We, the members of Sonrise Baptist Church, in order to work for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ, do hereby band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers under the authority of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and adopt as our constitution the following articles.
Article I: Name
This organization shall be known as Sonrise Baptist Church of Bonne Terre, Missouri.
Article II: Purpose
The purpose of this church shall be the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ and His Gospel by following the teachings and practice of the New Testament in worship, proclamation of the gospel, Christian education and training, benevolent work, missionary labor, and ministry.
Article III: Church Government
This church is an autonomous body, not subject to the direction or control of any other ecclesiastical body; therefore, the government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it, under the leadership of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Article IV: Denominational Cooperation
This church shall voluntarily cooperate with a local Baptist association and the Missouri and Southern Baptist Conventions in the Cooperative Program of Education, Evangelization, Missions, and Ministry. This cooperation does not grant to any of the aforenamed entities any authority over this church, nor in any way alter or lessen the autonomy and independence of this church.
Article V: Church Covenant
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, 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 spirituality; 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 engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, destructive drugs or intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to shun pornography; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember 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 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.
Article VI: Statement of Faith and Message
We recognize God’s word as revealed in the Holy Bible as the sole authority in matters of faith and practice; however, in order to set forth certain principles which persons who are Baptists generally agree on, we do hereby incorporate, by reference, and adopt as the Statement of Faith and Message of Sonrise Baptist Church, the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention June 14, 2000.
Article VII: Members
Section 1: The members of this church reserve the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church. A person can become a member of the church upon a majority vote by presenting themselves as a candidate for membership in one of the following ways:
- By public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord and baptism under authority of this church.
- By letter from another church of the same faith and practice.
- By statement of a prior public profession of faith in Jesus as personal Savior and baptism under authority of a church of the same faith and practice from which it is not possible to obtain a letter.
- By statement of a prior public profession of faith in Jesus as personal Savior and Lord in a Non-Baptist church followed by baptism under authority of this church.
Section 2: Persons may be removed as members pursuant to provisions set forth in the church bylaws.
Section 3: Candidates for membership may be voted on at the worship service or business meeting when they present themselves for church membership.
Article VIII: Officers
The officers of the church shall be the president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The officers shall have the duties set forth in the bylaws and shall be elected annually unless otherwise provided for in the bylaws.
Article IX: Meetings
Section 1: The church shall have regular quarterly business meetings on the third Sunday evening of the month, provided, however, that upon agreement by the pastor and a majority of the deacons, the regular quarterly business meeting may be moved to another day of the month for special circumstances.
Section 2: Special called business meetings may be called by the pastor or the chairman of deacons and shall be called upon the written request of ten members of the church delivered to the clerk. Notice of any special called business meeting shall be given during the Sunday morning worship service at least three days prior to the special called business meeting. The purpose of the special called business meeting shall be stated in the notice.
Section 3: The church may have a business session, without prior call, at any worship service for the purpose of receiving members by profession of faith, statement, letter or other form for receiving members provided for in this constitution, but for no other purpose.
Section 4: The annual meeting of the church shall be held on the second Wednesday of the month prior to the beginning of the church year.
Article X: Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of the church shall consist of the officers, three deacons elected annually by the church, and the church council.
The Board of Directors shall have general supervision of the affairs of the church between its business meetings. The Board shall be subject to the orders of the church and shall report all actions taken by the Board to the church for ratification; none of its acts shall conflict with the provisions of this constitution, the bylaws of the church, or any action taken by the church.
The Board of Directors shall meet at such time as they shall agree upon or by call of the president and shall meet upon the written request of three members of the board.
Article XI: Committees
The church shall have such standing committees, with duties, number of members and terms as are set forth in the bylaws. Special committees shall have such duties and number of members as the church shall authorize in the motion establishing the special committee.
Article XII: Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the church in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with this constitution, the bylaws, and any special rules of order the church may adopt.
Article XIII: Dissolution of Church and Disposition of Property
In the event of the dissolution of Sonrise Baptist Church, all property of Sonrise Baptist Church, real, personal, and mixed of whatsoever kind and wheresoever located shall be transferred to another non-profit organization of similar kind and purpose.
Article XIV: Amendment of Constitution
Section 1: This constitution, except for ARTICLE XIII –DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY and ARTICLE XIV — AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION, can be amended by a two-thirds vote at any regular business meeting or a special business meeting called for the purpose of considering an amendment to the constitution, provided that the proposed amendment has been submitted in writing at the prior regular business meeting, posted on church bulletin boards and announced from the pulpit for two Sundays prior to the business meeting at which the amendment is to be considered.
Section 2: ARTICLE XIII – DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY and ARTICLE XIV – AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION can only be amended by a three-fourths vote of the resident membership at a special business meeting called for the purpose of amending ARTICLEXIII or ARTICLE XIV, provided, however, that the proposed amendment must be submitted in writing at a regular business meeting not less than two months prior to the calling of the special business meeting to consider the amendment; and provided further that a written notice, containing a copy of the proposed amendment shall be mailed to all resident members at least thirty days prior to the special business meeting; and provided further that a copy of the proposed amendment shall be posted on church bulletin boards for at least thirty days prior to the special business meeting; and provided further that announcement of the special business meeting shall be made at each worship service for four weeks prior to the special business meeting.
Section 1: Voting Rights of Members
All members shall have full voting rights on all motions, recommendations, resolutions, or other matters that come before the church in regular or special business meeting except:
- Members placed on the non-resident or inactive list as provided in the bylaws; or
- Members under the age of twelve years shall not be permitted to vote on the following matters;
- Dismissal of members for un-Christian conduct
- Calling or dismissing of the pastor or other church staff member
- Buying, selling, or mortgaging of church-owned property
Section 2: Termination of Membership
- Persons shall be removed as members of this church in the following cases:
- Granting of letter to another church
- Granting of letter to member upon written request of the member, or
- Member informs church in writing that they have united with another church and no longer wish to be listed as a member of this church
- Persons may be removed as a member of this church by notice given at a regular business meeting and a two-thirds vote of those present and voting at the next regular business meeting in the following cases:
- Member has moved from the general local area wherein the church ministers and has not attended regular worship, Bible study, or other activities of the church or financially contributed to the support of the church for a period of one year; or
- Member has moved and no address can be obtained for a period of one year; or
- Member has not attended the regular worship, Bible study, or other activities of the church for one year and has not financially contributed to the support of the church for a period of one year.
In any of the above cases, when membership is terminated, a letter of dismissal shall be sent to the former member at the last known address, when available.
- Membership may be terminated by a majority vote of the church for un-Christian conduct by following the procedure set forth in Robert’s Rules relative to disciplinary procedures of member.
Section 3: Duties of Officers
The officers shall have such general duties for officers as contained in Robert’s Rules of Order except as otherwise enlarged, limited, modified, or altered by these bylaws.
- President: The Pastor shall serve as the President. The President shall preside over all church business meetings, except in such cases when the matter before the church relates directly to the president.
- Vice-President: The Vice-President shall preside at business meeting in the absence of the president or in those case when the matter before the church relates directly to the president.
- Secretary/Clerk: The clerk shall keep accurate minutes of the business meetings, keep other necessary records, and conduct all necessary correspondence for the church in connection with this office. All books and records pertaining to this office shall be turned over immediately to the clerk’s successor.
- Treasurer: The treasurer shall be custodian of all funds contributed to the church and all its auxiliaries for general and special purposes. All receipts shall be promptly and regularly deposited in a bank account or accounts approved by the church and all disbursements shall be made by check. The treasurer shall make quarterly reports to the church of all receipts and disbursements and the exact balance on hand in the bank. The treasurer’s books and records shall be presented for audit at the close of the financial year. All books and records pertaining to this office shall be turned over immediately to the treasurer’s successor.
- 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 by the proper persons selected by the church to serve in turn; and from these the financial secretary shall give each donor individual credit. 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.
- Trustees: Three 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 of trustees are required. Trustees shall serve on a rotating basis with one new trustee being elected each year, serving for three years, and eligible for re-election after the lapse of one year.
Section 4: Staff
The staff shall be composed of those persons employed by the church. Job descriptions for each position setting forth responsibilities, benefits, terms and conditions of employment, manner of calling or hiring, and termination shall be drafted by the Personnel Committee and approved by the church.
Section 5: Pastor
- Calling of Pastor
- Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the position of pastor, a Pastor Search Committee shall be appointed as follows: The Nominating Committee shall nominate persons to serve on the Pastor Search Committee, which shall be elected by the church in regular or special called business meeting, other persons may be nominated from the floor. The pastor search committee shall be made of five people. The Pastor Search Committee shall continue until dismissed by action of the church or a pastor has been called by vote of the church.
- The committee may only bring one candidate at a time before the church for action.
- A special business meeting shall be called when the committee has a candidate to recommend to the church. This business meeting may be held at the same time as a regular business meeting. Notice of the special business meeting shall be given as provided in the constitution. Election shall be by ballot. An affirmative vote of seventy-five (75%) percent of those present and voting shall be required to call a pastor.
- Termination of Pastor
- The pastor may terminate his position by submitting his resignation, orally or in writing, giving at least a two-week notice before the resignation is to take effect.
- The church may terminate the pastor by the following procedure:
- A letter (Appendix C, page 62) requesting a special business meeting to take up the matter of termination of the pastor signed by at least twenty (20%) percent of the resident church members, shall be given to the pastor, church clerk, chairman of deacons, and vice-moderator.
- Within one (1) week of receiving said letter, the church clerk shall give notice of a special business meeting as required by the constitution. If the pastor, clerk, and vice-president cannot agree on a time for the special business meeting, it shall be held on the Sunday evening one week after notice is given as herein required, but in no case shall the meeting be delayed longer than one week from the giving of notice.
- At the special business meeting the vice-moderator shall preside.
- The question shall be stated upon calling the meeting to order as follows: “Shall _______________________ be terminated in his position as pastor of this church?” The question shall then be open for discussion. After discussion has ended or the previous question has been ordered, the vote shall be taken by ballot. A simple majority of those present and voting shall be required to terminate the pastor’s position.
- If the motion carries, additional action may be taken relative to when the termination shall become effective, payment of severance pay, and other matters incident to termination.
Section 6: Deacons
Qualifications of Deacons
The qualification of the deacons shall be those set forth in the New Testament in Acts 6:3 and I Timothy 3:8-13.
Election of Deacons
A committee shall be appointed by the pastor (or in the case of the church being without a pastor, by the chairman of deacons) to select or receive names from any member of the church to be placed on a deacons’ candidate list. The committee shall then interview the persons whose names have been submitted as to their qualifications and willingness to serve. The committee shall then recommend such persons as it determines to the church for their action on electing them as a deacon. Any vacancy in the office of deacon shall be filled by the same procedure.
Number of Deacons
The number of deacons shall be in the ration of one deacon for every fifteen families in the church as qualified men are found and willing to serve.
Responsibilities of Deacons
In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice of the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church to assist the pastor in performing pastoral responsibilities.
Organization of the Deacons
The deacons shall elect their officers annually in June and shall be organized to assist the pastor and to see that the ordinances are carried out and other work and ministry of the church is properly handled in keeping with the spirit of concern and love for needs of others. No officer shall succeed his present position until one year has elapsed.
Section 7: Church Council
The membership of the Church Council shall consist of the following: Pastor, Chairman of Deacons, Minister of Music, Minister of Education, Sunday School Director, Discipleship Director, Women’s Ministry Director, Men’s Ministry Director, Clerk, Treasurer, Missions Committee Chairman, a Youth Representative from grades 7 through 12, and any other head or director of ministry that should have input in the church council as decided by the Pastor with agreement of the church council. The Pastor shall preside at all meetings of the Council.
The Council shall have the general responsibility to recommend to the church objectives and goals; to review and coordinate program plans recommended by the church officers, organizations and committees; to recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendaring of activities and events and other resources according to program priorities and to evaluate program achievements in terms of church goals and objectives.
All matters agreed upon by the Council calling for action not already provided for by action of the church shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.
Section 8: Committees
The church shall have the following standing committees with the responsibilities hereinafter set forth: The pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all committees. All standing committees shall give a report biannually at the quarterly meetings.
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 personnel committee, consisting of three members of the church who are not also employed by 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.
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 worldwide 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.
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 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.
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.
Section 9: Church Programs and Ministry
All organizations, programs, and ministries of the church shall be under church control with all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church. No organization, program, or ministry shall maintain a separate bank account or keep funds for expenses of operation and ministry without approval by the church.
Section 10: Church Finances and Budgeting
The Finance Committee shall have the responsibility of preparing for church action a proposed budget which shall be presented to the church at the regular monthly business meeting the month prior to the beginning of the church fiscal year. Adjustments may be made by action of the church during the church year to meet needs that may arise due to lack of funds or increase in expenses. It is the policy of this church that the work and ministry of the church is to be supported by the tithes and offerings of the membership or those persons who may not be members but who desire to contribute to the Lord’s work by contributions to this local church. It is further the practice and policy of this church to financially support the cause and ministry, education, missions and evangelization by financially contributing to a local Baptist association and through the Cooperative Program of the Missouri and Southern Baptist Conventions. No special offering other than those sponsored by the local Baptist association, Missouri Baptist or Southern Baptist Conventions shall be promoted by the church unless approved by action of the church. The fiscal year of the church shall be from January 1 through December 31.
Section 11: Church Year and Quorum
1. The church year for programs and terms of office of directors, officers, committee chairmen, members, and other such positions held for yearly terms shall from August 1 through July 31.
2. The quorum for regular or special business meeting shall be those members in attendance at such meetings.
Section 12: Amendment to Bylaws
These bylaws can be amended by a majority vote of members present and voting, provided the proposed amendment has been moved and seconded at a prior business meeting.
Section 13: Christian Marriage
Our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, expresses our fundamental biblical conviction that Christian Marriage is, by definition, the spiritual and physical uniting of one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime. Christian marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His Church. As such, this local church believes that wedding ceremonies on church property are spiritual observances of worship of God who created this divine institution. As worship services, weddings on church property shall be officiated by one or more ordained ministers of the gospel. The church may decline to make its facilities or ministers available for any wedding if it is determined that one or both of the parties are not biblically and/or legally qualified to marry. Such determinations may be made by the pastor, or church council, subject to the direction of the church. No minister or employee of the church shall officiate at any marriage ceremony unless such marriage is consistent with this policy.