Article I – Name
Article II – Objectives of the Church
Article III – Statement of Faith
Article IV – Relationships
Article V – Church Covenant
Article I – Membership
Article II – Church Officers
Article III – Committees
Article IV – Program Organizations
Article V – Ordinances
Article VI – Church Meetings
Article VII – Amendments
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
SONRISE BAPTIST CHURCH OF BONNE TERRE
BONNE TERRE, MISSOURI
We constitute ourselves a Missouri Baptist Convention and a Southern Baptist Convention Church and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith, and to govern the body herein named 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 relation to other churches of the same faith.
The name of this congregation shall be the Sonrise Baptist Church of Bonne Terre, Bonne Terre, Missouri.
To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, community, and throughout the world.
To be a worshiping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person, and responding in obedience to His leadership.
To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
To help people experience a growing knowledge of God and man.
To be a church that ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and works in Jesus’ name.
To be a church whose purpose is to be Christ like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the Lordship of Christ.
Statement of Faith
Section 1. Policy. Its government is 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 the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches.
Section 2. Doctrine. It receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice. The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworty. It reveals the principles by which God judges us and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the
focus of divine revelation. Our basic position on doctrine is in agreement with “The Baptist Faith and Message” adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on June 14, 2000.
This church will cooperate with, and support, an association and the Missouri Baptist Convention affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention as long as such cooperation is not contradictory to the objectives of the church.
All internal groups, created and empowered by the church, shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirit; to sustain its worship ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings; faithful in our engagement; and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in or efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian 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 ourselves 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.
Section 1. General. This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.
Section 2. Candidacy. Any person may offer himself or herself as a candidate for membership in this church by any of the following ways.
A. By Baptism: Upon profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
B. By Letter: By promise of a letter of recommendation from another church of like faith and order.
C. By Statement: Any person may be received who gives a satisfactory statement of his salvation experience and scriptural baptism by immersion, and whose doctrinal belief is in essential accord with this church. Candidates for membership by experience or statement shall be recommended for membership by the Pastor and Chairman of Deacons after they have counseled with the candidate.
D. By Restoration: Persons whose names have been removed from the membership roll may be restored to membership if the facts and circumstances justify in the judgment of the Pastor and Deacons and they so recommend.
E. By Watchcare: Any temporary resident may request “Watchcare” status. This is not full membership status since their actual membership is not transferred from their home church, but they are allowed all the rights and privileges of membership expected, except that of voting in business meetings.
Any candidates for church membership shall be presented at a regularly scheduled church meeting or presented as an applicant for church membership to be acted on in a later meeting if there is a need for counseling.
Section 3. New Member Orientation. New church members will be expected to participate in the church’s new member orientation class, when offered.
Section 4. Voting Rights of Members. Every member of this church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in business session, provided the member is present.
Upon recommendations of committee, deacons, or trustees and approval of 2/3 majority of church, an age requirement of twelve (12) years or older of church members present shall be required for passage of recommendations.
Section 5. Termination of Membership. Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
B. Dismission to another Baptist Church.
C. Erasure upon becoming affiliated with a church of another faith or denomination, after an effort to contact the member.
D. By members request.
E. Exclusion by action of this church by 2/3 majority vote.*
*Should a member become an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct, or by persistent breach of his covenant vows, or non-support of the church, the church may terminate his membership by a 2/3 vote, but only after due notice, and after faithful efforts to bring such member to repentance and amendment. Church discipline is to be used with love as a means to restore fellowship with God and fellow Christians.
All positions established and filled by the church shall be members of this church of good repute, regular attendance, in support of the church programs, and shall be elected or approved by the church. A member may hold more than one position if so elected, unless otherwise indicated below.
A. Calling: A pastor is to be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for the purpose of which sufficient notice shall be given. A Pastor Search Committee consisting of five (5) members shall be recommended by the church council, and elected by the church, to seek out a suitable pastor.
Their recommendation will constitute a nomination, though any member has the privilege of making other recommendations, but must be presented to the pastor search committee for consideration. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one man at a time. Only men of Southern Baptist affiliation shall be considered, who meet the qualifications as stated in the Bible in I Timothy 3: 1-7.
Election shall be by secret ballot. An affirmative vote of ¾ of those present is necessary for a call. He shall be called for an indefinite period of time.
B. Duties: The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament Church. The pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff.
The pastor shall be in charge of the welfare and overseeing of the church. He shall preside at all meetings at (or of) the church. He shall preach the gospel, administer the ordinances, promote the spiritual interest of the church, and he shall be a member of ex-officio of all boards and committees of the church and its auxiliary organizations.
The pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such he works with the deacons and church staff to:
lead the church in the achievement of its mission; proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; and care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
C. Termination: A pastor’s services may be terminated by the church at any time by vote of 2/3 of the resident active members present in a business meeting, if said business meeting has been called and notice thereof given in the same manner as for calling a pastor.
The pastor may resign by giving two (2) weeks notice to the church in writing at any time, stating that he intends to terminate his labors with the church.
2. Church Staff
This church shall call or employ such staff members as the church shall need. A job description shall be written by the personnel committee and approval by church action when the need for staff members is determined. Vocational staff members other than the pastor shall be recommended to the church by the personnel committee and employed by the action of the church.
The secretaries and non-vocational employees shall likewise be recommended to the church by the personnel committee and employed by church action.
At least two (2) weeks notice at the time of resignation should be given by any staff member.
A. Eligibility and Duties: In accordance with the meaning of the work and practice of the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church and zealously guard the unity of the Spirit within the church in peace in council with the pastor. A man serving as deacon must meet the qualifications as stated in the Bible in I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-6. He must be willing to pray and work with the pastor in the pastoral ministries of the church; proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; lead the church to engage in fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry, and application, be faithful in supporting the church with his tithe and faithful to all programs of the church; willing to participate in the family ministry plan; and will be encouraged to participate in special training opportunities provided by the church.
In case of absence of inability of the pastor, subject to advice from and conference with him, the deacons or officers of the deacons will provide for pulpit supplies. In any period when the church is without a pastor, unless the church shall otherwise provide, the deacons will arrange the temporary ministry.
B. Term of Office:
1. Deacons shall be elected for a three (3) year term.
2. Following the three (3) year term a man must be on the reserve list for a period of one (1) year before he is eligible to be elected for another term.
3. In August, not more than ____men will be elected for a _____year term. The number on active deacons will be no more than _____, unless increased or decreased according to the needs of the church.
4. Every year not more than ____men will be elected for a three (3) year period and not more than _____will go on the reserve list for one (1) year.
5. The church will promote to honorary life membership any deacon who by reason of age or infirmities shall, after honorable service, be no longer able to render active service.
C. Election Procedures:
1. At the regular business meeting in June, a deacon selection committee shall be appointed by the moderator. This committee shall consist of five (5) members, three (3) of who shall be active deacons and two (2) shall be laypersons.
2. At the regular business meeting in July, the committee shall provide the membership with a list of men currently on the active deacons list, with instruction that men are not eligible for nomination. Each member present and voting will submit the names of not more than _____men, ordained or unordained, whom they feel should be nominated as deacons. Moderator shall expound on Acts 6: 1-6 and I Timothy 3: 8-13 before members submit names of candidates.
3. The committee shall ascertain and interview the qualified nominees, and all qualified nominees shall be presented for election at the regular business meeting in August.
4. The members present shall be instructed by the committee to vote by secret ballot for not more that ____men. The ____receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected. In the event of a tie, the committee shall immediately, by secret ballot, vote to break the tie.
5. Any unordained man elected must serve a training period of one (1) year before ordination.
The pastor shall serve as moderator. In the absence of the moderator, the chairman of the deacons shall preside, or in the absence of both, assistant chairman of the deacons shall preside. In the absence of all three, the clerk shall call the church to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
The clerk shall be elected annually by the church. The clerk shall keep in a suitable book a record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admission, dismission, or death, together with a record of baptism. The clerk shall issue letters of dismission voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give official notice of all meetings such notice is necessary, as indicated in these by-laws. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary. All church records are church property and should be filed in the church office.*
6. Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer
The church shall elect annually a church treasurer, and an assistant treasurer who will serve in the absence of the treasurer. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and payout, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by personnel authorized by the church, all money, or things of value paid or given to the church for any and all purposes, keeping at all times itemized account of all receipts and disbursements.
Payment of bills for local work and expenses shall be made promptly by check, and all funds receive for denominational or other causes shall be remitted at least monthly by check.
It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church at each regular business meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements for the preceding month. The treasurer’s report shall be audited annually by an auditing committee or a public accountant.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of the fiscal year, and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church.*
7. Financial Secretary
The financial secretary shall be elected annually by the church. The financial secretary shall receive the empty collection envelopes, after the money has been removed and counted b the proper persons selected by the church to serve in turn; and from these the financial secretary shall give each donor individual credit as provided by the improved record system offered by the Baptist Sunday School Board. The financial secretary shall keep the envelopes for reference for a period of one year and the statement for three years. The financial secretary shall also be responsible for preparing and mailing annually, statements to all contributing members. This information is to be held in confidence by the financial secretary. *
*The positions of Treasurer, Clerk, or Financial Secretary of any combination of the three shall not be held by the same person.
Six trustees elected by the church will hold in trust the church property. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property without a specific vote of the church authorizing each action. It shall be the function of the trustees to affix their signatures to documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property or other legal documents where the signatures or trustees are required. Trustees shall serve on a rotating basis with two new trustees being elected each year, serving for three years, and eligible for re-election after the lapse of one year.
9. Music Director
The church shall have a music ministry to direct our praise and worship to God. The music director is to direct the choir or choirs in practice and public worship, and is to cooperate with the pastor and other leaders in the selection of suitable music and the devising of appropriate musical programs for all occasions where such services are needed.
10. Youth Director
It shall be the responsibility of the youth director to guide the spiritual and social growth of our youth, which will ensure the church of continuing interest and growth of our future church. The youth director shall cooperate with the pastor and other church leaders in the selection of suitable youth activities.
Committees and Coordinating Groups
1. General. The church year begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th.
All church committee members shall be recommended by the nominating committee and elected by the church unless otherwise indicated in the description below. The committee members shall serve on a three year rotation system with one-third to be elected each year, unless otherwise indicated below.
2. Church Council. The primary function of the church council shall be to recommend to the congregation suggested objectives and church goals, to review and coordinate program plans recommended by church officers, organizations, and committees, to recommend to the congregation the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to the program achievements in terms of church goals and objectives.
The Council, unless otherwise determined by the church, shall have as regular members the pastor, director of music, Sunday school director, church training director, women’s missionary union director, brotherhood director, chairman of the deacons, treasurer, clerk, children’s worship director, youth director, bus director, and any other officers the pastor deems necessary.
All matters agreed upon by the council, calling for action not already authorized, shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.
The council shall meet monthly or quarterly, as may be desired, or on call of the pastor at any time deemed necessary.
The church council shall serve as the long-range planning committee which has as its function to discover and analyze long-range church and committee needs; to recommend long-range goals and long range strategies to the congregation; to evaluate the long-range effectiveness of church programs; to interpret long-range goals and strategies to appropriate groups.
3. Church Committees. The committees of this church shall be Nominating Committee, Personnel Committee, Finance Committee, Mission Committee, Kitchen Committee, Usher/Teller Committee, History Committee, Flower Committee, Library Committee, Bates Creek Committee, Hospitality Committee, Recreation Committee, Baptism Committee, and Special Committees.
4. Nominating Committee. This committee shall discover, interview, enlist and propose for election by the church such persons as are suitable to fill those positions to which the church gives the committee responsibility for nomination. The moderator shall be authorized by the church to name three members to the committee to serve with the pastor. The committee serves throughout the year, making all necessary replacements and additions in the church elected officers and teachers. The committee shall present the Sunday school director church training director, women’s missionary union director, and brotherhood director to the church. When elected, these officers with the music director, shall become members of the nominating committee.
5. Personnel Committee. The personnel committee, consisting of three members of the church, shall assist the church in matters related to employed personnel administration. Its work includes such areas as benefits, and job descriptions. All advice and criticisms pertaining to the paid personnel shall be directed to the personnel committee, who in turn, when they deem necessary, will relay same to the employee involved. The committee makes its recommendation to the church.
6. Finance Committee. The finance committee, in consultation with the church council, shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and world wide expenses. The finance committee shall administer the budget, and shall develop and recommend an overall stewardship program. The treasurer shall serve as chairman of this committee. The committee shall consist of four other members, at least one of which is an active deacon.
7. Missions Committee. The missions committee, consisting of three members, seeks to discover possibilities for local mission projects, shares findings with church program organizations, and serves the church in establishing and conducting such mission’s projects as may be assigned to it. The committee will consist of women’s missionary director, brotherhood director, and one deacon.
8. Kitchen Committee. The kitchen committee, consisting of five members, shall be responsible for formulating and recommending to the church, policies for the kitchen and for communicating these policies to the church members. This committee shall be responsible for maintaining supplies and equipment for the kitchen and will also assist in serving church dinners.
9. Usher/Teller Committee. Every regular church usher shall be selected by the nominating committee and elected by the church. The usher/teller shall be led by an usher chairman also selected by the nominating committee and elected by the church. The ushers are to greet people as they enter and leave the church, seat people at the proper time, provide bulletins and other materials at the time of seating. The usher/teller shall be attentive to the needs of all visitors, the congregation, and the pastor. The usher/teller shall be responsible for receiving, counting, and depositing the offering.
10. History Committee. The history committee is to preserve and use the historical records of the church. The committee is especially concerned with gathering and preserving available church records, recording full and accurate records, and using the records to help members understand and appreciate their heritage and mission. This committee shall consist of three members and will be non-rotating.
11. Flower Committee. The flower committee shall be responsible for arranging and disposing of floral arrangements in the church auditorium and in other parts of the church facilities as needed. The committee shall consist of at least a chairman and two other members.
12. Library Committee. The church library will serve as the resource center for the church. The church library committee will seek to provide and promote the use of printed and audio-visual resources. The committee will also provide consultation to church leaders and members in the use of printed and audio-visual resources. The library committee shall consist of a chairman and any staff felt to be necessary.
13. Recreation Committee. It shall be the duty of this committee to formulate and sponsor all recreational activities of the church. This includes all outdoor athletic activities. This committee shall submit all contemplated programs to the church, with estimated costs of such programs, for approval. The committee may enlist, appoint, or seek assistance with the congregation of other members to help them conduct the recreational program of the church. This committee is to promote development and enhance fellowship among believers and is to be used as an outreach ministry.
14. Bates Creek Committee. This committee shall have special responsibility for the supervisions and maintenance of the church’s property at Bates Creek Baptist Camp.
15. Hospitality Committee. It shall be the duty of this committee to promote and supervise a cordial expression of Christian hospitality and fellowship at all services of the church.
16. Baptism Committee. It shall be the duty of this committee to make all necessary arrangements for the administration of the ordinance of baptism and to assist the pastor in the performance of same.
17. Special Committees. All special committees shall be appointed by the moderator.
1. General. All organizations of the church shall be under church control with all officers elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church.
2. Sunday school. There shall be a Sunday school, divided into department and classes for all ages, and conducted under the direction of the Sunday school director for the study of God’s Word.
The tasks of the Sunday school shall be to teach the biblical revelation; reach persons for Christ and church membership; perform the function of the church within its constituency; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
3. Church Training. There shall be a Church Training, divided into departments for all ages and conducted under the direction of a church training director. The Church training program shall serve as the training organization of the church.
The tasks of the church training program shall be to orient new members; train church leaders; teach Christian theology; ethics; Christian history; and church policy and organization; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination.
4. Women’s Missionary Union. There shall be a Women’s Missionary Union, with such officers and organization as needed. This program shall be directed by a director who shall be elected by the church. The tasks of the Women’s Missionary Union shall be to teach missions; engage in mission action and personal witnessing; support world missions through praying and giving; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination.
5. Brotherhood. There shall be a Brotherhood, with such organizations as needed. This program shall be directed by a director who shall be elected by the church. The tasks are to teach missions; engage in mission action and personal witnessing; support world missions through praying and giving; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination.
1. Baptism. A person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith; who professes Him publicly at any worship service; and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord, shall be received for baptism.
A. Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
B. Baptism shall be administered by the pastor or whomever the church shall authorize. The baptismal committee shall assist in the preparation for, and observance of, baptism.
C. Baptism shall be administered, as an act of worship, during any worship service.
D. A person professing Christ and failing to be baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the pastor and/or deacons. If negative interest in ascertained, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
2. The Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, commemorate the death of Jesus Christ and anticipate His second coming.
1. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at least quarterly, preferably the first Sunday of the quarter or as otherwise scheduled.
2. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed in any regular worship service, alternating Sunday morning and Sunday evening.
3. The pastor and deacons shall be responsible for the administration of the Lord’s Supper.
4. The deacons shall be responsible for the physical preparation of the Lord’s Supper.
1. Worship Services. The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for preaching, instruction, evangelism, and for the worship of Almighty God. These meetings will be open for the entire membership of the church and all people, and shall be conducted under the direction of the pastor or designated representative that as been approved by the church.
All cancellations of regularly scheduled services shall have deacon approval. Providential hindrances and acts of God shall, or themselves, provide for the dismissal of said services.
2. Special Services. Revival services or any other church meeting which will be essential in the promotion of the objectives of the church shall be placed on the church calendar.
3. Regular Business Meetings. Regular business meetings shall be held monthly on the Second Wednesday of each month.
4. Special Business Meetings. The pastor may, and shall, when requested by the deacons, trustees, or a standing committee, call from the pulpit special business meetings.
A specially called business meeting may be held to consider matters of significant nature after being announced to the congregation at least one service prior to such meeting, the particular objective of the meeting being clearly stated in the announcement.
Only specified matters may be considered at the called business meeting.
5. Quorum. The quorum consists of fifteen members who attend the business meeting or one that has been properly called. A majority of the members present shall determine any matter voted on.
6. Parliamentary Rule. Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
Changes in this Constitution and By-Laws may be made only at regular business meetings of the church, providing each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous meeting and copies of the proposed amendment be furnished to each member present.
Amendments to the constitution shall be a two-thirds vote; amendments to the by-laws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.