Constitution


CONSTITUTION

(revised 1999)

TRINITY BAPTIST CHURCH – NORTH CANTON, OHIO

Preamble– For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted tenets of the American Baptist Churches, USA, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church, and the freedom of action of this body with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith, we do declare and establish this constitution.

ARTICLE I –Name– The name of this church, incorporated as a non-profit religious organization according to the laws of the State of Ohio shall be the Trinity Baptist Church of North Canton, Stark County, Ohio.

ARTICLE II- Purpose-The purpose of this church shall be the worship of God and advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. It shall seek to attain this end through public worship, Christian education, evangelism, fellowship, missionary work, Christian social action, and other ways consistent with the teaching of the scriptures which the membership may unite in undertaking. This church regards as an integral part of itself any and all auxiliary organizations which are seeking to fulfill this purpose, and reserves to itself full determination of their operations.

ARTICLE III- Affiliation-The government of this church is vested in the body which composes its membership. In order to fulfill its world-wide obligations, it shall be affiliated with the Akron Area Baptist Association, The American Baptist Churches of Ohio, and the American Baptist Churches, USA, their constituent departments and societies, and their successor organizations, if any. This is a permanent and historic relationship. Should there be at any time any question in regard to the affiliation of this church, the name of the church and corporation, and title to all church property shall be vested in that portion of membership retaining this denominational relationship. All members of the church are members of the corporation.

ARTICLE IV – Doctrine and Principles– This church receives the New Testament as an all-sufficient basis of doctrine and practice. As a summary of principles for Christian conduct among its members, it adopts the Church Covenant as found in Article XII.

ARTICLE V –Membership– Membership in this church should be a vital relationship. It shall therefore be the duty of the pastor and the Board of Deacons to instruct those seeking membership so that they shall fully understand their responsibilities as members. The church membership shall vote on the reception or dismissal of members after review by the Board of Deacons, except that the Board of Deacons may act upon letters of transfer from this church provided that the church membership be advised of such transfer at the next regular business meeting.

One may become a member of this church by:

(a) Confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, and baptism by immersion.

(b)Letter of transfer from another evangelical church.

(c) Statement of Christian experience , or

(d)Restoration (in case of exclusion or self-removal.)

This church shall practice believer’s baptism by immersion; yet it believes that faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is the prime requirement for church membership, and that there are numerous believers of proven faith who have been baptized in various ways. Therefore, any person from another evangelical church having such faith and giving evidence of serious discipleship may be received as a member of the church.

Membership may be terminated by:

(a)Letter of transfer to another evangelical church.

(b)Death

(c) Exclusion for activity inconsistent with the Christian life, upon recommendation of the pastor and Board of Deacons and vote of the church membership.

(d)Self-removal. In order to make membership in our church meaningful, each year those who wish to continue as members of Trinity Baptist Church will express their desire by attending at least three worship services and by giving some portion of talent, time or resources to the ministry of Christ through this church. Failure to comply with the above shall be considered as termination of membership.

The Board of Deacons shall be in charge of the self-removal program. A special category termed In-Active membership shall be established to give particular consideration to those away attending school, in military service, shut-ins, and others where unusual circumstances make it impractical to fulfill these requirements. The Board of Deacons shall review the membership rolls at least once every three years to determine the status of all the members. All actions taken by the Deacons shall be reported at the next quarterly business meeting.

ARTICLE VI – Officers

Section 1 – The officers of this church shall be moderator, clerk, treasurer, financial secretary, historian, and such other officers as designated by the Board of Deacons. (The elected chairperson of the Board of Deacons is the moderator of the church.)

When a vacancy occurs in an elective office, it shall be filled by the appointment by the Board of Deacons of a qualified person, whose term of service shall be from the date of appointment to the next annual meeting.

All elective and appointive officers must be active members of the church.

Section 2Duties of Officers

Moderator– The moderator shall preside over all business meetings of the church. The elected chairperson of the Board of Deacons will be Moderator. (See Article VIII, Section 5.) The moderator shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees.

Clerk– The clerk shall keep accurate records of the proceedings of the church at all business meetings, be in charge of all church records, maintain an accurate, up-to-date record of all members, in which shall be noted such changes as may occur, and issue and sign all letters of transfer. The clerk shall present a report to each business meeting, and shall deliver immediately to his/her successor all books, files, records and other documents pertaining to the office. The clerk shall be elected for a period of one year at the annual meeting and shall be an ex-officio member of the Membership Committee.

Treasurer– The treasurer shall be the custodian of all funds belonging to the church. He/she shall receive, record and report all receipts and disbursements and shall work in co-operation with the Stewardship Committee of which he/she is an ex-officio member. Disbursements shall be by check and shall be in accord with the adopted budget of the church. The treasurer shall present a report showing the financial condition of the church at all business meetings. He/she shall present the church books to the Stewardship Committee for audit prior to the annual business meeting. The treasurer shall be elected at the annual meeting for a period of one year.

Financial Secretary– The Financial Secretary shall keep an accurate record for each contributor, showing pledges made and contributions received. He/she shall provide contributors with offering envelopes, and shall send statements of account to each contributor. The work of this office shall be carried on under the supervision of the Stewardship Committee. Regular reports shall be given to the church. The financial secretary shall be elected at the annual meeting for a period of one year. The financial secretary shall be an ex-officio member of the Stewardship Committee.

Historian– The Historian shall record all of the current events in the life of the church which are likely to be of historical value. He/she shall submit an annual report to the church. The historian shall be elected at the annual meeting for a period of one year.

ARTICLE VII – Pastor– The pastor shall be called for an indefinite period of time. The pastor shall be, or shall become, an American Baptist Minister. He/she shall retain his/her office, subject to competence and acceptability in other ways so long as he/she continues in active cooperation with the fellowship and general program of the American Baptist Churches, USA and its constituent agencies. The pastor shall be the spiritual leader of the congregation and its executive officer, and shall supervise the work of the staff. His/her duties shall be those common to such office in American Baptist Churches. He/she shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees.

Election of a pastor shall be by secret ballot at a regular or special business meeting of the church, provided that notice of intention to vote upon the calling of a pastor at such a meeting has been given at all regular church meetings during the two preceding weeks. Three-fourths of the votes cast shall be necessary for an election.

The pastor’s services shall be terminated by a ninety day notice from either the church or the pastor, or a longer or shorter period if by mutual agreement of church and pastor it is deemed best. Termination of the office shall be voted at a regularly called business meeting, notice of such meeting and its purpose having been given at all regular church meetings during the two preceding weeks. A vote of 51% of the votes cast shall make valid termination of the pastor’s office.

ARTICLE VIII – Board of Deacons

Section 1– Duties of the Board of Deacons – The Board of Deacons shall be responsible for the general oversight and management of all the activities of the church, both in spiritual and temporal affairs, but subject to the supreme authority of the membership of the church. The Board of Deacons shall have supervision of all societies and all committees.

It shall be the responsibility of the Board of Deacons to review and make recommendations to the church concerning the reception and dismissal of members. The Board of Deacons shall serve as the Pastoral Relations Committee working with the pastor in all areas of personal concern.

The Board of Deacons shall be the legal trustees of the church. They shall have and exercise all powers and authority, all rights and privileges given to them or to corporations of like nature by the laws of the State of Ohio.

Section 2 – Number– The Board of Deacons shall be elected by the church, and shall consist of a minimum of seven members. The pastor shall be an ex-officio member. As the membership of the church increases, the number of elected deacons may be increased to a number not in excess of one elected deacon for every twenty active members of the church.

Section 3 – Qualifications of Deacons– The Board of Deacons shall consist of active members of the church, at least twenty-one years of age. Deacons and deaconess must have high moral, spiritual, and intellectual qualifications. Only one member of any immediate family may serve on the Board of Deacons at the same time.

Section 4 – Term of Service– The members of the Board shall be elected at the annual meeting for three year terms of service. As far as is practicable, one third of the Board shall be elected each year. A deacon shall not be eligible to serve more than two consecutive full terms. When a person serves two consecutive full terms, he/she will again be eligible for election after a period of one year has passed. When a vacancy occurs on the Board, it shall be filled by the appointment by the Board of a qualified person, whose term of service shall be from the date of appointment to the next annual meeting, at which time a new member shall be elected by the congregation to fill the unexpired term.

Section 5 – Meetings and Organization– The Board of Deacons shall meet once a month at such time as it shall select. It shall make such rules and regulations as may be required for its government, provided that they are consistent with this Constitution. The Board of Deacons shall organize at its first meeting after the annual election of officers. At this organizational meeting it shall elect from its membership a chairperson, and a secretary, and assign a committee responsibility to each deacon. Each deacon assigned to a committee shall be responsible for that committee until the next organizational meeting of the Board of Deacons. The secretary shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings of the Board. The chairperson shall be the moderator of the church. He/she will preside over all business meetings of the church, and the monthly meetings of the Board of Deacons. He/she will be an ex-officio member of all committees.

Section 6 – Appeals– Any member of the church may appeal in person or in writing from the action or decision of any officer or committee to the Board of Deacons. A majority vote of the Board shall constitute settlement of the matter.

Any five members of the church shall have the right to appeal any action of the Board of Deacons to the church. A majority vote at a regular or special business meeting shall constitute a settlement.

Section 7 – Committees– The Board of Deacons shall carry out its work through the committees named below. Other committees may be added as deemed necessary by the Board. There shall be at least one deacon on each committee as an ex-officio member. It shall be his/her duty to initially organize that committee, and to be the liaison between it and the Board of Deacons. Each committee may add appointive members as needed to carry out its work. All appointive members must be confirmed by the Board of Deacons.

The committees shall be: Membership Committee, Public Worship Committee, Christian Education Committee, Evangelism/Missions Committee, Stewardship Committee and Property Committee. When a vacancy occurs in the pulpit or staff of the church a pulpit committee shall be appointed by the Board of Deacons, and shall be representative of the various age groups and organizations within the membership of the church. This committee shall cease to function after it brings its recommendations to the church, and the vacancy has been filled.

Each committee shall elect its own chairperson and secretary from its membership, and shall meet as often as is necessary to perform its duties. Each committee shall report to and be subject to the Board of Deacons, and shall also render a written report to the church at the annual meeting. (Each committee may appoint sub-committees from its membership whenever such division responsibilities seems prudent.)

  1. Membership Committee -- This committee shall consist of not less than four annually elected members and at least one deacon. (The church clerk shall be an ex-officio member.) Responsibilities of this committee shall be: fellowship, baptismal services, membership conservation, church publications, and such other duties as the Board of Deacons may direct.

  2. Public Worship Committee – This committee shall consist of not less than four annually elected members and at least one deacon. (The adult choir director, organist/pianist, junior choir director, and usher chairperson shall be ex-officio members.) Responsibilities of this committee shall be: communion services, ushering, pulpit supply, sanctuary decoration, music and choirs, ordination, and such other duties as the Board of Deacons may direct. The Public Worship Committee will appoint the needed ushers for church services.

  3. Christian Education Committee – This committee shall consist of not less than four annually elected members and at least one deacon. (The Sunday School secretary, appointed by this committee, and the Senior ABY president shall be ex-officio members.) Responsibilities of this committee shall be: Sunday School administration, children’s, youth and adult work, camps and conferences, leadership education, audio-visual aids, library, and such other duties as the Board of Deacons may direct.

    The Christian Education Committee shall be responsible for the entire educational program of the church. The chairperson of this committee shall coordinate and be in charge of the work of its members, and shall assume responsibilities traditionally assigned to the Sunday School Superintendent.

    This committee shall encourage participation by children, youth and adults in the various educational activities offered. It shall be responsible for the selection of all teachers, substitutes and youth sponsors. It will select and supervise the use of an adequate curriculum in all classes. It will encourage continual leadership education and provide opportunities for such courses either in this church or on an interchurch level.

  4. Evangelism/Missions Committee – This committee shall consist of not less than four annually elected members, and at least one deacon. Responsibilities of this committee shall be: visitation evangelism, special evangelistic programs, interchurch relations, social concerns, publicity, missionary education and promotions, school of missions, church extension, special offerings for missions and such other duties as the Board of Deacons may direct.

  5. Stewardship Committee – This committee shall consist of not less than four annually elected members, and at least one deacon. (The Treasurer and Financial Secretary shall be ex-officio members.) This committee shall meet as necessary. It shall be the responsibility of the Stewardship Committee to see that all money contributed for benevolent purposes through the church channels shall be disbursed strictly on the basis of the items toward which contributions have been made. This committee shall also see that all contributions for missionary work of the denomination shall be forwarded through the proper channels at least once every month.

    Responsibilities of this committee shall be: budget, stewardship education, every-member canvass, trust funds, bequests, audit, investments, fiscal policy and such other duties as the Board of Deacons may direct. This committee shall approve all church expenditures and designated funds, and ascertain that expenditures are in accord with the adopted budget of the church. Under no condition shall the Board of Deacons appropriate funds for expenditures between Annual Meetings in excess of the total amount of the annual budget as adopted by the church without receiving specific authorization by a vote of the church at a business meeting duly called for the purpose of considering such expenditure.

  6. Property Committee – This committee shall consist of not less than four annually elected members, and at least one deacon. This committee shall meet as necessary. Responsibilities of this committee shall be: building maintenance, grounds care, building plans and promotion, custodian, work projects, special gifts for building improvements, use of the buildings by outside groups and such other duties as the Board of Deacons may direct.

ARTICLE IX – Meetings –Weekly worship services shall be held to carry out the purposes for which the church is organized. Business meetings shall be conducted quarterly. The first quarterly business meeting shall be designated as the annual meeting, and shall be held during the month of January.

Special business meetings may be called at any time by the pastor, Board of Deacons, moderator, or at the request of five members, (or 5% of the active membership, whichever number is larger.) Notice of such meeting must be given at a regular worship service at least one week in advance. At special business meetings, only the business that was announced at the calling of the meeting may be considered.

At all business meetings, 10% of the active membership shall constitute a quorum.

The church fiscal year shall be the calendar year.

The Lord’s Supper shall be observed one Sunday each month and at other times as directed by the Board of Deacons.

ARTICLE X – Amendments –This Constitution may be amended at any regular or called business meeting of the church by a three-fourths vote of members present and voting, provided a quorum is present, and that notice of such amendment shall have been given from the pulpit on two successive Sundays prior to the meeting, and that the proposed amendment is recommended by the Board of Deacons.

ARTICLE XI – Elections– All elections shall be by written ballot unless otherwise directed by the majority of members present. All matters pertaining to the purchase, sale or mortgaging of property, borrowing or investing of funds, shall be voted on only by active members who are of legal age. On all other matters, all active members are entitled to vote. All elections shall be determined by a majority vote of active members. All absentee ballots must be requested from the Board of Deacons, and must be returned by the day of election.

The Nominating Committee shall be appointed at least 90 days before the annual election, and shall make their report of nominations by 30 days before the election of church officers. The Nominating Committee shall be appointed by the moderator, and shall be composed of one member from each of the major committees of the church as listed in Article VIII, Section 7. It shall be the duty of the Nominating Committee to interview each nominee proposed and ascertain his/her willingness to serve if elected.

ARTICLE XII – Church Covenant– Because we have received Jesus Christ as our divine Lord and Saviour, followed Him in baptism, and united with this fellowship of His children, we now consecrate ourselves to His service and unite with one another in this covenant:

We will acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ over every area of our lives.

We will sincerely seek to keep the two commandments that Jesus taught as the greatest of all, namely, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

We will share each other’s joys and sorrows, and make every effort to be quick to forgive and slow to criticize.

We will develop and mature in our faith through regular prayer, Bible reading and study.

We will be honest in our dealings with others, and temperate in all things.

We will assemble together and uphold the public worship of God and the Ordinances of His House.

We will be faithful in our stewardship, recognizing that our time, our resources and our abilities are gifts from God to be used in His service.

We will cooperate with other Christian churches and organizations in the effort to bring Christian influence to bear upon the affairs of our community and problems of our world.

We will attempt to win others to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, both here at home, and through our missionaries, in every region of the world.

We will, if we move from this community, unite with some other church where we can continue living by the spirit of this covenant and serving our Heavenly Father.

ARTICLE XIII – Procedure at Business Meetings– The business meeting of the church shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

The following Order of Business shall be followed:

  1. The meeting is “called to order” by the moderator.

  2. The minutes of the preceding meeting are read by the clerk.

  3. The treasurer’s report is given.

  4. Reports of standing committees.

  5. Reports of special committees.

  6. Unfinished business.

  7. New business.

  8. Adjournment.

ROBERT’S RULES OF ORDER – Paragraph 51….

51. Ex-Officio Members and Committees.

Frequently boards and committees include some members who are members by virtue of their office, and, therefore, are termed ex-officio members. When such a member ceases to hold the office, his membership on the board terminates automatically. If the ex-officio member is under the control of the society, there is no distinction between him and the other members except where the president is ex-officio member of all committees, in which case it is evidently the intention to permit, not to require, him to act as a member of the various committees, and therefore in counting a quorum he should not be counted as a member. The president is not a member of any committee except by virtue of a special rule, unless he is so appointed by the assembly. If the ex-officio member is not under the authority of the society, he has all the privileges, including the right to vote, but none of the obligations of membership; as when the governor of a state is, ex-officio, a manager or a trustee of a private academy.

Whenever ex-officio appears in this constitution, there will be no distinction as to voting rights EXCEPT as pertains to a non-member employee.

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