What We Believe

Friendship Baptist Church Constitution

Voted & Accepted January 13, 2016
Preamble
 
We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith, and to govern the body in an orderly manner.  This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to others.
 
Article 1. Name
 
The name of this church shall be Friendship Baptist Church, located at 5300 Berryhill Rd., Milton, Florida 32570.
 
Article 2. Objectives
 
1. Love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.2. Love our neighbor(s) as ourselves.
 
Article 3. Articles of Faith
 
This body accepts the Holy Bible as the authority in matters of faith and practice, and as a Southern Baptist Church (SBC), do subscribe to the doctrinal statement of “The Baptist Faith and Message” as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention of June 14, 2000 and Friendship Baptist Church Public Statement of Faith in Regards to Marriage accepted on November 11, 2015.
 
Article 4. Relationships
 
1. This church was organized as a Southern Baptist Church, by the Santa Rosa Baptist Association and Calvary Baptist Church of Allentown, Florida.  The Title Deed to the property of this church holds a revert clause which states that should the congregation of this church become other than a Southern Baptist congregation, thereby breaking fellowship and/or relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention, on the national level, the state level, or the associational level, the property of this church shall go to the Florida Baptist Convention.
 
2. So long as this congregation remains Southern Baptist in its faith and teachings the government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it.  Should the congregation become a “split” congregation, with one part having ties and affiliations with another denomination or group or become independent apart from the Southern Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptist portion of members shall have the majority vote even if they are the minority, or just the one.3. Except as already noted, this church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligation of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist Churches.  Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Santa Rosa Baptist Association, the Florida Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
 
Article 5. Call to Friendship
 
Realizing there is power in Friendship, (Eccl 4: 9-12) we as a body of believers…? Seek friendship with God by connecting people to God through relevant worship and practical biblical teaching.? Seek friendship with others by connecting people to people through biblical community for the purpose of ministry, fellowship, and encouragement.
 
BY-LAWS
Article 1. Church Membership
 
Section 1.  Candidates for Church Membership:  The membership of this church shall consist of such persons as confess Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord and whom have followed the example set by Christ of participation In Believers Baptism.  An individual interested in membership at Friendship Baptist Church must attend a new members training class as soon as possible.
 
Section 2.  Acceptance of New Church Members:  New Members will be voted on during the regular church business meeting.
 
Section 3.  Duties:  Members are to actively support the “Call to Friendship” using the gifts, talents, and resources that God has given them. Members must affirm their desire to continue in fellowship with the body on an annual basis each January.  
 
Section 4.  Rights:  Members may act and vote in transacting the business of the church.
 
Section 5. Termination of Membership:  Membership may be terminated by death, letter to another church, exclusion by action of the body, erasure upon member’s request in writing, or proof of membership in another church.  If members do not affirm their desire to continue in fellowship with the body, a representative of the church, approved by the pastor, will make contact with the member prior to termination of membership.  
 
Section 6.  Discipline:  Should a member be involved in continued sin to the detriment of themselves and the unity of the saints the membership will make every effort to bring the member back into the joy of salvation according to the biblical teachings of Matthew 18: 15-17. If it becomes necessary to exclude the member, a 2/3 majority vote is required.Section 7.  Restoration:  A special business meeting shall be called and an excluded member may be restored, by a 2/3 majority vote, upon their request, if there is evidence to indicate repentance and reformation.
 
Article 2.  Leadership Positions
 
All potential leaders must submit to a background check prior to serving.  This action will be paid for by the church.  
 
The officers of the church shall be:
 
Section 1.  Pastor/Equipper:  The pastor/equipper will be responsible for setting the vision for the church. His duties will include providing sound doctrinal preaching, shepherding the flock, overseeing the spiritual growth of the congregation and providing the tools necessary for his congregation to fulfill the great commission.
 
A. Call:  The vote to call a pastor shall take place after a two weeks’ notice is given by the Pastor Search Ministry team to the membership.  The vote shall be by ballot in a Sunday morning service and will require a 90% majority vote to issue the call. Members that are not present on the morning of the vote can vote by proxy as long as it is done in writing and is submitted prior to the morning of the vote.
 
B. Resignation:  (1) The pastor must give the body at least 2 weeks written notification of resignation. (2) The pastor may be asked to resign upon grounds of proven moral failure or doctrinal heresy, provided there is a simple majority vote and the termination shall be immediate.  (3) Upon resignation or termination two week’s salary and any due compensation shall be paid the pastor within 30 days.
C. Pulpit Supply:  Whenever the pulpit is vacated, the elders shall have the responsibility of filling it.
 
Section 2.  Ministerial Staff: Ministerial staff members may be recommended by the Personnel Ministry team and the pastor.   Potential staff members must be presented to the church two weeks prior to election.  The vote shall be by ballot in a Sunday morning service and will require a 90% majority vote to issue the call. Members that are not present on the morning of the vote can vote by proxy as long as it is done in writing and is submitted prior to the morning of the vote.  The Personnel Ministry team in conjunction with the pastor shall write and approve their job descriptions.The staff member must give the body at least (2) weeks written notification of resignation.  The pastor and Personnel Ministry team may recommend to the body to terminate this position upon grounds of proven moral failure or doctrinal heresy, and by a simple majority vote such termination shall be immediate. Upon resignation or termination two week’s salary and any due compensation shall be paid the minister within 30 days.
 
Section 3.  Non-Ministerial Staff:  Non-Ministerial Staff members may be employed by the body provided they are approved by a majority vote of the Personnel Ministry team and approved by the staff.  The job description is to be provided by the Personnel Ministry team.
 
Section 4. Elder Council: In accordance with the guidelines outlined in I Timothy 3: 2-7 and Titus 1: 6-9, the Elder Council, under the headship of the pastor, will provide spiritual leadership for the church. They will also serve as the legal authority of the church.
 
A. Duties:  The Elder Council functions primarily as discerners and guardians of the church body.  They are not expected to oversee specific projects or ministry areas in their capacity as Elders. The Elders evaluate the effectiveness and direction of the church body according to the “Call to Friendship”. The Elders are to serve as counsel to the Pastor and meet with the Pastor at least quarterly.  They will assist the pastor in the pastoral care for the church. 
B. Election: (1) Elders will be elected every two years or added as the pastoral duties expand beyond the capacity of the current pastoral staff and Elder Council. (2) Candidates for service will be evaluated and nominated by the Ministerial Council which will include the Pastor, Ministerial Staff, Elder Council and the Chairman of Deacons. (3) Once approved by the Ministerial Council the individual will be presented to the church two weeks prior to the vote. A 3/4th -majority vote by ballot is required for election.
C. Term of Service: The active term of elders will be for four years, but will require an annual commitment to service by each council member. After being active for four years an elder will become inactive for one year before being eligible again. The pastor and Elder Council may recommend to the church body to terminate an elder upon grounds of proven moral failure or doctrinal heresy, and by a simple majority vote such termination shall be immediate.
 
Section 5.  Deacon Council:  In accordance with the guidelines outlined in the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church.A. Duties:  Their duty is to provide leadership in service in the non-pastoral ministries of the church body. 
B. Election:  The election of deacons shall be held annually or as needed. (1)  Deacon candidates for service will be evaluated and nominated by the Ministerial Council which will include the Pastor, Ministerial Staff, Elder Council and the Chairman of Deacons.  (2) Once approved by the Ministerial Council the individual will be presented to the church two weeks prior to election. A 3/4th majority vote by ballot is required for election. The number of deacons will be determined by active resident families with no more than 16 families per deacon.
C. Term of Service:  The Deacon will serve for three years, beginning with installation and/or ordination. After being active for three years a deacon will become inactive for one year before being eligible again. The pastor and Elder Council may recommend to the church body to terminate a deacon upon grounds of proven moral failure or doctrinal heresy, and by a simple majority vote such termination shall be immediate.
 
Section 6.  Church Clerk:  The church clerk shall be elected by the church as needed. They shall be present or represented at all business meetings, and keep accurate records of such.  They shall keep an up-to-date register of all members, correspondence relating to such, and annually prepare the Annual Church Profile.   These records should be performed by office staff, thereby keeping all records in the Church Office.   All records are property of Friendship Baptist Church and shall be kept at the church in a locked, storage container.  
 
Section 7.  Treasurer: The treasurer shall be elected as needed by the body.  They shall keep up-to-date and accurate financial records of all the body’s transactions, and present an itemized monthly and annual report to the body.  The Treasurer is responsible for making and keeping records of all bank deposits and transactions; signing checks and verifying what the check is written for and to whom.   Each check shall require two signatures: Treasurer and Assistant treasurer.  A member of the Elder Council may sign if one signer is unavailable.  At no time can both signatures be of immediate family members. The treasurer will verify that each budget line item has been appropriately assigned to a corresponding staff member, council or ministry team and that expenditures within a line item never exceeds the budget amount without a vote of the church body.  All records are property of Friendship Baptist Church and shall be kept at the church in a locked, fireproof storage container.  Some of the tasks above are done by the Financial Secretary in the Church Office, thereby keeping the records in the office.
Section 8.  Financial Secretary:  The financial secretary shall be elected as needed by the body and keep accurate records of each member’s contributions.    There shall be a prepared annual statement for each member’s contributions, with a quarterly statement provided if requested.  All records are property of Friendship Baptist Church and shall be kept at the church in a locked, storage container.  
 
Article 3. Ministry Teams
 
The body shall approve the function of Ministry Teams as are deemed necessary for the effective implementation of the “Call to Friendship”.  The creation of Ministry Teams will be recommended by the Elder Council to the body for approval at any regular business meeting.  When creating a ministry team the following must be provided as part of the recommendation. 
(1) A specific purpose of the team. 
(2) The resources which will be made available for the team to complete its task. 
(3) Clear measures that will be used to determine the success of the ministry team. 
(4) Timeframe that the ministry team will exist. 
All ministry teams will be regularly reviewed for effectiveness and purpose by the Elder Council. Ministry teams will cease to exist at the end of the timeframe outlined by the original recommendation to form the ministry team. If a ministry team needs additional time to complete the task assigned it must provide a report of progress to the Elder Council and again be sent to the church for approval. If a ministry has been deemed a “Standing Ministry team” or is still within the timeframe set for the ministry team, but is no longer effective or serving its original purpose, it shall be eliminated by a recommendation of the Elder Council to the church body for vote  at any regular business meeting.
 
Article 4.  Church Programs, Ministries and Services
 
This body will establish and maintain programs and ministries to accomplish the “Call to Friendship”. All programs shall be established under the spiritual leadership of the Holy Spirit, and fully supported by the body.  It is the responsibility of the ministerial staff to insure opportunities each week for the body to meet together in corporate worship, bible study, ministry, fellowship and encouragement.
 
Article 5. Church Ordinances
 
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the two ordinances recognized by this body. The Lord’s Supper will be observed at least quarterly.
 
Article 6. Business Meetings
 
Section 1. Regular Business Meetings:  The church will hold regular business meetings monthly on the second Wednesday evening of the month.  A change of date of the meeting must be announced and published in the church bulletin at least seven days before the meeting.  All votes will require a majority of members present unless otherwise stipulated in the By-Laws.  Ministry team leaders with new business to be put on the agenda must present this to the office one week prior to the meeting.  
 
Section 2.  Special Business Meetings:  The pastor or the Elder Council has the authority to call a special business meeting.  Special business meeting’s location, time and agenda must be announced and published in the church bulletin at least seven days prior to the meeting. Special business meetings require the presence of 20 percent of the total membership.  
 
Section 3. Emergency Business Meetings:  In the rare case that a matter cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled business meeting or the seven day notice required for a Special Business Meeting an Emergency Business Meeting can be called. Emergency Business Meetings require that a good faith effort is made to contact 100% of the membership with information concerning the agenda to be discussed, time of the meeting, and location of the meeting.  All efforts to contact the membership must be completed 24 hours prior to the meeting.  An emergency business meeting requires the presence of 35% of the membership for a quorum.
 
Article 7. Amending the Constitution and By-Laws
 
Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws require a 3/4th majority vote by the Elder Council before they can be presented to the membership.  Additionally, amending the Constitution or By-Laws require a minimum participation of 50% of the total church membership. Amendments to the By-Laws require a 2/3rd majority vote.  Amendments to the Constitution require a 3/4th majority vote.  Members that are not present at the time of the vote can vote by proxy as long as it is done in writing and is submitted prior to the time of the vote.
 
Article 8. Definition of Terms
 
Members in good standing – Individuals that have met all qualifications for membership, have been accepted into membership by vote of the membership, have affirmed their membership annually and have not been excluded fellowship by a 2/3 majority vote.
 
Affirm – To express agreement.  In regards to membership affirmation will be done by written request unless the member is unable to provide written affirmation due to impairment. 
 
Ministry Teams – A group of people that have been called by the church to accomplish a specific task, over a specific period of time, with clear measurements for their success. Each ministry team will be created and function to best achieve their specific task.
 
Elder Council – An elected body that provides, under the leadership of the pastor, spiritual leadership for the church. The Elder Council is also the legal authority of the church.
 
Deacon Council – An elected body that provides leadership in non-pastoral ministry to the church.Ministerial Council – A body comprised of the Pastor, Ministerial Staff, Elder Council and the Chairman of Deacons.
 
The Ministerial Council is specifically tasked with the responsibility of evaluating and nominating candidates to serve on the Elder Council and Deacon Council.
 
Vacated – When a position has been relinquished by either termination or resignation.
 
Majority Vote – A vote of all members present unless otherwise stated.
 
Annual Church Profile – Is a report provided to the associational office that gives the statistical information of the church including membership, tithes, baptisms, etc. 
 
Addition:  Under special circumstances, exceptions to this policy will be voted on by ¾ ballot with 2 weeks’ notice given.