CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS LAKE BLACKSHEAR BAPTIST CHURCH
We, the congregation of Lake Blackshear Baptist Church, declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern this body in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in its relations to other churches.
This congregation shall be known as Lake Blackshear Baptist Church, 650 S. Coney Rd., Cordele, GA 31015. This constitution and by-laws shall be the initial set of same.
This church shall be composed of baptized believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, united in a common covenant, for the worship of Almighty God; the propagation of the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ to the uttermost parts of the world; to practice the precepts and keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ: to take the Holy Bible as its only rule of order and faith and practice, by which all matters of faith and conduct are to be governed: cooperating with the local Association of Baptist churches of like faith and order, the Georgia Baptist Convention; it shall subscribe to the Cooperative Program of Missions of the Southern Baptist Convention; to the general articles of faith by recommendation of the Southern Baptist Convention in session in 1963, known as the Baptist Faith and Message. The Articles of Faith are not in any way to be construed as a creedal statement, but as a general statement of what Baptists believe that the New Testament teaches as to doctrine.
Our Church Covenant
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, and our being baptized by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter in to covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage; therefore, by aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of the Church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines.
We engage to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and to the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to educate our children religiously; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be found just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
The government of this Church shall be vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains obligations for mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist churches.
The membership of the Church shall consist of such who confess Jesus Christ to be both Savior and Lord to them, and who:
After due examination by the Church as to their Christian experience and, if coming from other churches, as to their letter of admission and recommendation, or upon a statement that they have been baptized by immersion by this church of like faith and order only, and
or having been accepted by avote of the Church, and having been baptized by immersion of this Church or a church of like faith and order only, and who enter freely into it covenant.
Members are expected to be faithful to all the services of the Church, to all duties essential to the Christian life, to give regularly and consistently for the support of the Church and its causes and to share in its organized work.
Quorum: Fifty percent (50%) of the active resident members in attendance, shall constitute a quorum to transact the business of the Church in regular conference and for the election of officers; for the calling of a pastor or the dismissal of a pastor, fifty percent (50%) of the active members shall be present, with all resident members being notified from the pulpit and in the church bulletin at least two weeks in advance. If after being formally notified from the pulpit and in the church bulletin fifty percent (50%) of the active members are not present, the church may elect to proceed, if it chooses, by unanimous vote to attend to any business that may properly come before it. A pastoral call shall be applied with one hundred percent (100%) of active members being notified of the meeting, with purpose of the meeting stated.
Termination of Membership:
Any member in good standing who desires a letter of dismissal and recommendation to another church of like faith and order is entitled to receive such a letter upon his request. In all cases, the letter shall be forwarded to the church or specifically addressed to the church with which the member wishes to unite.
Should a member become an offense to the Church and to the cause of Christ by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct, and having been approached according to Matthew 18:15-17 in an effort to recover his for the Lord, and after due and sufficient notice to the effect, he shall have his membership terminated until he has shown by repentance and amendment of his conduct that he is sincerely trying to overcome his defection. Then by vote of the Church, he may be restored to full fellowship.
A business conference may be called at any regular scheduled service of the Church for the purpose of handling special or emergency business, the purpose of the conference being stated; no other business may be handled at a called conference except that for which the conference was called. All regular monthly conferences of the Church shall be held the Sunday of the month following the monthly Deacon Meeting and announced the Sunday preceding the conference. The moderator shall be the pastor. In the absence of the pastor, the chairman of the board of deacons shall act, or in absence of both, a member may be selected by the congregation to moderate the conference.
The rite of baptism shall be performed by the pastor as the need arises. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed in each quarter and any other time that the Church shall deem appropriate. The supper shall be served by the pastor and the deacons of the Church. In the absence of the pastor, the chairman of the deacons shall preside. The Church will practice open communion inviting all born again Christians to participate.
A pastor shall be chosen and called by the Church when a vacancy occurs. The pastor shall be selected and recommended to the Church by a duly elected pulpit committee, composed of a minimum of three people, for their consideration. This committee shall carefully and prayerfully investigate the prospective minister, and, after consultation with him and due trial in the pulpit of the Church present him to the Church for consideration. The Church shall never consider more than one candidate at a time. The committee shall govern its recommendation by majority vote of the committee. When the Church is without a pastor any member shall have the right to place a name in the pulpit committee’s hands for their consideration. The term of office for a pastor shall be indefinite, with either party terminating the relationship with a 30 day notice.
During such time when the Church is without a pastor, the board of deacons shall have the responsibility of securing an interim pastor or supply preachers from Sunday to Sunday until the Church has called a pastor and he is on the field assuming his duties.
In instances when the pastor is absent from the pulpit, except for sickness or emergencies, he shall be responsible for securing the pulpit supply. During sickness or emergencies the board of deacons will secure a supply speaker, coordinating the speaker with the pastor when possible.
The pastor shall have two weeks of vacation every year with pay, being away from the pulpit one Sunday (Monday begins one weeks, Saturday ends the second week), the church paying the supply; he shall have two weeks of revival away from the church with pay, the Church furnishing the supply; when he is ill and cannot fill the pulpit, he shall receive his salary and the church furnish the supply for 60 days. Thereafter, the church must deem action according to circumstances. Any variations of this provision shall be approved by the Church in conference.
The pastor is always an advisory member of all committees, including the Church council and the board of deacons.
The pastor should never be involved in a controversy where he is forced to take sides other than moral or doctrinal.
Deacons shall be selected and recommended by a nominating committee composed of the deacons of the Church and the pastor as ex-officio member in an advisory capacity. The board of deacons will present to the church a list of the recommended candidates for approval by the Church. The floor will be open for nominations from the Church members. No person shall be presented to the Church without proper consultation with him and with his full consent to serve.
The board of deacons shall consist of a minimum of ten and no more than twelve members.
Each deacon shall be elected for a three year tenure of office. After this term has been served, the deacons shall be placed on an inactive status for a period of one year, after which he will be eligible for re-election to the active board of deacons.
The position of Deacon Emeritus is available for a deacon to assume when at such time a deacon either active or inactive decides to retire as a deacon. He is then asked to continue to support the Church by prayer.
In accordance with the meaning of the word and practice of the New Testament, deacons are the servants of the Church. The deacons are to guard the unity of the spirit within the Church in the bonds of peace and love. They should be ready to fill the pulpit at anytime on the occasion of the absence of the pastor. They are to assist the pastor with the ordinances of the Lord’s Supper.
Deacons will prepare and serve the Lord’s Supper and will maintain and safeguard all elements of the Lord’s Supper. Deacons will assist the pastor in ordinance of baptism. They will also maintain the pool and be sure it will be ready for the administration of the ordinance. The deacons will invite and encourage other members to help with the visitation program. The deacons will be assigned families from the Church for whom he is responsible, along with the pastor, in ministering to when the need arises.
Deacons must be born again; faithful in their attendance in Sunday School, all worship services (including Sunday night and Wednesday night services, and all church sponsored events); meet the qualifications of I Timothy 3:8-13. (We believe that where the scripture says “. . . husband of one wife. . .” that the correct reading is one wife at a time; twenty-one (21) years old.
The board of deacons shall meet on the first Monday of each month.
All other Church officers, namely: clerk, treasurer, music director, Sunday School director, WMU/WOM director, Brotherhood director, Youth director, and all teachers and officers of these departments - except class officers in all departments - shall be nominated by the Church nominating committee and elected by the Church in conference. No person shall hold an office who is not a member of the Church.
A nominating committee shall be composed of the board of deacons to serve from October 1 to September 30 of the next year. The officers for the succeeding year shall be elected in the August meeting of the board of deacons.
The Church council shall be composed of the chairman of the board of deacons, the clerk, the treasurer, the music director, the Sunday School director, the Brotherhood director, the Youth director, the pastor, Sunday School teachers, and one member at large to be appointed by the pastor. The council will meet quarterly on the third Sunday prior to the end of the quarter to discuss projects to be presented to the board of deacons. These projects may include physical improvements and repairs as well as spiritual needs and outreach. In all cases, these recommendations must be approved by the board of deacons and the Church in the business conference before implementation.
The Church may have the pastor appoint any committee that is needed to help carry on the work of the Church.
Rules of Order
The Church shall govern itself in the business meetings of the Church by Robert’s Rules of Order.
Amendments to the Constitution
An amendment to the Constitution can be made by vote of the Church, the amendment having been previously announced for two consecutive weeks in the Church bulleting and from the pulpit.