Church Constitution

Constitution

of the

Providence Community Baptist Church

Lexington, Kentucky

 

Adopted by the membership August 26, 2007

Updated by the membership on May 1, 2011; December 15, 2013; and September 29, 2019.

 

Preamble

Since it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to call certain of His servants to unite here in August 2007 under the name Providence Community Baptist Church, for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and He has sustained and prospered this work to the present day.

Now therefore we, the members of Providence Community Baptist Church, do hereby organize ourselves in accord with the Commonwealth of Kentucky and adopt this Constitution as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of and bring glory to Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the standards set forth in the Statement of Faith.

 

Article 1 – Name

This local expression of the body of Christ shall be called Providence Community Baptist Church.

 

Article 2 – Purpose

The purpose of this local church is to proclaim Christ as a caring community of God-exalting disciple makers.  Our method of pursuing this purpose is as follows:

  • to magnify God through personal and public worship (Romans 15:6);

  • to edify others through service, fellowship, and teaching (Hebrews 10:24-25);

  • to evangelize the world through living, preaching, and teaching the Word of God (Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 3:10);

  • to keep our lives pure (Ephesians 5:26-27; James 1:27b) through personal examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-31) and public accountability (1 Corinthians 5:6-7, 13).

 

Article 3 – Membership

Section 1 – Qualifications

To qualify for membership in this church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been scripturally baptized in obedience to Christ following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. Each member must agree to submit to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and the Membership Covenant. The elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person’s profession of faith, or such other evidence, as the elders deem appropriate.

 

Section 2 – Admission of Members

To be admitted into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission and accepted by vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches.

 

Section 3 – Duties and Privileges of Membership

In accord with the duties enumerated in the Membership Covenant, each member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Only those shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church who are members of this congregation; non-members may serve on an ad-hoc basis with the approval of the elders. Notwithstanding, non-members may serve the church for purposes of administration and professional consultation.

Under Christ this congregation is governed by its members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all members’ meetings and vote on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote.

 

Section 4 – Associate Membership

Students and others temporarily residing in the Lexington area who are members of an evangelical church may apply for associate membership. Qualifications are identical to those for full membership as set out above, except that home church membership must be retained. A letter of commendation will be sought from the applicant’s home church.

Duties and privileges of associate members are the same as for other members except that:

  • when absent from the Lexington area for extended periods of time they are released from the responsibility to attend Providence Community church services;

  • while they will be encouraged to participate in members’ meetings they will not be eligible to stand for any office or to vote.

 

Termination of associate membership as a disciplinary measure will be as it is for other members, except that the elders shall notify the pastor or elders of the home church of that termination. Associate membership will normally terminate immediately upon the ending of the period of temporary residence in the Lexington area.

 

Section 5 – On Church Discipline/Restoration

Any member consistently neglectful of his or her duties or guilty of conduct by which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be dishonored, and so opposing the welfare of the church, shall be subject to the admonition of the elders and the discipline of the church, according to the instructions of our Lord and the example of Scripture. Church discipline, then, should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed.

Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, suspension from communion for a definite period, deposition from office, and termination of membership (see Matthew 18: 15–17; 2 Thessalonians 3: 14–15; 1 Timothy 5: 19–20; 1 Corinthians 5: 4–5).  Any church member in the formal process of church discipline cannot remove themselves from the membership until the discipline process is complete as seen necessary by the elders.

The purpose of such discipline should be:

  • For the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined (see Proverbs 15: 5; 29: 15; I Corinthians 4: 14; Ephesians 6: 4; I Timothy 3: 4–5; Hebrews 12: 1–11; Psalm 119: 115; 141: 5; Proverbs 17: 10; 25: 12; 27: 5; Ecclesiastes 7: 5; Matthew 7: 26–27; 18: 15–17; Luke 17: 3; Acts 2: 40; I Corinthians 5: 5; Galatians 6: 1–5; II Thessalonians 3: 6, 14–15; I Timothy 1: 20; Titus 1: 13–14; James 1: 22);

  • For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them (see Proverbs 13:20; Romans 15:14; I Corinthians 5:11; 15: 33; Colossians 3:16; I Thessalonians 5:14 [note this is written to the whole church, not just to leaders]; I Timothy 5:20; Titus 1:11; Hebrews 10:24–25);

  • For the purity of the church as a whole (see I Corinthians 5: 6–7; II Corinthians 13: 10; Ephesians 5:27; II John 10; Jude 24; Revelation 21:2);

  • For the good of our corporate witness to non–Christians (see Proverbs 28: 7; Matthew 5: 13–16; John 13:35; Acts 5:1–14; Ephesians 5:11; I Timothy 3:7; II Peter 2:2; I John 3:10); and

  • Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character (see Deuteronomy 5: 11; I Kings 11:2; II Chronicles 19:2; Ezra 6:21; Nehemiah 9:2; Isaiah 52:11; Ezekiel 36:20; Matthew 5:16; John 15:8; 18:17, 25; Romans 2:24; 15:5–6; II Corinthians 6:14–7: 1; Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; I Peter 2:12).

 

Section 6 – Termination of Membership

Termination of membership shall be recognized by the church following the death or voluntary resignation of any church member, the moving away of a church member, or when a person moves their membership to another church. Membership may be terminated as an act of church discipline at the recommendation of the elders and with the vote of two-thirds of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members.

Section 7 – Inactive Membership

The church does not retain an “inactive” church membership roll.  Any member who misses a significant number of Sundays (as determined by the elders) for purposes other than vacation or special work related meetings or something that has received prior approval by the elders, will be subject to church discipline.  A member under church discipline forfeits not only his right to vote, but also any ministry in the church.  Restoration to full membership will be granted upon request of the repentant member and the approval of the elders.

 

Article 4 – Meetings

Section 1 – Worship Meetings

Worship services shall be held each Lord's Day, and may be held throughout the week as the church determines.

 

Section 2 – Members’ Meetings

In every meeting together, members shall act in that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

There shall be an annual members’ meeting prior to year’s end for the purpose of providing financial and ministry reports, approval of the upcoming budget, and other appropriate business.  The pastors’ living expenses will be determined and approved by the elders and treasurer, and noted in the annual budget.  Time and place shall be announced from the pulpit and in the bulletin at least two weeks prior to the meeting date.  The meeting will convene apart from a public worship service.

There shall be special members’ meetings held as determined necessary by the elders.  Time and place shall be announced from the pulpit and in the bulletin at least two weeks prior to the meeting date.

An elder designated by the elders shall preside as moderator at all members’ meetings of the church. The elders shall see that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held and that required reports are submitted to the church by the responsible members.

Provided all constitutional provisions for notification have been met, a quorum shall be understood to be met by those members present, equaling a minimum of thirty percent of the membership. Once a quorum has been established, a two-thirds majority of votes cast is required to approve a motion.  All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast by members present.  Acceptance of absentee votes shall be determined by the elders.  Within the confines of the constitution and as deemed appropriate by the elders, the meetings shall follow the procedures in Robert’s Rules of Order.

At any regular or special members’ meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled as needed, so long as all relevant constitutional requirements have been met.

 

Article 5 – Officers

Section 1 – Summary

The Biblical offices in the church are elder and deacon.  In addition, our church recognizes the administrative positions under this constitution of clerk and treasurer. All officers must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.

Section 2 – Elders

The elders shall be comprised of not less than two males (or a plurality) who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in I Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. A majority of the active eldership shall be composed of church members not in the regular pay of the church, and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.

Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1–6 and I Peter 5:1–4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.

The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with the constitutional provisions on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. Individual elders not in the regular pay of the church shall be reaffirmed by the elders annually based on the qualifications of Scripture and in accord with the procedures of Section 3 below.

An elder's term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and I Timothy 5:17–21.

The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administrate the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world missions. The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.

The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The elders may also propose funding for new paid staff positions. The membership shall approve all candidates to fill the positions of vocational pastor(s). The scope and approval of job descriptions for any staff position shall reside in the hands of those with hiring authority for that position.

The elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to another staff member.

The elders shall elect a chairman of elders’ meetings and shall also elect one of their number to serve as moderator of members’ meetings. For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the elders shall elect one of their number to serve as the president of the corporation.  All elders are equal regardless of the position they hold in the utilization of their particular gifts (e.g., Chairman of the Elders or Pastor/Teacher).

 

Section 3 –Elder Meetings

Decisions shall be reached after prayerful consideration only by consensus of the elders in a spirit of humility with each elder’s regarding one another before himself.

In cases of normal business, a quorum consists of a majority of elders present.  However, elders not present should be notified as soon as possible of important decisions, and strong objections will warrant reconsideration of decisions.

Whenever the matter to be considered concerns buying or selling real estate, calling or dismissing an elder or deacon, sending of a missionary, approval of the yearly budget, or the amendment to or modification of the Constitution in general or the Doctrinal Statement, a quorum shall consist of all the members of the elders (with the exception of an elder that is being voted upon) whether voting in person, or by telephone to be later confirmed in writing.  In the above decision, the elders shall seek the approval of the congregation.  A congregational quorum (thirty percent of all voting members) is required.  A two-thirds vote of those members voting is required to make decisions.

The elders may call or request the dismissal of the Pastor if its decision is unanimous (not including the pastor) and approved by two-thirds vote of the congregation.  The elders shall serve as a pastoral search committee.

 

Section 4 –Vocational Pastors

Vocational Pastors are the ordained elders of the church, who in response to God's call, have devoted their vocational lives to the ministry of the Word and prayer in the service of the church of Christ.  Vocational Pastors are supported financially by the church in return for their vocational labors.  The pastor(s) shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.

His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article 5, Section 2, for elders. His call shall be defined as per Article 6, Section 3.

He shall preach on the Lord's Day, administrate the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the constitution.

In the absence or incapacity of the pastor(s) the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.

 

Section 5 – Pastoral Assistants

The pastor(s) may hire additional staff to assist with pastoral ministry, designated as pastoral assistants. These shall not be pastors, though they may be recognized as elders should they be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation, in accordance with Article 5, Section 2.

The pastor(s) shall assign the responsibilities of the pastoral assistant(s). They shall serve at the will of the pastor for a term of one year, though that term may be extended with the approval of the elders.

 

Section 6 – Deacons

The office of deacon is described in I Timothy 3:8–13 and Acts 6:1–7. The church shall recognize, in accordance with the constitutional provisions in Article 5, Section 3, those who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons. They shall be appointed by the elders and affirmed by the congregation on an annual basis.

Deacons shall care for the temporal needs of members, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration.

The deacons shall receive, hold, and disburse a fund for benevolence, reporting on its use to the elders at their request, and reporting to the church its total receipts and total disbursements only.

The deacons, with the approval of the elders, may establish unpaid administrative positions or committees of members to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the church.

 

Section 7 – Clerk

It shall be the duty of the clerk to record the minutes of all regular and special members’ meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the pastor, the elders, the deacons, or the church. The clerk shall be appointed by the elders and affirmed by the congregation annually.

In the absence or incapacity of the clerk the elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church clerk.  For purposes of compliance with the nonprofit corporation laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the clerk shall serve as the secretary of the corporation.

The church clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of this constitution shall be available for all church members.

 

Section 8 – Treasurer

The treasurer, who shall not be a paid church staff member, shall ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The treasurer shall also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues and expenses of the church at each members’ meeting. The responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the elders. The treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The treasurer shall render to the elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church

.

The treasurer shall be appointed by the elders and affirmed by the congregation annually.

 

Article 6 – Elections

Section 1 – Principles

The process for church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:

  • Substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, should be an integral part of the election process;

  • Nominations should proceed with the support of the elders;

  • All candidates for church office should be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow members;

  • The election process shall express that spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration that is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Section 2 – Selection of Officers

The appointment of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church.  Names of nominees to serve as deacons, clerk, or treasurer shall be presented by the elders at the previous members’ meeting (providing that previous meeting occurred at least eight weeks prior), and the appointment shall proceed as directed by the moderator.

The elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership in the nomination process. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.

The moderator shall declare elected all men receiving a two-thirds majority of all votes cast for the office of elder. For all other offices, the moderator shall declare appointed all persons receiving a simple majority of all votes cast; abstentions will not be considered as votes cast.

The persons appointed shall assume their respective offices upon appointment, unless another date has been specifically designated.

Section 3 – Calling of a Pastor

In the calling of any man to this position, the same basic process of calling an elder must be followed.  In addition, however, the church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching gifts of any potential pastor and, before being asked to express its judgment, must receive assurance from the elders that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith.  Notice of the nomination of a man to be elected to membership and called as pastor (which shall include, if necessary, election to membership of his wife if he is married) must be given at two Sunday morning services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a members’ meeting.

 

Article 7 – Finances

Section 1 – Financial Support

The church will be supported by the giving and offerings of its people, who give as God prospers and according to His leading (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

 

Section 2 – Spending

Each fiscal year, a secured (i.e. protected) portion of the church's savings account balance (as of December 31st of the prior fiscal year) shall be specifically set aside for the current fiscal year budget and approved by the congregation during the annual budget approval process.

 

Elders may spend up to 10 percent of the remaining unsecured savings account balance during the fiscal year, without prior congregational approval.  This discretionary spending may be used to cover various unbudgeted expenses as the Elders see fit.  Please refer to the below for summary and illustration:

 

Savings Account Balance as of December 31st of Prior Fiscal Year = $YY,YYY

Current Fiscal Year Member-Approved Secured Savings Amount = $XX,XXX

Elders Discretionary Spending for Current Fiscal Year = ($YY,YYY - $XX,XXX) x 0.10 = $E,EEE

 

In addition to Elder discretionary spending, the unsecured portion of savings ($YY,YYY - $XX,XXX) may be used in its entirety to cover monthly budget shortfalls during a fiscal year, without prior congregational approval.  However, if the unsecured portion of savings is depleted in its entirety, congregational consent will be sought prior to drawing down any of the secured fiscal year savings amount.

 

Article 8 – Indemnification

Section 1 – Mandatory Indemnification

If a legal claim or criminal allegation is made against a person because he or she is or was an officer, employee, or agent of the church, the church shall provide indemnification against liability and costs incurred in defending against the claim if the elders determine that the person acted (a) in good faith, (b) with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a similar position would exercise under similar circumstances, and (c) in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the church, and the person had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful.

 

Section 2 – Permissive Indemnification

At the discretion of the elders, the church also may indemnify any person who acted in good faith and reasonably believed that his or her conduct was in the church’s best interest and not unlawful.

 

Section 3 – Procedure

If a quorum of the elders is not available for an indemnification determination because of the number of elders seeking indemnification, the requisite determination may be made by the membership or by special legal counsel appointed by the membership.

 

Section 4 – Insurance

The church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was an elder, deacon, employee, or agent of the church against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in that capacity, or arising out of his status in that capacity, whether or not the church would have the power to indemnify him against liability under the provisions of this article.

 

Article 9 – Dispute Resolution

Believing that the Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian Church (see, e.g., Matthew 18: 15–20, I Corinthians 6: 1–8), the church shall require its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically based principles, without reliance on the secular courts. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles and the avoidance of suits of law or equity to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or pagan and whether individuals or corporate entities. The elders shall adopt policies and procedures to effect these requirements and aspirations.

 

Article 10 – Amendments

The Statement of Faith may be amended by a three-quarters vote of the members present and voting at a members’ meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous members’ meeting, and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.

This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting at a members’ meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at the previous members’ meeting, and shall have been announced from the pulpit at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.

Providence Community Church

2628 Wilhite Court  |  Lexington, KY  40503

Email: paul@pcclex.org

Phone: 859-533-9151

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