The name of this church is Linworth Baptist Church.
ARTICLE II - Authority
The local church is a congregation of immersed believers, associated by the covenant of faith and the fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by New Testament doctrine; and exercising the gifts, rights and privileges invested in them by the Word; that its officers are Pastor and Deacons; and that the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity.
The local church has the biblical right of self-government under the authority of Christ and should be free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations. In matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the local church shall make its own decisions subject solely to God's Word (Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 20:17-28; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 5:23-24).
ARTICLE III - Fellowship
It is scriptural for churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of the Gospel, but each local church is the sole judge of the measure and method of its cooperation. The church’s fellowship shall be based on and in harmony with the principles taught in the Word of God.
ARTICLE IV - Membership
Section 1 - Types of Membership
Regular members will be accepted into membership after meeting the delineated qualifications. Any regular member in good standing who has reached the 18th birthday will be eligible to vote in the business meetings of the Church.
Any person, and/or spouse, who is engaged in full-time, vocational Christian service outside of Franklin County and is unable to regularly attend church activities, may retain their membership until such time they request their name be removed from membership.
Section 2 - Reception into Membership
Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and being in agreement with the Church Covenant and Declaration of Faith, may be received into membership after believer’s baptism (see Article 12 of the Declaration of Faith for our practice).
Members may be received upon their statement of Christian experience before the Board of Deacons, if they have undergone believer’s baptism, and are in agreement with the Church’s Declaration of Faith, Constitution and Bylaws, and Church Covenant.
Section 3 - Removal of Members
Letters of transfer for the purpose of uniting with other churches of like faith and order will be granted to members in good standing, by decision of the Board of Deacons, and then removed from the membership roll.
The Board of Deacons will review the membership roll annually and determine which members have not attended church activities for a year, and may place them on the inactive roll. Inactive members lose the right to speak and vote at church meetings. Names on the inactive roll for more than one year may be removed from the membership roll by decision of the Board of Deacons.
Members living habitually in sin or guilty of flagrant violation of Christian conduct or promoting doctrinal error shall be subject to church discipline under the pattern set forth in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-17, Romans 16:17-18, 1 Corinthians 5:11-13). While the aim of such discipline should always be restoration, (Galatians 6:1) an unrepentant spirit may lead to dismissal.
ARTICLE V – Officers
Section 1 – Senior Pastor
Qualifications - The Senior Pastor of the church will manifest godly character set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He will be in harmony with the doctrine and philosophy of this church, he will give evidence of possessing the gift of pastor-teacher, and he will have a good reputation in the ministry of the Word.
Duties - The Senior Pastor will oversee the spiritual life and program of the church and all its departments. It will be his duty to preach at the services of the church and to be moderator at all church meetings. He will serve as Chairman of the Board of Deacons and will be an ex-officio member of all church committees and boards. He will oversee the ordinances of the church and fulfill all other duties set forth in the New Testament relating to pastors.
Selection - The Senior Pastor will be chosen by the church in a duly called business meeting by not less than 75% of the votes cast.
Termination - If the Senior Pastor should desire a change of pastorate, he will give the church 30 days notice prior to his leaving. Should the church desire a severance of pastoral relations, this may be affected by a majority vote at a duly called business meeting. The Senior Pastor is to be given 30 days notice from that meeting. Should the Senior Pastor become an offense to the church and its testimony by engaging in heretical teaching or immoral conduct, he may be suspended immediately by 2/3 vote of the Board of Deacons until the Church can meet at a duly called business meeting to discuss the situation.
Section 2 - Pastoral Staff
Additional members to the pastoral staff will be called and dismissed in the same manner as the Senior Pastor. They will exemplify godly character, be in harmony with the doctrine and philosophy of the church, and give evidence of spiritual gifts appropriate for their specific areas of ministry. They will work with the Senior Pastor and under his direction.
Section 3 - Deacons
Qualifications - The Board of Deacons will consist of not less than nine men, and will be chosen from the membership on the basis of the requirements set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13.
Duties - It will be the duty of the Deacons to minister to the needs of the Church family, to aid in the church ordinances, to assume general supervision of the property and finances of the church, to assist the Senior Pastor in the spiritual interests of the church, and to serve as the Pulpit Committee during the selection of a new Pastor. In order to meet the requirements of the civil law, the Board of Deacons will act in the capacity of Trustees. The Deacons may approve without congregational approval items not included in the annual budget up to an amount previously set by the congregation.
Selection - Nominations for Deacons will be obtained from members of the church approximately 2 months prior to the Annual Business Meeting. Each member will have the privilege of nominating a number of candidates for the office of Deacon equal to the number to be elected at the Annual Business Meeting. A Nominating Committee, consisting of the Senior Pastor and the Board of Deacons, will consult and select a sufficient number of those receiving nominations from the church members. When sufficient nominees are not available from the initial nominating process, the Nominating Committee will complete the election ballot. The nominees then will be elected by paper ballot by the church members at the Annual Business Meeting. In the event of an unexpired term, additional candidates may be presented at the Annual Business Meeting or a special election may be held to fill the vacancy.
Term - approximately one-third of the Deacon Board shall be elected each year for a 3-year term by a majority of the voting members present at the Annual Business Meeting. A Deacon may be elected to two (2) consecutive terms, after which 1 year must intervene before he is eligible for reelection.
Section 4 - Appointments and Committees
The Deacons shall annually select from their own number a Vice-Chairman/Vice Moderator to serve in the absence of the Senior Pastor, and a Secretary and Assistant Secretary to keep records for the Board of Deacons. They shall also annually appoint individuals and committees necessary for carrying on the various ministries of the Church. They shall be responsible for maintaining a current job description for each of these positions and committees specifying the duties and authority of each.
All appointments, committee chairs, ministry leaders, head teachers in Christian Education ministries, and the officers of any auxiliary organization shall be members of the church in good standing.
ARTICLE VI - Church Meetings
Section 1 - Regular Meetings
The church will meet for public worship of Almighty God on the first day of the week. In addition, there will be times set aside for prayer and Bible Study during the week. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper will be observed by the church on the first Sunday of each month, except on special occasions when it may be changed by the Senior Pastor. Baptismal services will be arranged whenever there are candidates.
Section 2 - Business Meetings
The Annual Business Meeting of the Church will be held in the first quarter of the fiscal year at a date to be determined by the Board of Deacons. Special meetings may be called by the Senior Pastor or, in his absence, by the Board of Deacons. Such meetings will require a previous announcement at the regular Sunday services preceding said business meeting.
ARTICLE VII - Financial Policy
The operating expense money shall be raised in public services by receiving the offerings of God's people. Special solicitation of funds will be sanctioned by and under the direction of the Senior Pastor and Deacons.
ARTICLE VIII - Amendments
This Constitution may be amended at any annual or specially called business meeting of the church by a majority vote of the members present, providing amendments have been posted or presented at the regular Sunday services for two Sundays preceding said Business Meeting.