Our By-Laws


PREAMBLE

For the purpose of preserving, propagating and making articulate the principles of our Faith, and to the end that this body of believing Christians may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted tenets of Missionary Baptist Churches, for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of the Church, and in order to set forth the relationship of this body to other Baptist bodies, we do adopt and establish these By-laws.

ARTICLE I

NAME

The name and address of this organization is First Baptist Church of Rockingham (hereinafter referred to as the “church”), located at Green and Everett Streets, Rockingham, Richmond County, North Carolina.

ARTICLE II

PURPOSE

This Church is organized for the purpose of advancing and promoting the worship of God through the reading and study of the Holy Bible as the revealed word of God, the teaching and preaching of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, conducting regular services of worship for the spiritual training development and benefit of each member and for the winning of souls to Jesus Christ. This Church shall be missionary in spirit, extending the Gospel through our organized religious channels to the entire world. It shall promote and maintain the teaching and doctrines of that Christian denomination universally known and designated as the Missionary Baptist Denomination. It shall exist to provide regular opportunities for public worship, to sustain the ordinances, doctrines and ethics set forth in the New Testament for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and to channel its offerings to the support of the objects of the Kingdom of God. In order to effectively carry forward the objects and purposes set forth above, the Church will have
full power and authority to purchase, lease and acquire by gift, devise or bequest and to hold, mortgage, convey and dispose of all kinds of property, both real and personal.

ARTICLE III

MEMBERSHIP

SECTION 1. Any person may present themselves at a public service of the Church for membership. At the discretion of the Pastor, the Church may, as set forth in this Constitution, call itself into special session and vote on the membership of the candidate, or the Pastor may acknowledge the desire, and postpone the vote until some subsequent meeting.

SECTION 2. The membership of this Church shall be composed of persons who have given evidence of regeneration, who have been received by vote of the Church, and who have been baptized by immersion. The immersion requirement can be waived upon the recommendation of the Pastor and approval of the Deacons for any who suffer from a chronic physical hindrance. If immersion is waived, another method of Baptism, including sprinkling, can be used upon the request of the candidate.

SECTION 3. A member of another Baptist Church of like faith and order may be received by vote of the Church and upon receipt of a letter from that Church.

SECTION 4. Anyone who has been a member of a Baptist Church, and in consequence of peculiar circumstances has no regular Church letter, may be received into our fellowship upon a statement satisfactory to the Church.

SECTION 5. Letters may be granted to any Church of like faith and order. When such letter or letters are granted, membership in this Church will terminate.

SECTION 6.When a member of this Church joins a different church, membership in this Church will terminate.

SECTION 7. Any member may have his membership terminated by personal request.

SECTION 8. Should a member become an offense to the Church and to its good name by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct, by persistent breach of his Church covenant vows, or continuous absence, the Church may terminate his membership by vote, but only after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and amendment.
(Matthew 18:15-17.)

SECTION 9. Members are expected to be faithful in all duties essential to the Christian life; to attend regularly the services of the Church; to give regularly and systematically to its support and Kingdom causes; and to share in its organized work.

ARTICLE IV

MEETINGS

SECTION 1. This Church shall hold regular meetings for worship, teaching, training and fellowship.

SECTION 2. The regular worship services of the Church shall be held on Sundays and on Wednesday evenings, unless otherwise agreed upon by the Church. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at least once a quarter at a time approved by the Church. Officers shall be annually elected by the end of the month of August of each year.

SECTION 3. This Church shall hold regular business meetings for the disposition of all business matters not otherwise provided for, to hear reports from the various Church organizations, and to consider other matter essential to the spiritual welfare and prosperity of the congregation.

SECTION 4. The regular business meeting time of the Church shall be quarterly following a morning worship service. Regular meetings shall be the first Sunday in February, May, August, and November, except that the Pastor and the Chairman of the Deacons acting together may reschedule a meeting, to be held not more than two weeks after the regularly scheduled meeting, to accommodate Church events. Special business meetings shall be called by the Pastor or the Deacons or the Chairman of the Deacons at such time as they may be needed, with reasonable notice of the time, purpose, and place of meeting given to the congregation. The Pastor shall serve as moderator of the business sessions of the Church. In his absence, or upon his request, the Chairman of the Deacons or some other person chosen by the Church may serve as moderator. Written ballot shall be used for votes involving the employment or termination of ministerial staff, and as required by the By-laws. A required written ballot may not be waived except by vote taken by written ballot. Any member may at any time request a voice vote on the use of a written ballot for any matter where written ballot is not otherwise required.

SECTION 5. The rules of order for the conduct of Church business meetings shall be those laid down in “Robert’s Rules of Order Revised”.

SECTION 6.Other meetings of the Church as a whole, or of authorized groups within the Church, may be set according to the needs of the congregation.

SECTION 7. Members aged 18 years and over, and these only, may act and vote in the transactions of the Church relative to legal affairs involving real and personal property and amendments to these by-laws, consistent with the laws of the State of North Carolina. Any member, regardless of age, may vote on all other matters.

SECTION 8. All items of business, unless otherwise provided for herein, shall be approved or disapproved by a majority vote of those members voting. Voting by absentee
ballot shall be permitted, provided an absentee ballot is obtained from the Church office and is enclosed in a sealed envelope and signed on the outside of the envelope by the absentee voter.

SECTION 9. On any motion properly before a business meeting dealing with the purchase or sale of real property, the employment terms or salaries of Church staff, modifications in the Church budget exceeding $5,000, or the affiliation relationships of the Church, where the Church has not announced the general subject and nature of the proposals to be voted upon in The First Baptist Informer before such a meeting, any member may, by request at such a meeting, require that the motion be tabled, and the Church conference be continued until the next Sunday for consideration of that motion.

SECTION 10. Only First Baptist church members may serve as church officer, deacon, teacher, or committee member.

ARTICLE V

CHURCH OFFICERS

SECTION 1. OFFICERS: The officers of this Church shall be:

A. A Pastor, Deacons who shall also serve as the Directors of this corporation and the terms “Deacon” and “Director” as used herein are interchangeable, Chairman of the Deacons who shall also serve as President of this corporation and the terms “Chairman of the Deacons” and “President” as used herein are interchangeable, Vice-Chairman of the Deacons who shall also serve as Vice-President of this corporation and the terms “Vice-Chairman of the Deacons” and “Vice-President” as used herein are interchangeable, Clerk who shall also serve as Secretary of this corporation and the terms “Clerk” and “Secretary” as used herein are interchangeable, Treasurer, and such other officers as shall be required for the work of the Church in any of its departments or organizations.

B. All of these officers shall be elected by the Church and shall be members in good standing, except that the Chairman of the Deacons and Vice-Chairman of the Deacons shall be elected by the Deacons.

SECTION 2. ELECTION AND DUTIES:

A. PASTOR
A Pastor shall be called by the Church to serve until the relationship is dissolved at the request of either the Pastor or the Church. The call of the Pastor shall take place at a meeting especially set for that purpose on the Sunday following the trial sermon of the nominee. The election shall be upon the recommendation of a special committee nominated by a procedure selected by the Deacons, such that the special committee includes no more than one member of a household, and approved by the Church to seek out and nominate as Pastor a minister of the Gospel whose Christian character and qualifications fit him for the office of Pastor of this Church. The committee shall bring only one name at a time for consideration of the Church and no nomination shall be made except that of the committee. Election shall be by written ballot with affirmative vote of three-fourths of those voting necessary for a call. Should the one recommended by the committee fail to receive a three-fourths vote, the committee will be instructed to seek out another minister and the meeting shall be adjourned without debate. Voting by absentee ballot shall be permitted as provided in Article IV, Section 8.
The Pastor shall have in charge the spiritual welfare and oversight of the Church. He shall be ex-officio member of all organizations, departments and committees; he may call a special meeting of the Deacons or any committee according to procedures which may be set forth in the By-laws; he shall conduct religious services on stated and special occasions, administer the ordinances, minister to members of the Church and community, and perform other duties that usually pertain to that office; he shall have special charge of the pulpit ministry of the Church and shall, in cooperation with the Deacons, provide for pulpit supply when he is absent and arrange for workers to assist in revival meetings and other special services. The Pastor shall preside at all meetings of the Church except as otherwise provided. He shall be the administrative head of the Church. A Pastor may be removed by a majority vote of the members voting at a properly called meeting at which the Chairman of the Deacons shall be the moderator. Such a vote may be held only at a meeting in regard to which notice has been mailed to all Church members of the pending action, and the Pastor is provided an opportunity to be heard. Such a vote may be initiated by the recommendation of the Deacons or by other motion adopted by the Church to call for such a meeting and vote.

a) The officers and the members shall make every effort to follow Biblical principles in dealing with conflicts regarding Pastoral staff. An effort should be extended to permit reconciliation of conflicts in a manner consistent with our Christian faith and doctrine in accordance with Articles VI and VII.

b) Removal shall be effective immediately upon the adoption of a motion terminating the Pastor. Any resolution to dismiss may also contain recommendations concerning financial aspects of the termination including severance pay.

B. DEACONS

The Church shall eventually have twelve Deacons, the existing Deacons serving their remaining terms until this reduced number has been reached, each serving a four year term, commencing on September 1, with three Deacons being elected each year.

To increase representation:

(1) no person who has served as Deacon shall be eligible for election until after the lapse of one year after the term he was serving ends; and,

(2) no more than one member of a household shall be eligible to serve as a Deacon at the same time.

The Deacons shall be nominated and elected as follows:

(1) A committee shall be appointed annually by the Chairman of the Deacons and the Pastor to tabulate the ballots and to contact the nominees.

(2) A list of all members eligible for election as deacons shall be published in The First Baptist Informer published immediately before the Spring Church Conference.

(3) Each member of the Church, at the Spring Church Conference, may nominate by written ballot no more than three adult members of the Church to serve as Deacons.

(4) The committee will send a letter to the twenty members receiving the highest number of nominations, pointing out the qualifications of a Deacon as stated in Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3, as well as the Church’s expectations of a Deacon, and advising them that if they are willing to serve as Deacon they must contact the Church office within seven days from the date of the letter and sign a commitment which affirms that if elected they will faithfully fulfill the Church’s expectations of a Deacon.

(5) The names of the nominees who have indicated their willingness to serve and who have signed a commitment will be submitted to the Church for vote by written ballot at a special meeting called for the purpose, with notice of the vote and the names of the nominees published in The First Baptist Informer, and the three eligible nominees receiving the highest number of votes will be elected to serve as Deacons.

(6) A record of the vote totals will be kept for one year.

(7) Until the number of Deacons serving has been reduced to twelve, vacancies during a term shall not be filled, but thereafter, should there be a vacancy during a term, it will be filled for the remainder of the term from the list of nominees not elected at the last election of Deacons, chosen in order according to the vote totals.

The Deacons shall annually elect the Chairman of the Deacons and Vice-Chairman of the Deacons, with the expectation that the Vice-Chairman will serve as Chairman the next year. A quorum of Deacons for the transaction of business shall consist of one half of the Deacons then serving.  Deacons shall at all times consider themselves as servants of the Church. With the Pastor, and as the Holy Spirit may direct, they are to consider and make recommendations to the Church in all matters pertaining to its work and progress, including oversight of the discipline of the Church. They shall establish and maintain spiritual fraternal relations with all members of the Church; assisting the Pastor in the observance of the ordinances, having general oversight over the upkeep, repair and use of the Church property. It shall be their responsibility to supervise the financial program of the Church. They shall consider the recommendations of the Personnel Committee of the employment and termination of employment of all non-ministerial Church employees. They may consider the termination of employment of ministerial employees, including considering any recommendations of the Personnel Committee concerning the same, except, any recommendation for the termination of ministerial employees must be submitted to the Church for approval. They shall arrange for regular meetings and such committees as are necessary to the discharge of their duties. The Pastor, or the Chairman of the Deacons, may call the Board into special session whenever need for such arises.  Should a Deacon either fail to attend as many as two consecutive meetings without just cause or otherwise fail to faithfully fulfill the Church’s expectations of a Deacon, as determined by the Pastor and the Chair of the Deacons, such Deacon shall be deemed to have resigned.

D. CLERK
The Clerk shall be elected for a term of one year. It shall be his duty to attend, or be represented at, all Church business meetings, to keep accurate minutes of such meetings, to keep an accurate record of all business transactions, to prepare the annual associational letter, and to notify all the officers, members of committees and messengers of their election or appointment. He shall issue letters of transfer as authorized by the Church and preserve a true history of the Church. It shall also be the duty of the Clerk to see that an accurate record of the Church membership is kept with dates and methods of admission and dismissal, change in name, correct mailing addresses and other pertinent information. The Clerk will maintain the By-laws and Amendments, current and historical minutes of Church conferences and Deacon meetings, the Church history, and Church membership, in the Church library and also in the Church safe. Ballots of all elections and Church votes will also be kept in the safe for one (1) year. The Clerk will furnish a verbatim copy of all Amendments to the By-law Review Committee as provided in the By-laws.

E. TREASURER
The Treasurer shall be elected for a term of one year. He shall have custody of all funds and securities belonging to the Church and shall receive, deposit or disburse the same under the direction of the Finance Committee, working with the Financial Secretary. He shall co-sign all checks with the Financial Secretary. He shall keep or supervise the keeping at all times of an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements; rendering regular account to the Church, Deacons, and Finance Committee as may be required or requested. The Treasurer’s books shall be audited annually as arranged by the Church, and all books, records, and accounts kept and supervised by him shall be considered the property of the Church. The Treasurer shall, in general, perform all duties incident to his office and such other duties as may be assigned to him from time to time by the Deacons and shall be an ex-officio member of the Finance Committee and shall regularly attend its meetings.

Article VI

Communication and Exit Strategies

A. The desired outcome of a disagreement, in the life of this Church, is to reach a resolution that strengthens and builds the relationship. To reach a resolution that is positive and not negative, the persons involved in the disagreement must be committed to communication and reconciliation. The ultimate goal is to restore the working relationship to a pre-stress level and to move beyond the disagreement.

B. The Church and ministers(s) agree that they will deal with disagreements as they occur and not allow emotional pain, frustration and anger to develop. To keep the relationship healthy, the following steps, based on Matthew 18:15-17, will be observed:

1) If a Church member has a concern regarding the Senior Pastor, he will go directly to the Pastor with his concern before asking for the assistance of the Deacons. (If requested, a person from the Deacons may go with the member only to listen, to the discussion.

2) If the issue is not resolved, the member or Senior Pastor may request that a Mediation Team be formed to negotiate the matter. The team will be appointed by the Board of Deacons and shall be composed of up to three persons, two from within the Congregation and one who is not a member of the Congregation. (This could be another Pastor or Deacon from another Church.) The persons shall be individuals who are neutral on the issues at hand. Members of the current Board of Deacons shall not serve on this team.

3) If resolution is not reached, the member or Pastor may request that the Board of Deacons hear their concerns.

4) The issues will be provided to the Board of Deacons in writing, with the specific concerns identified. The mediation team may be invited to participate in the discussion of the concerns. If the Board of Deacons agrees to hear these concerns, they may arbitrate the dispute and mandate the solution. Suggested options for them may include:

(a) They may conclude the issue is not resolvable, but no value will be gained by further discussion and the concerned parties will be encouraged to consider the matter closed.

(b) They may determine that the Senior Pastor has acted appropriately and affirm his ministry to the Congregation.

(c) They may conclude that the Senior Pastor acted inappropriately but that the matter can be resolved by providing counseling to the parties and/or recommend that the Congregation enter into a conflict resolution process.

(d) They may conclude the issue cannot be resolved, and it is in the best interest of the Pastor and the Congregation to begin a process of separation, in which the Pastor may take up to six (6) months to relocate. The Congregation will be apprised of their action and an opportunity given for input from the membership. The decision of the Board of Deacons will be submitted to the Congregation for a vote by the Congregation. Should the Pastor not relocate within the six (6) months, his/her tenure with the Church is concluded and the Care Provisions will begin. There will be no further vote taken by the Congregation at the end of the six (6) months.

(e) The Board of Deacons may refer the matter to the Congregation with a recommendation that the Congregation vote on the tenure of the Pastor. The Board of Deacons will call for a special conference in accordance with the prescribed process in the church Constitution and Bylaws. The Chairman of the Board of Deacons will preside. The vote will be by written ballot and the ballots will be preserved following the announcement of the outcome of the vote. Should the Congregation vote to end the tenure of the Pastor, the effective date will be immediate and the “care” provisions of the amendment will be applied.

C. Implementation of the Care Provisions of this Amendment begins if one of the following two events occurs:

1) The Pastor tenders his resignation as a result of a forced or planned exit.

2) The Board of Deacons call for a vote on his/her tenure as their Pastor and the Pastor is removed from office as a result of that vote.

Article VII

Care Provisions

A. To provide care for the Pastor and his/her family the church will provide the following:

1) The minister will receive full salary and benefits based on one month for each year of service to this Congregation, with the minimum amount of time being one month and the maximum being four months.

2) The Church will provide and pay for counseling through CareNet or another appropriate provider, as needed, for the Pastor and the ministerial family for up to six months. The Pastor will be encouraged to seek Career Assessment through the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina or though Lifeway Publishing, Nashville.

3) Where possible, an exit interview may be conducted with the Pastor and spouse. This interview may be conducted by an appointed or outside representative of the Church, if it is felt that this would be more productive. A report of the interview will be provided to the Board of Deacons.

4) The Church will seek a special prayer team of five persons minimum to pray daily for the Minister and the ministerial family for at least the agreed upon period of time of the Care Provisions.

B. To provide care for the Congregation, the Church may require the following:

1) The Board of Deacons to seek pastoral care for the Church through an organization skilled in such care.

2) The Board of Deacons to recommend that the Church enter into a conflict resolution process.

C. The Board of Deacons will consider recommending the engagement of an intentional or transitional interim minister to the Congregation during the interim period.

D. Deacon care teams will be formed to visit members of the Congregation requesting such a visit. The purpose of these visits will be to listen to the concerns of the members and to pray for healing and/or reconciliation in the Congregation.

ARTICLE VIII

OTHER CHURCH OFFICERS

SECTION 1. OTHER OFFICERS.
In addition to those named above, other officers of the Church shall be: Bible Study Director, Discipleship Training Director, Director of Baptist Men, Director of Woman’s Missionary Union, Chief Usher, Assistant Clerk, and Assistant Treasurer and other Associate Pastors called by the Church.

SECTION 2. ASSOCIATE PASTORS.
Associate Pastors shall work with and assist the Bible Study Director, Discipleship Training Director, Director of Baptist Men and Director of the Woman’s Missionary Union subject to the approval of this Church. They shall work under the direction of the Pastor in all the activities of the Church and assist in carrying out the program of the Church as outlined by the Pastor.

SECTION 3. BIBLE STUDY DIRECTOR.
The Bible Study Director shall have general oversight of the entire morning Bible Study Program under the direction of the Pastor and subject to the approval of the Church. He shall acquaint himself with the best method of religious education and endeavor to adopt them in this Program. It shall be his duty to counsel weekly or monthly with his teachers and officers through officers’ and teachers’ meetings in the work of the school, giving advice and receiving suggestions from his co-workers. He shall make a full and accurate report of the work of the Bible Study Program at the regular business meetings of the Church. The Bible Study Director shall be elected for a term of one year.

SECTION 4. SMALL GROUP COORDINATOR.
The Small Group Coordinator shall have general oversight of the Small Group Ministry under the direction of the Pastor and subject to the approval of the Church. He shall acquaint himself with the best method of Small Group training in keeping with the convictions of the church. He shall make a full and accurate report of the work of the Small Group Ministry at the regular business meetings of the Church. The Small Group Coordinator shall be elected for a term of one year.

SECTION 5. DIRECTOR OF BAPTIST MEN.
The Director of Baptist Men shall promote the work of Baptist Men, seeking to enlist the men of the Church in an active program for Christ. He shall see that a full and accurate report of the work of the Baptist Men is given at the regular business meetings of the Church. The Director of Baptist Men shall be elected for a term of one year.

SECTION 6. DIRECTOR OF THE WOMAN’S MISSIONARY UNION.
The Director of the Women’s Missionary Union shall seek to enlist all the women and young women, girls and pre-school children of the Church in a program of missions, training, giving, and other Christian activities. She shall have available a full and accurate report which is given at the regular business meetings of the Church. The Director of the Woman’s Missionary Union shall be elected for a term of one year.

SECTION 7. CHIEF USHER.
The Chief Usher shall assist the nominating committee in the selection of assistants as needed. He shall have general oversight over all assistant ushers. The Chief Usher shall be elected for a term of one year.

SECTION 8. ASSISTANT CLERK.
The Assistant Clerk performs the duties of the Clerk should the Church be without a Clerk. It is understood that should the Church be without a Clerk, the Church will act as quickly as possible to obtain one. He is elected annually to a one year commitment.

SECTION 9. ASSISTANT TREASURER.
The Assistant Treasurer performs the duties of the Treasurer should the Church be without a Treasurer. It is understood that should the Church be without a Treasurer, the Church will act as quickly as possible to obtain one. He is elected annually to a one year commitment.

ARTICLE IX

STANDING COMMITTEES

SECTION 1. COMMITTEES TO BE ELECTED.
The Church shall elect such standing committees as may be deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively carry out the various phases of the Church program. Each committee shall annually elect its own Chairman and Vice-Chairman, with the expectation that the Vice-Chairman will serve as Chairman the next year. Committee members are expected to faithfully attend meetings scheduled by the chairperson as needed to adequately perform the purposes of the committee. The following committees shall consult with the appropriate minister in preparing an annual budget for the committee function and recommend it to the Budget Planning Committee: Building Maintenance, Vehicles Operations, Children’s Council, College Student Outreach, Family Life, Grounds, Hospitality, Media Center, Senior Adult, Youth Council and Community Benevolent Committee which reports to the Finance Committee. Except for the Bereavement Committee, Youth Council, the Media Center Council, the Representatives to the Pee Dee Association Executive Committee, the Sound System Committee, and the Ushers, no committee member shall be eligible to serve more than one consecutive term. Each committee is expected to make regular report of its activities to the Church at its conferences. The Church shall have at all times the standing committees itemized in the following Section.

SECTION 2. DUTIES OF COMMITTEES:

A. Baptismal Committee. The Baptismal committee (1) meets with the candidates and the Pastor prior to each baptismal service, (2) assists the candidates before, during, and after the baptism and (3) keeps baptismal equipment in good repair. It is composed of six members, with one man and one woman elected each year to a three year commitment.

B. Bereavement Committee. The Bereavement Committee assists with Church activities involving a meal for bereaved families immediately before or after the funeral. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

C. By-law Review Committee. The By-law Review committee (1) maintains an accurate copy of the By-laws, (2) reviews the By-laws at least annually and (3) makes any needed recommendations for amendments to the By-laws. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

D. Building Maintenance Committee. The Building Maintenance Committee (1) inspects the Church building at least two times a year and (2) gives attention to and studies the condition and state of repair and appearance of the buildings, making such repairs and improvements authorized by the Church and included in the Church budget. All matters of major repair or improvement and items of equipment shall be referred to the Finance Committee for recommendation to the Church. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

E. Vehicles Operations Committee. The Vehicles Operations Committee (1) supervises the operation of vehicles and (2) certifies all drivers for the vehicles. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

F. College Student Outreach Committee. The College Student Outreach Committee (1) helps with Student Day Emphasis, (2) maintains contact with and updates addresses of college students and (3) provides for the delivery of exam “survival kits” for college students. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

G. Family Life Committee. The Family Life Committee (1) shall work with the Pastor and other church leaders to plan and implement Christian family life emphasis. (2) shall oversee the annual Church picnic and (3) shall work with marriage enrichment support groups. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

H. Finance Committee. The Finance Committee meets monthly, or at other regular intervals, to consider the financial condition of the Church and shall make monthly reports to the Deacons and regular reports of the same to the Church in business meetings. This committee shall prepare annually a proposed budget including local expenses, education, missions and benevolence, and shall submit the same to the Church in regular business session at least two months prior to the beginning of the fiscal, or budget year. In preparing the budget, the committee shall confer with the head of each organization of the Church and invite a representative of each organization to take part in the discussions leading to the proposed budget. Upon adoption, it becomes the duty of the Budget and Finance Committee, together with such others as may be needed, to secure pledges to underwrite the budget and to provide members with envelopes for the paying of pledges. In addition, the Finance Committee leads the Church to be good stewards of their finances. It is composed of six members, at least two of whom must be Deacons, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment, the terms shall begin January 1 and conclude December 31.

I. Grounds Committee. The Grounds Committee (1) oversees the grounds upkeep of the Church and (2) gives attention to and studies the condition and state of repair and appearance of the grounds, making such repairs and improvements authorized by the Church and included in the Church budget. All matters of major repair or improvement and items of equipment shall be referred to the Finance Committee for recommendation to the Church. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

J. Hospitality Committee. The Hospitality Committee attends to the hospitality needs of the Church such as (1) yearly homecoming activities, (2) pastor’s conferences hosted by the Church for ministers in the Pee Dee association and (3) other “special days” in the life of the Church. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

K. Lord’s Supper Committee. The Lord’s Supper Committee (1) prepares the Lord’s Supper, (2) cleans up after the service, (3) makes sure the Church has adequate equipment and (4) takes care of the equipment. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

L. Media Center Council. The Media Center Council assists with the organization, maintenance and supply of the Church Media Center. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

M. Missions Committee. The Missions Committee oversees such activities as (1) White Christmas, (2) Homeless Shelter weeks, (3) various seminars which meet the needs of the community on various subjects, and, (4) promotes mission education and improvement alongside the Woman’s Missionary Union and the Baptist Men and (5) recommends the distribution of monies from the Lois O’Brien fund. It shall be the duty of this committee to work with the Pastor and Deacons in the establishment and operation of local Missions, that is, the establishment of Bible Studies and preaching stations in and around the community at large and the operation of the same. It shall also be the duty of this committee to direct surveys looking toward the establishment of missions and to recommend buildings for such missions and in general to supervise missions and Bible Studies being sponsored by this Church. It is composed of nine members, with three people elected each year to a three year commitment.

N. Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall have the responsibility of nominating to the Church persons to serve in the various capacities and positions of the Church and its organizations, except as otherwise set forth, and on standing and special committees vacated from time to time, by removal, death, expiration of term of office, or failure to function. It is initially composed of six members, with three people elected each year upon the nomination of the Pastor and the Chairman of the Deacons to a two year commitment. The first report of the committee each year shall consist of nominations for the office of Bible Study Director, Small Group Coordinator, Director of the Woman’s Missionary Union, Director of Baptist Men and Chief Usher, and shall be presented to the Church at the May conference. Upon their election those persons shall become members of the Nominating Committee for the year next following their election, to assist with the selection of other personnel for the organizations and committees of the Church. The complete report of the committee shall be presented to the Church at the August conference. Any member of the Church will have the privilege of making nominations from the floor.

O. Personnel Committee: The Personnel Committee shall assist the Senior Pastor in the supervision of employees and ministers of the Church. The committee shall meet no less than quarterly and shall arrange and approve all vacations of all Church employees, including ministerial, and shall monitor compliance with employment laws. It shall, with the advice and counsel of the Senior Pastor, make recommendations to the Deacons regarding the employment of all Church employees, including ministers other than the Senior Pastor. This committee will be composed of seven members: Senior Pastor, serving ex-officio; six Church members, of which one shall be a member of the Board of Deacons, appointed for three year terms by the Board of Deacons. At the September, 2011, meeting the six Church members will be appointed, followed by a drawing of lots to determine the one, two and three year terms so that in the following years there will be only two vacancies each year. A Church member can serve only one term, however he or she is eligible for reappointment following one year’s absence from the committee. The Personnel Committee will annually elect a chairman, vice chairman and a secretary from the committee membership. Minutes of the committee meetings shall be taken and maintained by the secretary. The minutes shall be kept permanently in a secure place under the supervision of the Senior Pastor. All communications shall remain confidential unless the need arises for information to be shared with the Board of Deacons. Any information shared with the Board of Deacons shall likewise remain confidential unless the affected employee requests it be made known to the congregation.

P. Representatives to Pee Dee Association Executive Committee. The two Representatives to the Pee Dee Association will meet with other associational representatives four times a year in a meeting called by the Director of Missions. The representatives shall (1) attend executive committee meetings and discuss the business and ministry of the association and (2) give regular reports to the Church either through The First Baptist Informer or at Church conferences. They are elected annually to a one year commitment.

Q. Senior Adult Council. The Senior Adult Council aids the various senior adult ministries within the Church. It is composed of nine members, with three people elected each year to a three year commitment.

R. Sound System Committee. The Sound System committee (1) operates the sound and light system in the Sanctuary and (2) sees to the maintenance of the sound and light system in the Sanctuary. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment.

S. Special Gifts Committee. The special gifts committee (1) considers whether the Church will accept a special gift, which is a gift designated for a purpose beyond that which is funded by the budget and (2) submits the same to the Deacons and the Church for approval. It is composed of three members, the Treasurer, the Chairman of the Deacons and the Chairman of the Finance Committee, each serving a one year commitment.

T. Student Loan and Benevolence Committee. The Student Loan and Benevolence committee oversees (1) a student loan fund provided by the Church to members of the Church and (2) a benevolence fund designated to the First Baptist Church family. It is composed of three members, with one person elected each year to a three year commitment.

U. Youth Council. The Youth Council (1) plans and coordinates the Youth activities other than Bible Study and Discipleship Training and (2) acts as a liaison between the Church and its Youth in order to facilitate and encourage good communications. It is composed of five adults, selected by a nominating committee in conference with the appropriate associate pastor and three middle school youths and three high school youths selected by their peers with each serving a one year commitment.

V. Ushers. The Ushers (1) greet people as they enter and leave the Church, (2) are responsible for the collection of tithes and offerings during the Sunday worship service and (3) help with funerals, if possible. The Ushers are composed of eighteen members, with each elected to a one year commitment.

W. Community Benevolent Fund. The Community Benevolent committee will consist of six members. The committee will work with the pastor to coordinate and implement a ministry to non-church members, including residents of Richmond County as well as transients. This assistance ministry will include providing food, fuel, shelter and assistance with rent, power bills, etc.
This committee will develop guidelines and procedures for administering this ministry and will work along with the pastor and financial secretary to manage benevolent funds.
From time to time the Senior Pastor shall remind the church membership of the status of the Benevolent Fund. Contributions and love offerings may be made directly to the Community Benevolent Fund by so designating on check or offering.

X. Children’s Council. The Children’s Council (1) plans and coordinates the Children’s activities other than Bible Study and Discipleship Training and (2) acts as a liaison between the Church and its Children and their Parents in order to facilitate and encourage good communications. It is composed of six members, with two people elected each year to a three year commitment, staggered terms.

ARTICLE X

SPECIAL COMMITTEES

Special committees shall be elected for specific purposes as desired by the Church. These committees shall be elected by the Church upon the recommendation of the Deacons unless the Church directs their appointments in a different manner.

ARTICLE XI

CHURCH YEAR

SECTION 1. The Church year for fiscal, or budget, purposes shall be the calendar year.

SECTION 2. The Church year for purposes of election of officers, Deacons, and committees, except for those special committees which have different terms as set forth in these By-laws, shall be September 1 through August 31. The Church quarters shall begin the months of September, December, March and June.

ARTICLE XII

GENERAL

SECTION 1. – LICENSE:
When a member announces to the Church that he feels the call to the ministry, the Church, by majority vote of those present at the business meet called for this purpose, may license him as an acknowledgment of his call to the ministry and encouragement to make preparation for it. The Clerk of the Church may furnish the member with a copy of the minutes or certificate of license as his credentials. It is understood that the performance of civil duties by the member shall be governed by state law.

SECTION 2. – ORDINATION TO MINISTRY:
The Church shall invite the Associational Council on Ordinations to examine the candidate concerning his fitness for the ministry. The Church shall have the privilege of inviting ministers or laymen to sit in the examining sessions. Then, in the event the report of the committee is favorable and by vote of the Church, the Church shall proceed with the ordination. In case of an unfavorable report from the Associational Council the Church may, if it desires, give further consideration to the candidate’s request for ordination and, by vote of the Church, proceed to ordain the candidate.

SECTION 3.–AFFILIATION WITH ASSOCIATIONS & CONVENTIONS:
We recognize that there is mutual helpfulness in the association of churches who are in such agreement in faith and practice as to encourage the spirit of fellowship and good will. We also recognize that there have been devised, through the voluntary cooperation of churches of like faith and order, organizations whose purpose it is to implement the missionary, educational and benevolent interests and obligations of the individual Christian and his church family. Believing that the Pee Dee Baptist Association, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Southern Baptist Convention are organizations which have as their sole purpose the promotion and support of missions, education and benevolence, and in keeping with the spirit of the By-laws and Articles of Faith of this Church, we therefore agree to participate in these organizations through our duly elected messengers and our support of the causes which these organizations represent. Equal notice and opportunity shall be afforded to members of the meetings, conventions, and assemblies of the Southern Baptist Convention and of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Each individual donor will be permitted to designate whether that portion of his Cooperative Program gifts that go beyond the North Carolina State Convention will be forwarded to the Southern Baptist Convention or to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. A notice to members of their right to designate shall be published at least annually in The First Baptist Informer, shall be included in the annual “Stewardship Campaign” and the annual “Pledge Card” shall include an opportunity for the member to so designate. Additionally, the designation may be communicated to the Church financial secretary at any time and in any manner. Such portion of Cooperative Program gifts from those individuals who do not designate will be forwarded to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

SECTION 4. – PROPERTY HOLDING:
It is agreed that the securing and maintaining of property, buildings and equipment by this Church shall be for the express purpose of providing facilities for public worship and for the furtherance of the missionary, educational and benevolent interests of this Church, of the character and in the spirit of these By-laws and Articles of Faith of this congregation. If at any time this Church shall determine to alter the quality or nature of its beliefs and practices so as in important respects to be at variance with the character described in these By-laws and in these Articles of Faith, and if the decision is by less than a three-fourths vote of those present at a regular business meeting of the Church, after two week notice of such regular meeting shall have been given to the membership of the Church, it is understood that the rights of the property of the Church shall inhere in that part of the congregation which shall agree to continue to use the property for the purpose for which it was purchased and has been to that time maintained.

SECTION 5. Members shall have access to the principal records of the Church including minutes of its governing body and principal financial reports. However, consistent with Baptist doctrine and practice, these rights shall not include the right to review or inspect individual donor records or personnel files.

ARTICLE XIII

CHURCH COVENANT

The Covenant of this Church is that as printed herein; this Church holding at all times that the New Testament is its final authority in matters of faith and practice. Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church, in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to 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 also engage to maintain family and individual devotions; to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, back-biting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, 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.

ARTICLE IXV

ARTICLES OF FAITH

The Articles of Faith of this Church are the same as those adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963; it being understood, however, that at all times the New Testament is the final authority for matters of faith and practice.

ARTICLE XV

ADOPTION AND AMENDMENTS

SECTION 1. These By-laws shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when a majority of the members at the business meeting at which the vote is taken shall vote in favor of same. This vote shall be taken not less than fourteen days after formal presentation of the By-laws to the Church and upon notice thereafter provided to the membership by publication in The First Baptist Informer for two successive weeks prior to the meeting at which the vote is taken, and shall be by written ballot.

SECTION 2. Any of the rules in these By-laws may be amended, altered or repealed by a majority vote of the members present at any regular or called business meeting of the Church; provided, however, that notice and proposal of such amendment, alteration or repeal shall be presented to the membership by publication in The First Baptist Informer for two successive weeks prior to the meeting at which the vote is taken, and such vote shall be by written ballot.

SECTION 3. When used in these By-laws, the pronoun “he” shall refer to the masculine and feminine gender as appropriate.

SECTION 4. To implement the transition to the corporation and these new By-laws, all officers, Deacons, and committee members presently serving shall be deemed re-elected upon the adoption of these amended By-laws, and shall continue to serve their existing terms.