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of Willis, Texas, Inc.
For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of The Fellowship Church of Willis, Texas (“the Church”) and the freedom of action of this body with respect to its relation to other churches of like faith and order, we do declare and establish these Bylaws.
Article I – Name and Mission
The name of this church shall be “The Fellowship Church of Willis, Texas, Inc.”
The mission of the church shall be:
A. To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as near and as far, as often and as truly as by the grace of God it is possible.
This is to be understood that by every honest means, as a Church, we shall engage in a continuous effort to get the people to the Gospel and the Gospel to the people.
To baptize all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, having given evidence that such is true.
That upon such baptism the candidate thereto shall be received into the membership of this Church, upon completion of the membership class (membership class applies to only those 18 years of age or older).
C. To teach, equip, exhort, and admonish all believers by God’s Holy Word and through the power of the Holy Spirit so believers are spurred unto righteous living and to the business of personal discipleship.
So that those believers have so put on Christ as to have learned the joy of supreme faithfulness to Him and to this church, and have so laid hold upon the truth that they are living lives reflecting a constant holiness and an expectancy of the return of Christ to take us unto himself in the fulfillment of his Word.
Article II – Statement of Faith
The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith.
The church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000.
Article III – Church Relationship
The relationships of this church shall be as follows:
We recognize a Baptist Church to be an organized body of baptized believers, equal in rank and privilege, democratic in spirit, theocratic in principles of government, absolutely independent in administering its own affairs and acknowledging the headship of Jesus Christ.
Though subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Baptist churches.
This church body is a Baptist church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, their affiliated organizations, and the Tryon Evergreen Baptist Association.
Should this church cease to be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, all the buildings and property would become property of the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention.
In order for this church to cease being affiliated with either or both the Southern Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, the procedure must be as follows:
A. Upon the motion of a deacon at a regular business meeting and the subsequent vote of one hundred percent (100%) of the members present, the matter will be presented to the pastor and deacons for further discussion.
B. A meeting of the pastor and deacons will be scheduled, provided ample notice is given and the pastor and all deacons are present.
If one hundred percent (100%) of those present in the meeting vote to approve the recommendation, the pastor and deacons may then recommend to the church at a business meeting that the motion to cease such affiliation be adopted.
C. The recommendation of the pastor and deacons will then be published in all announcements possible and provided to all members over a one (1) month period at which time there shall be a special business meeting called for a final vote on the motion and must carry a one hundred percent (100%) approval of all members present.
Article IV – Church Governance, Membership, and Discipline
This sovereign Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ retains unto itself the exclusive right to the earthly life of the church.
The church reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of the church and the condition of such membership.
The church is a body, which is democratic in spirit, and theocratic in principles of government in the operation of its governance as set forth herein.
The Church is subject to the control of no other religious body, but enjoys mutual counsel and cooperation with other churches of like faith and order.
Any person may become a candidate for membership in the church upon the completion of the church membership class and through professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving evidence of a change of heart and adopting the views of faith and practice held by this church and as set forth in Article II (2) STATEMENT OF FAITH may, upon baptism, be received into its membership.
DISCIPLINE OF CHURCH MEMBERS
We believe in a regenerate church membership; that church discipline is taught in the entire Bible, specifically and , and that we have a responsibility for each other.
It shall be the basic purpose of the church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member.
The pastor and members of the church shall be available to any troubled member for counsel and guidance.
Redemption rather than punishment shall be the guideline that governs the attitude of one member toward another.
Therefore, the following disciplinary process is to be followed:
A. Should any unhappy differences arise among members, the aggrieved member shall follow, in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in : (1) private correction, (2) group clarification, (3) church admonition, and (4) church excommunication.
B. Should any case of gross breach of covenant, or of public scandal occur, any member aware of such breach shall endeavor to remove the offenses; and if this effort fails, shall report the case to the pastor.
C. A spirit of Christian kindness, forbearance, and prayer shall pervade all such proceedings.
However, shall an adverse decision be reached, the church may proceed to declare the offender to be no longer in the membership of the church by the recommendation of the pastor.
D. The pastor may restore any person whose membership has been terminated upon evidence of repentance and reformation.
Article V – Church Officers and Staff
All church officers (pastor and deacons) and staff must be members of the church.
The officers and staff of this church shall be as follows:
The pastor must be qualified according to Scripture (; ), and shall fulfill the following roles:
A. The pastor is the administrative and spiritual leader of the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff.
He is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church.
The pastor shall be a duly licensed and ordained Southern Baptist minister in full fellowship with all denominational agencies with which the church is cooperating.
B. The pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in the church, and will lead the deacons and staff to fulfill the mission of the church as outlined in article I.
C. The pastor’s attire shall be professional and consistent with his duties.
D. In the event of a pastor’s dismissal, the deacons shall nominate a pastor search team to search for a candidate for pastor.
Only one candidate at a time may be presented at a special called business meeting, in which case a secret ballot vote shall be taken.
The church shall not call the candidate unless he carries a ninety percent (90%) vote.
E. A vote of confidence for a pastor may only be called by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of deacons at a special called deacon meeting, in which the pastor must be present.
After calling for this vote, it must be announced to the church at every assembling of the membership for one week before the special called meeting where the vote is actually taken.
All measures are to be exhausted to ensure that the entire church membership is aware of the vote.
The pastor must carry at least seventy-five percent (75%) approval of the voting members to continue as pastor.
If the pastor does not carry seventy-five percent (75%) approval, he will be immediately terminated and the church shall pay him one month’s severance pay and any reimbursements due him.
Deacons of the church shall be ordained and qualified according to Scripture (; ), and shall fulfill the following roles:
A. The deacon is a servant of the church in accordance to Scripture.
He shall, under the leadership of the pastor, serve the church body in servant ministries.
B. There shall be at least one (1) deacon for every fifty (50) members in the church with a minimum of three (3) deacons total.
Upon the determination by the pastor of a need for deacon(s), an announcement will be made during a Sunday morning service.
The church body will submit nominations for deacon in writing to the pastor for a period of no more than thirty (30) days.
Once the pastor confirms the qualifications of the nominee(s) with the most recommendations, he will be ordained during any service that is deemed appropriate by the pastor.
C. The deacon shall have been a Christian for a minimum of two (2) years and a member of the church for a minimum of one (1) year to be considered.
D. A deacon may resign from service by making his request to the pastor in writing, or may be terminated from service as deacon upon determination by the pastor of gross negligence of duty.
E. While the deacon’s work is continual, each deacon will serve in turn as “deacon of the month.”
The deacon of the month shall be responsible for the unlocking of the facility and preparation of service, performing emergency welfare visits or coordinating with other deacons if unable, and any other duties that the pastor deems necessary.
This church shall employ staff members as the church shall need, and the pastor must present the job description during a business meeting for a ninety percent (90%) approval of the members.
The pastor will approve the subsequent selection of personnel.
All church staff shall follow any policies as may be set forth in a policies and procedures handbook.
The moderator shall be the pastor.
In the event that the pastor will be absent, he shall appoint a moderator to conduct the meeting.
The church shall elect annually a clerk that will be responsible for keeping suitable records of membership and baptisms.
Any of these tasks may be delegated to the church secretary.
The church shall employ a secretary that will maintain all financial records, business meeting records, responsibilities, and communications.
A team shall serve to accomplish a specific goal and will terminate at a specific date and time, or when their assigned project is complete.
The team members shall be nominated by the pastor and approved by the church with a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote.
The pastor will serve as chairman of each team, or he may delegate the position of chairman to one of the team members.
The church shall nominate at least three members to serve as the trustee board and they may serve until the relationship is dissolved at the request of either the board member or the pastor.
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