Beechland Baptist Church
Bylaws

(Revised by vote December 8, 2021)

ARTICLE I  MEMBERSHIP

 

Section A.   Qualifications

The membership of this church shall consist of such persons as confess Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord, and who, (1) after due examination by the church as to their Christian experience, and, it coming from other churches, as to their letters of dismission and recommendations or satisfactory substitutes therefore, (2) have been accepted by vote of the church, and having been baptized by immersion, (3) enter into its covenant.

 

Section B.   Duties

Members are expected, first of all, to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life; and also to attend habitually the services of the church, to give regularly for its support and its causes, and to share in its organized work.

 

Section C.   Rights

Such members as are in full and regular standing, and do not hold letters of dismission, and such only, may act and vote in the transaction of the church.

 

Section D.   Termination

The continuance of membership shall be subject to the principles and usages of Baptist Churches and especially as follows:

 

(1).  Any member in good and regular standing who desires a letter of dismission and recommendation to any other church is entitled to

receive it upon his request.  In case of removal to another community he should promptly make such request.

 

(2).  If a member in good standing requests to be released from his covenant obligations to this church for reason which the church may

finally deem satisfactory, after it shall have patiently and kindly endeavored to secure his continuance in its fellowship or if a member has made a public decision to join another church, exclusively, his membership shall be terminated.

 

(3). Should a member become an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct, or by persistent breach of his covenant vows or non-support of the church, the church may terminate his membership, but only after due notice and hearing, and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and amendment.

 

(4). All requests for termination of membership or action looking thereto shall first be considered by the deacons, who shall make recommendations to the church.

 

Section E.   Restoration

Any person whose membership has been terminated may be restored by vote of the church.

 

Article II   CHURCH OFFICERS

 

The officers of this church shall be as follows:

 

           A.  Pastor

A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs.  His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose of which at least one-week’s public notice shall be given. A pulpit committee shall be appointed by the church to seek out a suitable pastor, and their recommendation will constitute a nomination, though any member has the privilege of making other nominations of the church only one man at a time.  Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of ninety percent of those present being necessary to make that choice.  The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by a mutual consent.  The pastor shall have in charge the welfare and oversight of the church.  He shall preside at all meetings of the church, except as hereinafter provided.

 

          B.  Paid Helpers

Paid helpers, such as associate pastor, church secretary, director of religious education, enlistment and financial secretary, director of music, janitor, director of the Family Life Center, etc., shall be elected by the church upon nomination of a duly appointed committee, or as the church may otherwise direct; duties and compensation shall be specified by the committee named for the purpose, under the direction of the pastor, subject to approval of the church.  All ministerial staff appointed by the church using a show of hands will require an affirmative vote of seventy-five percent of those voting during a business meeting being necessary to make that choice.

 

         C. Elders

      

1.  Requirements. (In addition to meeting the biblical requirements as described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Titus 1:6-8; and James 5:14), elders will have to meet the following requirements:

 

a.  20 years as a Christian, and 10 years as a member at Beechland

b.  Ordained as a deacon at Beechland, and having served two terms as a deacon at Beechland (this requirement does not apply to an ordained minister)

c.  Knowledge of the Scriptures, possessing the ability to guide others and willing to assist in pastoral ministries

 

               2.  Number and Length of Term

The elder body will be composed of five men plus the senior pastor (active staff members are not eligible to serve as elders).  Elders will serve for a period of five years, with one elder rotating off of the active body each year.  Elders must remain off of the active elder body for one year before being eligible to return.  In the event an elder is unable to serve for any reason, the elder body may appoint an inactive elder to fill the remainder of that term.

 

              3.  Nomination Process

The elder body will unanimously select one man to serve on the board each year.  That name will be submitted to the deacons in their August meeting for their approval (approval requiring 75% of those voting).  The elder will be ordained alongside the deacons at the annual ordination/installation service.

 

              4.  Focus

The elder body will serve as a resource and aid to the pastor, focusing on the spiritual health and needs of the church.  All recommendations to the church from the elder body will be a unanimous recommendation.  The elders will also serve as a spiritual resource to the deacon body and Beechland’s various teams. In the event that the deacons or a ministry team are unable to resolve an issue, they will have the option to ask the elders to meet with them.  In the event that church discipline becomes necessary, it will be addressed by the elders.

 

              5.  Meeting Time

Elders will meet monthly, at a day and a time of their choosing.

 

              6.  Moderator

It is the responsibility of the pastor to serve as a moderator during church business sessions.  In the event the pastor is absent, it is the responsibility of the elders to provide a moderator for that business session.

 

              7.  Pastor Resignation

In the event the pastor resigns or is unable to fulfill his responsibilities, it is the responsibility of the elders to fill the pulpit, secure an interim, determine the responsibilities of the interim, and lead in the selection of a Pulpit Committee.

 

          D.  Deacons

    1.  Requirements

In addition to meeting the biblical requirements as described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13, deacons will have to meet the following  requirements:

a.  Christian for three (3) years;

b.  Member of Beechland Baptist Church for one (1) year;

c.  Currently active in the life and ministry of the church;

d.  A sound Christian character, displaying both emotional and spiritual maturity.

 

               2.  Number and Length of Term. 

The number of deacons should consist of six (6) for the first 300 members, an additional two (2) deacons for each additional group of 150 members, and one (1) additional deacon for each additional group of 75 members thereafter.  Deacons will serve for three (3) years, with one-third of the deacon body rotating off each year.  Should a vacancy develop, or there is immediate need for additional deacons, the deacon body may appoint an inactive deacon to service and make timely notice to the church.

 

               3.  Nomination Process. 

The active deacon body will determine the number of deacons necessary and administer to the nomination process from the membership. 

a.  The deacon body may recommend candidates based on their observations of prospects. 

b.  Nominees will not be indiscriminately submitted; an individual must consent to nomination. 

c.  The deacon body examines and qualifies nominees. 

d.  The deacon chairman will form an ordination council where nominees, who have never served as deacon, will be interviewed ensuring they meet requirements and understand the call. 

e.  Candidates for deacon, including any/all previously ordained deacons from another Southern Baptist church, will be announced two (2) services prior to a vote taken on a Sunday morning.  The vote is by printed ballot, signed by the church member, and 75% must approve the recommendation. 

f.  Deacons who have been approved by the church in the past are not required to be voted upon for subsequent terms, provided the active deacons reassess the inactive deacon’s ability to serve – per section D.1. – to confirm the inactive deacon continues to meet those requirements.

 

               4.  Focus. 

The Deacons provide servant ministry to the Beechland membership. 

a.  The deacons are assigned to complement Beechland’s small groups and/or Sunday School class leaders in ministry/prayer outreach. 

b.  Deacons prepare and serve the communion of the Lord’s Supper, and also provide communion to our Homebound members. 

c.  Deacons have no administrative duties other than those who may serve on committees or teams of the church.

 

               5.  Meeting Time. 

Deacons meet at a day and a time of their choosing.  Frequency of meetings are discretionary and are focused on training for, or meeting, ministry needs, prayer, and keeping abreast of church life.

 

          E. Finance Team

               1.  Number and Length of Term

The Finance Team will consist of six members, three deacons and three lay members, each serving a three year term, with no more than two members rotating off per year (one deacon and one lay member).  In addition to the six voting members, one elder, the deacon chair, and the Church Financial Officer will serve as ex-officio members.

 

               2.  Nominating Process

The Finance Team will be responsible to nominate two new members per year.  Those nominees will be presented to the elders for their approval, and elected by the church along with all other ministry teams.  In the event that the Finance Team is unable to secure enough members, the elders will be responsible to fill the Finance Team.

 

               3.  Duties

a.  To establish internal controls over receipt, accounting, safeguarding, and disbursement of budgeted and non-budgeted operating funds belonging        to the church to prevent errors and unintentional loss of funds

b.  To supervise the raising of all money in the church

c.  To authorize all expenditures of funds submitted to the Finance Team if sufficient funds exist

d.  To develop, coordinate, and publish the annual spending plan

e.  To supervise and coordinate contracts for supplies, materials, and services pledging the credit of the church

f.  To supervise the timely disbursement of funds by the church financial officer

g.  To ensure the timely reconciliation of all church accounts

h.  To provide for an annual independent audit of the church financial records

i.  To approve monthly financial reports to the Elders and the Deacon Board, as well as all regularly scheduled business meetings

j.  And to encourage spiritual giving of the entire church membership

 

          F.  Clerk

The clerk of the church shall keep a record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided.  The Clerk shall keep a register of the names of members, with dates of admission and dismission or death, together with a record of baptisms.  The Clerk shall issue letters of dismission voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports.  The Clerk shall consider it a part of his/her responsibility to promote loyalty and efficiency in church life.

 

G.  Financial Officer

This person is responsible for maintaining the financial books.  All receipts from any source must be deposited into the bank to the credit of the account for which intended. Payments must be made by check only.  The process shall start as a requisition to the finance committee.   The requisition will need final approval by the financial committee and signed by the treasurer or assistant treasurers. 

 

Article III   COMMITTEES

 

A.  Committees in General:  The church will provide for the establishment of a variety of Standing Committees, each to be comprised solely of church members nominated by the Nominating Committee and approved by the church.  Each Standing Committee member will serve for a term approved by the church for that particular Standing Committee.  Each Standing Committee shall develop and maintain in the church office a statement of its purpose and responsibilities.  For purposes of this Article III, standing organizations shall be considered Standing Committees.  The initial list of Standing Committees are those which are noted on the Nominating Committee’s Report approved by the church in October of 2002 which is incorporated herein by reference.  Standing Committees may be added, disbanded or have their functions amended from time to time as approved by the church.

 

B.  Nominating Committee:  A Nominating Committee shall be appointed each July by the Church Cabinet to bring to the church nominations of members to fill any vacancies on Standing Committees.  Nominations shall be made at the October Business Meeting of the church and at any time thereafter as needed.  The Nominating Committee will consist of the pastor (ex-officio) and as many other members as the Church Cabinet agrees necessary for that year.  Each member of the Nominating Committee will serve a one year term.  This committee shall adopt such methods as may to it seem proper to obtain from the different members of this church a general expression as to their preferences for the persons to fill the various committee positions, such expression being intended to aid the committee in making its report.

 

C.  Church Cabinet: The Church Cabinet shall consist of the Senior Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons, and the chairpersons of each of the Standing Committees.  The Church Cabinet shall meet monthly for the consideration of all matters of common interest, for the coordination and unification of plans, for the scheduling of church events, and for the promotion of the welfare of all departments of the church as well as the church as a whole.  The Church Cabinet is charged with the responsibility of appointing a Nominating Committee each year.  Otherwise, the Church Cabinet shall act in an advisory capacity only, making its recommendations to the several groups involved and to the church.

  

Article IV   MEETINGS

 

Section A.   For Worship

1.  Public services shall be held as stated on the Sunday and some regular evening or evenings of each week.

 

2.  The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated on the 5th Sunday of each month or at such other time as the church may determine.

 

3.  Occasional religious meetings may be appointed by the pastor at his discretion, or by vote of the church.

 

Section B.  For Business

 

1.  At any of the regular meetings for worship the church may, without special notice, act upon the reception of members.

 

2.  The pastor may, and shall, when requested by the deacons, trustees, or a standing committee, call from the pulpit special meetings, the particular object of the meeting being clearly stated in the notice.  Special meetings of the church may also be called by the clerk upon the written application of any five adult members specifying the object thereof, which notice shall be read at the public service on the Sunday next preceding the day fixed for such meeting.

3.  Business meetings of the church shall be held quarterly, unless otherwise published, at which time the quarterly reports shall be presented and such other business transacted as may be specified in the call or authorized by the by-laws.

 

4.  The transaction of business set out in paragraphs (2) and (3) above will be conducted by those in attendance, except the following, which will require the quorum (number that must be in attendance for a vote) set out as noted. 

 

      a.  The calling of a pastor: 25% of the resident roll of the membership.

      b.  The nomination and voting of deacons: 10% of the resident roll of the membership.

      c.  The annual church budget: 10% of the resident roll of the membership.

      d.  The Articles of Faith:  two-thirds of the resident roll of the membership.

 

Article V     DISCIPLINE

 

Section A.  Should any unhappy differences arise between members, the aggrieved member shall follow, in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in the 18th chapter of Matthew.

 

Section B.  Should any case of breach of covenant, or of public scandal occur, the elders shall endeavor to remove the offense; and if such effort fail, shall report the case to the church.

 

Section C.  If the church vote to entertain a complaint, which must be made in writing, it shall appoint a reasonable time and place of hearing and notify the person in question thereof, furnishing him with a copy of the charges.

 

Section D.  At such hearing, the accused member may call to his aid any member of the church as counsel.  If he shall not present himself at the time appointed, or give satisfactory reasons for his neglect to do so, the church may proceed in his absence.

 

Section E.  All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance, but should an adverse decision be reached, the church may proceed to admonish or declare the offender to be no longer in the membership of the church.

 

Section F.  In case of grave difficulty the church will be ready, if requested, to ask the advice of a mutual council. 

 

Article VI    AMMENDMENTS

 

The Constitution by-laws may only be amended if two-thirds of the business meeting attending persons agree that the change should be made.  All amendments must be laid before the church in writing at a business meeting not less than one month before the time of the proposed action, and read from the pulpit the Sunday before such proposal is brought.