CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS
We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in relationship with other churches.
This body shall be known as the Ocklawaha Bridge Baptist Church Incorporated, located at Lynne, Florida.
To be a congregation that proclaims salvation by grace alone
To be a congregation that proclaims salvation through faith alone
To be a congregation that proclaims salvation in Christ alone
To be a congregation that holds the Bible as the highest authority in all matters
To be a congregation that proclaims the glory of God as our life’s purpose
III. STATEMENT OF BASIC BELIEFS
As a group in covenant with one another we affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired Word of God and the basis for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000, and in the preferred use of Southern Baptist Convention literature in the teaching and training in our church in keeping with the Statement of Basic Southern Baptist Beliefs. The ordinances of the church are Believer's Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
Section 1. General
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and to conditions of such membership.
This church adheres to the doctrinal statements on Marriage and Family by our denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, as stated in The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000 Edition, that marriage is defined biblically and theologically in God’s own terms rather than man-made terms; and further that this church intentionally adheres to the highest standards for marriage, namely biblical standards, and that other legal definitions and court actions are secondary to biblical mandate. We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all members and persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide and agree to the preceding expression of belief on marriage and sexuality, and conduct themselves accordingly. This Church affirms that all marriage ceremonies performed in the name of this church and any related celebrations or activities allowed in its facilities or on property that It controls, shall be only for unions that meet the standards contained in these bylaws, and further, that church ministers and staff engage only in marriage ceremonies in keeping with this church’s adopted biblical and theological definition of marriage as stated that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Section 2. Candidacy
Any person may offer himself or herself as a candidate for membership in this church. The Pastor or the Chairman of Deacons shall present all such candidates to the church. Candidates for membership may be accepted in any of the following ways:
By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church.
By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Southern Baptist Church.
By statement of prior conversion experience and believer’s baptism. Such person must agree to the beliefs and teachings of this church and accept the Church Covenant.
All candidates for membership must receive an affirmative vote of the church to become members. Membership becomes effective as follows:
After baptism, if by profession of faith.
After receipt of letter, if by promise of a letter.
After the vote of the church, if by statement.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the Pastor and the Deacons for investigation and for making a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days. A two-thirds vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
Section 3. New Members
Candidates for church membership shall confer with Pastor on requirements and privileges of membership prior to church vote.
Section 4. Rights of Members in Good Standing.*
An active member of the church is entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the church conference, provided the member is present.
An active member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as a candidate for elective offices in the church.
An active member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.
An active member of the church is entitled to a cemetery lot provided they request one and if a lot is available.
*An active member in good standing is one whose behavior gives evidence to agreement and adherence to the principles in the church covenant.
Section 5. Membership Termination.
Membership may be terminated in the following ways:
Death of the member.
Transferring to another Southern Baptist Church.
Exclusion by action of the church.
Erasures upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.
Section 6. Discipline.
It shall be the practice of the church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to reconcile with any troubled member. The Pastor, church staff and Deacons are available for counsel and guidance. 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 the Deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accord with the Bible and passages listed below. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting is required. The church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church. A spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance shall pervade all such proceedings.
The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by vote of the church upon evidence of the excluded person's repentance and reformation.
2 Corinthians 5:18 -19
Section 7. Watchcare Members.
Any Christian who is a short-term resident and prefers to maintain their membership in another church may offer himself or herself to Watchcare membership. The person may be accepted by an affirmative vote of the church at the time presented.
Watchcare members are welcomed as participants and volunteers but may not hold office or may not be elected to a committee of the church; may not vote in church conference nor obtain a cemetery plot. The church clerk will keep a Watchcare membership roll.
II. Church Ordinances
Section I. Baptism
The church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professed him publicly at any worship service and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
Baptism shall be by immersion in water. The Pastor shall have the authority to waive the requirement for baptism for any person who has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but who from physical ailment or other serious handicap cannot be immersed for baptism.
The Pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism.
The Baptism Committee shall assist the Pastor in baptism services.
Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
The Pastor or the Deacons shall counsel a person who has professed Christ and is not baptized after a reasonable length of time. If negative interest is ascertained on the part of the candidate, he or she shall be deleted from the rolls of those awaiting baptism.
Section II. The Lord's Supper
The church shall observe the Lord's Supper at least quarterly. A regular date of observance should be established to facilitate regular attendance. The Pastor and the Deacons shall administer the Lord's Supper.
III. Church Meetings
Section I. Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly for worship of the Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, music and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services. The Pastor, or his delegate shall direct the services for all church members and for all others who choose to attend.
Section II. Special Church Services
Revival services and any other church meetings essential to the advancement of the church's objectives shall be placed on the church calendar.
Section III. Regular Church Conference
The church shall hold church conference quarterly in January, April, July, & October ideally on the third Sunday of the month in the evening. Further guidelines shall be detailed in the Church Operations Manual.
Section IV. Special Church Conference.
The Pastor or the Deacon Chairman may call special Church Conference to consider matters of special nature or significance. A one-week notice must be given for the special Church Conference unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, date, time and place of the meeting.
This one-week notice shall be communicated at all church services and at all regular committee meetings scheduled for that week. Additionally, a printed notice will be displayed in a location prominent in the church and if possible in the Sunday service bulletin.
For extreme emergencies, every reasonable effort must be made to notify the Pastor, the Chairman of Deacons and the Church Officers concerning all aspects of the emergency meeting. Additionally, the decisions made during the emergency meeting must be reviewed at the next regular Church Conference for church consideration.
Section V. Meeting Quorum
A quorum for Church Conference, regular, special or emergency, shall consist of those members present, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section VI. Parliamentary Rules
Robert's Rules of Order, Revised, shall be the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all church council & conference meetings.
IV. Church Officers & Committees
No officer, deacon, committee or employee shall have any authority except to make recommendations to the church and to carry out the expressed will of the church. All officers and committee members shall be members of the church.
Section 1. Church Officers
The officers of this church shall be the Pastor, the church ministerial staff, the Deacons, church clerk, treasurer, Corporation officers, and Trustees.
1) The Pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. The Pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations and the church staff to perform their assigned tasks. The Pastor is the leader of the Pastoral ministries in the church. As such, he works with the Associate Pastor, the Deacons and the staff to lead the church in the achievement of its mission, proclaims the Gospel to believers and unbelievers and cares for the church members and other persons in the community.
A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy exists.
The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose of which at least one week's notice has been given. Election of the Pastor shall be by secret ballot. A two-thirds affirmative vote of those present and voting is required to elect a Pastor. A Pastor thus elected shall serve until either he resigns or is removed from office by the church. Duties of the Pastor shall be detailed in the Church Operations Manual.
The ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. The selection, working conditions, compensation, responsibilities and the termination of such services shall be noted in the Church Operations Manual.
The non-ministerial staff shall be employed as the church determines the need for services. The selection, working conditions, compensation, responsibilities and the termination of such services shall be noted in the Church Operations Manual.
The church shall elect Deacons by ballot at regular church conference for the purpose of serving the church. Deacons are called to serve and shall serve this fellowship as necessity dictates. Deacons shall be elected for life from eligible male members upon recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons. Once elected, Deacons can only be removed for cause or upon their own request. The Deacons shall nominate a chairman annually. Active Deacons may, upon their own request, be retired to the status of Emeritus Deacons for reasons of age or health. The deacon body, with approval of the church, shall recommend emeritus Deacons. There shall be no obligation to elect a deacon who has been a deacon in another church.
A deacon shall cease to be on the deacon body and will be placed on the inactive list if he has three consecutive absences from monthly Deacon's meetings, unless such absences are excused by a majority vote of the deacon body. An inactive deacon may be reinstated by the recommendation of the deacon body with approval of the church.
In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament, Deacons are to be servants of the church. Their task is to serve with the Pastor and staff in performing the Pastoral ministries.
The church shall elect a CHURCH CLERK whose primary duties are to maintain all minutes of Church Conferences and present all membership changes to the Conference. The position is for a three-year term. An assistant clerk may also be selected to function in the event of absence of the clerk. A more explicit explanation of duties is contained in the church operations manual.
The church shall elect a TREASURER to serve a three-year term. As the elected financial officer of the church, the treasurer shall receive from the financial secretary a monthly financial report which includes the applicable transaction registers for review. The treasurer is responsible for reporting financial information to the church conference for review and approval and conveying to other church elected entities financial information as needed. The treasurer shall be a signer on the church’s banking accounts to function in that capacity if needed.
The church shall elect three Trustees, who are the corporate officers for the church. These offices are for a three-year rotating term. They represent the church in its relationship to the State and its requirements. They are responsible for reviewing and signing legal documents and transactions including leases, purchasing and selling of property, deeds, mortgages, rentals and insurance policies. Trustees cannot act on their own initiative but only as directed by specific vote of the church authorizing each action. The trustees may need to counsel with committees as they carry out their trustee duties.
The trustees are to examine the church treasurer’s reports at least annually to confirm they are accurate. A more explicit description of duties may be found in the church operations manual.
A clerk/secretary and assistant treasurer shall be elected to serve as corporate officers only. These offices are for a three-year rotating term and are to assist the trustees in their duties.
Section 2. Church Committees
The church shall engage the services of committees as appropriate to fulfill the objectives of this fellowship. The selection, responsibilities, dispensation and other policies of such services shall be noted in the Church Operations Manual. Only members of the church can serve on committees and no member can serve on any one committee for more than three consecutive years without explicit approval of the church.
V. Church Program Organizations
The church shall maintain programs of;
Missions education, action, and support
All organizations related to the church program shall be under church authority. The church shall elect all officers and all program activities are subject to church coordination and approval. Further guidelines will be detailed in the church operations manual.
VI. Church Program Services
The church shall establish and abolish church programs as approved by the church body which agree with and contribute to attaining the stated church objectives and for the purpose of enriching and extending the ministries and programs of the church. Such services will be detailed in the Church Operations Manual.
VII. Church Council
The Church Council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, conducting, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organizations.
The primary functions of the Church Council shall be to recommend to the church suggested objectives and church goals.
To continue, review and coordinate ministry and program plans recommended by church officers, organizations and committees.
To recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities and to evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals.
Regular members of the Church Council shall be the Pastor, ministerial staff, church program directors, deacon chairman, church officers and committee chairpersons. All matters agreed upon by the council, which call for action not already approved by the church, shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval. The church council meetings are open to interested members.
The Church Council may hold monthly meetings at a time and date to be designated by the council. The Pastor or the deacon chairman may call a special meeting of the Church Council at any time to consider matters of importance. Any further guidelines for the Church Council may be detailed in the Church Operations Manual.
VIII. Church Finances
Section I. Budget & Stewardship
It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate tithes and gifts. Offering envelopes will be provided for the church member's use.
The Budget and Stewardship Committee shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought, for all expenses. Further guidelines shall be detailed in the Church Operations Manual.
Section II. Account Procedures
All records of funds received for any and all purposes shall be presented to the church treasurer after being properly recorded on the books of the church. A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the financial secretary & a representative of the congregation. Further guidelines shall be detailed in the Church Operations Manual.
Section III. Fiscal Year
The church fiscal year shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31 of each calendar year.
Church Operations Manual
The Church Operations Manual includes church policies, procedures, job descriptions, responsibilities and duties of staff and committees, and organizational charts depicting lines of responsibility in the administration of the church.
The manual shall be kept in the church office and made available for use by the
members of the church.
Any member of the church may recommend suggested changes to the manual. Any recommendations for changes must be reviewed by the committee or staff member responsible for the area under consideration for change. All changes to the Church Operations Manual must be presented to church council & for approval by the church at a regular church conference. Changes to the Church Operations Manual shall be approved by a simple majority of the members voting at the regular church conference.
The Church Operations Manual Committee is responsible for reviewing the manual annually for validation.
Nothing in the operations manual should counter act or supplant any part of these Bylaws.
Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular church conference provided each amendment has been presented in writing at a previous church conference and copies of the proposed change of the constitution and bylaws shall have been made available to each member present at the earlier church conference. Announcement shall be made in the church bulletin during the interval of the proposed change. Amendments to the constitution and bylaws shall be approved by a two-thirds majority of the members voting at the regular church conference.