ARTICLE 1 – NAME
The legal name of this church will be the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Bloomington, Indiana, Incorporated having been organized February 9, 1958 and incorporated May 19, 1963. The church is also referred to as Emmanuel or Emmanuel Church.
ARTICLE 2 – PURPOSE
Emmanuel exists to glorify God. We purpose to make Him known in our community and the world by proclaiming and living God’s Word. Therefore, by God’s grace, nonbelievers will trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and believers will be established in the faith and equipped for ministry to others.
ARTICLE 3 – ASSOCIATIONS
This church is associated with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, the Crossroads Fellowship of Churches and the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana. Emmanuel can only be associated with other ministry organizations if the council of elders determines that such associations are in agreement with our Statement of Faith.
ARTICLE 4 – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Emmanuel invites any person, at least 16 years old, professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, having been baptized by immersion after salvation, and willing to be governed by the Constitution, the Covenant and the Statement of Faith is invited to become a member of this church. The person will complete a church membership application and complete a membership interview with a member of the council of elders. If the interview is satisfactory, the person will be accepted into membership by a majority vote of the council of elders.
Section 2: A member must be subject to the lordship of Christ as revealed in the Bible. A member must also be regularly involved in the life of the church. Only a member may be the leader of an ongoing church ministry, and only a member may vote.
Section 3: Any member, not in the process of discipline in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-5, may resign without a congregational vote. A member not responding to discipline in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-5 or not regularly involved in the life of the church will, upon recommendation from the council of elders, be removed from membership by a majority vote of the church.
Section 4: Associate membership is available for anyone who temporarily comes to Bloomington for educational, vocational, or personal reasons but wishes to remain a member of another church. The procedure for becoming an associate member as well as the responsibilities and the privileges are the same as for regular membership. Associate members will be removed from membership upon the expiration of their time in Bloomington.
ARTICLE 5 – OFFICERS, MINISTRY TEAMS AND STAFF
Section 1: Officers of this church will include elders, deacons, clerk, treasurer, financial secretaries and auditors. Elders who are paid by the church for their role as an elder will be called pastors. The church may have as many elders and deacons as deemed necessary by the congregation with a recommendation of a minimum of three elders and three deacons. The council of elders should have at least as many elders as there are pastors. All church officers are responsible to the oversight of the council of elders.
Section 2: The council of elders will form ministry teams to enable the church to fulfill its purpose. When necessary, a pastor search team will be formed. All ministry teams are responsible to the council of elders.
Section 3: All officers, except pastors, must have been a member of the church for at least one year. Officers’ lives must demonstrate spiritual maturity and agreement with the Constitution, the Covenant and the Statement of Faith. In addition, elders must be men whose lives are characterized by the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Deacons’ lives must be characterized by the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8-12. An office will remain vacant if there are no qualified candidates.
Section 4: Nominations for all officers may be made in writing to the council of elders by any member. The council of elders will review these nominations according to the qualifications for the office and formulate a ballot. Nominees will be elected by a majority of votes cast by the congregation. A member can only hold one office at a time.
Section 5: Nominations for pastors will be made to the congregation by the council of elders. A congregational meeting for a vote will be announced at least two weeks in advance. A three-fourths majority of votes cast is required to hire a pastor. Pastors automatically become members of the church.
Section 6: New paid staff positions may be recommended to the council of elders by any member. The council of elders will consider the recommendation and may bring a motion to the congregation. The council of elders will hire persons to fill these positions. Persons hired will be responsible to a designated church officer.
ARTICLE 6 – DUTIES
Section 1: The council of elders is responsible to lovingly lead, faithfully feed, practically care for and diligently protect the congregation. This includes but is not limited to: the overall leadership of the church, the public and private ministry of prayer and God’s Word, the shepherding of the congregation, the protection of the church from false teaching, the visitation of those who are sick, the development of an annual budget, the oversight of church finances according to the approved budget, the evangelistic outreach of the church and the accountability of the church to God and to the government. The council of elders will also ensure that the church communicates well at all levels and will be wholehearted champions of the pastors, paid staff and leaders of the church. The council of elders will meet as often as they deem necessary to fulfill their responsibilities and will work with the deacons to meet needs in the congregation and plan for the future needs of the church.
Section 2: Elders will be given specific areas of responsibility and accountability through ministry descriptions. They are to assist each other in carrying out their assigned duties.
Section 3: The deacons will serve the church through meeting needs according to God’s Word. This includes but is not limited to: ensuring that adequate property and casualty insurance is in force, maintaining building and grounds in a state conducive to the ministry of the church, planning for future needs of the ministry and ensuring that all uses of the church facilities are consistent with the mission of the church. The deacons will receive designated offerings, disburse them as needs arise and report receipts and disbursements to the council of elders and to the congregation in summary form. The deacons will encourage fellowship and hospitality in the congregation. The deacons will meet as often as they deem necessary to fulfill their responsibilities and will work with the council of elders to meet needs in the congregation and plan for the future needs of the church.
Section 4: The church clerk will prepare accurate minutes of all church family meetings.
Section 5: The financial secretaries will count offerings, deposit offerings in the church’s bank account, keep accurate and confidential records of all offerings received, give receipts annually to donors and report, in summary form, to the council of elders as requested.
Section 6: The treasurer will disburse funds according to vouchers prepared by a church staff member and approved by a council of elders designee, reconcile the monthly bank statement with oversight by a council of elders designee; and provide a monthly balance sheet, operating statement and other reports to the council of elders, as requested, and to the congregation at quarterly congregational meetings.
Section 7: Auditors will annually audit financial records, using appropriate methods to assure appropriate financial controls and report their findings to the council of elders. The council of elders will deliver the findings of the report to the congregation during one of the regularly scheduled congregational meetings.
ARTICLE 7 – TERMS OF OFFICE
Section 1 There is no time-limit on a pastor’s term of office. To resign voluntarily, a pastor must give at least two months’ notice to the council of elders.
Section 2 Elders, deacons, financial secretaries and auditors will serve a three-year term of office and may serve consecutive terms. The terms will be staggered so that one-third of the officers will end each year. The treasurer and clerk will serve one-year terms and may serve consecutive terms. Should an office be vacated early, a special election will take place to replace the officer as soon as possible.
Section 3 A person with a charge against an officer must go to the officer in obedience to Matthew 18:15-20 and Galatians 6:1-5. If the problem is not resolved, the person with the charge against an officer should immediately go to an elder and request that they go to the officer together. If the problem is still not resolved, they should go to the council of elders, who will, if necessary, present the matter to the congregation. The congregation may remove any officer, other than an elder, with a majority of votes cast. No accusation against an elder will be considered except on the basis of at least three witnesses, and an elder who continues to sin will be rebuked publically (1Timothy 5:19-20).
Section 4 An elder’s term of office may be terminated involuntarily. Members representing at least three households may request that the council of elders evaluate an elder’s ministry. The council of elders must then determine whether a vote of confidence should be taken. Should they choose to conduct a vote of confidence, the elder must be notified, privately, one week before any announcement, and must be told the schedule for the meetings required for such a vote.
A vote of confidence requires two meetings, one for discussion and one for the vote. The vote of confidence must be announced over three consecutive Sundays. The first meeting will take place between the second and third announcements. At this meeting, each side will be given opportunity to present its case fairly and objectively. The second meeting will take place after the third announcement. At this meeting, a vote will be taken, but no discussion will be permitted. A two-third’s affirmative vote of members present is required for the elder to continue his ministry at Emmanuel. Should a vote of confidence not be sustained, or should the pastor resign after being notified of the vote of confidence but before the date of the second meeting, his term of office will cease immediately. A pastor who resigns or does not sustain a vote of confidence will receive two months compensation.
ARTICLE 8 – CHURCH MEETINGS
Section 1 The church will meet regularly on Sunday for public worship. The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at times determined by the council of elders.
Section 2 Four regular congregational meetings are required throughout the year. Additional congregational meetings will be held as necessary. Each meeting must be announced at least one week in advance.
If a vote is to be taken, a quorum consisting of a minimum of 30 percent of members residing in Indiana must be present at the beginning of the meeting.
Section 3 Congregational meetings will be moderated by an elder. Meetings will follow the regulations set forth in this constitution and the parliamentary procedure described by Robert’s Rules of Order.
Section 4 The four required congregational meetings will be quarterly meetings held in the months of January, April, July and October. The vote to approve the annual budget will be held at the January meeting and the budget will be retroactive to the first day of the year. The election of officers will be held during the month of December. Newly elected officers will assume their responsibilities at the beginning of the new year.
ARTICLE 9 – AMENDMENTS
Any member may submit a written proposal for constitutional amendments or revisions to the council of elders. The council of elders will consider the proposal and report its decision to the person who submitted it. The council of elders will propose constitutional amendments and revisions to the congregation. The proposal and the date of the vote must be announced for two consecutive weeks prior to the vote and the text of the proposal must be available to the congregation during this time. A two-third’s majority of votes cast is necessary for ratification or revision of the amendments.
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