C O N S T I T U T I O N
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF RIVERTON, WYOMING
ARTICLE I - NAME
The name of the church shall be the “First Baptist Church of Riverton, Wyoming.”
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
The purpose of First Baptist Church is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ through evangelizing, enfolding, edifying, equipping, and empowering, all to the glory of God.
Evangelizing - Bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Enfolding - Helping people to know that they are accepted and loved within the fellowship of believers, and encouraging them to become active members of First Baptist Church.
Edifying - Growing believers in the understanding of the Word of God, developing Christian character and energizing a passion for serving Jesus Christ.
Equipping - Giving to people the necessary skills that will enable them to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ as we work together as a body of believers, serving God and people.
Empowering - Allowing people to discover their gifts for ministry and releasing them to participate in the ministry of Christ and His church.
ARTICLE III – POLITY
The church shall be an independent and autonomous organization, whose government shall be vested in the body which composes its membership. It may cooperate with and participate in the membership and activities of other organizations of like faith and doctrine when approved by the church membership, and is affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association of America/Rocky Mountain Conservative Baptist Association dba Rocky Mountain Church Network.
ARTICLE IV – CHURCH COVENANT
Having, as we trust, been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of a Christian Church, exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require.
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
We will rejoice at each other’s happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life.
We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will 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 will, when we move from this place, 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.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
ARTICLE V – STATEMENT OF FAITH
A. THE BIBLE IS THE SUPREME AUTHORITY IN ALL MATTERS OF FAITH AND PRACTICE
We believe in the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired of God, and inerrant in the original manuscripts, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21).
B. THE TRINITY
We believe in one God (Deut. 6:4), eternally existing in the three persons, FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT (Matt. 28:19).
C. THE DEITY AND HUMANITY OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, and is true God and true Man (Is. 7:14; Luke 1:35; John 1:1; Heb 2:17, 18).
D. THE SINFULNESS OF MAN
We believe that man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), and that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God (Gen 2:17; Romans 6:23); and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and, in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word, and deed (Romans 5:12; 3:23).
E. JESUS CHRIST, THE ATONEMENT FOR OUR SINS
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and that all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood (Romans 3:24, 25).
F. RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord (Luke 24:6), in His ascension into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11), and of His present life there for us as High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 1:9-11; 10:12; I Tim. 2:5).
G. THE SECOND COMING
We believe in the “the blessed Hope,” the personal pre-millennial return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13; Acts 1:11; Rev. 20:3, 4; Matt. 24:42).
H. JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
We believe that only those who receive by faith the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become Children of God (John 1:12; 3:16).
I. HEAVEN AND HELL
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust (Dan. 12:2; I Cor. 15:42, 43), the everlasting blessedness of the saved (Rev. 21:3, 4), and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost (Rev. 20:11-15).
J. THE CHURCH
We believe that the local church is a body of baptized believers organized for worship, work and fellowship (Acts 2:41, 42; Eph. 4:11, 12), that the two ordinances of the church are Baptism by immersion (Matt. 28:19), and the Lord’s Supper (I Cor. 11:22-26), that the local church is an independent and self-governing body responsible alone to Christ who is its Savior and Lord (Eph. 1:22, 23; Acts 15:22, 30; 14:23; Matt. 18:17).
ARTICLE VI – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 - Reception of Membership
To become a member of the First Baptist Church of Riverton, Wyoming, one must publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, have been baptized by immersion, and understand and subscribe to the Statement of Faith (Article V). Candidates for membership, whether by baptism, by letter from another church, by statement of experience, or by restoration, shall meet with representatives of the Board of Elders to testify to their conversion experience and their agreement with the faith and work of the church. Candidates that the board recommends for membership may be voted upon at any Members’ Meeting. An affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the members present shall be required to accept a candidate for membership. The date of favorable vote is the effective date of membership for those accepted by letter, statement of experience, baptism, or restoration.
A. By Baptism
Any person expressing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has given personal testimony of regeneration and acceptance of the statement of faith and practices held by this church and is baptized by immersion in water, may be presented for membership upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders.
B. By Letter
Any person to whom the ordinance of baptism by immersion has been administered may be received by letter from a church of like faith and practice. Said person may be presented for membership upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders.
C. By Statement of Experience
Any immersed believer who is unable to present a letter of dismissal from another church, who professes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and is in accord with the statement of faith and practices of this church, may be presented for membership upon satisfactory statement of their Christian experience and upon the recommendation of the Board of Elders.
D. By Restoration
Any former member of this church whose membership has been withdrawn, may be presented for membership upon recommendation of the Board of Elders and be restored to membership.
E. Associate Membership
Temporary residents of this area whose membership is a home church to which they later expect to return, who otherwise would be qualified by letter or statement of experience, may be presented for associate membership upon recommendation of the Board of Elders. If elected to associate membership by vote of the church, they shall be granted all the privileges of membership except voting. They may retain full membership in their home church.
Section 2 - Classification of Members
An Active Member is regular in attendance and actively supporting the church.
Members removed to such a distance as to make attendance impossible shall be listed as non-resident members. They shall not be counted in a quorum and shall not be permitted to vote.
Any member who is not active (unless otherwise hindered by sickness or other means beyond his control) may be interviewed concerning the problem and if the activity is not restored, the Elders may, if they feel the facts warrant, place said person on the inactive list. Inactive members shall not be counted in the quorum and shall not be permitted to vote in any meeting of the church. Any member on the inactive list may be restored to active membership by demonstrating the requirements of active membership.
Section 3 - Dismissal of Members
A. Mode of Procedures
All terminations of membership by erasure or exclusion shall be acted on by the Board of Elders and no action shall be taken by the church without recommendation of that board. An affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the members present shall be required to effectively remove any person by reason for erasure or exclusion. Except in the case of death, all membership shall cease as of the time of the affirmative vote of the church.
B. By Letter
A letter of transfer to unite with any other church of like faith may be granted by the recommendations of the Board of Elders and vote of the church membership on the request.
C. By Erasure
Any member who is not active may be interviewed concerning the problem. The Elders may, if they feel the facts warrant, recommend said person for erasure. Those members uniting with a church of another denomination shall be so removed.
D. By Exclusion
Any member may be excluded from the roll of membership for conduct unbecoming a Christian or for any other cause tending to promote discord or to injure the unity, reputation or effectiveness of the church. Such terminations of membership shall not be recommended until faithful efforts have been made by the Board of Elders to bring the member to repentance and amending of life, and due notice of the pending recommendation has been given to the member (Matt. 18:16-17).
E. By Death
F. Associate Membership
Associate membership shall cease automatically upon termination of temporary residence in this area.
G. Annual Review
The Board of Elders shall at least annually review the status of the membership rolls and make appropriate recommendations for membership classification.
ARTICLE VII – ORGANIZATION
Section 1 - Officers
A. Leadership Roles
· Pastor leads.
· Staff executes.
· Board of Elders administrates.
· Congregation ministers.
B. Senior Pastor
The scriptural qualifications of a pastor are described in I Tim. 3 and in Titus 1. In addition:
· He shall possess the spiritual qualifications, and work experience required for the respective position.
· He shall agree with the Doctrinal Statement and Constitution of First Baptist Church.
· It is preferred that he shall be an ordained graduate of an evangelical seminary or Bible college.
When the office of Senior Pastor shall become, or is about to become vacant, the Chairman of the Board of Elders shall immediately call a Members’ Meeting for the purpose of electing a Search Committee and taking action as appropriate. Notice of such meeting and the purpose therefore shall be given on a Sunday at least one week prior to the meeting.
The Search Committee shall make recommendations to the Board of Elders to fill the office of Senior Pastor, providing that the requirements outlined in Article VII, Section B.1 are observed.
The Elder Board shall make a recommendation at the Members’ Meeting. The candidate shall be given the privilege of presenting himself for consideration. A question and answer period with all interested church members shall be conducted; the Chairman of the Board of Elders shall be in charge of the question and answer period. After the completion of the visit of the candidate the chairman of the Board of Elders shall call a Special Meeting of the members for the purpose of considering such recommendations as given by the Search Committee. Notice of such meetings and the purpose thereof shall be given on a Sunday at least two weeks prior to the meeting. A three-fourths (¾) affirmative vote of the adult members present and representing a quorum for a Special Meeting shall be sufficient to authorize extending a call to any nominee.
3. Duties and Responsibilities
The pastor is the spiritual leader of the church. His primary purpose shall be to study, teach, and preach the Word. He shall be accountable to the Board of Elders.
In Ephesians 4 the pastor is compared to the shepherd with a flock of sheep, and as the spiritual under-shepherd he is responsible for leading, protecting and feeding the flock. His administrative responsibilities shall include administration of the church office and staff and other pastoral staff members. The Senior Pastor is an ex-officio member of all boards and committees.
4. Terminating the Pastoral Relationship
A Senior Pastor’s resignation may be accepted by a majority vote of those members present at any Special Meeting or regular Members’ Meeting of the church. A majority vote of the adult members present shall be required by the church.
Where the church initiates the termination, it shall be initiated in the following manner:
Upon presentation to the Board of Elders of a request signed by at least ten percent (10%) of the adult members of the church, the Chairman of the Board of Elders shall immediately call a Special Meeting of the church. Notice and purpose of such meeting shall be given on consecutive Sundays at least two weeks preceding the meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) affirmative vote of the adult members present and representing a quorum for a Special Meeting shall be sufficient to terminate the Senior Pastor’s relation.
C. Other Pastoral Staff Members
Additional pastoral staff members (e.g. Assistant Pastor, Minister of Youth, Director of Christian Education, and Minister of Music) shall perform duties as mutually agreed upon under a job description prepared by the pastor or a designated committee and then adopted by the Board of Elders. When assigned to a committee, a pastoral staff member shall be a voting member of that committee. The relationship between the pastoral staff member and the church shall continue until terminated by agreement of the Elder Board and the Senior Pastor.
D. Board of Elders
There shall be a Board of Elders consisting of six or more men. Elders shall be elected to three-year terms, one-third of the number being elected annually. Except where an Elder has been elected to fill any unexpired term, members of this body shall not be permitted to succeed themselves in office. A chairman and a vice-chairman shall be chosen by the Board of Elders.
1. Qualifications of Elders
Qualifications of the Board of Elders shall be those outlined in I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
2. Election of Elders
When a man is being considered for a position on the Board of Elders, his qualifications shall be reviewed by the present Board of Elders, and his name presented for election by the church body. Once a man has been nominated to serve as an Elder, the pastor shall notify him as soon as possible, prior to the annual meeting. A list of nominated elders shall be presented to the members at least two weeks in advance of the annual meeting. Elders shall be voted on by written ballot at the annual meeting and shall be elected by a three-fourths (3/4) affirmation of those members present. Dissenting votes are to be identified and investigated by the Elder Board to determine the validity of the objections. Confirmation of the candidate or rejection will then be reported back to the members.
3. Elders’ Privileges and Responsibilities
The Elders shall assist the pastor in caring for the spiritual interests of the church. Except in the case where the church is hearing a candidate officially invited by the Search Committee, they shall, in the absence of the pastor or a vacancy in that office, fill the pulpit themselves with those of their number who evidence the gift of preaching or attend to the filling of the pulpit with visiting speakers for all regular services of the church. In conjunction with the pastor, they shall examine all applicants for membership and shall make appropriate recommendation to the church. They shall have charge of, and responsibility for, the maintenance of order in the house of worship during all public services. They shall be responsible for assisting the pastor in tending to the spiritual and physical needs of the sick and destitute, and for dispensing any funds provided for such purposes.
The Elder Board shall hold the property of the church in trust, and, under the direction of the church, execute deeds, mortgages, contracts, promissory notes or other legal papers on behalf of the church. The Chairman and the Vice Chairman shall be the trustees unless otherwise designated by the Elder Board.
The Elders will appoint a Deacon/Deaconess and at least two members to serve on a Finance Committee to coordinate the finances of the church and to produce a detailed annual budget. In addition, the Treasurer and the Financial Secretary shall serve on this committee. They shall present the annual budget for review to the Elder Board at least 30 days in advance of the annual meeting. The members will have the final vote on the recommended budget.
The Elders shall be responsible for collection of the offering and other monies received by the church. The Elders shall perform the collection, documentation, handling, and transferal of the funds to the church financial secretary in such a way as to protect the funds as well as the integrity of the Elders performing the collection.
The Elder Board shall be responsible for ensuring that the church fulfills the missional requirements as set out in the Great Commission in Matt. 28:18-20.
The Elder Board is responsible to see that the needs of Christian education are met within our congregation. In order to maintain a high standard of biblical doctrine and quality with respect to Christian education curriculum and staffing, the Elders may appoint a Deacon/Deaconess to coordinate the ministry of Christian education.
The Board of Elders shall be responsible for maintaining church unity. If a serious disagreement shall arise, they shall be responsible for the handling of all church discipline up to the point of referral of the issue to the church body. If a serious disagreement should arise threatening church unity, the Board of Elders shall try to find a satisfactory settlement through prayerful and thorough investigation. The settlement or lack thereof shall be reported at the members’ meeting with appropriate recommendations.
Individual members of the board shall serve as chairman of various other committees as deemed advisable. The Board of Elders shall form such ad hoc committees and ministry teams as they deem necessary for the effective functioning of the larger ministry of First Baptist Church. Deacons and Deaconesses may be appointed by the Elder Board as needed. Such Deacons and Deaconesses will serve in areas where particular needs arise.
Minutes of all Elders meetings shall be recorded and filed monthly in the church office. If the Board is considering confidential issues, they may choose to enter into executive session. If anyone desires to review the regular minutes (excluding minutes of executive sessions), they may request in writing, permission from the Board of Elders.
E. Financial Secretary
There shall be a financial secretary nominated by the Board of Elders and elected annually by the membership. The financial secretary shall serve under general supervision of the Board of Elders.
The financial secretary, in conjunction with the Board of Elders shall be responsible for the receipt of all monies of the church and shall promptly deposit all funds in a bank approved by the Board of Elders. The financial secretary shall maintain records reflecting the origin of all receipts of the church and shall inform the treasurer of all deposits made. The Financial Secretary will be a member of the Finance Committee.
There shall be a treasurer nominated by the Board of Elders and elected annually by the membership. The treasurer shall serve under the general supervision of the Board of Elders.
The treasurer shall be responsible for the disbursement of all monies of the church and shall keep a correct and up-to-date record of all transactions. The treasurer shall, under the direction of the Elder Board, make all disbursements by check drawn on a bank approved by the Board of Elders. In addition to the annual report submitted at the Annual Business Meeting, he/she shall submit a detailed monthly report and provide a report to the regular Members’ Meetings. At the request of the Elders, the treasurer shall tender the books for auditing. The Treasurer will be a member of the Finance Committee.
There shall be a church clerk nominated by the Board of Elders and elected annually by the membership. The clerk shall serve under the general supervision of the Board of Elders.
The clerk shall keep the minutes of all regular Members’ Meetings, the Annual Business Meeting, and Special Meetings of the church and shall duly record all official acts of the church. He/she shall be responsible for maintaining all records of the church.
ARTICLE VIII – REPORTS
Annual Reports shall be presented in writing and assembled for disbursement to the members. These reports will be completed by the Senior Pastor, staff and Elder Board, deacons’ ministry, officers, and any ad hoc committees that have served throughout the year.
ARTICLE IX – MEETINGS
Section 1 - Religious Services
Public Services for divine worship, Christian fellowship, and evangelism shall be held regularly on the Lord’s Day. There may be other special religious services as the Board of Elders may determine.
Section 2 - Meetings
A. Members’ Meetings
Member’s Meetings will be held at least quarterly. Members Meetings may also be called on an as-needed basis by the Board of Elders.
Decisions to be made at the Members’ Meetings are:
· Voting on new members.
· Voting on removal of members.
· Accepting the resignation of a staff member.
· Electing a Search Committee.
· Providing information to the Congregation.
· Making emergency decisions.
B. Annual Business Meeting
The church year shall run from January 1 to December 31. There shall be an Annual Business Meeting of the church to be held in November. Notice of the Annual Business Meeting must be given at the regular services on the two Sundays preceding the meeting. Decisions to be made at the Annual Business Meeting include but are not limited to:
· Approval of officers.
· Approval of annual budget.
C. Special Meetings
Special Meetings may be convened at any time at the call of the Pastor or the chairman of the Board of Elders. Notice of the Special Meeting and the purpose thereof must be given at the regular services on the two Sundays preceding the meeting. Decisions to be made only at Special Meetings include but are not limited to:
· Amendments to the Constitution.
· Amendments to the Statement of Faith.
· Amendments to the Church Covenant.
· Calling of the Senior Pastor.
· Removal of the Senior Pastor.
· Voting on congregational indebtedness and/or real estate.
ARTICLE X – ORDINANCES
The time and the place of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper shall be at the discretion of the Pastor and the Board of Elders.
ARTICLE XI - GENERAL
Section 1 - Parliamentary Authority
Except as otherwise noted in this constitution, “Roberts Rules of Order” shall be the standard for parliamentary usage in the church.
Section 2 - Quorum
A. Members’ Meetings
Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met, a quorum for Members’ Meetings shall be understood to be 10% of the active membership of the church.
B. Annual Business Meeting and Special Meetings
Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met, a quorum for the Annual Business Meeting and Special Meetings shall be understood to be 30% of the active adult membership of the church.
C. Board and Committee Meetings
A majority of the committee/board members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any board or committee business.
Section 3 - Real Estate
A Special Meeting shall be called by the Board of Elders for the purposes of congregational indebtedness or the purchase, sale, or encumbrance of real estate. A three-fourths (3/4) affirmative vote of the members having reached the age of 18 and representing a quorum for a Special Meeting is required for these transactions.
Section 4 - Age of Voting Members
Members of fourteen (14) years of age or over shall be known as adult members and, except as otherwise provided herein, shall be entitled to vote on all matters relating to the church.
ARTICLE XII– AMENDMENTS
This Constitution, including the Church Covenant and Statement of Faith, may be amended only at a Special Meeting of the church by an affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the members present, as it relates to a Quorum. Any proposed amendment must be given in writing. Notice of the proposed amendment and time of the meeting at which the vote is to be taken must be given at the regular services on the two Sundays preceding the meeting.
ARTICLE XIII – INDEMNIFICATION
The church shall indemnify a person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative and whether formal or informal, other than an action by or in the right of the church, by reason of the fact that the person is or was a member, director, officer, employee, non-director volunteer, or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a member, director, officer, partner, trustee, employee, non-director volunteer, or agent of another foreign or domestic corporation, business corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, whether for profit, or not for profit, against expenses including attorney fees, judgments, penalties, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding if the person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interest of the church or its members, and with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, if the person had no reasonable cause to believe that his/her conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent shall not of itself create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner which the person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interest of the church or its members and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that the conduct was unlawful.
ARTICLE XIV – DISSOLUTION
In the event of the dissolution of this corporation, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied. None of its assets or holdings shall be divided among the members or other individuals, but shall be irrevocably designated to corporate vote prior to the dissolution to such nonprofit religious corporations as are in agreement with the letter and spirit of the Articles of Faith adopted by this church, and in conformity with the requirements of the United States Internal Revenue Service Code of 1954, Section 501(c)3. Preference of the designation of the assets and holdings shall be made to the Rocky Mountain Conservative Baptist Association, dba Rocky Mountain Church Network, in recognition of the financial contribution and encouragement of the establishment of First Baptist Church and church planting in this region.