget committee.
E. Leaving the Field
The pastor shall be entitled to an annual vacation of two (2) weeks after one (1) year of service; three (3) weeks after three (3) years; and four (4) weeks after five (5) years. More time may be arranged at the discretion of the deacons. The pastor shall consult with the deacons regarding being absent from any of the regular services of the church for purposes such as speaking at special services and conferences elsewhere. Consideration shall be given to him for missionary trips and attendance at conferences or framing sessions that benefit him and the church. As funds are available, the church shall assist in paying for such professional expenses. Any other absences also need to be arranged with the deacons so that the church functions continue properly.
Having been properly elected, the pastor shall serve until he resigns his office or the church requests him to do so by a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote in a special meeting called for that purpose and announced in advance. The notice requirements of Article V (Meetings), Section 2 for Special Meetings shall be modified to four (4) Sundays, instead of two (2), and the announcement shall be made by the chairman of the deacons at each Sunday service before the special business meeting required by this paragraph 1 F.
G. Deacon’s Recommendation of Termination for Cause
Upon submission of evidence of immorality, apostasy, heresy, unfaithfulness to his duties, departure from the articles of faith, constitution, or by-laws, or if he no longer agrees with the uncompromising stand of this church, by three (3) witnesses (The deacons shall accept no accusation against the pastor without three (3) witnesses, I Timothy 5:19.) to the satisfaction of three-fourths (3/4) of the deacons, the deacons shall make a determination to recommend the pastor’s termination to the members. After making such determination the chairman of the deacons shall notify the pastor to cease pastoral duties immediately. Upon receipt of such notice the pastor shall immediately cease such duties. Thereafter the procedure for terminating the pastor’s tenure shall be the same as set forth in paragraph 1 F above.
Section 2. Staff
In order to meet the needs of the congregation adequately, the pastor is at liberty to fill unsalaried positions (without a church vote for position), with spiritually qualified personnel equipped for the various tasks, including but not limited to church secretaries, youth leaders and music directors. Paid or salaried positions will be coordinated with the church, the deacons and the congregation who must vote and allocate the funds in the budget for a salaried position before filling the position. Since any assistant pastor may be helping the pastor in the spiritual oversight of and care for the church, he must meet the Scriptural qualifications of a pastor. The pastor is entrusted with the responsibility of dismissing staff members that violate the standards required of church officers or that are remiss in their duties. He will keep the deacons informed of all aspects of any termination.
Section 3. Deacons
Deacons shall be male and shall meet the scriptural qualifications of the office set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13, having been active members of the church for at least one year.
B. Election and Tenure
The pastor and present deacons shall present a list of nominees for the office to the congregation at the annual business meeting. The congregation shall elect the deacons by ballot. Deacons shall serve a term of three (3) years (rotationally), and may be reelected after being out of office one (1) year. The needs of the church and the number of men scripturally qualified to serve shall determine the number of deacons. New deacons shall be installed during a dedication service following their election.
The deacons shall assist the pastor in carrying on the work of the church, as is illustrated in Acts 6. They shall relieve the pastor of the responsibilities he delegates to them in order to better meet the needs of the church. They also shall be vitally active in the soul-winning activities of the church and shall assist in the ordinances of the church. The chairman and other officers shall be elected at the first deacons’ meeting of the church year. Deacons’ meetings shall be monthly. The pastor shall be the moderator for all deacons’ meetings. Special deacons’ meetings may be called by the pastor as needed. No deacons’ meetings may be held without the pastor’s presence or his consent to meet without him.
Upon submission of evidenced of any deacon’s immorality, apostasy, heresy, unfaithfulness to his duties, departure from the articles of faith, constitution, or by-laws, or if he no longer agrees with the uncompromising stand of this church, the pastor with the concurrence of three-fourths (3/4) of the deacons shall recommend to the members that the errant deacon be dismissed from his position as a deacon at a special business meeting. At the pastor’s sole discretion, a special election may be called to fill the dismissed deacon’s position.
Section 4. Annually Elected Officers
The treasurer shall be elected at the annual election meeting. The treasurer is responsible to keep an accurate account of all monetary receipts and disbursements. The treasurer is to post financial statements monthly and provide them at the regular and annual business meetings. Financial records are to be available to the pastor and deacons upon request, or to others authorized by the pastor, deacons, or a vote of a majority of the members at any business meeting, to examine them.
B. Donation Records Secretary
The donation records secretary shall be elected at the annual election meeting. The donations record secretary is responsible for keeping records of monetary gifts and who gave them and shall send each contributor a copy of the record of his or her contributions quarterly and/or annually. The donation records secretary shall see that offering envelopes are available to the membership and to others desiring them. Those counting the offerings will turn over the empty offering envelopes (noting the donor and donation where necessary) to the donation records secretary each week.
C. Recording Secretary
The recording secretary shall be elected at the annual election meeting. The recording secretary shall take minutes and preserve records of the business proceedings of the church and shall report the records at the business meetings. The recording secretary shall also maintain the record of the church membership, adding or deleting the names of members at the direction of the membership, as well as the inactive roll. The recording secretary shall issue letters of baptisms and dismissals and shall preserve on file all communication and written official reports. An assistant recording secretary may be elected when needed.
D. Sunday School Superintendent
The Sunday School superintendent is the director of the Sunday School and shall with the pastor’s counsel and supervision carry out his responsibilities. He is charged with appointing and training teachers, departmental superintendents, assistant teachers, and other Sunday school workers. He shall lead the teachers meetings under the supervision of the pastor. He shall order and distribute the Sunday school learning material. The superintendent shall supervise Sunday school visitation, placement of pupils, collection of Sunday school offerings, and keeping of Sunday school records.
The superintendent shall be a male. ARTICLE VII
Section 1. Budget Committee
The budget committee shall consist of the pastor and at least two (2) deacons, along with elected officers needed by virtue of their office. The budget committee shall prepare a recommended church budget for the ensuing year and submit it to the members for adoption at the annual business meeting or at a business meeting called for such specific purpose.
Section 2. Missions Committee
The missions committee shall consist of the pastor and the deacons. They shall screen all missionary applicants and make recommendations to the members for support and for the withdrawal of support.
Section 3. Nominating Committee
The nominating committee shall consist of the pastor and the deacons. They will provide a list of the offices to be filled and post the list in a prominent place in the church three (3) weeks prior to the election of officers. Members may suggest qualified persons by submitting their names to the committee. The committee will review all names submitted and add the names of any persons they wish to recommend. The committee shall contact all persons nominated to determine their qualifications and their willingness to serve if elected. The committee will then recommend all qualified and willing persons to the church for a vote. No nominations will be made from the floor. Voting for officers shall be by secret ballot.
Section 4. Other Committees and Positions
All other committees and positions shall be appointed by the pastor and deacons, who shall determine job responsibilities and qualifications. Any appointed committee chairman shall assist in selecting other committee members.
Section 5. Responsibility
All committees are responsible and answerable to the pastor and the members for carrying out their appointed responsibilities. ARTICLE VIII
Section 1. General Requirements
All ministries, departments, organizations, classes, and groups of the church are subject to and shall function in harmony with the members, the pastor, and the deacons. The pastor, deacons, and members may add ministries to the church as the need and opportunity arise, but none will take precedence over the church. None shall be promoted without the recommendation of the pastor and deacons and the approval of the members at a business meeting properly called. All workers in these ministries must meet and adhere to the standards set forth in Article VI.
Section 2. Christian School
In the event that the church should have its own Christian School, its board of directors shall be spiritual men of the church, nominated by the pastor and deacons and elected by the members. The pastor shall be board chairman. The school may have its own by-laws and organization, provided they are first approved by the pastor, deacons, and members as consistent with the spirit of the church constitution and by-laws. These stipulations do not preclude the church’s cooperation with other churches of like faith and practice in establishing and administrating a Christian school that would serve more than one church, provided the school meets the financial support and policy guidelines set forth in Article XI. Any such cooperation must be recommended by the pastor and deacons and approved by the members.
This church, as a corporation, shall be a non-stock, non-profit, and an exclusively religious corporation. It shall not as an entity become an official member of any denomination, convention, fellowship, or other religious body of a compromising nature. This church is an independent Baptist church that is totally self-governing and subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body. This church recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual conviction, counsel, and cooperation with other fundamental churches. It encourages fellowship with those organizations that consistently uphold the truth of God’s Word and the spirit of this constitution and by-laws. Such cooperation with churches of like mind and practice shall in no wise sanction any undue influence or jurisdiction over this local assembly. ARTICLE X
Any literature that officially represents this church or that is used by any ministry of this church must first be approved by the pastor.
Financial Support and Policy
The financial needs of this church shall be met by the voluntary tithes, offerings, and contributions of its members and friends. The pastor and deacons must approve any other method of fund raising for the church or its auxiliary ministries. No sales or bazaars shall be permitted in the name of this church. The pastor and deacons may approve special offerings to be taken apart from those received in the regular services. No church support shall be given to persons or groups that do not subscribe to the Biblical stand set forth in the articles of faith and church covenant.
Licensing and Ordination
Any male giving evidence of a Divine call to the gospel ministry and manifesting the gifts and grace belonging to the ministry may be licensed or ordained, or both, to the ministry of this church. He must first state that he accepts without reservation the articles of faith of this church, and must be recommended by the pastor of this church. The ordination council, composed of ordained ministers (which may be members) selected or approved by the pastor, shall thoroughly examine the candidate in regard to his doctrinal soundness, moral and spiritual qualifications, and personal fitness for the ministry. After satisfactory examination by the council, he shall be recommended to the church for ordination. The candidate’s ordination shall require ratification of the recommendation of the council by the members.
Property, Buildings, and Equipment
Decisions relative to the acquisition or sale of real property shall require a two thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members at a properly called business meeting. All buildings, property, and equipment shall be used only by permission of the pastor and deacons. They shall be principally for the use of this church, its functions, and its related activities.
Adoption and Amendments
Section 1. Adoption
Upon adoption, this constitution bears immediate and complete constitutional authority upon this church.
Section 2. Procedure for Amending
This constitution may be revised or amended at any regular business meeting of the church by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of members present and voting, provided the proposed amendments have been announced at a previous business meeting and have been posted in a prominent place in the church for four (4) Sundays (before and after all services) or mailed to all members at least two (2) weeks prior to the vote of the members. No substantive amendment of any nature shall be made in Article IV without unanimous approval of members present and voting at a business meeting, provided the proposed amendments have been announced at a previous business meeting and have been posted in a prominent place in the church four (4) Sundays (before and after all services) or mailed to all members at least two (2) weeks prior to the vote of the members.
Section 3. Recording of Amendments
The recording secretary shall record all amendments to this constitution by appending such amendments to the constitution. All amendments shall be added to later editions of the constitution with the amendment date noted. ARTICLE XV
Section 1. Translations
The church from the pulpit and in classes officially taught and recognized by the church uses the King James Version of the bible. The King James version of the bible will be used for all preaching services and Sunday School classes.
Section 2. Charismatic Movement
We reject the charismatic movement because it has made experiences rather than obedience to the Word of God the basis for and test of spirituality. Further, the tongues movement has become the rallying point for the ecumenical church, which unholy alliance we absolutely oppose.
Section 3. Neo-Evangelicalism
We oppose the Neo-Evangelical movement because of its weak stand on the inspiration of the Word of God and its belittling of Biblical separation. ARTICLE XVI
Dissolution of the Corporation
In the event of the dissolution of this church as a non-profit corporation, the assets of the corporation shall be given and paid over to non-profit church of like faith and order, approved by the remaining membership and which would qualify under the provisions of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, amended to February 1, 1992 (or its successor provision) and the regulations attributable thereto. None of the assets or holdings shall be divided among its members or among any individuals or groups not so qualified. The meeting to vote on dissolution shall be carried out according to the guidelines in Article VI, section 2, on business meetings.
Statement of Faith
The church accepts and abides by the previously published Statement of Faith.
This Constitution and By-Laws has been ratified by vote of the members on