Preamble

We, the members of Pillar Baptist Church, having searched the Scriptures, have recognized the need to reconstitute ourselves to more closely conform to His Will and prepare ourselves for greater efforts in His Name.

Now therefore we, the members of Pillar Baptist Church, do hereby organize ourselves in accord with this Constitution as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of and bring glory to Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the standards set forth in the Statement of Faith (2010) and Covenant (2010) of this Church.

Article 1 – Name

The name of this church is Pillar Baptist Church.

Article 2 – Purpose

This church exists by the grace of God, for the glory of God, which will be its ultimate purpose in all of its activities. This church glorifies God by loving Him and obeying His commands through: worshipping Him; equipping the saints through biblical instruction and study; proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching and personal evangelism; encouraging, supporting, and participating in missions work, local, domestic, and international; administering the ordinances of baptism and communion; encouraging biblical fellowship among believers; serving other individuals, and families by providing for spiritual, emotional, and physical needs, in the name of Jesus Christ as is consistent with the teachings of the Holy Scripture (cf. Doctrinal Statement 13).

Article 3 – Membership

Section 1 – Qualifications:
To qualify for membership in this church, one must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of his or her salvation, who has been baptized (cf. Doctrinal Statement 13.5), in obedience to Christ, following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. Candidates for membership must agree to submit to the teaching of the Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and must promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Church Covenant. The Elders will be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person’s profession of faith, personal testimony, or other such evidences, as the Elders deem appropriate.

Section 2 – Admission of Members:
To be admitted into church membership, applicants must complete the Membership Matters class and be interviewed by the Elders. Applicants will be interviewed and be accepted by the Elders for admission and presented before the members of the congregation at any regular or special members’ meeting. Upon acceptance the applicant will withdraw their membership in other churches. Any member with reason to believe that an applicant should not be admitted to membership should express their concern to the Elders, upon which an applicant’s qualification for membership will be reviewed.

Section 3 – Duties and Privileges of Membership:
In accord with the duties specified in the Church Covenant, members will be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Only those who are members will be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church; non-members may serve on an ad-hoc basis with the approval of the Elders.

Under Christ this congregation is governed by the Elders and its members while it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all members’ meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote by the Elders.

Section 4 – On Church Discipline:
Any member consistently neglectful of his or her duties or guilty of conduct by which the name of our Lord may be dishonored, and so opposing the welfare of the church, will be subject to the discipline of the Elders and the discipline of the church, according to the instructions of our Lord given in Matthew 18:15–17 and the example of Scripture (cf. Doctrinal Statement 13.4).

In Matthew 18:15–17, Jesus outlines the four step process by which the church is to seek the restoration of a believer who has fallen into sin. First, when a brother or sister sins, he or she is to be confronted privately by a single individual (v. 15). If he or she refuses to repent, the confronting individual is to take one or two other believer along to confront him or her again (v. 16). If the sinning brother refuses to listen to the two or three, they are then to tell it to the church (v. 17). If there is still not repentance, the final step is to put the person out of the assembly (v. 17; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:1–13).

Church discipline can include admonition by the Elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, deposition from office, and excommunication (Matthew 18:15–17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14–15; 1 Timothy 5:19–20; 1 Corinthians 5:4–5). After a thorough investigation, in accordance with the procedures prescribed by Scripture, if the Elders determine that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that an individual has sinned or is continuing to sin, that he or she has been appropriately confronted, and that he or she has refused to repent, then the Elders will inform the church and the congregation thereof at a regularly scheduled members’ meeting in order that the church may call the erring individual to repentance.

The members of this church agree that there will be no appeal to any court of law because of the dismissal or because of public statements to the congregation at the third or forth stage of church discipline. Members, who are under discipline by the church, as defined in the previous paragraph, forfeit and waive the right to resign from this church. Pillar Baptist Church reserves the right to disclose disciplinary details to the leadership of church(es) attended by the member under discipline. Resignations from membership are possible only by members who are in good standing and who are not under disciplinary action (cf. section 5).

Separate and apart from the process of church discipline, but subject to the discretion and approval of the Elders, the names of any members who have not attended a worship service for a period of six months or longer may be removed from the membership rolls.

Section 5 – Termination of Membership:
The church will recognize the termination of a person’s membership following his or her death, or when he or she has voluntarily resigned or joined with another church. Membership may also be terminated as an act of church discipline (ordinarily, but not necessarily, at the recommendation of the Elders) upon the recognition of the members present at any regular or special members’ meeting. Any member with reason to believe that an individual should not be dismissed from the membership should express their concern to the Elders, upon which the termination will be reviewed. The church will have authority to refuse a member’s voluntary resignation or transfer of membership to another church, either for the purpose of proceeding with a process of church discipline, or for any other biblical reasons.

Article 4 – Meetings

Section 1 – Worship Meetings:
Worship services will be held on Sunday and may be held throughout the week as determined by the church.

Section 2 – Members’ Meetings:
Every members’ meeting should be characterized by a spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration as is appropriate within the body of Christ.

There will be eight Members’ Meetings each year. Each meeting will be held on the second Sunday of the month after our Lord’s Day Worship Service.

An Elder designated by the Elders will preside as moderator at all members’ meetings of the church. The Elders will see that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held.

At all meetings of the members, whether regular or special, the 50% of the members must be present to constitute a quorum (i.e. the number of people necessary for a meeting) for the transaction of business. Votes will be tallied based on the number of votes cast by the members present.

A budget will be approved by the membership at a members’ meeting no more than a month after the start of the calendar year. Prior to this approval and subject to the Elders’ discretion, expenditures may continue at the prior year’s level.

At any regular or special members’ meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.

Special members’ meetings may be called as required by the Elders. The date, time, and purpose of any special meeting will normally be announced at all public services of the church at least two weeks preceding the meeting, unless otherwise stipulated by all of the Elders.

Article 5 – Officers

Section 1 – Summary:
The Biblical offices in the church are Elder and Deacon. In addition, our church recognizes the administrative positions under this constitution of administrator and treasurer. All officers must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.

Section 2 – Elders: Number of Elders:
The Elders shall be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of Elder set forth in I Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. No Elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.

Qualifications:
Each Elder must be an active member of the church and possess the qualifications described in I Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. He shall be:

Nomination, Selection, and Tenure of Office:
By recommendation of the Elders, the church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as Elders. After an Elder, other than the Pastor(s), has served two consecutive three-year terms, he may only be elected to the office of Elder after at least one year.

In the process of nominating and electing an elder, the members, as guided by the Elders and Deacons, will look first to married men to fulfill the office of elder. If a man is not married he will not be disqualified from the office.

Removal of Elders:
An Elder’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an Elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the Elders and, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and 1 Timothy 5:17–21. Any of the Elders may be dismissed by a 75% vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the church.

Responsibility of Elders:
Subject to the will of the congregation, the Elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1–6 and 1 Peter 5:1–4, the Elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.

The Elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the Deacons and appointed church officers and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world missions.

The Elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The Elders may also propose to the members that funds be utilized for new paid staff positions. The Elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of all paid staff members.

Each year the Elders, after consultation with the Deacons, the Deaconesses, and the membership, shall present to the church an itemized budget. This budget shall be presented for discussion at our regularly scheduled members’ meeting and called up for a vote to be approved by a 75% vote at the following members’ meeting. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the Elders.

Section 3 – Pastor:
A Pastor shall be selected by the Elders and confirmed by the members at a regularly scheduled members’ meeting. Such a confirmation shall be a 75% majority of all the votes cast. His call shall be defined according to Article 6, Section 3.

He shall remain in office an indefinite period of time subject to the following reservations:

A Pastor shall be an Elder. He shall perform the duties of an Elder described in Section 2, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching. As Pastor he shall arrange for and conduct all public and regular services of the church and shall be responsible for the general oversight of the spiritual welfare of the church. He shall preach on the Lord’s Day, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the constitution. In the absence or incapacity of the Pastor the Elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.

Section 4 – Deacon and Deaconess:
A deacon must be a member possessing the qualifications described in Acts 6:1– 7 and 1 Timothy 3:8–13. A deaconess must be a member possessing the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3–5.

Deacons and Deaconesses will be nominated by the Elders and confirmed by the members of the church. Upon election they shall serve a term of two years and may be elected to another term after one year out of office.

The Deacon and Deaconesses must be individuals who are particularly gifted in service, who have, and are currently giving themselves to the service of the church. They shall assist the Elders in the shepherding of the saints, assist the Pastor at Communion and baptismal services, aid in the general spiritual health of the church, care for the temporal needs of the members, and perform other duties as assigned by the Elders.

In the process of nominating and electing a deacon or deaconess, the members, as guided by the Elders and Deacons, will look first to married men or women to fulfill the office of deacon or deaconess. If a man or woman is not married he or she will not be disqualified from the office.

Each year the Deacon and Deaconesses shall present to the Elders an itemized budget to be approved at a regularly scheduled members’ meeting. The Deacon and Deaconesses shall receive, hold, and disburse a fund for benevolence and reporting on its use to the Elders upon their request.

Section 5 – Treasurer:
The treasurer will not be an active Elder, deacon, or paid church staff member and will ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The treasurer will also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues and expenses of the church at each members’ meeting. The treasurer will also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The treasurer will render to the Elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church. The treasurer will be nominated by the Elders and elected by the congregation to serve a term as agreed upon by the Elders and the congregation.

Article 6 – Elections

Section 1 – Principles:
Elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:

Section 2 – Selection of Officers:
The election of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church. Names of nominees to serve as Elders, Deacon, administrator, or treasurer shall be presented by the Elders at the previous members’ meeting or during the Lord’s Day worship service and the election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.

The Elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership in the nomination process. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the Elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the Elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.

In the process of nominating and electing an elder or deacon(ess), the members, as guided by the Elders and Deacons, will look first to faithful, married men and women with believing children to fulfill the offices. We believe, that Paul wrote out the qualifications for eldership and deaconship as guidelines to be followed assuming that the prospective elder and/or deacon(ess) is capable of fulfilling the listed requirements. Therefore, if a prospective elder or deacon(ess) is not married and/or does not have children in marriage, that individual will not be disqualified from candidacy.

The moderator shall declare elected all men receiving a 75% majority of all votes cast for the office of Elder. For all other offices (Deacon, Deaconess, administrator, treasurer) the moderator shall declare elected all persons receiving a simple majority of all votes cast; abstentions will not be considered as votes cast.

The persons elected shall assume their respective offices upon election, unless another date has been specifically designated.

Section 3 – Calling of a Pastor:
In the calling of any man to this position, the same basic process of calling an Elder must be followed. In addition, however, the church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching gifts of any potential Pastor and, before being asked to express its judgment, must receive assurance from the Elders that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith and Church Covenant. Notice of the nomination of a man to be elected to membership and called as Pastor (which shall include election to membership of his wife) must be given at two Sunday services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a members’ meeting.

Article 7 – Indemnification

Section 1 – Indemnification:
If a legal claim or criminal allegation is made against a person because he or she is or was an officer, employee, or agent of the church, the church shall provide indemnification against liability and costs incurred in defending against the claim if the Elders determine that the person acted (a) in good faith, (b) with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a similar position would exercise under similar circumstances, and (c) in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the church, and the person had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful.

Section 2 – Procedure:
If a quorum of at least three Elders is not available for an indemnification determination because of the number of Elders seeking indemnification, the requisite determination may be made by the membership or by special legal counsel appointed by the membership.

Article 8 – Disputes Resolution

The Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian Church (Matthew 18: 15–20, 1 Corinthians 6: 1–8), the church shall require its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically based principles, without reliance upon any secular court of law. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or pagan and whether individuals or corporate entities.

Article 9 – Amendments

The Statement of Faith and Church Covenant may be amended by a 75% vote of the members present and voting at a members’ meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous members’ meeting, and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.

This constitution may be amended by a 75% vote of the members present and voting at a members’ meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous members’ meeting, and shall have been announced during the church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.