BY-LAWS OF THE MORNINGVIEW BAPTIST CHURCH
Approved October 22, 2017
Article I NAME
The name of this organization shall be: “Morningview Baptist Church.”
Article 2 PURPOSE
Morningview Baptist Church exists to pursue intimacy with God above all else and to join Him in declaring His glory and advancing His kingdom among all peoples.
We are a body of baptized believers that exists by the grace of God and for the glory of God. We gather regularly to worship God through Jesus Christ, to be exhorted and equipped through Bible instruction, to administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, to love one another through accountable fellowship, and to carry out God’s great commission by proclaiming the gospel and making disciples of all nations and people groups.
Article 3 ARTICLES OF FAITH
The Second London Confession of 1689 shall be our primary statement, supplemented by the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Pastors must teach in accordance with and not contrary to our Articles of Faith. All members sincerely agree to learn from everything taught in the Articles of Faith, not to teach against them, and not to cause any division over anything in them.
Article 4 MEMBERSHIP
The membership of this church shall be composed of professing believers in Jesus Christ who give evidence of regeneration, who have been scripturally baptized following conversion, and who wholeheartedly believe in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible.
B. Receiving Persons Into Membership
Persons meeting the above requirement and completing the membership process (Article 4, Section C) may be received into membership as follows:
1. By publicly confessing Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord and submitting to baptism by immersion at the hands of this church.
2. By requesting that a letter of recommendation be sent to Morningview from another Baptist church, or by statement of past membership in a Baptist church, having already submitted to believer’s baptism by immersion.
3. By giving evidence of their Christian conversion and verifying their submission to believer’s baptism by immersion at the hands of a church other than Baptist, or by submitting to believer’s baptism at the hands of this church.
4. By coming as an Associate Member. Members of the military or students who are residing in the Montgomery area for a year or less may apply for associate membership. Qualifications are identical to those for full membership as set out above, except that home church membership must be retained. A letter of commendation will be sought from the applicant’s home church. Duties and privileges of associate members are the same as for other members except that: (1) while they will be encouraged to participate in business meetings, they will not be eligible to stand for any office or to vote; and (2) termination of associate membership as a disciplinary measure will be as it is for other members, except that the Pastors shall notify the pastor(s) or elders of the home church of that termination. Associate membership will normally terminate immediately upon the ending of the period of temporary residence in the Montgomery area. Associate members should be encouraged to inform the church of their departure at the end of this period.
5. By restoration following expulsion due to church discipline. To be restored, the candidate must demonstrate evidence of repentance (and possibly, a true profession of faith) to the Pastors and to the congregation. If the Pastors discern that the change of heart is genuine, the candidate will then be submitted for restoration by congregational vote. The membership process for new members is not required for those coming by restoration.
C. Membership Process
Membership shall be granted after the following process is completed:
1. Prospective members shall attend a required membership orientation as determined by the Pastors.
2. Prospective members shall complete a membership interview with a Pastor after the membership orientation is completed. The purpose of this interview is to discern a credible profession of faith and to ensure that the candidate is in agreement with our statements of faith, church covenant, and practices.
3. Names of prospective members who satisfactorily complete membership orientation and the Pastor interview shall be presented to the Pastors in their regular meeting for approval to recommend to the congregation.
Upon approval by the Pastors and following a congregational vote of affirmation, prospective members shall sign the church covenant and enjoy full membership privileges and responsibilities.
D. Duties and Privileges of Membership
Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of this church, and His will, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures, is the sole authority in all matters of faith and practice. If these By-laws ever appear to be in conflict with Scripture, the question shall be submitted to the Pastors for resolution.
Under Christ and the instruction of His Word, this congregation is governed by its members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all business meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, on major financial issues, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote.
In accord with the duties enumerated in the Church Covenant, each member shall 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 members and associate members of the church shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church; non-members may serve on an ad-hoc basis with the approval of the Pastors. Notwithstanding, non-members may serve the church for purposes of non-ministerial administration and professional consultation.
Regarding the membership of adolescents, those who are age 15 and younger who give a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ shall likewise complete all of the above requirements and afterward enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of membership with these exceptions: (1) They shall not have voting privileges in business meetings; (2) They shall not sign the church covenant; and (3) They shall not contribute to quorum. Those responsibilities shall be assumed when the candidate reaches age 16. Only adults (age 18 and over) shall be eligible for formal positions of leadership.
E. Church Covenant
The Morningview Membership Covenant
As the members of Morningview Baptist Church, we affirm that we have been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and set upon the sure foundation of God’s Word. Recognizing that we are one body under the headship of Christ, and thus members one of another, we engage by the strength of the Holy Spirit:
- To love Christ as our first and greatest love, and to seek God’s kingdom first through regular devotion to Scripture and prayer, faithful participation in corporate worship, fellowship within the body, and service as unto Christ; (Mark 12:30, Matthew 6:33, Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:42)
- To guard the purity of our doctrine, to actively fight against our remaining sin, and to strive for obedience to God’s law as revealed in the Bible and summarized by the Ten Commandments, knowing we are saved and kept by grace alone. (Titus 2:7, Romans 8:12-13, John 14:15, Ephesians 2:8-9)
- To walk together in love and unity, refusing to gossip, praying for one another, helping one another through trials, and encouraging one another in godliness. (Galatians 5:14-26, John 13:34-35, Colossians 3)
- To communicate the gospel in word and deed, prayerfully seeking the salvation of our loved ones and neighbors, educating our children in the Christian faith, and discipling the next generation of believers; (1 Peter 2:9, Matthew 28:19-20)
- To submit to and pray for the leadership, and to humbly and lovingly admonish one another, holding one another accountable in Christ; (Hebrews 13:17-18, Matthew 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 5)
- To contribute cheerfully and sacrificially to the financial support of the church, the aid of those in need, and the evangelism of all peoples. (I Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 9)
- And if we move from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with another biblical local church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. (Hebrews 10:25)
F. Removal of Persons from Membership
Persons will be removed from membership at Morningview as follows:
- 1. By letter of recommendation to another church of like faith and practice.
- 2. By erasure in the event of death.
- 3. By erasure in the event of transfer to a church not of like faith and practice.
- 4. By erasure upon written notice of voluntary resignation with pastoral recommendation and congregational approval.
- 5. By an act of church discipline.
G. Church Discipline
- God disciplines His children within the local church through the means of formative and corrective discipline (Hebrews 12:6). Therefore, the goals of church discipline are to encourage believers in Christ to care for one another, to protect the purity of the church from serious, persistent, unrepentant sin, to win and restore the sinner, to guard the reputation of Jesus Christ in the community, and to bring glory to our great God.
- Formative discipline is the process of bringing people to maturity in Christ through positive instruction and proclamation of the Word, the sacraments, prayer, and fellowship. Corrective discipline is the admonishment or correction of a particular member for sin. This correction most often happens informally and privately among members of the church. However, it may necessarily become a formal process that may include admonition by the Pastors or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, deposition from office, and excommunication by a majority vote of the church body (see Matthew 18: 15–17; 2 Thessalonians 3: 14–15; 1 Timothy 5: 19–20; 1 Corinthians 5: 4–5).
- The purpose of such discipline should be for the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined; for the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them; for the purity of the church as a whole; for the good of our corporate witness to non–Christians; and supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character.
- As each case of formal discipline is unique, a rigid protocol is unwise and untenable. Pastors are charged with the care and protection of the congregation (John 10:11-13; Acts 20:28; Titus 1:10-14) and with the exercise of discernment in matters regarding oversight, therefore, pastoral discretion will determine the specific protocol for each particular case of church discipline. A general outline of the formal process, according to the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and the example of Scripture, including the biblical roles and responsibilities of the parties involved (congregation, pastors body, unrepentant member), is as follows;
- Initial admonishment (not church discipline): Any member found to be in sin, such that the sin cannot be wisely overlooked, should be humbly and lovingly confronted in private by any member of the church who has been sinned against, or who is aware of the presence of such sin.
- Formal discipline initiated: Church discipline will ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed. Any member who persists in unrepentant sin, thereby bringing dishonor on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and so opposing the welfare of the church, shall be subject to the admonition of the Pastors and the discipline of the church. Members under formal discipline may not withdraw from membership, and there may be circumstances in which the pastors prohibit them from participating in membership meetings.
- Except in cases of public sin, preservation of confidentiality shall be maintained in a manner consistent with the pattern found in Matthew 18:15-20. This biblical pattern holds all things in strict confidence initially with the circle of disclosure only expanding and the depth of detail only growing in proportion with escalation or at the pastor’s discretion due to other risks. In the final stages of the process, complete public congregational disclosure may be necessary with the degree of disclosure determined by the discretion of the pastors. In cases of sin that are publicly known, immediate congregational disclosure may be required in order to protect the congregation and the reputation of the church. In addition, for certain cases the pastors may determine it necessary to notify civil magistrates for the sake of protecting the weak (Romans 13:1-7; Proverbs 31:8-9).
- Counsel, instruction, rebuke, encouragement and prayer: Following the initiation of formal discipline, a structured pattern of prayer and pastoral counseling should be put into place for the purpose of ongoing formative and corrective discipline; in which the member may be encouraged, rebuked, and instructed by a pastor, or the pastors body for a reasonable amount of time; until which time the member comes to biblical repentance, or his persisting in unrepentance (or apostasy) becomes evident to the body of Pastors.
- Congregational disclosure: If the wayward member persists in unrepentance, resisting biblical counsel and instruction as evidenced by a rebellious and unteachable spirit, a path of escalation in church discipline consistent with the pattern of Matthew 18 will be followed. With the unanimous consent of the pastors body, the matter will be disclosed to the congregation to enable prayer and loving gospel pursuit. When warranted, a pastoral recommendation for excommunication may be offered concurrently.
- Subsequent to initial congregational disclosure, should the wayward member remain unrepentant, a recommendation for excommunication will be submitted by the pastors to the congregation for consideration. The pastors will disclose the specific sins committed and provide a general framework of the circumstances related to the discipline process. The congregation will affirm the recommendation of excommunication or offer biblical correction to the pastors and disaffirm the recommendation.
- Removal: Every step in the discipline process should be undertaken with great humility, great prayer, and great love in the hope that the errant brother or sister may be restored. Congregational and individual relationships with an excommunicated member should be governed by scripture and conscience. This does not require shunning but may include biblical disassociation (1 Corinthians 5:2, 9-13; Matthew 18:17). The principle of disassociation requires Christians to separate themselves from those who claim to be believers, but persist in known, unrepentant sin – particularly of a gross or public nature. To “disassociate” means to disunite, disconnect, and not keep close company with such a one, except in our prayers and in order to pursue him with the gospel as an unbeliever. In biblical terms, the excommunicated member is viewed and treated as either an enemy or a neighbor, but not as a brother.
- An excommunicated member, as part of his removal, may be prohibited from some or all church functions (on or off campus, including worship), if he is perceived to present a threat, in word or action, to the safety or purity of the congregation.
- The general protocol for the discipline/removal of a pastor is distinct from that of other members, moving more quickly, perhaps even immediately, to congregational notification (1 Timothy 5: 19–20). In order to protect from false accusation, the testimony of two or three witnesses is necessary to establish a charge against a pastor (Deuteronomy19:15, 2 Corinthians 13:1). Discipline must be meted out in those cases where it is confirmed that a pastor willfully transgressed the revealed will of God in matters of faith and practice, without repentance. Depending upon the nature of the sin, a response may involve public rebuke, removal from office and/or excommunication. An immediate public rebuke is not necessarily “excommunication,” nor is it dismissal from office. Public rebuke is meant to produce repentance in the sinning elder (2 Timothy 2:25), and to remind the church and its leadership of the gravity of sin and its consequences.
- The pastors, in harmony with Holy Scripture, will be the sole arbiters of the means of investigation, examination and disclosure of information to the congregation and its members. The congregation holds exclusively the power of excommunication (Matthew 16:19). Members under church discipline, or who are removed as a matter of church discipline, will submit to the determinations of the pastors and congregation and agree to refrain from any form of civil legal action against the Church, its leaders or other members (1 Corinthians 6:1-11) regarding any portion of the discipline process.
Article 5 OFFICERS
The biblical officers of the church are Pastors and Deacons. In addition, our church recognizes Ministers, Directors of Ministry, and the administrative positions of Trustees, Treasurer, Budget Director, and Church Clerk. With the exception of vocational Pastors/ministerial staff, qualified persons must be members of this church for at least 1 year to be eligible for election as officers. All elected leadership (non-vocational) shall serve on the basis of the church year: August 1st through July 31st.
A. Election of Officers
1. General Principles: Substantial prayer, both individual and corporate, should be an integral part of the election process. Nominations should proceed with the support of the Pastors. All candidates for church office shall be treated with grace, kindness, and honesty. The election process shall express a spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration that is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Election Process: The Pastors shall oversee the nomination process and they shall seek the involvement and input of the general membership. Nominations for officers shall be received from the congregation in the first calendar quarter of each year. Those making nominations should make every effort to ensure that candidates are scripturally qualified for the office to which they are being nominated. Once nominations have concluded, the Pastors shall be responsible for the initial evaluation of nominated persons. The Pastors may nominate additional scripturally qualified persons from the congregation to fill these offices. If there are not enough scripturally qualified men available for nomination to the Pastors or Deacon Bodies, then those bodies shall serve with fewer men and the number elected shall be adjusted the following year.
After the initial evaluation of the nominees, the Pastors shall interview and select those men who shall be recommended to serve as non-vocational Pastors and Deacons. They shall also interview and select those who shall be recommended to serve as Trustees, Treasurer, Budget Director, and Church Clerk. The Pastors will then compile and submit to the congregation a complete list of recommended officers for approval in the quarterly business meeting held in July.
Each candidate will be voted on individually by the congregation through the use of written ballot. To be elected, each candidate must receive a 75% vote of affirmation. Abstentions will not be considered as votes cast. In the event one or more individuals are not affirmed for the Pastors or Deacon Bodies, then the remaining men may serve and the number to be elected the following year may be adjusted. Those men requiring ordination (whether to the Pastors or Deacon Bodies) shall then be ordained before the commencement of their term of service. In the event that candidates for Trustees, Treasurer, Budget Director, or Church Clerk are not affirmed, the Pastors shall submit alternates for affirmation as soon as possible.
Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should first follow Matthew 18. If unresolved, they should express such concern to the Pastors. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the Pastors as far in advance as possible prior to the relevant business meeting.
1. Definition of Office: The New Testament uses three distinctive Greek terms to refer synonymously to the same office of spiritual leadership in the church: Episkopas, translated as “Overseer” or “Bishop,” Poimaino, translated as “Shepherd” or “Pastor,” and Presbuteros, translated as “Elder.” Passages where the terms are used interchangeably include Acts 20:17-28, Eph 4:11-12, 1 Pet 5:1-2, and Titus 1:5-9. Elder is the most common term used out of this group of words and the scriptural record most frequently refers to a plurality of Elders in each local church (passages include Acts 11:30, 14:23, 15:2, 16:4, 20:17-18, 21:18, Phil 1:1, 1 Tim 4:14, 5:17, 5:19-20, Titus 1:5, James 5:14, 1 Peter 5:1-3). In our denominational and cultural context, the term “Pastor” has come to be used most frequently as a designation for this office, especially for vocational Elders who preach and/or teach and exercise spiritual leadership. Though the term “Pastor” has been retained here as a title for this office, it is important to understand that, according to Scripture, every Elder is a Pastor and every Pastor is an Elder, whether vocational or lay.
2. Qualifications and Number: The Pastors Body shall be composed of men, both Lay Pastors (those not in regular pay of the church) and Vocational Pastors (those who are in regular pay of the church). These men must meet the qualifications for the office of Pastor set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4. These men must also be in agreement with the church’s statement(s) of faith and ordained according to the Baptist tradition. Preferably, the Pastors Body shall be composed of not less than 5 men, with the number of Pastors at any time determined by the needs of the ministry and by the scriptural call and qualification of men in the church. It is also preferable that Lay Pastors outnumber vocational Pastors on the Pastors Body. The Pastors shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function.
3. Responsibilities: Subject to the will of the congregation, the Pastors shall exercise leadership over the spiritual needs of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6: 1–6 and 1 Peter 5: 1–4, the Pastors shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock. Pastors shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, administrate the employment of all paid staff members, oversee the work of the Deacons and appointed church agents 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. As the Pastors make decisions on behalf of the church body, unanimity under the leadership of the Spirit and the Word is preferable. The Pastors are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions. The Pastors shall meet regularly.
4. Tenure: Vocational Pastors shall serve on the Pastors Body for an indefinite period of time. Lay Pastors shall be elected by the membership of the church to three year terms. The terms of the Lay Pastors shall be staggered so that 1/3 of the Lay Pastors are elected each year. No Lay Pastor shall hold the office of Deacon during his tenure.
5. Removal and/or Replacement: A Pastor’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that a Pastor should be dismissed should express such concern to the Pastors Body and, if necessary, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and I Timothy 5:17–21. Any of the Pastors may be dismissed by a 2/3 vote of the members at any business meeting of the church, provided that at least 2 weeks written notice of such motion has been provided to the congregation. If a vacant Lay Pastor office must be filled mid-term, then the Pastors will locate, interview, and recommend to the congregation a scripturally qualified individual (Article 5, section B, subsection 2) according to the procedures outlined in Article 5, section A. If affirmed by the church, the newly elected Lay Pastor will serve out the unexpired term and shall be eligible for reelection immediately upon completion of the term.
The Senior Pastor
1. Qualifications: The Senior Pastor must meet the qualifications for Pastors as specified in Article 5, section B, subsection 2. As a vocational Pastor in the main leadership role, he will serve on the Pastors Body as first among equals. His position and leadership are to be highly regarded, but his authority and vote within the body will be of the same weight as that of any other Pastor.
2. Responsibilities: The Senior Pastor shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching, teaching, and leadership. He shall preach on the Lord’s Day, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to his office (Article 5, section B, subsection 2).
3. Senior Pastor Absence: In the absence or incapacity of the Senior Pastor, the Pastors shall assume responsibility for his duties, including, but not limited to, the filling of the pulpit. Any of these duties may be delegated. It is preferable that the Pastors keep another qualified vocational Pastor/Preacher on the church staff to supplement the Senior Pastor’s preaching/teaching ministry and to assume responsibility for the pulpit ministry in his absence.
4. Calling of the Senior Pastor: The Pastors, as duly elected and ordained officers of the congregation, shall bear the responsibility for bringing a qualified Senior Pastor candidate to the congregation for consideration. They shall first consider qualified individuals from within the church. In the event that a suitably qualified Senior Pastor is not already on the Pastors Body or present within the congregation, the Pastors shall receive nominations from the congregation and assemble a Senior Pastor Search Committee. Once assembled, the Pastors will recommend the Search Committee to the congregation for a vote of affirmation. A 2/3 majority vote by paper ballot (voting on each individual) is required to establish the committee.
Given the New Testament’s teaching and example on the role of Pastors in the church (Acts 15, 16, 20, 21; 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; 1 & 2 Peter), it is preferable that the Senior Pastor Search Committee be composed entirely of Pastors. If the Pastors determine (according to biblical counsel, godly wisdom, and congregational input) that the search committee should include non-Pastors, then Pastors shall still compose a majority of the committee. Under the authority of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and its leaders, the congregation still bears the final responsibility of approving any candidate for church office; therefore, the search committee shall make every effort to be mindful of the congregation’s needs and value the insight of other godly leaders within the congregation, even including them in other aspects of the search process when prudent.
Once the search committee has settled on a suitably qualified candidate (See Article 5, section B, subsection 2), they shall present him for consideration to the Deacons and Pastors. If approved by those leadership bodies (unanimity is desirable), the Pastors shall then present the candidate to the congregation for consideration. The congregation shall be given time to examine the candidate, his family, his giftedness (preaching gifts), and his qualifications prior to election to the office of Senior Pastor. The Pastors shall then convene a special called business meeting for the purpose of either disqualifying the candidate from consideration or for nominating the candidate for election to the office of Senior Pastor. Notice of this meeting shall be given from the pulpit at least one Sunday preceding the meeting, which shall take place on Sunday. The election shall be by paper ballot. At least 75% of the votes cast of the members present shall be necessary for the election of the new Senior Pastor.
5. Removal of the Senior Pastor: Removal of the Senior Pastor shall follow the same guidelines already established for the removal of Pastors in Article 5, section B, subsection 5.
D. Church Staff
1. Ministerial Staff: All ministerial staff members shall be recommended to the church by the Pastors and called by a 75% vote of the members present in a regular or called business meeting designated for that purpose. The voting shall be by paper ballot. Unless otherwise stated at the time of the call, the call shall be for an indefinite period. The Pastors, at their own discretion, may form a search committee for vocational ministry staff if they deem it necessary or desirable. The composition of the committee is the discretion of the Pastors, but if a committee is formed, it must be approved by a majority vote of the congregation. The relationship between the church and ministerial staff members may be terminated at any time by the resignation of the staff member or by a 2/3 majority vote of those present at any regular or called business meeting designated for that purpose, provided at least two weeks written notice has been given to the congregation (As in Article 5, section B, subsection 5). Those qualified according to Article 5, section B, subsection 2 shall carry the title “Pastor,” and shall be a part of the Pastors Body. Those who are not Pastors shall carry the title “Minister” or “Director of Ministry” and shall not serve on the Pastors Body.
2. Other Church Staff: All other church staff (Including, but not limited to, ministerial interims, volunteer ministry directors, secretaries, administrators, ministry assistants, interns, and musicians) shall serve at the discretion of the Pastors, provided the church has voted to establish the position and has budgeted for it.
1. Definition of Office: The New Testament uses the Greek word Diakonos, translated as “Deacon,” as the designation for those who are set apart by the church to minister to the temporal needs of the body. The name for this office derives from the Greek verb Diakoneo which means “to serve,” which is the responsibility entrusted to the men who were first called to this office in Acts 6:1-7. Thus, these men lead by “serving” the immediate practical needs of the body of Christ, thereby enabling the Pastors to remain devoted to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
2. Qualifications and Number: The Deacon Body shall be composed of men who meet the qualifications for the office of Deacon set forth in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-7. These men must also be in agreement with the church’s statement(s) of faith and ordained according to the Baptist tradition. Preferably, the Deacon Body shall be composed of not less than 7 men, with the number of Deacons at any time determined by the needs of the congregation and by the scriptural call and qualification of men in the church. The Deacon Body shall serve under the leadership of the Pastors.
3. Responsibilities: Subject to the will of the congregation, Deacons shall care for the temporal needs of members, assist the Pastors in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the Word, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration. Their responsibilities may include administering a fund to assist the poor and needy, providing aid in times of crisis or distress, overseeing the greeting and welcoming ministries of the church, assisting in administering the ordinances of the Gospel, assisting at fellowship gatherings of the church, caring for and maintaining the church properties, and administering the business affairs of the church that pertain to its material assets. This final responsibility includes working with the Treasurer and Budget Director to present to the Pastors and the congregation the annual church budget and providing guidance and recommendations for the Financial Management Team (See Article 6, section B.2). If neither the Treasurer or Budget Director are active deacons, the Chairman of Deacons shall appoint an active deacon to serve on the Financial Management Team. The Deacons shall meet regularly.
4. Tenure: Deacons shall be elected by the membership of the church to three year terms according to the process outlined in Article 5, section A. The terms of Deacons shall be staggered so that 1/3 of the Deacons are elected each year.
5. Removal and/or Replacement: A Deacon’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. If any member has anything against a Deacon, they should first go to him in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17. Any two members with reason to believe that a Deacon should be dismissed should then express such concern to the Pastors. Any Deacon may be dismissed by a 2/3 vote of the members at any business meeting of the church, provided that at least 2 weeks written notice of such motion has been provided to the congregation. If a vacant Deacon office must be filled mid-term, then the Pastors will locate, interview, and recommend to the congregation a scripturally qualified individual (Article 5, section E, subsection 2) according to the procedures outlined in Article 5, section A. If affirmed by the church, the newly elected Deacon will serve out the unexpired term and shall be eligible for reelection immediately upon completion of the term.
F. Other Church Officers
1. Trustees: The church shall elect Trustees (According to Article 5, section A) on a staggered basis for a term of three years–one trustee being elected each year. A Trustee shall not be eligible for re-election for one year following the completion of a full three-year term. The Trustees shall promptly execute all deeds, mortgages, or other conveyances, which are properly voted and/or ordered by the church. At least once every five years, the Trustees shall nominate to the Deacons for approval an audit committee for the purpose of determining the level of assurance and services needed, procuring an independent CPA firm to perform the engagement, being responsible to follow up on all report findings and recommendations, and reporting to the church the results in summary form as deemed necessary. The Trustees shall be informed of the results by the audit committee prior to the church meeting and be responsible to monitor the progress of any services procured. The church must budget for this expenditure every five years. Additionally, the Trustees shall determine annually that the church is adequately insured against all reasonable insurable losses and shall report their findings to the Deacons.
2. Treasurer: The Treasurer shall be elected for a period of one year (According to Article 5, section A). The Treasurer must currently be or must have been a Pastor or Deacon at Morningview. The Treasurer is responsible for overseeing the receipts and disbursements, as well as the safekeeping, of all church financial resources. The Treasurer shall insure that adequate records are maintained and that monthly and annual financial reports are available to the church. The Treasurer shall serve along side the Budget Director to oversee expenditures and to provide input in the development of the annual church budget.
3. Budget Director: The Budget Director shall be elected for a period of one year (According to Article 5, section A). The Budget Director must currently be or must have been a Pastor or Deacon at Morningview.. The Budget Director shall serve along side the Treasurer and shall be responsible for reviewing the receipt and disbursement of all church funds to insure that such transactions are substantially in accordance with the church budget or as voted/ordered by the church. The Budget Director shall work with the Deacons to establish the process for developing the annual church budget and for initiating that process in January. The Budget Director shall annually select a budget committee. The Budget Director shall serve as the chairman of the budget committee. A simple majority vote of affirmation by the Deacons shall constitute the budget committee. The Budget Director shall be responsible for presenting the church budget to the Deacons and Pastors for church approval in March of each year. He shall also submit monthly and quarterly financial reports to the Pastors, the Deacons, and the church.
4. Clerk: The Church Clerk shall be elected from among the members for a period of one year, shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings of all church business meetings, and see that all duties commonly associated with this office are executed.
5. Organizational Officers and Teachers: All officers and teachers of church organizations shall be nominated by the Pastors for a period of one year and affirmed by majority vote of the church at a regular business meeting or a called meeting in July of each church year.
Article 6 COMMITTEES/MINISTRY TEAMS, AND FUNCTIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES
A. Establishment of Committees/Teams
Committees or Ministry Teams may be created as the Pastors, the Deacons, or the church deems necessary. Unless otherwise stated, all committees or teams are to be considered select groups (established for a specific and/or temporary purpose(s) or task(s)) created for the greater good and function of the church body. Formation of any new committee or team is the responsibility of the Pastors and/or Deacons and must be approved by the Pastors. If the committee’s/team’s purpose significantly impacts the function and/or direction of the church, then the Pastors shall present a recommendation to the church for approval of the new committee. A committee/team established by congregational vote can only be dissolved by congregational vote. Otherwise, such groups serve at the discretion of the Pastors and/or Deacons.
Once a new committee or team is approved by the congregation, the Pastors have the responsibility to structure the committee/team, to appoint persons to service on the committee/team, and to determine whether they or the Deacons will have oversight of the committee/team. Terms of service for the members of committees/teams shall be based on the church year: August 1 through July 31. Committees/teams shall provide reports to the congregation at regularly scheduled business meetings when deemed necessary by the Pastors and/or Deacons.
B. Functional Responsibilities
1. Personnel: The Pastors shall administrate and exercise oversight of all church employees. Their work includes such areas as determining staff needs, employment, salaries, benefits, other compensation, policies, job descriptions, personnel services, and legal requirements (with congregational approval, when necessary). When the Pastors must directly discuss the employment details of a vocational pastor, the pastor being discussed may be asked to recuse himself from the Pastor’s meeting. Prior to January 1st of each year, the Pastors shall approve the housing allowances for the ministerial staff in accordance with IRS regulations. The Pastors may delegate responsibilities to non-Pastors as they deem necessary.
2. Budget: The Budget Director, together with the Treasurer, the Deacons and the Budget Committee (Article 5, section F, subsection 3), shall develop and recommend a unified church budget to the Pastors and to the church in March of each church year. They shall advise and recommend in the administration of the financial gifts of church members and others. The Financial Management Team consists of the Treasurer, Budget Director, and one active deacon (if necessary), with the assistance of the Financial Administrator (church employee) as they deem appropriate. They shall be responsible for the day-to-day management of the church’s financial matters utilizing generally accepted non-profit accounting principles and sound principles of financial management. Their responsibilities include, but are not limited to, cash flow management, oversight of previously budgeted expenditures, recommending budget changes to the deacon body, managing on behalf of the Trustees the Church’s insurance programs, and management of the Church’s additional properties. They shall prepare and present to the church all required reports regarding the financial affairs of the church.
When the Budget is presented to the congregation, it shall be discussed in a special called business meeting on Sunday evening and it will be voted upon, without discussion, in another special called business meeting on a subsequent Sunday morning. Members shall be given a minimum of one week to review the budget prior to the meeting for discussion. The new budget year shall begin on April 1 of every church year.
During the budget year, the Pastors and the Deacons shall be authorized to amend the budget by an amount not to exceed an increase of 2% of the total budget, without a vote of the membership. The membership shall be notified of said amendment no later than the next regular scheduled business meeting.
All designated funds must be approved in advance of contribution and are under the control of the church. It shall be the church’s intent to have no restricted funds. If a designation is not an approved fund, the church will not accept the gift, but will instead refund it to the giver. Leftover funds from a project revert back to the general fund or similar designated fund at the discretion of the church. A designation is considered a request on the part of the donor, and the church will strive to honor the donor’s request, but the church is not legally bound by it. If a redirection of designated funds is necessary, the church will attempt to obtain the donor’s approval to redirect the funds if the donor is a member in good standing at that time. A designated offering to a budget line is the first money spent and does not carry over to future years. Love offerings may be taken for specific persons in need, but the church reserves the final right to monitor the need and rightly disburse the offering. Designated offerings may not be for specific persons; the only exception to this rule is mission trips. Mission trip gifts are tax deductible as long as the trip does not include a significant amount of personal pleasure or vacation. If an intended recipient does not go, the gifts given will benefit others going or will revert to other mission funds or the general fund.
3. Nominating: All nominations to leadership shall be completed and/or administrated by the Pastors and presented by them to the congregation for affirmation in July of each year (see Article 5, sections A and F; and Article 6, section A). The Pastors shall seek the input and involvement of other church leadership as necessary for the nominating process.
Article 7 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
A. Business Meetings
There shall be a regular business meeting on the third Sunday of January, April, July, and October in conjunction with the Sunday evening service. A temporary change may be effected by notifying the church no later than the Sunday preceding the Sunday meeting.
When needed, Membership Business Meeting will be held in conjunction with the Sunday morning worship service on the third or fourth Sunday of each month. This meeting is limited to the express purpose of approving membership changes and no other business may be considered. The Senior Pastor, or any individual designated by the Pastors, shall serve as Moderator of this meeting. The vote to approve or disapprove membership matters shall constitute adjournment. A temporary change may be effected by notifying the church no later than the Sunday preceding the Sunday meeting. When the regular business meeting and the membership meeting fall on the same calendar date, the membership meeting shall be conducted in the evening service as a part of the regular business meeting.
Special business meetings may be held at any time provided the church is given at least three days notice by announcement at any regular worship service or by mailed notice which shall be mailed at least five days prior to the meeting.
During the first regularly scheduled business meeting each year, the Senior Pastor shall present to the congregation for approval, an individual to serve as Church Parliamentarian. This person shall serve as the Parliamentarian in all church business meetings in accordance with this Article 7, Section A. To be eligible to be approved as Parliamentarian, an individual shall have served as an active Pastor or Deacon of Morningview Baptist Church, possess a thorough understanding of these Bylaws and possess a basic understanding of Robert’s Rules of Order. The Parliamentarian may serve multiple, consecutive terms and shall not be precluded from serving in any other position. The Parliamentarian shall serve until a successor is approved by the congregation. In the event of a pastoral absence, the Pastors shall be responsible for presenting a name to the congregation for approval.
The Senior Pastor shall have the option to serve as a moderator for all business meetings. However, prior to each business meeting, the Senior Pastor may decide to allow the Chairman of the Pastors Body or the Parliamentarian to serve as the moderator for a business meeting. In the event all three are absent or choose not to serve, an individual designated by the Chairman of the Pastors Body shall serve as acting moderator. If no moderator is present, an acting moderator shall be elected for the day by the members assembled. An individual shall have served as an active Pastor or Deacon of Morningview Baptist Church within the past 24 months to be eligible to be designated or elected as acting moderator.
The members present and voting shall constitute a quorum at any regular scheduled business meeting. All votes consisting of simple majority are valid, except where these by-laws specify otherwise. A number which represents ten percent (10%) of the then current Resident Membership shall constitute a quorum at any special called business meeting. All business meetings must be held on church property. Except where they are in conflict with these bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern on all matters of procedure. Only church members shall have the privilege of voting on the transaction of church business.
B. Dispute Resolution
Believing that 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, I Corinthians 6:1–8), the church shall require its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically based principles, without reliance on the secular courts. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles and the avoidance of suits of law or equity to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or pagan and whether individuals or corporate entities. The Pastors may adopt policies and procedures to effect these requirements and aspirations as deemed necessary.
In the event of a division of this church, from which may God in His mercy save us, the property of this church shall belong to that group of such division as represents the largest portion of the church membership before recognizing a division therein provided such group is loyal to these by-laws and statements of faith; otherwise it shall belong to the group remaining loyal to these by-laws and statements of faith though it may not be the largest group in such division. Should any controversy arise as to whether such loyalty exists, the question shall be submitted to an impartial third party selected by the Pastors, and their decision shall be final.
C. Amendments to the By-Laws
These by-laws may be amended at any regular business meeting by a 2/3 vote of the members present and voting, provided the proposed amendment has been presented in writing and read at the previous regular business meeting.
Adopted November 15, 1995
Amended Oct 2000
Amended April 2004
Amended July 2005
Amended January 28, 2007
Amended April 19, 2009
Amended October 22, 2017