First Baptist Church of Los Lunas
Adopted August 9, 2015
For the more certain preservation and security of The Abstract of Principles and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted doctrines of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist State Convention of New Mexico, and the Central Association of Southern Baptists, and for the purpose of preserving 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 Christian faith, we do declare and establish this constitution.
ARTICLE I – NAME
This body shall be known as the First Baptist Church of Los Lunas, 914 Los Lentes Rd. S.E. Los Lunas, New Mexico (Valencia County), hereinafter referred to as FBCLL or the Church.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
The Church shall be organized for the purpose of advancing and promoting the worship of God through the reading and studying of the Holy Bible as the revealed Word of God, the teaching and preaching of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, conducting regular services of worship for the spiritual training, development, and benefit of each member, and for the winning of souls to Jesus Christ.
The Church shall be missionary in spirit extending the Gospel through its organized channels to the entire world. It shall promote and maintain the teachings and the doctrines of the Christian denomination universally known and designated as the Southern Baptist Convention.
It shall exist to provide regular opportunities for public worship, to sustain the ordinances, doctrines, and ethics set forth in the New Testament for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to channel its offerings to the support of the object of the Kingdom of God.
ARTICLE III – CHURCH COVENANT
By the grace of God, having, as we trust, been brought by divine grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, joyfully and solemnly enter into this holy covenant with each other. Knowing that our Lord Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and that the next is to love our neighbor as ourselves, we endeavor to do these things in the following manner:
Regarding the Corporate Body of FBCLL we desire and intend to:
- 1. Walk together in Christian love, working and praying for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;
- 2. Strive for the advancement of this Church in knowledge, holiness, unity and warmth of fellowship;
- 3. Promote her spirituality and well-being;
- 4. Sustain her worship, ordinances, and doctrines;
- 5. Submit to the Church’s discipline upon ourselves and lovingly assume our responsibility to participate in the discipline of other members, as taught in Scripture;
- 6. Give her sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin;
- 7. Ommit our resources for the support of the ministries of this Church, the cause of revival and reformation, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
Regarding ourselves individually, we desire and intend to:
- 1. Maintain personal and family devotions;
- 2. Religiously educate our children and any others who are given to our care;
- 3. Seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances;
- 4. Be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our conduct;
- 5. Personally contribute time and money, cheerfully and regularly, to the support of the ministries of this Church, the cause of revival and reformation, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
Regarding our relationships with one another, we desire and intend to:
- 1. Watch over one another in brotherly love, affectionately caring and encouraging whenever possible, and gently correcting when necessary;
- 2. Remember one another in prayer;
- 3. Aid one another in sickness and distress;
- 4. Cultivate the ability to rejoice at each other’s joys and bear with each other’s burdens and sorrows with tenderness and sympathy;
- 5. Cultivate Christian courtesy in speech by avoiding all gossip, backbiting, and excessive anger;
- 6. Be slow to take offense, always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the teaching of our Savior to secure it without delay.
Regarding our relationship with the world, we desire and intend to:
- 1. Strive by God’s grace and power to live as Christ in the world, walking circumspectly and denying ungodliness and worldly lusts;
- 2. Use our influence as salt and light to combat practices such as prejudice, abuse of substances and the spread of pornography, and any other which lead to moral and spiritual decay both personally and socially;
- 3. Be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior, seeking the salvation of our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and all the nations.
When by God’s hand 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.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
ARTICLE IV – STATEMENT OF BASIC BELIEFS
We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God and the only sufficient, certain and authoritative basis for all our beliefs. Additionally, this Church affirms The Abstract of Principles and The Baptist Faith and Message, revised 2000. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
ARTICLE V – STATEMENT OF BIBLICAL AUTHORITY
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe.
For purposes of church doctrine, practice, policy, and discipline, our Pastor and our Elders, through prayer and study are the church’s final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.
ARTICLE VI – STATEMENT ON THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139.)
ARTICLE VII – STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
We believe God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between a man, a woman, and Himself. Therefore, First Baptist Church of Los Lunas will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the pastors of First Baptist Church of Los Lunas shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of First Baptist Church of Los Lunas shall only host weddings between one man and one woman.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
ARTICLE VIII – CHURCH GOVERNANCE AND RELATIONSHIPS
Under the Lordship of Christ, the government of FBCLL is vested in the members who compose her. (see Bylaws, Article I – Membership). She is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body; but she recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Southern Baptist Churches. While maintaining her local autonomy, FBCLL will cooperate with the Central Baptist Association of New Mexico, support the Baptist State Convention of New Mexico, the Southern Baptist Convention, and other groups as desired.
As a local Church, the style of government will be Elder-led and congregational, submissive to the Word and Will of God as best understood and congregationally affirmed. The offices of the Church will be Elder and Deacon, (see Bylaws, Article II – Offices). (I Timothy 5:17-19)
ARTICLE IX – CHARACTER
SECTION A: Doctrine
The Church receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice. It’s understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of the Southern Baptist Churches as indicated in the Abstract of Principles and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.
SECTION B: Property
- 1. All real property of the Church shall be deeded to the Church and held in its name. No real property of the Church shall be purchased, sold, leased, mortgaged, encumbered, or otherwise disposed of without the same having been recommended by at least a majority of the votes cast at a Regular or Special Family meeting of the Church, of which at least one (1) weeks’ notice shall be given the Church.
- 2. In the event this Church shall cease to function as a Church, its trustees shall; as soon as possible, at least within one year thereafter, transfers all properties and remaining assets to the Baptist State Convention of New Mexico, after providing for the payment of its debts. Remaining assets are not to be for the benefit of any private person or persons. The Baptist State Convention of New Mexico will have full authority for the use or disposition of any such assets.
- 3. In the event of a vote to withdraw fellowship from the Baptist State Convention of New Mexico and/or the Southern Baptist Convention, the property of the Church shall remain vested in the part of the Church desiring to retain its affiliation with these bodies; provided further that in all matters relating to its internal affairs the Church remains, and shall be, an autonomous body.
SECTION C: Incorporation
This Church shall be incorporated in accordance with the laws of the State of New Mexico governing bodies.
ARTICLE X – AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Amendments to this constitution may be made at any Family Meeting of the Church, regular or special, provided:
- 1. That each proposed amendment shall have been presented in writing at the previous Family meeting.
- 2. That each proposed amendment shall have the support of the Elders before coming before the congregation for official consideration.
- 3. That copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to the members no less than two weeks prior to the one in which the amendment is to be considered.
- 4. That the Family meeting at which the proposed amendment will be considered is announced from the pulpit on two (2) successive Sundays prior.
- 5. That the proposed amendment must pass by a three-quarter (3/4) majority of the active members present.
The revised version of this constitution shall be made available to all Church members.
First Baptist Church of Los Lunas
Adopted August 9, 2015
Article 1 – Church Membership
Section 1 – How Members are Received
- 1. FBCLL will strive to be comprised of regenerate Church members. She will receive into her membership those individuals who come as a result of the Lord’s leadership and who are willing to meet the following requirements:
- ) Express a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior evidenced by a changed life and a growing desire for intimacy and holiness before God.
- ) Offer evidence, by their confession and their conduct, that they are living in accord with their affirmations and this Constitution and Bylaws, and are actively pursuing and continuing in a vital fellowship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.
- ) Have been or willing to be baptized by immersion after profession of faith.
- ) Attend and complete a Prospective Family Class during which time they will, at a minimum, be made aware of the history, doctrine and governance of FBCLL, affiliation with the SBC and opportunities for service, or if need be, meet with a Pastor or Elder over the same information.
- ) Affirm the Church Constitution.
- ) Meet with at least one Pastor or Elder to discuss the items above and any other issue a prospective member might need.
- ) The elder board of First Baptist Church of Los Lunas shall have final authority in all matters of church governance, as set forth and described in the Bylaws.
- 2. An individual shall be considered a member when they present themselves before the congregation for membership and once they have completed the above.
- 3. Non-Resident Membership shall comprise those individuals who for reasons of health and family have moved away and who cannot join a local Church in their relocated area.
Section 2 – Responsibilities of Active Members
Noting that many expectations of membership are outlined in the Church Covenant, let us be reminded in summary that members are expected to joyfully fulfill the following: (Malachi 3:8-10; John 15:12-17; Acts 2:43-47; Romans 12:10-11, 15:30; 1 Corinthians 12:15; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 4:11-12, 6:18-19; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 4:9-10; Hebrews 10:23-25, 13:17-18; James 5:16; 1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 John 4:7-8)
- 1. Be present during worship and prayer services.
- 2. Be present during Family Meetings.
- 3. Be in prayer for the leadership of the Church, one another, and brother and sisters around the world.
- 4. Exhibit love for all the body.
- 5. Be involved with ministry as individually gifted and impassioned.
- 6. Provide financially for the ministries of the Church through tithes and offerings.
- 7. Be watchful over and encourage one another toward holiness.
Section 3 – How Members are Disciplined
- 1. Realizing that the Bride of Christ is called to be pure and holy, and realizing that we are called to gently, lovingly, but firmly correct those in error, this Church will conduct, when necessary, Church discipline as outlined in Scripture. (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 11; Galatians 6:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 3:10-11; 1 Peter 4:17)
- 2. Such actions would be directed toward any member who is known to be committing acts of unchristian conduct, or who consistently upsets the unity of the Church, therefore resulting in the defamation of both the Name of Christ and the witness of this Church.
- 3. We believe that Church discipline, far from unloving, is needful to honor the name of Christ, protect the flock, educate and edify the body, and ensure purity. It is pursued in the hope that an erring brother or sister in Christ would repent and be restored into proper fellowship with the Lord and this Church.
- 4. It will be the responsibility of the Elders to follow through on the action of Church Discipline, and any recommendation brought before the Church concerning an individual member will be made by the Elders.
- 5. The process includes:
- A. An initial, private, one-on-one admonition by a congregation member who has personal knowledge of ongoing improper Christian conduct.
- B. If A, above, does not reveal the accusation false, or result in repentance and restoration, a second admonition in the presence of one or two other Elders will be given.
- C. A reasonable effort must be made to secure a private resolution of personal offense in the hope that such public censure by the Church will not be required.
- D. If, again, A and B, above, does not result in repentance and restoration, there will be a call for public correction before the gathered Church at a Family Meeting. If this also fails, then the member can be (1) publicly admonished, (2) removed from leadership position and/or (3) expelled from fellowship and his/her membership terminated.
- E. If along the way, the accused repents, and makes any appropriate restitution, restoration will be considered accomplished.
- 6. If, after having been dismissed through Church discipline, an individual becomes repentant and publicly confesses their previous wrongdoing, and makes any appropriate restitution, the Church, through the Elder body will consider the sin to be dealt with and the offense removed. The disciplinary process will be considered ended, and the individual may again request for membership within the body.
Section 4 – How Members May Be Dismissed
- 1. Membership may be terminated for an individual member through death, transfer of membership to another Church, or voluntary resignation.
- 2. A member who does not attend any service of worship, bible study or prayer for an extended period of time, and after having been contacted about their non-attendance, continues to be absent for an additional three (3) months, shall be reluctantly released by the Elders from Church membership. Exceptions to this will be made for the aged, homebound, non-resident member, those serving in the military, or away for college. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
- 3. Any member being found guilty and unrepentant after Church Discipline may be dismissed by the Elder body.
Article 2 – Offices
Section 1 – Summary
- 1. The Biblical offices in the Church are that of Elders and Deacons.
- 2. In addition, our Church recognizes the administrative positions under these by-laws of Clerk and Treasurer.
- 3. Officers shall be called to office by vote of the membership of the Church as provided for in Article 7, Section 3, of these By-Laws.
- 4. All Officers must be Active Members of the Church in good and regular standing prior to their nomination.
Section 2a: Elders (General Statements)
- 1. The Church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, and elect them in accordance with Article 7, Section 3, Paragraph 1 of the by-law provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His Church and set apart as Elders.
- 2. The Elders shall be comprised of men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of Elder set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.
- 3. The Elders shall lead in a Christ-like example by:
- A. Consistently modeling spiritual character, attitudes, values, and behavior among the Congregation.
- B. Providing and inviting the opportunity for frequent and ongoing contact with members of the congregation.
- C. Conducting the affairs of the Church in an atmosphere of openness and mutual sensitivity, focusing as much on nurturing one another as on decision-making.
- 4. The Elders shall be Active Members of the Church for a minimum of three (3) years prior to serving, (1 Timothy 3:6, 5:22), and will be chosen from this Church’s Deacon body.
- 5. The majority of the active Elders shall be members, not in the Ministerial Staff of the Church.
- 6. All Elders must agree wholeheartedly with the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
- 7. No Elder shall hold the office of Deacon during his tenure.
- 8. All decisions made by the Elders shall be reached after prayerful consideration, voting in a spirit of humility, with each Elder regarding one another before himself, and moving toward the goal of unity. (Philippians 2:3-4)
- 9. An Elder’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified. (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-9)
Section 2b: Responsibilities of Elders
- 1. The Elders shall, first and foremost, devote their time to prayer and the ministry of the Word by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine and practice, and by shepherding God’s flock. (Acts 6:2, 4)
- 2. The Elders must be able to teach/preach at the request of the Pastor, or in the absence of the Pastor. (1 Timothy 3:2; 2 Timothy 4:2)
- 3. The Elders must give aid in procuring speakers either at the Pastor’s request or in his absence. (Titus 1:9-11)
- 4. The Elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct members and prospective members. (Titus 1:9)
- 5. The Elders must examine and recommend to the congregation all prospective candidates for offices and ministerial/administrative positions. (Acts 6:2-6; Titus 1:9-11)
- 6. The Elders shall examine and discern the need for and recommend to the congregation the creation and dissolution of all employees, offices, and teams.
- 7. The Elders shall oversee the work of the Deacons and appointed teams and agents of the Church. (Acts 6:5)
- 8. The Elders shall administer/oversee the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
- 9. The Elders shall gently but firmly admonish and correct those in error, aiding and overseeing the process of Church discipline as necessary. (Matthew 18:15- 17, Galatians 6:1; Titus 1:9-11;) (see Article 1, Section 3, on How Church Members are to be Disciplined)
- 10. The Elders shall coordinate and promote the ministries of the Church, ensuring a balance between edification of the saints and evangelizing the lost, being mindful of the Kingdom’s work both locally and globally. (Ephesians 4:12; 2 Timothy 4:5)
- 11. The Elders shall ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation are properly qualified and scripturally sound. (1 Thess. 3:9, 5:22; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Titus 1:9-11; James 3:1)
- 12. The Elders shall appoint the Moderator for all Family Meetings.
- 13. The Elders shall be responsible for the proper staffing and supervision of that staff.
- 14. The Elders shall pray for the sick upon request and visit the congregation. (James 1:27, 5:14
- 15. The Elders shall communicate to the congregation on a regular basis, at least yearly, concerning the activities and concerns of the Elders.
- 16. The Elders shall establish policies and practices for the Church consistent with her purposes.
- 17. The Elders shall approve guidelines of Church facilities and equipment for non-ministry related endeavors, including the terms and conditions of any such use.
- 18. The Elders and Deacons will meet together monthly for the purpose of prayer.
Section 2c: Organization of Elders
- 1. The number of Non-Ministerial Elders serving at any one time shall not be less than four (4).
- 2. The Body of Elders shall determine when more Elders are required for the work of the Church.
- 3. The term of Elder shall be for life.
- 4. The Elders must meet at least once per month. (See Article 2, Section 2a, Paragraph 9)
Section 2d: Senior Pastor as Elder
- 1. The Senior Pastor shall be an Elder of the Church. He shall perform the duties of an Elder described in Section 2b, above, and shall be recognized by the Church as one, who in response to God’s call, has devoted his vocational life, full-time, to the ministry of the Word and prayer in the service of Christ’s Church.
- 2. He shall preach, administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office.
- 3. In the absence or incapacity of the Senior Pastor, the Elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.
- 4. The Senior Pastor shall direct the body of Elders in course and vision for the future tasks the Lord has for that group of leaders and in their guidance of the Church.
- 5. The Senior Pastor shall guide, direct, and oversee all Ministry positions and Pastors.
Section 2e: Ministry Pastor(s)as Elders
- 1. A Ministry Pastor shall be an Elder of the Church. He shall perform the duties of an Elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the Church as one, who in response to God’s call, has devoted his life, to the ministry of the Word and prayer in the service of Christ’s Church.
- 2. In addition to his duties as outlined in his job description, the Ministry Pastor shall assist the Senior Pastor in the performance of his regular duties as needed.
- 3. In the absence or incapacity of the Senior Pastor for defined periods of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the Ministry Pastor(s) may assume the responsibility for his duties.
Section 2f: The Calling of the Senior Pastor and Ministry Pastors
In the calling of any man to these positions, the Elders will be responsible for recognizing godly and gifted men within the Church, or searching for godly and gifted men outside of the Church. In addition, however, the Church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching and ministry gifts of any candidate before being asked to express her judgment, and must receive assurance from the Elders that having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted agreement with our doctrine, Church covenant and constitution and by-laws. Having been nominated by the Elders, the congregation will voice her prayerful judgment during a Special Family Meeting, with a call being extended to the candidate provided that three-quarters (3/4) majority of the voting Active Members present, during the Special Family Meeting affirm the Elders’ nomination. The call will also serve as receiving both the Pastor and his wife, if he is married, and their children, if appropriate, into the membership of the Church. Ordination of Ministers will be scheduled as appropriate and convenient to the Church and to the individuals.
Section 2g: The Termination of the vocational call of the Senior Pastor and Ministry Pastors
- 1. By Resignation: A Pastor, after sensing the call of God in a new direction of ministry, may submit his resignation to the congregation, provided that four weeks’ notice is given.
- 2. By Grievance: When a grievance exists against a Pastor, either due to his teaching contrary to the beliefs of this Church or to alleged conduct on his part unfitting an Elder, any member may bring such grievance before the Elders. If the Elders, after thorough investigation and consideration, believe the grievance to be true and substantial, they shall call for a Special Family Meeting. The vocational call of the Pastor may be terminated at such a meeting given the following:
A. A recommendation of the Elders for removal, and,
B. A three-quarters (3/4) majority vote by ballot is reached.
The termination shall be immediate and any compensation shall be rendered in not more than 30 days. Unless otherwise recommended by the Elders, the Church will compensate the Pastor so removed with not less than one-twelfth of his total annual compensation.
3. By Immoral/Un-Biblical Conduct: If at any point a Ministerial Staff Member is proven to have performed immoral or un-Biblical acts unbecoming the office of Minister, he shall be immediately discharged from the staff by the Elder body with no compensation offered. The Church body shall be notified of the decision as quickly as possible.
Section 3 – Deacons
Section 3a: General Statements concerning Deacons
1. Deacons and nominees for Deacon shall be qualified for the office as specified in the Bible (1 Timothy 3:8-12). The Church shall recognize men who are giving of themselves in service to the Church, who possess particular gifts of service and who are willing to serve in this calling. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His Church and set apart as Deacons. The Deacons shall be active in all areas of Church life.
2. The Deacons shall be Active Members of the Church for a minimum of one (1) year prior to serving, with the exception of the initial Deacons. A Deacon’s term of office shall be for three (3) years. If a Deacon has served two (2) consecutive three (3) year terms, he may only be elected as an active Deacon after at least one year following the close of his last term of service as Deacon. Exception: In unusual circumstances, the Elders may ask the congregation to allow a Deacon to serve additional terms.
3. A Deacon’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal if he is found to be physically or mentally incapacitated or spiritually unqualified. (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and Titus 1:5-9)
4.The Deacons shall be nominated by members of the Church. The Elders will compile and confirm the nominations and submit the names to the members for affirmation at an appropriate Family Meeting.
5. The number of Deacons shall be determined by the needs of the ministry and by the call and qualification of men in the Church. This number shall be recommended by the Elders
Section 3b: Responsibilities of Deacons
The Deacons shall be ready to assist the Elders in any service that shall support and promote the ministry of the Word and Prayer, new and existing ministries of the Church, and the care for the members of the congregation. Their responsibilities include:
1. Working for the unity of the body and supporting the Elders;
2. Aiding the Elders in the visitation needs of the congregation;
3. Coordinating the greeting and welcoming ministries of the Church;
4. Assisting in administering the ordinances of the Gospel;
5. Assisting at fellowship gatherings of the Church;
6. Overseeing the gathering of tithes and offerings;
7. Meeting together with the Elders at least monthly for the purpose of prayer;
8. Assisting the Pastor(s) and Elders in other and various needs that may arise.
Section 3c: Organization of Deacons
The Deacons shall organize themselves however they determine to be best to achieve the mission of the Church. The Elders or the Deacons may designate any specific Deacon or group of Deacons to specialize in some particular Deaconal function. Meetings of the Deacons, or teams thereof, shall be held monthly or more often as needed to best fulfill the responsibilities of the Deacons.
Article 3 – Church Meetings
Section 1 – Regular Worship Meetings
The Church will meet corporately at least on the Lord’s Day for the purpose of worship through God-centered preaching, praise and prayer. The Pastor(s) will be responsible for the direction of each of these services. (Hebrews 10:25; Acts 2:43-47.)
Section 2 – Special Worship Meetings
Special worship meetings may be called when the Elders perceive there is a special need for prayer, renewal, and/or when a sense of the Lord’s stirring toward revival necessitates such meetings.
Section 3 – Additional Meetings
Other small-group/home-based discipleship, evangelism or prayer meetings may be organized and promoted throughout the week by members of the Church. Such meetings must have the approval of the Elders to be considered a Church-sponsored activity.
Section 4 – Regular Family Meetings
The Church will hold Regular Family Meetings on a yearly basis at minimum, for the purpose of prayer, congregational business and testimony of God’s activity. It is the expectation that all members will be encouraged to attend these meetings. The quorum will consist of those members present during the Family Meeting. The voting membership is considered to be those who are active members, 16 years of age or above, and who are not under Church discipline.
Section 5 – Special Family Meetings
Special Family Meetings may be called in order to consider matters of a significant and urgent nature to the life of the Church. Special Family Meetings may be called as required by the Elders, or at the written request, submitted to the Elders, of ten (10) percent of the voting Active Membership. The date, time, and purpose of any Special Meeting shall be announced at all public services of the Church within two (2) weeks preceding the meeting. In the event of a written request from the members, the Elders shall call a Special Meeting if they deem it necessary to be held within one month of their receipt of the request. The quorum and voting membership for a Special Family Meeting will be the same as for a Regular Family Meeting.
Section 6 – How Family Meetings will be conducted
1.Family Meetings will be conducted with a sense of decency and order (1 Corinthians 14:40), and with an attitude of love and selflessness (Philippians 2:2-5; Colossians 3:12-17).
2.If any Family Meeting begins to become disorderly, a time of prayerfulness will be called for by the Moderator in the hopes that by doing so, both peace and order will be restored. 3. As necessary, and at the discretion of the Moderator, Roberts Rules of Order will be utilized to help with the orderliness of any Family Meeting.
Article 4 – Church Ordinances
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local Church: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of the believer in water in the name of the triune God. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
Section 1 – Baptism
Baptism will be offered to those who have publicly professed faith in Jesus Christ and who have met with at least one of the Elders to discuss their conversion experience. A baptismal service will be scheduled as quickly as is permissible and convenient for the Church and for the baptismal candidate.
Section 2 – Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper will be observed at least quarterly. The Lord’s Supper will be open to anyone who professes personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and who has made that profession known publicly.
Article 5 – Standing Church Resource Teams
Section 1 – Stewardship Team
Meeting monthly, this team of five (5) members, including at least one (1) Elder, will be responsible for overseeing the financial resources of the Church, as stewards of the monies given by individuals unto the Lord. This team will be responsible for presenting an annual budget to the congregation for approval and for monthly oversight of the budget. The members of the Stewardship Team will serve for a three (3) year term and will be presented to the congregation by the Elders for approval. The Treasurer and Senior Pastor will be considered ex-officio members of the Stewardship Team.
Of the initial Stewardship Team, two (2) shall serve three (3) years, one (1) shall serve four (4) years, and one (1) shall serve five (5) years. The Elder on the team will be replaced at the direction of the Elder body.
The members of the initial Stewardship Team shall be chosen at random for their duration of service.
Section 2 – Properties and Equipment Team
Meeting as needed, this team of three (3) members, including at least one (1) Elder, will be responsible for helping the Church in the acquisition and maintenance of all Church property and equipment. The members of the Properties and Equipment Team will serve for at least a three (3) year term and will be presented to the congregation by the Elders for approval. The Senior Pastor will be considered an ex-officio member of the Properties and Equipment Team.
Article 6 – Church-Life Teams
Other teams may be needed to help maintain the health of the life of the Church in such areas as discipleship, Outreach/Missions, Member Care and Fellowships. In accordance with Article 2, Section 2b, Paragraph 6, the Elders shall examine, discern the need for, and recommend to the congregation the creation and dissolution of all such teams. At the time of their creation, a description of their composition, term and responsibilities shall also be presented to the congregation for affirmation. Teams will be expected to give a brief report outlining past actions and future opportunities at each Regular Family Meeting.
eded to help maintain the health of the life of the Church in such areas as discipleship, Outreach/Missions, Member Care and Fellowships. In accordance with Article 2, Section 2b, Paragraph 6, the Elders shall examine, discern the need for, and recommend to the congregation the creation and dissolution of all such teams. At the time of their creation, a description of their composition, term and responsibilities shall also be presented to the congregation for affirmation. Teams will be expected to give a brief report outlining past actions and future opportunities at each Regular Family Meeting.
Article 7 – Other General Information
Section 1 – Fiscal Year and Budget Plan
The fiscal year for FBCLL will be January 1 – December 31 of each year. The Church will operate under a unified budget plan, meaning all of an individual’s undesignated gifts will go toward the general budget of the Church. Designated gifts can only be made for those accounts that have been affirmed by the Church.
Section 2 – Other Church Positions
1. Clerk – The position of Clerk, held by the Senior Ministry Assistant, will be responsible to record the minutes of all regular and Special Family Meetings of the Church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the Elders, Deacons, or the Church. In the absence of the Clerk from any Family Meeting, the Moderator will appoint a member as clerk for that particular meeting.
2. Treasure – The Treasurer, serving annually, will not be active Elders, Deacons, paid Church staff members, or family of Ministerial staff, will ensure, while working with the Stewardship Team, that all funds and securities of the Church are properly secured in banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues and expenses of the Church at each Regular Family Meetings. The Treasurer will also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the Church, and by the guidance of the Elders, adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the Church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the Church. The treasurer shall ensure an audit by qualified individual(s), as chosen by the Stewardship Team and requested by the Stewardship Team.
3. Assistant to the Treasurer – The position of Assistant to the Treasurer, held by the Senior Ministry Assistant, will be responsible to aid the Church in any financial needs that may arise, and to assist the Treasurer in the daily tasks incumbent upon the position of Treasurer.
4. Trustees – The Clerk, Treasurer and three (3) members elected by the Church shall serve annually and will hold in trust the Church property. Upon a specific vote of the Church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any Church property, with at least three signatures of the Trustees appearing on any legal document.
Section 3 – Annual Leadership Nominations and Affirmations
1. Deacons: Regular elections for Deacons will be held annually, unless special elections should be necessary. On the First Sunday of October, congregational nominations for new Deacons will be received, by ballot, and given to the Elders and Deacons for review. Election for Deacons, will be held on a regularly scheduled annual Family Meeting. The time of service will begin on January 1 of the next year. Ordination for new Deacons will be scheduled as appropriate and convenient to the Church and to the individuals.
2. During a Regular Family Meeting, the Elder body will present a slate of servant leadership for the upcoming year including Clerk, Treasurer, Trustees, Standing Church Resource Teams, any Church Life Teams and any other position as requested by the Elder body. These positions will begin January 1 of the next year.
Article 8 – Amendments to the By-Laws
Amendments to these by-laws may be made at any Family Meeting of the Church, regular or special, provided:
1. That each proposed amendment shall have been presented in writing to the Elder body.
2. That each proposed amendment shall have the support of the Elders before coming before the congregation for official consideration.
3. That copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to the members no less than two (2) weeks prior to the Family Meeting in which the amendment is to be considered.
4. That the Family Meeting at which the proposed amendment will be considered is announced from the pulpit on two (2) successive Sundays prior.
5. That the proposed amendment must pass by a three-quarters (3/4) majority of the members present.
The revised version of these By-laws was adopted to supersede all other previous documents concerning the operation of the Church. It was adopted at a Family Meeting on August 9, 2015. It shall be made available to all Church members.