The document below lists the proposed changes to the Locust Grove Baptist Church Constitution. If a word or words has strikethrough, then that means it is intended that the word or words containing strikethrough are to be removed. If a word or word is highlighted yellow, then it is intended that the word or words highlighted in yellow be added to the Constitution.
HISTORY OF THE LOCUST GROVE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
In 1907, by general community effort, the residents of the Buffalo region constructed a church building to be used for worship services by Christians of the community. This church was called the Union Church.
Revivals, Sunday school, and intermittent preaching by several denominations were held during the next few years. However, by the early 1920’s no use was being made of the building.
A Baptist missionary Rev. J. C. Simkins, aided by Rev. B. R. Lakin, held a revival in the building in March and April of 1921. During this revival twenty-two people accepted Christ, and many were baptized. These people, along with some ten other Baptists from Buffalo Valley Baptist Church, organized the Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church on May 21, 1921. This church then became affiliated with the Twelve Pole Association of the West Virginia Baptist Convention of the American Baptist Convention, now known as the American Baptist Churches, USA.
Shortly after the church was organized, Mr. Uriah Rowe donated the building and grounds to the Locust Grove Missionary Baptist congregation. Church membership grew in the 1920’s and early 1930’s to some one hundred members. The Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church, at that time, served the immediate community around it.
A larger, more modern church building was erected in the 1961-62 period. During the 1970’s, an educational wing was added directly behind the church. A new fellowship hall was dedicated on April 25, 1999. The congregation decided to withdraw its affiliation with the American Baptist Churches USA in January 2004, and for a time remained unaffiliated. In April 2005 the congregation voted to affiliate with the Greater Huntington Baptist Association (GHBA), the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists (WVCSB), and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It is the prayer of this congregation that Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church will continue to grow and serve this developing suburban community.
CONSTITUTION FOR THE LOCUST GROVE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
ARTICLE I NAME
The name of this church shall be the Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church. The church is presently located at 2888 State Route 75, Huntington, West Virginia 25704.
ARTICLE II. PURPOSE AND MISSION
This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c ) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law), for such purposes including, but not limited to, the establishing and maintaining of Christian worship; the evangelizing of the unsaved by the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; the educating of believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture, both in Sunday and weekday schools of Christian education; and the maintaining of missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country; to advance the Kingdom of Jesus Christ through the public worship of God, the preaching of the Gospel, consistent Christian living and fellowship of its members, personal evangelism, missionary endeavor, and Christian education.
To fulfill the Great Commission through the local church, endeavoring to change the world one life at a time through the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
The government of this church is autonomous and is vested in the membership of the church. It is recommended, however, that the church maintain affiliation and cooperation with the Greater Huntington Baptist Association, the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
In all services and programs of this ministry, reasonable standards of decorum and order shall be maintained. As such, no one shall, by appearance or behavior, be permitted to draw attention to themselves in contravention to the ministry’s purposes. Any individual who, in the sole discretion of the pastor or ministry leadership, is found to be in violation of this policy shall be removed from the ministry premises immediately.
ARTICLE III Church Covenant:
Having been brought by Divine Grace to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior; to profess our faith through baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; and to give up ourselves wholly unto Him, we do now solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with our Lord and with one another as one body in Christ.
Relying upon the gracious aid of the Holy Spirit, we will walk together in Christian Love to His glory as our common Lord.
We will uphold the public worship of God and the ordinances of His house, and will continue to commune with one another therein. We will remember one another in prayer, aid one another in sickness and distress, cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling, and show courtesy in speech. We will be slow to take offense and be always ready for reconciliation.
We will cheerfully make regular contributions as the Lord has prospered us, for the support of a Godly ministry among us, for the relief of the poor, and for the spread of the Gospel throughout the world.
The church recognizes and adopts the scriptural method of tithes and offerings as its plan of finance. Further, it is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its cause. Each member shall be encouraged to tithe.
We will live in a manner worthy of our high calling as children of God, refraining from everything that brings reproach on the Christian name.
We will maintain habits of personal prayer and Bible reading; that we will endeavor to bring up our children and those under our care in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; that we will seek to win our fellowmen to Christ; and that we will endeavor, through the Holy Spirit, to become more Christ-like and express in our lives the strength and beauty of the Gospel as to make attractive to the world the life of Christian discipleship.
In cooperation with the purposes of Christ, we will strive to touch all lives with His redemptive power.
We pledge to our Lord that when we move 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.
Humbly confessing our past sins, we pray for grace and strength to keep these holy vows for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.
The Lord bless thee, the Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. AMEN.
ARTICLE IV. DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE / Statement of Faith
The Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church embraces the belief that every word of the Holy Bible in its original manuscripts is equally and totally inspired of God. Because it is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God, it is the sufficient basis of doctrine and practice. As a summary of principles of Christian conduct among its members, the church accepts the following Baptist Faith and Message, a statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on June 14, 2000:
Section 1 The Scriptures
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19- 21.
Section 2: God
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men. Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.
God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and ap peared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord. Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44- 50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22- 24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timo thy 2:5- 6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24- 28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.
C. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judg ment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He culti vates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and ser vice. Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14- 16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3- 11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.
Section 3: Man
Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
Section 4: Salvation
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior.
Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His
righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification
brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.
Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.
Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed. Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29- 39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11- 14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.
Section 5: God’s Purpose of Grace
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.
Section 6: The Church
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22- 32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.
Section 7: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41- 42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.
Section 8: The Lord’s Day
The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19- 28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5- 10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.
Section 9: The Kingdom
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age. Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.
Section 10: Last Things
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the Lake of Fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22- 37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13, Matt. 25:46; John 5:28-29; 11:25-26; Rev. 20:5-6, 12-13, Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6, Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15
Section 11: Evangelism and Missions
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ. Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42- 48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39- 12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.
Section 12: Education
Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ's people. In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists. Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.
Section 13: Stewardship
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth. Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Section 14: Cooperation
Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament. Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.
Section 15: The Christian and the Social Order
All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth. Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36- 40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20- 24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.
Section 16: Peace and War
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war. The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.
Section 17: Religious Liberty
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power. Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.
Section 18: The Family
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption. Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7).
Copyright © 2015 Southern Baptist Convention. Adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention June 14, 2000.
Article VI Our Church Also Accepts The Following Beliefs and Standards:
(1) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one naturally-born man and one naturally-born woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
(2) We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one naturally-born man and one naturally-born woman for life. (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)
(3) Definition of Gender: In accordance with the Biblical teaching, not limited to Genesis 1:27, Locust Grove Baptist Church defines human gender as that which has sovereignly been determined genetically by God in the creative act of conception. While it acknowledges that congenital birth defects are a reality of corporate life in a sin-fallen world, it does not accept gender re-assignment through cosmetic concealment or alteration as the right of human choice.
It refuses to accept into its membership active participants or advocates of transgender-choice lifestyles, not restricted to gender concealment through cross-dressing or attempted gender reassignment surgery. It reserves its right to request refusal of worship services to advocates and participants of known transgender behavior. It disallows any member or guest of the genetic opposite sex, at any and all times of church function and open facility, to utilize other-sex designated facilities, not limited to but inclusive of restrooms and baptistry or nursery changing areas. It reserves its right of enforcement of these convictions by immediate willing removal, and when necessary, forcible physical expulsion or arrest of the offender from its private property, followed by full prosecution and legal protection to prevent further intrusion.
Locust Grove Baptist Church refuses by its full rights of religious liberty and Biblical standards to be forced by any civil or secular mandate to provide gender neutral or mixed gender facilities or services of any sort.
We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are an heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
Divorce and Remarriage.
We believe that God disapproves of divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Divorce and remarriage is regarded as adultery except on the grounds of fornication and/or unbelieving spouse. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the mental well being of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isaiah 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment. (Ex. 20:13, 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28)
We believe that we should demonstrate love for others, not only toward fellow believers, but also toward both those who are not believers, those who oppose us, and those who engage in sinful actions. We are to deal with those who oppose us graciously, gently, patiently, and humbly. God forbids the stirring up of strife, the taking of revenge, or the threat or the use of violence as a means of resolving personal conflict or obtaining personal justice. Although God commands us to abhor sinful actions, we are to love and pray for any person who engages in such sinful actions. (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom. 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil. 2:2-4; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)
Lawsuits Between Believers.
We believe that Christians should avoid bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32; Matt. 18:15-17)
Authority Of Statement of Faith
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members. All literature, whether print or electronic, used in the church shall be in complete agreement with the Statement of Faith.
ARTICLE VII MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 Membership Status.
Active Members: Active members are those that regularly attend worship services, participate in church functions, and support the church financially.
Inactive Members: Any member who has not attended any worship services within a period of six months is considered inactive. The church will make attempts to contact members prior to this six month period to determine the cause for the member’s inactivity and to encourage the member to return and regain active status.
Section 2 Admission of Members:
The membership of this church consists of persons professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving evidence of a changed heart, followed by baptism by immersion and accepting the faith and practice of the church as set forth in the Baptist Faith and Message and Church Covenant. Membership shall be granted by one of the following methods:
By baptism. Any person who has confessed Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and has adopted the views of faith and principles of this church, and is baptized by immersion may be received into the fellowship of the church.
By letter. A person who is in accord with the views of faith and principles of this church, and who has been baptized by immersion may be received by letter from any other evangelical church.
By experience. A believer of worthy character who has been baptized by immersion into an evangelical church, but who for sufficient reason cannot present a letter from that church, and who is in accord with the views of faith and principles of this church, may be received on statement of experience.
By restoration. A person who has lost his membership for any reason may be restored to membership upon recommendation of the Board of Deacons of the church and by vote of the church membership.
Section 3 Dismissal of Members:
Congregational Unity. Members are expected to live together as an authentic Christian community, understanding that unity does not require uniformity, but does demand the application of the Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control). Should any unhappy differences arise among members, the aggrieved member shall follow, in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-20. In all cases, the proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance. Since the church has the right to accept individuals for membership, the church also maintains the right of discipline. Therefore, in cases of grave difficulty, the church may proceed to admonish or declare the unrepentant offender no longer a member. (Matthew 18:15-20, I Corinthians 5:11-13 & Titus 3:10-11.)
Members of this church may be dismissed by any of the following procedures:
By letter. Any member who desires a letter of transfer to any other evangelical church may receive such a letter upon request from that church and approval by this congregation. The name of the church in which membership is sought shall be stated in the letter, and the letter shall be sent to the clerk or pastor of that church.
By Inactivity. Any member deemed inactive according to the above definition and who ei ther cannot be contacted by the church or does not return to active status within a year may be removed from the church role upon vote by the church.
By exclusion. Should any member become an offense to the church and its good name, by reason of immoral or un-Christian conduct or by continuous breach of his covenant vows, the church may terminate his membership; however membership may be terminated only after due notice and a hearing before the Board of Deacons following faithful efforts to bring such member to repentance and amendment via the procedures described below:
(A) There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the pastor and the board of deacons. These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the church covenant. If the pastor or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee. The pastor and deacons shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline.
(B) Members are expected to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another. When a member becomes aware of an offense of such magnitude that it hinders spiritual growth and testimony, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother. Before he goes, he should first examine himself. When he goes, he should go with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration.
(C) If reconciliation is not reached, a second member, either a deacon or the pastor, is to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter. This second step should also be preceded by self-examination and exercised in a spirit of humility with the goal of restoration.
(D) If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, the discipline committee, as the church representatives Biblically responsible for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter. If the matter is not resolved during the hearing before the discipline committee, the committee shall recommend to the members of the church that they, after self-examination, make an effort personally to go to the offending member and seek that member’s restoration.
(E) If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in subsections (B), (C), and (D) have been taken, such members who refuse to repent and be restored are to be removed from the membership of the church upon a majority vote of the membership present at a meeting called for the purpose of considering disciplinary action.
(F) No matter may be heard by the discipline committee or the church unless the steps outlined in subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, except in the case of a public offense.
(G) If an unrepentant offending party is removed from the church membership, all contact with him from that point forward (except by family members) must be for the sake of restoration.
(H) The procedures provided in this section are based on Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:1-11; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 10-15; 1 Tim. 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.
ARTICLE VIII MEETINGS
Section 1 Worship Services. Public services shall be conducted on each Lord’s Day morning and evening, and on Wednesday evenings at times determined by the church, unless otherwise specified by the Board of Deacons. Sunday school services shall be held on the Lord’s Day morning. Times of services shall be determined by the church. The youth fellowships shall hold meetings at times fixed by the Board of Christian Education.
The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month, or at such other times as the Board of Deacons and/or Pastor may determine. The first Sunday observation of the Lord’s Supper may be waived in the event that a special week day holiday provides a more appropriate time for Lord’s Supper observance. The annual Homecoming service shall be held on the second Sunday in September unless rescheduled at the request of the
Programs Hospitality Board.
Section 2 Business Meetings. The annual business meeting of the church shall be held on the second Wednesday in January, unless rescheduled by the Pastor and/or Board of Deacons, for the purpose of receiving the annual reports of the individual officers, boards, and committees of the church for the preceding year, and the transaction of such other business as is appropriate to come before this meeting. Quarterly business meetings shall be held on the second Wednesday in April, July, and October, unless rescheduled by the Pastor and/or Board of Deacons.
A special meeting for the election of officers and the approval of the proposed church budget for the following year shall be held on the first Wednesday of December, unless rescheduled by the Pastor and/or Board of Deacons. No other items of business shall come before the church at this meeting.
Other special business meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor, the Moderator, or the Board of Deacons. On the approval of the Board of Deacons, special meetings may also be called by at least ten active members. Notice of all such meetings and the purposes for which they are called shall be given from the pulpit on the Sunday preceding the date of the special meeting.
At any of the regular worship services the church may without notice act upon the reception of members, the transfer of members to other churches, and the appointment of delegates to meetings of associations, conventions, or other such meetings, but not for other extraordinary business matters.
A quorum of twelve members qualified to vote shall be required for any of the aforementioned meetings permitted by this article.
Section 3 Informational Meetings. Such meetings shall be called as deemed necessary by the Pastor, Associate Pastor, or Board of Deacons to provide information to the congregation. Rules for calling such a meeting shall follow those for special business meetings. However, no motions shall be entertained at these meetings, as they are intended for the dissemination of information only. Minutes of these meetings shall be taken by the Church Clerk.
Section 4 Annual Election. The annual election of church officers shall be held at the December meeting of the church, which shall be on the first Wednesday in December.
At least one week before an election, the Board of Deacons shall present to the church the name of one person for each vacancy in the office to be filled. At the time of the December election meeting it shall be the right of any member present and qualified to vote to place in nomination the name of any eligible church member for any office being considered except the office of deacon. Voting shall be by secret written ballot, and the majority of the ballots cast shall be necessary for the election of any officer.
Since the office of deacon is an ordained position, special procedures are to be followed in electing them. Two weeks prior to the December election meeting, a list of proposed deacon nominees (one man for each deacon position) will be announced by the Board of Deacons. Qualified church members will have one week to offer comments for consideration and appropriate review for eligibility by the Board of Deacons.
Other than deacon terms, vacancies in elective offices during the year may be filled at any regular business meeting, or at a special called meeting of the church after recommendation of the standing Nominating and Election Committee to the Board of Deacons and approval of a majority of those casting ballots at the meeting. Unexpired deacon terms shall be filled by a replacement selected from the ordained deacons of the church.
The Nominating and Election Committee shall provide written ballots for each election. This committee shall count votes after the election and report results to those present at the meeting.
Section 5 Qualification of Voters. All matters pertaining to the business of the church shall be voted on only by active members in good standing who are 18 years of age or older.
ARTICLE IX THE PASTORATE
Section 1 The Pastor and His Responsibilities. The Pastor shall preach the Gospel, administer the ordinances of the church, have in his charge the spiritual welfare of the congregation, and be in charge of the public worship services of the church. He shall be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees of the church and its auxiliary organizations. Except for committees to which he has been specifically appointed, he shall not be a voting member.
Section 2 The Associate Pastor and His Responsibilities. The office of Associate Pastor shall work under the instructions of the Pastor and the watch-care of the church leadership. He shall maintain an ethic of good moral character, be given to study privately or in a more formal setting of higher Christian education, maintain a godly ministerial record, devote himself to shepherding the flock, and seek ways to improve his preaching ability. He shall maintain a routine of family time and devotions, persevere in his prayer-life, and attend to the leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Associate Pastor shall not seek to draw a following after him that would bring a division in the church or be harmful to the body. He is to do all that is in his ability to bring unity and harmony to the membership. He will be called on to fill the pulpit when the Pastor is absent, providing he has not been scheduled at some other church or Christian function. He will assist, when possible, with the visitation programs of the church. He shall attend church regularly and church-related functions when possible. He shall give spiritual leadership to the youth of the church or other areas as assigned by the Pastor. He shall also be an ex-officio member of all boards and committees of the church and its auxiliary organizations. Except for committees to which he has been specifically appointed, he shall not be a voting member.
Section 3 Calling a Pastor. When the pastorate becomes vacant, the Board of Deacons shall appoint a representative pulpit committee of five members of the church to seek a replacement. This committee may work in consultation with representatives of the Greater Huntington Baptist Association, the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention. The committee shall investigate the merits of each candidate under consideration in regard to his personal character, education, ministerial record, shepherding of the flock, and preaching ability to determine his fitness for the pastorate. When a suitable candidate is found, the committee shall recommend him to the church for its consideration. Candidates for the position of Associate Pastor will be selected and recommended by the Pastor.
The call of a pastor or associate pastor shall come before the church at a called business meeting, notice of such meeting and its purpose having been read from the pulpit on two successive Sundays. A vote of three-fourths of the members present and qualified to vote, provided there be present and voting twenty members, shall be necessary for extending a call. Only one candidate shall be presented to the church at a time. The vote shall be by written ballot.
Section 4 Termination of Pastor or Associate Pastor. The Pastor’s or Associate Pastor’s term of office may be ended upon thirty days notice on the part of the pastorate or of the church, or by mutual consent of both.
Termination of the Pastor’s or Associate Pastor’s office shall come before the church at a called business meeting. A notice of such meeting and its purpose shall be read from the pulpit on two consecutive Sundays. A vote of three-fourths of the members present and qualified to vote shall make valid the termination of said pastorate provided there be present and voting twenty members. Voting shall be by written ballot.
Should the position of Pastor become vacant, the Associate Pastor may be considered for the position, but his current position does not guarantee him the position of Pastor.
ARTICLE X ORDINATION TO THE MINISTRY
Section 1 General. Ordination is reserved for deacons and preachers, the latter encompassing pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. The Senior Pastor for Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church should be ordained.
Section 2 Deacons. Anyone selected and approved to serve as a deacon, but has not been ordained, will be set aside to serve a minimum one year prior to ordination. Upon approval by unanimous vote of all active deacons, the candidate for deacon is ordained by a formal service.
Section 3 Preachers. Any member who makes a profession of his calling to preach shall be questioned by an Ordination Committee composed of the pastors and deacons of this church. This committee shall first question the candidate regarding his profession. Upon majority approval, the Ordination Committee shall recommend license to preach. With majority approval by the church, the candidate shall be licensed by the church for a minimum of one year to gain preaching and pastoral experience at this church as well as others, pursuing other opportunities during this time to help prepare him for ministry. Meanwhile, the Ordination Committee shall be responsible for counseling and advising the church and the prospective candidate.
Upon recommendation of the Ordination Committee, the church shall vote to initiate the ordination process. If the church vote is favorable, the candidate shall prepare to present his personal biblical views to an Ordination Council. This council shall consist of no fewer than seven ordained deacons and/or pastors as selected by the Church Pastor, and may consist of representatives from other churches which are ordained and have been invited to participate in the ordination process. These views shall be given in a formal setting, over which the Pastor or Church Moderator shall preside. Only the candidate’s views are to be given during this questioning.
The candidate should tell of his conversion, his call to ministry, and the preparation he has done or plans to do in order to perform the work of the ministry. He should briefly tell what it means to be a Baptist, and briefly give views on:
God (fact, nature, attributes, etc.)
Jesus Christ (His person, birth, work, death resurrection, return, etc).
The Holy Spirit (His person and work).
Man (creation, original position, fall, etc).
Sin (define, fact of).
Salvation (define meanings of regeneration, repentance, faith, justification, spiritual growth, and security of the believer).
The Church (organism, organization, ordinances, mission, the Lord’s Day).
Satan (existence, original state, nature, position, work)
Latter things (resurrection, judgment, etc.)
After the examination is completed, those seated as the Ordination Council shall vote either for or against ordination. If the vote is favorable, the church may proceed with an Ordination Service. If the vote is unfavorable, the reasons shall be provided in a written statement of the action by the Ordination Council to the church and the candidate. The Church Clerk shall give a written copy of the proceedings and decision of the Council to the candidate and to the church for their records.
ARTICLE XI OTHER OFFICERS, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES
Section 1 General. Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church believes that God calls both men and women to leadership roles to fulfill his express will. However, men were given responsibility for leadership of the church body. Accordingly, all committees comprised of both men and women shall be chaired by men unless in exceptional circumstances.
Appointed positions shall be held by outgoing officers until his/her term of office is complete. However, the term may be further extended until the time of his/her replacement by the appointing committee.
Section 2 Moderator. A moderator shall be elected at each December meeting to serve for a term of one year. He shall be the presiding officer at all church business meetings and informational meetings. In the absence of the moderator, the chairman of the Board of Deacons shall preside. If neither the moderator nor chairman of the Board of Deacons is present, the Pastor or Associate Pastor shall preside.
Section 3 Clerk. A clerk shall be elected at each December business meeting to serve for one year. He/she shall keep a record of the transaction of all business at all church business meetings and informational meetings. This record shall be read for approval at the next following regular business meeting.
He/she shall keep a record of the names and addresses of church members with dates and manner of admission and a list of baptisms. The clerk shall notify all officers, committee members, and delegates of their election and appointment. The clerk shall also issue letters of dismissal and transfer approved by the church, preserve on file all communications and written reports, and give official notice of all meetings where such is required by this constitution. He/she shall assist in preparing denominational reports, and shall deliver immediately to his/her successor all books and records for which he or she has been responsible as clerk.
Section 4 Assistant Clerk. An assistant clerk shall be elected at each December meeting for a term of one year to assist the clerk in his/her duties as the clerk may have need.
Section 5 Treasurer. A treasurer shall be elected at each December meeting to serve for one year. He/she shall be a member of good report, with a history of good standing in the community. The Treasurer shall have custody of the funds of the church, and all funds deposited in the name of the church, except the Deacon’s Benevolence Fund. All funds deposited or withdrawn from church accounts shall be used solely for church business. Accordingly, he/she
shall should be bonded by the church for an amount equal to the liquid assets of the church. He/she shall keep separate accounts of all funds raised or contributed for particular purposes, and no funds shall be disbursed by him/her except for the purpose for which they were raised or contributed. The Treasurer shall have custody of the securities, title papers, and other valuable documents of the church, which shall be deposited in safety deposit boxes. Funds received for the support of the church and for reduction of the church indebtedness shall be disbursed by the Treasurer only on the order of the Budget and Finance Committee and/or church body. The Treasurer shall present to the church quarterly, and at each annual meeting, an itemized report of receipts and disbursements showing the actual financial condition of the church. He/she shall make such other financial reports as may be desired by the church, and shall deliver immediately to his/her successor all books and records pertaining to the office of Treasurer.
Section 6 Assistant Treasurer. An Assistant Treasurer shall be elected at each December meeting for a term of one year to assist the Treasurer in his/her duties as needed. He/she
shall should also be bonded by the church for an amount equal to the liquid assets of the church. The Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, or in the absence of the Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer, a member of the Board of Deacons shall count the offering collected at each meeting where an offering is received.
Section 7 Superintendent of the Sunday School. At each December meeting of the church, a superintendent of the Sunday school shall be elected for a term of one year. This person must be a good leader in order to follow the policies of the church, to see that they are executed, and to evaluate their effectiveness as they have been given by the Board of Christian Education. He/she must work in cooperation with that board and other persons associated with that board.
The Sunday School Superintendent is a key position as both a manager and a spiritual leader. Accordingly, he/she shall be directly involved in the six major elements of the Sunday School program:
Students – Everyone in attendance of Sunday school must have the Good News taught to them, no matter their age group. Everyone should be enlisted, welcomed, and encouraged to attend on a regular basis.
Teachers – The Superintendent will need to know where to find potential teachers and help them acquire the skills that will enable them to enjoy their work and grow in effectiveness as teachers.
Curriculum – With input from teachers and the Board of Christian Education, the Superintendent must have education goals and objectives for our students. Curriculum materials will play a major role in achieving the desired growth in the lives of our students. Therefore, it must be correlated with Bible study, worship, fellowship, and service of the church.
Equipment and Space – Care must be given in the areas of where the classes will be located. There must be adequate room and proper equipment for the class. The Superintendent will work closely with the Board of Christian Education to best utilize the available space and equipment the church can provide.
Administrative Relationships –The Superintendent will need to:
Know those involved in making decisions that affect the Sunday school
Distribute administrative responsibility
Determine the need for officers and teachers
Confer with the Pastor or Board of Christian Education
Guide the program toward the desired goals and Objectives
Officially represent the Sunday School program
Make periodic reports to the Board of Christian Education
Continually strive to become more effective in his/her responsibilities
Program relationship to the Church, the parents, and the community
Thus, in the church and the community, the Sunday School Superintendent is a spiritual leader, educator, administrator, organizer, worship leader, counselor, and a symbol of the Sunday School program and the church in general as a leader.
He/she shall ascertain Sunday School attendance and offering each week, ensure that teachers are present for each class, preside over the opening services, as well as any other duties pertaining to that office. He/she shall follow the general directives and policies of the Board of Christian Education. If he cannot attend a Sunday School service, he is responsible for notifying a substitute.
Section 8 Youth Minister. The Youth Minister shall work under the authority of the Pastor to promote the spiritual health and well being of the youth of the Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church. The Youth Minister shall work with the Board of Christian Education to establish and maintain a good Bible centered teaching program for the youth. He shall enlist and train youth workers for the various age groups. He shall help in the planning and administration of Church Camp and Vacation Bible School. He shall establish a visitation program geared toward youth, utilizing youth and adults as well. He shall establish and maintain a children’s church program for children 4 years old up to fifth grade. He shall work with the Pastor and/or Associate Pastor to help our youth Sunday school classes grow both numerically and spiritually. He shall represent Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church and work with the Greater Huntington Baptist Association to promote the church camp and various activities for the youth. The Youth Minister shall be a member of Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church and be faithful to the Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening services.
Section 9 GHBA Executive Board Representatives. The church will elect two representatives each year to serve as representatives to the Greater Huntington Baptist Association. The Nominating and Election Committee shall nominate these individuals prior to election by church vote. These individuals will act as liaisons with the Association. Their primary function is communicating news between the two entities. This shall be accomplished by attending GHBA meetings. They shall have the authority to vote concerning association business, but they shall ensure that their votes represent the wishes of the congregation.
Section 10 The Board of Deacons. There shall be a board of seven deacons to be elected from the proven men of the church. Qualifications for the position of deacon will be in accordance with I Timothy 3:8-13. Additionally, qualifying deacons must be members of the church for at least one year. They shall serve for terms of three years as follows:
Two deacons shall be elected every year except that every third year, three deacons shall be elected. After having served a full term of three years, no deacon may serve a consecutive term. In the event of an unexpired term(s), the existing Board of Deacons shall appoint an ordained deacon(s) to fill the unexpired term(s).
The Board of Deacons shall choose annually a chairman, a vice-chairman and a secretary-treasurer of the Deacon’s Benevolence Fund, which shall be used to help the needy of the church and community. This board shall meet regularly each month. Special meetings may be called by the chairman, and each member shall be notified of such called meetings. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum at all meetings.
The Board of Deacons shall in every way assist the Pastor in his work, cooperate with him in providing the pulpit supply, lead the Wednesday worship services in the Pastor’s absence, visit the membership, care for the sick, needy and distressed members of the church and community using such benevolence funds as needed, and with the Pastor plan the evangelistic program of the church.
The Board of Deacons shall, in the absence of a pastor, have responsibility for seeing that the pulpit is filled for all regular services usually conducted by the Pastor.
The Board of Deacons shall aid in the administration of the Lord’s Supper, in baptismal services, and in delivery to the Board of Deacons’ Treasurer the benevolence offering collected at each Lord’s Supper services. The Board of Deacons shall present a report at each quarterly business meeting and at the annual meeting of the church.
The Board of Deacons shall annually select from the church membership for the following committees:
Five members of the church to serve as a
Committee Board of Trustees.
Three members of the church, one of whom shall be the church Treasurer, to serve as a Budget and Finance Committee.
Five members of the church to serve as a Nominating and Election Committee.
Members of the church to serve as a Committee of Ushers as needed.
Three men Five members of the church to serve on the Missionary Promotions Committee.
Three men of the church to serve on the Board of Christian Education.
This board shall select, as needed, from the membership of the church, a music committee. This committee shall cooperate with the Pastor in the selection of an organist, a pianist, and a choir director, or other personnel necessary to the administration of the music program.
The Board of Deacons will appoint all other committees as needed
, except those under the jurisdiction of the Programs Board, either from its membership or from the church at large. All committees named in the preceding paragraphs shall serve until the Board of Deacons has appointed the new committees for the following year. All committees appointed by the Board of Deacons shall be directly responsible to them.
They shall keep a list of qualified members
that who can fill a position on the Board of Deacons. This list shall be updated at least yearly and given to the Nominating Committee on or by November 1 of each year.
Section 11 The Church
Programs Hospitality Board. There shall be a church Programs
Hospitality Board of
seven five members to be elected from the women of the church. Two members shall be elected every year for two year terms each except that every third other year, three members shall be elected for two year terms each. After having served a full two year term, unless circumstances keeps them from serving a full two year term, no member shall serve a consecutive term. If a board member cannot fill her term, the existing Programs Hospitality Board members shall appoint a substitute to fill the unexpired term.
Programs Hospitality Board shall choose annually a chairman and a secretary. This board shall meet regularly each month. Special meetings may be called by the chairman, and the secretary shall notify other members of such special meetings. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum at all meetings.
his board shall select, as needed, from the membership of the church, a music committee. This committee shall cooperate with the Pastor in the selection of an organist, a pianist, and a choir director, or other personnel necessary to the administration of the music program.
The church Programs Board shall annually select two women from the church membership to serve on a Missionary Promotion Committee.
Other duties of the church
Programs Hospitality Board shall be supervision of the nursery , church decorations, flowers and/or food for the sick and bereaved, preparation and keeping in order the elements of the Lord’s Supper, assisting women baptismal candidates, cooperation with the Pastor in the preparation of a bulletin for the Sunday services , general supervision of the church kitchen, and arrangements for meals and refreshments for church functions.
Programs Hospitality Board may obtain assistance from the church at large as needed to carry out its activities. All assistants or committees appointed by the Programs Hospitality Board shall be directly responsible to them.
Section 12 Board of Christian Education. The Board of Christian Education shall be composed of seven members, three men of the church selected by the Board of Deacons, three women of the church selected by the
Programs Board Nominating Committee, and the superintendent of the Sunday school.
This committee shall be organized promptly after selection each year, and shall select from its members a chairman, vice chairman, and secretary. This committee shall meet monthly. Special meetings may be called by the chairman or upon request of the Pastor. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the committee’s membership. The secretary shall notify the Committee of all special meetings, enter accurate minutes of all meetings in a book kept for that purpose, have custody of and be responsible for all books, papers and documents pertaining to the affairs of the committee, and surrender all records to the committee when a new secretary is appointed.
This committee shall be responsible for organization and administration of the church educational programs involving the Sunday School, youth programs, and Vacation Bible School. It shall be responsible for developing and interpreting to the constituency of the church its educational objectives or goals. It shall be responsible for studying the educational needs of the church, and making decisions concerning (1) time schedules, (2) educational use of housing and equipment, and (3) elimination or addition of classes or organizations falling under its jurisdiction, and not in conflict with responsibility and authority of other groups of the church. It shall be responsible for discovering, enlisting, training and appointing all church educational workers within its jurisdiction. It shall be responsible for evaluating and supervising the curricula of its educational programs, and for coordinating and approving the outreach programs of the groups under its jurisdiction. It shall be responsible for submitting annually to the Budget and Finance Committee a list of needs for the activities under its jurisdiction. It shall also be responsible to ensure that the Nursery is staffed.
Section 13 Missionary Promotion Committee. The Missionary Promotion Committee is appointed by the Board of Deacons
and the Programs Board. This committee shall appoint annually a chairman and secretary. This committee shall seek to increase missionary interest and giving by general promotion and special events, missionary speakers, missionary films, and projects to personalize missions.
Section 14 Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is appointed by the Board of Deacons, and shall elect, among themselves, a chairman to preside at its meetings. This committee shall hold in trust all property belonging to the church and shall take all necessary measures for its protection, management, and upkeep. The trustees shall determine the use of the building and grounds for all regular and secular purposes, but it shall have no authority to buy, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property without specific authorization by the church membership body. This committee shall secure the services of a caretaker at such salary as is authorized by the church and secure from him/her acceptable service. The trustees shall have power to make emergency repairs and provide for routine upkeep. Any new or special projects shall first be brought before the Budget and Finance Committee for presentation to the church at a regular or special business meeting for approval.
Section 15 Budget and Finance Committee. The Budget and Finance Committee shall be appointed by the Board of Deacons. While the Treasurer must be included on this committee, the Assistant Treasurer may also be included, with ex-officio status. This committee shall supervise the allocation of necessary funds for the support of the church and the disbursement of these funds as approved by the church. This committee shall, in cooperation with the various boards and committees, prepare annually a budget of estimated income and expenditures for the next year. These various boards and committees shall submit to the Budget and Finance Committee their proposed budget needs. The Budget and Finance Committee shall present a proposed budget to the Board of Deacons. The Board of Deacons shall present the proposed budget to the church for approval at the December meeting. Any and all changes to the budget shall first be reviewed by the Budget and Finance Committee, which will then make a recommendation prior to vote by the church.
Section 16 Nominating and Election Committee. The Nominating Committee is appointed by the Board of Deacons. This committee shall serve for a term of one year, and in addition to making nominations for new officers at the December meeting, the Nominating and Election Committee shall nominate officers to vacancies occurring at any time during the year. This committee shall prepare a list of those nominees who are qualified to fill the various vacancies in church offices for the next church year. It shall interview each proposed nominee, and ascertain his/her willingness to serve if elected. It shall nominate one person for each office to be filled, and report its choices to the Board of Deacons in time for submission to the church at least one week before the December business meeting. A list of qualified potential deacon nominees shall be given to the Nominating and Election Committee by the Board of Deacons on or before November 1 of each year. The Nominating and Election Committee shall use this list to select all nominees for the Board of Deacons.
Section 17 Ushers. The Usher Committee is appointed by the Board of Deacons. The Usher Committee shall elect annually a chairman from its membership. This committee shall attend to seating of the congregation, receiving of offerings, greeting of worshippers, parking, and any other duties assigned by the Board of Deacons. The chairman shall be responsible for appointing ushers for Sunday morning and evening services and at other meetings when offerings are collected.
Section 18 Termination of Officers and Committee Members. In endeavoring to fulfill the church’s mission, any member appointed or elected to serve should consider himself a servant of the church. Accordingly, any officer or committee member who is found negligent in his/her duties may be exhorted to greater dedication. If his/her commitment to the position continues to wane, the appointing committee has the right to replace that person. If this person holds an elected position, the Pastor or Board of Deacons shall recommend to the church his/her removal from office at any regular or special business meeting. Replacement shall be in accordance with the rules for selection of elected positions.
ARTICLE XII TAX-EXEMPT PROVISIONS
Section 1 Private Inurement
No part of the net earnings of the church shall inure to the benefit of or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the church shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Section 1.02 hereof.
Section 2 Political Involvement
No substantial part of the activities of the church shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. The church shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
Section 3 Dissolution
Upon the dissolution of the church, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the church, the trustees shall dispose of all of the assets of the church to such organizations formed and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization or organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). Assets may be distributed only to tax-exempt organizations which agree with the church’s Statement of Faith.
Section 4 Limitation Of Activities
The church shall not carry on any activities not permitted to be carried on by an organization exempt from Federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law) or by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under Section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).
ARTICLE XIII INDEMNIFICATION
Section 1 Actions Subject To Indemnification
(A) The church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the church, against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful.
(B) The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.
Section 2 Expenses Subject To Indemnification
To the extent that a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in that action, suit, or proceeding, he or she may be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.
Section 3 Limitations Of Indemnification
Any indemnification made under this Article, may be made by the church only as authorized in the specific case on a determination that indemnification of the pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Section 5.01. Following a recommendation by the Pastor and/or Board of Deacons, the determination shall be made a majority vote of the church members present at a special or regular called meeting of the church.
Section 4 Timing Of Indemnification
Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article, may be paid by the church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the board of deacons in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the church.
Section 5 Extent Of Indemnification
The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the church, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under this Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person
ARTICLE XIV THE CHURCH YEAR
The fiscal year of the church shall be the calendar year. Terms of elected officers shall begin on January 1 following election, and end on December 31 of the year in which their term of office ends.
ARTICLE XV AMENDMENTS TO THIS CONSTITUTION
This constitution may be amended at any regular business meeting, or any special meeting called for that purpose. Amendment shall require a three-fourths majority vote of those active members present and voting, provided there are present and voting at least twenty members, and that notice of such amendment(s) stating the proposed change(s) shall have been given from the pulpit on two successive Sundays.
ARTICLE XVI SEVERABILITY
This constitution governs all applicable functions of the Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church body. In the event that any one or more of the provisions contained herein shall, for any reason, be held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable in any respect, such invalidity, illegality or unenforceability shall not affect any other provisions of this agreement, but this agreement shall be construed as if such invalid, illegal or unenforceable provisions had never been contained herein, unless the deletion of such provision or provisions would result in such a material change so as to cause completion of the actions contemplated herein to be unreasonable.
ARTICLE XVII ADOPTION
I, the undersigned officer of the church, certify that this Constitution was adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called meeting of the church in which a quorum was present.
This Constitution supersedes any and all previous constitutions of Locust Grove Missionary Baptist Church church.
Date ___________________ Church Clerk _____________________________________________