What We Believe

PREAMBLE

IN SUBMISSION TO THE SCRIPTURES which command the body of Christ to “Be of one mind,” (Phil 2:2) and in hearty obedience of the instructions written in Jude to “Contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (v.3), we lay out these expressions of commitment as a local body of believers.

CONSTITUTION

Article I

Name and Incorporation

This body shall be known as the First Baptist Church of Red Bud, Illinois, located at 1010 Locust Street, Red Bud, Illinois and is incorporated in accordance with the laws of the State of Illinois governing religious bodies.  The Corporate acts, personal rights or legal equity of members and all other matters, shall be in accordance with such laws.

Article II

Declaration of Purpose

Section 1. This church is a congregation of baptized believers in Christ, united by covenant for the worship of Almighty God, and associated in the faith and the fellowship of the Gospel to practice its precepts, to recognize and receive Jesus Christ as their supreme Law-giver and Ruler, and to take the teachings of the Lord Jesus as set forth in the Holy Bible as the standard by which all matters of belief and personal conduct are to be tried and determined.

Section 2. Biblical Purpose

1.  God’s Glory

I Cor 10:31 – Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  (Worship, Consecration, Righteous living, Prayer)

2.  Equipping Saints

Eph 4:12 – For the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ: (Discipleship, Teaching, Preaching, Fellowship)

3.  Missions

Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

Mat 28:19 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Evangelism, Outreach, Discipleship, Community Care)

4.  Studying the Word

II Tim 2:15 – Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

Mission Statement

Daily the church is bombarded with opportunities and issues that need to be responded to in biblical and obedient fashion.  A concise and clear mission statement will be a great aid to the body in discerning if the opportunity fits within the bounds of the giftedness and purpose of the church.

Statement:

A people for the Glory of God, Proclaiming His Word to each other and the lost, in the Name of Jesus.

Why a mission statement:

1.  A motto for members

2.  A guide for decision makers

3.  A filter for opportunities

4.  A center of focus

5.  A remedy for distractions

6.  A statement to future generations

Article III

Statement of Basic Beliefs

We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired, infallible, and inerrant 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.  We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind.  The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  (See Article V of the By-laws.)  This church also commits as a body to seeking to emphasize the glory of God in everything, and particularly to lifting up the Sovereign work of Christ in Salvation.

Article IV

Church Covenant

Promise

Having as we trust, been called by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give ourselves up to Him, following in obedience through baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We rest in the completed work of Christ and solemnly and joyfully covenant together, in submission to the Scriptures.

Expectations

UNITY- Keeping the unity of the Spirit in the Bond of peace (Eph 4:3, Col 3:14)

GIVING- 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 to all nations. (II Cor 8 and 9, Rom. 15:26)

PRAYER- We will endeavor to build a culture of prayer expressing continually our reliance on God and our need of His daily sustaining grace. (John 15, Matt 6)

ASSEMBLY – We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. (Heb 10)

BROTHERLY LOVE – We will exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require. We will seek to help one another in sickness and distress, and to cultivate Christian sympathy in courtesy and speech, to be slow to take offense and always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our savior to secure it without delay. (Matt 18, Gal 6)

EVANGELISM/DISCIPLESHIP- We take seriously the command of Jesus to “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel.” and will labor diligently to obey it by giving, going, and staying. Recognizing that our work is not complete until we have taught them to observe and obey the commands of Christ.  (Matt 28, Acts 1:8)

FAMILY- We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, seeking their salvation and discipleship  through; family devotions, biblical training, and pure example. (Deut 6, Eph 6: 1-4)

CHURCH- We agree that our ministry and service in the context of this local body will be in accordance with the polity approved by the church, including submission to the servant leadership of the elders, church discipline, and our doctrinal affirmations. (I Peter 5, Heb 13, Phil 2:2)

ETHICAL STATEMENT-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 to lead a new and holy life. We will seek to walk circumspectly in the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, exemplary in our conduct, to avoid all tattling backbiting and excessive anger and to seek God’s help in abstaining from anything which brings unwarranted harm to the body or which might  jeopardize our own or another’s faith. (Titus 2:12, I Cor 8)

Article V

Leadership, Organization and Affiliation

1.  Under the authority of Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Congregation of the Church is the final authority within this local Church. This authority is normally exercised through the election of officers to govern the Church.  However, the vote of the membership of this church at a properly called meeting, as provided in the By-Laws, shall be required to effect the following actions:

a.  Accept members into the Church, give letters of transfer or recommendation to members or drop members from the Church roll

b.  Elect officers of the Church

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

d.  Approve annual budgets of the Church, authorize any expenditure of the funds of the Church when such expenditure is not covered by an approved budget, and approve any transactions regarding real property

e.  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

f.  Adopt, amend, or repeal the Constitution or By-Laws of this church

g.  Approve the call, job description and initial salary of Vocational Pastors and Ministers

2.  The officers of the Church shall be Elder and Deacon.  The purpose of the officers of the Church is to lovingly govern, care for, and equip the membership to do the work of the ministry.

3.  The leadership of the Church shall be vested in the Council of Elders who are responsible for overseeing the Church, teaching the Word and tending the flock of God in this Church.  The Elders shall be equal in authority but may be specialized in function.

4.  Our deacons are precious to our church in that they foster and protect the unity of the body.  They remove encumbrances from the elders and the rest of the body by taking care of ministry needs in the areas of physical operations, and in other areas as needed as help is requested by the elders or the body.

5.  Insofar as is practical, this body shall affiliate itself with (1) The Metro-East Baptist Association, (2) The Illinois Baptist State Association, and (3) The Southern Baptist Convention.

BY-LAWS

Article I

Membership

Section 1.  Candidacy

Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church.  All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership after having completed the following steps:

(1)  Meeting with an elder/deacon to hear testimonies and discuss the doctrine and practice of this local body.

(2)  Affirming our church covenant and expressing a cheerful willingness to work alongside this body in submission to the Scriptures.

(3)  Publicly expressing to the body a desire for membership, through written testimony, verbal testimony, believers’ baptism, transfer of letter, or statement of faith.

Should there by any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the Elders for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days. A three-fourths vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.  All member candidates will affirm the church covenant.

Section 2.  Duties

Members are expected, first of all, to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life, including, but not limited to, those listed in the Church Covenant (see Article IV of the Church Constitution); and also to attend regularly the services of this church, to give regularly for its support and its causes, and to share in its organized work, giving freely of their time and energy to serve the body.

Section 3.  Rights of Members

(1)  Every member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present.

(2)  Every member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church in submission to the biblical requirements for each office.

(3)  Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.

Section 4.  Termination of Membership

Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:

(1) death of the member

(2) dismissal to another Baptist Church

(3) exclusion by action of this church

(4) erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.

Section 5.  Discipline

It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member.  The elders, other members of the 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 or is for the space of one year nonresident, or the same space of time not worshipping with the church, the elders and the deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accord with Matthew 18 and Galatians 6.  If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds vote of the members present is required at a special meeting.  The church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church.  All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance.

The church, upon recommendation of the elders, 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.

Article II

CHURCH OFFICERS

All who serve as officers of the church and those who serve on church committees shall be members of this church.  Committees will be temporary in nature and appointed as needed by the Elders or the deacons.

PASTOR

A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs.  His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice shall be given.  A Pastor Search Committee (which will include the elders and others that are appointed by the church) shall be appointed by the church to seek out a suitable pastor in accordance with Scriptural guidelines, and their recommendation will constitute a nomination, though any member has the privilege of making other nominations.  The Committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one man at a time.  Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those present being necessary for a choice.  The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request.  The pastor may relinquish the office as pastor by giving at least two weeks notice to the church at the time of resignation.  The church may declare the office of Pastor to be vacant.  The pastor will serve in an accountable and co-laboring relationship with the elders, exercising his office of spiritual leadership as entrusted by the Holy Spirit and the congregation. (I Peter 5:2)

ELDERS

The elders shall be comprised of men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in I Timothy 3: 1-7 and Titus 1: 6-9.  A majority of the active eldership shall be composed of church members not in the regular pay of the church, and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.

Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church.  In keeping with the principles set for in Acts 6:1-6 and I Peter 5:1-4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.

The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections.  These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders.  An elder may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal.  Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation.  Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18: 15-17 and I Timothy 5: 17-21.  Any of the elders may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the church.

The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world missions. The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.

The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities.

The elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to another staff member.

Each year the elders, after consultation with the deacons, and the membership, shall present to the church an itemized budget. This budget shall be presented for discussion at a specially-called budget meeting and called up for a vote at the following Love Feast. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders.

DEACONS

Section 1.  Number, Terms of Service, and Election,

(1)  The number of Deacons shall be determined by the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of men in the church.   Each Deacon shall be called by the membership of the Church to a normal term of three years.

It shall be pertinent for the church to promote to honorary life membership any deacon who by reason of age or infirmities shall, after honorable service, be no longer able to render active service.

(2)  After serving a term of no more than three years, each deacon shall rotate off the active deacon body.  Then after a period of one year, the same deacon shall rotate back onto the active deacon body provided the following:

a.  He is still an active member of the church.

b.  He is willing to serve another three year term.

c.  The church approves his reappointment by vote at a Love Feast or a called business meeting of the church.

(3)  A candidate for deacon must be a member of this church for at least one year.

(4)  There is no obligation to constitute as deacon a brother who comes to the church from another church where he has served as deacon.

Section 2.  Calling, Qualifications, Responsibilities and Organization

(1)  The call and any reaffirmation shall be conducted as provided in Article II, Section 1, #2 of the By-Laws.

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

(3)  The Deacons shall advise and be ready to assist the Elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the Word, new and existing ministries of the Church and the care for the members of the congregations.

Their responsibilities may include:

a.  administering a fund to assist the poor and needy and otherwise providing aid in times of crisis or distress

b.  the greeting and welcoming ministries of the church

c.  assisting in administering the ordinances of the Gospel

d.  assisting at fellowship gatherings of the church

e.  caring for and maintaining the church properties

f.  administering the business affairs of the Church that pertain to its material assets.

(4) The Deacons shall be organized in a way determined to best achieve the mission of the church. The Elders/Deacons may designate any specific Deacon or group of Deacons to specialize in some particular Deaconal function.  Meetings of the Deacons or subcommittees thereof shall be held as needed to best fulfill the responsibilities of the Deacons.

TRUSTEES

The church shall elect, at the annual meeting, three or more trustees, recommended by the Deacons, to serve as legal officers for the church.  They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any church property.  When the signatures of trustees are required, they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church-approved matters.

MODERATOR

The pastor shall act as moderator.  The Church shall elect, at the annual meeting, an assistant moderator, recommended by the Elders, to act as moderator when necessary.  In the absence of the moderator and the assistant moderator, the Deacon Chairman will serve in that capacity.  If the Pastor does not desire the position of moderator, the church shall elect, at the annual meeting, a moderator recommended by the Elders.

CLERK

The church shall elect, at the annual meeting, a clerk, recommended by the Deacons.  The duties of the church clerk are as follows:

(1)  Record minutes of church business meetings.

(2)  Preserve records for present and future use.

(3)  Correspond with other churches and members.

(4)  Provide records for church history.

(5)  Prepare and submit Annual Church Profile to the Association and State.

(6)  Provide current and up-to-date minutes of all business meetings for church office file.

TREASURER

The church shall elect, at the annual meeting, a treasurer, and vice treasurer, recommended by the Deacons.  It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of approved bills, all monies, or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements.  Payment of bills and expenses shall be made promptly by check, and all funds received for denominational or other causes shall be remitted at least monthly by check. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church monthly an itemized report of receipts and disbursements for the preceding month.  He shall also render to the church an annual report showing the total amount or receipts, and an itemized statement of all disbursements of the previous year.  All books, records, and accounts, kept by treasurer shall be considered the property the church.  The books shall be open to inspection and audit at all times by any member of the church.  Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year, and its acceptance and approval by the church, the same shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve it as a part of the permanent records of the church.  The treasurer shall, upon the election of his/her successor, promptly deliver to him/her all books, records, and accounts in his/her hands pertaining or relating to in any manner and duties of the office he/she is relinquishing.  In the event of the treasurer resigning, being rendered incapable of performing his/her job, or absence, the assistant-treasurer will assume duties immediately.

FINANCIAL SECRETARY

The church shall elect, at the annual meeting, a financial secretary, recommended by the Deacons.  He/She shall receive the empty collection envelopes after the money has been removed and counted by the Counting Committee.  From these he/she shall give each donor individual credit as provided in the Church Finance Record System published by Broadman Press and Supplies.  He/she may keep the envelopes for reference if he/she so wishes.  He/she will also fill out the sheet for the monthly balance and report found in the record book, which will indicate receipts from envelopes, plate, or loose, and miscellaneous or special offerings.  He/she shall also be responsible for preparing and mailing statements to all contributing members, except upon request of the individual member.

The financial secretary has no responsibility for keeping money of the church.

CHAIRMAN OF USHERS

The church shall elect, at the annual meeting, a chairman of ushers and assistant chairman of ushers, recommended by the Deacons.  The chairman of ushers shall associate with himself a sufficient number of aides to care for the seating and comfort of the congregation, provide a list of greeters, prevent interruptions and distractions, organize the receiving of tithes and offerings and fill the pew card holders.

ARTICLE III

Church Finance

Section 1. Receipts from all sources shall be kept in specific accounts, a general expense account, and whatever other accounts deemed necessary by vote of the church.

Section 2. All funds given to the church shall pass through the hands of the treasurer and shall be properly recorded on the books of the church.  The expenses of all organizations, as approved by the church, shall be paid from the general expense fund as heretofore provided.

Section 3. No contract for supplies, materials or services, pledging the credit of the church, shall be made except upon approval of the elders/deacons, unless authorized by direct vote of the church.   All expenditures shall be made only upon authorization of the elders/deacons, upon authority of the church, save that the church may give general authorization to any committee for normal supplies and also for general items.

Section 4. It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts.  Each member of the church shall be responsible for educating themselves and their families as to the financial needs and goals of the church.

Section 5. Special offerings may be sought by the church. This does not preclude individuals making offerings to various causes at any time as the Spirit of God may move them.

Section 6. Fiscal Year – The church fiscal year shall run from January 1 through December 31 of each year.

Article IV

Meetings

Section 1.  Worship Services

(1)  The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God.

(2)  Revival services and any other church meeting essential to the advancement of the church’s objectives shall be placed on the church calendar.

Section 2.  Business Meetings

(1)  At any of the regular meetings for worship, the church may without special notice, act upon the reception of members or upon the dismissal of members to other churches, and upon the election of messengers to associations and conventions, but not upon other business.

Section 3. Love Feasts

The church assembled will practice a quarterly “Love Feast.”  This Feast will have several elements to build fellowship, express

Commitment, and discuss business:  all under-girded by substantial time of prayer.

The elements will be as follows:

(1)  Fellowship meal – great care will be given to emphasize fellowship and sharing (I Cor 11)

(2)  Communion

(3)  Prayer time (substantial)

(4)  Discussion – (will include Elders report, Deacons report, Clerks business, and various ministry reports, as well as the discussion of business referred to the body by the elders or deacons)

The Love Feast will have orderly Christ-like discussions led by the moderator.  A family meeting tone will be achieved as each gives preference to the other.

Robert Rules of order will be used at the discretion of the moderator when deemed necessary.

Article V

Church Ordinances

Section 1.  Baptism: This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.

(1)  Baptism shall be by immersion in water, by whatever means available.

(2)  The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism.  The Baptismal Committee shall assist, as needed, in the preparation for, and the observance of, baptism.

(3)  Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship.

(4)  A person who professes Christ and is not baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the pastor and/or staff or deacons.  If negative interest is ascertained on the part of the candidate, he shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.

Section 2.  The Lord’s Supper: The Church shall observe the Lord’s Supper quarterly, the first Sunday of the quarter, or when otherwise scheduled by the elders/deacon.  The observance shall alternate between the morning and the evening services of worship. The pastor and deacons shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparations.

Article VI

Amendments

Changes in the Constitution and By-Laws may be made at any Love Feast of the church provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous business meeting and copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to each member present at the earlier meeting.  Amendments to the Constitution shall be by two-thirds vote of church members present.  Amendments to the By-Laws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.