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Church Constitution

CONSTITUTION

OF

SOUTHERN OAKS BAPTIST CHURCH



PREAMBLE


We declare and establish this Constitution for the preservation and security
of the principles of our faith and that this body may be governed in an orderly
manner. This Constitution will set forth the responsibilities of each individual
member of this church and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches.


ARTICLE I, NAME, PURPOSE, ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION


This body shall be known as the Southern Oaks Baptist Church of Brazos County, Texas.


PURPOSE:


The purpose of this body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ is to fulfill the following basic missions:




I. EVANGELISM








To obey the command of Christ to evangelize the world
by confronting each

person in our sphere of influence with their need of
Christ as Saviour and


by supporting worldwide missions.





"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the

name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe

all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of


the age." (Matthew 28: 18-20)









II. ASSIMILATION/FELLOWSHIP







To provide a spiritual climate in which the body of
Christ is joined in His

strength and in a spirit of unity.






"Make my joy complete by being of the same mind,
maintaining the same love,

united in spirit, intent on one purpose."
(Philippians 2:2)












III. COMMITMENT/ACCOUNTABILITY






To encourage each member to submit to the Lordship of
Christ and to faithfully


exercise this responsibilities as a member of the
body.





"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him."

(Colossians 2:6) "So we, who are many, are one
body in Christ and


individually members one of another...Be devoted to one
another in brotherly

love....So then each one of us shall give account of
himself to God."

(Romans 12:5, 10; 14:12)












IV. DISCIPLESHIP/VISION






To encourage each member to become a disciplined
follower of Christ and to


develop a vision of spiritual multiplication.





"That you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to
please Him in all respects,

bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the
knowledge of God."

(Col. 1:10)










V. EDUCATION









To provide a Bible-centered study program in which each
individual is challenged

to apply scriptural principles to all of life.






"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for
teaching, for reproof,

for correction, for training in righteousness." (II
Timothy 3:16)











VI. RESPONSIBLE SERVICE






To assist each member in discovering and using his/her
spiritual gift for

the edifying of the church.








"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in
serving one another,

as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (I
Peter 4:10)











VII. SPIRITUAL REPRODUCTION







To lead each member to a commitment to faithfully
witness and to personally

train each new convert to become a disciple-maker.





"And the things which you have heard from me in the
presence of many witnesses,


these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to
teach others also." (II

Timothy 2:2)

















ARTICLE II: POLITY AND DOCTRINE











SECTION 1: POLITY







The government of this church is vested in the body of
believers who compose

it (Romans 12:4-8). It is subject to the control
of no other

ecclesiastical body (Colossians 1:18). It does,
however, recognize

the need of mutual fellowship and cooperation with
other churches of like

faith and practices (Galatians 6:2). This church
will cooperate with


and support the local association and state convention
affiliated with the

Southern Baptist Convention, as long as such
association does not violate

scriptural principles.












SECTION 2: DOCTRINE












A. The Scriptures:





We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only
infallible, authoritative


Word of God and without error or defect in the
original manuscripts and in

all that it affirms.





    We believe that the Scriptures as we
now have them contain

all that is necessary to salvation and a life ordered
toward Christian


maturity.



(II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21; Acts 18:28;
Romans 15:4)














B. The Godhead:








We believe that the Godhead eternally exists in three
persons -- the Father,

the Son, the Holy Spirit -- and that these are one
God who are equal in every

divine perfection and execute distinct but harmonious
offices. (Matthew

28:18-19; II Corinthians 13:14)














C. Jesus Christ:








We believe that Jesus Christ is the pre-existent and
eternal Son of God who

became man in order to reveal God and redeem man. We
believe He was

supernaturally conceived of the Holy Spirit and born
of the virgin Mary.

In His person, we believe the Lord Jesus combined
forever full and undiminished


deity with true and perfect humanity to become the
God-man. We believe Christ

died on the Cross as a substitute for sinful man, was
buried, arose bodily

from the tomb, ascended into Heaven where He
ministers on behalf of Saints,

and someday will come again for His own. (John
1:18; 8:58; Matthew 1:23;

Colossians 1:15-17; I Timothy 1:15; 3:16)














D. The Creation and Fall of Man:






We believe that the Triune God, according to His
sovereign will and for His

own glory, created the heavens and the earth without
the use of pre-existent

material. All living things, we believe, came into
being by a direct creative

act of God and not by an evolutionary or random
process, and thus have an


existence distinct from Him and yet always dependent
on Him. (Genesis 2:4;

Proverbs 16:4; Acts 17:24; Colossians 1:17)





    We believe that man was originally
created in the image and

the likeness of God, that he fell through sin, and as
a consequence became


depraved. We believe this total depravity of human
nature has been transmitted

to the entire human race, except the Man Christ
Jesus. (Genesis 1:26;

2:17; Romans 3:10-19; Ephesians 2:1-3)














E. The Way of Salvation:








We believe that salvation from the penalty and power
of sin is provided only

through the blood of Jesus Christ which He shed on
the Cross when He was

made sin for us and died in our place. There is
nothing man can do, we believe,

to attain this salvation through good works, moral
achievement or religious

status. We believe the one and only condition for
salvation is personal faith


in Jesus Christ as one's own substitute for and
Saviour from sin.



    At the time of salvation, we believe a
person is spiritually

regenerated, his sins are forgiven, God's
righteousness is imputed to him,

and he is declared righteous in the sight of God.
This salvation, we believe,

is complete and a present possession of all believers
which remains theirs


forever. All who have trusted Christ as Saviour are
kept secure and will

never lose their salvation. (John 1:12; 3:16; Acts
16:31: Ephesians 1:7;

2:8-9; 4:32; I Peter 1:18-19; 2:24; Titus 3:5; II
Corinthians 5:21; Romans

5:1; 8:38-39)














F. The Church and Her Ordinances:








We believe that the Church is a unique organism
composed of individuals who

have placed their faith in Christ as Saviour. The
Church began, we believe,

on the day of Pentecost and will continue its
distinct purpose until the

Rapture. We believe that the Church exists in both a
universal aspect, as


the Body of Christ, and in a local assembly of
believers. The local church,

we believe, as the two-fold purpose of the
discipleship of believers and

evangelization of the lost.



     The two ordinances of the church
are water baptism, which

we practice by immersion, and the Lord's Supper,
which we believe to be a


memorial of Christ's death and is open to all
believers.



    (I Corinthians 11:23-28; 12:12-27;
John 17:20-23; Ephesians

4:7-13; Colossians 3:12-15; 4:16; Matthew 16:16-18;
28:19-20; Acts 2:1-4,

42-47; 18:7-8; Luke 22:19-20; Hebrews 13:17;I
Thessalonians 4:13-17)
















G. The Resurrection:






We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and
the lost -- they that

are saved unto the resurrection of eternal life, and
they that are lost unto

the resurrection of eternal damnation. (I
Corinthians 15; John 5:28-29)
















H. The Blessed Hope:






We believe in the personal and premillennial and
imminent coming of our Lord

Jesus Christ and that this "Blessed Hope" has a vital
bearing on the personal

life and service of the believer. (John 14:1-3; I
Corinthians 15:51-52;

Philippians 3:20; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus
2:11-14)













ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP













SECTION 1: GENERAL







The membership of Southern Oaks Baptist Church under
the Lordship of Jesus

Christ retains unto itself the sovereign and exclusive
right of self-government

as given by Scripture in all phases of the spiritual
and temporal life of

this church.






The membership reserves the exclusive right as given by
Scripture to determine

who shall be members of this church and the conditions
of such membership.










SECTION 2: DEFINITION









A member of Southern Oaks Baptist Church is one who
confesses Jesus Christ

to be his Saviour and Lord and who accepts the
statement of beliefs as outlined

in this Constitution, having been accepted by vote of
the church and having

been scripturally baptized by immersion.










SECTION 3: CANDIDACY






Any person may offer himself as a candidate for
membership in this church.


All such candidates shall be presented for membership
to the church at any

regular church service in any of the following
ways:











  1. By profession of faith and for baptism





  2. By transfer of a letter of recommendation from
    another Baptist church








  3. By statement of prior conversion experience and
    scriptural immersion when

    no letter is obtainable












SECTION 4: ACCEPTANCE PROCEDURE






The procedure for receiving new members shall be as
follows:











  1. An initial interview shall be held with the Pastor or
    with those designated


    by the Deacons from within their membership.







  2. The applicant shall read or cause to be read the
    Constitution of this church

    and shall accept it as the teaching and practice of
    this fellowship.






  3. An announcement shall be made of the candidacy to the
    church, allowing the

    church to bring any scriptural objections to the
    Pastor. Should there be

    any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall
    be referred to the Deacon

    body for investigation and the making of a
    recommendation to the church within


    30 days.





  4. The pastor shall recommend candidates to the church
    for membership. Affirmation

    by the voting membership present shall be
    requested.












SECTION 5: MEMBER ORIENTATION







All voting members of this church are expected to
participate in orientation

procedures established by the Pastor.












SECTION 6: DUTIES






Members are to be faithful in all duties essential to
the Christian life,


to regularly attend the services of this church, to
give regularly for its

support and cause, and to share it its organized work.
(I Corinthians

9:7; 12:18, 24-37; 14:12; 16:2; Romans 12:5; I John
3:17; James 1:23; 2:18;

Hebrews 10:25; Titus 3:8, 14: Ephesians 6:6)











SECTION 7: PRIVILEGES














  1. Every active member of the church who is 16 years of
    age or older is entitled

    to vote at all elections and on all questions
    submitted to the church in

    conference, provided the member is present or
    provision has been made for


    absentee balloting.





  2. Every active member of the church who is scripturally
    qualified is eligible

    for consideration by the membership as a candidate
    for elective or appointive

    office or committee. (Romans 12:6; 14:1; 15:1-5;
    Galatians 6:14; I Corinthians


    8:12; 9:12-27; 10:23-24; Philippians 2:3-4;
    3:7-9)













SECTION 8: TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP








Membership shall be terminated in the following
ways:











  1. Death of the member






  2. Transfer to another Baptist church





  3. Deletion upon request or proof of membership in a
    church of another denomination






  4. Exclusion through church discipline related to
    conduct or absenteeism (see

    Section 9)














SECTION 9: DISCIPLINE






It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to
its members that


every reasonable measure shall be taken to assist any
troubled member. The

attitude of members toward one another shall be guided
by a concern for

redemption rather than punishment.





Should some serious condition exist which would cause a
member to become


a liability to the general welfare of the church, the
Pastor and Deacons

shall take every reasonable measure to resolve the
problem in accord with

Matthew 18. That failing, exclusion through church
discipline may be warranted.





Discipline Related to Conduct:






Should a member become an offense to the church and to
the church's good

name by reasons of immoral or un-Christian conduct, or
by persistent breach

of his covenant vows, the church may terminate his
membership, but only after

due notice and hearing, and after faithful efforts have
been made to bring


such member to repentance and amendment (I Corinthians
5).













  1. An individual's membership shall not be terminated at
    the same meeting in

    which the recommendation for such action is made.





  2. All requests for termination of membership shall be
    presented to the Pastor.


    A recommendation for termination of members not in
    good standing must come

    from the Pastor, but only after consent of the
    Deacons and Pastor.





  3. All terminations of exclusion must be by vote of the
    church.






  4. Any person whose membership has been terminated for
    any offense or reason

    may be restored to membership by vote of the church
    upon evidence of his

    repentance and reformation, or upon satisfactory
    explanation. This restoration

    shall be by recommendation of the Pastor.








Discipline Related to Absenteeism:





It shall be the duty of the Pastor and Deacons to
examine the membership


rolls periodically. Any member who has been absent from
the services of the

church for a period of one year or longer, and who
fails to give satisfactory

reason for such absence, may be removed from the
membership rolls of the

church.








Members who are habitually absent from the services of
the church for two

consecutive quarters without a satisfactory explanation
my be placed on the

inactive list by the Pastor and Deacons. Continued
habitual inactivity may

lead to an enforcement of exclusion by action of the
church if such inactivity

exceeds one year.















ARTICLE IV: GOVERNMENT










SECTION 1: GENERAL







The government of this church, under the leadership of
the Holy Spirit, shall

be vested in the body of believers who compose it,
whose vote shall be binding.








Recognizing that it is impractical for the entire
church membership to vote

on every church matter that arises, a council of laymen
shall work with the

Pastor in providing leadership, direction and oversight
of all church ministries

and operations. This group shall be referred to as the
Administrative Council.

The authority of this council to make decisions on
behalf of the congregation


shall be limited to those areas not requiring
congregational approval.





Specific matters requiring approval by the voting
membership of the congregation

include admission, termination and restoration of
church membership; Deacons

and other officers; teachers and Committee members and
guidelines; church


budget along with any necessary modifications proposed;
calling or dismissal

of Ministerial Staff; non-budgeted expenditures
exceeding $500; acquisition,

sale, exchange, encumbrance or disposition of real
property; and constitutional

amendments.










SECTION 2: Church Officers






Church officers shall consist of the Pastor, members of
the Ministerial Staff,


Administrative Council, Deacons and Trustees. All
officers must be members

of the church and be in total agreement with the
doctrinal statement of the

church.





A. Pastor













  1. Qualifications













  • A man of proven character










    • Blameless; of good behavior (I Timothy
      3:2)









    • A good report of them which are without (I
      Timothy 3:7)

















  • A man of self-control












    • Vigilant; sober (I Timothy 3:2)






    • No striker; not a brawler; patient (I Timothy
      3:3)

















  • Free from the use of substances or actions which












    • destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit (I
      Corinthians 6:19)
      and






    • may bring reproach on the Saviour (I
      Corinthians 6:15)



















  • A man of benevolence










    • Given to hospitality (I Timothy 3:2)
















  • The husband of one wife; not divorced; having control
    over his own house


    (I Timothy 3:2, 4 & 5; Titus 1:6)















  • A man not obsessed by material possessions










    • Not greedy of filthy lucre; not covetous (I
      Timothy 3:3)



















  • A man of spiritual maturity










    • Apt to teach (I Timothy 3:2)






    • Not a novice (I Timothy 3:6)


















  • A man of sound doctrine










    • Holding fast the faithful Word (Titus
      1:9)



















2. Duties






Prayer, ministry of the Word (preaching, evangelism,
exhortation, discipleship,

education, counseling, comforting, correction),
administering the church

ordinances, overseeing the administration of
activities and care of the church

body.









The Pastor is the leader of all church ministries.
All employees of the church

shall be under the supervision of the Pastor.

















3. Selection












In the event a vacancy occurs, the procedure for
selection and calling the

Pastor to the church shall be as follows:


















  • A Pulpit Committee consisting of five
    members-at-large shall be elected by


    secret ballot at a regular or called business
    meeting of the church. Announcement

    of the election to be held shall be mailed to
    the voting membership not less

    than one week prior to the business
    meeting.





  • A Pulpit Committee shall present one name at
    a time to the Deacons and


    Administrative Council who shall interview
    the candidate. A candidate may

    be heard by the church body "in view of a
    call" after such an interview has

    been conducted and the Deacons and
    Administrative Council in joint session

    have agreed that a hearing by the church body
    is in order.






  • The voting membership shall be notified by
    mail not less than one week prior

    to the date designated for the purpose of
    voting on the recommendation which

    will be presented jointly by the Pulpit
    Committee, Deacons and Administrative

    Council. An affirmative vote of 75 percent
    shall be required for election

    of the Pastor.






















4. Tenure of Office












  • The Pastor's tenure may be terminated at any time
    by the Pastor or by the

    church upon thirty (30) days' notice.






  • Grounds for dismissal are personal doctrinal
    error, teaching not in accord

    with this church's doctrinal statement (Article
    2), personal behavior unbecoming

    a Christian, or failing to meet responsibilities
    as stated within this

    Constitution. If the termination of the Pastor's
    tenure is by the church,

    the action shall first be considered by the
    Administrative Council. Following


    this consideration, it shall be incumbent upon
    the Administrative Council

    and the Deacon body to bring a recommendation to
    the church at a special

    business meeting called to resolve the question
    of the removal of the Pastor.

    A 75 percent affirmative vote in a business
    meeting for which one week's

    written notice has been given to all voting
    members shall be required for

    termination of the Pastor.



















5. Accountability





The Pastor shall be accountable to the Administrative
Council in all ministerial


matters.







B. Ministerial Staff













This church shall call and employ such Ministerial
Staff in addition to the

Pastor as the church shall need. This may include,
but not be restricted


to, such positions of ministry as evangelism,
education, music and youth.

A job description and terms of employment shall be
established when the need

for staff members is determined. Ministerial Staff
members other than the

Pastor shall be recommended to the church by the
Pastor working in conjunction

with the Administrative Council.






Employment shall be by church action. Dismissal shall
follow the same procedure

as that for the Pastor. The Ministerial Staff shall
be accountable to the

Administrative Council through the Pastor in all
ministerial matters.








C. Administrative Council















The Administrative Council shall consist of from
three (3) to five (5) members

selected for a one-year term of office based on the
calendar year. Administrative

Council members shall be selected by the Deacons in
cooperation with the


Pastor from within the Deacon body and shall be
accountable to the Deacon

body.











Terms shall be limited to two consecutive years
with a minimum of one year

in family ministry required before re-election. In
no case shall a Deacon

serve on the Administrative Council until he has
served in family ministry.





The Administrative Council shall meet regularly
with the Pastor, assisting


him in the oversight of all church ministries and
operations.









The Council is authorized to call special meetings,
provide accountability


for the Pastor regarding his and any other staff
member's conduct or actions

and recommend the establishment of committees,
their membership and the

guidelines by which they operate. The council is
also authorized to approve

expenditures less than $500.









D. Deacons













  1. Qualifications










    • All qualifications listed in I Timothy 3, and as
      specifically stated below:










      1. A man of reverence (I Timothy 3:8)







      2. A man of sound doctrinal conviction and
        spiritual integrity beyond reproach


        (I Timothy 3:9)





      3. A man of proven character (I Timothy
        3:10)







      4. The husband of one wife; not divorced; having
        control over his own household

        (I Timothy 3:12)







      5. A man in control of his tongue (I Timothy
        3:8)







      6. A man free from the use of substances or
        actions which:










        • destroy the temple of the Holy Spirit
          (I Corinthians 6:19), and








        • may bring reproach on the Saviour (I
          Corinthians 6:15)






        • A man not obsessed by material
          possessions (I Timothy 3:8)






        • The wife of a Deacon shall be a believer
          and shall meet the qualifications

          of I Timothy 3:11.

















  2. Duties










    • The Deacon shall stand together with the Pastor
      in the spiritual tasks of:










      1. seeking to build and maintain Christian
        harmony and fellowship








      2. seeking to proclaim the Gospel to believes
        and unbelievers.





      3. seeking to meet the needs of individuals and
        families in the church and the

        community, and






      4. serving as an advisory resource for the
        Pastor.












  3. Election












    • The church shall elect Deacons from its
      membership at regular business meetings

      of the church.





    • The membership-at-large may submit in writing the
      names of those men who


      they believe meet the qualifications of a Deacon
      as set out above. These

      men will then be screened by the Pastor and a
      member of the Deacon body and

      if qualified shall be presented as nominees to
      the church membership.





    • Each year the assigned term of office of one
      third of the number of Deacons


      shall expire, and election shall be held to fill
      vacancies and to add to

      the Deacons such as the church size warrants.





    • There shall be no obligation to constitute as an
      assigned Deacon one who

      has been ordained Deacon in another church; but
      in such instances as one


      might be chosen by this church for assignment as
      a Deacon, his previous

      ordination by another church of like faith and
      order shall suffice for this

      church.









  4. Terms of Office












    • Election shall be for three-year term of service.
      There will be no limit

      to succeeding terms.





    • The term of service shall begin on January 1,
      following the election/ordination


      process.








  5. Vacancies












    • Vacancies may occur due to death, disability,
      voluntary resignation or

      involuntary removal.






    • A Deacon who fails to continue to meet the
      qualifications set out, or who

      fails to demonstrate a desire to fulfill the
      duties of the office may be

      removed by the church body.






    • A vacancy shall remain unfilled if it occurs
      within the final six months

      of the term. Vacancies occurring prior to that
      time shall be filled for the

      duration of the term by the selection
      process.











E. Trustees













In accordance with the Articles of Incorporation,
Section 5, the Deacons

shall serve as legal agents of the corporate
body.

















ARTICLE V: GENERAL PROVISIONS










SECTION 1: Stewardship and Finances














  • The financial needs of this church, its missions and
    auxiliaries


    shall be provided for through tithes, offerings and
    special gifts.





  • An appointed committee in consultation with the
    Administrative Council shall

    present an itemized budget to the church body for
    approval.






  • All funds received must be properly recorded on the
    church books, and all

    funds dispersed must have proper signatures.





  • This church shall not incur debt.














SECTION 2: Missions Responsibilities












The spreading of the Gospel through missions shall be
of high priority. The


support of missions through prayer, education and
finances shall extend to

the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist
Convention, local and area

missions, and other missions efforts worldwide. This
support shall not violate

the provisions of this Constitution.












SECTION 3 Auxiliary Activities














Auxiliary activities shall be created as need arises,
and shall be accountable

to the church body through the Administrative
Council.












SECTION 4: Literature












All literature used in church activities must
recognize the Bible as the

inerrant, inspired Word of God in accordance with the
doctrinal statement


of this Constitution, and be designed for the
edification and spiritual growth

of the believer.


















ARTICLE VI: CHURCH MEETINGS











SECTION 1: Worship Services












The church shall meet regularly each Sunday for
worship, and at any other

times the church deems appropriate.














SECTION 2: Business












Regular business meetings shall be conducted at least
quarterly at a designated

time. Called business meetings may be conducted to
consider special matters.


Except for matters of physical emergency, one-week
notice must be given before

each called business meeting.





A quorum for any regular or called business meeting
shall consist of 10 percent

of the voting membership.






Robert's Rules of Order, Revised shall be the
guide for all business

meetings. In all business matters, a majority vote
shall prevail unless otherwise

specified in this Constitution.








The moderator of all business meetings shall be
appointed by the Administrative

Council.
















ARTICLE VII: ADOPTION OF AND AMENDMENTS TO THIS
CONSTITUTION













The adoption of and amendments to this Constitution
shall be by vote of the

church at any regular church business meeting, one
month's previous notice

having been given in writing as to the Article(s) and
Section(s) in question


or nature of addition to this Constitution. Approval
shall be by 75 percent

of those voting.