OUR CONSTITUTION & BY-LAWS
This constitution is hereby established and set forth to assist the Pastor and congregation of Forest Area Baptist Church in regulating church business otherwise not specifically laid down in practice or in principle by our governing orders – the Holy Scriptures.
Any changes or exemptions of this constitution must be passed by a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the active voting membership of Forest Area Baptist Church. Any changes to the Articles of Faith must be passed by a 100% unanimous vote of the active voting membership.
All church business meetings will be called by the Pastor or with his consent by a duly appointed person. Church business meetings should be announced one week in advance, providing the agenda is not of an urgent or emergency nature.
A quorum shall consist of two-thirds (2/3) of the active voting church membership and all major church voting shall be taken by a secret ballot.
Any church business requiring a secret ballot vote must be announced at both Sunday services one week prior to the vote. If a member is not present at the Sunday service prior to the secret ballot vote for the discussion on the related issue, they forfeit their right to vote, unless extenuating circumstances apply.
- All candidates must possess a clear, Bible-based salvation testimony and show evidence of the new birth.
- All candidates must be baptized after their conversion, by immersion, by a Bible believing church of similar faith and practice.
- All candidates must review the Church Covenant, Articles of Faith, and Constitution/By-laws.
Reception into Membership
- Anyone may be permitted into church membership after:
- The candidate has met the requirements in section A or the Pastor has approved a letter of membership transfer from a previous church.
- The candidate has publically declared that they have read, understand and are in complete agreement with the Church’s Covenant, Articles of Faith, and Constitution/By-laws.
- The candidate has been presented to the congregation and has been accepted into the membership of the church by a congregational vote.
Withdrawal from Membership
- Members may withdraw from the church membership by addressing the Pastor directly as to the reasons for withdrawal. A formal letter will be required for membership removal.
- Requests to transfer membership must be approved by the Pastor to ensure transfer is to a church of “like faith.”
- Members who do not attend at least three Sunday services during a three-month period shall automatically be transferred to the inactive membership roll.
- Membership will be automatically dismissed in the event of:
- The death of a member
- The member moves out of the area
- Inexcusable absences for over six months
- Conduct that brings dishonor to the church or harms others
Privileges of Membership
- There is no minimum age for membership, providing they meet the requirements in Section A.
- Anyone desiring to participate in the ministries of the church must adhere to the membership qualifications.
- No one in the church may assume any type of ministry, nor distribute or teach any material that has not been pre-approved by the Pastor.
- No members under the age of eighteen (18) may hold a voting privilege in church business.
- Any member not maintaining regular participation in the services and support of the church will be denied the privilege of voting in church business.
- The Pastor will review active voting membership regularly.
- Anyone desiring to be used as an aide or helper should seek the approval of the Pastor beforehand.
- Any officer or individual member of the Forest Area Baptist Church is encouraged to freely, publicly, and without restriction be involved in political campaigning outside of the church.
- The Forest Area Baptist Church reserves the right to take a collective or active stand in attempting to influence legislation; however, the church as a whole will not intervene in specific political campaigning or specifically endorsing any public offices or individual candidates.
Discipline of Membership
- The desire of this church in any matter of discipline is that it be handled quietly, quickly, and in the most earnest sense of Christian charity and love for the sake of those involved.
- In the event that an offense takes place, the steps of restitution laid out in Matthew 18:15-17 should be followed by the members involved.
- The Pastor should be made aware of any problems that arise immediately in order to prevent them from being handled improperly.
- If the matter cannot be resolved privately, it will go before the Pastor. Then, if absolutely necessary, it will be taken before the church.
- Open and blatant sin will not be tolerated, nor will it be permitted to go unattended. Offenders will be given every opportunity and the trust to reconcile and repent of the matter before having to take it before the church.
Our Pastor: The Pastor’s Duties
- The Pastor must meet the Scriptural requirements set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
- According to the Scriptures, a Pastor must be “the Husband of one wife”; therefore the Forest Area Baptist Church will not support the idea of a single man, a homosexual man, a woman or a lesbian, serving as the Pastor of the Forest Area Baptist Church.
- According to the Scriptures, a Pastor must be the Husband of one wife; the Greek word “one” is also the same Greek word found in John 20:1, in which Jesus rose from the dead on the “first” day of the week; therefore the Forest Area Baptist Church will not support the idea of any man, under any circumstances, serving as the Pastor of the Forest Area Baptist Church who has been divorced and remarried.
- The Pastor is the overseer/moderator of all church ministries, business, committees, meetings, and functions while holding an ex-officio or advisory position in all matters at hand.
- The Pastor shall have full liberty to preach and teach the Gospel and the Word of God as the Holy Spirit leads him. He shall direct all services, and may administer the ordinances of the church as regularly as he feels necessary for the growth of the congregation.
- The Pastor should readily seek out the spiritual needs of his people, visit the churched and unchurched regularly, continually trying to strengthen the congregation in sharing Christian charity, love, and unity, and by being ever alert for circumstances that could weaken the harmony of the members.
- Any form of salary or compensation of the Pastor(s) should be reviewed annually; be subject to the availability of funding; and should meet with the church’s approval.
The Pastor’s Character
- In the event, (received only by two or more witnesses – 1 Timothy 5:19), that the Pastor should be accused of conduct unbecoming of his office, immoral activity, or preaching and teaching heresy in error of Scripture, the church shall ask for a review of the matter privately.
- If necessary, the church shall appoint another Pastor to moderate an investigation.
- If the charges are found to be false, the accusers shall then be brought forward for church discipline due to slander and false testimony.
The Calling of a Pastor
- The church shall only interview one candidate at a time, and only those meeting the Scriptural requirements shall be considered for the office.
- The candidate shall come and preach all the Sunday services. The congregation shall be allowed an opportunity to adequately and openly question the candidate and to examine the candidate in all areas.
- The congregation shall vote on the candidate within a week to determine whether or not to continue with the candidating process.
- The candidate shall be heard and interviewed at least two (2) Sundays before the church may call a vote on him to come as the Pastor.
Upon voting for a Pastor Candidate
- A quorum must be present (two-thirds of the active voting church membership).
- A three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the active voting church membership will be required before.
- The calling and hiring of any Assistant, Associate, or Youth Pastors will be at the sole discretion of the current Senior Pastor and his discretion for the needs of the ministry.
The Resignation of our Pastor
- The Pastor shall at no time openly candidate at any another church while still actively serving as the Pastor of this church.
- The Pastor shall be required to give at least a thirty-day (30) notice to the church upon the resignation from his position.
- If possible, the Pastor should take an active role in helping the church find a suitable candidate as a replacement for him.
- The church shall openly review and decide upon any form of severance pay or other benefits upon the resignation of the Pastor based upon the circumstances involved.
- Any person serving in a church office must keep in mind at all times that they are serving under direct supervision and accountability of the Pastor and his goals for the church and shall have the Pastor’s and the church’s approval.
- Any person serving in a church office shall be held to a higher level of personal standards and convictions than the regular members in the church – without exception.
- The position of Deacon is a highly respected office of service and ministering, not of control or power (Acts 6:1-6).
- The candidate must meet the Scriptural requirements.
- He should be worthy of the requirements of the office, which also involves the character of his wife as a critical part to the success of the office (1 Timothy 3:8-13).
- He should be chosen by the Pastor, and voted on by the congregation.
- He should be ordained by the Pastor.
- The duties of the Deacon are to serve the needs of the church and church families and to help in the administering of the church ordinances and any other duties as directed by the Pastor.
- In the absence of a Pastor, the Deacon(s) shall assume the responsibility of directing church affairs and in the absence of any Deacons, the men of the church shall assume the responsibility of directing church affairs.
- The office of Deacon should come up for review every two (2) years, with no maximum “in office time” to be applied.
- The church may appoint Deacons, as the Pastor feels necessary according to church growth.
- The Pastor will appoint the Church Treasurer subject to the church’s approval.
- The Church Treasurer shall ensure:
- All church related bills are paid on time, according to the direction of the Pastor.
- All transactions of income/expenditures are approved by the Pastor.
- All church checks greater than $500 shall have a minimum of two (2) signatures.
- Any expenditure of funds greater than $500 shall require the approval of a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote.
- All tithes, offerings, and monies received are counted and recorded accurately.
- All monies not otherwise designated and any loose cash and coin are to be placed into the churches General Operating Fund.
- All monies duly designated shall be deposited in the appropriate accounts.
- All deposits are to be made in a timely manner.
- A monthly report is made to the Pastor and a quarterly and annual report is made to the congregation.
- The church shall, in good faith, use all designated monies for the proposed stated purpose; in the event that there is a balance remaining after the designation has been met, the church then reserves the right to use the remaining designated funds for any purpose or priority deemed appropriate by the church or Pastor.
- At no time will the monetary funds of Forest Area Baptist Church be given to, distributed to, or used for the direct financial benefit any of its officers or members.
- The church reserve the right to make payments or distribution of funds, as it sees fit, for the furtherance of church functions and other religious purposes.
- The church reserve the right to utilize any funds received for religious or educational purposes, which may be directly beneficial to the spiritual edification and well-being of its officers or members.
- The church or the Pastor may approve the paying of reasonable forms of compensation to any individual or member, if there is a proven genuine benevolent need.
- The church or the Pastor may approve the paying of reasonable forms of compensation to any individual or member, which has been earned though services performed.
- The Pastor will appoint the church secretary subject to the church’s approval.
- The church secretary shall be responsible for the:
- Recording all church business meetings.
- Recording salvations, baptisms, and other related functions.
Sunday School Teachers
- All teaching materials are to be approved by the Pastor.
- Any type of “out of church” activities should be planned with the Pastor’s consent.
- If a teacher must miss a class for any reason, the Pastor should be notified as soon as possible in order to find a replacement for the class.
- It shall be required that only approved church members who have successfully completed a background investigation and Child Abuse History clearance shall be permitted to work in the Nurseries of this Church.
FM Broadcast Facility Board Members
- FM Broadcast Facility Members, known as “Parties to the Application”, may only be active members of the Forest Area Baptist Church.
- The Pastor of the Forest Area Baptist Church will be required to serve as the “Director/President” of the FM broadcast facility.
- The Forest Area Baptist Church will always maintain at least five (5) FM broadcast facility members, namely – Director/President, Secretary, and three (3) Trustees.
- The Forest Area Baptist Church, as the overseeing authority of the FM broadcast facility, will guarantee the financial operational needs of the FM broadcast facility be met under any circumstance.
- The Forest Area Baptist Church must always maintain its existence a distance of not more than twenty-five (25) miles from the site of the FM broadcast facility organized by this church.
- No member of the Forest Area Baptist Church, listed as “Parties to the Application” of the FM broadcast facility organized by this church, may be a party to any other application or proposal for construction of another FM broadcast facility covering the same community.
- FM Broadcast Facility Members, known as “Parties to the Application,” may be members of another broadcast facility or proposal for construction of another FM broadcast facility, providing the operation of those facilities are not in conflict with the Doctrines and Covenants of the Forest Area Baptist Church.
- The operation of this FM broadcast facility with work in conjunction with the Fundamental Broadcasting Network (FBN), but will have the liberty and authority to include its own programming as selected and approved by the governing body, the FM Broadcast Facility Board Members.
- In the event Forest Area Baptist Church should ever be dissolved, upon the completion of the dissolution of this church and after paying or making provision for the payment of all of the liabilities of the church, the Pastor or remaining membership shall liquidate and/or dispose of any remaining assets of the church.
- Asset disbursement shall be exclusively to organizations which are organized and operated exclusively for religious purposes, primarily any missionaries currently supported or those that are in agreement with the Articles of Faith of the Forest Area Baptist Church.
- In the event of a major loss of the membership from Forest Area Baptist Church, under any circumstance, if there remains a body of membership that can carry on with the duties of the church, all church assets shall remain within the church’s possession.