EBC Constitution

The document which governs Emmanuel

Emmanuel Baptist Church was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio. The Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State, June 18, 1947, and recorded in Volume 527, page 328, of the Records of Incorporation.


In the event that this church should make a decision to dissolve, provision shall be made by vote of the church, previous to the dissolution of the corporation, to assign all of the assets to one or more independent Baptist non-profit corporations, such as churches, schools, missions, or associations. None of the assets shall be given to any individual.

PURPOSE

The purpose for which said corporation is formed is to provide a place of worship for its members, conducting the same according to the rules, regulations, customs and practices of a New Testament church; promoting the cause of the Christian religion and interests of said church; receiving, holding and disbursing gifts, bequests, and funds arising from other sources; owning and maintaining suitable real estate and buildings; doing any and all things necessary or incident thereof.

ARTICLE I - NAME

The name of this organization shall be the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Xenia, Ohio.

ARTICLE II - AFFILIATION

This church shall be affiliated with the Ohio Association of Regular Baptist Churches for fellowship only. If at any time the church shall deem it advisable to withdraw its membership from the above named associations, it shall be accomplished by a two-thirds vote of all members present and voting at any annual business meeting of the Church or a special meeting called for this purpose.

ARTICLE III - MEMBERSHIP

Section A

Membership candidates are received into the membership of the church by profession of faith and evidence of believer's baptism by immersion. Each candidate will be given a copy of the Church Covenant, Constitution and Articles of Faith. Candidates will proceed through a three-step membership process.


1. Interview with two or more Elders giving testimony of profession of faith and completing the written membership application form. Elders participating in the interview will, if appropriate, present the candidate to the Council of Elders for recommendation to the Church


2. The Council of Elders will vote on the recommendation of the interviewing Elders. If approved unanimously by the Council, the recommendation to approve the candidate’s application for membership will be presented to the Church.


3. Candidates are to give written or verbal testimony of faith in Jesus Christ before the church body. Candidates' names shall be printed in the bulletin at least one week before presentation for membership.


Candidates for membership may be presented at any worship service of the church or at any regular business meeting, provided a quorum is present. Candidates must be accepted by unanimous vote of those eligible voters present. Any negative vote shall suspend the process and the reason given for such a vote will be considered by the Council of Elders. If, in their judgment the reason or reasons are not sufficient to deny membership, the Elders shall resubmit the candidate to the Church to be received by a unanimous vote.


Section B 

Any member of the Emmanuel Baptist Church who fails to attend at least one of the regular services of the Church in any given quarter, unless such absence is due to causes which are deemed appropriate by the Council of Elders, or who fails to give assent to the Articles of Faith in their entirety or who privately or publicly promotes dissension and division in the church shall forfeit his or her right to membership in the Church as determined by the Council of Elders consistent with Article III, Section C.


Section C

If any disciplinary action is deemed necessary by the action or conduct of any member or members of the church, such action shall be taken in accordance with the rules and regulations clearly defined in the New Testament. (Matthew 18:15-17; I Corinthians 5:1-8 and /or elsewhere in the Epistles.)


1. The Council of Elders shall handle all matters of discipline in the church.


2. In case of personal differences between members of the church, the Council of Elders shall recommend that the parties endeavor to settle their differences in the manner laid down by our Savior in Matthew 18:15, 16, in the spirit of Galatians 6:1.


3. Where charges are made by one member against another, charges must be in writing to the Council of Elders. If the Elders deem further action is necessary, the accused shall be notified personally, or by registered letter of the nature of the charges and shall be summoned to appear before the Council of Elders to make answer to the charges. At least five days notice of such a meeting shall be given to the party involved. If the accused does not appear in response to the summons (unless a satisfactory reason is given for such non-appearance) the Council of Elders shall recommend to the Church the exclusion of such a member. If the accused appears before the Council of Elders, there shall be a full and fair hearing of the case. The Council of Elders is empowered to acquit the accused. If a majority of the Elders present vote that the accused is guilty of the charge preferred, after attempts of reconciliation, they shall recommend to the Church that the accused be excluded from the membership of the Church. The Church must either approve the recommendation or hear the case for itself.


4. Anyone against whom charges have been made and in whose case the Council of Elders has recommended exclusion or other discipline, may appeal to the church for a hearing of the case before the Church. The Church will then decide whether to hear the case or whether it will act without such hearing upon the recommendation of the Council of Elders.


5. An important purpose of this section is to give full protection to any member who may be accused and at the same time protect the Church from interruptions of its regular business and spiritual activities as a result of disciplinary matters, the detailed hearing of which might be wasteful of the time of the Church, harmful to the young, or discouraging to the membership.


6. With respect to the above, it is specifically directed that the Council of Elders, in safe-guarding the purity and peace of the Church, shall move with special promptness in the case of anyone who is obstructing the work or disturbing the peace of the Church by slander, falsehood, unseemly gossip, conspiracy or other unfair and unchristian methods. It is recognized that a Baptist church must be a democracy in which the majority rule. It is further recognized that while any person has right of private opinion on all questions, and the right to appeal in any constitutional and proper manner, that person shall not have the right of engaging in secret or open propaganda or of deliberately disturbing the peace or interrupting the work of the Church or bringing it into disrepute before the public in their effort to discourage the faithful and injure the cause and mission of the Church. It is understood that this clause shall not be used as an excuse for unnecessary severity in minor matters. The Council of Elders shall always use kindness, consideration, and Christian love in determining the cases for discipline and the method of procedure in such cases.

ARTICLE IV - AUTHORITY AND VOTING POWER

Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the membership of the Church is the final authority within this local church. Congregational authority is primarily exercised through the election of officers to govern the Church (Article V); however, the Church shall approve all member candidates (Article III, Section A) and the vote of the membership of this Church at a properly called meeting shall be required to effect the following actions:


1. Remove members from the Church;


2. Elect officers of the Church;


3. Discipline members by dismissing them and discipline officers by removing them from office;


4. Approve annual budgets of the Church and authorize any unbudgeted expenditure of $1000 of the funds of the Church; 


5. Accept, reject, or otherwise dispose of any matter submitted to the membership of the Church by the Council of Elders, or raised by motion at a business meeting;


6. Adopt, amend, or repeal the Constitution or By-Laws of this Church;


7. Approve the job description of salary of Vocational Elders, Vocational Ministry Directors, and other church employees. 


8. Sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any property


All members of the Church, eighteen years old and over who have attended not less than eight worship services in the past quarter; who have not been involved in Article III, Section C above; and who are supporting the Church, shall be eligible to vote in all business meetings during the quarter. Ballots shall not be distributed or votes counted for members not qualifying according to this paragraph. Members are responsible before God to conform to the standard.

ARTICLE V - OFFICERS

The officers of the Church shall consist of a Council of Elders and a Board of Deacons. The Church Clerk shall be appointed from the Council of Elders and the Church Treasurer shall be appointed from the Deacon Board.    

ARTICLE VI – QUALIFICATIONS, RESPONSIBILITIES AND MANNER OF ELECTION OF OFFICERS

Section A - Council of Elders

1. Qualifications: Elders and nominees for Elder shall be men qualified for the office as specified in the Bible. Relevant texts include I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and I Peter 5:1-4.


2. Quantity: The number of Elders at any time will be determined by the call and qualification of men in the Church and the needs of the congregation. It is expected that there shall normally be a minimum of four lay Elders and one full-time vocational Elder, and that the number of Elders will increase in response to the gifting of the membership and the shepherding needs of the Church.


3. Responsibilities: The Elders are responsible for governing the Church, teaching the Word, tending the flock of God, and supporting the Great Commandment and Great Commission activities of the local church (Matt 22:34-40 & 28:16-20). The Elders will serve as Trustees of the material property of the Church and oversee the necessary repairs and alterations to the property. Elders shall also:

  

   a. Examine membership candidates and acquaint them with the Church Covenant, Constitution and Doctrinal Statement;

   b. Oversee the process of Church discipline;

   c. Examine prospective candidates for office;

   d. Schedule business meetings;

   e.  Oversee the work of the Deacons, appointed Church agents and employees, and ministries;

   f. Conduct worship services;

   g. Administer the ordinances of the Gospel;

   h. Equip the congregation of the Church for the work of the ministry;

   i. Teach the whole counsel of God both formally and informally;

   j. Correct error;

   k. Oversee, coordinate and promote the ministries of the Church;

   l. Appoint Church Clerk and Church Treasurer annually;

   m. Mobilize the Church for world mission;

   n. Generate and monitor the annual budget;

   o. Lead the process of strategic, long-term planning;

  p. Lead the search for vocational elders.


4. Vocational Elders: Vocational Elders are those men, who in response to God's call, devote their vocational lives either in part or full to the ministry of the Word and prayer in the service of the church.


Vocational Elders...

  a. are supported financially by the church in return for their vocational labors.

  b. will be nominated by the Council of Elders and confirmed by the congregation.

  c. shall perform the duties of their office as determined by the Council of Elders and approved by the membership. The duties shall be in writing at the  

  time of the call to service, and substantial changes shall be approved by the church. 

  d. will abstain from voting on proposals concerning their financial support at the Council of Elders.


5. Organization: The Council of Elders shall organize itself however it determines to be best to achieve the mission of the Church. 


  a. The Council of Elders will be chaired by an Elder selected annually by the council. The Chairman will be responsible for ensuring the shepherding, teaching, and ministry of the Council of Elders. The Chairman or his designate will also preside at the business meetings of the Church. 

  b. A full-time Vocational Elder shall be responsible for staff and office administrative oversight.

  c. One or more Elders will be selected to provide oversight over the various responsibilities of the Deacons.

  d. The Elders must meet at least once per month. Meetings of the Elders may be held at any location and may be conducted by means of electronic communication through which the Elders may simultaneously hear each other. Unless the Council provides otherwise, meetings of the Council may be held immediately upon notice. 

  e. A quorum for meetings of the Elders is a simple majority of the voting members.


6.   Calling: The Council of Elders shall recognize, interview, and investigate candidates for Elder.


  a. The Council shall provide for individual members of the Church either to nominate candidates or to present themselves to the Council as candidates

  for office and for the Council's further investigation. In no instances shall any individual be considered a nominee for the office without the nominee's

  consent. In those cases where the Council of Elders concludes that a nominee is not qualified for office, they shall so inform the nominee stating the

  reasons for this conclusion. Each nomination will remain confidential unless the candidate is presented to the Church for affirmation.

  b. The Council of Elders may present candidates for calling as Elder at any properly called business meeting (Article VII), provided that the list of

  nominees has been announced ten days in advance of the meeting.

  c. Calling shall be by four-fifths (4/5) vote of those members present and voting at the meeting, providing 40% of the Church membership is present.


7.   Reaffirmation: An Elder called by the Church may serve in his office as long as he remains willing and qualified and is regularly reaffirmed by the Church. Each elder shall stand for reaffirmation not later than the third annual meeting of the Church following his call or previous reaffirmation. Reaffirmation of an Elder shall be by two-thirds (4/5) vote of those members present and voting at the meeting, providing 40% of the Church membership is present. Removal from office and termination of the call due to lack of reaffirmation shall not be considered disciplinary action. 


8.   Removal.


  a. Resignation. An Elder may resign his office at any time if he finds he is no longer able to discharge the duties of the office.

  b. Lack of Reaffirmation.

  c. Grievance.


   (1) Where a grievance exists against an Elder either due to the adherence to or propagation of beliefs contrary to the beliefs of the Church as set forth

    in this Constitution or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting an Elder, such grievance may be brought before the Council of Elders by any two

    members in good standing, following the procedures prescribed in Article III, Section C. 

   (2) If after thorough investigation and consideration the Council believes the grievance to be true and substantial, the Elders will properly call a

   business meeting for a vote on the matter (Article VII).

   (3) The accused Elder will be removed from office and have his call terminated if he does not receive affirmation by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the

    membership present and voting with at least forty percent (40%) of the membership of the Church present at such meeting. 

   (4) Removal from office and termination of the call by grievance shall be considered disciplinary action and may result in removal from the

    membership of the Church.


  d. Leave of Absence


An Elder may request a Leave of Absence from the Council for a time period up to one year without having to resign. This request must be presented to and approved by the Council of Elders. Salary and benefits for Vocational Elders may be maintained at the recommendation of the Council of Elders and the approval of the membership at a properly called business meeting (Article VII). During the Leave of Absence the Elder is not considered a voting member of the Council of Elders. Reinstatement to the Council of Elders will occur at the request of the Elder on Leave of Absence.


Section B —Deacons

1.   Qualifications. Deacons and nominees for Deacon shall be men qualified for the office as specified in the Bible. Relevant texts include I Timothy 3:8-12.


2.   Quantity. The number of Deacons is determined by the ministry needs as determined by the Council of Elders and by the qualification of men in the Church.


3.   Responsibilities. The Deacons shall advise and be ready to assist the Elders in any service that supports and promotes the ministry of the Word, the care for the members of the congregation, and ministries of the Church. Their responsibilities may include but are not limited to:


  a. Administering a fund to assist the poor and needy;

  b. Providing aid in times of crisis or distress;

  c. Greeting, welcoming, and ushering ministries of the Church;

  d. Assisting in administering the ordinances of the Gospel;

  e. Assisting at fellowship gatherings of the Church;

  f. Caring for and maintaining the Church properties;

  g. Administering the business affairs of the Church that pertain to its material assets.


The Deacons may seek assistance from the congregation to fulfill these responsibilities according to the gifts of the Church.


4.   Organization. The Deacons shall organize themselves however they determine to be best to achieve the ministry needs identified by the Council of Elders. The Elders or the Deacons may designate any specific Deacon or group of Deacons to specialize in some particular function. Meetings of the Deacons or subcommittees thereof shall be held as needed to best fulfill the responsibilities of the Deacons. Elders will oversee the various ministries of the Deacons.


5.   Appointment. The Council of Elders shall recognize, interview, and investigate candidates for Deacon.


  a. The Council shall provide for individual members of the Church either to nominate candidates or to present themselves to the Council as candidates

  for office and for the Council's further investigation. In no instances shall any individual be considered a nominee for the office without the nominee's

  consent. In those cases where the Council of Elders concludes that a nominee is not qualified for office they shall so inform the nominee stating the

  reasons for this conclusion. Each nomination will remain confidential unless the candidate is presented to the membership for appointment.

  b. The Council of Elders may present candidates for appointment as Deacons at any properly called business meeting (Article VII), provided that the

  written list of nominees has been announced ten days in advance of the meeting.

  c. Appointment shall be by two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members present and voting at the meeting, provided 40% of the Church membership is

  present.


6.   Reappointment: A Deacon may serve in his office as long as he remains willing, and qualified, is required by the ministry needs as determined by the Council of Elders, and is reappointed regularly by the membership. He shall stand for reappointment not later than the third annual meeting of the Church following their call or previous reappointment. Reappointment of a Deacon shall be by two-thirds (2/3) vote of those members present and voting at the meeting, provided 40% of the membership is present.  Removal from office and termination of the appointment due to lack of reappointment shall not be considered disciplinary action.


7.   Removal.


  a. Resignation. A Deacon may resign his office at any time if he finds he is no longer able to discharge the duties of the office.

  b. Lack of reappointment.

  c. Grievance.


   (1) Where a grievance exists against a Deacon either due to the adherence to or propagation of beliefs contrary to the beliefs of the Church as set

    forth in this Constitution or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting a Deacon, such grievance may be brought before the Council of Elders by any two

    members in good standing, following the procedures prescribed in Article III, Section C.

   (2) If after thorough investigation and consideration the Council believes the grievance to be true and substantial, the Elders will properly call a  

    business meeting for a vote on the matter (Article VII).

   (3) The accused Deacon shall be removed from office if he does not receive reappointment from two-thirds (2/3) of the membership present and

    voting with at least forty percent (40%) of the membership of the Church present at such meeting. 

   (4) Removal from office and termination of the call by grievance shall be considered disciplinary action and may result in removal from the

    membership of the Church.


  d. Ministry Needs. If the scope of the Church ministry no longer requires the Deacon board to maintain its current size, the Council of Elders may vote to

  select Deacons for inactive status until they are needed. 


Leave of Absence: A Deacon may request a Leave of Absence from the Board for a time period up to one year without having to resign. This request must be presented to and approved by the Deacon Board. Reinstatement to the Deacon Board will occur at the request of the Deacon on Leave of Absence.


Section C - Church Clerk

The Council of Elders shall appoint an Elder annually to serve as Church Clerk. It shall be the duty of the Church Clerk to keep the records of the Church business meetings, to take minutes of the meetings and present them when called for. A record of baptisms, memberships, dismissals, and accessions shall be kept along with whatever other statistical records the Church may desire to preserve. The Church Clerk shall be the duly appointed statutory agent of the Church.


Section D - Church Treasurer

The Council of Elders shall appoint a Deacon to serve as Church Treasurer. The Deacons shall deposit to the account of the treasury of the Church all money received by the Church each week. It shall be the duty of the Church Treasurer to authorize payments of all bills and salaries and to reconcile bank balances monthly. A financial report shall be made monthly to the Council of Elders and quarterly to the Church.

ARTICLE VII - MINISTRIES

Section A - Ministries         

The Council of Elders has the authority to establish the ministries of the Church, and appoint Ministry Directors and ministry teams for these ministries. The Council of Elders has the authority to delegate any specified aspect of the ministry to the Ministry Director. The Council of Elders has the authority to dissolve any ministry which it created. Every ministry shall have a Ministry Director, responsible for the overall operation of the ministry, who shall be appointed by the Council of Elders. Each Ministry Director shall be a member in good standing of the Church. Both men and women may serve as Ministry Directors.


Section B - Ministry Directors

1.   Ministry Directors may be either men or women. The number of Ministry Directors at any time will be determined by the Council of Elders.


2.   Qualifications. Ministry Directors shall exemplify the character qualities and lifestyle outlined in Romans 12:1-15:13.


3.   Responsibilities. The fundamental responsibility of Ministry Director is to oversee the ministry areas assigned by the Council of Elders.


4.   Appointment. The Council of Elders shall recognize, interview, and investigate candidates for Ministry Directors. The Council of Elders shall select Ministry Directors for each ministry of the Church.


5.   Reappointment: Ministry Directors shall be reappointed to serve as long as they are required by the Council of Elders, remain willing and are qualified. They shall stand for reappointment by the Council of Elders yearly following their call or previous reappointment.


6.   Removal.


  a. Resignation. A Ministry Director may resign at any time.

  b. Grievance. Where a grievance exists against a Ministry Director either due to the adherence to and propagation of beliefs contrary to the beliefs of

  the Church as set forth in this Constitution or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting a Ministry Director, such grievance may be brought before the

  Council of Elders by any two members in good standing, following the procedures prescribed in Article III, Section C. If the Council, after thorough

  investigation and consideration, believes the grievance to be true and substantial, then the Ministry Director may be removed from office upon the

  unanimous vote of the Council of Elders.

  c. Ministry Needs. The council of Elders may remove a Ministry Director based on the needs of the ministry. Removal by this means shall not be

  considered disciplinary action.


7.   Vocational Ministry Directors are those men or women, who, in response to God's call, devote their vocational lives either in part or full to serve the Church in specific ministries. Vocational Ministry Directors are supported financially by the Church in return for their vocational labors. Vocational Ministry Directors shall perform the duties as determined by the Council of Elders and approved by the membership. The duties shall be in writing at the time of the call to service and substantial changes shall be approved by the Church. 


Section C - Additional Ministerial Staff

Any additional ministerial staff shall be appointed or hired by the Elders with congregational approval. The Elders shall execute dismissals and report them to the Church.

ARTICLE VIII - BUSINESS MEETINGS

A “properly called business meeting” is defined as any business meeting of the Church for which the agenda has been properly announced at least 10 days in advance of the meeting; the membership is notified by appropriate means and an announcement is given in the Sunday morning service.


All business meetings of the Church shall be opened with scripture reading and prayer. The Annual Business Meeting of the Church will be held the first Wednesday after the first Sunday in January, unless rescheduled by the Council of Elders for a later date in January. Printed financial statements of the Church shall be made available to the congregation at a quarterly meeting held for that purpose in April, July, and October unless rescheduled by the Council of Elders.


The agenda for all business meetings will be set forth by the Council of Elders. Any member in good standing may submit to the Council of Elders in writing, at least three calendar weeks prior to the meeting, any item to be considered for inclusion in the agenda of said business meeting.


Any member whose agenda item is rejected by the Council of Elders may appeal within two weeks to the Church through the Council of Elders for a hearing of the matter before the Church. Such appeal to the Church will occur within three months following the date of the above submission of the request in writing. The Church will then decide whether to hear the matter or whether it will act without such hearing based upon the recommendation of the Council of Elders


The purpose of paragraphs two and three of Article VIII is to give members and the Council of Elders a wise and reasonable mechanism to resolve issues in a spirit of reconciliation and accountability. God has placed the Council of Elders as servant-leaders to facilitate the needs of individuals as well as to protect the body from wrong or evil or divisive intrusion. I Thessalonians 5:12-15.

ARTICLE IX - FINANCIAL RECORD REVIEW

It shall be the duty of the Council of Elders to arrange for an annual financial record review by an appropriate external financial agent and to report at the first quarterly business meeting following the review.

ARTICLE X - AMENDMENT OR DISSOLUTION

This Constitution may be amended by a 75% majority vote of all voting members present at any regular or called business meeting of the congregation, providing there shall be a quorum of 40% of the voting members (refer to Article IV) of the Church at said meeting.

ARTICLE XI - QUORUM

A quorum for conducting a business meeting of the Church shall be 30% of the voting membership (Article IV) of the Church.

ARTICLE XII - ADOPTION

This Constitution shall become effective immediately upon adoption by the Church.

ARTICLE XIII - COPY

A copy of this Constitution along with the Doctrinal Statement and Church Covenant shall be made available to each member of the Church.