Article I - Name
Name - First Baptist Church, Alhambra, Illinois.
Article II - Purpose
The purpose of this Church shall be:
1. The worship of Almighty God according to the teaching of God's Word.
2. The practice of the ordinances of the New Testament.
3. The preaching and teaching of the Word of God for the edification of the believers, the order of the church, and the salvation of the lost.
4. Ministering to the spiritual needs of mankind at home and abroad, even to the ends of the earth.
5. The establishing of a Baptist Church in the village of Alhambra.
Article III - Church Covenant
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, but will uphold the public worship of God, and the ordinances of His house, to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage, and be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.
We further engage to watch over one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Saviour, to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that, when we remove 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 principles of God's Word.
Article IV - Articles of Faith
1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are supernaturally and verbally inspired of God through the Holy Spirit, that they are inerrant in the original writings, and that they are the supreme and final authority in faith and life. We believe that God has preserved (supernaturally guarded and protected) the Scriptures both physically, in it's integrity, and trustworthiness, from its origin through all time. II Tim. 3:16 - 17; II Peter 1:19 - 21; Psalm 119:89-90, 152, 160; Matthew 24:35.
2. We believe that the Scriptures reveal God as eternally existing, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and manifesting Himself in 3 persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, yet one God. Deut. 6:4; II Cor. 13:14.
3. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and proved that He was True God and True Man. Luke 1:30 - 35; Phil. 2:5 - 8; Eph. 1:20 - 23.
4. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son and of the same nature; that He is the administrator of the things of God upon the earth during this age; convicting of sin, revealing truth, indwelling believers, enduing and empowering believers in prayer and service, and restraining evil "until He be taken out of the way." John 14:16 - 17.
5. We believe that man was the direct creation of God and not the product of evolution; that he fell from his sinless and happy state by voluntary transgression in consequence of which all men are now sinners, not only by constraint, but by choice, and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Gen. 3; Rom. 5:10 - 19.
6. We believe in the reality and personality of Satan, that he is the unholy god of this age, the author of all the powers of darkness, and is destined to the judgment of eternal justice in the lake of fire. Matt. 4:1 - 3; Rev. 20:10; II Cor 4:4.
7. We believe that all men need to be born again through faith in the Person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose bodily from the dead the third day; that salvation is all of the grace of God -- "Not of works, lest any man should boast." and that those who are born again are "Kept by the power of God." for our Lord Jesus Christ to whom they are given. Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:8, 9.
8. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, in His ascension into heaven, and in His present life there for us as High Priest and Advocate. Matt. 28:1 - 7; I Tim. 2:5.
9. We believe in "That blessed Hope," the personal, premillenial, and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ for His church in the Rapture, that He will come with His church to judge the earth and establish His righteous Kingdom upon the earth for a thousand years after which He shall deliver up the kingdoms of this earth to God the Father. Acts 1:11; I Thess. 4:13 - 18.
10. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the just and the unjust; the everlasting felicity of the saved, and the everlasting conscious punishment of the lost. John 14:1 - 4; Matt. 24:41.
11. We believe that human governments are ordained of God for the good of man; that believers owe obedience and respect to those in authority when such obedience does not violate the teachings of the Word of God; that church and state are separate institutions, each without jurisdiction over the internal affairs of the other -- but mutually helpful; that believers are obligated to pray for all who are in authority that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life. I Tim 2:1 - 2.
12. We believe that the local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated together by a covenant of faith, governed by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, observing His ordinances, guided by duly chosen church officers, and observing the other rights and privileges vested in a New Testament Church. The local church is absolutely independent and sovereign in all her affairs: no outside hierarchy may exercise authority over her. Each church is sole judge of the methods and manner of cooperation with other bodies. Each church is a democracy with every member of equal rank and privilege, the final authority in all matters being vested in the church and not in any leader or group of leaders. Col. 1:18; Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:41 - 42; Eph. 4:11 - 13; 5:25 - 27.
13. We believe that there are two New Testament Church ordinances; Water Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Water Baptism is the immersion of the believer in water to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour, with its effect on our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is a prerequisite to the privilege of local church relationship and is the entrance into the local church, but not essential to salvation. The Lord's Supper is a memorial feast for believers only. Acts 8:36 - 39; Matt. 3:16; Rom. 6: 3 - 8; I Cor. 11:23 - 28; I Cor. 12:13.
14. We believe it is the responsibility of every believer to separate himself from every possible form of darkness whether it be apostasy in doctrine or uncleanness in practice; that recognizing the body to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, he will at no time knowingly defile that temple or cause it to be used in any way which may be an occasion of stumbling to an unbeliever or to a weaker brother. II Cor. 6:17; II Tim. 2:19 - 26.
15. We believe it to be the solemn obligation of every believer to be a personal soul winner and to make every effort to spread the gospel to the whole world. Mark 16:15 - 18; Acts 1:8.
16. We believe it is the responsibility of the church to separate from apostasy unto Christ.
Article V - Membership
Section I - Admission
a. Present Membership: All those whose names appear upon the rolls of this church are members, but only those upon the Active list are considered in good and regular standing. Those whose names appear upon the "Inactive list" have no right of franchise. Members who have not reached their sixteenth (16) birthday shall not have the right of franchise. (Age 18 in legal matters.)
b. Reception of Members: Anyone professing Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, giving evidence of a change of heart, and declaring himself in accord with the principles, practices and doctrines of this church may become a candidate for church membership. Candidates for church membership shall appear personally before the pastors, deacons, and trustees who shall hear their testimony. Having been recommended by the deacons the name shall then be submitted to the church for acceptance or rejection, five dissenting votes constituting refusal of admission, but any member objecting shall be required to present the grounds of his objection before the deacons at their next meeting. At least a two-thirds vote of the deacons shall overrule the objection and the name shall be submitted once more to the church. A candidate for baptism is considered in the same way as a candidate for church membership, and upon church approval is baptized and brought into the local membership.
Section II - Dismission
a. Letter: It shall be the practice of the church not to issue any letters for the purpose of dismissing members.
b. Erasure: At their own request names of members may be erased from the membership for reasons sufficient unto themselves. Resident or nonresident members who have ceased to maintain contact with this church, after due effort is made to locate and revive interest, may be erased by vote of the church.
c. Exclusion: Any member of this church after having been given due notice and opportunity to be heard, may be dismissed from the membership on recommendation of the Board of Deacons for any of the following reasons:
1. Admission to the membership of another church.
2. Continued absence of at least twelve months without satisfactory excuse, and possessing an indifferent or hostile attitude.
3. Conduct contrary to or incompatible with the doctrines and practices of this church.
Section III - Duties of Members
a. It is the duty of each member to acquire Scriptural knowledge, to grow in the knowledge of Christ, to love, uphold, support, and cherish the church, to honor, esteem and love the pastors, and also to pray for them, guard their reputation, attend regularly upon their ministration, and contribute toward their support in the proportion of ability.
b. It is the duty of each member to cultivate and cherish Christian love for each other, to visit and sympathize with each other in affliction, to pray with and for each other, guard each other's reputation, privately and carefully admonish each other of faults and improprieties.
c. It is the duty of each member to bear prudent and faithful testimony by word of mouth and worthy manner of life to those who are not in the Faith to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
d. It is the duty of each member to inform the church secretary of any change of address.
e. It is the duty of each member to attend as regularly as possible the regular and special meetings of the church such as worship services, prayer meetings, evangelistic, Bible, and missionary conferences, anniversaries, rallies and business meetings.
f. It is the duty of each member to use the offering envelopes provided by the church if the member desires statement at the end of the year for income tax purposes.
g. It shall be the duty of each member to attend Communion services as regularly as possible.
Section IV - Discipline of Members
a. When offense is given to one member of the church by the language or conduct of another, if the offense relates only to himself, and is known to none other, the offended shall without consulting or informing any person, seek private reconciliation, which if effected, shall end the matter.
b. If the matter is not cleared, it shall be the duty of the offended to select two or three others with whom he may seek to effect reconciliation.
c. If this shall fail, it shall be the duty of the offended to lay the matter before the church for action.
d. If any member shall be publicly guilty of any crime or gross impropriety, it shall be the duty of the member knowing the transgression to contact the offender and inform him of his intention to lay the matter before the church that he may appear in his own defense.
e. When common rumor charges a crime or gross impropriety against a member, it shall be the duty of the member hearing it to visit or write to the accused, and inform him of the report, and if he has reason to believe that they are true, to take the most judicious measures to ascertain their correctness, and lay the charge and its evidence before the church.
f. If a member has erred and shall voluntarily confess it before the church manifesting repentance for the impropriety, there shall be no further charge laid against him. In the case of a public scandal the church shall judge.
g. Every member against whom a charge of misconduct is preferred shall have the privilege of speaking in his own defense.
h. If a member fails to give satisfaction to the church in relation to charges preferred against him or refuses deliberately to appear before the church when cited, he shall be excluded.
i. After six months wilful absence a member will be placed on the inactive list.
j. Members on the inactive list can be made active members by their attendance, interest in the Lord and church matters, and by the recommendation of the Deacons shall be taken off the inactive list and be listed as active members again.
Article VI - Officers and Boards
The officers of the church shall consist of senior pastor, assistant pastor(s), deacons, trustees, treasurer, clerk and Bible school superintendent, all of whom, except the senior pastor or assistant pastor(s) shall have been a member of this church for a period of at least one year before being placed in nomination; and their terms of office shall begin on the first of October following the Annual Election. Retiring officers shall hold office until the terms of the newly elected officers begin. Other minor offices may be created from time to time as may be deemed necessary. No person on the "Inactive list" is eligible to hold office in the church or any of its organizations. All male officers and Pulpit supplies shall meet qualifications of I Timothy 3:8-13, female officers as per intent of Scripture.
Section I - Pastors
a. The senior pastor or assistant pastor shall be elected for an indeterminate term. Notice of the proposed choice of senior pastor or assistant pastor shall be given from the pulpit for two successive Sundays preceding the election, voting shall be by ballot, and three-fourths (3/4) of the votes cast shall be required for election and only one candidate to be voted on at a time.
b. The senior pastor or assistant pastor shall give the church a notice in writing not to exceed sixty (60) days and not less that thirty (30) days of his intention to discontinue as senior pastor or assistant pastor. The church may at a regular called business meeting declare the pulpit or assistant pastor position vacant, provided the charges brought against the senior pastor or assistant pastor have been throughly investigated by the Board of Deacons and findings brought before the church before balloting. A vote of at least a two-thirds (2/3) carries. In such case a notice of not less than sixty (60) days from the time this action is taken be given the senior pastor occupying the pulpit to vacate the same. The same time period shall apply to a person in the position of assistant pastor.
c. The senior pastor and assistant pastor(s) shall be ex-officio of all boards and committees.
d. The senior pastor's vacation shall be at least two weeks, including two Sundays with pay. An assistant pastor shall be given the same vacation schedule.
Section II - Deacons
a. The Board of Deacons shall at the beginning of each year elect its chairman, who shall be moderator of all church business meetings, for the ensuing year.
b. The Board of Deacons shall constitute the pulpit committee whose duty shall be to select and present to the church possible candidates for senior pastor or assistant pastor, and also to obtain pulpit supplies in the absence of the pastors.
c. The Board of Deacons and Trustees with the pastors shall constitute the membership committee before which candidates for baptism and membership shall appear. They shall thoroughly examine all candidates and report the results to the church.
d. There shall be three or more Deacons. They shall be so arranged that one or more be elected each year for three year terms.
e. It shall be the duty of the deacons to engage actively in all the spiritual work of the church; to seek out such members as need special help and encouragement; visit the sick; distribute the elements of the Lord's Supper; to share with the Senior Pastor the shepherding of the flock in visitation; with the Senior Pastor administer discipline; and supervise Prayer Meeting in the absence of the Senior Pastor.
Section III - Trustees
a. The Board of Trustees shall at the beginning of each year elect its chairman, who shall be moderator of all Trustee meetings, and such other officers as are needed may be chosen.
b. In all temporal and legal matters the trustees shall have authority to make recommendations concerning church property in repair, but shall not incur expenses for any one project of more than $500 without church action.
c. There shall be three or more Trustees. They shall be so arranged that one or more be elected each year for two year terms.
Section IV - Treasurer
a. The Pastors, Board of Deacons and Board of Trustees shall appoint a treasurer in August of each year to serve for a one year term beginning on the following October 1. The treasurer shall receive all moneys of the church and apply the same as directed by the church; keep a true and fair record of accounts and make a full report to the church at each annual meeting and when otherwise directed by the church.
Section V - Clerk
a. The church shall elect from its membership at each annual election a clerk for the ensuing year. He or she shall keep a fair and complete record of the proceedings of the church, have charge of all records, keep a register of all members of the church, give notice of church business meetings, announce the offices to be filled at the annual election, and perform such other particular duties as may be prescribed by the church.
Section VI - Sunday School Superintendent
a. The Sunday School Superintendent shall conduct the activities of the Sunday School, preside over all its meetings (suggested quarterly at least), and with the Senior Pastor and one deacon, choose D.V.B.S. director, all teachers and department superintendents.
b. The Pastors, Board of Deacons and Board of Trustees shall appoint a Sunday School Superintendent in August of each year to serve for a one year term beginning on the following October 1.
c. He shall, from the time appointed, meet with the Sunday School staff, plan changes of personnel or classes, and get organized for the term of office starting October 1.
Section VII - Teachers and Group Leaders
Subsection A - Teachers
a. Teachers shall meet the Scriptural requirements of I Tim. 3:8 - 13 in addition to being a member of the church, faithful in attendance at all services, and having a prayerful concern for students.
b. Substitute teachers shall meet the above requirements.
c. Teachers shall notify the Sunday School Superintendent as soon as possible when they will be unable to fulfill their teaching responsibility.
Subsection B - Group Leaders
a. The Group Leader shall meet the Scriptural requirements of I Tim. 3:8 - 13 in addition to being a church member, faithful in attendance at all services, and having a prayerful concern for students.
b. Substitute Group Leaders shall meet the above standards.
c. Group Leaders shall notify the Senior Pastor (or Board Chairman) as soon as possible when unable to fulfill their responsibilities.
Article VII - Finances
Section I - The Fiscal Year
a. The fiscal year shall begin October 1 for church and Sunday School.
Section II - Moneys
a. No moneys shall be raised by the church or any auxiliary organizations except by free will givings. II Cor. 9:7; I Cor. 16:2.
Article VIII - Missions
It shall be the policy of this church to support only missions engaged in evangelism and establishing independent, local Baptist churches and missions agencies that are in agreement with our own Baptist confession of faith.
Article IX - Subsidary Organizations
No subsidary organization shall be formed without consent of the Senior Pastor and Board of Deacons. All such shall be responsible to the church for all their actions and must not promote any plan or any program contrary to the purpose and practices of this church.
Article X - Committees
Section I - Nominating Committee
a. The church shall serve as its own nominating committee, holding a direct primary on the second or third Sunday in September. Members who desire to share in nominating must be present, or make arrangements with the Senior Pastor or the Chairman of the Board of Deacons if abscence is unavoidable.
b. A person will be considered a nominee for an office if his/her name appears on at least 25% of the ballots for that office.
c. The nominee who receives the most nominations for an office will be considered as elected to that office if the person agrees to accept the position. If the office is not filled by the person with the most nominations, the nominee with the next highest number of nominations will be asked the serve in the office and if that person accepts he or she shall be considered elected to that position. This process will continue until the position is filled or until all nominees have declined the nomination to the office. If the position is not filled, another direct primary will be held. If two nominees with the same number of nominations are willing to serve in an office, a run-off election will be held between the two nominees.
d. Any vacant office will be filled by the Board of Deacons for any unexpired term.
Section II - The Financial Review Committee
a. A financial review committee, elected at the annual meeting in October consisting of two members, shall carefully examine the records, receipts and the vouchers of the treasurer for the past year, and report their findings to the church at the quarterly business meeting in January.
Article XI - Meetings
Section I - Worship Meetings
a. The church shall meet every Lord's Day morning and evening for Bible study, worship and evangelism; every Wednesday evening for Bible study and prayer; and for commemorating the Lord's Supper at least twelve (12) times a year, or as the church so wishes by church action.
Section II - Business Meetings
a. The church shall meet the third or fourth Sunday evening of the quarter, unless changed by Board of Deacons, for the regular quarterly church business meeting. The church shall meet on the third or fourth Sunday evening of October of each year, for the annual church business meeting. The fiscal year of the church being from October 1 until September 30 of next year. The order of business shall be:
1. Reading and approval of minutes of previous meeting.
2. Clerks report
3. Report of Treasurer
4. Report of Deacons - Trustees
5. Report of Sunday School Superintendent
6. Reports of standing committees
7. Reports of departments of the church
8. Report of Pastors
9. Unfinished business
10. New business
Section III - Special Meetings
a. Special business meetings may be called at any time, provided public notice be given of the same on the Lord's Day preceding, except those called for dismissing a pastor shall be given public notice for the two (2) preceding Sundays. At such meetings thirty (30) percent of the active members shall constitute a quorum. However, routine business may be done, when necessary at any stated meeting of the church, without regard to above concept.
Article XII - Licensing and Ordination
Section I - Licensing
a. Any male member who in the judgment of the church gives evidence that he is called of God to the work of the Gospel ministry, after having preached in the hearing of the church, may be licensed to preach the Gospel providing 3/4 of the members present at any regular business meeting of the church shall agree. I Tim. 3:8 - 13.
Section II - Ordination
a. If any male member ask for ordination and in the judgment of the church gives evidence that he is called of God to the work of the Gospel ministry, possessing the full qualifications for ordination, the church shall call a council of ministers and brethren to examine the candidate. Upon recommendation of the Council and the vote of the church to proceed upon that recommendation, ordination shall take place. I Tim. 3:8 - 13.
Article XIII - Real Estate
All real estate heretofore belonging to this church shall vest and the title thereof shall be herein in the corporate name of the First Baptist Church, Alhambra, Illinois. If the aforesaid and said real estate shall be conveyed upon sale or mortgage thereof, as provided by law in said corporate name, only with the consent and theretofore obtained by the formal vote of the congregation at a regular meeting, duly called in accordance with these bylaws, at which meeting the majority of members present, enrolled members of the congregation, of the required number to constitute a quorum as set forth in these bylaws, the purchase or mortgage of any such real estate so conveyed is hereby authorized to accept the deed or mortgage in the corporate name of this church by the trustees for the body. At no time, except under conditions set forth above shall any property of this church be deeded to any religious denomination. At any time when the active membership of this church shall be reduced to less than nine, by death, or otherwise, the continuation shall be left to the discretion of the remaining members. If in their opinion the church is considered defunct and no regular services for one year, the property shall be sold and proceeds shall be sent to the Baptist Builders Club, Schaumberg, Illinois.
Article XIV - Amendments
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at any annual business meeting, or at a called business meeting, provided that notice of proposed amendment shall have been given from the pulpit for the two Sundays prior to the meeting at which action is desired.
Article XV - Dissolution Clause
In event of dissolution of this Corporation, all the properties and assets then held by the Corporation, after liabilities have been cared for, shall be distributed in accordance with the Purpose Article of our Constitution. These assets shall be given to Baptist Builders Club, or missions, Bible Schools or churches of like faith and practice. These agencies will be named by the Corporation at time of the dissolution and no donor or grantor, nor heir or assignees of any donor or grantor, nor any business corporation, or individual person shall receive any of the assets, except as they are in a work which is in accordance with the Purpose Clause of our Constitution.
- The End -