CONSTITUTION AND DOCTRINAL STATEMENT OF FRIENDSHIP COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH
(Adopted 4 December 2011; Amendments: 19 May 2013, 14 December 2014 and 4 December 2016)
Article I: Name
The name of this Church shall be Friendship Community Baptist Church.
Article II: Purpose
Our Church exists to worship and serve God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, to bring people from no faith in Christ to full obedient faith in Christ (discipleship), to provide fellowship among believers, and to observe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Article III: Doctrinal Statement
The Bible is the verbally-inspired inerrant Word of God, the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice;
In one God, eternally existing in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Spirit;
In the virgin birth, sinless perfection, bodily resurrection and ascension into heaven of Jesus Christ, and in His present life there for us as High Priest and Advocate;
Mankind was created in the image of God, but disobeyed God, and thereby incurred spiritual separation from God and physical death as a consequence; and that everyone born in sin and is a sinner by nature and practice;
The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins as a substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood;
In the bodily resurrection of the just and unjust, the everlasting blessedness of the saved, and everlasting punishment of the lost;
The Christian is to lead a separated life; the grace of God is sufficient for the maintenance of a godly walk and that Christ and not the law is the believer’s rule of life and that
God created people as male or female, and His standard is that marriage exists solely between one man and one woman; He forbids any other type of human relationship involving intimate sexual activity or any attempt to alter gender by surgery or appearance.
In the personal pretribulational, premillennial and imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and that
The Holy Spirit gives to every believer one or more spiritual gifts that are intended to be used for building up the Church.
Article IV: Membership
Section 1: Qualifications
The membership of this Church shall consist of persons who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, have expressed by immersion their spiritual relation with His death and resurrection in the New Testament ordinance of baptism, and who willingly accept the provisions of this Constitution. Those who have made such profession, and confirmed it to the satisfaction of the elders, and upon their recommendation and vote of the Church, may enter membership.
Section 2: Active and Inactive Registers
Members are expected to be faithful in all duties essential to the Christian life; and to attend faithfully the services of this Church, giving regularly to, and sharing in, its support and causes. The words faithfully, faithful, and active in this Article shall be demonstrated by consistent attendance, interest in fellowship, and participation in the programs of this Church.
The names of active members will be recorded on the active register of the Church.
Names of the following members will be carried on an inactive register: invalids; members temporarily located away from this area for more than one year; and those showing indifference through irregular attendance and support of the Church for six months. Members on the inactive register shall not be included in making reports and do not have the privilege of voting or holding office.
Members transferred to the inactive register due to irregular attendance and support of the Church should be notified in writing as practicable. When appropriate, the elders shall seek to restore inactive members to active membership. When these members have been on the inactive register for six months, and show no desire to return to active membership, they shall be dropped from Church membership (after notification, if practicable).
Members on the inactive register because they are invalids or temporarily located away from this area may be maintained on the inactive register as members on a case-by-case basis by the elders until they have the opportunity to resume active membership.
Membership shall be terminated automatically by the Church Clerk when a member unites in membership with another church, if requested by the member (preferably in writing) or upon the decease of the member.
Section 3: Duties and Rights
Members who are in active and regular standing, and at least 18 years of age, may hold office and committee and board membership, and act and vote in Church transactions.
An individual may choose to retain active membership in another church instead of this one if residing in this area temporarily; examples of those who might be eligible for this exception are missionaries, students, and members of the armed forces. Such persons may be authorized by the elders to serve in the Church on a temporary basis, provided the individual otherwise meets the qualifications for membership of this Church.
Section 4: Church Discipline and Dismissal
If a member becomes an offense to the Church due to immoral or un-Christian conduct, the Church may terminate the membership. The elders may terminate the membership of a person who no longer agrees with the Church doctrinally. Termination of membership shall, as practicable, be carried out only after faithful efforts to bring the member to repentance or to resolve the doctrinal differences. The member shall be notified in writing of such termination if possible.
If practicable, when a person’s membership has been terminated as a consequence of conduct or doctrinal differences, the member shall be notified in writing.
A person whose membership has been terminated due to immoral or un-Christian conduct, or due to doctrinal differences may, upon evidence of repentance and change, as appropriate, and upon recommendation of the elders, be restored to membership by the Church.
The membership registers shall be updated by the Church Clerk at the beginning of each Church year as instructed by the elders, and may be updated at other times as appropriate.
Section 5: Confidentiality
The elders shall follow Biblical principles in leading persons to faith in Christ, counseling and assisting people, and carrying out matters of Church discipline. In so doing they shall normally hold in confidence any private or sensitive information they receive, or information shared in confidence; however, such information may be shared in circumstances such as the following:
Prayers, advice or assistance of other elders is deemed necessary or appropriate;
Intervention of others seems necessary for the sake of someone’s safety, or to provide assistance that cannot be provided within the Church;
Sharing information is necessary in carrying out Biblical Church discipline; or
Disclosure is legally required.
Article V: Meetings
Section 1: The Fiscal Year
The fiscal year shall close the last day of December.
Section 2: Business Meetings
The elders will schedule a Church business meeting early in the calendar year to propose the vision and objectives for the year, and will schedule a meeting later in the year to propose a Church budget and to recommend candidates for election as Church officers for the following year.
Special business meetings shall normally be called by the elders based on an actual or apparent need for the Church to conduct business. The Church may, during any Church business meeting, schedule a special meeting. In extraordinary circumstances, the majority of active members may call a meeting. At least one week of notice shall be given of a special business meeting during a Sunday morning worship service and in writing by mail, email or other suitable means.
Lacking the Moderator, the Chairman of the elders may act as Moderator or designate someone to serve as Moderator.
A quorum shall consist of a minimum of 10% of the voting membership.
Members on the active register who are at least 18 years of age shall be allowed to vote on Church business.
Voting on candidates for membership may be done at any business meeting or worship service. However, no other business may be voted upon during a worship service.
All regular or special business meetings shall be generally conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Article VI: Church Officers
Section 1: Elected Officers
The general officers elected by the Church shall include Pastor(s), Elders, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, Church Clerk, and Moderator. The elders shall establish and recruit persons to serve in other offices as warranted by Church activities and needs, or as directed by the Church.
All Church officers shall strive to meet high Biblical standards for leadership or service, support the full program of the Church, and shall have been Church members for at least six months before taking office. Church leaders shall lead by example in spiritual maturity, by exhortation, and as servants.
Any officer who refuses to submit to the will and authority of the Church will be immediately and automatically removed from office without need for further action by the Church.
Section 2: Pastor(s)
The senior pastor shall be an elder who has been ordained by a Baptist church or a church of like faith.
The primary responsibility of the senior pastor is the ministry of the Word of God and prayer. A senior pastor shall be chosen and called by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. Announcements shall be given during at least two consecutive Sunday morning worship services, and also in writing by mail, email or other suitable means preceding the business meeting designated to consider calling the senior pastor.
The elders shall seek out and recommend as Pastor, a minister of the Gospel whose Christian character is in accord with New Testament standards. The elders shall bring to consideration of the Church only one candidate at a time. Fifty percent of the voting membership shall form a quorum for election of a Pastor, and an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members present shall be necessary for a call. The Pastor, thus called, shall serve as an elder until the relationship is terminated.
Unless otherwise mutually agreed, with both the Pastor and the Church seeking to follow the will of God and leadership of the Holy Spirit, at least 30-days’ notice of termination shall be given.
Should it be felt that the Pastor’s relationship with the Church is of such a nature as to impede its spiritual progress, the Church may vote to serve him a 30-day notice of dismissal. In case of serious charges against the Pastor, such as drinking, immorality, or departure from the doctrinal position of the Church, the Church may vote the Pastor’s immediate dismissal, if after due hearing, he is deemed guilty of such charge. The vote may be taken at any regular or called business meeting, when fifty percent of the active Church membership shall constitute a quorum, and an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present will be required.
Section 3: Associate Pastor(s)
Associate pastor(s) may be called by the Church whenever a need exists. The elders shall seek out and recommend an associate pastor whose Christian character is in accord with New Testament standards. Procedures for calling by the Church, or for termination, of an associate pastor shall be the same as applicable for the senior pastor.
Section 4: Elders
There shall be an active elder council serving at all times.
New Testament qualifications and characteristics given in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 shall apply for the elders.
Procedures for calling by the Church, or for termination, of elders shall be the same as applicable for the senior pastor.
Each year, the elders shall nominate from among the current elders a council of elders to serve the needs of the Church. The elder council shall be approved by the church annually with the other officers of the church. The Senior Pastor serves as an elder, and other staff may be considered to serve as elders on a case-by-case basis, provided lay elders always outnumber staff elders on the elder council. Each year, the elders shall choose from among the elder council a Chairman and an Elder of Finance. The Chairman will call a meeting at least once each quarter.
Primary elder responsibilities include: caring for the church members, overseeing the teaching and beliefs of the church, leading the church to make disciples and protecting the church from heresy, legal, and other threats.
Section 5: Corporate Officers
Friendship Community Baptist Church is incorporated under the laws of the State of Maryland.
The Officers of the Corporation shall be: Pastor as President of the Corporation, the Chairman of elders as Vice President, and the Elder of Finance as Secretary/Treasurer.
The Officers of the Corporation shall hold in trust the real property of the Church, but shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any such property without specific authorizing vote of the Church. Any titles to properties of the Church shall be in the name of Friendship Community Baptist Church; titles shall not be in the names of individual officers of the Church. The Officers of the Corporation shall represent the Church in legal matters relating to the Church.
The Officers of the Corporation shall be at least 18 years of age before assuming office.
The establishment and selection of the Officers of the Corporation, and assignment of their duties, shall comply with pertinent laws of the State of Maryland.
Section 6: Church Clerk
The Clerk shall be elected annually and shall keep a record of the proceedings of the Church, have charge of all records and all legal papers, keep a register of all members, and perform such other duties as prescribed by the Church.
Section 7: Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be elected annually and charged with receipt, deposit and disbursement of all Church monies.
An Assistant Treasurer shall be elected to assist the Treasurer.
Disbursement of Church monies shall be within fiscal constraints as outlined within the budget approved by the congregation, or as otherwise authorized by the elders as discussed in Article VII below.
The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer will, upon request, support the elders with financial accounting information the Board needs to carry out its duties.
Article VII: Deacons and Deaconesses
The Bible and FCBC consider deacons to be servant leaders. As such, the elders shall establish, recruit and remove persons to serve as deacons and deaconesses as warranted by Church activities and needs, or as directed by the Church. Both men and women can serve as deacons/deaconesses, provided they serve in roles consistent with the Church’s understanding regarding the Biblical roles of women in the church. Deacons and deaconesses shall meet the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. Once recruited, the elders shall present deacon candidates to the Church for installation.
Article VIII: Employees and Staff Members
Any paid permanent employees and staff members shall be employed by a vote of the Church upon recommendation to the Church by the elders.
Article IX: Financial Procedures
The elders will ensure that appropriate written guidelines are in place and followed by ushers, counters and other persons involved with handling money on behalf of the Church.
Disbursements of Church monies shall be within the fiscal constraints outlined within the budget approved by the congregation except that, for genuine needs and subject to availability of funds and disclosure to the Church the next appropriate business meeting, and in total annual amounts of such changes that do not exceed one percent of the total budget approved by the congregation, the elders may amend the approved budget during the fiscal year by transfers among or additions to items in the budget approved by the congregation.
At the beginning of each fiscal year, or at any other time as necessary, the elders shall designate a person or persons to conduct an audit or review of the Treasurer’s records and Church financial procedures. This audit or review shall be conducted in accordance with accepted business practices, and a written report of findings shall be provided to the Church.
Article X: Disposition of Church Property
If the time should ever come that Friendship Community Baptist Church discontinues active service as a Baptist Church, all property of the organization shall be liquidated and the proceeds shall be distributed proportionately to the various mission organizations supported by the Church at that time. This money shall be held in trust by the missions organization to provide monthly support for the missionary designated until such funds shall be expended.
Article XI: Amendments
This Constitution may be amended at any regular or called business meeting by a two-thirds vote of the members present, provided that the necessary quorum of nine members or ten percent of the membership, whichever is greater, is present, and provided further that announcement of such proposed amendment(s) shall have been made during at least two consecutive Sunday morning worship services, and also in writing by mail, email or other suitable means.
Article XII: Adoption of Constitution
This Constitution, adopted on December 4, 2011 and amended on 19 May 2013, 14 December 2014 and 4 December 2016, supersedes and cancels all previous Constitutions and Amendments thereto.