DOCUMENT 3: BYLAWS
In these bylaws, the male pronoun is used uniformly for convenience and readability. However, the use of the male pronoun shall not be construed to exclude women from fellowship or service unless such is clearly delineated in the bylaws.
ARTICLE I: MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. General
Southern Hills Baptist Church is an autonomous and self-governing 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.
Section 2. Requirements for Membership
Any persons may offer themselves as candidates for membership in this church. There are two requirements for membership.
1. Candidates for membership must give a clear profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
2. Candidates for membership must have been baptized by immersion after their profession of faith as a symbol of their experience of faith in Jesus Christ, or be willing to undergo such baptism as a condition of membership.
Section 3. Candidacy for Membership
Those who desire membership may present themselves in any of the following ways:
1. Those who make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord must present themselves for believer’s baptism prior to becoming candidates for membership.
2. Those who have previously professed faith in Jesus Christ but not received believer’s baptism must present themselves for baptism.
· If a candidate was baptized as an infant or prior to conversion, he must submit to believer’s baptism.
· If a candidate was baptized by any means other than immersion, he must submit to believer’s baptism.
· If a candidate was baptized as a requirement of salvation, he must submit to believer’s baptism.
3. Those who have previously been members of churches of like faith and practice (those churches that share historically orthodox Christian doctrine and practice believer’s baptism) may be received by transfer of membership from that previous church. Previous church membership may be demonstrated either by promise of a Letter of Transfer from the previous church or by a statement of faith and testimony of baptism from the candidate if the previous church does not send a letter.
4. A candidate for membership who is discovered to be under disciplinary action by another church will not be received into the membership of this church unless the Pastor(s) and Deacons satisfy themselves that there is no legitimate basis for the disciplinary action or that the candidate has demonstrated genuine repentance and sought reconciliation with the previous church.
Section 4. Process for Candidate Approval
When a candidate for membership is presented at a Sunday worship service, the church shall welcome that candidate into the fellowship of the church. However, the candidate will not become a vested member until the process of candidate approval is finished.
1. The Pastor(s) and Deacons shall meet with the candidate to ascertain that the candidate has trusted Christ as Savior and Lord, has been scripturally baptized, and understands the responsibilities of church membership as defined in the constitution. The Pastor(s) and Deacons shall develop a plan for effectively screening membership candidates.
2. Any church member who has reason to question the wisdom of the candidate’s membership should notify the Pastor(s) or Deacons of his concerns. The Pastor(s) and Deacons will seek to ascertain the validity of the concerns.
3. If the Pastor(s) and Deacons satisfy themselves that the candidate is qualified for membership, they will present the candidate’s name for approval to the church.
4. Membership actions may be taken at any church business meeting. Business meetings may also be called on a monthly basis to act on recommendations concerning membership. The meetings may take place as soon as the close of the evening service if they are announced publicly on Sunday morning service(s). A simple majority vote is required to approve a candidate for membership.
Section 5. New Member Orientation
New church members will be expected to participate in such new member orientation as is established by the church.
Section 6. Voting Rights of Members
Every member of the church age 16 or older, except a custodial member, is entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present. Absentee balloting will not be permitted in any church business.
Section 7. Custodial Membership
When the church establishes a mission church, it will maintain the membership roll of that mission church until such time as the mission church constitutes separately. Members of the mission church will have voting rights and membership responsibilities at the mission church, but will not have voting rights or other membership rights at this church.
Section 8. Exclusive Membership
Church membership is an exclusive commitment. When someone becomes a member of this church, he must forfeit membership at his previous church. If a member joins another church, he forfeits his membership at this church.
An exception to this rule will be made for those who maintain dual residence and spend a significant portion of time at the other residence. Such members may maintain full privileges of membership while residing here and are encouraged to participate in a local church at the other residence as well.
Section 9. Discipline
1. When church discipline becomes necessary, the Pastor(s) and Deacons will strive to follow the principles of church discipline taught in Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5, 2 Corinthians 2:3-11, and 2 Corinthians 7:2-12.
2. Matters of potential church discipline shall be referred either to the Pastor(s) or the Deacons. When such a matter arises, the Pastor(s) and Deacons shall meet together to prayerfully discuss the matter and decide whether discipline is appropriate.
3. The goal of church discipline is never to punish but to restore the one who is sinning to obedience to Christ and to fellowship with the church. Only those who refuse to repent will be removed from membership.
4. When the Pastor(s) and Deacons are made aware of a situation that may require discipline, they should meet privately with the person who is being accused to ascertain the validity of the information and to gauge the member’s response. A spirit of patience and grace should guide the Pastor(s) and Deacons as they pursue the process. If, after reasonable attempts at restoration are made, the Pastor(s) and Deacons become convinced that repentance is not likely to be evidenced, they will bring a recommendation to the church to place that person under disciplinary status and withhold from him all rights of membership. Such an action should be brought to the church at a special business meeting called for such a purpose. Such a business meeting must be announced at the Sunday morning service(s). The time and place of the meeting should be announced as well as the fact that it is for a disciplinary action. Only members of the church will be allowed to be present at meetings at which church discipline is being considered. It requires a three-fourths (3/4) vote of church members present and voting to place the member under church discipline.
5. If at any point prior to the church vote, the member displays repentance, the process of discipline ceases.
6. Even after the member has repented, he may be prohibited from filling positions of leadership and authority in the church, if the Pastor(s) and Deacons believe such is warranted. A repentant sinner must be welcomed, encouraged, supported, and strengthened by the church, but leadership is based on character and trust, which may take longer to restore.
7. Discipline is designed to foster repentance when members commit sin that will bring dishonor to the name of Christ and the church. Any unrepentant sin is significant, but these are some of the more common and evident sins which may warrant church discipline:
- Sexual sin. The church believes that all sexual activity is limited to marriage – one man and one women legally married to each other. Any sexual activity outside of marriage may warrant church discipline.
- Financial malfeasance. If the church becomes aware of a member engaging in dishonesty or financial malfeasance, whether in his personal finances, the church’s finances, or in his business, church discipline may be warranted.
- Sowing discord. Sowing discord and division in the body of Christ may be considered grounds for church discipline. However, the right of members to disagree with the Pastor(s) and other church leaders and to dissent from their decisions shall not be abrogated. In a congregational church, each member has the right to follow his own convictions and is not required to agree with the leadership. Nonetheless, gossip, spreading rumors, inciting discontent and disunity – these are all contrary to scripture and should not be practiced.
- Other sins. Any sin that brings dishonor to the name of Christ or hinders the reputation of the church is subject to church discipline, as the church decides.
8. Only members may come under the process of church discipline. While the Pastor(s) and Deacons may rebuke and counsel those who attend this church and are found in sin, discipline is applied only to members.
9. The church should be slow to seek discipline, be patient with those who sin, demonstrate grace, and seek restoration in all disciplinary actions.
10. Those under church discipline may continue to attend the church if they wish, unless the church deems it necessary to restrict such. However, one under discipline may not serve in any position of leadership or responsibility in any church ministry or any event that takes place on the church’s property or under the church’s auspices.
11. No process of church discipline should interfere with the legal responsibility of the church and its leaders to report allegations of abuse, especially sexual abuse, to the proper authorities.
12. Once the disciplinary procedure begins, membership may not be ended by transfer or by member request until the process of discipline has reached its conclusion. The process of discipline officially begins when the Pastor(s) and Deacons make contact with the member to discuss the matter. However, the member’s membership rights are only revoked when the church votes to do so.
13. Once a member has been placed on disciplinary status, his membership may only be restored by the action of the church. If the Pastor(s) and Deacons are satisfied that the requisite repentance has been demonstrated, they will bring a motion for restoration to a membership business meeting, as described in Section 4, paragraph 4. They will inform the membership that the person was under church discipline and has demonstrated genuine repentance, but should not go into detail about the past offenses. A three-fourths (3/4) majority vote is required to restore one under discipline to membership.
Section 10. Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated for the following reasons:
2. Transfer of Letter. Any member, in good and regular standing, who desires a transfer of letter to any other Baptist Church of like faith, is entitled to have it sent upon request of such church. Letters of Transfer will only be granted to other churches of like faith and practice. Such letters will not be granted to individuals.
3. Disciplinary action of this church as stated in Section 9.
4. By request of the member.
All terminations of membership (except by death) require church approval. Requests for Letters of Transfer or personal requests for termination of membership shall be referred to the Pastor(s) and Deacons. They shall present any membership terminations at the special business meetings described in Article I, Section 4 for the church’s approval. Termination of membership by transfer or by member request requires a simple majority for approval.
ARTICLE II: PASTORAL LEADERSHIP
The church’s Pastor(s) must be men of exemplary character, diligence, spiritual passion, and the highest integrity. Pastors shall be given due respect to lead the church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ while remaining accountable to the church. Pastor(s) shall be selected on the basis of biblical standards listed in 1Timothy 3 and Titus 1, as well as other passages, and shall be held accountable to those standards.
Section 1: Leadership and Authority
1. Pastoral authority is biblical but is not absolute. Pastor(s) will be given the authority to lead the church but do not rule over it. The church recognizes that God appoints leaders to guide, protect, and oversee the direction of the church. The Pastor(s) must realize that their authority is limited and that they remain accountable to the church.
2. There are three terms used to describe the pastoral role in the New Testament. Elders are to be men of maturity worthy of being emulated by the members of the church. Overseers (“bishop” in some translations) must lead and guide the church to be what God has called it to be. The term Pastor simply means shepherd. A Pastor is to care for the church and its people, watching over them, protecting them, and feeding them. Acts 20:28 indicates that each of these terms refers to the leadership role of the Pastor, and the Pastor(s) of this church must fulfill all three of these key characteristics.
3. Pastor(s) must use their authority and leadership to serve the Body of Christ and build it up, modeling the ministry of Christ, who did not come to be served but to serve others and to lay down His life for them.
Section 2: The Shepherds Council
1. The Shepherds Council will give oversight to the church to guide it in obeying its biblical mission, mandates, and ministries as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.” They will meet together to pray, to analyze the mission, mandates, and ministries of the church and to make such recommendations as are deemed necessary to the church to maintain proper focus on its mission, mandates, and ministries.
2. The Shepherds Council shall be led by the Senior Pastor. It shall also consist of any pastoral staff designated by the church as Associate Pastors.
3. If the church so chooses, it may also appoint lay members to the Shepherds Council to share this responsibility of leadership. Any men being considered for this position must be examined on the basis of the qualifications of elders stated in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. There shall be no set number of lay members on the Shepherd’s Council. Nominations for this position will come from the Shepherd’s Council and require a three-fourths (3/4) majority for approval by the church. When the Shepherd’s Council brings a recommendation to add a lay member to the Council, they shall include a description of responsibilities for the lay member. Lay members of the Shepherds Council will serve indefinitely. Those who are approved by the church as lay members for this ministry will be ordained, unless they have been previously ordained to the ministry. Lay members will meet annually with the Senior Pastor to review the effectiveness of their ministries. The process for termination of a lay member of the Shepherds Council will be the same as that of pastoral staff.
Section 3: Male Leadership
Based on the teaching of scripture in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Timothy 2:12-15, 1 Corinthians 14:33-36, and other scriptures, the church believes that only men should serve as pastoral staff or on the Shepherds Council. This does not prevent women from serving in responsible positions in the church or the church from hiring women to lead certain ministries in the church. However, only men should be ordained and serve as Pastors in the church.
Section 4: Job Descriptions
Each Pastor shall have a detailed job description that will be presented to the church at the time that it votes to call him. This will include job expectations and policies related to his employment. That job description, once adopted, can only be changed by church vote. Each Pastor will undergo an annual review of his job performance.
· Each Pastor will examine his job description and will review his work in light of the expectations stated there.
· Each Pastor shall prepare a written report of this review. Assistant and Associate Pastors will give this report to the Senior Pastor for evaluation. The Senior Pastor will submit his report to the chair of the Deacons.
· These written reports shall be reviewed and discussed with a view to improving the effectiveness of each Pastor. Each member of the pastoral staff will meet with the Senior Pastor to discuss the report. The Senior Pastor will meet with the Deacon chair and two Deacons appointed by the Deacon body.
· The discussion in these meeting will be kept in strictest confidence unless there is a need to review or alter one of the Pastor’s job descriptions or ministry assignments. These changes will be discussed by the Pastor(s) and Deacons, and appropriate recommendations will be made to the church to alter these descriptions.
Section 5: Senior Pastor
1. The church shall be led by a Senior Pastor who shall oversee, hold proper authority, and give guidance to all the church’s ministries.
· He shall serve as the leader of the Shepherds Council and shall chair the Ministry Coordination Team.
· He shall make a priority of prayer and the ministry of the Word of God.
· He shall seek to train leaders to take positions of responsibility in the church’s future.
· He will supervise and oversee the work of church staff.
· He will have an advisory role on all teams, committees, and ministries of the church.
· He may call special meetings of the Deacons and special business meetings, in accordance with these bylaws, when he believes that they are needed.
2. When the Pastor Search Committee presents a candidate to the church for its approval as Senior Pastor, it shall present at the same time a detailed job description, together with the conditions of employment which shall govern the Pastor’s ministry and any other policies or procedures specific to the Senior Pastor’s employment.
3. When the Senior Pastor decides to resign, he is expected to give the church at least two weeks’ notice.
Section 6. Pastor Search Committee
1. As soon as possible after the end of the Senior Pastor’s tenure, the Ministry Coordination Team (MCT) shall meet to recommend a Pastor Search Committee to the church for its approval. The MCT shall select five names to nominate to the church. If, in unusual circumstances, there is a lengthy time between the Senior Pastor’s resignation and the end of his tenure, the Pastor Search Committee process may begin before his tenure ends.
2. The MCT shall announce a called business meeting to elect the Pastor Search Committee. They will present the five names they are recommending, and the church shall have the opportunity to nominate others. Once all nominations have been made, a ballot vote will be taken in which each member present will be allowed to vote for five people to serve on the Pastor Search Committee. The five who receive the highest vote total will constitute the Pastor Search Committee. The next two will be alternates. The Pastor Search Committee will elect its own chair and decide whether the alternates should meet with the committee in its meetings.
3. The Shepherds Council, Deacons, and MCT shall also meet to formulate a plan for continued pastoral ministry in the interim and shall present that to the church for its approval. The chair of the Deacons will call and chair that meeting. The plan should include a recommendation as to whether an interim Pastor will be sought, how the Senior Pastor’s ministries and prerogatives will be fulfilled during the interim, any temporary adjustments to pastoral staff job responsibilities, and any other matters deemed necessary. The plan may be submitted for approval at the business meeting called to elect a Pastor Search Committee or at a later business meeting.
4. The Pastor Search Committee shall prayerfully seek a man who can effectively lead the church as defined in these documents. When they have come to a consensus on a candidate, they shall work with the Administrative Team to develop a financial support plan and shall coordinate with the Deacons to develop a detailed job description. These will be presented to the Senior Pastor candidate before the candidate is presented to the church. The Pastor Search Committee will only bring one candidate to the church for its consideration at a time.
5. At least one week’s notice will be given when the Pastor Search Committee brings a candidate for consideration. That candidate will preach at all Sunday worship services and a time will be set aside for members to meet and ask questions of the candidate. Also at this meeting, printed copies of the financial support plan and the conditions of employment shall be distributed.
6. After the evening service, the pastoral candidate will leave and the church will convene a business meeting to vote on the call of the Pastor. The meeting may follow immediately after the evening service or be scheduled for a later time. The members of the Pastor Search Committee shall count the ballots. A three-fourths (3/4) majority of those present and voting is required to hire a Pastor.
7. After the vote is taken, the chair of the Pastor Search Committee will contact the candidate, report the results of the vote and extend an invitation to become Senior Pastor if the vote has been in the affirmative. The candidate will be given a reasonable amount of time to consider the call and render his decision.
Section 7. Pastoral Staff
1. The church shall call or employ such pastoral staff as is needed to accomplish the mission, mandates, and ministries of the church.
2. It shall be the responsibility of the Ministry Coordination Team (MCT) to ascertain the need for additional church staff. If the MCT determines a new staff member is needed, they shall coordinate with the Administrative Team to ascertain the feasibility of adding a staff member and shall discuss with the Shepherds Council and Deacons the advisability of such. If they are convinced that the addition of a staff member is needed, they shall make a recommendation to the church to form a Pastor Search Committee, following the procedure for the selection of Senior Pastor. The recommendation to the church will include a general description of the ministry focus of the new staff member (including whether the position will be full-time or part-time and what areas of ministry will be the focus of the position).
3. If a staff Pastor resigns, the MCT shall confer with the Shepherds Council and the Deacons to determine if the staff Pastor should be replaced and to make any recommendations as to the ministry focus of the new staff Pastor if one is to be recommended. The MCT shall make a recommendation to the church to form a Pastor Search Committee as defined in paragraph 1 above.
4. The process of selecting a Pastor Search Committee for a member of the pastoral staff shall be the same as that for the Senior Pastor as defined in Article II, Section 6 of these bylaws.
5. If a pastoral staff member has a specific focus on a particular area of ministry (Youth Pastor, Worship Pastor, Education, etc.), he shall be designated as an Assistant Pastor. If the staff member, in addition to the specific areas of responsibility, shares the Senior Pastor’s general ministry oversight responsibilities, he shall be designated as an Associate Pastor and will be part of the Shepherds Council. Those designated as Associate Pastors must demonstrate general conformity to the requirements of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
6. If a candidate for a pastoral staff position has not been licensed or ordained, he shall be licensed for gospel ministry when he is approved for the staff position. After sufficient time has passed for him to demonstrate the gifts, calling, and character necessary for gospel ministry, the Shepherds Council will recommend his ordination to the Deacons who, when they are satisfied that ordination is appropriate, will bring a recommendation to the church for ordination.
7. All pastoral staff shall serve under the direction and authority of the Senior Pastor.
8. When a staff Pastor decides to resign, he is requested to give at least two weeks’ notice.
Section 8. Dismissal of Pastoral Staff.
1. It is an unfortunate reality that Pastors sometimes fall into sin or fail in their duties, and it becomes necessary to dismiss them from their duties. This should only be done in the most serious of situations or after every effort to correct the problems that exist has been exhausted.
2. If an accusation of immorality, malfeasance, or inadequacy of leadership is brought against the Senior Pastor, the matter shall be referred to the Deacons for their consideration. They should meet with the Senior Pastor to ascertain the facts and seek an appropriate response. If the Deacons determine that a motion to remove the Senior Pastor from his office is necessary, they will call a business meeting, with at least one week’s notice, to consider the motion. A ballot vote will be taken and a simple majority is required to dismiss the Senior Pastor.
3. If an accusation of immorality, malfeasance, or inadequacy of leadership is brought against a staff Pastor, the matter shall be referred to the Senior Pastor. He will bring the matter to the Deacons if he believes that it is necessary or advisable to do so. If the Deacons determine that a motion to remove the staff Pastor is necessary, they will call a business meeting with at least one week’s notice to consider the motion. A ballot vote will be taken and a simple majority is required to dismiss a member of the pastoral staff.
4. Only church members may be present and participate in any business meeting called for the purpose of consideration of a motion to dismiss a member of the pastoral staff. Since any pastoral staff member’s personal integrity, character, and behavior are an essential part of their ministry, a discussion of the Pastor’s personal life, character, and behavior may be necessary in the meeting. Members will be instructed that such matters should only be discussed at the meeting and reminded of the possibility of damage to the church that gossip can bring.
5. The Deacons, in consultation with the Administrative Team, will prepare a severance package recommendation and present that to the church as a part of the motion to dismiss a pastoral staff member.
6. If the accusation brought against the Senior Pastor or a member of the pastoral staff involves sexual misconduct or serious malfeasance, the staff member shall be placed on immediate paid leave while the accusation is investigated and an appropriate recommendation is brought to the church.
7. If the allegation involves abuse of a child or any other criminal activity, the member of the pastoral staff shall be placed on immediate paid leave while the accusations are investigated. If the allegations involve any potential abuse of a child or other criminal activity, the accusations will be reported to the appropriate authorities by the Senior Pastor, or if the accusation is against the Senior Pastor, by the chair of the Deacons.
8. The Senior Pastor will oversee all such investigations unless the accusations are against him. The Deacon chair will oversee the investigation of accusations made against the Senior Pastor.
Section 9. Policy Manual
A detailed policy manual shall be kept which will include all conditions of employment, procedures for hiring and terminating staff, and anything else related to the employment of staff. All policies must be approved by the church. The policy manual may not abrogate, contradict, or supersede these bylaws in any way. Any member may request a copy of the policy manual from the church office.
ARTICLE III. DEACONS
Section 1. Qualifications
1. Deacons must be men of Godly character and integrity, worthy of respect and emulation by the church.
2. Deacons shall be selected on the basis of the biblical qualifications for Deacons set forth in Acts 6:1-6 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
3. Only those who have been members of this church for at least one year shall be eligible to be elected as Deacons.
Section 2. Election and Tenure of Deacons
1. Those who are elected and ordained as Deacons in this church are considered Deacons as long as they remain members unless they resign from the Deacon ministry or are removed by the disciplinary action of the church. A Deacon may, if necessary, request a leave of absence from Deacon service.
2. As many men as are biblically qualified to serve, are willing to serve in this responsible position, and are elected by the church shall serve as Deacons.
3. After the beginning of the new church year (September 1), the Deacons shall notify the church that nominations for the office of Deacon are being accepted. A man may present himself for service as a Deacon, may be nominated by another member, or may be recommended to service by the Deacons. Nominees who are willing to serve shall go through a training class developed by the Deacons to help them to determine if they are qualified and capable of Deacon service. Candidates who complete the training class, are judged by the Deacons to be qualified and capable, and are willing to serve will be presented by the Deacons to the church for election. Deacon elections shall take place at the December budget business meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) majority is required to elect a Deacon.
4. If a man is elected as a Deacon who has not yet been ordained, he shall be ordained as a Deacon by the church as soon as possible within his first year of service.
5. The Deacons may decide to remove a Deacon from service if they find that he is no longer qualified to be a Deacon according to the principles of 1 Timothy 3, or if they find that he is not adequately fulfilling his role as a Deacon as defined in the bylaws. If a Deacon is found to be failing in his duties as a Deacon, reasonable efforts should be made to help the Deacon and find a solution to whatever problems may exist before he is removed. The Pastor(s) should be consulted in this process.
Section 3: Ministry Responsibilities of Deacons
1. Deacons are servants. The Greek word, diakonos, from which the word “Deacon” derives, meant one who works for the success and benefit of others. Deacons work to benefit the church and to help its ministries be effective. The Deacons are not intended to be a ruling or authoritative board, but an active group, ministering to and serving the needs of the church.
2. The Deacons will facilitate the proper functioning of the church’s ministries. They shall be active and involved in the various ministries and shall serve as they can to help the ministries function effectively.
3. The Deacons are charged by the church with the following responsibilities.
· They shall oversee the administration of the church’s two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
· They shall seek to minister to those in need and work with the Pastor(s) to oversee the church’s benevolence and other eleemosynary ministries. They shall make an annual recommendation to the Administrative Team regarding funding levels for the Benevolence Fund.
· In coordination and cooperation with the Pastor(s), they shall mediate when conflict arises between members or when there is dissatisfaction with the church and its leadership.
· They shall minister to members who have become inactive, seeking to contact them, discern what problems might exist in the members’ lives or their fellowship with the church, restore them to fellowship with the church or make appropriate recommendations to the church to terminate their membership.
· They shall support and encourage the church’s Pastor(s), assisting them in carrying out their ministries. They shall also meet to determine the validity of the proper course of action for accusations against the Senior Pastor and church staff.
· They shall nominate to the church the members of the Administrative Team annually, as specified in these bylaws. The Deacons will also be available to give advice to the Administrative Team concerning financial, personnel,and other matters, at the Administrative Team’s request. If the church enters a financial crisis, the Pastor(s) and Deacons shall meet with the Administrative Team to develop a plan to manage the crisis.
3. Deacons will have those meetings that are necessary to carry on their work. They will meet in January to elect their officers and determine ministry assignments, identify ministry opportunities and needs, and determine a meeting schedule for the year. They will present a list of nominees for the Administrative Team to the Ministry Coordination Team by the end of July each year for inclusion in the MCT’s nomination report to the church. They shall meet in October to review Deacon nominees and plan the approval process. They shall meet as needed to deal with issues and conflicts that arise at the church. Such meetings may be called by the Deacon chair or by the Senior Pastor.
ARTICLE IV. MINISTRY TEAMS
The mission of the church is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ by the grace of God for the glory of God.” The church will develop and maintain that structure necessary to accomplish that mission and to be obedient to the seven mandates as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.” The six ministry teams defined in this section will be responsible to guide the church in obeying those mandates.
Section 1. Structure of Ministry Teams.
1. Ministry teams will be organized as needed to effectively carry out their assigned tasks. These bylaws will define only the broad parameters of structure, but each team will develop such organization as is necessary to carry out their task. Since each team has a different task, the structure of each may be different as well.
2. Only church members may serve in leadership positions in the ministry teams. Those who are not members of the church will be allowed to participate in ministries and activities, but ongoing oversight, authority, and biblical instruction will be limited to those who are members.
3. Six ministry teams will work to carry out the church’s seven mandates. An Administrative Team will oversee the church’s financial, legal, personnel, and administrative affairs. The other five ministry teams will be responsible to lead the church in fulfilling its mandates as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
4. A team leader for each team will be elected at a business meeting held in May each year. The Shepherds Council and the Deacons will nominate the six team leaders, in consultation with the Ministry Coordination Team (MCT). A team leader will serve a one-year term and may be reelected to the position indefinitely. The term of service coincides with the church year, which begins annually on September 1.
5. Each team leader shall work with his ministry team to enlist leaders and workers as needed to obey the mandate assigned to the ministry team and shall present a roster of nominations to the MCT by the end of July. The MCT will present the full nomination report to the church for its approval at the annual business meeting in August. If the church elects a new team leader at the May business meeting, the sitting team leader will continue in service until the end of the church year and will provide assistance to the new team leader in preparing the list of nominations.
6. Each ministry team will prepare a budget to the Administrative Team by October 31 annually. The ministry teams should consider what God would have them do to obey the mandate(s) assigned to them and develop a budget based on such considerations. The budget will be presented to the Administrative Team, who will present the overall church budget to the MCT in November for its approval. The MCT will present the budget to the church at a business meeting in December.
7. Once the budget is adopted, the ministry teams may reallocate money in budgeted line items within their team if they so desire. Budgeted money may be reallocated between teams if both teams agree and the Administrative Team approves the transfer. If a team needs a budget increase during the fiscal year, it should present the request to the Administrative Team. If the Administrative Team approves the request, a business meeting will be scheduled to bring the matter to the church for its approval.
8. In the event a budgeted line item is overspent, the Administrative Team will report to the church the reason for the overexpenditure and its recommended solution to the budgetary issue.
9. At the December business meeting, each ministry team will present to the church a report detailing its goals and objectives for the coming year.
10. Each team leader will serve on the MCT.
11. The leadership, budget policies, and procedures of the ministry teams will be approved by the church. Each team has authority to carry out its mandate within the parameters that the church has approved.
12. Upon approval of these bylaws, each ministry team will develop and maintain an effective structure, a set of policies and procedures, and ministry goals for obeying its mandate. This shall be submitted to the MCT for its advice and then presented to the church for approval. The structure, policies, and procedures, once approved by the church, can only be amended with the approval of the church.
13. Each ministry team will have one member of the pastoral staff assigned to it to provide encouragement, support, and guidance, in accordance with Ephesians 4:12. The Pastors are to “equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.”
Section 2: Administrative Team
1. The Administrative Team will work to fulfill the seventh mandate of the church as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
- “Seventh Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by providing administrative support so that we operate all our ministries effectively, efficiently, and legally.”
2. The Administrative Team will oversee the church’s financial matters, the physical plant, legal issues, and personnel matters. They will seek to operate the church so that all things are done “decently and in order.” They will submit an annual budget to the church, in December, based on recommendations made to them by the other ministry teams and committees.
3. The Administrative Team will be made up of six members elected by the church. The Senior Pastor (or an Associate Pastor designated by the Senior Pastor) and the chair of the Properties Committee will also serve on the Administrative Team. The six elected members will serve three-year terms. Two will be elected each year. After completing a three-year term, they may be renominated indefinitely. They will be nominated by the Deacons to the church for its approval. The church Treasurer will be a non-voting resource person for the team.
4. The Properties Committee will be nominated for church approval by the Administrative Team and will report to and work in coordination with the Administrative Team.
5. The Administrative Team will nominate a treasurer for approval by the church annually. The Treasurer will maintain the church’s books, write checks, balance the books, and make appropriate reports.
6. The Administrative Team will nominate to the church any other workers, including tellers, as are needed to effectively administrate the work of the church.
7. The Administrative Team will serve as the church’s Trustees for all legal issues and will serve as its corporate officers.
8. The Administrative Team will annually recommend to the church the financial support plans for all church staff and employees.
Section 3: Outreach Team
1. The Outreach Team will work to fulfill the first and sixth mandates of the church as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
- “First Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by evangelizing Siouxland.”
- “Sixth Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by participation in a program of worldwide missions.”
2. The Team Leader of the Outreach Team will be elected for a one-year term and may be reelected indefinitely. The Team Leader will serve on the Ministry Coordination Team.
3. The Outreach Team will structure itself as it deems necessary to fulfill the mandates assigned to it by the church. It will enlist the leaders it needs to accomplish these ministries and submit that list to the MCT annually by July 31.
4. The Outreach Team will recommend to the Administrative Team annually the percentages of undesignated offerings to give to the Cooperative Program, to the Northwest Iowa Southern Baptist Association, to Local Missions, and to any other missions-related budget item.
Section 4: Discipleship Team
1. The Discipleship Team will work to fulfill the second mandate of the church as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
- “Second Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by teaching its people the full counsel of God’s Word.”
2. The Team Leader of the Discipleship Team will be elected for a one-year term and may be reelected indefinitely. The Team Leader will serve on the Ministry Coordination Team.
3. The Discipleship Team will structure itself as it deems necessary to fulfill the mandates assigned to it by the church. It will enlist the leaders it needs to accomplish these ministries and submit that list to the MCT annually by July 31.
4. The Discipleship Team will encourage and coordinate the work of all the church’s discipleship ministries, including Sunday School, VBS, Youth Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Men’s Ministries, Children’s Ministries, Singles Ministries, and other age-graded or broad discipleship programs.
5. The Discipleship Team will have a leadership council consisting of the ministry leaders of each of the discipleship ministries of the church, which shall meet as needed to coordinate their work. The Discipleship Team Leader will chair this council, and one of the Pastors will serve in an advisory role.
Section 5: Fellowship Team
1. The Fellowship Team will work to fulfill the third mandate of the church as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
- “Third Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by maintaining a close fellowship.”
2. The Team Leader of the Fellowship Team will be elected for a one-year term and may be reelected indefinitely. The Team Leader will serve on the Ministry Coordination Team.
3. The Fellowship Team will structure itself as it deems necessary to fulfill the mandates assigned to it by the church. It will enlist the leaders it needs to accomplish these ministries and submit that list to the MCT annually by July 31.
4. The Fellowship Team will encourage and coordinate work designed to build biblical fellowship. This will include tasks such as the organization and administration of church fellowship meals, recreational activities, and the development of small-group ministries designed to promote fellowship.
Section 6: Worship Team
1. The Worship Team will work to fulfill the fourth mandate of the church as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
- “Fourth Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by worshiping the Crucified and Risen Christ in spirit and in truth.”
2. The Senior Pastor shall have full authority over the planning and conduct of the public worship services of the church. The Worship Team will encourage and coordinate all work necessary to produce effective Sunday worship services, including music ministries, ushers, greeters, nursery, and audio/visual.
3. The Team Leader of the Worship Team will be elected for a one-year term and may be reelected indefinitely. The Team Leader will serve on the Ministry Coordination Team.
4. The Worship Team will structure itself as it deems necessary to fulfill the mandates assigned to it by the church. It will enlist the leaders it needs to accomplish these ministries and submit that list to the MCT annually by July 31.
Section 7: Prayer Team
1. The Prayer Team will work to fulfill the fourth mandate of the church as defined in the document “Guiding Principles for Southern Hills Baptist Church.”
- “Fifth Mandate: SHBC must make disciples by fervent prayer.”
2. The Team Leader of the Prayer Team will be elected for a one-year term and may be reelected indefinitely. The Team Leader will serve on the Ministry Coordination Team.
3. The Prayer Team will structure itself as it deems necessary to fulfill the mandates assigned to it by the church. It will enlist the leaders it needs to accomplish these ministries and submit that list to the MCT annually by July 31.
4. The Prayer Team will develop and oversee a prayer strategy for the entire church.
Section 8. Ministry Coordination Team.
1. The Ministry Coordination Team (MCT) will coordinate the work of the ministry teams and other ministries of the church.
2. The MCT will consist of the Senior Pastor, who will serve as chair, other pastoral staff, the chair of the Deacons, and the team leaders of all six ministry teams.
3. The team leader of each of the ministry teams will present a progress report at each meeting of the MCT detailing how the team is accomplishing its mandate.
4. The MCT will not have executive authority over the teams, but will serve as a resource to those teams and will work to coordinate their ministries.
5. The MCT will maintain a complete church calendar and coordinate all church activities. The MCT will present an annual calendar to the church at its December budget business meeting. The calendar may be amended as needed by the MCT during the year.
ARTICLE V. OTHER OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
Section 1. Moderator
The Moderator will serve as chair at all church business meetings. The Administrative Team will nominate the Moderator to the MCT for church approval at its August meeting. The Moderator must be familiar with Robert’s Rules of Order. He shall be elected for one year and may be reelected indefinitely. In the absence of the Moderator, the chair of the Deacons shall serve as moderator. In the absence of both, the Senior Pastor shall call the church to order and a Moderator pro-tem shall be elected. The Senior Pastor may serve as Moderator if he desires and the church gives assent.
Section 2: Clerk
1. The Church Clerk shall keep records which shall be open for inspection by any member of the church. The Clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members with dates of admission to membership, termination of membership or death, together with a record of baptisms. The Clerk shall issue Letters of Transfer voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give notice of all meetings when such notice is necessary. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibility to a administrative assistant. All church records are church property and shall be filed in the church office.
2) The Clerk will be nominated by the Administrative Team, will serve a one-year term, and may be reelected indefinitely.
Section 3. Treasurer
1) It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to keep an itemized account for all money or things of value given to the church and to pay all bills of the church. The Treasurer shall render to the church monthly an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements for the preceding month, in compliance with standard accounting practices. The Treasurer’s records shall be audited periodically as the Administrative Team deems prudent. The Treasurer shall be bonded.
2) At the end of each fiscal year, the Treasurer will create a detailed report of the church’s offerings and expenses for the year, and preserve it as a part of the permanent records of the church. All financial records should be kept for at least seven years.
3) The Treasurer shall be nominated annually by the Administrative Team. The Treasurer will serve a one-year term and may be elected indefinitely. The Treasurer shall be available as a resource person to the Administrative Team.
4) If the church votes to do so, it may employ a church treasurer. A treasurer who is employed by the church will serve an indefinite term.
Section 4. Financial Secretary
1) The Financial Secretary shall receive the accurate report of offerings after they have been counted by the Tellers and shall record and maintain a record of each contributor’s gifts in accordance with current IRS guidelines. A summary statement of giving shall be given to each contributor in January for the preceding year. A copy of these summary statements shall be kept by the Financial Secretary for seven years.
2) The Financial Secretary shall be nominated by the Administrative Team, will serve a one-year term, and may be reelected indefinitely.
Section 5: Tellers
1) The Tellers shall receive and count all monies received in the Sunday School and worship services. They will open and verify the stated amount on offering envelopes, count the money, prepare the money for deposit, and deposit the offerings of the church. They shall prepare a summary of receipts for the Treasurer, which shall include a listing of amounts for general fund offerings and any designated offerings. They shall give a complete record of individual offerings to the Financial Secretary weekly.
2) The Tellers will be nominated by the Administrative Team, shall serve one-year terms, and may be reelected indefinitely.
3) At least two tellers, not related by blood or marriage, should count offerings. No person related by blood or marriage to an employee of the church shall serve as a Teller.
Section 6: Properties Committee
1) The Properties Committee will work with the Administrative Team to oversee all church properties. They shall work to keep the building and property ready for use, shall perform, coordinate, or recommend repairs and capital improvements to all church properties, and shall recommend to the Administrative Team policies necessary for a proper functioning of all church properties. The committee should maintain a complete inventory of church property. They shall make a recommendation to the Administrative Team for the annual budget for the operation of the facilities, for maintenance, and for necessary capital improvements.
2) The Properties Committee will be nominated by the Administrative Team, will serve one-year terms, and may be reelected indefinitely. The Administrative Team will also recommend the chair of the committee for church approval.
ARTICLE VI: ORDINANCES
The church recognizes and practices two ordinances, given as acts of obedience to symbolize and bear witness to the work of Christ in the life of every believer. These sacred ordinances must be observed with the highest respect, but have no power to save.
Section 1. Baptism
1. Baptism symbolizes the Christian’s participation in the death and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:4). It is a public testimony that one has repented of sin and placed faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Baptism symbolizes both the believer’s death to his life without Christ and that he has been raised to walk a new life in Christ.
2. The church will only recognize as valid those baptisms that conform to the following biblical standards. As long as a baptism conforms to these standards, it need not have been performed under the auspices of a Baptist church.
· Baptism must be subsequent to the believer’s profession of faith in Christ as Lord and Savior.
· Baptism must be by immersion (submersion in water) as a symbol of Christ’s death and resurrection and the believer’s participation in that death and resurrection.
· Baptism must be understood at the time of its performance as a symbolic act, not conferring or completing salvation.
3. No person shall be regarded as a member of this church until he has been baptized in this manner, in accordance with Article I, Section 3.
Section 2. The Lord’s Supper
1. The Lord’s Supper symbolizes the body of Christ which bore our sins and the blood of Christ which was shed for the forgiveness of those sins. It also symbolizes the importance of the unity and fellowship of believers.
2. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at least quarterly and at any other time as determined by the Pastor(s) and Deacons or by church vote.
3. The Lord’s Supper is a celebration of the death of Christ that is to be shared by believers only, but is not restricted to members of this church. Those present who are believers will be encouraged to reflect on the meaning of the Supper: to celebrate Christ’s sacrificial death and to commune with other believers in that celebration.
4. Those who are under church discipline as defined in Article I, Section 9 of these bylaws shall not be permitted to participate in the Lord’s Supper until such time as they are restored to fellowship through the defined process.
ARTICLE VII: BUSINESS MEETINGS
Section 1. Regular Church Business Meetings
1. The church will hold three regular business meetings annually. In May, a business meeting will be held to elect the team leaders for the six ministry teams. In August, the MCT shall present a complete list of officers and ministry leaders to the church for its approval. In December, a business meeting will be held to approve the coming year’s budget. Also at the December meeting, each ministry team leader shall present a brief statement of the goals and objectives for the team for the coming year. Other business may be presented at these meetings as well.
2. The dates for these meetings shall be determined by the MCT.
Section 2. Special Business Meetings.
1. Special business meetings may be called as needed by the Senior Pastor, by the Deacons, or by the MCT.
2. Special business meetings must be announced at the morning worship service(s) on the Sunday prior to the meeting. Such meetings may be held as early as the same Sunday night that they are announced. When a special business meeting is announced, the announcement must include a description of the item(s) to be discussed, and printed copies of motion(s) shall be provided to the church.
Section 3. Guidelines for Business Meetings
1. All church business will be conducted on the basis of the vote of the majority, unless otherwise indicated in the bylaws. However, every attempt should be made in every situation to seek unity and consensus through prayer, the study of Scripture, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In times of impasse and division over an issue, fervent prayer is needed.
2. At the regularly scheduled business meetings, printed minutes to the previous meeting and the latest copy of the church’s financial statement shall be available.
3. All matters requiring action by the church shall be presented by the proper officer or team and shall be made available in writing to the church prior to beginning of the first scheduled activity on the Sunday preceding the business meeting at which the action is to be considered. Any matter not made available in writing must be announced publicly during the morning worship service(s).
4. A member may present from the floor any matter for discussion. Such items shall be immediately referred by the Moderator to the appropriate officer or team for consideration. The moderator will also set a date for the officer or team to report back to the church. If the officer or team does not report back at the designated time, the matter may be raised on the floor of the business meeting again by any member, who may make a motion to consider the matter immediately. If the motion is seconded and approved, the matter will be placed on the agenda for action at that meeting.
5. A three-fourths (3/4) majority is required at any business meeting to suspend these bylaws.
6. Substitute nominations may be received from the floor for any elected office at the time of election, except for that of Pastor or Deacon.
7. Quorum shall be 25 eligible voting members.
8. The church shall have exclusive authority to buy, sell, mortgage, or lease real estate, to call pastoral staff, to adopt a budget, and to receive and dismiss church members. Pastors, Deacons, team leaders, and other elected officers shall only have that authority which is assigned to them by the church.
9. Business meetings shall be conducted in obedience to the standards of the Bible, and in general accord with the principles of Robert’s Rules of Order, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws.
10. The Moderator, or in his absence the chair of the Deacons, shall preside at all business meetings. If both are absent, the Senior Pastor (or one of the Pastors) shall call the meeting to order and preside over the election of a Moderator pro-tem.
Section 4. Election of Messengers.
1. Messengers to the Northwest Iowa Southern Baptist Association, the Baptist Convention of Iowa, or the Southern Baptist Convention meetings shall be appointed by the Senior Pastor, and as such will be regarded as approved by the church, as long as the number of those members attending the meeting is equal to or less than the number of messengers allowed. Only those who are members of the church may serve as messengers or delegates.
2. If more members are interested in attending one of these meetings than the church is authorized to send, a ballot vote at a Sunday service will be taken to elect messengers. The name of those messengers interested in attending will be presented in writing, and each member will be allowed to select as many names as the church is authorized to send as messengers.
3. Messengers are sent to these meetings as representatives of the church but will be free to vote their conscience at all times.
ARTICLE VIII. AMENDMENTS
1. These bylaws may be amended by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the members present and voting at any regular business meeting of the church or at a special meeting called for that purpose.
2. Any amendments to these bylaws must be present in writing at least two Sundays prior to the business meeting at which they will be considered.
3. When the church is considering the amendments to the bylaws, motions from the floor to amend the amendments may be considered and require only a majority vote of members present and voting to pass. Once all motions to amend have been considered, the church will act on the motion, as amended, to change the bylaws. That motion requires a three-fourths (3/4) majority of members present and voting to be approved.
ARTICLE IX. RECISSION
These bylaws, when adopted by the church, shall supersede any bylaws, rules, policies, or regulations which may have been previously made and adopted by the church as recorded in the minutes.
ARTICLE X. REVERSION
In the event that Southern Hills Baptist Church should disband and cease to exist as a church, all properties and assets of the church, if any, shall become property of the Baptist Convention of Iowa to be used as it sees fit to advance the purposes for which this church was formed. All liabilities of the church must be paid in full before the properties and assets are transferred to the Baptist Convention of Iowa. If necessary, real property or other assets may be sold to satisfy any liabilities of the church.
Only the membership of the church may declare by majority vote that the church has disbanded and ceased to exist as a church.