OUR CHURCH CONSTITUTION
(Last approved by congregation: 4/24/2013)
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 this body in relation to other churches of the same faith.
Article I: NAME
Section 1. This body shall be known as the NATIONAL BOULEVARD BAPTIST CHURCH, Springfield, Missouri, the same being a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Missouri.
Article II: PURPOSE
Section 1. To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, community, and throughout the world.
Section 2. To be a worshipping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing his person, and responding in obedience to his leadership.
Section 3. To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
Section 4. To help people experience a growing knowledge of God and man.
Section 5. To be a church which ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and the world in Jesus’ name.
Section 6. To be a church whose purpose is to be Christlike in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the lordship of Christ.
Article III: ARTICLES OF FAITH
The standard of faith and practice shall be that as set forth in the New Testament and incorporated in the Articles of Faith published as “The Baptist Faith and Message 2000” adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in session at Orlando, Florida on June 14, 2000.
Article IV: CHURCH COVENANT
Having as we trust, been brought by Divine Grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of a Christian Church; exercise an affectionate care and watchfulness over each other; and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require.
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
We will rejoice at each other’s happiness, and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life.
We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Article V: POLITY AND RELATIONSHIPS
Section 1. The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. (See Article I of the Bylaws).
Section 2. All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.
Section 3. This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the association, the state convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
(Last approved by congregation: 5/21/2017)
I. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: General
The membership of the NATIONAL BOULEVARD BAPTIST CHURCH shall consist of persons who have made public professions of their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, and who, having experienced New Testament baptism by immersion, are in sympathy with the faith and practice of this church.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.
Section 2: Candidacy
Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. Candidates are hereby reminded that we are a Baptist church with a unique doctrinal perspective. We affirm the historic Baptist confessions as they agree with Scripture and currently hold to The Baptist Faith and Message as well. The church requires candidates for membership to be in fundamental agreement with these doctrinal statements. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in the following ways:
(1) Admission by Baptism
Any person professing faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and desiring to follow Christ in obedience through believer’s baptism may be baptized. Such persons are members of this church after baptism.
(2) Admission by Letter
Applicants from other Southern Baptist churches will be received into the church as members upon promise of a letter of recommendation from the applicant’s church. This membership is provisional until the letter of recommendation is actually received.
(3) Admission by Statement
Applicants from Southern Baptist churches where no letter is available may come by statement of faith and statement of baptism.
Applicants from churches other than Southern Baptist may be received by statement of their faith in Jesus Christ and statement of baptism if:
(a) The applicant’s baptism was by immersion and his faith in Christ preceded baptism,
(b) The applicant professes salvation to be by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and that,
(c) The applicant, by verbal acknowledgment, believes the same fundamental doctrines of this church.
Such applicants should make arrangements to visit with the pastor, other ministerial staff or deacons to discuss these issues. If such a person’s baptism was either improper in mode (not immersed) or in meaning (baptism for salvation) they may still come on profession of faith for Scriptural baptism and be received as members.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the pastor and the deacons 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.
Section 3: New Member Orientation
New members of this church are expected to participate in the church’s new member orientation.
Section 4: Rights of Members
(1) Every member of the church, active within the past year, 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 member of the church, active within the past year, is eligible for consideration by the membership as a candidate for elective offices in the church.
(3) Every member of the church may participate in the Lord’s Supper as administered by the church.
Section 5: Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways: (1) death of the member, (2) Dismission to another Baptist church of like faith and order, (3) exclusion by action of this church, or (4) erasure upon request or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.
If a member moves from the area so that they can no longer be a regular member of the church, the member shall then make every effort to find a church of like faith and order which they may join. Such members will remain on the roll of the church for no longer than one year after they have moved. Exception may be granted for missionaries, homebound, those in military service, college, temporary job assignment or if the member has moved to a location where there is no evangelical church. The church must be informed if any of these exceptions apply.
Section 6: 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 pastor, 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 could cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons will take every measure to resolve the problem in accord with Matthew 18. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds vote of the members present is required; and 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. (Galatians 6:1-2).
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.
II. CHURCH OFFICERS
Section 1: General
The Biblical offices in the church are elders and deacons. In addition, our church recognizes the administrative positions under this constitution of clerk, treasurer, moderator, and trustees. All officers must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.
For the purposes of this document, the New Testament terms elder, overseer, oversight, and pastor (shepherd) shall be considered synonymous terms for identification and function. The words shall be used in accordance with their usage in the New Testament.
Section 2: Elders
The elders shall be comprised of not less than three men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in I Timothy 3: 1–7 and Titus 1: 6–9. 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 forth in Acts 6: 1–6 and 1 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, as led by current elders or at request of the congregation in a regular members meeting. The church may designate the number of elders needed and arrange for nominations accordingly. A man may be nominated as an elder or may place his own name for consideration as an elder. Currently serving elders will determine through review and interviews what names will then be placed before the church for confirmation as elders. An elder must received a four-fifths affirmative vote of the congregation to serve. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders.
Elders may serve a term of three years. At the end of that three-year term, they may opt to continue serving for another 3 years. No more than two consecutive 3 year terms may be served. At the end of the 6 year term an elder will not be allowed to serve again for a minimum of 1 year, after which his name may be placed before the congregation to serve again.
An elder’s term of office 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, may, as appropriate, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents, teams and committees, conduct worship services, administer along with the diaconate, 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 teams to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The elders may also propose funding for new paid staff positions. The membership shall approve all candidates to fill the positions of senior, associate pastor and new paid staff positions. The scope and approval of job descriptions for any staff position shall reside in the hands of those with hiring authority for that position.
The elders shall along with the Personnel Team have 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 at least one elder shall serve on the Budget Planning Team in an ex officio capacity with voice and vote. The proposed annual budget shall be reviewed by the elders and deacons after being prepared by the Budget planning team. This budget shall be presented for discussion at a regular or specially called member’s meeting. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders. The elders shall elect a chairman of elders’ meetings and shall also elect one of their number to serve as moderator of members’ meetings.
Section 3: The Senior Pastor
The senior pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
He shall preach on the Lord’s Day, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the church’s governing documents.
In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastor the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.
A senior pastor shall be called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. A pastor selection team shall be elected by nominations of the members present and voting by secret ballot. Notice of such a vote will be given at least two weeks in advance. The pastor selection team will consist of at least 5 members, 2 of whom will be elders. Once the team has selected a man to recommend as senior pastor, the elders shall also be included in the process so that the recommendation to the church includes both the pastor selection team and elders. Only one candidate may be presented at one time to the congregation. Election shall be by ballot. An affirmative vote of four-fifths of those voting shall be required to call a man as senior pastor.
A senior pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated at his request or that church’s request with a two-thirds vote of the members voting by secret ballot. Notice of such a vote will be given two weeks in advance. The moderator for this meeting shall be designated by the members present by majority vote and shall be someone other than the senior pastor. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the senior pastor so excluded from office, the church shall compensate the terminated senior pastor with not less than one twelfth of his total annual compensation. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in not less than thirty days. The senior pastor may resign at any time, giving at least two weeks notice before terminating his responsibilities.
Section 4: Associate Pastors
The church may call additional pastors whose relationship to the senior pastor is that of associate.
An associate pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
An associate pastor shall be called by the church when such a position is deemed useful for the church’s ministry or whenever a vacancy occurs. An associate pastor will consist of the Personnel Team and elders Once this group has selected a man to recommend as associate pastor, an election by secret ballot shall be held with at least two weeks prior notice. Only one candidate may be presented at one time to the congregation. An affirmative vote of four-fifths of those voting shall be required to call a man as associate pastor.
An associate pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated at his request or that church’s request with a two-thirds vote of the members voting by secret ballot. Notice of such a vote will be given two weeks in advance. The moderator for this meeting shall be designated by the members present by majority vote and shall be someone other than the senior pastor. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the associate pastor so excluded from office, the church shall compensate the terminated senior pastor with not less than one twelfth of his total annual compensation. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered in not less than thirty days. An associate pastor may resign at any time, giving at least two weeks notice before terminating his responsibilities.
He shall assist the senior pastor in the performance of his regular duties and shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of pastor, or as set forth in the constitution, or which may be specifically assigned to him by the congregation.
In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastor for defined periods of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the associate pastor(s) shall assume the responsibility for his duties under the oversight of the elders.
Section 5: Ministry Staff
The ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. A job description shall be written when the need for a staff member is determined. Those staff members of whom the church requires evidence of a personal call of God to minister shall be recommended to the church by the personnel committee and called by church action. At the time of resignation at least two week’s notice shall be given to the church. The church may vote to vacate such positions upon recommendation of the personnel committee, such termination being immediate and the compensation conditions being the same as for the pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual’s compensation.
Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the church determines the need for their services. The church personnel committee shall have the authority to recommend the employment and the termination of services of non-ministerial staff members to the church. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the supervising staff member and, as appropriate, with the consultation of related committees of the church.
Employment and termination of staff shall be the same percentage as the pastor.
Section 6: Deacons
Deacons shall consist of men elected and ordained by this church or by another Baptist church of like faith and order. They shall be a least 21 years of age and resident members of this church for a period of at least one year. They shall meet the scriptural standards as set forth in 1 Timothy 3 and Acts 6. Divorce on the part of the candidate will not be considered an automatic disqualification but will be considered along with other qualifications on a case by case basis for the office of deacon. There shall be no obligation to constitute, as an assigned deacon, one who has been a deacon in another church; but in such instance as one might be chosen by this church for assignment as a deacon, his previous ordination by another Baptist church of like faith and order shall suffice for this church. Such individual may be given consideration as an active deacon only after having been a member of this church for at least one year.
(2) Method of Selection
Upon recognition by the pastor and deacon body of the need for a specified number of additional deacons, a deacon election shall be called. The church shall nominate men by secret ballot to fill the positions at the regular business meeting of the church. The pastor and a deacon committee shall counsel with the candidates to determine their eligibility, beginning with those receiving the highest number of votes. The eligible candidates shall be brought back to the church for ordination. The elected persons shall be considered Deacons-Elect and a three-month period shall be used for instruction relative to the duties of a deacon. Ordination shall follow the three-month instruction period.
In accordance with the meaning of the Word and the practice in the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church and zealous to guard the spirit of unity within the church in the bonds of peace. Their task is to serve with the pastor and church staff in performing the pastoral ministries tasks of (1) proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to believers and unbelievers, (2) leading the church in achievement of its mission, (3) caring for the church’s members and other persons in the community, and (4) assisting the pastor in administering the ordinances of the church.
In the absence of the Pastor, the Chairman of Deacons shall act in his place in performance of duties as may be necessary to carry out the work of the church.
If a deacon feels he is no longer able to fulfill the requirements of an active deacon, he may request to be placed on inactive status.
When the deacon body recognizes that a man no longer fulfills the qualifications of a deacon, and all biblical steps have been taken according to Matthew 18:15-17, they may, upon a two-thirds majority vote, recommend the church call for the surrender of his certificate of ordination. Such call for surrender will be made upon a two-thirds majority vote of the church during regular business session.
It shall be considered proper for the church to promote to honorary membership any deacon who by reason of age or infirmities shall, after honorable service, be no longer able to render active service.
Section 7: Moderator
The pastor or an elder shall serve as moderator (see section 2). If an elder is unavailable to moderate, the members in attendance may elect a moderator for that meeting. In his absence, the Chairman of Deacons shall preside; or in the absence of both, the clerk shall call the church to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
Section 8: Church Clerk
The church shall elect annually a clerk as its clerical officer. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a suitable record of all official actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a register of names of members, with dates of admission, dismission, death, or erasure, together with a record of baptisms. The clerk shall issue letters of dismission as voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give required notice of all meetings where notice is necessary, as indicated in these bylaws. The clerk shall be responsible for preparing the annual letter of the church to the association.
The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary who will assist the elected clerk. All church records are church property and shall be kept in the church office when an office is maintained.
Section 9: Treasurer
The church shall elect annually a church treasurer. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon approval of authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church at each regular business meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements for the preceding month. The treasurer’s report and records shall be audited annually by a public accountant. The treasurer shall be bonded, the church paying for the bond.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church.
An assistant to the treasurer shall be elected annually.
Section 10: Trustees
The church shall elect three or more trustees 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, or other legal documents related to church-approved matters. If a trustee acts without proper authorization of the church, he is personally responsible for such action.
Trustees shall maintain an up-to-date inventory of all church property, property deeds and mortgage loans, and shall maintain adequate and up-to-date insurance on all church properties. All such information shall be kept in a safe-deposit box with copies filed in the church office.
Trustees shall serve on a rotation basis, with one new trustee being elected each year. No trustee shall succeed himself until a lapse of at least one year.
The work of Boulevard Baptist Church shall be built around the belief that “Every Member is a Minster”. All member shall be encouraged and expected to find their place of serving within the ministries of the church.
All church-approved ministries shall be under one of the following groups:
• Administration – ministries of finance, facilities, and personnel
• Learning – ministries of discipleship
• Missions – ministries of gospel outreach
• Serving – ministries of meeting needs of the church
• Worship – ministries of corporate worship
A listing of those ministries shall be available so that members may know where their service may be utilized.
A Connector for each group shall be elected annually to help connect people to the ministries where their gifts, talents, and callings lie.
IV. 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.
(2) The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer the baptism. The Baptismal Committee shall assist in the preparation for, and the observances of, baptism.
(3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
Section 2: The Lord’s Supper
The church shall observe the Lord’s Supper monthly. The pastor and deacons shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparations.
V. CHURCH MEETINGS
Section 1: Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services. Pastoral staff shall coordinate the services.
Section 2: Meetings
Any other church meetings essential to the advancement of the church’s objective shall be placed on the church calendar.
Section 3: Regular Business Meetings
The church shall hold regular business meetings quarterly. An annual budget approval shall be held in December.
Section 4: Special Business Meetings
The church may conduct called business meetings to consider matters of special nature and significance which require consideration prior to the next regularly scheduled business meeting. A one-week notice must be given for the specially called business meeting unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, the date, the time and place.
Section 5: Quorum
The quorum consists of those members who attend the business meeting, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section 6: Parliamentary Rules
Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedures for all business meetings of the church.
VI. CHURCH POLICY AND PROCEDURES
The church shall have a manual to include church policies and procedures. The manual shall be kept in the church office and made available for use there by any member of the church. Any church member or church organization may initiate suggested changes in the manual through business meeting.
Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting 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 four-fifths vote of church members present. Amendments to the bylaws shall be by two-thirds vote of church members present.