Constitution and By-Laws
Lake Bowen Baptist Church
of Inman, South Carolina
Amended by church vote July 2017
For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, as founded on the Holy Scriptures, and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted tenets of the Southern Baptist Churches, 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 the churches of the same faith and order, we do declare and establish this constitution.
ARTICLE I. NAME
This body shall be known as and operate under the name of “Lake Bowen Baptist Church,” and further referred to in this document as “the Church” or “Church”. The Church, formerly known as Rock Hill Baptist Church, was organized on October 27, 1922 and incorporated on January 9, 1976. Located in Spartanburg County at 404 Sugar Ridge Road, Inman, South Carolina. Associated with the Spartanburg County Baptist Network, South Carolina Baptist Convention, and Southern Baptist Convention.
ARTICLE II. ARTICLES OF FAITH
The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God and is the basis for our faith. The Church accepts “The Baptist Faith and Message” as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on May 9, 1963 and amended on June 14, 2000. The Church is a committed body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ and is committed to personally sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The Church follows our Lord Jesus Christ in the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
ARTICLE III. PURPOSE STATEMENT
Lake Bowen Baptist Church exists to love God, love our neighbor, and make disciples by Delivering the Gospel, Discipling the Christian, and Deploying the Christ Follower. The purpose of this church is to Glorify God by fulfilling the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
ARTICLE IV. CHARACTER
The government of the Church is vested in the body of believers (members) who compose it. The Church will be, and is always to be a sovereign, autonomous Baptist church, self-governing on all matters by a majority of the body of members who compose it, and recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist Churches. In no way is this to be understood to mean that such cooperation, or affiliation shall ever become one of the doctrines and/or tenets of the Church.
ARTICLE V. DOCTRINE
SECTION A. GENERAL
The Church receives the scriptures (Holy Bible) as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of the Baptist churches as indicated in the Articles of Faith referred to in Article II.
SECTION B. STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
The Church believes 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 or the doctrines of the Church.
The Church believes 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.
The Church believes that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other.
The Church believes that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
The Church believes 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, and members and non-members who serve as volunteers, must abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly; and that any wedding, funeral, or any other event being held on any church property NOT include, display or in any other way openly or implicitly endorse or support any form of sexual immorality. Anyone leading any wedding, funeral, or any other event must affirm their agreement with this Statement on Marriage in order to participate.
Amended by church vote July 2017
ARTICLE I. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
SECTION A: GENERAL
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the right of exclusive self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be member of this church and the conditions of such membership.
SECTION B: QUALIFICATIONS
The membership of the Church shall consist of persons who profess their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, having followed Him in believer’s baptism, giving satisfactory proof of their conversion to the Christian faith as set forth in the New Testament. All Candidates will be required to participate in a Prospective Member’s Class, meet with the pastor or his designee to discuss membership issues, and affirm the Church’s Articles of Faith.
SECTION C: CANDIDACY
Having met the above qualifications, a person may offer himself/herself for membership in one of the following ways:
By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of the Church.
By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist church.
By restoration upon a statement of prior conversion experience and by baptism by immersion, when no letter is obtainable.
All candidates for membership will be presented to the Church and voted on for membership at a regular business meeting after the candidate has presented himself/herself.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the pastor and the deacons for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the Church within thirty (30) days. A three-fourths vote of those present and eligible to vote shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
SECTION D: VOTING PRIVILEGES
All active members of the Church, 13 years of age or older, are entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the Church.
Active members are expected, first of all, to be faithful in all duties essential to the Christian life; to attend habitually the services of this Church; to give regularly for its support and its causes, and to share in its organized work.
SECTION E: TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
(a) By death
(b) By dismissal to another Baptist church
(c) By exclusion by action of the Church*
(d) By erasure upon becoming affiliated with a church of another faith or denomination.
*Should a member become an offense to the Church and to its good name by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct, or by nonsupport of the Church, the Church may terminate his/her membership by a three-fourths vote of members present and voting, but only after due notice and hearing, and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and reformation.
SECTION F: NON-RESIDENT MEMBERSHIP
A person shall be considered non-resident in membership if he/she moves to another community where he/she cannot actively attend the Church.
SECTION G: DISCIPLINE AND RESTORATION
Realizing that the Church is called to be pure and holy, and realizing that we are called to gently, lovingly, but firmly correct those in error, the Church will conduct, when necessary, church discipline as outlined in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 6:1-5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; Titus 3:10-11; 1 Peter 4:17).
Such actions would be directed towards 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 the Church.
We believe that church discipline, far from unloving, is needful to honor the name of Christ, be faithful to the teaching of Scripture, protect the flock, educate and edify the body, and ensure purity. It is pursued in the hope that an erring member would repent and be restored into proper fellowship with the Lord and the Church.
SECTION H: QUORUM
A Quorum shall consist of those active members present and voting.
ARTICLE II. CHURCH ORGANIZATION
SECTION A: GENERAL
The Church is both a spiritual body and a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of South Carolina. The Church is subject to authority of Scripture in all matters and subject to the rules of duly constituted public authority (Romans 13:1-7). The Church organization is to provide the mechanism for the orderly activity of the Church body.
SECTION B: CHURCH MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES
The spiritual Church shall meet in regular designated worship services on Sunday and Wednesday at such times and place as may be determined by the Pastor. Additionally, the Church may meet at such other dates and times as may be deemed appropriate by the Pastor for the purpose of worship, edification, and proclamation.
Church conferences may be called through printed or electronic Church materials and/or social media or by special announcement by the Pastor or Chairman of Deacons.
Any major issue can be discussed prior to Church conferences at a time prescribed by the deacons and/or Pastor in order to keep technical discussions on the floor to a minimum. On any such issue, the Church shall be given ample notice of the prescribed discussion time.
SECTION C: PERSONNEL MINISTRY TEAM
The Personnel Ministry Team shall be a four member team made up of the three current deacon officers (chairman, vice-chairman and secretary) and one additional active deacon. The function of the Personnel Ministry Team is to assist the Pastor in determining the staffing and compensation levels of the Church and with the consultation and input of the Pastor, or his designee, to propose staffing and compensation changes.
The Personnel Ministry Team may be asked to advise and counsel the Pastor in interviews of prospective staff members, staff performance reviews, employee benefit program decisions and other personnel related matters.
Should a dispute arise between the pastor and any staff member, they shall attempt to resolve the issue based on the instructions given in Matthew 18:15. If this initial attempt fails, the Personnel Ministry Team shall become involved as outlined in Matthew 18:16.
SECTION D: POLICY MANUAL
The church policy manual will be maintained to describe and control the activities of the Church and the various ministries of the Church. The policies, guidelines, and requirements addressed in this manual may include the following sections:
Burial Restrictions and Cemetery Rules
Policies and Procedures for the Prevention and Handling of Child Abuse
Use of Church Facilities for Weddings and other similar activities
Church Staff and Personnel Policy
General Guidelines for Church Ministry Teams
Policies For Funding Church Member Mission Trips
Guidelines for General Officers
ARTICLE III. PASTOR
SECTION A: THE PASTOR
By virtue of his calling and office, the Pastor is the spiritual leader of the Church. He shall be elected for an indefinite period of time and may terminate his position with the Church by a written notice of thirty (30) days.
A Pastor shall be extended a call only upon recommendation of the Pastor Search Team and by approval by at least a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the Church members present and voting.
The Pastor shall meet the Biblical qualifications of a pastor as outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.
The Pastor shall serve as the preacher and senior Bible teacher by virtue of his calling. The Pastor, or his designee, shall be considered an ex-officio member, without vote, of all ministry teams and as Church Moderator.
The Pastor shall oversee the total ministry of the Church, and shall act as the administrative leader of the Church. He shall have general and active management of the operation of the Church, and shall be responsible for the administration of the Church, including general supervision of the policies and personnel.
The Pastor is solely responsible for the Church staff who assume his delegated responsibilities. Each staff member is accountable to the Pastor. The Pastor in consultation with the Personnel Ministry Team may remove, replace, or realign existing staff positions as the Pastor deems necessary and appropriate.
The Pastor’s pastoral relations with the Church may be severed only by a majority of the members at a Church conference, but such action shall be taken only after not less than two weeks notice shall have been given at regular morning worship services of the intent of such action.
SECTION B: PASTOR SEARCH TEAM
The Pastor Search Team (Team) will consist of nine (9) persons and will be elected by the Church at large, nominating those whom they would like to see elected to serve. Each church member shall be able to nominate no more than one name per each Team vacancy to be filled. The deacons shall count the number of nominations (votes) for each vacancy and the persons with the highest number of votes will be approached by the deacons as to their understanding of the job and their willingness to serve. Should any of the original nominees be unwilling to serve, the deacons shall approach the person with the next highest number of votes from the Church nominating process. The Team shall vote among themselves to elect a chairperson and co-chairperson and to establish guidelines for their work.
It will be the responsibility of the Team to see that only one man be presented to the Church at one time and that all voting be done by the congregation by secret ballot in a Church conference. The Team shall be responsible for counting all votes. Any prospective pastor shall be interviewed by the entire Team before being presented to the Church. Once a man has accepted the call extended by the Church and has taken the position, this Team shall be dissolved.
The Team chairperson shall be responsible for conducting all team meetings and obtaining and reviewing all resumes. He/she shall coordinate all research efforts, divide up team members in to subgroups, and send out any Team members to hear specific candidates as needed. He/she shall review and approve all committee expense reports so that reimbursement can be made as needed. He/she shall meet regularly with the deacons to give reports of the committee's progress. He/she shall coordinate with the Finance Team regarding salary and benefits for the proposed pastor.
Mileage will be reimbursed at the current rate approved by the IRS for travel assigned and approved by the Team chairperson. Food and lodging receipts must be approved by the Team chairperson and turned over to the Finance Team for reimbursement.
SECTION C: INTERIM PASTOR
In the event of a vacancy in the position of Pastor, an Interim Pastor will be recommended by the deacons, which shall be recommended to the Church for approval or disapproval by written ballot at a Church conference. Only one name will be considered at a time. Approval by at least three-fourths (3/4) majority of those members present and voting represents the acknowledgement of God’s calling of the Interim Pastor.
ARTICLE IV. DEACONS
SECTION A: DEACONS
In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice of the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the Church. Deacons shall organize themselves in such a manner so as to assist the pastoral staff in ministering to the membership of the Church. It shall also be the responsibility of deacons to care for the benevolent needs of the membership and community.
The body of deacons shall consist of ordained deacons chosen by the Church. They shall elect their own chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and the one additional deacon for the personnel Ministry Team and prescribe rules for the conduct of their meetings. A minimum of fifty (50) percent of the deacon body shall be present to form a quorum for any meeting. All deacons and the pastor must be notified as to all special and regular meetings.
There shall be a sufficient number of active deacons serving the Church and its members. This number to be determined by active deacons and the pastor. The rotating system shall be the policy of this church, with no deacon serving more than three (3) years in succession. No deacon can succeed himself until one (1) year has elapsed; exception being a deacon filling less than two years of unexpired term may be eligible to succeed himself without the year waiting period.
The active deacons shall serve as the Finance Team of the Church. They shall be the primary body for financial accountability and will work in association with the pastor to maintain the financial integrity of the church. The above parties will develop internal policies and procedures for financial oversight.
The deacons shall be legal guardians of all church property, subject to the instructions of the church and shall take all necessary measures for its insurance and protection. The deacons shall organize and operate in strict accordance with the church charter of incorporation.
SECTION B: QUALIFICATIONS
The deacons shall be scripturally qualified as stated in I Timothy 3:8-12 NKJV “Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”
The deacons shall be a member of the Church for a period of at least one year prior to being elected and at least 21 years of age. They shall strive to govern their lives and conduct according to the Word of God; to be faithful in all duties essential to their Christian life; to attend weekly the services of this church, unless providentially hindered; to give according to the Church plan which is tithing, for its support and its causes; to share in the organized work of the Church.
SECTION C: SELECTION
Nominations of men to serve as deacons shall be made by the Church at large each year in May by written ballot over a two week period. The current deacons shall count the number of nominations (votes) and the persons with the highest number of votes will be approached by the deacons concerning their understanding of the job and their willingness to serve. The current deacons shall have the responsibility to pass over any men who do not meet the Biblical standards or who do not consent to serve in accordance with the Biblical standards outlined in scripture.
ARTICLE V. AMENDMENTS
Changes in this constitution and by-laws may be made at any regular Church conference, provided such amendments shall have been presented in writing at a previous Church conference, and copies of the existing and proposed amendment be furnished to each member present. Amendments to the constitution shall be by two-thirds (2/3) of all members of the church present and entitled to vote. Amendments to the by-laws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.
ARTICLE VI. CHURCH COVENANT
As a Christ Follower who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior through repentance and faith; who has been baptized by immersion; who is in agreement with Lake Bowen Baptist Church’s doctrinal statement, strategy, structure, and mission; and who is being led by the Holy Spirit; I hereby express my desire to unite with the church family at Lake Bowen Baptist Church.
In doing so, I covenant with God and the other members of Lake Bowen Baptist Church to:
Worship God individually, with family, and corporately.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 NASB
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1 NASB
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7
Grow in the study of God’s Word and in its application to my life.
“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 NASB
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB
Share the gospel through my words and through my actions to people in the Upstate, throughout South Carolina, the United States and the world.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:31 NASB
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Serve the ministries of my church using my spiritual gifts.
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 NASB
Maintain unity and edify other church members.
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy, and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:12-14 NASB
Give my tithe regularly.
“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Malachi 3:10 NASB
Humbly submit to accountability and church discipline to help me in pursuing Christ-likeness.
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17 NASB
All prospective members are asked to sign a Membership Covenant Certificate
to be held on file with the Lake Bowen Baptist Church offices