Constitution & Bylaws of
Desert Ridge Baptist Church
St. George, UT
ARTICLE I. NAME AND LOCATION
The name of this church shall be Desert Ridge Baptist Church (DRBC). The church is located in St George, UT and though independent and autonomous, is voluntarily cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention in its ministries and the spreading of the gospel of Christ around the world through its mission programs. In addition, DRBC is voluntarily cooperating with the Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention, and the Color Country Baptist Association.
ARTICLE II. FOUNDATION, OBJECT, AND PRIORITIES OF DRBC:
(1) The foundation of this church is the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), and its code of guidance in all its affairs, the Word of God, and this church does here affirm its faith that the Holy Scriptures (i.e., the sixty-six books comprising the Old and New Testaments) are the Word of Almighty God (Mark 13:31).
(2) The object of this church shall be to worship God according to the teaching of His Word, to practice the precepts and examples of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ as set forth in the Scriptures, to sustain its ordinances and doctrines and to preach and propagate among all peoples the gospel of salvation that is by the grace of God through personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
(3) The priorities of ministry of this church flow from the revelation of God’s glory revealed in Jesus Christ. We exist to savor this revelation in worship (John 4:23), strengthen the revelation in nurture and education (1 Corinthians 14:26; 2 Peter 3:18), and spread the revelation in evangelism, missions, and loving deeds (1 Peter 2:9; 3:15; Matthew 28:18-20; 5:16). In sum, DRBC exists to exalt God, edify the saints, and evangelize the lost.
ARTICLE III. DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
SECTION 1. PREAMBLE
We recognize that any statement of faith is a fallible attempt to summarize and systematize an infallible divine revelation. We recognize that the Bible is the Christian’s only authoritative document. However, the Bible’s meaning is often mishandled, distorted, and misinterpreted by men, so that we believe it necessary, not to add to what the Bible teaches, but instead to delineate what we believe the Bible means by what it teaches in several important areas. Thus, this statement of faith is significant because it provides an explanation of our understanding of what Scripture teaches, and thereby provides the doctrinal framework for our curriculum, teaching, and preaching. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that there are contained within this statement doctrines which are essential (e.g. the Deity of Christ, Bodily Resurrection, etc.) and doctrines which are distinctives (e.g. the Sabbath, etc.). Essentials are those doctrines which are universally held by the redeemed. Distinctives are those doctrines in which there has been latitude within historical Christianity.
We do hereby adopt as the basic and formal expression of our faith the Desert Ridge Baptist Church Statement of Faith, derived primarily, but not totally from the Abstract of Principles of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1858), and also from the Second London Baptist Confession (1689) and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000). This document is a summary of things most surely believed among us. We accept the same, not as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby we are to be bound, but as an aid to us in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness.
Acknowledgment of the DRBC Statement of Faith as our church’s summary of what we believe and teach is required for church membership. While it is acknowledged that members may not fully agree at every point, it is understood that no member will seek to teach against what each statement affirms. Our church submits to the rule of Christ through His appointed Elders. We acknowledge that in the New Testament the terms Pastor, Elder, and Bishop are synonymous. We henceforth choose to use the term Elder in this document. The Elder Board will employ the DRBC Statement of Faith as a guide to help in the determination of orthodoxy (right thinking) and orthopraxy (right living) for members.
SECTION 2. DRBC STATEMENT OF FAITH
Derived primarily from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Abstract of Principles (1858), and also from the Second London Baptist Confession (1689) and the Baptist Faith and Message (2000)
1.The Bible. This church affirms that the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, commonly known as the Holy Bible, are the Word of God, given by the inspiration of God and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and life.
Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; Luke 21:33; 24:44-47; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.
2.God. This church affirms that there is one and only one God, the Creator, Preserver and Ruler of all things; being in and of Himself perfect in all His attributes; and to Him alone do all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.
Psalm 115:3; John 4:24; Romans 11:33-36; 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15-16;*See also references for The Trinity
3.The Trinity. This church affirms that God has revealed Himself as existing eternally as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; each possessing for themselves distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.
A.God the Father—Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17.
B.God the Son–Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 11:27; 16:16; 17:5; 28:19; Mark 1:1; Luke 1:35; 22:70; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 14:7-11; 17:1-5, 21-22; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 15:28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 3:11; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 7:14-28; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 1 John 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 19:16.
C.God the Holy Spirit–Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Psalms 51:11; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Luke 1:35; John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 5:3; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 12:3-11; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 5:6-8; Revelation 22:17.
4.Providence. This church affirms that God has from eternity decreed and permitted all things that come to pass, and that He perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events so as not to destroy the moral agency or responsibility of intelligent creatures, yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceeds only from the creatures and not from God, Who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.
Psalms 135:6; Proverbs 16:33; Isaiah 46:10-11; 55:10; Lamentations 3:37-38; Matthew 10:29-31; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11; Hebrews 1:3.
5.Election. This church affirms that God has, through His eternal choice, elected some persons to everlasting life; not because of foreseen merit or anything owing to their own actions, but rather of His mere mercy in Christ to His eternal glory; and thus those elect are called, justified and glorified according to God’s will.
Genesis 12:1-3; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Matthew 24:22,31; 25:34; John 1:12-14; 6:37,44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:2,6, 9, 11-12, 24; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28-39; 9; 11:5-7,26-32; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-23; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2:10, 19; Hebrews 12:2; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:9-10; 1 John 2:19.
6.The Fall. This church affirms that God originally created humanity in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, humanity willfully transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteous innocence; and through this fall all of humanity (i.e., each individual at conception, except the Lord Jesus) inherits a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His moral law, and are under the just condemnation of God, and that as soon as any person becomes capable of moral action, they do become willful transgressors.
Genesis 1:26-31; 2: 7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalm 51:3-5; Isaiah 6:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:12, 19; 7:14-25; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22.
7.The Mediator. This church affirms that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and humanity; having taken upon Himself the very nature of a man, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled all the demands of the Law, suffered and died upon the cross, for the salvation of sinners; He was buried, and raised from the dead by the power of God on the third day; He ascended to Heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father and lives to make intercession for His people; He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the universe.
Isaiah 42:1; 53:10; Matthew 1:22-23; 28:18; Luke 1:33; John 1:14, 18; 3:34; 5:22, 27; 10:15-16; Acts 2:36; 17:31; Romans 5:10; 8:3, 34; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:19, 21; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:14-18; 7:25-26; 9:24; 1 Peter 1:19-20; 3:18.
8.Regeneration. This church affirms that regeneration is a change of heart, accomplished solely by the Holy Spirit, who works to change a person’s natural affections and translates them from a state of spiritual death to a state of spiritual life; the Holy Spirit accomplishes regeneration in the elect by the power of the Word of God, proclaimed to sinners, and through regeneration renews the fullness of a person’s humanity, so that they love and practice holiness; it is a work of God’s unmerited and special grace alone, whereby the elect sinner is placed into union with Christ.
Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 1:13; 3:3-8; Acts 10:44; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Ephesians 2:5, 8-10; Colossians 2:13; James 1:17-18; 1 Peter 1:3, 23.
9.Repentance. This church affirms that repentance is an outward response to the inward-acting grace of regeneration; whereby a person is made aware, by the power of the Holy Spirit, of the reality and seriousness of their sin, and is in that way humbled and brought to a point of confession and genuine rejection of their sin by a willful desire to seek to please God in all things. It is a turn “to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
Psalms 119:128; Isaiah 55:7; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:4, 14-15; Luke 3:8; 5:32; 15:7; 24:47 Acts 11:18; Romans 2:4; 13:12-14; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Peter 3:9.
10.Faith. This church affirms that faith is the belief, founded on God’s authority, of all that is revealed in the Bible concerning Jesus Christ; acceptance and assurance that Jesus Christ alone is the only source of justification and eternal life; it is brought about by the Holy Spirit in connection with regeneration and leads first to repentance and then to the desire for holy living.
The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word; by which also, and by the administration of baptism and the Lord’s supper, prayer, and other means appointed of God, it is increased and strengthened.
Luke 17:5; John 1:12; 3:16-18; Acts 15:11; 16:31;20:32; Romans 1:17; 3:21-31; 4:16-22;10:14-17; 2 Corinthians 4:13; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:8-10; 6:16; Philippians 1:29; Hebrews 6:11-12; 11; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:1.
11.Justification. This church affirms that through Jesus Christ and His sacrificial, substitutionary death on the cross the elect in Christ partake in the gracious acquittal of all their sins, for all time, offered by God, through Christ; in this way the believer is made fully righteous before God by the application of the righteousness of Jesus Christ on their account. As thus defined, this church affirms the doctrine of justification by faith alone apart from meritorious works of the law.
Genesis 15:6; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:16-17; 3:21-4:25; 5:6-9, 17-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16, 21; 3:6-8, 10-11, 24; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:8-9; 1 Peter 3:18.
12.Sanctification. This church affirms that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition.
1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2
This church affirms that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. In this respect, we believe that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Though eradication of sin is not possible during earthly existence, the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin.
John 17:17, 19; Romans 6; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 7:1; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 5:23; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:5-10; 3:5-9.
13.Perseverance. This church affirms that all those whom God regenerates will persevere, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit; that the elect will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, into which God placed them; though they may fall by means of neglect or temptation into sin and thus grieve the Holy Spirit, impair their relationship with God, bring reproach on themselves and the Church, and receive temporal judgments; yet they will be drawn back to God through repentance, and preserved by the power of God through faith unto everlasting salvation.
John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39;1 Corinthians 1:4-8;11:32; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 7:25; 12:7-11; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Jude 24.
This church affirms that references to those who do “fall away,” whose “love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:9-13; Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:23-39) are references to men and women who claim that they are in Christ but, in reality, are not. Christ taught that the kingdom of God—the genuine elect of God—will be infiltrated with tares, those who claim—and may even think—that they are in Christ but, in reality, are not. These tares may be members of the local church, having falsely professed faith, but have never been true citizens of the kingdom of God. Therefore, we teach and encourage all who claim the name of Christ to test themselves by the standard of God’s Word regarding personal attitude, behavior, and service to the Lord.
Matthew 7:21-23; 13:1-30, 37-43; John 14:15, 21, 23; 1 Corinthians 10:12; 2 Corinthians 13:5; James 2:14-26; 2 Peter 1:2-10; 1 John 2:19; 3:9.
14.The Church. This church affirms that a New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ. Scripture describes the duties and responsibilities of Elders and Deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, Elders and Deacons must be men.
This church affirms that the New Testament speaks also of the eternal Body and Bride of Christ, composed of Jews and Gentiles, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, which will assemble in future glory.
Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 12:22-23; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
This church affirms that in light of the reality of spiritual union in Christ with all of the redeemed, and the reality of theological unity in the essentials of the faith among all of the redeemed, that the Lord is pleased with interchurch cooperation for the purpose of missions and ministry, as far as division over secondary issues allows. Doctrinal purity must be the standard for practical unity (John 17:17). Thus, this church seeks to serve the Lord in happy cooperation with churches of like faith and practice.
Amos 3:3; John 17:11, 17, 21-32; Acts 15:1-35;1 Corinthians 16; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24; Galatians 2:1;3:28; Ephesians 4:4-6; Colossians 3:11; 2 Timothy 4:9-12, 19-21; Titus 3:12-13; 2 John 9-11; 3 John 5-8; Jude 3.
15.Baptism. This church affirms that Jesus Christ gave baptism to the church, by immersion, as an ordinance, obligatory upon every believer; this ordinance should be administered in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as a sign of the baptized individual’s fellowship with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, of remission of sin for that individual and of their surrender to God as they seek to live in newness of life; baptism by immersion is a prerequisite to church membership.
This church affirms that for the purpose of accepting members by statement of faith, DRBC recognizes Believer’s Baptism by immersion in water in a church of like faith and practice, i.e. a church that explicitly teaches the biblical gospel. Thus the evaluation of the baptism of membership candidates will be upon a case-by-case basis. This is always for the purpose of maintaining biblical doctrine in church membership and church ordinances in the context of DRBC, and not necessarily to question the validity of a previous baptism experience for the membership candidate in each case.
Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 3:22-23; 4:1-2; Acts 2:41; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12.
16.The Lord’s Supper. This church affirms that Jesus Christ gave the Lord’s Supper to the church as an ordinance whereby they may remember and celebrate, regularly, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; the ordinance is to be administered with bread and the fruit of the vine and is to be observed until the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate his death, to remind Christians of God’s grace, and to be a bond, pledge, and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship.
This church affirms that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial to the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, thus a proclamation of the gospel. It is to be observed regularly.
Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11:17-34.
17.The Lord’s Day & The Sabbath. This church celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ and holds congregational meetings, as a matter of preference, not of law, on the first day of the week. In Jesus Christ all believers find their Sabbath rest at all times, according to his fulfillment of the entirety of the Law.
Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-13; 28:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; 16:1-7; Luke 6:1-10; 24:1-7, 21, 33-36; John 20:1, 19-20; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16-17; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.
18.The Priesthood of Believers. This church affirms that every believer, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is called to a priesthood of service and devotion to God, through our great High Priest, Jesus Christ. As priests of God, all believers possess the authority, responsibility, and privilege to proclaim the gospel and to enter God’s presence through prayer.
Romans 12:1; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; Hebrews 10:19-25; 13:10-16; 1 Peter 2:5-10.
19.Liberty of Conscience. This church affirms that God alone is Lord of the conscience and that he has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are anything contrary to or in excess of his Word; the consciences of believers may be rightly bound by civil authorities in so far as they are under the greater authority of God; additionally believers ought to, out of mutual love, avoid needlessly offending each other’s consciences.
Acts 4:19; Romans 14:1-15:6; 1 Corinthians 8; Galatians 5:13; Colossians 2:16-23; James 4:12.
20.The Intermediate State & the Resurrection. This church affirms that after death all bodies return to dust; the spirits of those who belong to Christ then rest with God (in conscious bliss), and the spirits of the unbelievers are reserved in punitive darkness (in conscious torment) until the judgment; at the last day the bodies of all people, both just and unjust, will be raised.
*See references for The Last Things for inclusion of passages concerning the Resurrection of the dead as many of these go hand in hand.
21.The Last Things. This church affirms the certainty of the future personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth to establish His eternal heavenly Kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal blessedness of the righteous, and the eternal damnation of the wicked.
This church affirms that God has appointed a Day when he will judge the world by Jesus Christ; on that Day, those who trust in Christ will be granted everlasting life and unbelievers will be condemned to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. While each unbeliever will be held accountable for each and every sin committed, each believer, having no condemnation in Christ, will receive rewards based on their service to the Lord during their lifetime.
Ecclesiastes 12:14; Isaiah 2:4; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 7:21-23; 16:27;19: 27-28; 24:27, 30, 36, 44; 25:31-46; 26:64;Mark 8:38; 9:43-48;Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-31; 17:20-37; 21:25-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:3- 2:12; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:3-13; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 20:1-22:13.
ARTICLE IV. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. THE CHURCH DEFINED
The word church (in NT Greek, ekklesia) means, “called out ones” and can refer to the entire spiritual body of Christ that will gather in the future glory, or a local congregation of individual believers. In the New Testament it most often refers to an established local congregation of believers.
Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit immediately places those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ into one united spiritual body of Christ. This body is also called the family of God, the Body of Christ, of which Jesus Christ is the Head, and the Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ, which will assemble in future glory, consists of all the saints of God through the ages. God has given each local congregation all that it needs to individually and corporately mature and carry out the commands and commissions of our Lord. The local church exists for the spiritual purpose set forth in Article II of this constitution and bylaws.
(1) Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22, (2) Acts 2:47; 11:22; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 4:15
SECTION 2. MEMBERSHIP DEFINED
Members of this church shall be comprised of those who have:
1. Made a public profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (1).
2. Been scripturally baptized (2).
3. Requested to be a member of this church.
4. Made a commitment to abide by the membership covenant of this church.
5. Been examined and approved by the Elder Board.
(1) Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9, (2) Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; 8:12; 19:5
SECTION 3. PURPOSE OF CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Church membership is important in that it facilitates:
1. The defining of who belongs to our local congregation (1).
2. The knowing of who should participate in the privileges and responsibilities of the church (2).
3. The providing of adequate care, nurture, and protection for every individual that belongs to this church (3).
4. The exercising of authority and oversight in discipline and restoration of those members not maintaining a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (4).
(1) Philemon 1:1-2 (2) 1 Timothy 5:16; James 5:14, (3) Acts 6:1, (4) 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
SECTION 4. PROCEDURES FOR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
A. APPLICATION FOR CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Any person may request membership with this church by presenting himself or herself to an Elder for membership.
B. PROCESS FOR CONSIDERATION OF CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Upon a person’s request for membership, a DRBC Elder will evaluate the qualification of the person for membership. Upon Elder Board approval, the new member shall be publicly presented to the church.
SECTION 5. MEMBERSHIP COVENANT
Having been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up myself to Him, and having been baptized upon my profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and having read and affirmed the statement of faith of this church, acknowledging that I am of like faith and kindred spirit, I do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully enter into this covenant with Desert Ridge Baptist Church.
I will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
I will walk with this body in brotherly love, as becomes the members of a Christian church, exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over my brothers and sisters in Christ and faithfully admonish and entreat them as occasion may require.
I will not forsake the assembling of myself together with the Church, nor neglect to pray for my church family and those outside the church.
I will endeavor to bring up those who at any time may be under my care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of my family and friends.
I will rejoice in the happiness of my church family and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear their burdens and sorrows.
I will seek, by divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, remembering that I have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in the newness of life.
I will work with this church family for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry, as I cooperatively work to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. I will be accountable to the church in doctrine and conduct.
I will submit to the loving rule, oversight, and authority of the Elder Board and their final decisions regarding reproof, instruction, correction, and loving discipline as given in Matthew 18:15-17. I will make no appeal or publicize my case to any other court or entity regarding church discipline at DRBC.
I will contribute financially both cheerfully and regularly through tithes and offerings to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel to all nations.
I will, when I move from this place, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where I can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. I, as a member of Desert Ridge Baptist Church, must be in good standing in order to resign or transfer my membership and seek recommendation for membership into another church.
I, as a member of Desert Ridge Baptist Church, must be in good standing with the church in order to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
I joyfully, freely, and under no undue compulsion enter into this covenant with my fellow church members of Desert Ridge Baptist Church.
Lord, I believe that You want me to be a faithful member of Desert Ridge Baptist Church. I affirm and accept my responsibilities as stated above, and by Your grace I will fulfill these responsibilities.
SECTION 6. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS
The purpose of church discipline is to affect a return to a Biblical standard of conduct and doctrine in an erring member, to maintain purity in the local church, and to deter sin (1).
Members of this church who shall err habitually and impenitently in doctrine or conduct shall be subject to dismissal according to Matthew 18:15-18; Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 5:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; James 5:19-20.
Before such dismissal, however:
1. It shall be the duty of any member of this church who has knowledge of the erring member’s heresy or misconduct to warn and to correct such erring member in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration.
2. If said erring member does not heed this warning, then the warning member shall again go to the erring member accompanied by one or two witnesses to warn and correct such erring member, seeking his or her repentance and restoration.
3. If said erring member still refuses to heed this additional warning, then, it shall be brought to the attention of the Elder Board.
4. The Elder Board, after prayerful investigation and consensus agreement, shall tell it to the church.
5. If said erring member refuses to heed the warning of the Elder Board and the church, he or she shall be removed from the midst of the congregation. There shall be no appeal to any court from that removal
6. This process will continue to conclusion even if the erring member chooses not to attend congregational meetings or otherwise seeks to withdraw from membership to avoid the discipline process.
7. If said member, after removal, demonstrates fruitful repentance, and requests restoration of membership, he or she shall be publicly restored to membership after review and agreement by the Elder Board. Such restoration is required by Desert Ridge Baptist Church before a person can be recommended to another church.
(1) Matthew 18:15-18; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; Galatians 6:1;
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 Timothy 5:19-20; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; Titus 3:10-11; James 5:19-20
SECTION 7. REMOVAL FROM MEMBERSHIP
Members may be removed from church membership for any of the following reasons:
2. Transfer of membership, providing that disciplinary action is not in process for an offense under Article IV, Section 6 of the Constitution and By-Laws.
4. Disciplinary action.
5. Member request, providing that disciplinary action is not in process for an offense under Article IV, Section 6 of the Constitution and By-Laws.
SECTION 8. MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
A. TYPES OF MEETINGS
1. A regular annual meeting shall be held to inform the church membership about the church’s annual budget and hear other announcements to them from the Elder Board.
2. The Elder Board may call special meetings in order to announce to the church pending decisions or decisions made by the Elder Board.
B. NOTICE OF MEETINGS
Any special meeting shall be publicly announced at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical.
SECTION 9. ORDINANCES OF THE CHURCH
Scripture teaches that there are two ordinances that the church is to observe until Jesus Christ returns again.
1. Baptism. (See ARTICLE III. SECTION 2.15 for detailed information about Baptism)
2. The Lord’s Supper. (See ARTICLE III. SECTION 2.16 for detailed information on the Lord’s Supper)
ARTICLE V. CHURCH GOVERNMENT
SECTION 1. PURPOSE OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT
Church government is an extremely practical and theologically significant issue. Biblical structure and function allows the peaceful and orderly working out of the ministry of the church. The church is the family of God and its Head is Jesus Christ. Just as God has given us the structure and the function of each person in a family, He has done so in regard to His church (1). God’s Word reveals the proper structure of the church and the function of each of its parts. The purpose of such structure and instruction is to ensure spiritual maturity both individually and corporately as a New Testament Church (2).
(1) Ephesians 5:23 (2) Ephesians 4:11-16
SECTION 2. STRUCTURE OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT
A. JESUS CHRIST IS THE HEAD
Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. Jesus Christ has revealed His will for us, as the church, through His Word, the Bible (1).
Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church mediates His rule over the Church by calling and appointing Elders to shepherd, oversee, and lead the church. These Elders are directly responsible to Jesus Christ, and accountable to one another for the governing of the church according to His Word (2).
(See ARTICLE VI for detailed information about Elders.)
(1) Ephesians 5:23 (2) Acts 20:28-30; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14; 1 Peter 5:1-2, Hebrews
13:7, 17 (3) Acts 6:1-7 (4) 1 Peter 2:5, 9 (5) Matthew 18:17; Acts 6:1-7; 13:1-4; 15:1-35;
1 Corinthians 1:2; 5:1-13; 16:1-4; Philippians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:19-21; Philemon 1:1-2 Hebrews 13:7, 17
SECTION 3. COUNCILS
To promote efficient handling of church matters, the Elder Board may appoint various councils. These councils shall perform tasks solely in accordance with the duties and with the powers specifically delegated by the Elder Board.
Guidelines for councils:
1. To bring considered recommendations to the Elder Board concerning church matters.
2. To provide a wider base of counsel to the Elder Board regarding church matters.
3. All Elders serve as ex-officio members of all councils and may sit as such at their discretion.
4. All councils shall exist for the period specified by the Elder Board.
SECTION 4. THE FINANCE COUNCIL
To promote the efficient and studied handling of the financial matters of the church, the Elder Board shall appoint a council for the purpose of making recommendations to them regarding the finances of the church. This group shall be known as the Finance Council. They shall aid in the compilation of the annual church budget, and any other financial matters that the Elder Board delegates to their care. The Elder Board shall determine the number and tenure of members of the Finance Council. (I Peter 5:2; 2 Corinthians 8:18-20)
SECTION 5. TRUSTEES
The Elder Board, for the purpose of the signing of legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal document where the signatures of trustees are required shall appoint at least three trustees. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer property without the specific authorization of the Elder Board. Trustees shall serve for a period specified by the Elder Board.
SECTION 6. ORDINATIONS
Ordination is the recognition and appointment of a man by the Elder Board to serve in DRBC as an Elder or Deacon. Ordination of a prospective Elder requires a unanimous agreement of the Elder Board.
Acts 6:6; 13:2-4; 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:22
SECTION 7. CHURCH RECORDS AND BOOKS
The church shall maintain current, adequate, and correct accounts, books, and records of its business and properties. An accurate account of all receipts and disbursements shall be maintained by Finance Council. The fiscal year of the church shall begin on January 1st, and end on December 31st of each year.
SECTION 8. DISSOLUTION OF THE CHURCH
The Elder Board shall make the final decision regarding the dissolution of the church. Upon the dissolution of the church, First Baptist Church Keller, Texas is hereby given full authority to distribute all Desert Ridge Baptist Church assets.
SECTION 9. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
The constitution and by-laws adopted by the church in a business meeting held on July 9, 2017 shall supersede all prior resolutions, precedents, and actions of the church not in harmony with its provisions.
Henceforth, the constitution and by-laws may be amended or changed by a decision of the Elder Board.
ARTICLE VI. ELDERS
(Paid or Voluntary)
The New Testament Scripture is clear about those who have the responsibility of rule, oversight, and care of the church. These men are called Elders, Pastors, and Bishops. All three titles are used to refer to the same spiritual office of leadership in the church and are interchangeable. Christ is the Head of the church, and He mediates His rule in the church through the shepherding of Elders/Pastors/Bishops (1). We acknowledge that in the New Testament the terms Pastor, Elder, and Bishop are synonymous. We henceforth choose to use the term Elder in this document.
(1) 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Acts 20:17-18, 28-31; 1 Peter 5:1-4
SECTION 1. THE AUTHORITY OF THE ELDERS
A. DECISION-MAKING AUTHORITY
The Elders who shepherd the church have final decision-making authority in all areas of church life. The objective of any and all decisions made by the Elders shall be to do the will of God as revealed in His Word (1).
Decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding others before himself and the precepts of the word of God as the controlling factor.
C. STATEMENT OF UNITY
Any decision made will be considered a unanimous decision. All Elders agree to be in unified support of the final decision, in public and in private, even though it may not agree with their personal preference (2).
SECTION 2. RESPONSIBILITIES OF ELDERS
A. TO SPIRITUALLY SHEPHERD THE CHURCH
1. To preach and/or teach God’s Word (1).
2. To pray (2).
3. To maintain doctrinal purity in the church (3).
4. To reprove, rebuke, and exhort the church with great patience (4).
5. To be examples in the church (5).
B. TO GOVERN AND OVERSEE ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THE CHURCH
1. To establish policies and practices for the church consistent with Scripture and the purpose of the church. To direct and oversee all of the financial resources and expenditures of the church.
2. To direct and oversee the maintaining of adequate and correct accounts, books, and records of the business of the church.
3. To appoint officers and councils as needed to carry out the business of the church in an orderly and acceptable manner. Any officer or council appointed by the Elder Board is directly responsible to the Elder Board and shall serve as long as the Elder Board see’s the need (7).
4. To lead in the selection of a Pastor-Teacher in accordance with the selection process established in these by-laws.
5. To lead in the selection of Elders for the church in accordance with the selection process established in these bylaws (8).
6. To lead in the selection of Deacons for the church in accordance with the selection process established in these bylaws (9).
7. To maintain open communication with the church body.
(1) Acts 6:2, 4; 1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 4:2, (2) Acts 6:4, (3) Galatians 1:6-9;
1 Timothy 1:3-7; Jude 3-4, (4) 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:9-11, (5) 1 Peter 5:3,
(6) 1 Timothy 3:4-5, (7) Acts 6:3, (8) Titus 1:5, (9) Acts 6:2-6
SECTION 3. QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS
A. CALLED BY GOD
An Elder must be a man who has been called by God. The evidences for such a call are as follows:
1. Confirmation of the call to the ministry by other believers (1).
2. Possession of the abilities necessary to serve (giftedness).
3. A deep desire to serve (2).
4. A lifestyle characterized by moral integrity (3).
B. ACTIVE MEMBERSHIP
An Elder must affirm and adhere to the membership covenant of this church (4).
C. BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS
An Elder must possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He shall be:
1. Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach.
2. One-woman man.
3. Temperate, sober, vigilant.
4. Sober-minded, prudent.
5. Given to hospitality.
6. Apt to teach; able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching.
7. Not given to wine.
8. Not violent; not pugnacious.
9. Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle.
10. Not a brawler; not contentious; not soon angry or quick-tempered.
11. Not covetous; not a lover of money; not greedy of base gain.
12. Rules his own household well. His children are faithful, not accused of rebellion to God.
13. Not a novice; not a new convert.
14. Has a good report or reputation with outsiders.
15. Not self-willed.
16. Loves what is good.
17. Just, fair.
18. Holy, devout.
(1) 2 Timothy 2:1-2; 3 John 1:12, (2) 1 Timothy 3:1, (3) Titus 1: 6-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3, (4) Hebrews 10:25
SECTION 4. SELECTION OF ELDERS
1. The Elder Board shall set aside men that they determine have met the qualifications and calling of the office of Elder. They shall be declared as being under consideration.
2. The Elder Board shall then make it known to the church that a particular individual is being considered as a candidate for the office of Elder.
3. For a period of time, not less than thirty days, the congregation will have the opportunity to prayerfully consider the individual’s qualifications for the office of Elder. If members for any reason feel that the person may be unqualified, they should go to him in love with discretion and privately discuss their concerns (1). If after a discussion with the nominee, the members feel that their concern is unresolved, then they should approach the Elder Body with their concern. During the time that a man is under consideration, there are several process options.
● Option 1: The man under consideration can withdraw himself from consideration and the process will cease.
● Option 2: The Elder Board may deem the man unqualified for whatever reason and the process will cease.
● Option 3: The man and the Elder Board agree that the process should continue.
4. After the time of consideration within the church, the Elder Board may call a special council of Elders meeting, including Elders from other congregations for the purpose of examining the prospective Elder.
5. After prayerful consideration of the advice of the Elders, and a unanimous decision of the Desert Ridge Baptist Church Elder Board, the prospective Elder is approved.
6. Upon approval, the man shall immediately assume his position as an Elder.
(1) Matthew 18:15-18; Titus 1:7
SECTION 5. LEADERSHIP AMONG THE ELDERS
FIRST AMONG EQUALS
As demonstrated in the Scriptures, even among the leadership of the church there is a leader. The Pastor-Teacher shall act as the first among equals in the Elder Board. He shall have one voice in the Elder Board and in that way is an equal among equals.
SECTION 6. NUMBER OF ELDERS
The number of Elders shall be as many as are qualified and needed to shepherd the church. The Elder Board shall determine that number.
SECTION 7. REMOVAL OF ELDERS
The Elder Board has the authority to dismiss an Elder if he becomes physically incapacitated, spiritually unqualified, or his inability to serve is unanimously established by the other Elders.
If in the unanimous decision of the other Elders, the Pastor-Teacher does not meet biblically explicit qualifications, then the Elder Board shall suspend him of his duties, and the process of church discipline will begin (See ARTICLE VII. SECTION 6 and ARTICLE VIII. SECTION 1.E.).
1 Timothy 5:19-20
SECTION 8. ELDER BODY MEETINGS
Meetings of the Elder Board shall be held on a regular basis as determined by the Elders. The Pastor-Teacher/Chairman may call special meetings of the Elder Board as needed.
ARTICLE VII. THE PASTOR-TEACHER
SECTION 1. THE POSITION OF THE PASTOR-TEACHER
The Pastor-Teacher is the primary teaching pastor of the church. He is primarily responsible for the spiritual equipping and oversight of the entire congregation and is the first among equals in the Elder Board. He normally acts as the spokesman for the Elder Board to the congregation and is directly responsible to the Elder Board for the carrying out of his duties in the church.
Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Peter 5:2-4
SECTION 2. DUTIES OF THE PASTOR-TEACHER
The duties and responsibilities of the Pastor-Teacher in order of their priority are as follows:
1. To pray (1).
2. To prepare and to preach the Word (2).
3. To protect the church from false doctrine (3).
4. To see to the administration, oversight, and care of all church staff (4).
5. To lead in the selection of all church staff in accordance with the selection process established in these bylaws.
(1) Acts 6:4, (2) Acts 6:4; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:5, (3) 1 Timothy 4:16; Titus 1:9, (4) Acts 20:34
SECTION 3. AUTHORITY TO DELEGATE
The Pastor-Teacher may, at his discretion, delegate any task pertaining to the administration and oversight of the church staff. Delegation may be done through individuals or councils. In the event of the delegation of a task, those individuals or councils shall be directly responsible to the Pastor-Teacher, and the Pastor-Teacher shall remain responsible for the task. This provision is added with the following tasks in mind, but is not limited to this list.
1. The selection of pastoral, non-pastoral ministry and support staff.
2. The annual financial support review of all church staff.
3. The compilation of an annual ministry church budget.
4. The review of ongoing and new church program possibilities and ministries.
Romans 10:14-15; 1 Corinthians 9:3-14; Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18; 1 Timothy 5:17-18; 3 John 5-8
SECTION 4. THE SELECTION OF THE PASTOR-TEACHER
The Elder Body shall lead in the process of selecting the Pastor-Teacher as follows:
1. The Elder Board shall serve as the pastor search council, or select the pastor search council.
2. The Elder Board shall set guidelines and procedures for the council to follow throughout the pastor search process.
3. The council shall consist of at least five men and shall have a member of the Elder Board as its chairman.
4. The council shall be directly responsible to the Elder Board and shall keep them informed on its progress.
5. Upon the recommendation of the council and the approval of a specific Pastor-Teacher candidate, the Elder Board shall make known to the congregation all pertinent information about the prospective Pastor-Teacher.
6. A special meeting shall be set and announced publicly at least two weeks in advance when a prospective Pastor-Teacher is coming in view of a call.
7. Upon the recommendation of the pastor search council and the unanimous decision of the Elder Board, the man shall be ordained as Pastor-Teacher. The Elder Board shall announce to the church the date that the new Pastor-Teacher’s tenure shall begin.
SECTION 5. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF THE PASTOR-TEACHER
The Finance Council shall recommend to the Elder Board and continually review the Pastor-Teacher’s financial support and benefit package (1).
1. The Pastor-Teacher shall receive his support package information in writing before he comes to the church in view of a call.
2. The Finance Council shall submit to the Elder Board its proposal for the Pastor-Teacher’s support and benefit package.
3. The Finance Council shall review the Pastor-Teacher’s support and benefit package at least annually and submit its proposal to the Elder Board.
4. Any change in his support and benefit package shall be given to the Pastor-Teacher in writing.
SECTION 6. TENURE AND DISMISSAL OF THE PASTOR-TEACHER
1. The tenure of the Pastor-Teacher shall be determined by the Elder Board.
2. The Elder Board has the authority to dismiss the pastor-teacher if he becomes physically incapacitated, spiritually unqualified, or his inability to serve is unanimously established by the remainder of the Elder Body. This dismissal requires a unanimous decision from the remaining Elders.
3. Any accusation against the Pastor-Teacher must be made in accordance with Scripture (1).
4. Dismissal may be immediate if so recommended by the Elder Board. The Pastor-Teacher must give at least one-month’s written notice if he intends to resign.
5. The time limit of resignation is subject to a lesser time if mutually agreed upon in writing by the Pastor-Teacher and the Elder Board.
6. Financial support shall continue to the end of the Pastor-Teacher’s tenure.
(1) 1 Timothy 5:19-20
SECTION 7. VACANCY OF THE PASTOR-TEACHER POSITION
In the event that the church is without a Pastor-Teacher, the Elder Body will:
1. Choose from among themselves an interim first among equals as chairman, moderator, and spokesman for the Elder Body to the church.
2. They shall choose an interim administrator to be over all church staff.
3. They shall be responsible for finding a preacher to fill the pulpit until a full-time Pastor-Teacher is found.
4. They shall start the pastor search process as established in these by laws.
ARTICLE VIII. CHURCH ELDERS AND STAFF
SECTION 1. PAID AND NON-PAID ELDERS
The Elder Board, in cooperation with each Elder, shall establish each Elder’s specific duties. The Elder Board may change these duties as the need arises. Any duties or changes in duties should be given to each Elder in writing.
B. UNDER AUTHORITY
Elders shall be directly responsible to the Elder Board as a whole for the carrying out of their duties and responsibilities.
C. TENURE AND DISMISSAL OF PAID AND NON-PAID ELDERS
1. The tenure of the paid Elders shall be determined by the Elder Board.
2. The Elder Board has the authority to dismiss an Elder if he becomes physically incapacitated, spiritually unqualified, or his inability to serve is unanimously established by the remainder of the Elder Board. This dismissal requires a unanimous decision from the remaining Elders.
3. Any accusation against an Elder must be made in accordance with Scripture (1).
4. Dismissal may be immediate if decided by the Elder Board.
5. An Elder must give at least one-month’s written notice if he intends to resign.
6. The time limit of resignation is subject to a lesser time if mutually agreed upon in writing by the Pastor-Teacher and the Elder Board.
7. Financial support shall continue to the end of the Elder’s tenure.
(1) 1 Timothy 5:19-20
E. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF PAID ELDERS
1. The Elder shall receive his financial support package information in writing before he comes to the church in view of a call.
2. The Finance Council shall initially recommend the Elder’s support and benefit package and submit its proposal to the Elder Board.
3. The Finance Council shall also review the Elder’s support and benefit package at least annually and submit its proposal to the Elder Board.
4. Any change in his support package is subject to Elder Board approval and shall be given to each Elder in writing.
SECTION 2. SUPPORT STAFF
A. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Pastor-Teacher shall establish the duties and responsibilities of all support staff in writing. He may change these duties as the need arises. Any duties or changes in duties shall be given to the staff persons in writing so that they will know their duties and responsibilities to the church and to the Pastor-Teacher.
B. UNDER AUTHORITY
Persons on support staff shall be directly responsible to the Pastor-Teacher or to the supervisor that the Pastor-Teacher designates for the carrying out of their duties and responsibilities.
C. SELECTION OF SUPPORT STAFF
1. The Pastor-Teacher shall lead in the selection of all support staff.
2. Support staff selection shall be subject to Elder Board approval.
D. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF SUPPORT STAFF
The Finance Council shall initially establish and review the financial package of all support staff and forward it to the Elder Board for approval.
1. Persons on support staff shall receive their financial package information in writing before they begin their tenure.
2. The Finance Council shall review the support staff financial support and benefits package on an annual basis.
3. Any change in the package is subject to Elder Board approval and shall be given to the support staff in writing.
E. TENURE AND DISMISSAL OF SUPPORT STAFF
1. The tenure of support staff shall be determined by the Elder Body.
2. Upon the recommendation of the Pastor-Teacher, support staff shall be dismissed if they become physically incapacitated, position is abolished, or their inability to perform their duties is established by the Pastor-Teacher and confirmed by the Elder Board.
3. Dismissal may be immediate if so determined by the Elder Board.
4. Support staff must give at least two weeks’ notice if they intend to resign.
5. The time limit of resignation is subject to a lesser time if mutually agreed upon by the staff person and the Pastor-Teacher.
6. Financial support shall continue to the end of the staff person’s tenure.
ARTICLE IX. DEACONS
The New Testament Scripture teaches that Deacons were appointed by the Elders as servants to minister to the needs of the Body of Christ. This ministry allowed the Elder Board to devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word. The Deacon is a servant to the Body of Christ. Any other concept does injustice to the New Testament record found in Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3. It is not a position or office to give a man in order to honor him or give him authority outside his particular area of service. In summary, a deacon is a man gifted for service, filled with the Holy Spirit, holding the mystery of the Faith with a good conscience who performs a specific service in the body.
SECTION 1. PURPOSE OF DEACONS
The purpose of Deacons in the church is as follows:
1. To work and serve under the authority of the Elder Board and staff to support, encourage, promote, and uphold their ministry (1).
2. To exemplify spiritual maturity and servanthood in the fellowship of the church, in their family, personal, and business relationships (2).
3. To be men of prayer and students of the Word of God (3).
4. To seek to lead the lost to the Lord Jesus Christ (4).
(1) Acts 6:3, (2) 1 Timothy 3:8-16, (3) 1 Timothy 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:14-15, (4) Matthew 28:19-20
SECTION 2. QUALIFICATIONS OF DEACONS
A. ACTIVE CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
A man must be an active member of this church for one year prior to the time of appointment as Deacon unless the Elder Board approves a shorter time. (1).
B. BIBLICAL QUALIFICATIONS
A Deacon must possess the qualifications described in Scripture. He shall be:
1. A man of good reputation (2).
2. A man full of the Spirit and wisdom (3).
3. A man of dignity, not double-tongued, not addicted to wine, nor fond of sordid gain (4).
4. A man who holds the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience (5).
5. A man beyond reproach (6).
6. A one-woman man (7).
7. A man who is a good manager of his children and his own household (8).
(1) 1 Timothy 3:10, (2) Acts 6:3, (3) Acts 6:3, (4) 1 Timothy 3:8, (5) 1 Timothy 3:9, (6) 1 Timothy 3:10, (7) 1 Timothy 3:12, (8) 1 Timothy 3:12
SECTION 3. DEACON SELECTION PROCESS
The process by which Deacons are selected is as follows:
1. The Elder Board shall determine if there is a need for additional Deacons for the church.
2. When the Elder Board determines that there is a need for additional Deacons, it shall direct the church to nominate from among the active membership men who they believe meet the qualifications of a Deacon as stated above..
3. Upon nomination by the church the Elder Board shall prayerfully test and consider those nominees.
4. Those men approved by the Elder Board may then be formally appointed to the office of deacon by the laying on of hands.
SECTION 4. DEACON COOPERATION
Deacons will work together and support each other to fulfill their responsibilities.
SECTION 5. TERM OF OFFICE
The tenure of a Deacon shall be determined by the Elders.
(Revised May 22, 2018)