We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the church in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this church in relation to any other church or organization.
The name of this church is First Baptist Church of Laredo, Texas
II. MISSION STATEMENT
The mission of the First Baptist Church, Laredo, Texas, as the body of Christ, is to reach people for Christ.
III. STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God and the basis for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963. We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ, each personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
IV. CHURCH COVENANT
We believe that we have been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. On our profession of faith, we have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We joyfully enter into this covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
By the aid of the Holy Spirit, we covenant to work together in Christian love, fulfilling the mission of our church with our treasures, time, and talents. We will model our lives after Christ, maintaining biblical values and affirming Christian character and morality.
We will watch over each other in love, remember each other in prayer, help each other in sickness and crisis and encourage Christian sympathy. We seek to exercise self-control and always be ready to reconcile.
V. CHURCH POLITY
This church is the body of believers who compose it, each having equal rights. It is autonomous and independent in its government and in the regulation of its own affairs. The decision of the church will be final in all matters and no appeal can be made to any ecclesiastical (religious) body.
We recognize the great good that comes from a united effort in spreading the Gospel and building a denominational program and do so by cooperating with organizations such as Frio River Baptist Association, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
It is required for membership that each individual give satisfactory testimony of a conversion experience as stated in Scripture, such as John 3:3-6, John 3:16, and Romans 10:9-10. Each member will have been immersed by the authority of this church or a church of like faith and belief.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who will be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.
Any person may offer himself/herself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates will be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:
1. By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this Church.
2. By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church.
3. By statement of a prior conversion experience and baptism by immersion in a church of like faith and belief, when no letter is obtainable.
Any dissent will be referred to an ad hoc membership committee (appointed by the pastor) for investigation and recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days. A three-fourths vote of those church members present and voting will be required to elect such candidates to membership.
Members are expected to faithfully support the mission statement of the church, abide by the church covenant, attend services frequently, give biblically for its support, and share in its organized work.
Any member may act and vote in any transaction of the church and may hold any elected position.
Membership will be terminated in the following ways:
1. Death of a member
2. Transfer to another Baptist church.
3. Removal by action of this church.
4. Erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.
The attitude of members toward one another should be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment. If a condition exists which causes a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church in fulfilling its mission statement, the pastor and/or deacons will endeavor to resolve the problem in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17, I Corinthians 5:9-13, and I Thessalonians 5:12-14. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to remove him/her from membership, a three-fourths vote of the members present, at a specially called meeting, is required.
Upon his/her request for reinstatement and upon demonstration of the removed person’s repentance and reformation, the church may restore him/her by a three-fourths vote of those present.
II. CHURCH OFFICERS
All who serve as officers of the church and those who serve on church committees will be members of this church.
As recognized in the New Testament, the church officers will be the pastor and the deacons. For the effective organization of the church, additional church officers will be the trustees, treasurer, and additional ministerial staff.
A. The Pastor
The church will call a man of God to be pastor and shepherd of the church and the spiritual leader of the congregation. He should be of like faith and order, of good report, and should accept the whole Word of God.
He will meet the qualifications set out in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
When the office of pastor becomes vacant, the church will elect a Pastor Search Committee. The Pastor Search Committee will represent a cross-section of the church. The Pastor Search Committee will elect its own chairman.
When the Pastor Search Committee brings a man in view of a call, it must give the church at least a two-week notice. The church will vote, in a called business meeting, immediately following presentation of the candidate. In order to call a pastor there must be at least a ninety percent affirmative vote.
The pastor will be the spiritual leader of the church and will lead all other staff members, called by the church, to assist in the ministries of the congregation. A complete description of duties and responsibilities is found in the Personnel Manual.
The deacons are duly ordained individuals in the church authorized in God’s Word to be servants of a New Testament church. The qualifications and responsibilities of deacons are described in the Deacon Policy Manual.
C. Ministerial Staff
The ministerial staff will be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. The Personnel Committee has the responsibility to determine the duties and qualifications of the ministerial staff. In order to call any ministerial staff member there must be at least a seventy-five percent affirmative vote. The Personnel Manual contains current information pertaining to the ministerial staff.
Three trustees are nominated by the deacons to a three-year term and affirmed by the church membership. They will hold in trust the church property. They will serve as legal representatives of the church. Trustees will represent the church in legal transactions involving the sale, transfer, mortgaging, purchase, or rental of property.
They will have no power to buy, sell, transfer, mortgage, or lease property without a specific vote of the church authorizing each action. It will be the function of the trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, transfer, purchase, or rental of property or to other legal documents where the signatures of trustees are required.
The treasurer will be nominated by the deacons to a three-year term and affirmed by the congregation. It will be the duty of the treasurer to assist the church Stewardship Committee in their work of properly receiving and disbursing designated and general gifts. The treasurer will serve as an ex-officio member of the Stewardship Committee, regularly attend its meetings, and assist it in: (l) rendering to the church at each regular business meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements of the preceding month, and (2) regular auditing of the financial records. The treasurer will also be one of those who may co-sign disbursement checks.
The Church Clerk shall be the church secretary. The Church Secretary will keep accurate records of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise provided. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, baptismal records, dates of admission, dismissal, or deaths. The church secretary will issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, file all communications and official written reports, and give legal notice of all meetings, when it is necessary, as indicated by these bylaws. All church records are church property and are filed in the church office.
The pastor or his designee will serve as moderator of the church. In his absence, the pastor will appoint someone to serve as moderator. When the church is without a pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons will present to the church for election someone to fill the office of moderator until the calling of a new pastor.
III. PROGRAM ORGANIZATIONS
In fulfillment of our mission statement, the church will maintain ministries to meet the needs of its congregation and its community. All organizations related to church programs will be under church control and all program activities are subject to church coordination and approval. The church will provide the human, physical, and financial resources for the advancement of these programs.
B. The Sunday School
The Sunday School is the primary organization of the church. Its purpose is to reach people for Christ through the study of biblical revelation and the nourishment of the congregation.
C. The Church Music Program
The Church Music Ministry will be the music education, training, and performance organization of the church. Its purpose is to involve people in worship and to lead them to be involved and participate in acts of worship through music. This organization will have leaders as the program requires.
D. Mission Ministries
The mission organizations of the church will provide mission education and mission action for people of all ages. The mission organizations will support the total mission ministry of the church. They will have such leaders as the programs require.
IV. CHURCH COMMITTEES AND COUNCILS
A. General Requirements and Principles
Members of all committees will be members of First Baptist Church. All committees are directly responsible to the church. Committees may bring recommendations directly to the church for consideration, but they are encouraged to bring any matter to the pastor.
Each committee will organize itself for the proper functioning and the carrying out of its duties and responsibilities.
The chairman or appropriate staff member may call a special meeting of a committee at any time. The chairman will notify the appropriate staff member of any committee meeting called and will clear the meeting with the church calendar. All committees will set their time of regular meeting and will conduct regular and special meetings. Committees will report their activities at regular church business meetings when necessary.
B. Standing committees
Standing committees are all on-going committees. The pastor is an ex-officio, non-voting member of all committees and councils. A church staff member will be an ex-officio, non-voting member of the committee or council working in his related field of endeavor.
C. Special Committees
Special committees may be established by the church in regular business meeting. Special committees are temporary committees that cease upon completion of their charge.
D. Licensing & Ordination to Ministry
As God may call from among the congregation some to serve in vocational ministry, the senior pastor and deacon body of First Baptist will act as the “Licensing & Ordaining Council” of FBC. Any person feeling called of God to ministry may request licensing and subsequent ordination by contacting the pastor or the deacon chair.
The procedures and requirements for licensing and ordination are specified in the “Licensing and Ordination of Ministerial Candidates” guidelines.
This church will receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
1. Baptism will be by immersion in water.
2. Baptism will be administered by the pastor, a ministerial staff member, or deacon.
3. Baptism will be administered as an act of worship during any worship service or other time designated by the church.
4. A person who professes Christ and who is not baptized after a reasonable length of time will be counseled by the pastor, ministerial staff, or deacons. If negative interest is ascertained, that person will be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
B. The Lord’s Supper
The church will observe the Lord’s Supper as a symbolic act of obedience whereby the fellowship of believers commemorates the sacrifice of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
1. The church will observe the Lord’s Supper at a minimum of quarterly, unless otherwise scheduled by the pastor or deacons, at any regularly scheduled worship service.
2. The deacons will make the physical preparation and the pastor or other ministerial staff member, along with the deacons, will administer the Lord’s Supper.
A. Worship Services
The church will meet at least on Sunday and Wednesday for worship of Almighty God. The pastor or ministerial staff is responsible for the services. In their absence, the church will designate someone to be responsible for the services.
B. Regular Business Meetings
The church will hold regular business meetings on a designated Sunday after normal worship services once per quarter. Any committee report or recommendation will be submitted to the church office for printing. The agenda and printed reports will be available, in the foyer, at least one week prior to the meeting.
C. 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 specially called business meeting unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical. The notice will include the subject, date, time, and place, and it must be given in such a manner that all resident members have the opportunity to know of the meeting.
The quorum consists of those members who attend the business meeting.
E. Voting Majority
Unless specified elsewhere in these bylaws, motions made in church conference will require a simple majority vote for approval. Higher percentages may be required as part of the specific motion; however, the percentage requested will not be less than specified in these bylaws.
F. Voting Majority on Legal Matters
At least a three-fourths (3/4) majority of church members present and voting at any church conference or called church conference will be required before approval of any legal transaction involving the sale, transfer, mortgage, purchase, or rental of any real property belonging to the church. Notice of the proposed sale, transfer, mortgage, purchase, or rental of church property will be published, in a church-wide mail out at least ONE WEEK PRIOR to its being presented.
G. Rules of Order
ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER, REVISED, is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all church conferences.
VII. CHURCH FINANCES
The work of the church will be supported with offerings and gifts in keeping with the teachings of the New Testament on the doctrine of giving.
B. Accounting Procedures
For the protection of the treasurer and/or administrator, the ministerial staff members involved, and the ushers taking the offerings, a Teller Team will be selected by the Teller Team Leader and affirmed by the church yearly for the purpose of counting and making a written record of the money received.
All funds received for any and all purposes will pass through the treasurer/administrator office or church office and be properly recorded on the books of the church.
The Stewardship Committee will prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating, by items, the amount needed and sought 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. Offering envelopes will be provided for members’ use.
D. Budget Year
The church budget year will run from January 1 to December 31.
E. Church Financial Reports
Financial Reports will be made available to the church membership at the quarterly business meeting or upon written request to the church treasurer and approved by the Deacons.
VIII. CHURCH OPERATIONS MANUAL
The Operations Manual of the church will consist of the constitution and bylaws and any other policies of procedures adopted by the church. A copy of the manual will be in the church office and available upon request.
Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church provided each amendment has been presented in writing at a previous regular business meeting and copies of the proposed amendment have been made available in foyer for at least 2 weeks prior to vote or, via email to any church member requesting said transmission. Amendments to the constitution will be by three-fourths vote of church members present. Amendments to the bylaws will require a majority of the members present and voting.
X. SOLE CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY
All rules, regulations bylaws, and constitutions, if any, of this church, in conflict with this constitution and bylaws are repealed, and this constitution and bylaws is the sole constitution and bylaws of this church.
XI. INTERNAL REVENUE CODE SECTION 501 (c)
In the event of the dissolution, winding-up or abandonment of this Corporation, its property and assets, of every type and description, will be applied and distributed as required by the laws of the State of Texas regulating said liquidation, dissolution, winding-up, or abandonment, and any assets remaining will be distributed to and become the property of such funds, foundation, and/or corporations as are selected and designated by the members of this corporation, which said fund, foundations and/or corporations will be organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes or for such other charitable purposes, provided, however, that such funds, foundations, and/or corporations qualify as exempt organizations under Section 50l(c) (3) of the United States Internal Revenue code and its regulations as they now exist or as they may hereinafter be amended.