THE 2010 REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
CORNERSTONE BAPTIST CHURCH OF WYLIE, TX.
[Initial Draft – 8 February 1996]
[First Revision – 28 August 1996]
[Second Revision – 2 November 1996]
[Third Revision – Approved 2 November 1996]
[Fourth Revision – 21 January 2002]
[Fifth Revision – 7 March 2007]
[Sixth Revision – 10 October 2007]
[Seventh Revision – 10 October 2010]
This Church Constitution was first drafted in Wylie, Texas, in 1996. This constitution will remain open for other amendments and/or modifications, additions, or deletions. The text herein is not under copyright, since we are indebted to other churches, both past and present, for many of the biblical insights embodied in this document.
We, the members of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Wylie, Texas, do establish the following Articles, to which we voluntarily and solemnly submit ourselves.
There are many good reasons why a New Testament Church should have a Church Covenant, a Statement of Faith, and a Church Constitution. Together they can greatly assist us in the efforts of biblically organizing and conducting the ministries which have been entrusted to us by the Head of our church, Jesus Christ. It must be readily acknowledged, however, that these documents, despite their usefulness and precision, will avail nothing apart from the presence, power, and direction of the Spirit of God in this Church. It is with this keen awareness of our absolute dependence upon our great God, that these articles are set forth. These articles are also a living document and may be changed and/or amended to reflect the direction of the church when lead by God.
Incorporation and Name
In December of 1995, this church was chartered in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a non-profit organization for religious purposes and the name chosen and approved by vote for this church was “Heritage Baptist Fellowship” of Wylie, TX. This Heritage Baptist Fellowship church filed for incorporation in August of 1996. The name of the church was then changed to Cornerstone Baptist Church by a unanimous vote of the church on the 6th day of August, 1997.
Under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ, the direction of the Holy Scriptures, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, our ultimate goal is to glorify God. This will be accomplished by promoting His worship and service, edifying and discipling the saints, and evangelizing sinners with the Gospel both at home and abroad. To this end we are committed to proclaiming God’s perfect Law of Liberty (James 1:25) and His glorious Gospel of Grace in Jesus Christ throughout the world (Rom. 1:16-17, Eph. 2:8-9), and to defending the “faith once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The Church Covenant (see Appendix A) has been fully accepted by its present members and shall be subscribed to and accepted voluntarily by new members as they offer themselves for membership and are accepted into this church.
Church Statement of Faith
The Church Statement of Faith (see Appendix B) has been fully accepted by its present members and shall be subscribed to and accepted voluntarily by new members as they offer themselves for membership and are accepted into this church.
We do hereby adopt, as the fullest expression of our faith, the Abstract of Principles of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. This document was written by Basil Manley Jr. of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, Kentucky in 1858 and is a most excellent summary of things most surely believed among our church members. We accept the same, not as an authoritative rule or code of faith, whereby we are to be fettered, but as an assistance to us in controversy, a confirmation in faith, and a means of edification in righteousness. In this Confession the members of our church will have a body of Divinity in small compass and by means of Scriptural proofs will be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15).
Jesus Christ is Lord and Head of this church. His will as expressed in the Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, is the sole authority in matters of faith and practice.
The Government is vested in the body of members who compose the church (Cornerstone Baptist Church) as further defined in this Constitution. The first elected positions of this church shall be called the Body of Elder(s) and shall consist of both the pastor(s) and elder(s). The second elected position of this church shall be called the Body of Deacon(s) and shall consist of the deacon(s). As both bodies submit to the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit, they shall be responsible for governing the church. The church is subject to no other ecclesiastical body, but is associated with churches of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for purposes of fellowship, evangelism, consultation and cooperation. This, and any other voluntary associations with other bodies, shall not infringe on the rights of the members of this Cornerstone Baptist Church.
Requirements for Membership
The membership of this church shall consist of only those who have given a credible profession of faith in Christ Jesus as Lord. Any person who professes repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, who has followed Christ in believer’s baptism by immersion, and who expresses substantial agreement with the Statement of Faith, Church Covenant, and Church Constitution, shall be eligible for membership.
Types of Membership:
Upon Confession Of Faith
Any person who meets the above mentioned requirements shall apply for membership to the pastor(s) or one of the other church elder(s). A time and place shall be set for a meeting with the applicant, who shall attend and be questioned as to his or her basic Christian experience, doctrinal beliefs, and seriousness of intention to support wholeheartedly the total ministry of this church. This meeting shall be attended by the pastor(s) and at least one other church elder.
By Transfer of Letter
Any person desiring to unite with this church, upon letter of recommendation from another evangelical church, shall present such letter, or a promise thereof, to the pastor(s) and elder(s) of the church. A time and place shall be set for a meeting with the applicant, who shall attend and be questioned as to his or her basic Christian experience, doctrinal beliefs, and seriousness of intention to support wholeheartedly the total ministry of this church. This meeting shall be attended by the pastor(s) and at least one other church elder.
Forms of Membership:
All who are received into the membership of the church on the above mentioned conditions shall be considered members in good standing until such status is changed by one of the conditions set forth in this Church Constitution. The membership status of shut-ins, students, Christian workers, and others whose relationship to the church involves special consideration and circumstances, shall be determined on a case by case basis by the Body of Elders.
Procedure of Receiving New Members
When the church elder(s) are satisfied that an applicant gives a credible profession of faith and meets the requirements for membership, they may accept that person as a member into the church after approval by a two-thirds margin (66%) or greater vote at a regularly scheduled business meeting. The right hand of fellowship will be extended to new members by the church at a regular worship service.
Termination of Membership:
Transfer of Letter
Letters of transfer shall be granted to members who apply for them, provided they are in good standing with the church and not subject to or under discipline at the time of the application. When such letters have been granted, the relationship to this church shall be considered terminated. Letters of transfer shall be forwarded and given only to other evangelical churches.
It is right and in harmony with the Scriptures for the congregation, upon recommendation of the elder(s), to exclude from this fellowship any person who persists in holding false or heretical doctrine; or who obviously and persistently lives inconsistently with his profession of faith; or who lives in violation of the law or public morals; or who walks disorderly; or who persists in disturbing the unity and peace of this church (Matt. 10:15ff; 1 Cor. 5:1ff; II Thess. 3:6,11,15; Romans 16:17).
If an individual member of the church or a family of the church is continually or habitually absent and has abandoned the church body, the individual’s membership or the family’s membership may be terminated at the discretion of the elders. This membership termination process is then subject to the approval vote of the congregation at a regularly scheduled business meeting and their name(s) shall then be removed from the church rolls.
If a member is habitually absent from the stated meetings of this church without just cause, or is unwilling to settle differences with others in a Scriptural manner, he may be excluded from the membership at the discretion of the elder(s), subject to the approval vote of the congregation at a regularly scheduled business meeting.
Discipline of Members
The purpose of church discipline is to effect a return to a biblical standard of conduct and doctrine in a member who errs (Galatians 6:1), to maintain purity in the local church (1 Cor. 5:6), and to deter sin (1 Tim. 5:20). Members of this church who err in doctrine or conduct shall be subject to dismissal according to scripture (Matthew 18:15-17). Accordingly, before such dismissal, the following steps shall be used to provide the opportunity for repentance and restoration:
It shall be the duty of any member of this church body who has knowledge of the erring member’s heresy or misconduct to warn and to correct such erring member in private, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If said erring member does not heed this warning, then
The warning member shall again go to the erring member accompanied by one or two witnesses to warn and correct such erring member, seeking his or her repentance and restoration. If said erring member continues refusing to heed this warning, then
It shall be brought to the attention of the elder(s). The elder(s), upon careful and prayerful investigation, shall tell it to the church. If the church congregation votes at a regularly scheduled business meeting to dismiss the member and the said erring member refuses to heed the warning of the elder(s) and the church body, then,
He or she shall be publicly dismissed from the church and removed from the church membership and covenant. It is further understood that this process will continue until conclusion, whether the erring member leaves the church or otherwise seeks to withdraw from membership to avoid the discipline process. There shall be no appeal to any court from that decision. If said member, after dismissal, heeds the warning, demonstrates repentance, and requests reinstatement, he or she shall be publicly restored to church membership and the covenant.
Jesus Christ alone is the Head of His Church (Col. 1:18). However, as Head, He has ordained that individual churches should be governed by Himself through officers whom He appoints, who are endowed by His Spirit with the gifts and graces needed to accomplish their work. Christ has ordained that local churches are to be administered by elder(s) (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5) and deacon(s) (Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:8, 12). The Scriptures give many other terms that express the roles of elder(s) in church leadership including overseers (Acts 20:28), shepherds (Acts 20:28-31, 1 Pet. 5:1-4), leaders/rulers (Rom. 12:8, Heb. 13:7, 17), pastors (Eph. 4:11), and bishops (Titus 1:7). Beside these two offices, elder(s) and deacon(s), the Scriptures acknowledge no office which continues in the church today (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13).
All officers of this church must be members in good standing of the Cornerstone Baptist Church, Wylie, Texas. Any individual set apart to one of these offices must be able to conscientiously affirm his agreement with the church’s Statement of Faith, Church Covenant, and Constitution. If he should at any time move from this position of agreement, he would be under spiritual and moral obligation to immediately make that fact known to the elder(s) in an orderly manner.
While we acknowledge the valuable gifts which God has given women and the valuable assistance they may render to the officers of the church (Rom. 16:1-6; Phil. 4:3; 1 Tim. 3:11), the Bible does not allow women to hold either the office of deacon or elder in the church (1 Cor. 14:33b-35; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:1-7). Women, therefore, shall not be nominated, elected, or ordained to either of these offices (elder and deacon) in the church. Nevertheless, we acknowledge and encourage the valuable gifts and assistance of women in the formal instruction of children and other women (Titus 2:3-5), in the informal instruction of men (1 Cor. 11:5; Acts 18:26), and especially the benevolent ministries of the church (1 Tim. 3:11; 5:9, 10).
Election And Term Of Office
For Church Officers All recommendations for nominations to the office of elder or deacon shall be given by any member of the congregation to the elder(s). After prayerful consideration by the elder(s) (1 Tim 5:22-25) and consent of the recommended nominee, his name will be placed in nomination and voted upon by the church congregation (1 Thess. 5:12-13) at a regularly scheduled business meeting. He shall be installed to the office of elder or deacon after his election and ordination (Acts 6:6, 13:3; 1 Tim. 5:22; 1 Tim. 4:14).
The New Testament does not specify the number of elder(s) or deacon(s) each church should have, nor does it limit the length of an elder’s or deacon’s term of office. One truly called to these offices is a gift of Christ to the church. Only when an elder or deacon fails to meet the necessary Scriptural qualifications for his office does he disqualify himself from being an elder or deacon.
Removal of Elder(s) and Deacon(s) From Office
If at any time an elder or deacon shall make application to be released from his office, he shall endeavor to give the congregation as much notice as is possible. This is particularly important for the elder(s) whose work is the public preaching and teaching of the Word of God.
If any officer of the church does not carry out the responsibilities of the office, violates the standards of this church, or is overcome by sin, the corrective steps outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 (Church Discipline, Article VI) shall apply. If repentance is forthcoming and the officer has not disqualified himself from serving, he shall continue in his office.
If repentance is not forthcoming, and the elder(s) so recommend, the services of that officer may be terminated immediately. This shall occur, following a regular business meeting, at which his dismissal has been approved by a two-thirds (66%) majority vote of those present and voting.
Responsibilities of the Congregation to Church Officers
The congregation shall be responsible to be thankful for them because they are God’s gift (Eph. 4:11) to lead the church and to obey and submit to the elder(s)’ guidance, protection and care (Heb. 13:7). They shall respect, highly regard, love and live in peace with them (1 Thess. 5:12-13), honor all elder(s), provide a double honor of both respect and financial support to elder(s) who excel in leadership, especially those who labor at teaching and preaching (1 Tim. 5:17-18). Pray for them continuously, communicate concerns, suggestions and needs to them, and do not listen to unsubstantiated accusations about them (1 Tim. 5:19).
Qualifications of Elder(s)
Anyone desiring the office of an elder(s) must evidence the personal, domestic, and ministerial qualifications as set forth in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:5-9. Elder(s) shall be men in full communion with the church, of mature judgment, of unquestioned Christian character, loyal to the Word of God, able to teach sound doctrine and devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ and the spiritual welfare of the church (1 Tim. 3, Titus 1:5-9).
Authority of the Elder(s)
The authority of the elder(s) is a divinely delegated authority. Thus, the elder(s) are answerable to God for the exercise of this authority (Acts 20:28, Heb. 13:17). The authority of the elder(s) is conditioned by the fact that they are themselves members of the local church. While elder(s) are shepherds over the flock, they are also members of the flock. Therefore, each individual elder is entitled to the same privileges, is obligated by the same responsibilities, and is subject to the same discipline as are all the other members of the church. Thus, each individual elder is both under the oversight of his fellow elder(s) and accountable to the church body as a whole (Matt. 18:17; 23:9; 26:31; 2 Cor. 11:19-20; Gal. 2:11; 3 John 1, 9, 10). Thus, the authority of the elder(s) is very real authority. God’s people are, therefore, required to submit when this authority is biblically exercised (Heb. 13:17).
Though a plurality of elder(s) is the New Testament norm for every church, the New Testament does not specify the number of elder(s) each church should have, nor does it dictate the length of an elder'(s) term of office. One truly called to this office is a gift of Christ to the church. Only when an elder(s) fails to meet the necessary scriptural qualifications for his office does he disqualify himself from being an elder(s).
Responsibilities of Elder(s)
The elder(s) shall consist of the pastor(s) and all those whom the church duly elects to the office of elder(s). The authority of the elder(s) is divinely-delegated authority. Thus, elder(s) are answerable to God for the exercise of this authority (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17). The elder(s) shall exercise oversight over the church ministries and functions and have the general oversight over all of this church’s affairs. The conduct of all church business and the work of all church organizations shall be subject to their supervision and oversight.
The authority of the elder(s) does not include the right to make major decisions unilaterally. In major decisions of church life, such as those dealing with corrective discipline, recognition of officers, and major financial decisions and commitments, the local church as a whole has a voice in approving these issues (Acts 6:2-6, 9:26; 1 Cor. 5:4-5, 13; 2 Cor. 2:6) by vote at regularly scheduled business meetings. Yet the elder(s) must provide leadership to the church in making these decisions.
Organization of the Eldership
At the first regular meeting of the elder(s) that follows the annual congregational meeting, the elder(s) shall elect one of their members to serve as the Chairman and another to serve as the Clerk. The Chairman and Clerk may serve for one year, or until their successors are elected. The elder(s) of the church shall also meet together at least once a month or whenever any elder(s) requests a meeting. Unless inappropriate, the deacon(s) shall be invited to attend and participate in this meeting.
The elder(s) shall divide the work of the eldership among themselves according to each member’s distinctive gifts of ministry so that all of the responsibilities of the elder(s) can be faithfully discharged. The elder(s) shall exercise all other powers and duties which properly belong to the sole governing body of an independent church and congregation, but shall at all times be subject to the majority vote of the congregation unless otherwise stated.
Preaching and Teaching Elder(s) or Pastor(s)
Among the elder(s) are those whom we call pastor(s) (Eph. 4:11). These elder(s) are set apart specifically for prayer and the study of the Word. These elder(s), especially those who rule well, are worthy of a double honor to include both respect and financial support (1 Tim. 5:17-18). They should, if necessary, be adequately maintained in material necessities so as to be disentangled from the cares of a secular calling.
The pastor(s) shall seek to discharge all the functions of his office as set forth in the Scriptures and in keeping with the exercise of his own distinctive gifts of ministry. In conjunction with the other elder(s), he shall have general oversight of all the church and its ministry and functions.
If at any time a pastor(s) shall make application to be released from his office and if the congregation shall choose by majority vote to release him, the relationship between pastor(s) and church may be terminated by the congregation in ninety days from the date of notice of intention, or in a shorter period of time, if it is mutually agreed upon. If the relations between the pastor(s) and congregation become detrimental to the welfare of the church, the elder(s) shall have the authority to consider this matter and make a recommendation to the congregation at a regularly scheduled business meeting. If a pastor’(s) life or preaching shall violate the standards of this church, the services of this pastor may be terminated immediately following a regularly scheduled business meeting at which all three of the following conditions have been met:
1.) The Body of Elders so recommend that he be terminated and put it before the church body for a vote, and
2.) If greater than 80% of the eligible voting members (18 years old and older) are present at a regular business meeting of the church (this shall constitute a valid quorum for this termination process only and a vote for termination may take place), and
3.) his dismissal has been requested by a four fifths (80%) majority vote of those present and voting.
The percentage levels for both a valid quorum and voting majority required to dismiss a pastor from office have been raised to four fifths (80%) from the usual quorum and voting majority of two thirds (66%) due to the severity and importance of this termination process.
Elder(s) are responsible for the spiritual ministrations of the church, the implementation of church discipline, and watching over the souls of the members as those who must give account to God for this responsibility. They, in conjunction with the pastor(s), shall exercise the oversight of the church in all its ministries and functions.
Elder(s) must seek to discharge their duties as set forth in the Scriptures, particularly such passages as (Acts 20:17, 28ff; I Peter 5:1-4; Hebrews 13:17). While every elder(s) bears spiritual rule, some will be more engaged in formal and public teaching, while others will be more exclusively engaged in the details of ruling (1 Tim. 5:17).
It shall be the duty of the elder(s) to be diligent and faithful in attendance at the elder’(s) meetings and at the regular services of the church and to supply the pulpit with men whose ministry shall be consistent with the Confession of Faith of this church. They shall assist the pastor(s) at the Lord’s Table. They shall make suggestions regarding the pastor’(s) pulpit ministry, and encourage him in the work of the Lord. Elder(s) may at their discretion call upon one or more of the deacon(s) to assist with any of their responsibilities when necessary.
Qualifications of Deacon(s)
The number of deacon(s) shall not be fixed. The church shall set apart, according to its own need, men who evidence the scriptural qualifications for that office (Acts 6:1-7; 1 Tim. 3:8-13). They shall be installed as deacon(s) after their election and ordination.
Responsibilities of Deacon(s)
Deacon(s) are responsible primarily to administer the benevolent concerns of the church as well as its business and secular affairs of the church so that the elder(s) may give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word (Acts 6:1-4). They must fulfill the duties of their office with spiritual grace and in cooperation with, and in subjection to, the elder(s).
The ministry of mercy in our church and community is a special responsibility of the deacon body. They shall minister the Word of God, administer this church’s benevolence funds, and render counsel to those in need of assistance. They shall be vigilant for opportunities to do good, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
The deacon(s) shall have general executive powers to administer the business and physical affairs of this church. It shall be the deacon(s)’ responsibility to oversee the preparation of the church budget and submitting it to the elder(s) before presenting it for adoption by the church each year by vote. When the congregation has approved the budget, it will be the deacon(s)’ responsibility to oversee the administration of it within the church. The duty of caring for and maintaining the church’s properties shall also belong to the deacon(s).
Organization of the Diaconate
At the first regular meeting of the deacon(s) that follows the annual congregational meeting, the deacon(s) shall elect one of their members to serve as Chairman and another to serve as Clerk. The Chairman and Clerk may serve for one year, or until their successors are elected. The deacon(s) of the church shall also meet together at least once a month or whenever any elder(s) or deacon(s) requests a meeting. Unless inappropriate, the elder(s) shall be invited to attend and participate in this meeting.
The deacon(s) shall divide the work of the diaconate among themselves according to each member’s distinctive gifts of ministry so that all the responsibilities of the deacon(s) can be faithfully discharged.
Nature of this Church Constitution
This Constitution, as with any other non-inspired document, is not infallible. It does, however, reflect an earnest and sincere attempt to apply the Scriptures in ordering the life of this local church. Furthermore, we as members of this church, including the elder(s) and deacon(s), have solemnly committed ourselves to follow this Constitution in ordering the life of this church (see the Preamble). Therefore the demands of the ninth commandment, and the sanctity of truth in general, require that the elder(s), the deacon(s), and all of the members of this church abide by our mutual commitment.
Amendments to this Church Constitution
Amendments to this Constitution may be adopted by four-fifths (80%) majority vote of those voting at any regular church business meeting with a quorum present and that such proposed amendments shall be distributed in written form to the membership of this church at least four (4) weeks prior to such a church business meeting.
Deficiencies of this Church Constitution Only when we must obey God rather than the provisions of this Constitution may its requirements be disregarded (Acts 5:29). If at any time a member of this church becomes aware that adherence to this Constitution would violate biblical principle, he should make this known to the elder(s). If the elder(s) conclude that biblical principle requires disregarding a provision of this Constitution, they are obligated to communicate this together with the reason(s) for their conclusion to the church within one month at regular business meeting of the church. Furthermore, relevant amendments to this Constitution must be submitted to the church and acted upon in accordance with the provisions of the Amendment Section above within three months following this informational meeting. The failure of the elder(s) to observe these requirements will constitute a legitimate reason for the calling of a special meeting by the members of the church in accordance with this Church Constitution.
The Annual Business Meeting
An annual business meeting of the church shall be held in January of each year. At this annual meeting the advisory nominations ballot shall be taken. A report shall be given by the elder(s) which shall contain an account of the membership of the church and the status of those whose membership involves unusual circumstances will be reviewed. A financial report for the previous year and the proposed budget for the coming year shall also be presented. These reports, including the proposed budget for the current year, shall be approved by a vote of the church.
The Quarterly Business Meetings
Church business meetings shall be held quarterly on the second Sunday of January, April, July and October, with an additional meeting on the second Sunday of December, unless a two thirds (66%) majority vote of the voting members of the church body elect to move the meeting to another agreed upon date.
The Occasional Called Business Meetings
Church business meetings may be called by the pastor(s) or elder(s) or when two-thirds (66%) majority of the voting members make a written request for such a meeting. This request must state the reason for the meeting, be signed by two thirds (66%) of the eligible voting members in good standing, and must be presented to the pastor(s) or elder(s), who shall in turn make the proper announcement of the meeting. Every meeting at which business is to be transacted shall be announced at regular services at least 7 days prior to the called business meeting. The agenda for this business meeting shall be announced and distributed to the church members at the regular Sunday morning worship service prior to the called business meeting. Other business meetings at which there is no business transacted by vote may be called at the discretion of the pastor(s) without previous notice.
All members of Cornerstone Baptist Church, having passed their 18th birthday, except those suspended by a vote of the church, those currently under disciplinary action, and those whose voting privileges have been suspended by the elder(s), shall constitute the voting membership of the church body in accordance with this Church Constitution. All voting members should regard their presence at a duly called church meeting with the same seriousness with which they would regard their attendance at a stated service of worship. It shall be our goal to prayerfully discern the mind of God so that in all matters of church business it may be said of us, as it was said of that church business meeting recorded in Acts 6, that this thing “pleased the whole multitude.” However, in situations in which this unanimity is not realized, a majority vote of equal to or greater than a two thirds (66%) majority of those voting will make a resolution valid.
If more than 60% of the eligible voting members (18 years old and older) are present at any properly convened business meeting of the church, this shall constitute a valid quorum for the transaction of business and a vote may take place. The elder(s) shall cancel any previously announced business meeting of the church if through an act of God (such as inclement weather) an unusually large proportion of the members of the church cannot be present to validate the quorum.
The following categories of church members shall be excluded from the total number of members on which the quorum is based at any church meeting for the purposes of voting:
1. Those prohibited from attending the meeting because of serious illness or other health condition.
2. Those members of the church who are prohibited from attending the meeting because of their ministry in behalf of the church, such as missionaries, evangelists, pastors, teachers, etc.
3. Those who have physically moved away from the local area but have not yet transferred their membership to another church.
4. Those members who are students attending school away form the locale of the church and their attendance at business meetings is therefore untenable (unreasonable).
5. Those members who are under the disciplinary action of the church.
6. Those members who are currently under the disciplinary action of the elder(s) or who’s church privileges have been suspended or revoked at the discretion of the elder(s).
7. Those members whose job requires them to miss the business meeting.
Church Year The church year for administrative and fiscal purposes shall be from January 1 through December 31 of each calendar year.
Budget and Finance
Budget and Finance Committee Organization
The finance committee is to be responsible for financial planning, budgeting, accounting, and issuing financial reports. The finance committee relies on the talents of those who can set up financial procedures, monitor budgets, count money and perform other financial tasks associated with a growing organization. The finance committee will consist of the deacon(s), an elected financial chairman, and at least (2) finance committee members. The finance committee members shall be nominated by the deacon(s) and approved by the deacon(s) and elder(s) and voted upon and confirmed by the church at a Quarterly Church Conference. The committee members shall serve on a one year or longer term. The
Church Budget and Finance Committee
The fiscal year of the church shall run from January 1st through December 31st (following the calendar year for that specific year) for each calendar year. All budget items, donation, and spending shall follow this fiscal year plan.
Each year, by November 1st, the deacons shall provide an estimate of the proposed expenditures for the upcoming year based on the previous years spending and upcoming projects.
In one or more joint meetings using the figures provided from the deacon(s), the finance committee and deacon(s) shall draw up a proposed budget for the following calendar year. It is desired that the finance committee and deacons arrive at a unanimous recommendation. The finance committee and deacons must measure all budget requests and plans against the stated mission, purposes, and goals of the church. They shall thereby seek to ensure that programs and activities funded by the church do not counter, and that they in fact do support the mission, purposes and goals of the church.
The deacon(s) shall submit a recommended budget to the elders at least one month before the December business conference. The elders shall review the budget, and after any revisions, the deacons will present the proposed budget to the congregation during the December business conference (note that this is an additional regular meeting not on the quarterly schedule). During the December meeting, a time shall be provided for questions concerning the budget from individual church members, with the intent to answer most questions well before the January meeting. In January, the budget will be approved by a majority vote of the voting members present with the required quorum present.
If the members do not approve the budget, the deacon(s) and finance committee may recommend specific changes. A representative of the deacons shall take notes of any changes recommended for another vote on the modified proposed budget at that time or for later review. Only in this case can a temporary budget be approved by majority vote of the congregation when necessary if more time is needed to finalize the overall budget. The church should not operate on a temporary budget for any longer than is necessary, but never for more than 60 days as a maximum.
Transactions of Church Financial Business
Once the budget has been approved, it shall be considered the basis for the current transactions and liabilities. No elder, deacon, individual, member, or group is authorized to make changes in its provisions nor to make disbursements not authorized within the approved budget, without the consent of the congregation, except that under certain circumstances, the elders and/or deacons, in unanimous agreement, may spend or incur obligation to spend an amount of up to $250 above the annual budget without the special approving vote of the congregation. Such expenditures shall be duly recorded and presented to the church body at the first subsequent congregational business meeting following the transaction(s).
The deacons are authorized and instructed to make transactions, including withdrawals or transfers from church account(s), in the name of the church and when such transactions are permitted by the duly approved and current church budget. In addition, the deacons are authorized to manage the financial assets of the church including donations to the church to meet the long term financial goals and the mission of the church.
Checks drawn on the account(s) of the church shall be signed by two (2) deacons or at least (1) deacon and other approved signers who are currently members of the church in good standing.
Appropriate and accurate records shall be kept of all church finances and accounts. The deacon(s) shall be ultimately responsible to see that such records are kept with assistance from the finance committee chairman. Duties regarding the keeping of financial records may be delegated to one or more deacon(s). Monthly financial reports will be the responsibility of the financial committee chairman with help from the deacon(s).
Deacon(s) Financial Management
The function of the deacon(s) is to manage all church finances, receipts and disbursements. The deacon(s) shall manage the incoming donations, the outgoing expenses, and all accounts of the budget (i.e. special offerings, purchase orders, benevolence funds, building funds, building improvement program, and all missions’ funds). The deposits shall be made within 10 days of the receipt of those funds and disbursements for expense shall me made in a timely manner. Management of these designated accounts shall be limited to the approved budget amount for spending purposes and the deacon(s) are limited to $500 per occurrence on the benevolence fund. Any amount over $500 on the benevolence fund requires the approval of the majority of the church officers to approve the donation and the upper limit on benevolence contributions is $1,500. In addition, the deacon(s) shall manage all assets currently in the church’s possession to align the assets to be better prepared to serve the goals and direction of the church. All expenditures will be reflected in the monthly financial report following the month that the expenses were actually incurred.
Miscellaneous Financial Concerns
All gifts to the church made as “designated gifts,” that is a gift for an express purpose, must be approved by the deacons. This function is to ensure that funds spent by the church are reflective of the mission and goals of this church and that there is no endangerment of the church’s standing relating to IRS and other regulations pertaining to tax exempt organizations. Designated gifts deemed not appropriate shall be returned to the contributor.
Quarterly Church Conference
The quarterly business meetings are to be overseen, moderated, and administered by the pastor or one of the other elders. The quarterly business financial reports are to be presented at each regularly scheduled business meeting by either a deacon(s) or the financial committee chairman.
All expenses submitted for reimbursement from the elder(s) and deacon(s) will be reimbursed for any amount up to their approved spending limit or the amount of the approved budgeted item or limited by the amount in the approved designated account.
All expenses submitted for reimbursement from church members must have the approval of either the deacons and/or the finance committee and must have an approved purchase order assigned (including both P.O. number and project spending amount limit) prior to the purchase being made and will be reimbursed. All expenses submitted without prior approval and P.O. assigned will not be reimbursed under any circumstances.
Discontinuance of the Cornerstone Baptist Church
If at some point in the future of this church, it is decided by a four-fifths (80%) majority vote of those voting at any regular church business meeting with a quorum present, for this church to cease to exist., all assets are to be transferred to the State of Texas, the United States or to an educational, religious, charitable or other similar organization that is qualified for exemption under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code, as amended.
It is clear from Scripture that God intends His People to be united together into visible church fellowships. The following two points illustrate this concept.
1. The church is the body and Jesus Christ is the head of the body (Eph. 1:22-23). A true commitment to Christ as the Head is inseparable from a commitment to the other members of the body as well. The relationship of the body to the Head and to other body members is like the covenant relationship of a man and his wife (Eph. 5:28-30).
2. The apostles implemented the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) by gathering baptized believers into local churches. It was in these local churches that baptized disciples were taught all that Christ commanded (Acts 2:38-42; 1 Cor. 4:17). In the New Testament, the believing men and women were members of local churches.
Believing that we belong to one another as members of one body, as brothers and sisters in one household, as the sheep in one flock, we desire to establish a vital local church and do now covenant with one another to become members of this one body. As members of this united local body, we pledge ourselves to the following:
A. To provide the opportunity for the teaching of God’s Word, fellowship, and communion by reverently worshipping with the body at its stated times unless providentially hindered.
B. To pray for the body and all of its members in a manner concerning thanksgiving, adoration, confession, and intercession and to provide a ministry of support and encouragement to one another.
C. To be responsible for faithful support to the body of Christ by loving one another and preferring one another over oneself, and by encouraging the growth of each individual believer toward maturity in the faith and Christ-likeness.
D. To seek the good of the body as a whole and to ensure that all have the opportunity to serve Christ.
E. To share the gospel both in the local community and abroad through a concerted evangelism effort.
This covenant is only a basic framework, but is intended to formally bind ourselves together from this time until a scheduled time when the necessity of a covenant shall be evaluated. The scheduled time is the first Sunday in October, 1996. (The intent is that as the body grows and matures, the offices of elder(s) and deacon(s) will be established according to the requirements of Titus and 1 Timothy, and a statement of faith adopted).
RESOLVED, our signatures below indicate that we adopt the above covenant in its entirety and without qualification and dedicate ourselves to support this local church body.
Name: ____________________________________________ Date: ___/___/20___
Church Statement of Faith
The Abstract of Principles of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.
Basil Manly Jr. penned this brief confession of faith as the statement of faith for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. On April 30, 1858 the seminary wrote the Abstract into its charter, and it remains the official doctrinal confession for Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to this day. Jesse C. Fletcher, chancellor of Hardin-Simmons University, recently referred to “The Abstract of Principles” as “…a masterful document that survived decades of Southern Baptist controversy.” William Wright Barnes, former church history professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, “They set forth the great fundamental teachings that have been held by Southern Baptists…” These fundamental truths transcend time and culture. If these things were true in 1858, they are true today.
I. The Scriptures The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.
II. God There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.
III. The Trinity God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.
IV. Providence God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to the author of approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.
V. Election Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life- not because of foreseen merit in them, but of his mere mercy in Christ- in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.
VI. The Fall of Man God originally created man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.
VII. The Mediator Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law, suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe.
VIII. Regeneration Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone.
IX. Repentance Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being, by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.
X. Faith Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness.
XI. Justification Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account to the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith.
XII. Sanctification Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified, by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ’s commands.
XIII. Perseverance of the Saints Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall, through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
XIV. The Church The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Church, which is composed of all his true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to his commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches he hath given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which he hath appointed. The regular officers of a Church are bishops or elders, and deacons.
XV. Baptism Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of his giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is a prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper.
XVI. The Lord’s Supper The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by his churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate his death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with him, and of their church fellowship.
XVII. The Lord’s Day The Lord’s day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.
XVIII. Liberty of Conscience God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left is free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
XIX. The Resurrection The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God-the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.
XX. The Judgment God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds: the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.