CONSTITUTION

PREAMBLE

For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted tenets of the Southern Baptist denomination, co-operating with the Southern Baptist Convention, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith, we do declare and establish this constitution.
 

NAME

This church shall be known as the First Baptist Church of Carthage, Tennessee.
 
 

ARTICLES OF FAITH

The Baptist Faith and Message adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925 and clarified and reaffirmed in 2000 is accepted as a statement of faith. This statement is not to be considered as a complete statement of faith having any quality of finality but only as a guide in interpretation.

The Church, in its autonomy, shall determine criteria for church membership and the process for admission and expulsion of members. Church membership shall not be available to those whose lifestyle is in conflict with the Church’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000; this shall include membership ineligibility for one in a same-sex marriage, and those living in a homosexual or transgendered lifestyle. Further the Church and its ministers shall only recognize, participate in, conduct, or allow Church facilities to be utilized for, marriage ceremonies and other functions which are related to marriages deemed to be scriptural. This shall prohibit the use of the Church facilities for same-sex marriage ceremonies and related functions and shall bar the Church’s ministers from conducting or otherwise participating in same sex marriage ceremonies and related functions.

The Church relies on the Bible for instruction on all matters concerning ordinances, ministries, use of facilities, activities, membership, and employment. Baptist tradition calls for each church to interpret Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Church adheres to the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention as an additional means of applying Scripture to the life of The Church.

The Church does not discriminate as to whom it will provide a witness and helping ministry. However, the Church will not perform a ministry that is contrary to Biblical Scripture such as performing or allowing its facilities to be used for same-sex weddings.

Each member and each employee of the Church is expected to maintain a lifestyle that is consistent with Biblical teachings. The Church reserves unto itself the right and responsibility to interpret the Scripture, as led by the Holy Spirit, in all such matters. Examples of unacceptable lifestyles include, but are not limited to, involvement with alcohol, illegal drugs, pre-marital sex or extramarital sex, cohabitation apart from the marriage relationship, homosexuality and a transgender lifestyle. Members exhibiting unacceptable behavior shall be subject to Church Discipline as provided in these bylaws. Employees exhibiting unacceptable behavior shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal as provided for in the personnel policy of this Church.

All members and employees are expected to live lifestyles that are consistent with and not contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture. The Church reserves the right to limit membership and employment to those individuals whose conduct and behavior is consistent with the expectations of a Christian as determined solely by The Church.

The unique nature of The Church requires all employees to manifest conduct and actions which project an image consistent with the expressed purpose and mission of the Church. It is imperative that employees favorably represent The Church to the community at all times. Conduct which brings embarrassment to the Church or impedes the Church’s credibility with other Churches, the community and/or the general public is unacceptable. Conduct or other actions which are perceived by the Church to be inconsistent with the beliefs, faith or mission of the Church are unacceptable. Examples of such conduct or actions include unacceptable lifestyles involving alcohol, illegal drugs, pre-marital sex or extramarital sex, cohabitation apart from the marriage relationship, homosexuality, and outside interests and pursuits which would normally be considered incompatible with the mission of the Church. Any employee exhibiting unacceptable behavior shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal as provided for in the personnel policy of this Church.
 
 

CHURCH COVENANT

Have been led, as we believe, 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 Ghost.

We do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort;

To promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines;

To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the 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 secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.

To walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment;

To avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger.

To abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

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, and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.

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

We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.

We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25.) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)

We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)

We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.)

We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the church.
 
 

CHARACTER

POLITY           The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is the subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and co-operation which are common among Southern Baptist churches.

DOCTRINE     This church receives the Scripture as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief the Southern Baptist churches as indicated in the Articles of Faith herewith.
 
 

BY-LAWS

ARTICLE I - PROPERTY

All property of this church is to be held for the use and benefit of those of the membership, even though they be a minority, who adhere to, maintain and propagate the doctrines, faith, and practices of Southern Baptist Churches co-operating with the New Salem Baptist Association, Tennessee Baptist Convention, and Southern Baptist Convention. A refusal of the membership, though they be a majority, to adhere to, maintain and propagate the faith and practices of Southern Baptists and to co-operate with the New Salem Baptist Association, Tennessee Baptist Convention and Southern Baptist Convention shall constitute such a deviation from the accepted usages, practices, customs and beliefs of Southern Baptists, that this majority shall no longer constitute the true congregation of this church, then the title to the property of the church shall vest in, and be held for the use and benefit of the minority of the membership, who do adhere to and maintain the doctrines, faith, and practices of Southern Baptists and who co-operate with the New Salem Baptist Association, Tennessee Baptist Convention, and Southern Baptist Convention.

If there is no minority to make adequate use of this property, then the title to it shall revert to or become vested in the Tennessee Baptist Foundation, an agency of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, Nashville, Tennessee, as Trustee, to hold and use this property or the proceeds therefore, to advance and propagate the Baptist cause and denomination in Tennessee.

The foregoing shall be considered a part of any and all instruments transferring title to property to this church whether the provision be set out in the deeds or not.
 
 

ARTICLE II - MEMBERSHIP

Section 1: Members
The members shall be known as Southern Baptists co-operating with the New Salem Association of Baptist, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Section 2: Qualifications
The membership of this church shall consist of such person as confess Jesus Christ to be their personal Savior and Lord, and who follow Him in believer’s baptism.

Section 3: Receiving Members
Unless providentially hindered all candidates shall present themselves in person for membership, and the church shall receive members as follows:
A. By confessing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and following Him in believer’s baptism;
B. By letter of commendation from other Baptist churches;
C. By statement of Christian experience and membership in a Baptist church;
D. By restoration.

Section 4: Termination
The church shall dismiss member as follows:
A. By letter of recommendation to other Baptist churches;
B. By members uniting with churches to which we do not grant letters of recommendation;
C. By disciplinary action only after faithful effort has been made to bring such members to repentance and amendment;
D. By death.

Section 5: Rights
Only members of this church in full and regular standing may act and vote in transactions of the church.

Section 6: Duties
Such as are outlined in the church covenant. Members are expected first of all, to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life, and also to attend habitually the services of this church, to give regularly for its support and cost, and to share in its organized work.
 
 

ARTICLE III - OFFICERS

Section 1: Pastor
A. Whenever a vacancy occurs, the deacons shall recommend to the church a pulpit committee, consisting and three men and two women, to be elected by the church. This committee shall seek out a suitable pastor, and their recommendation to the church will constitute a nomination.

In addition to the nomination the pulpit committee shall present a tentative agreement to the church in writing regarding such subjects such as salary, vacation, pulpit supply, number of revivals conducted in other churches, and other duties and situations of the concerned parties.

The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one (1) person at a time.

B. An affirmative vote of three-fourths of these present and voting shall be necessary to approve the calling of a pastor. The pastor shall serve until the relationship is terminated by mutual consent or by majority vote.

C. The pastor shall have charge of the welfare of the church, shall fulfill the scriptural obligations of his office, and shall perform the various duties incumbent of his office. He shall preside at all meetings of the church except as otherwise provided in these by-laws and shall be the ex-officio head of all church organizations and committees.

Section 2: Deacons
A. The church shall elect and ordain to the general board as many deacons as it deems wise, but not to exceed one deacon for each twenty-five (25) members or a fractions thereof. Those prospective deacons will be nominated for election after having been contacted and found qualified by a church elected deacon’s committee.

B. Qualifications
The deacon’s committee shall nominate only those men who understand, receive, and practice the scriptural teaching concerning a deacon. It shall be the responsibility of the deacons to actively support the church with their time, talent, and possessions.

C. Duties
In accordance with the meaning of the word and the practices of the New Testament, the deacons are to be the servants of the church.

It shall be the duty of the deacons, in co-operation with the pastor, to have general supervision of the moral, spiritual, and temporal welfare of the church.

In counsel with the pastor the deacons are to have oversight of the discipline of the church. They are to be guided by the principles set forth in the New Testament.
(Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14)
In the event of absence of the pastor by reason of serious illness or other emergencies, or in the event of a vacancy in the office of pastor, the deacons shall be responsible for pulpit supplies.
It shall be the duty of the deacons when the need arises to recommend to the church a pulpit committee, consisting of three men and two women.

It shall be the duty of the deacons to recommend to the church the ordination of new deacons. The recommendation shall consist of the number to be ordained and a deacon’s committee to be elected by the church. The deacon’s committee shall nominate only the number for election which the church has authorized.

The necessary committees and their duties for the work of the church shall be recommended by the deacons and approved by the church. This material shall be printed and filed in the church office.

It shall be the duty of the deacons to distribute the elements of the Lord’s Supper.

The deacons shall meet once a month prior to the regular business meeting of the church. At their first meeting in connections with the new church year, the chairman and a clerk shall be elected.

D. Deacon Emeritus
Any deacon who has served the church loyally and faithfully and can no longer do so because of physical inabilities may request to be relieved from the active deaconship and be promoted to Deacon Emeritus, upon recommendation by the deacons and approval by the church.

The member holding such title shall have the right to actively participate in all ordination services, upon assignment may serve during observance of the Lord’s Supper, and shall have all other privileges of a deacon, except that of voting in the deliberations of the deacons.

Section 3: Moderator
The pastor shall be the moderator. In the absence of the pastor, the chairman of the deacons shall preside; or in the absence of both, the clerk shall call the church to order and a moderator pro-tem shall be elected.

Section 4: Clerk
The clerk shall keep a faithful record of all business transacted by the church. He (or she) shall receive all reports and place them on file, keep an up to date alphabetical list of members with necessary information concerning them, attend to all correspondence with other churches, issue letters of dismission, and consider it a part of his responsibility to promote loyalty and efficiency in church life. His term of office shall be for one year.

Section 5: Treasurer
The church shall have one treasurer. It shall be his duty to receive all money received in the usual collections and to deposit same in the local bank. Payment of all local bills shall be made promptly. All funds received for denominational or other causes shall be remitted at least monthly. Funds collected for specific purposes must go as designated, unless the church authorizes otherwise. The treasurer shall be bonded in such amount as the church shall designate. The treasurer shall make a written detailed monthly report to the church and shall consider it a part of his duty to promote in every proper way scriptural giving on the part of the entire church membership.

Section 6: Trustees
There shall be a committee of three trustees who shall serve the church indefinitely. When the need arises for trustees to be elected, they shall be elected in the same manner as other church elected committees. The trustees shall be the legal representatives of the church and shall maintain a file of papers such as deeds, insurance policies, contracts, treasurer’s bonds, and etc.
 
 

ARTICLE IV - MEETINGS AND ORGANIZATIONS

Section 1: Meetings
A. Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly for public worship services on each Lord’s Day morning and evening, each Wednesday evening, and such other days as the church may deem necessary and advisable.

The regular services of the church shall not be used by any person or organization for any other purpose than to regular and customary service for worship, unless authorized by the church.

B. Business
The church shall hold regular monthly business meetings on Wednesday night following the first Sunday in each month. Any regular service of the church may be called into business session after the subject of the business has been clearly stated and authorized by a majority vote of the church.

Members present shall constitute a quorum.

No member shall be prevented from nominating a person or persons for any office or committee of the church.

All questions shall be settled by a majority of those present and voting, except as otherwise provided in these by-laws.

All questions of procedure not provided for in these by-laws shall be determined according to Robert’s Rule of Order.

Section 2: Organization
The church shall promote and maintain such organizations as it deems necessary for the accomplishment of the ministry of Christ in this community and around the world. Each organization shall be under the direction of a church elected leader whose term of office shall be for one year. Each organization will meet regularly according to an accepted schedule of the church.
 
 

ARTICLE V - ORDINANCES

Section 1: Baptism
Baptism shall be administered by the pastor, or by some other person authorized by the church, at such time as may be designated by the pastor or the church.

Section 2: Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper shall be administered by the pastor or by some other person authorized by the church, and shall be observed on the first Sunday of each quarter and at any other time the church may direct.
 
 

ARTICLE VI - CHURCH COMMITTEES

Section 1: Church Council
The Church Council shall seek to correlate and co-ordinate the activities and organizations of the church, yet with advisory powers only.
A. The Church Council shall consist of the pastor (as chairman), Ministerial Staff, chairman of deacons, Sunday School superintendent, AWANA Commander, WOM president, music director, and treasurer. A secretary shall be elected from the group.

B. The council shall meet as may be desired, or on call of pastor, at any time deemed necessary.

C. The functions of the council shall be to:
1. Outline and propose a program of evangelism, training, teaching, enlistment, and stewardship that the church may benefit from increased interest and activity of more of the membership.
2. Outline a church calendar of activities for accomplishing these objectives.

D. All matters agreed upon by the council, calling for action not already provided for, shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.

Section 2: Nominating Committee
A. The church nominating committee shall consist of three members appointed by the pastor in June.

B. This three member committee shall bring to the July church business meeting nominations for general superintendent of the Sunday School, AWANA Commander, and president of the WOM. After their election, these four shall become members of the Church Nominating Committee.

C. This six member committee shall then be charged with the responsibility of nominating all church officers with the exception of pastor and deacons, and shall attempt to bring such nominations to the church according to the following schedule:
1. The officers of the Corporation, departmental directors and general officers of the Sunday School shall be elected at the regular meeting in August.
2. All Sunday School teachers and other workers shall be elected at the regular meeting in September.
3. All departmental directors and general officers of the AWANA Commander shall be elected at the regular meeting in August.
4. All other AWANA officers shall be elected at the regular business meeting in September.
5. All officers of the Women’s Missionary Union other than president shall be elected at he regular meeting in September.
6. All other church officers shall be elected at the regular business meeting in August.

D. This seven member committee shall have the responsibility of making nominations for all vacancies when such occur in the above organizations or other church offices with the exception of the pastor and deacons.

Section 3: Committee on Committees
A. This committee shall consist of five members one of which shall be a deacon, who shall be appointed by the pastor at the regular business meeting in June.
B. It shall be the duty of this committee to nominate all church committee members except otherwise provided for in these by-laws.
 
 

ARTICLE VII - OFFERINGS

It shall be understood that New Testament Church Membership involves financial obligations to God in support of His church by regular and proportionate giving. The church shall strive therefore to teach each member his covenant obligation in this respect.

Opportunity shall be given in suitable ways for the members and congregation to give tithes and offerings through the budget of the church. This church shall be wholly supported in this manner.
 
 

ARTICLE VIII - CHANGE IN BY-LAWS

The by-laws may be amended by a three-fourths affirmative vote of the members present and voting at any regular meeting of the church. The proposed amendment shall be presented in writing at least one (1) week prior to the time of voting.