FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF COVINGTON
We declare and establish this constitution for the preservation of our faith and for the orderly government of this body called First Baptist Church of Covington. This Church, established in 1823 as Bethlehem Baptist Church, in accordance with its founding principles, receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice. We believe the word of God to contain great doctrines. We believe the ordinances of baptism by immersion in water and the Lord’s Supper are to be kept until the second coming of Christ. We believe the church to be a particular congregation of believers united together to watch over each other for good and not evil and to be prompt in attendance at meetings of the Church. We propose, therefore, by this statement and with the aid of the Holy Spirit to give ourselves in Christian love and fellowship.
ARTICLE I - NAME
This Church is incorporated under the name of First Baptist Church, Inc. of Covington, Georgia, but the work and business of this Church is to be carried on, as much as possible, under the name of First Baptist Church of Covington (hereinafter “Church”).
ARTICLE II - MISSION STATEMENT
The Mission Statement of First Baptist Church of Covington is the basis and purpose for which all activities, programs, and decisions are made. That statement is as follows:
“Making great the name of Jesus Christ in all the earth.”
ARTICLE III - CHURCH COVENANT
We, the members of First Baptist Church, affirming our Statement of Beliefs, covenant together to pursue the almighty God in consistent, humble, declarative, and sacrificial worship. We commit to urge one another along in the aspects of this worship: declarations of praise, sincere prayer, cheerful giving, and right living before the sovereign God of the universe.
We covenant together to love one another in sincere fellowship. We commit to pray for one another, care for one another, and meet the needs of one another, always pursuing reconciliation and church unity.
We covenant together to grow as disciples. We commit to study God’s word, teach one another God’s truth, and urge one another to live out this truth.
We covenant with one another to use the gifts that God has given us for the sake of His Kingdom. Therefore, we commit to find some ministry whereby we can take part in building the Kingdom of Christ, cheerfully, readily, and sacrificially, both locally and even to the ends of the Earth.
ARTICLE IV - GOVERNMENT
The government of this Church is vested in the body of believers (members) who compose it. This is an autonomous and democratic Baptist Church operating under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the importance of mutual counsel and cooperation.
ARTICLE V - AFFILIATION
This Church shall be a cooperating member of the Stone Mountain Baptist Association, the Georgia Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
ARTICLE VI - AMENDMENT PROCEDURE
Changes to this Constitution may be made at any meeting of the Church in conference provided that a copy of each amendment is made available to Church members in writing at least one month before the meeting. Amendments to this Constitution shall have the concurrence of two-thirds of the members who are present and voting.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF COVINGTON
ARTICLE I - MEMBERSHIP
SECTION I - GENERAL
The membership of First Baptist Church of Covington retains unto itself the right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this Church.
SECTION II - ADMISSION TO MEMBERSHIP
A person may come forward and be presented as a candidate for membership at any organized event of the Church. Persons in any of the following categories are eligible for membership in the Body of Christ known as the First Baptist Church of Covington:
1. those who make an initial profession of personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and come for baptism;
2. those who transfer their letter from another Southern Baptist Church;
3. those Christian believers who have been baptized by immersion and who come by statement of their salvation experience;
4. those Christians from another denomination who come for baptism by immersion as a witness to their understanding and adherence to Baptist beliefs and doctrines; and
5. those who make a profession of faith but for whom baptism might prove physically harmful.
All persons requesting membership shall be counseled by an ordained minister of the Church to determine their spiritual background and the specific nature of their decision concerning the acceptance of Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and the assurance of salvation through Him. All persons requesting membership shall be accepted as members when they are presented to and are approved by the Church upon baptism or receipt of letter.
New members shall be listed for record at the next regularly scheduled Church conference.
New members shall be encouraged to attend a new members’ class in order to learn the expectations of membership at the First Baptist Church of Covington and to determine their place of service in the church body.
Any person desiring a temporary relationship with the Church but not wishing to offer himself as a candidate for membership may come under the watch care of the Church.
SECTION III - DUTIES OF MEMBERS
Church members shall adhere to the Mission Statement and the Covenant of this Church.
SECTION IV - RIGHTS OF MEMBERS
Each member of the Church is entitled to vote in all elections and on all questions submitted to the Church in conference. All questions shall be determined by a majority vote of those present and voting except as otherwise specified in these Bylaws. No proxy voting shall be permitted.
SECTION V - TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall be terminated by the following:
2. transfer of letter to another Baptist church;
3. removal from the roll by individual written request;
4. removal from the roll due to affiliation with a church of another faith or denomination;
5. exclusion by discipline of the Church, which will be carried out by the Deacon body and presented to the Church in conference following the Biblical guidelines of Matthew 18:15-22 with the hope of repentance and restoration to the Church body; or
6. no contact with the Church by a member for more than one year (including worship, Sunday School, homebound visits, and Church events) and the member has expressed a desire to a staff minister to be removed from the Church roll.
All membership terminations occurring between regularly scheduled Church conferences will be announced at the next Church conference.
ARTICLE II - CHURCH STAFF
SECTION 1 – SENIOR PASTOR
GENERAL: The Senior Pastor is responsible for leading the Church to function as a New Testament Church. As spiritual leader of the Church, he shall lead the congregation and Church organizations to perform their tasks. The Senior Pastor is the leader of pastoral ministries of the Church. As such, he works with the Deacons, and Church Staff to:
1. lead the Church to engage in worship, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry;
2. proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; and
3. care for the Church's members and other persons in the community.
The Senior Pastor shall supervise the Church ministerial, program, administrative, and support staff and shall have day-to-day management and supervisory responsibility for each such staff and the Church office. In addition, the Senior Pastor shall serve as an ex officio member of all Church committees and ministries with the right to notice of meeting and the right to participate in the meetings but shall not have the right to vote. He may appoint another member of the Church staff to share his committee or ministries responsibilities.
SECTION II - MINISTERIAL STAFF
The establishment of additional ministerial staff positions shall be approved and recommended to the Church by the Personnel Committee with the approval of the Deacons. Ordained staff members shall be called upon the recommendation of the Personnel Committee and a majority vote of the Church in conference. Specific procedures for calling and terminating ministerial staff members, individual job descriptions, and a list of general employee benefits are found in the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual.
SECTION III – PROGRAM STAFF
The establishment of additional program staff positions shall be recommended by the Senior Pastor and approved by the Personnel Committee and the Deacons typically on an annual basis. The Church shall employ additional staff during the fiscal year as the Senior Pastor responds to specific personnel needs, as approved budget funds are available. Specific procedures for calling and terminating program staff members, individual job descriptions, and a list of general employee benefits are found in the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual.
SECTION IV – ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT STAFF
The establishment of additional administrative and support staff positions, such as secretaries and custodians, shall be approved by the Personnel Committee typically on an annual basis. The Church shall employ additional support staff during the fiscal year as the Senior Pastor responds to specific personnel needs, as approved budget funds are available. Specific procedures for calling and terminating administrative and support staff members, individual job descriptions, and a list of general employee benefits are found in the Personnel Policy and Procedures Manual.
ARTICLE III - CHURCH OFFICERS
SECTION I – DEACONS
GENERAL: The Church, guided by I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:3-8, shall elect deacons from its membership. Deacons shall be servants of Jesus Christ, the Church, and its acknowledged spiritual leaders who extend the pastor's ministry and provide service to the members and the community. Active deacons are those currently serving as deacons. Inactive deacons are those who have served as deacons previously but are not currently serving as active deacons. The term “Deacons” as used in these Bylaws refers to active deacons.
QUALIFICATIONS: Characteristics of a deacon shall be integrity, dignity, and proven spiritual maturity. Deacons shall be temperate, good stewards of possessions, faithful to biblical doctrines, dedicated to their family, and willing to serve. A Deacon must be a man at least 21 years of age and must have been a member of the Church for at least one year prior to being elected.
NUMBER AND TERM OF OFFICE: The number of active deacons shall be twenty-seven. Any increase or decrease in the number shall be based on the decision of the deacon body and shall be approved by the Church in conference. A regular term of office shall be three years, with one-third of the deacons rotating off every year. The term shall begin January 1 of each year. A deacon who has completed a term shall, after one year, be eligible for re-election to the active body. Upon sufficient grounds, the call for a deacon's resignation prior to completion of his term shall be resolved by the active Deacons.
SELECTION: The Deacon Nominating Committee, selected from the Deacons by the Deacons, shall solicit nominations from the Church. Nominations shall be by confidential ballot submitted by Church members. On each of the last two Sundays in October, the Deacon Nominating Committee shall cause to be distributed to the Church members a list of all men eligible to serve as deacons and a list of those Deacons whose terms will be expiring that year. On the first Sunday in November at each morning service, each member will vote by marking no more than the number of names which will equal the number of Deacons to be selected. All ballots shall be collected and tallied and the nominees ranked in the order of the number of nominations received. The Deacon Nominating Committee shall then interview the candidates. The purpose of these interviews is to explain the responsibilities of a deacon, to review the candidates’ qualifications, and to ensure each candidate’s willingness to serve. The Deacon Nominating Committee shall interview a sufficient number of candidates to compile a list of qualified and willing candidates to fill each upcoming and existing vacancy.
At the beginning of December, the Deacon Nominating Committee shall submit to the Church for affirmation a list of nominees equal in number to the vacancies that exist. The Church shall have the option of accepting or rejecting the entire slate.
If the entire slate is rejected, the moderator shall refer the matter back to the Deacon Nominating Committee for study. The Deacon Nominating Committee shall suggest a resolution to be voted on by the Church.
Any unexpected vacancies or unexpired terms that may occur shall be filled by the next qualified nominee from the immediately preceding deacon election. These nominations shall also be affirmed by the Church according to the above rules.
RESPONSIBILITIES: As set forth in the New Testament, the deacon is to be a servant of the Church. As such, he is to join with the pastor and other staff members in the following:
1. being devoted to, and united in prayer with, the pastor and staff for the ministry of the Church;
2. faithfulness in worship attendance and Church-wide functions;
3. faithfulness in attendance and active participation in deacons' meetings and annual deacons' retreat;
4. assisting the pastor(s) in conducting Church ordinances;
5. serving the Body at First Baptist Church of Covington by having an area of service/ministry and by modeling the biblical understanding of "servant leadership; and
6. fulfilling other duties as assigned and determined by Deacon leadership (refer to Deacon qualifications and responsibilities).
DEACON OFFICERS: At the January Deacons’ meeting, the Deacon Nominating Committee shall submit to the Deacons a slate of candidates to serve as Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary of the Deacons for that year. The active Deacons may accept or reject the slate in its entirety. If the slate is rejected, the Deacons may submit nominations for officer elections from the floor.
ORDINATION: As soon as practical, newly elected deacons who have not been ordained shall be ordained. Working with the pastor, the deacon chairman shall make arrangements for the ordination service.
SECTION II - PASTORAL ADVISORY BOARD
GENERAL: The deacon body, guided by I Timothy 3:1-13, I Timothy 5:17-22, and Titus 1:5-9, shall select a Pastoral Advisory Board from its membership. The Pastoral Advisory Board shall serve at the will of the Deacons.
NUMBER, TERM OF SERVICE, AND SELECTION: The number shall be five, to include the immediate past Chairman of the Deacons, the Chairman of the Deacons, the Vice Chairman of the Deacons, plus two others selected at large from the Deacons by the Deacons. The number of active Pastoral Advisory Board members may be changed upon the recommendation of that body and approval of the recommendation by the Deacons. The at-large Pastoral Advisory Board members shall serve one-year terms but may be re-appointed by the Deacons without the necessity of a one-year break in service. The terms of service of those Pastoral Advisory Board members who serve as the immediate past Chairman of the Deacons, the Chairman of the Deacons, and the Vice-Chairman of the Deacons is determined by virtue of their service as Deacon Officers.
RESPONSIBILITIES: The Pastoral Advisory Board is to serve as an advisory body for the Senior Pastor and as mentors for the Deacons.
Upon sufficient ground, the call for the resignation of a member of the Pastoral Advisory Board prior to the completion of his term shall be resolved by the Deacons.
SECTION III – TRUSTEES
DUTIES: The sole responsibility of the Trustees is to represent the Church in a legal capacity as directed by the Church in conference. Typically, it would be their function to affix their signatures on behalf of the Church to legal documents involving the sale, mortgage and purchase of land, borrowing capital, and any other document that represents the Church as a corporate entity.
When required to sign or attest a particular matter, and all Trustees are unable to be present, at least two Trustees may represent the whole as long as the decision is consistent with Church policy and/or the authority of the Church in conference. Church authorization may be documented by minutes from Church conference
In addition, the Trustees shall have supervision over all the deeds, bonds, insurance policies, and important papers of the Church. They are authorized to receive and disburse monies in accordance with the terms of wills, bequests, and special instruments in which the Church is named beneficiary. If the Church is named beneficiary through any of these documents, and there is no designation as to a particular program, the Trustees may bring a recommendation to the Deacons as to which program the money should be designated.
TERM AND ELECTION: There shall be six Trustees. Each shall serve a three-year term with two Trustees rotating off each year. The Nominating Committee shall nominate these Church officers from the Church membership, and they shall be elected by the Church in conference. The term of service shall be from January 1 - December 31. Only those who have been a member of the Church for at least one year shall be eligible to serve as a Trustee.
OFFICERS: The Trustees shall elect from among themselves a President, Vice- President, and Corporate Secretary. The Deacon Chairman and the Senior Pastor shall be ex officio members of the Trustees with the right to notice of meeting and the right to participate in the meetings but shall not have the right to vote.
SECTION IV -- MODERATOR
The Deacon Chairman shall serve as the Church moderator and is responsible for conducting all meetings of the Church in conference. In his absence, the Deacon Vice-Chairman or his designee, shall preside. Specifically, the moderator shall be responsible for the following:
1. preparing agendas for Church conferences in consultation with the Senior Pastor's office as necessary;
2. calling the meeting to order at the appointed time;
3. presiding at such meetings and preserving order and decorum;
4. presenting business in proper order;
5. stating and putting all questions properly brought before the meeting; and
6. deciding all questions of parliamentary order.
SECTION V – CLERK
The Clerk of the Church shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and shall be elected by the Church in conference. The Clerk shall perform the following duties as an officer of the Church:
1. keep a correct record of all actions of the Church;
2. keep a register of the names of members with dates of admissions, dismissals, or deaths, together with a record of baptisms and marriages;
3. preserve on file all communications and official written reports;
4. give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary, as indicated by these Bylaws; and
5. attend all Church conferences.
All Church records are Church property and are to be filed in the Church office.
In the absence of the clerk, duties number 1, 4, and 5,may be assigned to an appropriate designate.
SECTION VI – TREASURER
The Church Treasurer shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and shall be elected by the Church in conference. The Church delegates to the Church Treasurer the duty to receive and disburse all Church funds for authorized expenditures and to pay authorized obligations, unless otherwise determined by the Church in conference. The Church Treasurer shall keep a true and fair book of accounts, and shall render monthly to the Church a statement of all receipts and disbursements. The Church Treasurer shall be a member of the Budget and Finance Committee.
ARTICLE IV-CHURCH COMMITTEES
SECTION I - PURPOSE AND TYPE
Committees are separate and distinct from Ministries as described in Article V. Committees fulfill the operational role of the Church, while Ministries fulfill the roles of worship, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry. The Nominating Committee shall nominate to the Church in conference a list of all committees and their members each year.
SECTION II - MEMBERSHIP
The number of members on a Committee shall generally be an odd number with approximately one-third rotating off each year and approximately one-third being nominated and elected each year. In addition to the Senior Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons shall be an ex officio member of all Church committees and ministries with the right to notice of meeting and the right to participate in the meetings but shall not have the right to vote.
SECTION III - ELECTION AND TERM OF OFFICE
The members of each committee, except where specifically stated otherwise in the Bylaws, shall be nominated and/or solicited by the Nominating Committee, and after prayerful consideration of the qualifications and willingness to serve of each nominee, shall be approved by the Church in conference in accordance with Article 1, Section VII of the Church Policies and Procedures. The members shall serve beginning January 1 and shall serve on a three-year rotating system. Vacancies on committees shall be filled as they occur by the Nominating Committee selecting nominees who, after approval by the Deacons, shall serve the remainder of the term of the person being replaced.
An individual may serve on a committee for no more than three consecutive years unless the Deacons or Church policies waive this requirement. An individual should not serve on more than two standing committees concurrently unless the Deacons or Church policies waive this requirement. No member shall serve as chairman of more than one committee at any given time, nor shall a committee chairman also serve as a Church program director or head of a Church organization. Staff shall not serve as a member of a committee.
SECTION IV - COMMITTEE ORGANIZATION
Committees shall be organized with a chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary. The Nominating Committee, consulting with each Committee Chairman and staff liaison, shall nominate new members for each committee as well as a chairman. Each Committee shall then select its own vice chairman and secretary. The Deacons shall approve Budget and Finance, Long Range Planning, Operations, and Personnel Committees prior to the Nominating Committee’s report to the Church for approval.
SECTION V - MEETINGS
The chairman or his designee shall, prior to a committee meeting, notify other members of the committee of the time, purpose, and place of the meeting. The chairman shall be responsible for planning the meeting agenda and assigning responsibilities to the Committee members.
SECTION VI - PARLIAMENTARY RULES
Unless otherwise specified in this Constitution and Bylaws, all matters of business shall be decided by a majority vote of the members present and voting.
In Committee meetings, the chairman shall not vote except in case of a tie.
ARTICLE V- MINISTRIES
Ministries may be formed on an as-needed basis by the various ministry areas of the Church with the recommendation of the Senior Pastor and approval of the Deacons. These non-elected teams are specific to the ministry and are not limited by size, tenure or membership. Their action is subject to the authority of the Deacon and staff leadership. Each ministry shall have a coordinator who, in consultation with that ministry’s assigned Deacon and staff, shall select its members and shall develop and execute a ministry plan. Each ministry, ministry coordinator, and ministry plan shall be reviewed and approved annually by the Deacons.
Each ministry shall submit a budget request in accordance with Article IX of this Constitution and Bylaws.
ARTICLE VI-CHURCH YEAR
SECTION I - CHURCH FISCAL YEAR
The Church fiscal year shall begin January 1 and end December 31. The annual Church budget shall be on this fiscal year basis.
SECTION II - CHURCH ORGANIZATIONAL YEAR
The Church organizational year shall begin January 1 and end December 31. The term of all Committee members, Pastoral Advisory Board, and Deacons shall be on a calendar year basis. All Church officers and program organizational workers shall serve on a calendar year basis unless otherwise stated in these Bylaws.
ARTICLE VII-CHURCH MEETINGS
SECTION I - REGULAR BUSINESS MEETINGS
Regular business meetings, known as Church conferences, shall be scheduled on the third Sunday of January, April, August, and October each year or at such other time as scheduled by the Deacons. Special or called Church conferences are to be held upon the recommendation of the Senior Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons, a majority of the Deacons, or upon the petition of at least 50 active members of the Church. An announcement as to the time and purpose of the special or called meetings must be made one week before the meeting. Discussion at these special or called meetings shall be limited to the urgent purpose for which the meeting was called or to that purpose which was specified in the announcement. The pastor or moderator shall have the prerogative of canceling or rescheduling any special or called meeting because of extraordinary circumstances. The Chairman of the Deacons shall serve as moderator of all regular and called Church conferences. In the absence of the Chairman of the Deacons, the Vice Chairman of the Deacons shall serve as moderator.
SECTION II - PARLIAMENTARY RULES
Voting shall be by voice vote or show of hands, but the moderator may determine if vote by written ballot is more appropriate with no proxy or absentee voting permissible. Unless otherwise specified in this Constitution and Bylaws, all matters of business shall be carried by a majority vote of the members present and voting. The New Robert's Rules of Order, Revised and Updated Edition, shall be the guideline for parliamentary procedures for all business meetings of the Church unless otherwise outlined in the Bylaws and Policies, with the Holy Scripture as the ultimate authority.
SECTION III - CHURCH MESSENGERS
Messengers may be elected by the Church in conference to attend the meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention, Georgia Baptist Convention, and any other denominational meetings.
SECTION I - BAPTISM
A person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord shall be received for baptism.
1. Baptism shall be in water by immersion.
2. Baptism shall be by the Pastor or whomever he shall authorize.
3. Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service.
4. Baptism shall be assisted by the Baptism Ministry.
SECTION II - THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience. By partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, members of the Church commemorate the death of Jesus Christ and anticipate His second coming.
1. The Lord's Supper shall be observed at least quarterly.
2. The Lord's Supper may be observed as an act of worship at any worship service.
3. The Senior Pastor, other ministerial staff, or the Deacons shall be responsible for the administration of the Lord's Supper.
4. The administration of the Lord’s Supper shall be assisted by the Lord’s Supper Ministry.
ARTICLE IX-CHURCH FINANCES
SECTION I - BUDGET
The Budget and Finance Committee, after receiving the recommendations of the Church staff and/or the appropriate Ministry Coordinators and Committee Chairmen, shall prepare and submit to the Deacons for approval an inclusive budget indicating by line-items the amount needed and sought for all expenses. Upon approval of the Deacons, the budget is presented to the Church in one or more Town Hall style meetings to answer questions from the congregation. The budget will be presented for affirmation without discussion at a special called conference in December.
SECTION II - ACCOUNTING
Providing for the accounting of all funds shall be the responsibility of the Church Financial Secretary. This accounting shall include the proper recording of all financial transactions on the books of the Church and the proper maintaining of an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. The Church Financial Secretary shall be responsible to the Senior Pastor or his designee and to the Budget and Finance Committee for proper performance of these responsibilities.
SECTION III - FINANCIAL REPORTING AND AUDITS
A summarized financial report shall be rendered to Deacons at their regularly scheduled meetings and to the Church at regular Church conferences and shall otherwise be made available to any Church member upon request.
The Budget and Finance Committee shall make a monthly examination of financial reports, and shall enlist an independent accounting firm to conduct an annual audit to be paid for out of the general fund. Subsequently, the Budget and Finance Committee shall make a report of the audit findings to the Church in a subsequent conference.
ARTICLE X-AMENDMENT PROCEDURE
Changes to these Bylaws may be made at any meeting of the Church in conference and shall be ratified in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article XI of these Bylaws.
ARTICLE XI-RATIFICATION PROCEDURE
These Bylaws shall be ratified by two-thirds vote of the members who are present at any meeting of the Church in conference, provided that notice of such proposed conference appears in the Church bulletin in the week preceding the Church conference, and that a copy of these Bylaws is made available to all members at the time the conference is announced, if requested. All previous Bylaws and amendments are expressly repealed and these Bylaws shall supersede them.
This Constitution and Bylaws shall be implemented and become effective when adopted.
ARTICLE XII - CHURCH POLICY and PROCEDURES MANUAL
SECTION I - ORGANIZATIONAL CHART
An organizational chart shall depict lines of responsibility in the administration of the Church. This chart shall be reviewed periodically and revised as needed. A copy is in the Church Policy and Procedures Manual.
SECTION II - POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Any matter not covered by the Constitution and Bylaws may be addressed in a Policy and Procedures Manual to be maintained in the Church office.
Statement of Beliefs
We the members of First Baptist Church in Covington Georgia believe in the one true and living God, creator of all things, almighty, and sovereign in the universe.
We believe that He is a three person God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that He has revealed Himself generally through His Creation and Moral law and specifically through His own voice, the incarnation of His son, and His written word, the Bible.
We believe that the Bible is the inspired, inherent, infallible word of God.
We believe that God created all things good, but that mankind freely sinned against God and in that sin has fallen from God’s perfection.
We believe that sinful man stands opposed to God and in that sin faces the eternal just wrath of the Almighty God.
We believe that God is a gracious God and has extended His grace to sinful man through His Son Jesus Christ.
We believe that Christ the Son was made man and lived on earth.
We believe that Jesus Christ lived without sin in perfect adherence to the will of the Father.
We believe that Jesus was betrayed and was crucified on a Roman cross.
We believe that in this crucifixion Christ the Son took on the full weight of the Father’s wrath against the sinfulness of man and became an atoning sacrifice for all who believe in Him.
We believe that Christ died and was buried, but after three days he was raised from the dead to live and to reign over heaven and earth.
We believe that after His resurrection He met with His disciples, commissioned His Church, and ascended into heaven, from where He reigns, and is building His Kingdom.
We believe that this Church is the presence of the Kingdom of Christ on Earth.
We believe that Christ’s gift of grace and forgiveness of sin is available to all who believe in Him as Savior and Lord, and who demonstrate that belief by living faithfully to Him.
We believe that this offer of grace is exclusive only to those who confess and believe the Lordship and saving work of Jesus. Therefore, we believe in the Great Commission and that we are charged by Christ to make disciples.
We believe that followers of Christ are called to join together in localized bodies or local churches that are called to live out the life of a disciple.
We believe in Baptism by immersion in water as a proclamation of faith and an experience of Grace.
We believe in the observation of the Lord’s Supper as a proclamation of Christ’s work and Kingdom until He returns.
We believe that Christ will return to establish fully His authority over all things.
We believe that Christ will judge all of humanity and condemn all evil, and that He will call those who have believed in Him to life in His everlasting Kingdom.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF COVINGTON
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL
THIS CHURCH POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL (the “Manual”) is adopted, enacted and ratified this 8th day of October, 2010 by the Church in conference of First Baptist Church Inc. of Covington Georgia (the “Church”) and is the Church Policy and Procedures Manual referenced in the Bylaws of the Church.
Section I - ELECTION OF MEMBERS: Committee members shall be elected by the Church in conference after being recommended by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Deacons, as required.
Section II - TERM OF SERVICE: A committee member shall typically be elected for a three-year term, beginning January 1. One-third of the members of each committee shall rotate off each year, with one-third being nominated and elected each year.
Section III - QUALIFICATIONS FOR SERVICE: All committee members shall be members of the Church and shall have been a member for at least one (1) year. A member must be inactive from committee service for one year before re-election to the same committee unless otherwise specified in the Church policies. No Church member shall serve on more than two standing committees simultaneously unless this requirement is waived by the Deacons or Church policies.
Section IV - COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN: No Church member shall serve as chairman of more than one standing committee nor shall a committee chairman also serve as a church program director or the head of a church organization. A committee member may not serve consecutive one-year terms as chairman except as authorized by the Deacons. In the absence of any committee chairman, the vice-chairman shall assume his or her duties.
Section V - NUMBER OF MEMBERS: The number of members of each committee shall generally be an odd number. Any increase or decrease in this number shall be determined by the Nominating Committee in agreement with the committee staff liaison. At no time shall the number of members be fewer than three. Each committee shall also work in conjunction with a staff liaison that will serve as an advisor for the committee and a line of contact between the committee and the Senior Pastor. The staff liaison will be presented to the Church with the committee’s nomination in conference.
Section VI - RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMITTEES: The specific duties of each committee shall be found under the respective heading for each committee set forth in this Manual; however, each committee shall, in general, strive to operate under the following guidelines:
1. Seek the will of God as it pertains to the work of the committee and function through patient, prayerful work, and cooperation;
2. Meet as a committee, as needed;
3. Select a chairman, vice-chairman and secretary for one-year terms annually;
4. Keep a record of committee business and activities;
5. Submit any recommendations or proposals to the Deacons and the Church, if appropriate;
6. Submit budget requests and needs to the Budget and Finance Committee for inclusion in the annual Church budget
Section VII – STANDING COMMITTEES: As of October 8, 2010, the following committees exist at the Church with the mission, duties, and structure as set forth below:
a. Budget and Finance Committee: This committee shall be responsible for developing and managing the Church budget and addressing the financial needs of the Church.
(1) To develop an overall financial program and budget for the Church year.
(2) To provide educational materials on the Cooperative Program and other financial and budgetary information to the Senior Pastor, church leaders and the Church at large.
(3) To direct the annual budget preparation for submission to the Deacons and then to the Church in conference for approval in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Bylaws.
(4) To direct annual stewardship promotions, as requested and directed by the Senior Pastor and/or Deacons or by a vote of the Church in conference.
(5) To administer the budget during the Church organizational year by reviewing budget expenditures periodically and bringing to the attention of the appropriate church staff, officers, committees, ministries, or the Church at large, areas of necessary adjustment in budget expenditures.
(6) To assist the Senior Pastor, staff, church officers, committees or ministries of the Church with the requisite financial aspects of their respective functions and duties to the Church.
(7) To apply all designated funds according to the Church Financial Policy.
(8) To delegate certain of the duties outlined herein to other authorized personnel as determined to be appropriate, provided that those handling Church funds shall be duly named under appropriate security bond.
(9) To maintain supervision over all financial matters pertaining to the Church.
Membership: Consists of 7 members who are voting members and the staff liaison.
Staff Liaison: Church Administrator
b. Personnel Committee: This Committee shall be responsible for assisting the Church in matters related to all compensated personnel administration.
(1) To consult with the Senior Pastor and staff at least twice annually regarding the need for additional or new positions or elimination of existing positions, including the review of any interim appointments of personnel in accordance with Article II of the Church Bylaws.
(2) To approve position descriptions for new church employees and revise position descriptions as necessary.
(3) To maintain a Personnel Policies and Procedures manual.
(4) To assist the Senior Pastor and act on his recommendations regarding personnel recruitment, hiring, and disciplinary actions.
(5) To assist the Senior Pastor in the evaluation of ministerial and non-ministerial staff.
(6) To develop and recommend salaries and benefits for all compensated church personnel in conjunction with the Budget & Finance Committee, including all salary benefits, holidays, and vacation.
(7) To recommend to the Deacons disciplinary action regarding the Senior Pastor resulting from complaints or misconduct and further recommending to the Deacons a course of disciplinary action, including, but not limited to suspension or termination, provided, however, that termination of the Senior Pastor shall require approval of two-thirds of those members in attendance and voting at a special Church conference called for that specific purpose.
Membership – This committee shall consist of 7 members who are voting members and the staff liaison member.
Staff Liaison – Senior Pastor
c. Nominating Committee: This Committee shall be responsible for filling a slate of members of each committee each year to fill the vacancies on each committee and to nominate certain Church officers as described in this subsection.
(1) To nominate for approval appropriate numbers of candidates who qualify to serve as chairs and members for each committee and subcommittee of the Church on an annual basis to fill all vacancies on any committee or subcommittee as a result of rotation off of a committee, death, transfer of membership or other cause.
(2) To nominate temporary replacements to committee and subcommittee seats vacated throughout the course of the Church organizational year to be approved by the Deacons.
(3) To nominate on an annual basis, the WMU Director from among the members of each such ministry to be approved by the Deacons and elected by the Church in conference.
(4) To nominate on an annual basis the Church Clerk and Church Treasurer from among the active members in accordance with Article III, Sections V and VI of the Church Constitution and Bylaws to be approved by the Deacons and elected by the Church in conference.
(5) To nominate on an annual basis persons to fill any upcoming or existing vacancies among the Trustees in accordance with Article III, Section III of the Church Constitution and Bylaws to be approved by the Deacons and elected by the Church in conference.
Procedure: During the month of August each year, this Committee shall recommend to the Deacons a slate of candidates to serve as the officers described above and committee members for the prescribed term to commence the following January and the WMU Director. The Deacons shall review and approve the slate in whole but not in part. If not approved, then the Deacons shall then return the slate to the Committee with explanation and the Committee shall revise the slate until it is accepted in whole by the Deacons who shall then submit the slate to the Church in conference for approval to elect the appointed persons to the committees at the October Church conference.
Membership: This Committee shall consist of 5 members who shall be voting members and the staff liaison officer. The chairmen of the Budget & Finance, Personnel, Operations, and Long Range Planning Committees plus the Chairman of the Deacons shall constitute the members of this Committee annually. The Chairman of the Deacons shall serve as Chairman of this Committee.
Staff Liaison: Minister of Education
d. Operations Committee: This Committee shall be responsible for the functioning of the Church equipment, computer hardware, software, grounds, buildings, technology, sound systems, and transportation needs.
(1) To maintain, provide for and operate the Church facilities, infrastructure, transportation, and mechanical equipment.
(2) To monitor new methods of meeting the Church infrastructure needs on an on-going basis.
(3) To recommend appropriate repair and replacement of Church infrastructure to the Budget & Finance Committee.
(4) To coordinate and consult with the Senior Pastor, staff, and committees and ministries on their technological, infrastructure and transportation needs.
Membership: This Committee shall consist of 4 voting members: the chairman of each of the subcommittees (Building and Grounds, Technology Video and Sound, and Transportation) that report to this Committee. Additionally, the staff liaison assigned to this Committee shall serve as an ex officio member without voting privileges.
Staff Liaison: Church Administrator
e. Long Range Planning Committee: This Committee shall strive to develop the Church’s program of work for the future. Specifically, the target vision of this Committee shall be five (5) to ten (10) years in advance of the then current Church Organizational Year.
(1) To lead the Church in setting its goals for spreading the word of Jesus Christ to the community, the state, the nation and the world in the future.
(2) To discover through canvassing and caucusing the Church members the needs of the Church in worship, discipleship, fellowship, and ministry.
(3) To develop a strategic plan to meet the goals and needs of the Church enumerated in (1) and (2) above.
(4) To see through to completion the strategic plan as adjusted over time.
(5) To work with the Senior Pastor and Deacons in assessing the spiritual direction of the Church.
Membership: This Committee shall consist of 7 voting members and the staff liaison.
Staff Liaison: Senior Pastor
Section VIII – STANDING SUBCOMMITTEES- The manner of appointment, qualifications for membership and all other rules applicable to committees as set forth herein shall be applicable to subcommittees unless otherwise stated in this Section VIII. As of October 8, 2010, the following sub-committees exist at the Church with the mission and duties as set forth below:
a. Building & Grounds: This subcommittee has as its primary focus the general supervision of the care and maintenance of all Church buildings and grounds. This subcommittee shall also monitor and report to the Operations Committee on necessary repairs and replacement of materials related to the physical buildings and grounds that comprise the Church.
The chairman of this subcommittee shall be a member of the Operations Committee.
b. Technology: This subcommittee shall maintain the Church’s internet website, oversee the maintenance of the Church’s computer hardware and software, assess the need for new or additional hardware and software, and monitor new technologies for consideration in meeting the mission of the Church as the same become available. This subcommittee shall report to the Operations Committee.
The chairman of this subcommittee shall be a member of the Operations Committee
c. Video and Sound: This subcommittee shall operate and maintain all sound and recording equipment owned by the Church and shall assess the need for new or additional audio visual sound and recording equipment, as well as assure the proper operation of the Church’s radio, ministry. This subcommittee shall report to the Operations Committee.
The chairman of this subcommittee shall be a member of the Operations Committee.
d. Transportation: This subcommittee shall supervise and maintain all vehicles owned by the Church and shall recommend policies relating to vehicle operation, maintenance and use to the Operations Committee as well as make recommendations to meet additional Church transportation needs.
The chairman of this subcommittee shall be a member of the Operations Committee.
Section IX – OTHER COMMITTEES: Additional committees may be established from time to time by the Deacons upon recommendation of (i) any member of the Church in good standing, (ii) a committee or (iii) a ministry. Upon the establishment of any such new committee, a description of the purpose, function, and membership structure of each new committee must be prepared by the Nominating Committee and be approved by the Deacons before such new committee may commence operation.
Section X- OTHER SUBCOMMITTEES: Additional subcommittees may be established from time to time by the Deacons upon recommendation of the committee to which such subcommittee shall report. Upon establishment of the new subcommittee a description of the purpose, function and membership structure must be prepared by the committee to which such subcommittee shall report and be approved by the Deacons before such new subcommittee may commence operation.
Section I - MEMBERSHIP: Ministries are non-elected, self-perpetuating groups of members in good standing of the Church. Ministries shall not be limited by size or tenure. Each ministry shall be assigned a Deacon to assist that ministry in achieving its stated goal and in filling the ministry’s personnel needs. Each ministry shall set its number of members and shall staff itself accordingly, subject to its own standards of participation which shall be reviewed and approved by the Deacons and announced to the Church in conference.
Section II - TERM OF SERVICE: A ministry member shall not serve a stated term and shall be eligible to serve as a member of a ministry for so long as the member is a member in good standing of the Church or until such time as the member elects to cease participation in the ministry in accordance with the standards of participation of the particular ministry.
Section III - QUALIFICATIONS FOR SERVICE: All ministry members shall be members of the Church in good standing.
Section IV - MINISTRY COORDINATORS: No Church member shall serve as coordinator of more than one ministry. A ministry member may serve on multiple ministries and/or committees (otherwise as provided in this Manual). In limited instances a Director shall lead specific ministries. Directors shall be appointed by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Church in conference and shall serve one-year terms.
Section V - NUMBER OF MEMBERS: The number of members of each ministry shall be sufficient to accomplish the stated task of the ministry. At no time shall the number of members be fewer than three.
Section VI - RESPONSIBILITIES OF MINISTRIES: The specific calling of each ministry shall be found under the respective heading for each ministry set forth in this Manual; however, each ministry shall, in general, strive to operate under the following guidelines:
a. Seek the will of God as it pertains to the work of the ministry and function though patient, prayerful work, and cooperation.
b. Meet as a group, as needed.
c. Select a coordinator, vice-coordinator and secretary for one-year terms annually.
d. Keep a record of ministry business and activities.;
e. Submit any recommendations or proposals to the designated Deacon for that ministry to be discussed and brought before the Deacons and Church, if appropriate.
f. Submit budget requests and needs to the Budget and Finance Committee for inclusion in the annual Church budget.
g. Submit a plan of action annually to the Deacons and Senior Pastor for review, comment and approval.
h. Execute the plan of action as approved by the Deacons and Senior Pastor.
Section VII – STANDING MINISTRIES- Each of the ministries outlined herein shall be assigned a Deacon to assist it in meeting its stated aims and goals as well as a staff liaison member to coordinate the ministry with church staff. The Deacons shall retain oversight authority over all ministries of the Church. As of October 8, 2010, the following ministries exist at the Church with the mission, duties, and structure as set forth below:
a. Baptism Ministry – This ministry is charged with the responsibility of assisting all candidates for baptism, providing any service needed in preparation for the ordinance of baptism, being available to assist in forthcoming baptisms, and reporting any maintenance needs of the baptistery to the Church Administrator.
b. Benevolence Ministry – This ministry is charged with the responsibility of addressing the benevolent needs of the Church and the community. It is responsible for investigating cases of need and providing needed help.
c. Bereavement Ministry – This ministry is charged with the responsibility of ministering to families who are grieving the loss of a Church member by addressing such needs as may be known to the Ministry, especially through the provision of a meal on the day of the funeral or at such other time as requested by the family.
d. Celebrate Recovery Ministry – This ministry is charged with the responsibility of ministering to those people in the Church and in the community who, in the words of the national Celebrate Recovery Ministry, “struggle with hurts, habits and hang-ups by showing them the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process.”
e. Children’s Ministry - This ministry shall undertake the following duties:
(1) To serve as advisors to the Children’s Director in planning and promoting the Church’s children’s program.
(2) To assist the Children’s Director in studying the needs of the Church’s children.
(3) To plan and promote special children’s programs with the goal of creating the most effective children’s program possible
(4) To consider any suggestions, recommendations or criticisms of the children’s program and to recommend any action necessary to address any such issue.
f. Counting – This ministry is responsible for counting all Church offerings in accordance with the Church Financial Policy.
g. Extension – This ministry is responsible for extending the reach of the Church to homebound members.
h. Feed My Sheep – This ministry oversees the distribution of meals to homebound Church members, and Church members having to stay home due to an illness, as well as other homebound or needy people in the community.
i. First Baptist Academy Ministry – This ministry shall strive to oversee the operation and finance of First Baptist Academy, and to serve as a liaison between the Church and First Baptist Academy. The members of this ministry shall advise and assist the Director of First Baptist Academy in fulfilling its stated purposes of making disciples, teaching education, recreation, fellowship and worship to lead people to the Lord and provide a loving Christian learning experience and aiding parents in teaching children basic academic skills in preparation for their next stage of development.
j. Flower Ministry – This ministry is responsible for scheduling the placement of flowers in the sanctuary for worship services and for all special services (including but not limited to revivals and youth services). This ministry will ensure that the names of the donors of the flowers are placed in the Church bulletin in a timely manner.
k. Hostess Ministry – This ministry shall strive to achieve the following duties:
(1) To promote wholesome Christian fellowship at all church functions.
(2) To coordinate and prepare all church-wide or community-wide Church social functions.
(3) To formulate and recommend policies to be approved by the Church in conference for the use of the Church kitchen and fellowship hall for social activities.
(4) To enforce Church policy regarding the use of the Church kitchen and fellowship hall for social activities.
l. Library and Audiovisual Ministry – This ministry is responsible for the promotion and strengthening of the book and audiovisual collection of the Church library. This ministry shall work with the church staff to assist in the selection of well-balanced source materials for learning by all age groups.
m. Lord’s Supper Ministry – This ministry is charged with the responsibility of preparing for and attending to the execution of the Lord’s Supper observances as mandated under the Bylaws Article VIII.
n. M² Ministry – This ministry is responsible for encouraging husbands and wives to view their marital union as a God-ordained covenant relationship. The primary duties of this ministry are to offer structured, Christ-centered encouragement, education, and mentoring to individuals and couples, toward an ultimate goal of strengthening Christian homes and families within the Church and the community.
o. Men’s Ministry – This ministry shall be comprised of such standard organizations, such as Royal Ambassadors, as the vision of the ministry shall direct under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the New Testament subject to the approval of the Deacons and the Church in conference. This ministry shall be directed by a Director who shall be selected on an annual basis by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Church in conference from the members of the ministry.
The duties of the ministry shall be:
(1) To teach missions to young men, youth and boys.
(2) To lead men, young men, and boys to participate in mission activities.
(3) To provide organization and leadership for special projects of the Church.
(4) To inform men, young men and boys about the work of the Church and denomination.
(5) To organize and lead a Royal Ambassador chapter.
(6) To assist the men of the church in maturing in their faith and in growing as disciples of Christ.
p. Missions Ministry- This ministry is charged with the responsibility to seek out possible mission projects and report same to the Deacons, Senior Pastor and other appropriate church organizations. Further, upon the determination by the Church, the Deacons, the Senior Pastor or an appropriate church organization, this ministry shall strive to facilitate the implementation of such approved mission project.
q. Music Ministry – This ministry shall undertake the following duties:
(1) To serve as advisors to the Minister of Music in planning and promoting the Church’s music program both in the normal course of worship and special musical events.
(2) To assist the Minister of Music in studying the music needs of the Church.
(3) To plan and promote special music programs with the goal of creating the most effective music program possible.
(4) To consider any suggestions, recommendations or criticisms of the music program and to recommend any action necessary to address any such issue.
r. Outreach – This ministry is responsible for working with the church staff to follow up on prospects and to reach out into the community for the sake of Evangelism through one-on-one evangelism and outreach events. The main goal of this body is to connect visitors to our services and outreach events to a Sunday School class and Church membership.
s. Prayer Ministry – This ministry is responsible for organizing prayer meetings among Church members, keeping the Church aware of prayer needs, and educating the Church body on the importance and practice of prayer.
t. Preschool Ministry – This ministry is responsible for assisting the Children’s Director in the following areas:
(1) To provide planning and preparation for care of pre-school children during regularly scheduled meetings of the Church and to coordinate services for the above-described children during special meetings of the Church.
(2) To advise the Personnel Committee of any compensated personnel needs to accomplish the charge of this ministry set out in (1) above.
u. Recreation Ministry – This ministry shall be responsible for canvassing the Church to determine what recreational activities the Church desires to participate in to further the goals of the Church and provide an outlet for camaraderie and fellowship for the members of the Church on annual basis. Further, this ministry shall organize and qualify the athletic teams that are fielded bearing the name First Baptist Church in any recreational league in Newton County, Georgia. Any organized recreational activities at a Church function shall also be the responsibility of this ministry.
v. Wedding Ministry – This ministry will explain and enforce the wedding policy of the Church with each bride and one designee selected by the bride. A copy of the wedding policy shall be provided to each wedding couple. This ministry will ensure that the facilities of the Church are properly treated during the rehearsal, wedding and reception and that any damage and cost of repair/replacement are charged to and collected from the wedding party.
w. Wednesday Night Supper Ministry – This ministry shall coordinate the meal served on Wednesday night.
x. Women’s Enrichment Ministry – The purpose of this ministry is to glorify God, grow disciples and give heart to women through Bible study, special events, and purposeful Christian fellowship.
y. WMU – This ministry shall consist of the Women’s Missionary Union and Women’s Ministries and shall include such standard auxiliaries and service groups as the members under the leadership of the Holy Spirit and teaching of the New Testament shall deem appropriate, subject to the approval of the Deacons and Church in conference. This ministry shall be led by a Director who shall be selected on an annual basis by the Nominating Committee and approved by the Church in conference from the members of the ministry.
The duties of this ministry shall be:
(1) To teach missions to the young women, youth and girls of the Church.
(2) To engage the women, young women and girls in mission action.
(3) To support world missions through prayer and giving.
(4) To interpret information regarding the work of the Church and denomination.
z. Worship Ministry – This ministry shall consist of ushers who are charged with greeting and welcoming visitors and members of the Church as they enter the sanctuary. Additionally this ministry shall be responsible for the seating of people for services and the general comfort of the congregation during services, as well as the recognition of visitors.
aa. Youth Ministry – This ministry shall undertake the following duties:
(1) To serve as advisors to the Minister of Youth in planning and promoting the Church’s youth ministry.
(2) To assist the Minister of Youth in studying the needs of the Church’s youth.
(3) To plan and promote special youth programs with the goal of creating the most effective youth ministry possible.
(4) To consider any suggestions, recommendations or criticisms of the youth ministry and to recommend any action necessary to address any such issue.
The purpose of the Church Council (hereinafter “Council”) is to correlate and coordinate the activities and organizations of the church, including committees and ministries, in an advisory capacity.
Section I – MEMBERSHIP: The Council shall be composed of the Senior Pastor and all ministerial staff, the Deacon Chair, the chair of each committee, and the coordinator of each ministry.
Section II – MEETINGS: The Council shall meet quarterly on dates and times to be determined by the Senior Pastor or the Deacon Chair.
Section III – RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COUNCIL: The primary responsibilities of the Council are as follows:
1. Recommend to the Church suggested objectives and goals of the Church consistent with the mission of the Church.
2. Review and coordinate program plans recommended by committee chairs and ministry coordinators.
3. Recommend to the Church the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities.
4. Evaluate program achievements in terms of church goals and objectives in light of the Church’s Mission Statement.
Attached to this Manual as Exhibit “A” is an organizational chart which depicts the lines of responsibility in the administration of the Church (the “Chart”) which is incorporated herein by reference. The Chart shall be reviewed periodically and revised as needed in accordance with the provisions of this Manual for amending the Manual.
Amendments to this Manual may be recommended by any Member of the Church and must be approved by the Deacons and then submitted to the Church in conference.
In the event of a disagreement between the terms of this Manual or the Constitution or Bylaws, the respective Constitution or Bylaws shall govern the matter in question.
This Manual specifically addresses the Committees and Ministries of the Church. This Manual may be updated to add new Ministries and/or Committees as the same are created or approved from time to time at irregular intervals by the Deacons. Similarly, should any Ministry or Committee be dissolved as provided for herein, such deletion may be noted by action of the Deacons in updating this Manual.