For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the teaching of the New Testament; with the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church; the freedom of action of this body with respect to its relation to other churches of the same faith, we do declare and establish this constitution.
This congregation of believers shall be known as Fellowship Baptist Church of Upper Marlboro, Prince George’s County, Maryland.
This congregation is organized as a church exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law), including, but not limited to, for such purposes, the establishing and maintaining of religious worship, the building of churches, parsonages, schools, chapels, radio stations, television stations, rescue missions, print shops, daycare centers, and camps; the evangelizing of the unsaved by the proclaiming of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; the educating of believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture, both in Sunday and weekday schools of Christian education; and the maintaining of missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country.
The following comprise the Scriptural beliefs of this church and its members.
- The Holy Scriptures. We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally and plenarily inspired and the product of Spirit-controlled men, and therefore is truth without any admixture of error for its matter. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried. II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21; Acts 1:16; I Corinthians 2:13.
- The True God. We believe there is one, and only one, living and true God, an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every Divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Deuteronomy 6:4; Exodus 20:2-3; Mark 12:29; I Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11; I John 5:7.
- Jesus Christ, His Person and Work. We believe in the absolute deity of the Lord Jesus Christ; in His virgin birth and His perfect humanity. He became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order that He might reveal God, and redeem sinful man. John 1:1-2, 14; Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:18-25; Isaiah 7:14; I Timothy 3:16.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His death on the cross as a vicarious representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and, that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead. Romans 3:24-26; I Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 1:3-5; Isaiah 53:6; II Corinthians 5:21.
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now exalted at the right hand of God, where, as our High Priest, He fulfills the ministry of representative, intercessor, and advocate. Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 9:24, 7:25; Romans 8:34; I John 2:1-2.
- The Holy Spirit, His Person and Work. We believe that the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead, co-equal with God the Father and with God the Son. In addition to His involvement in creating and quickening the natural world (Psalm 33:6; 104:30; John 3:34), He has special ministries by which He takes part in the great plan of redemption.
AS TO HIS IDENTITY
He is not merely a “power” or influence, but a living and real person. John 14:16-17; John 16:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; Acts 5:3-4.
AS TO HIS WORK
The Holy Spirit’s ministries to this age of grace are:
1. Convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. John 16:7-11
2. Regenerating all believers. John 3:5-6
3. Indwelling all believers. Romans 8:9-11; I Corinthians 3:16, 6:19
4. Baptizing all believers into the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:13
5. Sealing all believers unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30
6. Filling and empowering all believers as they yield to Him. Ephesians 5:18;
7. Teaching and guiding all believers into all truth. John 14:26; 16:13
8. Helping and interceding for all believers. Romans 8:26-27
9. Conforming all believers to the image of Christ. II Corinthians 3:18
AS TO THE GIFT OF TONGUES
We do not believe the popular movement today known as Glossolalia (or speaking in tongues) is a work of the Holy Spirit. We conclude this for the following reasons:
1. The Bible declares that tongues shall cease. I Corinthians 13:8
2. Tongues are not mentioned in the New Testament passages that project us to the highest plane of Christian living such as Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.
3. The tongues of the Bible are actual languages and not ecstatic gibberish. Acts 2:6
4. The tongues of the Bible did not come about through coaching or people being worked up; but they came suddenly, unrehearsed, and sometimes unexpectedly. This is not like the usual modern tongues movement.
5. A gift is sovereignly bestowed by God. Therefore, it is foolish to assume that tongues, which is a gift, could be the possession of everyone.
- The Fall of Man. We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but by voluntary transgression, Adam sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and that man is totally depraved of himself, unable to please God or to remedy his lost condition. (Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7; Job 33:4; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3; Romans 3:22-23; Ephesians 2:8-9) Therefore, all humanity is guilty before God (Romans 3:19), condemned already (John 3:18), by nature the children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), and sinners in the sight of God (Galatians 3:22), doomed to be eternally excluded from Heaven (Revelation 20:15) and sentenced to the lake of fire if they do not come to Christ for salvation.
- The Way of Salvation. We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the death of Jesus Christ for our sins according to the Scriptures, that Jesus Christ died as our representative, and a substitutionary sacrifice, taking upon Himself our sins, and that all who believe on Him and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ are justified once and for all in the sight of God on the grounds of His shed blood. (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 3:24-26, 5:9-10; II Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-9; John 1:12)
- The Eternal Security of the Believer. We believe that all who are genuinely saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever. Though a Christian’s fellowship with God may be broken by the permission of sin in the life, still he is eternally God’s child. His citizenship in God’s kingdom and his membership in God’s family are eternally guaranteed him from the moment he became a Christian. This belief is based not in man’s ability to persevere, but upon God’s ability to keep that which He has purchased and which belongs to Him, namely: The individual soul of every born-again believer. (I Timothy 1:12; I Peter 1:5; Jude 24: Philippians 1:6; John 6:36-40, 10:27-29; Romans 8:38-39)
- The Natures of the Believer. We believe that every saved person possesses two natures, with provision made for victory of the new nature over the old nature through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit; and, that all claims to the eradication of the old nature in this life are unscriptural. (Romans 6:13, 7, 8:12-13; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:10; I Peter 1:14-16; I John 3:5-9)
- Separation. We believe that all the saved should live in such a manner as not to bring reproach upon their Savior and Lord: and that separation from all worldly and sinful practices and associations is commanded by God. (II Timothy 3:1-5; Romans 12:1-2, 14:13; I John 2:15-17; II John 9-11; II Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
- The Church. We believe that the Church, which is the mystical body and espoused Bride of Christ, is a spiritual organism made up of all born again believers of this present age. (Ephesians 1:22-23; 5:25-27; I Corinthians 12:2-14; II Corinthians 11:2)
We believe that the establishment and continuance of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14-17, 20:17, 28-32; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11)
We believe in the autonomy of the local church free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4; 15:19-31; 20:28; Rom. 16:1, 4; 1 Cor. 3:9, 16; 5:4-7, 13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4)
- The Ordinances. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water, in the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit; to show forth, in a solemn emblem our faith in the crucified buried and risen Savior. We believe that this baptism is a prerequisite to the privilege of church membership. (Mark 1:9-11; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:41, 8:38)
We believe that the Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes, and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. (I Corinthians 11:23-29)
- The Personality of Satan. We believe that Satan is a person, the author of sin and the cause of the fall; that is the open and declared enemy of God and man; and that he shall be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire. (Job 1:6-7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Matthew 4:1-11, 25:41; Revelation 20:10)
- The Second Coming of Christ. We believe in the “Blessed Hope,” the personal, imminent pre-tribulational and pre-millennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones; and in His subsequent return to earth, with His saints, to establish His millennial kingdom. (I Thessalonians 1:10, 4:13-18, 5:9; Zechariah 14:4-11; Revelation 3:10, 19:11-16, 20:1-7)
- The Eternal State. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men; the saved to eternal life, and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment. (Matthew 25:46; John 5:28-29, 11:25-26)
We believe that the souls of the redeemed are, at death, absent from the body and present with the Lord, where in conscious bliss they await the first resurrection, when spirit, soul, and body are reunited to be glorified forever with the Lord. (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; 3:21; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:4-6)
We believe that the souls of unbelievers remain, after death, in conscious punishment and torment in Hell until the second resurrection, when with soul and body reunited, they shall appear at the Great White Throne Judgment, and shall be cast into the lake of fire, not to be annihilated, but to suffer everlasting conscious punishment and torment. (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:19-26; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Jude 6-7; Rev. 20:11-15)
- Creation. We believe that God created the universe in six literal, 24-hour periods. We reject evolution, the Gap Theory, the Day-Age Theory, and Theistic Evolution as unscriptural theories of origin. (Gen. 1-2; Ex. 20:11)
- Civil Government. We believe that God has ordained and created all authority consisting of three basic institutions: (1) the home, (2) the church, and (3) the state. Every person is subject to these authorities, but all (including the authorities themselves) are answerable to God and governed by His Word. God has given each institution specific Biblical responsibilities and balanced those responsibilities with the understanding that no institution has the right to infringe upon the other. The home, the church, and the state are equal and sovereign in their respective Biblically assigned spheres of responsibility under God. (Rom. 13:1-7; Eph. 5:22-24; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 2:13-14)
- Human Sexuality.
1. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. (Gen. 2:24; Gen. 19:5, 13; Gen. 26:8-9; Lev. 18:1-30; Rom. 1: 26-29; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Heb. 13:4)
2. We believe that the only Scriptural marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. (Gen. 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:10; Eph. 5:22-23)
- Family Relationships
1. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home, and men are to be the leaders (pastors and deacons) of the church. Accordingly, only men are eligible for licensure and ordination by the church. (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:18; 1 Tim. 2:8-15; 3:4-5, 12)
2. We believe that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. A family consists of one man and one woman united in marriage along with their children. The husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. The wife is to submit herself to the Scriptural leadership of her husband (even if he is not saved) as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children are an heritage from the Lord. Parents are responsible for teaching their children spiritual and moral values and leading them, through consistent lifestyle example and appropriate discipline, including Scriptural corporal correction. (Gen. 1:26-28; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 127:3-5; Prov. 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Mk. 10:6-12; 1 Cor. 7:1-16; Eph. 5:21-33; 6:1-4, Col. 3:18-21; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
- Divorce and Remarriage. We believe that God disapproves of divorce and intends marriage to last until one of the spouses dies. Although divorced and remarried persons or divorced persons may hold positions of service in the church and be greatly used of God for Christian service, they may not be considered for the offices of pastor or deacon. Our Pastoral staff is not authorized to perform marriages of divorced persons on church grounds. (Mal. 2:14-17; Matt. 19:3-12; Rom. 7:1-3; 1 Tim. 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6)
- Abortion. We believe that human life begins at conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of unborn human life. Abortion is murder. We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest, birth defects, gender selection, birth or population control, or the physical or mental wellbeing of the mother are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Ps. 51:5; 139:14-16; Isa. 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer. 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
- Euthanasia. We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil, regardless of the intention. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from conception until natural death. Thus we believe that an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. Discontinuing medical procedures that are extraordinary or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment. (Ex. 20:13, 23:7; Matt. 5:21; Acts 17:28)
- Lawsuits between Believers. We believe that Christians are prohibited from bringing civil lawsuits against other Christians or the church to resolve personal disputes. We believe the church possesses all the resources necessary to resolve personal disputes between members. (1 Cor. 6:1-8; Eph. 4:31-32)
- Missions. We believe that God has given the church a great commission to proclaim the Gospel to all people so that there might be a great multitude from every nation, tribe, ethnic group, and language group who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ, we must use all available means to go to all people and not wait for them to come to us. (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Cor. 5:20)
- Giving. We believe that every Christian, as a steward of that portion of God’s wealth entrusted to him, is obligated financially to support his local church. We believe that God has established the tithe as a basis for giving, but that every Christian should also give other offerings sacrificially and cheerfully to the support of the church, the relief of those in need, and the spread of the Gospel. We believe that a Christian relinquishes all rights to direct the use of his tithe or offering once the gift has been made. (Gen. 14:20; Prov. 3:9-10; Acts 4:34-37; 1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:28; 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 John 3:17)
- Call to Ministry. From time to time a man may be called by God out of our membership to the Gospel ministry. If that individual satisfies the scriptural prerequisites for licensing or ordination, the church may proceed with such action. At no time will we license or ordain a woman to the Gospel ministry, since that is a violation of I Timothy 2:12, and 3:1-2.
The Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members.
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church; the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and to be zealous in our effort to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay; and to never take to court the church, another member, pastor, or church committee.
We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith and order, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principle of God’s Word.
- Church Covenant. The church covenant shall be read by all new members and read to the congregation at such times as the Pastor shall determine.
- Bible Versions. The Authorized King James Version is the only version permitted for teaching and preaching in the church or at church sponsored activities. Supplemental materials that use other versions may be used with the prior approval of the Pastor.
- Music. The music ministry should engender praise and thanksgiving to God (Ephesians 5:18-20) and fix the listener’s attention on Christ above sound, rhythm, and beat or human experience. The type of music played or sung at home or church should be guarded, since carelessness in the type of music Christians listen to may lead to problems in other areas of life. The Pastor has the final authority on all music.
Today’s contemporary Christian music is not always doctrinally sound, some is experience centered and not wholly focused on glorifying God, and even unscriptual. Some music is irreverent toward the Word or reflects lack of spiritual maturity of the authors. Contemporary music that fails to exalt Christ or conflicts with Scripture may not be sung in FBC services. (Psalm 95:1)
Both the words and the music used at FBC must be spiritual or sacred and consistent with Scripture; it must exalt Christ above human or Christian experience. Music in the services should bring honor and glory to God and not be designed to appeal to the flesh.
Persons presenting special music must present the music to the Music Director for approval.
Similarly, the Music Director or Associate Music Director should appropriately discuss upcoming music with involved instrumentalists, and also coordinate music with speakers when practical to do so.
- Handling Copyrighted Materials and Reports. To comply with Copyright laws, no printed materials protected by law shall be photocopied without appropriate written consent of the copyright owners.
Upon a majority vote of the members present at any church service or meeting, membership shall be extended to all who have had and whose lives evidence a genuine experience of regeneration through faith in and acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior; who renounce sin; who endeavor to live a consecrated life wholly unto the Lord; who fully subscribe to the Statement of Faith contained herein; who enter into the church covenant contained herein; who agree to submit to the authority of the church, its governing documents, and its leaders as set forth herein; and upon compliance with any one of the following conditions:
- By baptism (immersion) as a true believer in Christ Jesus as personal Savior;
- By letter of transfer from another Bible-believing church of like faith and practice, or other written statement of good standing from the prior church if the applicant has been baptized by immersion subsequent to a profession of faith;
- By statement of faith, having been baptized by immersion; or
- By restoration, if having been removed from membership, upon majority vote of the congregation after confession is made publicly before the church membership of the sin or sins involved, and satisfactorily evidencing repentance to the Pastor (or the Board of Deacons if the office of pastor is vacant).
On becoming a member of this church, in addition to the covenant contained in Section 2.03, each member further covenants to love, honor, and esteem the Pastor(s); to pray for him; to recognize his authority in spiritual affairs of the church; to cherish a brotherly love for all members of the church; to support the church in prayer, tithes, offerings and with other financial support as the Lord enables; and in accordance with Biblical commands, to support through a lifestyle walk affirming the beliefs and practices of the church and the Bible.
- Only members, at least eighteen years of age, who are physically present at a duly called meeting of the church shall be entitled to vote. There shall be no proxy or absentee voting. The eligible membership of the church has certain limited areas to exercise a vote. Members may not vote to initiate any church action, rather the vote of a member is to confirm and ratify the direction of the church as determined by the Pastor and/or the Board of Deacons.
- Those members in active and regular standing who are 17 or younger may serve in the ministries of the church as dictated by the written guidelines of each ministry and with approval from the ministry chairperson.
- This congregation functions not as a pure democracy, but as a body under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the direction of the Pastor as the undershepherd with the counsel of the Board of Deacons. Determinations of the internal affairs of this church are ecclesiastical matters and shall be determined exclusively by the church’s own rules and procedures. The Pastor shall oversee and/or conduct all aspects of this church and is responsible to God for his actions and for the actions of the Church. The Board of Deacons shall give counsel and assistance to the Pastor as requested by him.
- Membership in this church does not afford the members with any property, contractual, or civil rights based on principles of democratic government. Although the general public is invited to all of the church’s services, the church property remains private property. The Pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the Board of Deacons) has the authority to suspend or revoke the right of any person, including a member, to enter or remain on church property. If after being notified of such a suspension or revocation, the person enters or remains on church property, the person may, in the discretion of the Pastor (or in his absence, an individual designated by the Board of Deacons), be treated as a trespasser.
- A member may inspect or copy the prepared financial statements of the church and the minutes of the proceedings of church meetings and of board meetings, provided he shall have made a written request upon the church and the church has received the written request at least five business days before the requested inspection date.
1. A member may not, under any circumstances, inspect or copy any record relating to individual contributions to the church, the list of names and addresses of the church members, or the accounting books and financial records of the church.
2. The church may impose a reasonable charge, covering the costs of labor and material, for copies of any documents provided to the member before releasing the copies to the member.
- Out of town college students who were members of the church prior to leaving for college who join a local church of like faith while in college, while they are home on break from school, will enjoy all the rights of membership with the exception of voting.
- There shall be a discipline committee consisting of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons. These men shall have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Statement of Faith and violations of the church covenant. If the Pastor or a deacon is the subject of a disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of the discipline committee. The Pastor and deacons shall be entitled to the same steps as other church members and be subject to the same discipline.
- Members are expected to demonstrate special loyalty and concern for one another. When a member becomes aware of an offense of such magnitude that it hinders spiritual growth and testimony, he is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore his brother. Before he goes, he should first examine himself. When he goes, he should go with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration.
- If reconciliation is not reached, a second member, either a deacon or the Pastor, is to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter. This second step should also be preceded by self-examination and exercised in a spirit of humility with the goal of restoration.
- If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in Subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, the discipline committee, as the church representatives Biblically responsible for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter. The committee’s goal is restoration of the member.
- If the matter is still unresolved after the steps outlined in Subsections (B), (C), and (D) have been taken, such members who refuse to repent and be restored are to be removed from the membership of the church upon a majority vote of the membership present at a meeting called for the purpose of considering disciplinary action or in a regularly scheduled business meeting.
- No matter may be heard by the discipline committee or the church unless the steps outlined in Subsections (B) and (C) have been taken, except in the case of a public offense.
- If an unrepentant offending party is removed from the church membership, all contact with him from that point forward (except by family members) must be for the sake of restoration.
- The procedures provided in this section are based on Matt. 18:15-20; Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Cor. 2:1-11; Gal. 6:1; 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 10-15; 1 Tim. 5:19-20; and Titus 3:10-11.
Any member in good and regular standing who desires a letter of dismissal and recommendation to another church of like faith and practice is entitled to receive it upon that church’s request.
- The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member in question has not attended a regular service of the church in the preceding six months. Upon good cause being shown to the Pastor, this provision for termination may be waived in the case of any individual member at the discretion of the Pastor. This provision will be automatically waived for college students (who have not joined another church), military personnel stationed out of the area and shut-ins.
- No member of this church may hold membership in another church. The membership of any individual member shall automatically terminate without notice if the member unites in membership with another church.
- The membership of any individual member may be terminated by the Pastor and deacons without notice if the member states that he or she is actively involved in any conduct described in Section 2.01(Q), files a lawsuit in violation of Section 2.01(W), or if the member no longer agrees with the church Statement of Faith or Covenant.
- No provision contained in this section shall be subject to or governed by the procedures regarding discipline of members set forth in Section 3.04.
- A member may resign at any time, but no letter of transfer or written statement of good standing will be issued upon such resignation, except at the discretion of the Pastor.
The church officers are pastor, deacon, trustee, church clerk and treasurer. One person may hold two or more offices, except that of pastor. The Pastor, from time to time as he deems appropriate, may appoint other church officers, subject to a confirmation vote of the church membership.
The State of Maryland considers the Pastor and Trustees to be "The Trustees" of the Corporation. Therefore the Pastor and Trustees are responsible for the control of the Corporation (subject to membership approval) and shall satisfy the requirements of the State of Maryland in matters of corporate business.
- The church shall not install or retain an officer who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith. All church officers, upon request of the Pastor, shall affirm their agreement with the Statement of Faith (as set forth in Article 2).
- All church officers must be approved initially and thereafter annually by the Pastor in order for them to commence or continue in their offices.
- Only church members are eligible for election or appointment to any church office or position.
- The Pastor must meet the qualifications described in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
- Each deacon must meet the qualifications described in Acts 6:3 and I Timothy 3:8-13.
- A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. Announcements shall be given from the pulpit on at least two consecutive Sundays preceding the Business Meeting designated for his election. The Pulpit Committee (selected from the Board of Deacons) shall seek out and recommend as Pastor, a minister of the Gospel whose Christian character is in accord with New Testament standards. The committee shall bring the consideration of the church only one candidate at a time for the vote. Those present shall constitute a quorum for the election of a Pastor, and an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members present shall be necessary for a call. The Pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated. He shall subscribe to the "Statement of Faith and Covenant" of this church. The Pastor may be removed from office at a Business Meeting designated for that purpose. Announcement of the meeting must be given from the pulpit at least two consecutive Sundays prior to the meeting. A vote of three-fourths of the members present shall be required to remove the Pastor from office.
- The term of service for deacons shall be two years; they then must rotate off as active deacons for at least one year before being eligible for re-election to another term. The Pastor, at his discretion, may nominate a deacon whose term is expiring to serve a third year. At the end of the third year, the deacon then must rotate off for at least one year before being eligible for re-election to another two year term.
- The term of service for trustees shall be two years, at the expiration of which the trustee may be re-elected.
- The term of service for the church clerk and treasurer shall be one year, at the expiration of which the officer may be re-elected.
- A vacancy occurring in any office or board, except in the case of the Pastor, may be filled at any regular church business meeting. The replacement will serve the remainder of the un-expired term.
- Members of the Board of Deacons may be removed from office for unbiblical conduct as determined by the Pastor.
The Pastor is elected according to section 4.04(A). All other officers, including deacons, trustees, church clerk, and treasurer, shall be nominated by the Pastor and voted on by the church membership at the November Business Meeting. A simple majority vote of the members present shall be sufficient for the election of all officers except the Pastor.
- Subject to the approval of the church membership and on the condition that they shall become a member of the church upon assuming their duties, the Pastor may hire associates and assistants to assist him in carrying out his God-given responsibilities.
- All church staff, whether paid or volunteer, shall be under the supervision of the Pastor who has the sole authority to dismiss the same. No employee or volunteer shall be hired, appointed, or retained who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.
- The Pastor shall preach the Gospel regularly and shall be at liberty to preach the whole counsel of the Word of God as the Lord leads him. He shall be responsible to see that the ordinances of the church are administered, act as moderator at all church meetings for the transaction of church matters, supervise the teaching ministries of the church, be an ex-officio member of all committees, and tenderly watch over the spiritual interests of the membership.
- The Pastor shall serve as the president of the corporation. He shall inform all newly-elected officers of the particular function and the responsibilities of their respective offices. The Pastor shall be free to choose the means and methods by which he exercises the ministry that God has given him.
- All appointments for public services and Bible study and the arrangements thereof, including time and place and the use of the property belonging to the church for purposes other than the stated appointments, shall be under the control of the Pastor.
- The duties of the deacons shall be those prescribed in the New Testament. The Board of Deacons shall assist the Pastor, in such manner as he shall request, in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, in conducting the religious services, and in performing all other work of the church. They shall make provision for the observance of the ordinances of the church. They shall, if requested by the Pastor, consider applications for church membership. They shall, in cooperation with the Pastor, disburse the benevolence fund. They shall assist the Pastor in visitation and all other evangelistic efforts of the church. The Board of Deacons shall assist the Pastor in caring for the administrative needs of the church’s various ministries as requested by the Pastor. They shall provide the pulpit supply and the chairman shall serve as moderator for church meetings if the Pastor is unavailable or the office of pastor is vacant. Upon the death, resignation, or dismissal of the Pastor, the Board of Deacons shall elect the pulpit committee from the Board of Deacons.
- At their first meeting of the year, the Board of Deacons shall assemble and elect, upon the recommendation of the Pastor, from their own number, a vice chairman, and a secretary.
- There shall be no fewer than four Trustees, who will have attained the age of eighteen as required by law. The Trustees shall be nominated by the Pastor, and elected by the church at the November meeting for a term of two years.
- A Trustee is then eligible to serve continuous two year terms if he is willing and able to do so. In case of death, removal or incapacity to serve, the church shall elect qualified individuals to fill the unexpired term.
- The Trustees shall elect a Vice Chairman and Secretary upon the recommendation of the Senior Pastor. The Chairman is selected by the Senior Pastor. A Chairman shall serve for a term of one year, and may succeed himself for a period of up to four additional years, if he is willing and able to do so.
- The Board of Trustees shall constitute the Board of Trustees of the corporation to satisfy Maryland State Law. The Board of Trustees shall exercise only the following specific powers, upon authorization by a majority vote of the members present at a duly-called church business meeting:
1. To purchase, hold, lease, or otherwise acquire real and personal property on behalf of the church, and to take real and personal property by will, gift, or bequest on behalf of the church.
2. To sell, convey, alienate, transfer, lease, assign, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, and to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the real and personal property of the church, to borrow money and incur indebtedness for the purpose and the use of the church; to cause to be executed, issued, and delivered for the indebtedness, in the name of the church, promissory notes, bonds, debentures, or other evidence of indebtedness; and to secure repayment by deeds of trust, mortgages, or pledges. Any title to properties of the church shall be in the name of Fellowship Baptist Church; it shall not be in any individual name(s).
3. To exercise all powers necessary for the dissolution of the church corporation.
4. They shall have the actual care of the building and grounds. It shall be their duty to supervise the maintenance and upkeep of the church properties, as directed by the Pastor.
- Use for Other than Official FBC Functions
Use of church property or facilities for other than official functions sponsored by FBC, such as for funerals or other special occasions, shall be limited to churches, organizations or individuals of like faith and practice, and subject to approval by the Trustees and the Pastor with the following provisions:
1. If the Trustees determine that such an event warrants custodial services, a custodial fee will be charged, the amount of which will be set by the Trustees.
2. The Trustees will provide in advance a copy of the above rules to appropriate persons in charge of such a function.
3. The Trustees reserve the right to require an appropriate deposit be given to the church Treasurer in advance of property or facility use.
4. The sponsoring non-church organization or individual must submit the request for use of the property or facilities in writing at least fourteen days in advance.
5. Use of the facilities must be in accordance with the building and use policy.
The church clerk shall ensure that the following responsibilities are performed:
- Certify and keep at the office of the church, the original Constitution or a copy, including all amendments or alterations to the Constitution.
- Keep at the place where the Constitution or a copy are kept a record of the proceedings of meetings of the Board of Deacons, with the time and place of holding, the notice of meeting given, the names of these present at the meetings.
- Sign, certify, or attest documents as may be required by law.
- See that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. (In case of the absence or disability of the secretary, or his or her refusal or neglect to act, notice may be given and served by the Pastor or by the chairman of the Board of Deacons.)
- Be custodian of the records of the church, including the membership roll, baptisms, and certificates of ordination, licenses, and commissions.
- See that the reports, statements, certificates, and all other documents and records required by law are properly kept and filed.
- Exhibit at all reasonable times to proper persons on terms provided by law the Constitution and minutes of proceedings of the Board of Deacons or the minutes of the meetings of the church members.
- Keep all records at the office of the church and deliver them to any successor upon leaving office.
- Serve as the secretary of the corporation.
The treasurer shall:
- Have charge and custody of, and be responsible for, all funds of the corporation, and oversees the deposit of all funds in the name of the church in banks, trust companies, or other depositories as shall be selected by the Pastor or the Board of Deacons.
- Receive, and give receipt for all contributions, gifts, and donations to the church.
- Disburse, or cause to be disbursed, the funds of the church as may be directed by the Pastor, the Board of Deacons, or the budget adopted by the members of the church at the annual church business meeting, taking proper vouchers for the disbursements.
- Keep and maintain adequate and correct accounts of the church’s properties and business transactions including account of its assets, liabilities, receipts, disbursements, and capital.
- Make all expenditures of the church (except miscellaneous petty cash disbursements) by check or electronic transaction.
- When and as requested, render to the Pastor and the Board of Deacons accounts of all his transactions as treasurer and of the financial condition of the church.
- Present a written report of itemized disbursements at the regular quarterly church business meetings and make a general report for the year at the January business meeting.
- Keep all church financial records at the office of the church and deliver them to any successor upon leaving office.
- Serve as treasurer of the corporation.
- The finance committee and auditor shall have access to the Treasurer’s records upon request.
Under the direction and guidance of the Pastor, the associate pastor(s) of the church shall assist the Pastor in carrying out the ministries of the church. The associate pastor(s) shall be an ex-officio member of the Board of Deacons.
- All officers shall prepare a written report of their work for the January business meeting and shall surrender all records in their possession to the Pastor at the close of their term of office to be filed as a permanent record of the work of the church. All records are the property of the church and must be kept in the church office.
- Any officer who neglects his duties as outlined in this Constitution for a period of three months may be removed from his office, at the discretion of the Pastor, and another may be nominated by the Pastor to serve the un-expired term.
Except for special occasions, the church shall meet each Sunday for public services, both morning and evening, and at least once during the week for Bible study and prayer. Except when circumstances forbid it, the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed each month.
- Regular church business meetings shall be held quarterly.
- The moderator shall determine the rules of procedure according to his sense of fairness and common sense, giving all members a reasonable opportunity to be heard on a matter. The moderator is the final authority on questions of procedure, and his decision is final and controlling.
- For any meeting under this article, the moderator, in his sole discretion, shall have full and unilateral authority to require nonmembers to leave the meeting room and to order the immediate removal of any member or other person present who is deemed by the moderator to be disruptive to the proceedings by act or presence. The moderator shall have full authority to order the removal of all children (ages to be determined by the moderator) if the moderator determines, in his sole discretion, that circumstances so warrant. If the moderator determines that compliance with his order of removal is unsatisfactory, the moderator may, in his sole discretion, revoke the disruptive person’s right to remain on the premises in accordance with Section 3.03(D) and treat the person as a trespasser.
- The Pastor (or deacons if the office of pastor is vacant or the Pastor is the subject of possible disciplinary action) may call a special meeting by giving notice of such a meeting to the church from the pulpit or in the bulletin at least one Sunday and not less than one week prior to said meeting. A meeting for the calling of a pastor or the severance of the relationship between the church and pastor shall be called in accordance with the provision of Section 4.04(A).
- The Pastor may call a special meeting for the purpose of voting in new members or missionaries without prior notice provided there are at least ten members present. No other business may be discussed unless the meeting was called in accordance with 6.03(A).
- Bible conferences, missions conferences, and revivals may be held as the Pastor deems beneficial.
The fiscal year of the church general operating budget and the church missions fund shall begin January 1st and end December 31st.
The church believes that it is to provide the members’ children with an education which is based upon and consistent with Biblical teachings. The church believes that the home and church are responsible before God for providing a Christian education. In order to assist the church’s families with their obligation to Biblically train their children, the church shall operate a Christian day school. To this end, the church shall engage in ministries in education in keeping with the following dictates.
All educational programs or courses of instruction formulated and offered by the church shall be primarily for the benefit of the members of the church; however, the Pastor may permit non-church members to participate in church educational programs or courses of instruction if he deems it in the best interest of the church.
All instructors, teachers, and administrators shall be members of this church. This provision shall not apply to visiting missionaries, evangelists, or preachers engaged for the purpose of delivering sermons, conducting revivals, or other special meetings on a temporary basis. Nonmembers may, with the approval of the Pastor, be allowed to assist in the programs.
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be taught and presented in full accord with the Statement of Faith of the church. The church shall not hire, appoint, or retain any employee or volunteer for its educational programs who fails to adhere to or expresses disagreement with the Statement of Faith.
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted as an integral and inseparable ministry of the church.
All educational programs or courses of instruction shall be conducted consistent with the teaching of the inerrant Word of God. Any assertion or belief which conflicts with or questions a Bible truth is a pagan deception and distortion of the truth which will be disclaimed as false. It is the responsibility of every instructor or teacher to present the inerrant Word of God as the sole infallible source of knowledge and wisdom.
All administrators, instructors, teachers, and other staff, whether paid or volunteer, shall continue or adopt and maintain a lifestyle consistent with the precepts taught by the church, whether in or out of the classroom. All staff shall be under the supervision of the pastor who has the sole authority to hire, appoint, or dismiss the same as stated herein.
A. The pastor shall be the final authority on all matters relating to the ministry of education. The pastor shall have the authority to approve or disapprove any decision or recommendation of the board of deacons on all matters relating to the ministry of education.
B. Subject to the approval of the church membership and on the condition that they shall become a member of the church upon assuming duties, the pastor may hire administrators and principals to assist the pastor in carrying out the ministry of education.
C. On the condition that they shall become a member of the church upon assuming duties, the pastor may hire teachers and support staff to assist the pastor in carrying out the ministry of education.
Any member of this church or its mission churches, who gives evidence of a genuine call of God into the work of the ministry and possesses the qualifications stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, may be ordained as a minister of the Gospel.
- Upon a conference with the Pastor, and after the Pastor has approved the candidate for ordination, the Pastor shall call a council to examine and pass on the qualification of the candidate. The ordination council shall consist of ordained ministers of like faith invited to participate in the examination of the candidate.
- If the candidate is found worthy of ordination by the council, the ordination council may ordain the candidate on behalf of the church.
- The Pastor and the chairman of the deacons shall arrange for the ordination service.
The church may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the church) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent of the church, against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the church and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.
To the extent that a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in that action, suit, or proceeding, he or she may be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys’ fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.
Any indemnification made under this Article, may be made by the church only as authorized in the specific case on a determination that indemnification of the Pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Section 9.01. The determination shall be made (a) by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of the Pastor and deacons who were not and are not parties to or threatened with the action, suit, or proceeding; (b) if the described quorum is not obtainable or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested deacons so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion; or (c) by a majority vote of the members of the church.
Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article, may be paid by the church as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the Board of Deacons in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the Pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the church.
The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the church, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under this Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a pastor, deacon, officer, employee, or agent and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person.
The church may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a pastor, deacon, officer, 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.
A. Board of Deacons – described in section 5.02
B. Trustees – described in section 5.03
C. Finance Committee
1. Members shall be appointed by the Pastor.
2. There shall be no defined term. Members shall serve until they resign or are asked by the Pastor to no longer serve on the committee.
D. Missions Committee
1. Election - All members shall be nominated and elected by the church at the November Business Meeting for a term of two years. They then must rotate off the active Missions Committee for at least one year before being eligible for re-election to another term. The Senior Pastor, at his discretion, may nominate a Missions Committee member whose term is expiring to serve a third year. At the end of the third year, the Missions Committee Member then must rotate off the active Missions Committee for at least one year before being eligible for re-election to another two-year term. In case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the church shall elect qualified individuals to fill the unexpired term.
2. Members of the Committee shall be spiritually minded people with a burden for missions both home and abroad. They shall be people of conviction and convinced of the biblical mandate for missions. They must be individuals who are able to look at missionaries and missionary problems objectively and fairly.
E. Nominating Committee
1. The Pastor shall appoint a Nominating Committee each summer.
2. The Nominating Committee shall choose people to serve on the special committees and various ministries of the church. The Nominating Committee selections shall be voted on in the November Business meeting.
F. The Pastor shall select a chairman for each of the standing committees.
G. Additional standing committees may be appointed at any time by the Pastor (or Board of Deacons if the office of the Pastor is vacant).
The Pastor may, at his discretion, create special committees. The committee shall have no authority to act on behalf of the corporation. The committee shall be appointed by the Pastor and shall be subject to the control and direction of the Pastor or his designee.
From time to time the church, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. Contributors may suggest uses for their contributions, but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution made to the church other than to use the contribution for the general furtherance of any of the purposes stated in Section 1.02.
Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of this church agree to submit to binding arbitration any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved, and expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bringing any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
In the event of any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement arising out of or relating to this Constitution or any other church matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions, or disagreement as befits Christians. To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and, recognizing their mutual interests not to disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution. If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions, or differences shall be finally settled by arbitration as described in Section 12.01, above, and such Procedures for Arbitration as are adopted pursuant to Section 12.04, below.
- Should any dispute involve matters of church discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures for church discipline as outlined under Section 3.04, were followed.
- Should any dispute involve the removal from office of the Pastor or any church officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures set forth in Sections 4.04 or 5.07 were followed.
The Procedures for Arbitration shall be as adopted by the Pastor and the Board of Deacons.
This Constitution may be revised or amended by a three-fourths vote of the members present and voting at any regular church business meeting, provided that said revision or amendment has been submitted in writing and announced from the pulpit fourteen (14) days before the vote is taken.
This Constitution was adopted by a three-fourths majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly called meeting of the church in which a quorum was present. This Constitution supersedes any other Constitution and/or bylaws of Fellowship Baptist Church.