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LOS FRESNOS FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

             PREAMBLE              

We, the members of The First Baptist Church, Los Fresnos declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This constitution preserves the liberties and responsibilities of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this church body with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith.

ARTICLE I . NAME AND LEGAL STATUS

This church body shall be known as The First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos [FBC-LF] located at 300 Ocean Boulevard, Los Fresnos Texas 78566. Our legal status is a non-profit corporation named The First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos, Texas, Inc. The Articles of Incorporation were signed on February 11, 1949, were recorded in the office of the Secretary of State of Texas on March 3, 1949, and in the office of Cameron County clerk on February 17, 1950.  

ARTICLE II. STATEMENT OF FAITH AND DOCTRINE.

We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God and the sole basis for our beliefs and practices. FBC-LF subscribes to the doctrinal statement of “The Baptist Faith and Message” as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on May 9, 1963.  We believe in the one and only God and the trinity of God. We believe that eternal salvation is offered freely to all believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We believe in the priesthood of the believer, the autonomy of the local church, and in the freedom of and for religion.

ARTICLE III . VISION STATEMENT

It is the vision of FBC-LF, to bring glory to God through missions and ministry to the body of multi-ethnic believers, community, and world as modeled by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

ARTICLE IV. CORE VALUES

The core values of FBC-LF are internalized beliefs that inspire us and give us purpose. These values identify the worth and benefit of certain ideas, attitudes, and things including the following:

 God-Centered

We believe that God is the head of First Baptist Church Los Fresnos and we belong to Him. (Matt.22: 36-38, Romans 8: 14-15, 1 Corinth. 10: 31).

Bible-Based

We believe the Bible is God’s Holy Word. (Psalm 119: 104-106, John 1: 1-18, Romans 1: 16-18).

Salvation by Grace Through Faith

We believe in Salvation by grace through faith. (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9, 10:13, Eph: 2: 8-9).

Worship-Centered

We believe in order to truly worship in spirit and truth, there should be spiritual unity among the people. (John 4:23, Hebrews10: 25, Matt. 18: 20, 1Corinth. 5: 4, Psalm 95: 6).

Prayer -Minded

We believe that prayer is the channel through which we communicate with God. (Mark 11: 22-26, Eph. 6: 18, James 5: 16).

Obedient-Minded

We believe that every Christian should be obedient-minded. (Psalm 81:11, Matt. 7:21, 11:15, Romans 1:5, 10:16-17, John 14: 23, 13:34, 1st John 2: 17, Rev. 22:14, James 2:21-26, 1st Peter 1:15, Phil. 2: 5-8).

Discipleship-Minded

We believe that more spiritually mature Christians should mentor younger believers and help them grow toward spiritual maturity. (Luke 9:23-27, 14:25-33, John 8:31-32).

Kingdom-Building

We believe that God's work is far greater than our church or community. (Matt 9:36-38, 28:18-20, John 15:7-17, Acts 1:8).

Outreach-Focused

We believe that God built His church on earth to further His Kingdom. (Matt. 11:28-29, Romans 3: 22-24, 12: 13).

Stewardship-Committed

We believe that God is the ultimate source of all blessings; all that we have and are we owe to Him. (Lev. 27:30-33, Mal. 3: 7-12, Luke 19:12-26).

Relationship-Oriented

We believe that God's children need a place of fellowship where they feel they belong. (1st John 1: 7, 4: 7-11, Romans 12: 4-5).

Family-Focused

We believe that First Baptist Church can be a vital part of helping to build healthy families. (Acts 10:2, Mark 10: 14, Proverbs 23: 24, Psalms 128: 3, Matt. 12: 48-50).

Sanctity of life

We believe in the sanctity of life and encourage our members and others to view the Scripture on the sacredness and dignity of all human life, both born and unborn, and support legislation prohibiting abortion. ( Psalm 139: 13-16) (See Core Value document of First Baptist Church)      

ARTICLE V. CHARACTER

Section 1 Policy

The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable to the church, unless otherwise clearly specified by church action.

This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among New Testament churches as defined in the Baptist Faith and Message.

Section 2 Relationships

This church is not subject to the control of any other religious body or organization but operates as one body through the democratic process under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This church is affiliated with the Rio Grande Valley Association. This church may support other nonprofit ministries and will determine the extent of its cooperation and support of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Southern Baptist Convention.  The Holy Scriptures shall be The First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos's authority and guide in matters of faith, practice, and ecclesiastical relationships.

ARTICLE VI .     CHURCH COVENANT

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and 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 the body of 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, doctrines, and discipline; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and personal 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 gossiping, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the use of substances harmful to our bodies; to use our influence to combat the abuse of all such harmful substances as well as pornography; and to work untiringly for the advancement of the kingdom of our Savior by witnessing in words and actions.

We further engage to care for 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 Savior to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that if we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church of like faith and order where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

                                   BYLAWS

ARTICLE  I.  MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. General

This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership. Candidacy for membership in this church is open to all people regardless of race, color, or national origin.

Section 2. Candidacy

Any person may offer himself/herself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways;

1)    By profession of faith in Christ followed with baptism by immersion.

2)    By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church of like faith and order.

3)    By statement of a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, scriptural baptism by immersion, and previous membership in a Baptist church of like faith and order.

4) By restoration as explained in By Laws, Article 1- Membership, Section 9- Discipline.

Section 3. Affirmation for Membership

When a person presents himself/herself for Church Membership, the Church family will be asked at that time to affirm, with a unanimous approval of church members present, that individual's request as candidate for membership in Los Fresnos First Baptist Church. The Church Body will be asked to commit itself as individual brothers and sisters in Christ to that person upon his/her Christian testimony. Following this action of the Church family, the Pastor and/or deacons will counsel the new brother or sister regarding his or her responsibilities and privileges with the Body of Christ.

Section 3.A. Acceptance into Membership

1.     Persons will officially become members, with a unanimous vote at a church business meeting. Should there be any dissent of any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the pastor and the deacon body for investigation and a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days. A three quarters (3/4) vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.

2.     We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of First Baptist Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the First Baptist Church Members and the community, it is imperative that all persons who become members, are employed by in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this churches statement of marriage, gender, and sexuality as expressed in Article 4 under Family Focused (Matthew 5:16; Philippians 2:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Section 4. New Member Orientation

New members of this church are expected to participate in the church’s new member orientation.   

Section 5.  Rights of Members

Every member of the church present is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference. Every member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as a candidate for elective staff in the church. Every member of the church has equal rights, and is entitled to equal privileges and consideration from all officers, staff, and other members of the church. Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.

Section 6. Duties and Responsibilities of Members

All members are expected to seek the control of the Holy Spirit throughout their lives, in being faithful to the teachings of the Bible, to attend regularly the services of the church, to contribute to the support of the church, to share in its organized work, and to conduct themselves toward one another in the spirit of the Church Covenant. (Constitution Article VI.) 

Section 7. Watchcare Membership

Watchcare membership is for anyone who is a member of a Baptist church in another city but who is living in the Los Fresnos area for a short time, does not expect to become a permanent resident, yet desires affiliation with a local Baptist church. By requesting to come under the “watchcare” of First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos, he or she retains their membership in their home church but officially identifies with this church while living here. This member will share all the privileges of membership except the right to vote on business matters. 

Section 8. Termination of Membership

Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:

1)    Death of a member.

2)    Dismissal by letter to another Baptist church upon request from that church. The church letter will not be given to the individual but will be forwarded by mail to the requesting church.

3)    By dropping from the roll, when a person joins an order of other beliefs and practices; provided the deacons have verified such action. ***

4)    Any member who wishes to have his name removed from membership may do so by requesting the church to remove his name. A signed written request is preferred.

5)    By exclusion. If not in full and regular standing, in accordance with Membership Responsibilities (see By Laws/Article I/Section 6. Duties and Responsibilities) and adherence to the Church Covenant (see Constitution/Article VI), an individual may not act and/or vote in any business transactions of the church. After the church has contacted them twice, the church will act according to their response as a member, effective one year from the date of the first contact. ***

6)    Should a member become an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of offenses in the community, offensive habits, and repeatedly or unchristian conduct, or by persistent breach of his/her covenant vows, the church may terminate membership. This may only occur after due notice and hearing, and after faithful efforts have been made to bring the member to repentance and amendment. ***

7)  By proof of the individual’s membership in another church or denomination. ***

***Special requirement for action on 3, 5, 6, &7 above. Action to terminate members as addressed in any of these conditions requires recommendation from the Pastor and Deacon Body.

Section 9.  Discipline

It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The pastor, other members of the church staff, and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.

Should some serious condition exist, which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and deacons will take every responsible measure to resolve the problem in accordance with Matthew 18: 15-17. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a three quarters (3/4) vote of the members present and voting is required. The church may proceed to declare the person no longer in the membership of the church. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance. 

The church may restore any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by vote of the church upon evidence of the excluded person’s repentance and reformation. This action requires three-quarters (3/4) vote of church members present and voting.

ARTICLE II  CHURCH OFFICERS & STAFF 

Church officers and staff must be members of the church. Church officers include Pastors, and Deacons. All other leaders are considered Church Staff. Church Staff include Church Secretary, Church Clerk, Assoc. Church Clerk, Church Treasurer, and Student Minister. Staff may also include Music Director and Education Director or any combination to meet these functions of the church.  The church determines additional church staff when necessary. When the need to fill a new church staff position or revise a current position, a description is developed by the church council and approved by the church. This document of description then appropriately becomes an amendment to these By-Laws. Documentation listing the role, responsibilities and duties etc. is appropriately added to the P&P/Operations Manual. A job description is developed if necessary. All employed staff has a signed job description included in their personnel file. With the exception of the pastor each employed staff person shall receive a job evaluation on a regular basis (at least annually) which is completed by the pastor and the evaluation will also be included in the staff person’s personnel file maintained in the church office. For termination of any church officer or staff person see Article II, A.Church Officers, Section 2. Deacons, C-Deacon Body, Paragraph 7. 

A. CHURCH  OFFICERS 

Section 1.  Pastor

A.    Pastoral Qualifying Characteristics

The church believes the Pastor is a man who at least possesses the minimum characteristics required of a deacon. They are as follows:

1-    He shall have a mature, practical approach toward the Christian life, commanding the respect of all that see him.

2-    He holds to and speaks his convictions.

3-    His life is guided by the Holy Spirit.

4-    He practices stewardship through time, talents, and tithes.

5-    He can understand and explain the doctrines of the faith.

6-    He has been tried and proved as evidenced by his support of the total church program.

7-    He is the husband of one wife, who must likewise be worthy of respect, and is temperate and self-controlled.

8-    He manages his children, family affairs and business affairs as a Christian gentleman.

9-    The Pastor will refrain from unworthy or worldly activity that might hinder his service to God or mar his testimony as a Christian.

B.  General Responsibilities and Duties

The pastor is the under shepherd of the church.

The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. The pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff to perform their tasks. The pastor is leader of the pastoral ministries of First Baptist Church, Los Fresnos.  He will work with the deacons and other church officers to:

1)    Lead the church in the achievement of its mission.

2)    Proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and

3)    Care for the church’s members and others persons in the community. 

The Pastor shall preside at meetings of this church, and if so designated, may serve as moderator in all business meetings in keeping with the rules as authorized in these Bylaws. The pastor shall secure evangelists for meetings when necessary. The pastor shall serve as under shepherd of all organizations and as advisor of all committees of the church. His role is to provide spiritual guidance and council. He shall direct and supervise all staff who are financially compensated (employed) by the church. 

C. Calling and Release 

A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given. (See Article 3, Section 4, B Special Business Meetings).   The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the request of the church. A vote to call or release a pastor will be by secret ballot; an affirmative vote of three-quarters (3/4) of those church members present and voting is required.

D. Absence of the Pastor

In cases where the pastor is absent from the pulpit, a qualified person must be named Pastor pro tem to serve in the pastor’s absence. Such vacancy is expected to be temporary in nature. When the incumbent pastor intends to be away, if he deems necessary, he may appoint a person to act as pastor in his absence. This person shall be recommended and affirmed by the deacons.  Said appointee herein shall be known as pastor pro tem. 

Candidates for Pastor pro tem must be scripturally eligible to serve as a deacon. When so named, the pastor pro tem has the full authority of the pastor and shall assume all duties and responsibilities there unto pertaining to the church office of pastor. 

In any situation where the incumbent pastor departs or is determined unable to fulfil his role as Pastor and has not named a Pastor pro tem, the following action is to be taken. The chairman of the deacons, with agreement from the deacon body, will recommend to the church council a Pastor pro tem. 

E.    Pastor’s Vacation and Time off

The pastor and full-time staff workers shall have paid vacation time on the following basis:    

(1 through 5 years service – 2 weeks)

    (6 through 10 years of service-3 weeks)

    (11 through 15 years of service- 4 weeks)

    Over 15 years of service- 5 weeks

The pastor and full-time staff workers are eligible for vacation time upon completion of one year of service. Vacation time away from the church should not exceed 2 consecutive weeks at any time, however special needs/circumstances may be considered.

All vacation and other time away from the church for the Pastor is approved, in advance, by the Deacons. The deacon body may approve additional time with pay in advance.

The pastor is encouraged to attend the Rio Grande Valley Baptist Associational meetings. The decision to attend The Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Texas State Evangelistic Conference, as a messenger from our church, is made by the Pastor. Expenses paid by the church for the Pastor to attend these meetings and conventions are appropriate when allocated in the church budget and recommended by the Deacons.

F. Termination of Pastor

When it becomes necessary for the advancement of God’s Kingdom to consider the dismissal of a pastor, the matter shall be presented to the church upon recommendation from the deacon body. Two weeks public notice is required of the meeting when a recommendation of this nature is to be made to the church body. Under extreme circumstances the Deacon Body has authority for immediate suspension of the Pastor. 

A pastor may be terminated from office for the following reasons:

1)    He resigns (a signed, written, and dated resignation is required).

2)    He retires.

3)    He expires.

4)    Failure to perform the duties of the pastor.

5)    His conduct presents him as an offense to the Name and cause of Jesus Christ.

6)    He consistently fails to meet and uphold the Biblical qualifications of a pastor.

The church shall vote by secret ballot, an affirmative vote of three-quarters (3/4)of the members present and voting being necessary for dismissal.  Services terminate immediately upon dismissal.. Pastor’s salary and benefits may be continued for a time period recommended by the deacons and authorized by the church. 

The Pastor is financially compensated by the church. (See qualifications and requirements for Pastor under Job Descriptions in P&P/Operations Manual).

Section 2  Deacon (s)

A. Deacon Qualifying characteristics

To be qualified to become a deacon one must demonstrate his recognition of certain spiritual responsibilities and obligations to the church. The deacon shall recognize the teaching of Timothy 3: 8-13 and Acts 6: 1-7, and shall examine himself as to his acceptance of this spiritual guidance. The church believes these scripture passages to teach that a deacon should be a man.

1-Who shall have a mature, practical approach toward the Christian life, commanding the respect of all that see him.

2- Who holds to and speaks his convictions.

3- Whose life is guided by the Holy Spirit.

4- Who practices stewardship through time, talents, and tithes.

5- Who can understand and explain the doctrines of the faith

6- Who has been tried and proved as evidenced by his support of the total church program.

7- Who is the husband of one wife, who must likewise be worthy of respect, and is temperate and self-controlled.

8- Who manages his children, family affairs and business affairs as a Christian gentleman.

9- Who bears witness through personal evangelism.

10- He shall refrain from unworthy or worldly activity that might hinder his service to God or mar his testimony as a Christian.

B. General Responsibilities and Duties

In accordance with the meaning and the work and practice of the New Testament, deacons are servants of the church. They will assist the pastor and staff in performing the pastoral ministry tasks of: leading the church in the achievement of its mission, which includes but not limited to:

1) Proclaiming the gospel to believers and unbelievers,

2) Caring for the church’s members and other persons in the community,

3) Developing the church’s missionary outreach to the world,

4) Building and maintaining harmonious fellowship in the church

5) Providing assistance to any committee upon request.

6) Deacons are to be zealous to guard the unity of the Spirit within the Church in bonds of peace. 

7) They are to cooperate in the church’s programs of education, evangelism, missions and stewardship.

8) They are to serve as Trustees of the church when elected by the church.

9) Deacons shall seek to be an example to others in religious matters, especially in attendance in Sunday and midweek services. 

C. Deacon Body

Deacons, by proper organization and method among themselves, are to establish and maintain personal fraternal relations with, and inspiring oversight of all the membership of the church. They are to especially seek to know the physical needs and the moral and spiritual struggles of the brethren and sisters, and to serve the whole church in assisting, encouraging and developing all that are in need. The deacons may initiate matters of business and shall study matters of business referred to them by the committees, agencies, or members of the church, and make recommendations to the church regarding these matters. 

The deacons will meet together on a regular basis as often as necessary to fulfill their duties and responsibilities to the church, but at least monthly. They will elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary to serve each year. The Secretary will maintain written minutes of the deacon meetings. The Chairman will present the deacon body report to the church as appropriate, at church business meetings.

The church may elect as many deacons as necessary to carry out the functions of the church. All candidates must be ordained deacons who have transferred from another Baptist church of like faith and order, or men who have been recommended to the church by the deacons and pastor for election. Each candidate must have been a member of First Baptist Church Los Fresnos for at least 6 months before being elected. If his wife accompanies the candidate, she too must be a member of First Baptist Church. 

When the need arises for additional deacons to serve, the pastor and the deacon body shall act as a committee to recommend to the church the number of deacons to be elected. They shall give prayerful consideration to all names that are presented in writing to them. They must seek the Lord’s will and His help in discerning those men who are most scriptural qualified for this work. The pastor and the chairman of deacons, or his representative shall interview as many of these men as necessary. The names of men to be recommended shall be presented to the church at least two weeks prior to the regular church business meeting or two weeks preceding the business meeting at which time the election shall occur. Voting will be by secret ballot. An affirmative vote requires three fourths of the church members present and voting. A deacon shall consider it his personal responsibility to resign as an active deacon at such time as he may find himself out of harmony with the spirit of the constitution. 

The deacons, along with the pastor, will serve as a pulpit supply committee. In case of the absence or inability of the pastor, and a pastor pro tem has not been named, the deacons will provide for pulpit supply. When the church is in an interim period without a pastor, the deacons shall arrange for an ongoing pulpit ministry. The deacons may decide with approval of the church upon an interim pastor for the church.

The deacons will assist the pastor in administering the ordinances of the church. In addition, they will work with the pastor and be guided by the Holy Spirit whenever church discipline becomes necessary. 

The deacons, by vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the active deacon body, may recommend to the church that any church office or leadership position be declared vacant due to incompetence, failure to function, or behavior inconsistent with the beliefs of this church on the part of the office holder. The pastor and one deacon, or two deacons if the offending party is the pastor, shall counsel with the offender before the church action is taken. 

Section 3  Church Moderator

The moderator for First Baptist Church shall be the Pastor. The moderator shall preside at all regular and special business meetings. He shall be expected to conduct all meetings following “Roberts Rules of Order-

Revised”, insofar as they are applicable and are not inconsistent with this Constitution and By-Laws. The pastor may designate the Chairman of the Deacons or another Deacon to act as moderator in his absence. 

Section 4 Trustees

The Church shall elect annually five trustees from the Deacon Body to act for the Church in legal matters who shall serve until successors are elected. They shall hold the Church property in the corporate name of the Church. Upon specific vote of the Church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any Church property, but not otherwise. When the signatures of Trustees are required, any three or more shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to Church approved matters.

1)    The Trustees of this corporation shall be composed of five (5) members of the Deacon Body elected by First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos, Texas, who shall soon after the annual election of church officers and leaders meet to organize as the trustees of this corporation.

2)    The Chairman of the Trustees shall preside at all meetings of the Trustees. He may, and upon demand of any three (3) members of the trustees, call special meetings of the trustees. He shall perform all other duties that usually pertain to the office or are delegated to him by resolution of the trustees.

3)    The Vice-Chairman shall, in case of the absence or disability of the Chairman, perform the duties of the Chairman.

4)    The Secretary of the church shall serve as Secretary of the Trustees and shall complete minutes of all Trustees’ meetings. The Secretary shall have the custody of the seal of the corporation and affix it as directed by the Trustees. The Secretary shall perform all other duties that usually pertain to the Secretary’s office or are delegated to the Secretary by the Trustees.

5)    Regular meetings of the Trustees shall be held at such time and place as they may determine. A majority of the Trustees shall constitute a quorum.

6)    Special meetings of the Trustees may be called by the Chairman upon one day’s notice stating the purpose or purposes thereof, or such special meetings may be held at any time by unanimous consent of the Trustees.

7)    The seal of the corporation shall consist of a circle within which shall be inscribed “The First Baptist Church of Los Fresnos, Texas, Inc.”

B.          CHURCH STAFF  

Section 1.   Church Secretary

The church Secretary is an employee of the church. The church Secretary shall serve under the supervision of the pastor and shall be responsible to him alone. The secretary may accept requests that are within the general duties of the secretary, from any church officer or member providing the request is pertinent to FBC. If the secretary is unable to comply with a request by any church member because of work schedule or for any reason, the pastor will make a final determination as to whether or not the request may be honored.

The Secretary is financially compensated by the church. (See P&P/Operations Manual for complete description of duties and responsibilities.) 

Section 2.  Church Clerk

The church clerk is elected annually by the church upon recommendation from the Nominating Committee. The person selected for this work should be one who is vitally interested in all the affairs of the church.

The clerk should have a capacity for accurately recording details. The clerk should take pride in keeping the records neat, and should be faithful to guard them safely. The clerk should be regular in attendance and alert to recognize actions that need to be recorded. The church minutes are filed annually and maintained in the church office. (See P&P/Operations Manual for complete description of duties and responsibilities.)

Section 3. Church Treasurer

The Treasurer is elected annually by the church from the deacon body after being recommended by the Nominating Committee. The person sought out by the committee to serve in this important work shall be one who is interested in all the affairs of the church. As a servant of the church, the treasurer’s services shall be of unquestioned integrity, and the records always open to inspection. The Treasurer and one other person designated by the church shall sign all checks. The Church Treasurer is responsible for overseeing the handling of all funds received and dispersed by the church. Disbursement of all funds is done in accordance with the church approved budget. The Treasurer is responsible for keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. 

The treasurer’s report and records are audited annually, and any time there is a change in this office, by a means decided upon by the Budget/Finance committee. (ie. An Audit committee, or CPA.) The church Treasurer is an ex-officio member of the Finance/Budget committee. (See P&P/Operations Manual for complete description of duties and responsibilities.)

Section 4.  Student Minister

The Student Minister, working under the supervision of the Pastor, shall be responsible for the planning, administration, coordination, supervision and evaluation of a comprehensive and active Student Ministry of First Baptist Church. The Student Minister will cooperate with the Pastor in promoting the entire church program. (The Student Minister is compensated by FBC, see P&P/Operations Manual for complete description of duties and responsibilities). 

Section 5. Sunday School / Discipleship Director

The Sunday School / Discipleship Director is responsible to the church, under the leadership of the Pastor, for overseeing the planning, coordination, and evaluating the total Bible teaching and Disciple Training program.    (See P&P/Operations manual for complete description of duties and responsibilities.)

Section 6. Music Director

The music director, under the supervision and leadership of the pastor, is responsible to the church for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the total music ministry of the church. (See P&P/Operations Manual for complete description of duties and responsibilities.)

Section 7. Nursery Coordinator

The Nursery Coordinator is responsible for administrating the church nursery in an effective, safe, and orderly manner. The Nursery Coordinator is under the general supervision of the Pastor with the Nursery Committee serving in an advisory roll. (See P&P/Operations Manual for complete list of duties and responsibilities).

Section 8. Custodian(s)

The custodian, under the supervision of the pastor, is responsible for maintaining the church facilities in a clean and orderly condition. (See P&P/Operations Manual for complete list of duties and responsibilities).

Section 9. Librarian

The Librarian is responsible to the church, under the leadership of the Pastor, for maintaining the library effectively.

Section 10. Tenure of Service

All volunteer staff positions are reviewed each year by the nominating committee and approved by the church. There is no time limit on tenure of service.

Section 11. Other Church Staff

When the church selects additional church staff positions a description of the purpose and function is added to this constitution through the amendment process. A description of the duties and responsibilities is included in the P&P/Operations manual. A job description is developed if the church financially compensates the staff position 

ARTICLE III . CHURCH MEETINGS 

Section 1. Worship Services

The church meets regularly each Sunday morning, and Wednesday evening for the worship of the Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services. The pastor directs the services for all the church members and for all others who may choose to attend.

Section 2. Special Services

Revival meetings and any other church meetings essential to the advancement of the church’s objectives may be scheduled in consultation with the pastor and approved by the church.

Section 3. Church Ordinances

A. Observance of the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is observed regularly; the frequency to be recommended by the Church Council and agreed upon by the church. The Pastor and the deacons are responsible for the administration of the Lord’s Supper.

B. Baptism

A person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith; who professes him publicly at any worship service; and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord shall be received for baptism.

¨     Baptism is by immersion in water.

¨     Baptism is administered by the pastor or whomever the pastor shall authorize. The deacons assist in the preparation for and observance of baptism.

¨     Baptism is administered as an act of worship during any worship service.

¨     A person professing Christ and failing to be baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the pastor and/or staff and deacons. If negative interest is ascertained, this person shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism, and thus, is determined to not be interested in church membership.

Section 4.  Business Meetings

A. Regular Business Meetings

Regular business meetings are scheduled in advance and held monthly, on the Wednesday night following the second Sunday of the month. 

B. Special Business Meetings

The church may conduct called business meetings to consider matters of special nature and

significance. A one-week notice must be given for the special-called business meeting unless extreme urgency renders the notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, date, time and place of the meeting; and it must be announced publicly.

Section 5. The Annual Corporation Meeting

The Annual Meeting is held once a year following the election of church officers and leadership. 

Section 6. Parliamentary Rules

Robert’s Rules of Order- Revised, is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church. 

Section 7. The Constitution of a Quorum

The quorum consists of church members who attend the business meeting, provided that it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called. A simple majority (one more than half of the members present and voting) is needed to accept most matters at hand. {Exceptions to simple majority requirement: Church membership, church action to terminate membership, to call or release a Pastor, to hire and dismiss church staff, to elect Deacons, to approve non-budgeted items that are greater than two hundred dollars. ($200.00) Exception also applies to purchase, construct, and/or to sell property. (See each relative section of these By-laws for an affirmative vote required for the issues falling under exceptions.)

ARTICLE IV. CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS

Section 1. Sunday School/Discipleship Training

There is a Sunday School/Discipleship Training program divided into departments and classes for all ages and conducted under the direction of the Sunday School/Discipleship director for the study of God’s Word.

The tasks of Sunday School/Discipleship Training are to teach the biblical revelation; reach persons for Christ and church membership; perform the functions of the church within its constituency. The tasks are also to orient new church members; train church members to perform the functions of the church; train church leaders; teach Christian theology, Christian ethics, Christian history, and church policy and organization; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.

Section 2. Women’s Ministry

The Women’s Ministry is the mission education, mission action, and mission support organization of the church for women, young women, girls and preschool children. Its tasks are to teach missions; engage in mission action; support world missions through praying and giving; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination. The Women’s Ministry has such officers and organizations, as the program requires. 

Section 3. Men’s Ministry

The Men’s Ministry is the mission education, mission action, and mission support organization of the church for men, young men, and boys. Its tasks are to teach missions; engage in mission action; support world missions through praying and giving; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination. The Men’s Ministry has such officers and organizations, as the program requires.

Section 4. Church Music Program

There is a Church Music Program under the direction of the music director. Such officers and organizations are included as needed. The music tasks are to teach music; train persons to lead, sing, and play music; provide music in the church and community; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination.

ARTICLE V. CHURCH COUNCIL

The purpose of the church council is to provide leadership to the congregation through the recommendation of objectives and goals. Its purpose, also, is to provide a means for coordination of program plans and resources, and evaluation of objectives and goals. 

The Church Council, unless otherwise determined by vote of the church, consists of leaders of the church. These leaders are; Pastor, Student Minister, Church Treasurer, Church Clerk, Music Director, Sunday School /Discipleship Director, Women’s Ministry Director, Men’s Ministry Director, Deacon Chairman, and all standing committee chairpersons. 

All matters agreed upon by the council, calling for action not already authorized, shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval. The church council shall meet at least monthly prior to the regular church Business meeting. The pastor serves as chairperson who presides over meetings. The pastor selects an assistant chairperson to serve in his absence. The church clerk serves as secretary and church secretary serves as assistant. The church council oversees and approves all speakers, teachers, and/or other presenters to the church, or organization within the church, who are not church members. This also includes the content of the information to be presented.

ARTICLE VI . CHURCH FINANCES

Section 1. Budget

The Finance Committee, in consultation with the Church Council, shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget for all local and other expenses.

It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts.

Section 2. Accounting Procedures

All funds for any and all purposes shall pass through the hands of the church treasurer or financial secretary and be properly recorded on the books of the church.

A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the Finance Committee. (See Operations manual)

Section 3. Church Financial Year

While the church operates on the September 1st through August 31st church year, the church budget will run on the calendar year. (January 1st-December 31st). 

Section 4. Non-budgeted church expenditures

Any proposal for non-budgeted church expenditures, greater than two hundred dollars ($200.00) , must be presented to the church through recommendation from a committee. Expenditures of this category require an affirmative vote of three fourths (3/4) of the church members present, and voting.

Section 5. Purchasing, Construction, and selling of church property

Proposals in the interest of purchasing, construction, or selling of church property may be brought to a business meeting for church consideration once the proposal has been thoroughly reviewed and recommended by the church council. Expenditures of this category require an affirmative vote of three fourths (3/4) of the church members present, and voting.

ARTICLE VII . CHURCH OPERATIONS MANUAL

Section 1. Organizational Chart

An organizational chart is prepared that depicts lines of responsibility in the administration of the church. This chart is reviewed periodically by the church council and revised as necessary. A copy is included in the church operations manual.

Section 2. Policies and Procedures

Church policies and procedure are described in the church operations manual. The manual is kept in the church office and made available to any member of the church. The church secretary maintains the manual. 

The annual church calendar, prepared by the church council and approved by the church, is included in the operations manual.

Any church member or committee may initiate changes in policies and procedures. Addition, revision, or deletion of church policies and/or procedures requires review and approval by the church Council, before given consideration by the church.

ARTICLE VIII . CHURCH COMMITTEES 

The Pastor (moderator) may appoint or the Church may elect special committees deemed necessary for facilitating the work of the church. Church membership is required to be eligible for committee membership.

Section 1 Audit/Internal Controls Committee

The Audit Committee is responsible to the church for confirming accurate financial records. This is accomplished through performing an audit of the church Treasurer's financial records as set forth in the P&P/Operation manual. (see also By-Laws, Article II, B.Section 3. Church Treasurer) 

Section 2. Building and Properties Committee

The building and Properties Committee is responsible for overseeing the care and management of all Church property, buildings, and vehicle(s). The committee is responsible for evaluating needs and making recommendation to Church council regarding additional space and furnishings, or better use of space and furnishings for the Church program or departments.

Section 3. Media / Music Committee

The Media/Music Committee, led by the music director and under the supervision of the pastor, is responsible for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the total music ministry of the Church. This includes selecting and training persons that lead, sing, and/or play instruments for the different church functions as needed. This also includes oversight for lighting, sound, and video equipment, and care and handling of all church media equipment and materials.

Section 4. Hospitality and Food Service Committee

The primary function of the Hospitality/Food service committee is to coordinate church ministry service to individuals and / or families experiencing a crisis event, and to oversee kitchen operations and all food services of the church.

Section 5. Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is responsible for working with the Church Treasurer in the preparation and presentation to the Church of required financial reports, including the annual church budget, and modification to the budget if necessary. They shall also serve in consultation to the church regarding consideration for any non-budgeted expenditures.

Section 6. Nominating/Personnel Committee

The Nominating/Personnel Committee contacts, interviews , and screens individuals in order to recommend to the Church the most qualified person for each Church position requiring volunteers and staff. The committee works with Church leaders in this task of identifying the most qualified person for each position. Every effort is made to enlist the talents and skills of every church member. The committee must develop and execute a plan which distributes leadership according to priority needs. Eligibility for officer, staff, teacher, or committee membership requires one to be a member of the church. 

Section 7. Pastor Search Committee

The primary function of the Pastor Search Committee is to work toward securing recommendation of a pastor for the Church. 

Section 8. Nursery Committee

The Nursery Committee is responsible to oversee and coordinate all activities and ministries for children from birth through three (3) years of age. 

Section 9. Youth Committee

Under the leadership of the Pastor, Student Minister, and Church Council guidance, the Youth Committee is responsible to the Church for planning, coordinating, and evaluating the total youth ministry. 

Section 10. Children’s Ministry Committee

The purpose of the Children’s Ministry Committee is to plan, coordinate, and administer the children’s programs of the Church under the supervision of the Pastor, Student Minister and guidance of the Church Council.

Section 11. Stateside Assignment Housing Committee

The Stateside Assignment Housing Committee is responsible for overseeing the care and management of the church parsonage while it is being used as a missionary residence. The Committee is responsible for evaluating needs and making recommendations to Church Council regarding occupancy, furnishing, and use of the house. 

Section 12. Usher Committee

The purpose of the Usher Committee is to provide certain necessary functions prior to, during, and after the Worship services. These functions lend support to the worship service and assist the worshipers. 

Section 13. Constitution and By-Laws Committee

The Constitution and By-Laws Committee is responsible for ongoing monitoring of the FBC Los Fresnos’ Constitution and By-laws document for relevancy, clarity, accuracy, and appropriateness as it provides the necessary guidance in declaring the cooperatively held truths and the rules for dealing with the issues that face the church in conducting its business and as it relates to the membership and the community at large.

Section 14. Benevolence Committee

The purpose of the Benevolence Committee is to plan, coordinate, and oversee the administration of benevolence activities of the FBC, under the supervision of the Pastor, church council, and guidance of the FBCLF membership.

Section 15. Committee Meetings, Reporting, Membership, Duties and Responsibilities

A comprehensive detailed list of all church committees regarding meetings, reporting, membership, duties and responsibilities is located in the P&P/Operations Manual. 

ARTICLE IX . DISTRIBUTION

One copy of this Constitution, By-Laws, and P&P/Operations Manual shall be kept in the Church Office, under the care of the Church Secretary. One original copy (7-2004) of this Constitution and By-Laws shall be preserved in the church safe. Copies are made available to the church members upon request.

ARTICLE X . AMENDMENTS

This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended in whole or in part. Amendments to this constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church, provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous meeting, and copies of the proposed amendment be made available to each member present. Amendments to the constitution and by-laws require an affirmative vote of three fourths (3/4) of the church members present, and voting.

ADOPTED BY ACTION OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LOS FRESNOS, TEXAS 


Adopted 7/14/2004, Revised 2/15/2005, 12/15/2006, 9/17/2008, 3/17/2010, 5/18/2011, 9/12/2012, 3/19/2014, 09/16/15

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