First Baptist Church of Decatur
Constitution and Bylaws

 CONSTITUTION and BY-LAWS 

of 

THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, DECATUR, ALABAMA

 

_____________________________________________________

 

PREAMBLE

For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted tenets of the Southern Baptist denomination, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this Church and the freedom of action of this body with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith, we do declare and establish this Constitution and By-Laws.

CONSTITUTION

 

I. NAME

This body shall be known as The First Baptist Church, Decatur, Alabama.

II. STATEMENT OF DOCTRINE

The Bible is the sole authority for faith and practice of the Church. The Church shall sustain the principles of freedom of the individual conscience subject only to God, religious freedom, and the right of the individual to a voice in affairs of the church. Our understanding of Christian truth is in essential accord with the belief of other Southern Baptist churches as indicated in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

The church uses only literature consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

III. CHURCH COVENANT

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized by immersion in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in dependence upon His Spirit, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

PERSONAL HOLINESS

Because we desire to continually grow in our sanctification as to look more like Jesus...​

We commit, therefore, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to submit to the authority of the Scriptures as the final word on all matters of life and doctrine;1 to pursue the Lord Jesus Christ through regular Bible reading, prayer, and practice of spiritual disciplines;2 to seek to please God by resisting sin and pursuing holiness;3 to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives;4 to confess my sin to God and to fellow believers;5 to repent and seek help to put my sin to death.6

FELLOWSHIP AND UNITY

Because we understand Christ has called us to be of one mind, devoted to the fellowship...

We also commit to walk together in Christian love;7 to strive for the advancement of this church and to promote its health and spirituality with the aim of strengthening the Church universal;8 to sustain and participate in its worship, gospel-centered community, and ordinances;9 to steward the resources God has given us, including time, talents, spiritual gifts and finances;10 to pledge our love, prayer, and support to the pastors of this church and to those God has called into positions of leadership;11 to affirm the Statement of Doctrine and the Constitution and Bylaws of The First Baptist Church, Decatur, AL;12 to be generous and charitable in disagreement on secondary items.13

DISCIPLE-MAKING

Because we believe each of us has a responsibility to continue in the ministry of reconciliation...

We also commit to proclaim the gospel in our homes, neighborhoods, and to the ends of the earth in whatever way the Lord enables us;14 to raise our children and youth in the training and instruction of the Lord;15 by a pure and loving example, build authentic relationships with those who don’t know Christ with the hope of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.16

1 2 Timothy 3:14–17

2 Romans 12:1–2; 1 John 2:6; 1 Corinthians 11:1; Acts 17:11 3 1 Peter 1:14–16; 1 John 1:6–8

4 Ephesians 5:18; Titus 2:12

5 Psalm 51; James 5:16

6 Colossians 3:5; 1 John 1:9

7 John 13:34–35; Ephesians 4:32

8 Matthew 28:19–20; Ephesians 4:12; Acts 1:8

9 Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 11:26

10 Matthew 25:14–30; 1 Peter 4:10–11

11 Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:5–6

12 3 John 3–4; 2 Timothy 4:1–4

13 Romans 14:1–4; 2 Timothy 2:14

14 2 Corinthians 5:20–21; Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8

 

ONE ANOTHER

Because we recognize the joy and responsibility of loving and serving our church family...

We further commit to watch over one another in brotherly love;17 to intercede for one another in prayer;18 to help each other in sickness and distress;19 to use our words to build up one another and glorify God rather than speaking lies, deceit, slander, or gossip;20 to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay;21 to take seriously the responsibility of Christian freedom, especially actions or situations that could present a stumbling block to another.22 We moreover commit 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.

IV. CHARACTER

The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist churches.

The church shall be a cooperative Southern Baptist church, uniting with other churches of like faith and practice, through the local association, State Convention, and Southern Baptist Convention, for the propagation of the Gospel of Christ at home and around the world.

BY-LAWS

15 Ephesians 6:1–4; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:6–9 16 Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31

17 Romans 12:10; 1 John 4:7

18 Colossians 1:9–14; 1 Timothy 2:1–4

19 James 5:14–16

20 Ephesians 4:29–31; Colossians 4:6

21 2 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:32

22 Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9

 

 I. ORDINANCES

Section 1. Definition. The ordinances of the church, as set forth in the Holy Scriptures, are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Section 2. Baptism. The ordinance of baptism shall be by immersion, in water, of the professed believer, in obedience to the command of Christ, and shall be administered on the authority of and in the presence of the church. Only ordained ministers of the Gospel of like faith and order shall administer the ordinance except by the express permission of the Pastor.

Section 3. Lord’s Supper. The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed at least quarterly. All members of the body of Christ may participate. The Pastor shall preside, and shall be assisted by the deacons of the church. In the Pastor’s absence, or at his request, or when the church shall be without a Pastor, any ordained minister of the Gospel of like faith and order shall administer the ordinance.

II. COMMITTEES

Section 1. Committee Members. All members of committees of The First Baptist Church shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee, except for the Nominating Committee, and approved by the church by vote of the members present at any regular or called business meeting. The Nominating Committee shall be nominated by the Chairman of the Personnel Committee, the Chairman of the Finance Committee and the Chairman of the Deacons.

Section 2. Standing Committees. The standing committees of The First Baptist Church are:

A.      Finance Committee, which shall consist of six (6) members;

B.      Personnel Committee, which shall consist of six (6) members; 

C.      Nominating Committee, which shall consist of six (6) members; and 

D.      Permanent Endowment Fund Committee 

Section 3. Committee Descriptions. All committees shall have and perform duties described in a church-approved committee description. Changes in committee descriptions or additions to the listed standing committees shall be proposed by the Nominating Committee after consultation with the affected committees and approved by the church by vote of the members present at a regular or called business meeting.

A. A deadlock vote (3-3) on any issue entrusted to any of the Standing Committees shall be resolved by the Pastor unless the issue involves a matter solely affecting the Pastor in which case the deadlock shall be resolved by vote of the Chairman of the Deacons.

Section 4. Terms. Committee members shall serve a three year term on a rotating basis with one-third to be elected each year. All standing committees shall serve from January 1 to December 31 of each year. Committee members shall serve until their respective successors have been elected and approved. The retiring committee members shall not be eligible for re-election for a period of one year.

Section 5. Special Committees. The church shall elect special committees from time to time as the need occurs. These committees shall function until their charge is fulfilled.The special committees may include but are not limited to the following:

A. Pastor Search Committee, which shall consist of five (5) members, at least two (2) men and two (2) women;

i. It will be the responsibility of this committee to present to the church a prospective Pastor after having made a careful study of the history and credentials of the prospective Pastor, giving careful attention to the following: (1) a divine call to the ministry; (2) his conversion experience; (3) his moral character; (4) his doctrinal views; (5) his denominational cooperativeness; (6) his ability to execute the office of Pastor; (7) his preparation for the task to which God has called him; and (8) his financial stability.

ii. An announcement shall be made to the congregation at a regularly gathered Sunday morning worship of the upcoming election of the committee. Each member shall have an opportunity to nominate men and women that they feel are qualified to serve.

iii. All names nominated by the church body shall be provided to the financial office, directed to remove the names of any nominee who does not practice financial giving. This step shall be performed first in order to maintain confidentiality of the nominated candidate.

iv. The remaining list of nominees shall be provided to the education office, directed to remove the names of any nominee who does not conscientiously endeavor to attend all regular meetings of the church. The criterion shall include at least 50% Sunday School attendance.

v. The remaining list of nominees shall be provided, as nominated by the members and after completion of steps iii. and iv, to the men currently serving on the deacon body. The deacons will nominate five (5) people to serve using the names provided by the church body.

 

vi. The Chairman of the Deacons shall personally contact each nominee to secure a commitment to serve.

 

vii. The committee nominees shall be affirmed by a church vote during a Sunday morning worship service two (2) weeks following the nomination announcement.

B. Interim Pulpit Supply Committee. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Pastor, and pending church action to fill the position, the interim pulpit supply shall be arranged by a subcommittee of the Deacons chosen by themselves. This committee shall be established as soon as practical after the vacancy in the office of Pastor becomes known.

C. Ad Hoc or Advisory Committee. These committees may be selected for special projects as the need arises. It will be the responsibility of this committee to make a careful study of the facts and circumstances of the special project, need or ministry and make recommendations to the church concerning implementation or non-implementation of any plan. Members of this committee shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee with the consultation of the Deacons and approved by vote of the church members present at a regular or called business meeting and shall serve until their charge is fulfilled. In the event it is determined that the charge of any committee may be ongoing, then in that event, committee members shall be nominated, approved, and serve the terms as prescribed for a standing committee.

D. Ministerial Staff Search Committee. When there is an opening for a minister on staff, the Pastor and the Personnel Committee will select a minimum of five (5) members to serve on the search team.

III. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES

Section 1. Pastor.

A. The Pastor shall be charged with the welfare and oversight of the church, and shall lead the flock and guide the church in accordance with a church- approved job description.

B. When a vacancy occurs in the office of Pastor, the Personnel Committee shall designate a current ministerial staff member to lead the existing staff. Any conflict of oversight duties between the interim Pastor and designated staff lead will be resolved by the deacon body. A Pastor Search Committee shall also be selected by the church to seek a Pastor. When the Pastor Search Committee presents a candidate to the church, a meeting immediately after a Sunday morning worship service shall be held to voteon such candidate. Notice of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit and published in an Order of Worship, newsletter or other appropriate church communication, at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. The notice shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the nature of the business to be considered. To be selected as Pastor, the candidate must receive the affirmative vote of at least three-fourths (3/4th) of the votes cast by the members present at such meeting.

C. In the event it becomes necessary to consider the termination of a Pastor, such motion is to be brought to the church only after a majority of the Deacons has voted to take such action. Upon such motion being presented, a meeting immediately following a Sunday morning worship service shall be held to vote on such termination. Notice of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit and published in an Order of Worship, newsletter or other appropriate church communication, at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. The notice shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the nature of the business to be considered. The motion to dismiss a Pastor must receive the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3rd) of the votes cast by the members present at such meeting.

D. The Pastor shall be an ex officio member of all church committees. He is to be the moderator of all business meetings of the church, except one in which a motion for his termination is to be considered. In the absence or disqualification of the Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons is to serve as alternate moderator. In the absence of both the Pastor and the Deacon Chairman, the Vice-Chairman of the Deacons shall preside as alternate moderator.

Section 2. Ministerial Staff.

A. All ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices.

 

i. New ministerial staff positions shall be approved by the Personnel and Finance Committee and a job description shall be written when the need for a staff member is determined.

 

ii. In the event of a vacancy in an existing ministerial staff position the Personnel Committee will determine the continued need of the position.

B. The search team will present a candidate to the Personnel Committee for approval before presenting the candidate before the church for a vote. Notice of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit and published in an Order of Worship, newsletter or other appropriate church communication, at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. To be selected, the candidate must receive the affirmative vote of at least three- fourths (3/4th) of the votes cast by the members present at such meeting.

C. In the event it becomes necessary to consider the termination of a ministerial staff member, such motion is to be brought to the church only after a majority of the Deacons has voted to take such action. Upon such motion being presented, a meeting immediately following a Sunday morning worship service shall be held to vote on such termination. Notice of the meeting shall be announced from the pulpit and published in an Order of Worship, newsletter or other appropriate church communication, at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting. The notice shall specify the time and place of the meeting and the nature of the business to be considered. The motion to dismiss a staff member must receive the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3rd) of the votes cast by the members present at such meeting.

 

Section 3. Non-ministerial Staff.

A. Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the church determines the need for their services. The church Personnel Committee shall have the authority to employ and to terminate services of non- ministerial staff members; such employment and termination of service shall be with the recommendation of the supervising staff member, and, as appropriate, with the consultation of related committees and ministries of the church.

Section 4. Trustees.

A. The church shall elect three (3) trustees to serve as legal officers for the church. They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to incur debt, buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any church property and conduct other such business as is specifically directed by the church. When the signatures of trustees are required, they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church-approved matters.

B. Trustees shall serve a three-year term on a rotating basis, with one to be elected each year. The retiring trustee shall not be eligible for re-election for a period of one (1) year. Trustees shall serve from January 1 to December 31 of each year. The church shall elect a trustee to fill the unexpired term of a vacated trustee position.

  

 C. Trustees shall serve until their successors are elected by the church.

 

Section 5. Treasurer.

A. The Nominating Committee shall appoint a church treasurer to a three year term beginning January 1. The treasurer shall serve until his/her respective successor has been appointed. The retiring treasurer shall not be eligible for reappointment for a period of one (1) term. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements.

 

B. The treasurer shall make at least monthly written reports to the Finance Committee and provide financial reports for distribution to the church at regular scheduled business meetings. The treasurer’s report and financial statements of the church shall be audited annually by an independent accounting firm approved by the church.

Section 6. Church Clerk.

A.The Nominating Committee shall appoint a church clerk to a three year term beginning January 1. The clerk shall serve until his/her respective successor has been appointed. The retiring clerk shall not be eligible for reappointment for a period of one (1) term. The clerk of the church shall keep in a suitable book a record of all the actions of the church. The clerk shall keep a register of the names of members with dates of admission, dismission or death, together with a record of baptism. The clerk shall also notify all officers, members of committees and messengers of their election or appointment. The clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and the written official reports and give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary, as indicated in these By-Laws. The clerk may designate all or part of the above functions to a designee.

IV. DEACONS

Section 1. Number and Term of Service.

A. The total number of deacons shall be divisible by three. The Deacons shall review the needed number at five (5) year intervals or more often if they deem appropriate. Any change in number must be approved by a majority of the deacons.

B. The church shall use a rotation plan of service for its deacons. One-third shall be elected each year for terms of three (3) years, and one-third (1/3rd) shall rotate off of the deacon body each year. The retiring deacons shall not be eligible for re-election for a period of one year.

Section 2. Nomination and Election of Deacons.

A. An announcement shall be made to the congregation at a regularly gathered Sunday morning worship of the upcoming election of new deacons at least four (4) weeks prior to election of deacons. The standard qualifications of deacons will be presented at that time. A list of current deacons will be provided to ensure these names are not submitted for nomination. Each member shall have an opportunity to nominate men that they feel are qualified to serve as a deacon by submitting a signed nomination form.

B. All names nominated by the church body shall be provided to the financial office, directed to remove the names of any nominee who does not practice financial giving, as required by the deacon qualifications in Section 6. This step shall be performed first in order to maintain the confidentiality of the nominated candidate.

 

C. The remaining list of nominees shall be provided to the education office, directed to remove the names of any nominee who does not conscientiously endeavor to attend all regular meetings of the church as required by the deacon qualifications in Section 6. The criterion shall include at least 50% Sunday School attendance.

 

D. The remaining list of nominees shall be provided, as nominated by the members and after completion of steps B and C, to the men currently serving on the deacon body. The deacons will nominate men to serve using the names provided by the church body.

E. The Pastor and/or deacon representative shall personally contact each nominee to secure a commitment to serve the Lord and the local church.

F. The new deacon nominees shall be affirmed by a church vote during a Sunday morning worship service within two (2) weeks following the deacon election.

Section 3. Replacement of Unexpired Terms.

A. In the event of a vacancy on the Deacon Body, the current Deacon Body shall nominate a replacement(s) from previously ordained men of the church. This nominee shall be affirmed by the church at a regular or called business meeting. The term of replacement shall be the same as the deacon being replaced. The person elected as a replacement shall be eligible to be nominated and elected to a full term at the expiration of his partial term, provided that the partial term was less than two (2) full years.

Section 4. Officers and Meetings.

A. The officers of the Deacon Body shall be a chairman, vice chairman, and a secretary.

B. The Deacon Body shall hold regular meetings as determined by the Pastor, at least quarterly.

 

C. Special called meetings of the Deacon Body may be called by the Pastor or Deacon Chairman upon due notice to the Deacon Body.

Section 5. Duties of the Deacon Body.

A. In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church, leading the church in fulfilling the Great Commission. Their task is to serve with the Pastor and staff in performing the pastoral ministries’ tasks of (1) leading the church in the achievement of its mission, (2) proclaiming the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (3) ministering to the church’s members and other persons in the community.

Section 6. Qualifications.

Persons to be eligible for consideration as a deacon shall meet the following requirements:

A. Have been a professing Christian for at least three (3) years.

B. Have been a member of The First Baptist Church for at least the preceding two (2) years.

C. Meet those qualifications set forth in the New Testament, including Acts 6:1-3 and I Timothy 3:8-13, conscientiously endeavor to attend all regular meetings of the church and all Deacons’ meetings, and practice financial giving.

V. MEMBERSHIP

Section 1. A person may become a member of this church in the following manner: 

A. Baptism. Any person publicly professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ may, upon unanimous vote of the church and baptism, be received into its membership, baptism being by immersion only.

B. Letter. Any person, upon recommendation by letter from any other sister Southern Baptist church, may be received into full fellowship upon unanimous vote of the church.

C. Statement. Any person, by statement of believers baptism (baptism by immersion after profession of faith); upon reaffirmation of faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and agreement with beliefs about salvation and baptism as described in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, may be received into membership upon unanimous vote of the church.

D. Restoration. Any person who, because of unchristian conduct and inconsistent living, has brought reproach on the name of Christ and His church, and whose name the church has taken off its roll, may, upon evidence of repentance and reformation and recommendation of the Deacons, be restored to full fellowship by unanimous vote of the church.

A request for restoration to membership shall be preceded by a request made to the active body of Deacons by the excluded member. The active body of Deacons may recommend to the church that the excluded member be restored to membership after receiving a confession of their error, evidence of their repentance and reaffirmation of their faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

E. Installation. Following the completion of a membership class, affirmation of the church covenant and proclamation of a Biblical testimony of conversion then the membership candidate will be presented at the next quarterly business meeting for a vote.

F. Dissent. Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the Pastor and Deacons for investigation and a recommendation from them to the church within thirty (30) days. The three-fourths (3/4th) affirmative vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such members to membership.

G. Participation. Every member of The First Baptist Church is expected and given an opportunity to be a part of the ministries of First Baptist. Ministry team leaders must be a member in order to lead a ministry.

 

Section 2. Membership in this church may be terminated in the following manner: 

        A. By letter of dismissal. Any member may, upon a vote of the church, be granted a letter of dismissal to any other church of like faith and order upon request.

B. By exclusion. Should a member, for any reason, become an offense to the church and its good name, by advocating doctrines which do not conform to Baptist doctrines, or because of unchristian conduct and inconsistent living, the church may, on a recommendation of Deacons and a vote by the church, terminate membership, but only after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance, pursuant to Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1-2.

C. By death of the member.

D. By resignation. Any member may resign their membership, and upon reliable information of such resignation and upon vote of the church, membership shall be terminated. The church may accept reliable information that any member has become a member of a church not of like faith and order as evidence of resignation from this church.

VI. RIGHTS OF MEMBERS AND VOTING

 

Section 1. Each Member - One Vote. Every member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present or provision has been made for absentee balloting. Each member is entitled to one vote. Voting may be made in person or by absentee ballot. Voting by absentee ballot shall be available to resident members of The First Baptist Church only upon request made to the church office no later than forty-eight (48) hours before the vote for which the absentee ballot is required. The absentee ballot shall then be provided to the requester, marked by requester and returned to the church prior to the election.

Section 2. Eligibility of Member for Elective Office. Every member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church, except as otherwise provided herein.

 

Section 3. Participation in Ordinances. Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.

 

Section 4. Voting and Quorum. Unless otherwise specifically provided in these By- Laws, all votes by the church shall take place at a regular or called business meeting, the voting members present shall constitute a quorum, and any action taken shall be approved by at least a two-thirds (2/3rd) majority of the voting members present. Upon request of any member present at a meeting, any vote will be by secret ballot.

VII. MEETINGS

Section 1. Worship. Worship services shall be held on Sunday and Wednesday of each week, unless otherwise scheduled by the Pastor.

Section 2. Business Meetings. A regular quarterly business meeting shall be held on a Wednesday during the first month of each quarter. Special business meetings shall be called by the Pastor or by agreement of a majority of the Deacons, as the need requires, only after due notice has been given to the congregation.

 

A. Quorum. Those attending the business meeting, regular or called, shall constitute a quorum, and shall be empowered to transact business.

B. Moderator. The Pastor shall be moderator of all business meetings of the church, except one in which a motion for his termination is to be considered. In the absence or disqualification of the Pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons is to serve as alternate moderator. In the absence of both the Pastor and the Deacon Chairman, the Vice-Chairman of the Deacons shall preside as alternate moderator.

 

C. Rule of Order. “Robert’s Rules of Order” in its latest revision shall govern the conduct of business at all business meetings, including the meetings of the Deacons, except as otherwise provided herein.

 

Section 3. Notice of Meetings. Written or printed notice stating the place, day, and time of any meeting of the church shall be posted and printed in the appropriate church communication, not less than fourteen (14) days nor more than fifty (50) days before the date of such meeting, by or at the direction of the Pastor or persons calling the meeting.

Section 4. Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor, or by agreement of a majority of the Deacons. The notice of any special meeting shall state the date, time and place of such meeting and the purpose thereof. No business shall be transacted at a special meeting except as stated in the notice.

 

Section 5. Place of Meetings. Meetings of the church shall be held in the Worship Center, the Stephenson Chapel or such other convenient location on the church premises as may be designated from time to time.

 

Section 6. Ministries Outside the Church Walls: While the Church wholeheartedly encourages one’s personal witness by the sharing of his or her testimony as a follower of Jesus Christ, by participating in group Bible study and by gathering together with others for prayer, no member shall form any organization or ministry which he or she shall represent or suffer to be assumed is an organization or ministry being conducted under the auspices of First Baptist Church Decatur without presenting to the church for review and affirmation the activities and doctrinal focus of such organization and ministry.

VIII. FINANCES

Section 1. Finances.

A. The financial needs of the church and causes fostered by it shall be supported by voluntary, free gifts of money which shall be paid into and disbursed from the church treasury.

B. The church believes in and subscribes to the biblical concept of “storehouse tithing” as the minimum responsibility of Christian stewardship, and is obligated by Scripture to teach and encourage its members to practice the doctrine in their lives.

C. The church shall operate on a budget determined and adopted annually by the church. All extraordinary disbursements must be authorized by the church.

D. The Pastor and Business Office will set the calendar for preparation of the annual budget. They will work alongside the Finance Committee and Personnel Committee to provide full transparency. The Finance Committee, with approval from the Church Treasurer, is responsible for presenting a motion to the church by November 30. The church will vote on the authorized budget during a called Business Meeting.

 

E. The church treasurer shall be custodian of all church funds, and the budget shall be considered as authority for the disbursement of funds. Appropriate accounting records shall be maintained by the church and at a minimum a review of financial statements from an outside CPA firm shall be taken every year.

 

Section 2. Property. All property, both real and personal, all monies, and all equities and the like shall be held and controlled by the church.

Section 3. Obligations. No debt, commitment, or other unbudgeted obligations shall be created except by specific authority and expression of the church after due notice of the discussion concerning the issue and an affirmative vote. Emergency maintenance expenditures are excepted from the notice requirements of this section.

Section 4. Fiscal Year. The church fiscal year shall be from January 1 to December 31.

 

IX. POLICY ON MARRIAGE

Section 1. Statement of belief on marriage.

A. We believe marriage is a union between one biological man and one biological woman, following Biblical principles (Gen. 2:19-24, Lev. 18:22, Matt. 19:4-6, Rom. 1:18-27, Eph. 5:22-23, Heb. 13:4). We believe that God sanctions only the union in marriage of a man to a woman, including civil unions. Therefore, this church sanctions only a ceremony compatible with those standards.

Section 2. Policy statements.

A. Due to our belief in the Biblical teachings about marriage, same-sex couples will not be married in any facilities or on any properties owned by the church.

B. Ministers of First Baptist Church of Decatur, Alabama will not perform any same-sex ‘marriages’ or civil unions whether on or off church-owned properties. Doing so would be grounds for termination.

 

X. AMENDMENTS

This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3rd) vote of the members at a regular or specially called business meeting of the church provided a notice of thirty (30) days has been given to the congregation and the proposed amendment has been presented to the church in writing prior to that meeting.

 

Adopted at a business meeting by the membership of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Alabama, this twentieth day of April, 2022.