HBC Church Constitution
The name of this church shall be Heritage Baptist Church, Duluth, Minnesota.
Article 2- Purpose of the Church
The purpose of this organization shall be to provide a spiritual fellowship among New Testament believers of Duluth and vicinity.
1. To maintain a place of worship and prayer, with faithful recognition of the New Testament doctrines and ordinances.
2. To provide a center of training for the whole family in Bible knowledge and doctrine.
3. To give training and incentive to a program of continuous witnessing under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
4. To teach and give example of faithful stewardship in both time and money.
5. To faithfully support missionary endeavors at home and abroad.
6. To maintain a testimony separated from the Ecumenical Movement.
Article 3 Membership
Section A. Reception of Members
Those desiring membership shall be interviewed by the Pastor and deacons, who, if satisfied, shall recommend such persons to the church for a vote at any regular or special meeting. Candidates must be those professing faith in Christ, giving evidence of a transformed life, having been baptized by immersion following salvation, and who adopt the rules of faith and practice held by this church. No one shall be a member of this church while holding membership in another church. Members may be received by:
1. Letters of transfer from other Baptist churches of like faith.
2. Confession of faith, for those having no previous church membership, coming from other than Baptist churches of like faith, or in any other circumstance where there is no letter of transfer.
3. Restoration, upon recommendation of the Deacons.
Section B. Duties of Members
Generally as set forth in the church covenant.
Section C. Suspension of Members
1. It shall be the work of the deacons within a reasonable length of time before each annual meeting and the quarterly business meeting of June to survey the membership roll and to recommend to the church, members to be placed on the inactive list pending church vote. These would be members who have not attended regularly, Sunday services for a period of 6 months unless providentially hindered. The deacons shall attempt to visit those involved to inform them of the contemplated action.
2. Those whose names are on the inactive list shall lose their right to vote and participate in business meetings and are not eligible for a letter of transfer. Their names shall without further action be dropped from the membership of the church at the expiration of 6 months, unless interest is shown.
3. Those on the inactive list may be restored to active membership by application to the deacons, giving evidence of repentance, and renewal of the covenant and compliance with the doctrine and practice of the church. The deacons may recommend them to the church for a vote after a two-month period of probation from the time of application.
Section D. Discipline of Members
1. The Pastor and Deacons shall constitute the Disciplinary Committee before whom all charges of a disciplinary nature must be brought. In case of personal differences between members of the church, the disciplinary committee shall take action to settle the dispute according to Matthew 18:15-17.
2. By recommendation of the Disciplinary Committee and vote of the church, church membership may be withdrawn from those who no longer hold to the doctrine or position of this church or who utterly disregard the church covenant pledge, or act in such a way as the Scriptures forbids, and refuse to repent of the same. No one shall have his church membership dropped without having been given full opportunity for defense before the deacons.
3. No charge against any member or group of members is to be presented to the church by any individual or group until such charge shall first have been presented in writing with a personal signature before the Deacons, who shall look into the matter, confer with the accused, and if satisfied that the charges made are true, and if the accused shows no sign of repentance, make recommendation to the church accordingly.
4. Restoration of membership shall be by the same procedure as for those on the inactive list. Section C 3.
Section E. Dismissal of Members
A letter of transfer may be granted at any meeting of the church to any member in good standing wishing to unite with another Baptist Church of like faith. Letters of Christian character may be granted those desiring to unite with other than Baptist churches of like faith. Letters will be granted to specifically named churches.
Article 4 Officers of the Church
The officers and teachers shall be chosen from the members whose lives are characterized by Godliness (I Timothy 4:7,12), that are present in all of the services of the church unless providentially hindered, who are not conformed to this world-- its music, entertainments, appearance, or evil habits (Romans 12:1-2). It is preferable that they be a member of the church for at least five months before being chosen. No person shall hold more than two elective offices at one time, nor a family more than three at one time. Other offices may be added as the church deems necessary. The offices of deacon, church treasurer, and church clerk will be determined by church vote at the annual business meeting. The pastor and deacons may appoint someone to any of these offices to complete a term that has been vacated for any reason
Section A. Pastor
1. Call--as often as it may become necessary to call a pastor, the Pulpit Committee will, without unnecessary delay, investigate and invite to the Church, a male minister of good report who accepts the doctrine, stand and position of the Church. If, after hearing him, the Pulpit Committee shall desire to consider him as a pulpit candidate, the church shall meet in business session called according to this constitution at which time a call to become pastor shall be extended to him if 2/3 of the members present vote in his favor. If the candidate accepts, he and his wife must become members of the church. The deacons shall act as a Pulpit Committee when the church is without a pastor. To avoid confusion, only one candidate for the pulpit shall be considered at a time.
2. Qualifications--Those set forth in all the Scriptures.
3. Duties--It shall be the duty of the pastor to preach statedly at the church, to administer the ordinances of the church, to call on members, as well as reaching the community, to disciple and train leadership, to assume the Scriptural oversight in every area, to act as moderator for all business sessions of the church. In the pastors absence, or when the question of salary or dismissal is up for consideration, the chairman of the deacons shall moderate the meeting. In a planned absence the pastor and deacons shall determine the pulpit supply. The pastor is an ex-oficio member of all boards and committees of the church.
4. Vacation--The pastor shall be given at least two full weeks vacation with pay each year. The church shall assist in sending the pastor and his wife to the state and national conferences of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches when possible.
5. Dismissal--The pastor shall continue in office until he resigns or is dismissed. He may be dismissed by a 2/3 vote of the members present in a properly called business meeting called for that purpose. When at any time the church or pastor desire to sever relations, a 30-day notice shall be given the other party. The length of time may be changed if mutually agreeable. If it is not deemed wise by the church for him to continue his duties, he may be released immediately with a months pay, except in a case of immorality when he would be dismissed immediately without pay, with consideration given to his family.
Section B. Deacons
1. The church shall elect (a Board of Deacons) at its annual meeting. The number of deacons on the board will be determined by the number of members in the church. Terms are to be arranged so as not to expire at one time. Any deacon having served three consecutive terms must remain out of office for one year before becoming eligible for election as a deacon again. A term for a deacon shall be two years.
2. Qualifications--Those set forth in all the Scripture.
3. Duties--It shall be their responsibility, not to govern, but to serve the congregation and to uphold the pastor in prayer and cooperation. Each deacon shall have a portion of the membership for his watchcare--to remember in prayer and to call upon or invite to his home at least once during the year. The deacons shall serve the Lords Supper, distribute the alms of the church to those in need, and enthusiastically participate in the church's outreach to the community. In the absence of the pastor, one of the deacons shall conduct the prayer the prayer meeting, introduce visiting speakers, see that an orderly service is prepared, and be responsible for meals and lodging for the guests.
4. The deacons shall review annually the pastor’s salary and recommend to the church if they feel a change is in order.
5. They shall elect a chairman who shall see that business decided is successfully carried out, and shall elect a secretary who would keep record of their decisions as a board. They will meet as often as deemed necessary by the board to complete their business. A report may be given at the Quarterly and Annual business meetings.
6. The deacons and pastor shall constitute the Disciplinary Committee. The deacons shall constitute the Pulpit Committee when the church is without a pastor.
7. The deacons and their wives shall assist in the preparation for and during a baptismal service and may prepare the Lord's Supper.
8. The deacons shall also serve as Trustees in accordance with the laws of Minnesota.
A. The trustees shall care for the upkeep of the church property, looking after its repair and respect, keeping it insured, and authorizing such bills and claims thereby made necessary from the current expense of the treasury. They may employ and dismiss a janitor for the care of the church.
B. They may not execute business that involves over $200 without a vote of the church.
C. They may appoint one of their numbers to assist in counting all funds received by the church and keep an accurate account of the same.
Section C. Church Treasurer
The church shall elect from its active membership a treasurer at the annual meeting for a term of one year. It will be the duty of this person to receive all money belonging to the church and deposit the same in the local bank in the name of the church. This person shall keep an accurate account of the receipts and disbursements of the church and report such at the quarterly and annual business meetings.
Section D. Church Clerk
The church shall elect from its active membership a church clerk at the annual meeting for a term of one year. The clerk will keep record of all the business actions taken by the church and report the same at the next business meet of the church or whenever requested to do so. The clerk will keep a register of all the members of the church with the dates of birth, conversion, baptism, admission, dismissal, or death. The clerk will notify all officers, members of committees, or delegates of their election or appointment, issue letters of transfer or certificates of dismissal voted by the church, notify those placed on the inactive list or dropped from the roll, preserve all communications and official reports, give legal notice of all meetings when such notice is required by this constitution. The records are church property and are available to the pastor and board of deacons.
Article 5 Meetings
Section A. Meetings
1. The pastor and deacons will set the days and times of the meetings upon church approval. An evening or midweek service will be used for business meetings. For those times a quorum of 1/3 of the legal voting members is required, having one half of the deacons present.
2. The fiscal year of the church shall open Jan. 1st and close Dec 31st of each year. The church will hold its annual meeting in the month of January at a date scheduled by the pastor and deacons. Election of officers will be held at this meeting and reports of the various offices given.
3. Quarterly business meetings will be held in the months of April, July, and October.
4. Special meetings may be called by the pastor, board of deacons, or the clerk at written request of at ten members in good standing and representing at least four different families. Meetings shall be announced with a statement of purpose from the pulpit at two preceding services, one a Sunday morning service and one a weekday service.
Section B. Quorum
1. It shall require 1/3 of the voting members to constitute a quorum for the conducting of business in annual, quarterly, or special business meetings.
2. If lack of a quorum prevents conducting of business, a second meeting may be called in accordance with Article V, Section A, Paragraph 4. If there is a lack of a quorum at this meeting, another meeting may be called at which time the majority vote of the members present shall rule in lieu of a quorum.
3. All members in good standing 18 years of age and older shall be eligible to vote.
Section C. Nominating Procedure
The deacons shall prepare a listing of the offices to be filled and make available one month before the annual meeting. These slips shall be turned in by eligible voting members with nominations for that office. From these nominations the deacons shall examine the qualifications of the persons, gain their approval, and prepare a ballot with at least two nominees for each office when possible. The ballot shall be posted a week before the election.
Section D. Manner of Conducting Business
1. Parliamentary law shall be used in the conducting of all business meetings.
2. All questions shall be decided by majority vote except when calling or dismissal of the pastor and ordination when a 2/3 vote is required.
3. Order of business shall be according to Robert's Rules of Orders.
4. The church reserves to itself the right to approve or reject the recommendations of any board or committee. It is desirable that the church not take action on spiritual or material matters without referring it to the proper board for recommendation. The church may appoint a date for the board to give its recommendation.
Article 6 Use of the Church
No secret societies shall be permitted to hold services in the church,
Use of the church building shall be by consent of the pastor and deacons.
Any visiting speaker must have approval of the pastor and deacons
Article 7 Licensing and Ordaining
Section A. Licensing
The deacons may recommend to the vote of the church those men who give Scriptural evidences that they have been called to preach the Gospel. He shall have preached before the church and live a Godly life. Upon the vote of the church he will be granted a license to preach for one year, with the church reserving to itself the right of recall.
Section B. Ordaining
The church may ordain proven male preachers of the Word who are in full doctrinal agreement with this church, following their expressed desire to be ordained. The deacons shall consider his qualifications and, if they deem them acceptable, recommend that the church vote to call an examining council of pastors and laymen of Baptist churches of like faith. After consideration of the recommendation of the council, the church may them proceed with the ordination of the candidate. The church may by 2/3 majority proceed with the ordination. No candidate will be considered for licensing or ordination who is not a member in good standing of this church. Certificate of ordination by this church is subject to recall should the man at any subsequent time depart from the doctrine of this church or engage in immoral practices.
Article 8 Financial Policy
No moneys shall be raised for the support of the church and its various activities by any but the Biblical plan of tithes, offerings, gifts, and sacrificial love considerations for the Lord's work. This shall be construed to mean that suppers, bazaars, etc. are not a Scriptural means of raising money.
Article 9 Association
This church shall seek fellowship with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the Minnesota Association of Regular Baptist Churches as long as they follow what the Bible teaches.
Article 10 Amendments
Proposed alterations must be presented to the church in business session at which time a date may be set for the church to vote on the proposal at least one month later. This meeting must be called in accordance with the requirements for special meetings with the purpose declared. After prayerful consideration, a majority vote shall be required to make a change.
Article 11 Dissolution Clause
In the event of the dissolution of this local church, the assets and property shall go to the Continental Baptist Missions, which would fulfill the requirements of Minnesota Service Code 4315.12 and United States Revenue Service Code of 1954, Article 501. Section C-3.