Cornerstone Baptist Church Constitution
Table of Contents
Article I Name 2
Article II Purpose 2
Article III Statement of Faith 2
Article IV Character of the Church 7
Article V Organizational Structure 7
Article VI Perpetual Succession and Powers 7
Article VII Non Profit Provision 7
Article VIII Dissolution 7
Article IX Amendments 7
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Article I Name:
This church shall be known as Cornerstone Baptist Church of Fairview, Alberta, part of the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists.
Article II Purpose:
It is the purpose of this church to:
Maintain regular service, both devotional and for public worship.
Proclaim earnestly the Gospel message and urge its personal acceptance.
Promote systematic Bible study and training for Christian service, and to encourage enlistment in some form of Christian activity.
Experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
Be a church which ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and the world in Jesus’ name.
Encourage its members to be Christ like in their daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Article III Statement of Faith
We, the Cornerstone Baptist Church, adopt the statement of faith as adopted by the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists in 1985, Kelowna, British Columbia, which is: (see "Statement of Faith link under "About Us" in the top menu)
Article IV Character of the Church:
The government of this church is invested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist churches.
Article V Organizational Structure:
The structure of Cornerstone Baptist Church may include pastor, moderator, deacons, trustees, teachers, clerk and treasurer; all of which except the position of pastor and deacons, shall be elected annually according to the guides set forth in the church by-laws.
Article VI Perpetual Succession and Powers:
The Cornerstone Baptist Church shall have perpetual succession and has power to acquire by gift, device, bequest, trust agreement, contract or otherwise, real and personal property within and without the province. The church may hold, sell, dispose of, exchange, mortgage, lease, let, improve and develop such property. Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, it may acquire in any way or ways real and personal property for the purpose of funding the purpose of Cornerstone Baptist Church and deal with any and all such property as empowered by this section.
Article VII Non-Profit Provision:
Cornerstone Baptist Church of Fairview, Alberta, shall carry out the above purposes without purpose of gain for its members, and any profits or other accretions to this church shall be used on promoting its purposes.
Article VIII Dissolution:
In the event of dissolution of the church, all of its remaining assets after payment of liabilities shall be distributed to one or more recognized Southern Baptist charitable organizations or Southern Baptist churches in Canada.
Article IX Amendments:
Section #1: Changes in the constitution may be made at any regular business meeting of the church provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous business meeting, and copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to each member at the earlier meeting. Amendments to the constitution shall be by 75% vote of the church members present.
Section #2: Articles II, VIII and IX of the constitution are unalterable.
Table or Content
Article I Membership 9
Article II Business Meetings 10
Article III Relationships 11
Article IV Church Covenant 11
Article V Church Officers 12
Article VI Church Ordinances 14
Article VII Amendments or Additions 15
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Article I Membership:
Section 1: General
This is an autonomous and democratic Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of 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 members of the church and the conditions of such membership.
Any person may offer himself/herself as a candidate for membership of this church. Candidates should agree with the direction and vision of the church, not be joining it hoping to re-direct it. All candidates shall affirm our church covenant. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at a regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:
By profession of faith in Jesus Christ and for baptism according to the by-laws of this church.
By promise of letter of recommendation from another Baptist church or like faith and order.
By a statement of prior conversion experience and believer’s baptism by immersion in a church of like faith and order.
By first, sharing their testimony or a new birth, experience with the pastor and two deacons, and then the congregation, if from a church other than a Baptist church.
Section 3: New Member Orientation
New members of this church are expected to participate in this church’s new member orientation.
Section 4: Privileges or Members
The business of this church will be conducted in the Spirit of Christ. Since we believe that ALL true believers are part of the “royal priesthood” (1Pt.2:4-10), every member is privileged and expected to:
Seek the mind of Christ, through prayer and study of the Word, concerning all issues and implement these in accordance with His will.
Vote on important decisions (if in good standing; see Sections 5 below.)
Attend all business meetings when possible. *Note: This will be necessary for voting privileges, as voting by proxy will not be permitted.
Be eligible for nomination as candidates for elected offices in the church.
Section 5: Members in Good Standing
Members are expected, first of all, to be faithful in all the commitments essential to the Christian life; and also to consistently attend the services of this church, to give regularly for its support and its causes, and to share in its organized work. Members are to be reminded of the qualifications for “good standing” at the beginning of every business meeting.
Section 6: Termination of Membership
Membership can and may be terminated under the following circumstances:
Any member in good standing who desires a letter of dismissal to any other Baptist church or church of like faith and order, is entitled to receive it upon his request. In case of a permanent change of residency to another community, he/she should properly make such a request.
If a member in good standing requests to be released from his or her covenant obligations to this church for any reason which the church may deem satisfactory, the membership may be terminated if the church has patiently, and kindly endeavored to secure the person’s continuance in its fellowship.
The church may also, after due notice and counsel, terminate the membership of a person who has been a non-resident, for one year or has not consistently worshipped with the church for one year.
Should a member become an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of immoral conduct or unchristian conduct, or by consistent breech of the person’s covenant vows or on non-support of the church, the church may terminate the person’s membership. This may be done only after due notice and hearing and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and amendment. The purpose of any discipline is to seek reconciliation to God and the church family. The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and the person’s repentance and reformation.
NOTE: The membership of a person cannot be terminated at the meeting when the recommendation for such action is made, except by letter to another church.
Article II Business Meetings:
An Annual Business (Budget) meeting shall be held in the first quarter of each year.
Total membership present, but not less than third of the membership, shall constitute a quorum for the transacting of all routine business. Failure to attain a quorum will warrant postponement of the meeting.
Special business meetings may be called by the pastor, a simple majority of the Elders, or by ten or more members of the church. Fourteen days written notice must be given unless notice time is waived by 75% majority of the resident membership present at a regular worship service. To call a pastor or buy or sell property, 80% majority of the resident membership present must approve. At least half the membership shall be required for a quorum in order to call or dismiss a pastor, and such votes shall require three weeks’ notice to the congregation.
Only members in good standing have the right to vote in the transactions of the church.
Except as otherwise provided in the constitution and by-laws, or Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall be the guides in the conducting of the business of this church.
Section 1: Moderator
The pastor shall be this church’s moderator. If a member other than the pastor is requested as a moderator, the role shall be determined by a nomination and a simple majority vote. In the absence of the pastor the secretary shall call the meeting to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
Article III Relationships:
The church is composed of a self-governing body of believers. It is not subject to the control of any other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Southern Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Midwest Baptist Association and the Canadian National Baptist Convention.
Article IV Church Covenant:
For the Advancement of this Church
We promise, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge and holiness; to promote its growth and spirituality; and to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines.
As Christian Stewards
We promise to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the church for its expenses and its commitment to provide relief for those in need and to spread the Gospel.
Alone and At Home
We promise to maintain family and secret devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith; and to seek the salvation of our family acquaintances.
Before the World
We promise to walk circumspectly in the world; to be fair in our dealings, faithful in our commitments, and exemplary in our conduct; to avoid all gossip, backbiting and excessive anger, and to use our influence to stand against substances, practices, or appearances, which may injure or destroy our minds or our bodies which are the temple of the Holy Spirit; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Saviour.
Toward One Another
We further promise to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to help one another in times of sickness and trouble; to cultivate Christian sympathy and feeling and Christian courtesy in speech. In addition, we promise to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and, mindful of the commands of our Saviour to secure it without delay.
When We Move
We moreover promise that when we move from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with another church that carries out the principles of God’s word and the Spirit of this covenant.
Article V Church Officers:
Section 1: Eligibility for Church Office
Only members in good standing may hold church office. All church officers must be members of, and elected by, this church.
Section 2: Pastor
The Pastor is understood to fulfill the Biblical office of Overseer, whose authority is equal to that of an Elder (see Acts 20:17-18,28), but whose special responsibilities of preaching and administrating church ministry often demand excessive time and special training, and so warrants financial compensation.
As one of the Elders, the Pastor must be a man. (See Section 3 for further explanation.)
The Pastor shall be a Baptist minister of the Gospel, in full affirmation of the Baptist Faith and Message, all constituted by-laws of the church and all CNBC denominational agencies. Failure to adhere to these guidelines shall be sufficient grounds for termination.
A Pastoral Search committee shall be elected to seek out a suitable pastor, and its recommendations will constitute a nomination. The committee may nominate any ordained minister; or a ministerial student or a lay person capable of being ordained. Election shall occur by ballot. An affirmative vote of at least 80% of those members present (see Article II) shall be necessary for a Call. The Pastor shall be called for an indefinite period of time unless otherwise agreed upon at this time of the call. The church may make this request following a 80% vote by the members present at a special meeting called for this purpose. A 75% majority vote of members present is necessary to terminate a pastor. (see Article II)
Section 3: Elders
The church interprets the Elders (presbyteros) of Titus 1 to be of equal authority as the Overseer (episcopos) of 1 Timothy 3, but without necessarily carrying the same full-time duties. In the Bible, these are the men who are authorized by the apostles, on various occasions, to handle legislative and judicial matters of the church (whereas executive roles fall primarily to the Deacons). Their purpose is to be diligent in prayer and study, and to uphold the authority of the apostles (which Baptists believe to be preserved in the Bible).
Under the Biblical principle of family headship belonging to the husband, and under the premise that the local church is to operate as a Biblical family, this church reserves the role of Elder for men. Women, while likely capable, are not eligible for nomination as Elders.
An Elder need not be married, but must be faithful to his wife if he is, in keeping with the Apostle’s intended meaning in 1 Tim. 3:2.
Elders shall be elected on the basis of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. After a period of prayer and observation, a special meeting shall be called, where names will be submitted to the church to be voted upon by the members. 75% affirmative vote of the members present at the meeting shall be needed for each Elder elected. The number of deacons may be added as the church sees fit. Since the role of Elder is more a matter of character than specific duties, each Elder thus elected shall actively serve until the relationship is terminated by:
His incapability to serve
His removal to another place
Termination of his membership in this church
Failure to remain “blameless” (Titus 1:6) under the testimony of at least three witnesses.
The Elders shall serve in accordance with the meaning of the work and practice of the New Testament. Elders are to be servants of the church. Their duties shall include:
Zealously guarding the unity of the Spirit within the church in the bonds of peace.
Aiding the pastor- When the Pastor is either absent or unfit to serve, the Elders are to assume all of his responsibilities in whatever manner they agree to be appropriate. At the discretion of the membership, an Elder may be compensated financially when assuming pastoral responsibilities (ie. Pulpit supply, counselling, and funerals, etc.)
Establishing and maintaining personal, fraternal relationship with, and inspiring oversight of, all the membership of this church. Especially, they are to seek to be aware of and respond to emotional, moral and spiritual struggles of the church body, and be aware of their need. They are to serve the church in alleviating, encouraging and developing all who have need for wise and prayerful council.
Section 4: Deacons:
Deacons act in the spirit of Acts 6:1-7, seeking to organize the church’s ministries, while permitting the Elders to apply themselves to prayer, study, and judicial matters.
Deacons are subject to the qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:8-13, INCLUDING vs.11, which is for “women.” Given that the Apostle Paul has included this information in the middle of the Deacon’s qualifications, and also with respect to his designation of Pheobe as a “deaconess” in Rm. 16:1, this autonomous congregation permits any woman, who holds membership in good standing, and satisfies the Biblical qualifications, to serve as a Deacon. As in the case of the Elders and Pastor, the term “husband of one wife” in 1 Tim. 3:12 is call to marital faithfulness, not a demand that Deacons be either married or male.
No Deacon shall be remunerated financially, but may be reimbursed for all expenses necessarily and reasonably incurred by him/her while engaged in the various church ministries. The Deacon shall have borrowing powers but only as authorized by the members of the church. *No debentures shall be issued without authorization of a special resolution passed by 75% of the members present and voting.
Deacons may be either recommended by the Elders, or nominated by the membership. They must be elected by the Congregation, by simple majority, at a scheduled business meeting OR a regular worship service, provided that two-week’s written notice has been given.
Deacons will be elected every second year, with the liberty to be re-nominated for up to three consecutive terms (6 years), after which they must rest for two years.
Section 5: Secretary, Treasurer, Money Counters, Budget Committee members, and Teachers
The Secretary, Treasurer, Money Counters, and Budget Committee members shall be elected annually. Given the sensitive nature of handling incoming cheques, and to avoid conflict, Elders may wish to recommend names for the Money Counters, but they must still be voted in by the congregation. Teachers, however, may be selected by the Deacon of Sunday School, and will fall under the supervision of the Elders.
The elected Secretary of the church shall keep in a suitable book, a record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The secretary is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admission, dismissal, or death, together with a record or baptisms. The secretary shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, archive all communications and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meetings where such service is necessary, as indicated by these By-laws. The church records are church property and should be filed in the church office when an office is maintained. In the absence of the secretary in a business meeting, an acting secretary shall be appointed.
It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon the receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel as authorized by the church, all money, or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. The Treasurer should be able to render to the church quarterly, upon request, an itemized report of the receipts and the disbursements for the preceding months along with an itemized report of all accounts payable. The treasurer’s records shall be audited at least every second year, by an auditing committee or public accountant.
The Treasurer will also call a Budget Committee Meeting, which will meet once annually (in November- December) to draft a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in January. The Treasurer is expected to extend at least two weeks’ notice to all Deacons of this meeting, to allow them due time to adjust old (or request new) budget lines.
They shall count and record monies received by the church. There shall be a minimum of two counters serving at any time when money and cheques are handled.
Budget Committee Members
The Budget Committee will be comprised of the Treasurer, an Elder (not the pastor), and five other members voted in at the Annual Meeting. The Pastor may attend for counsel but may not be nominated as a voting Committee member.
Teachers need not be voted in at a business meeting, as indicated in the Constitution (see Article V: Organizational Structure), since the Annual Meeting occurs in the middle of the Sunday School year. However, since they are acting in a role of special trust, them must hold membership.
Article VI Church Ordinances:
Section 1: Baptism
The church shall hold to the practice of baptism in the New Testament, that is, only those who accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord will be accepted for baptism, and that baptism shall be immersion in water. The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism. Baptism is a prerequisite for church membership.
Section 2: Lord’s Supper
This church shall observe the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. Believers in Christ Jesus who are of like faith and order may take the Lord’s Supper. The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer the Lord’s Supper.
Article VII Amendments/ Additions to the By-laws:
Changes in the by-laws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church. Amendments to the by-laws shall have a concurrence of a majority of the members present and voting.
Fairview Cornerstone Baptist Church
Bringing His Message of Peace to The Peace And Beyond!
Constitution and Bylaws of Cornerstone