Constitution and Bylaws
Presented to and Approved by: Southpark Baptist Church April 22, 2012
Pastor – Vacant as of January 29, 2012
Revised by the Personnel Committee
under the Leadership of David Cottingham, From November 2011 – April 2012
This revised Constitution and Bylaws of Southpark Baptist Church will supersede any and all previous editions.
Constitution and Bylaws
Presented to and Approved by: Southpark Baptist Church May 21, 2000
Pete Spradlin, Intentional Interim Pastor
Revised by the Interim Transition team
under the leadership of: Pete Spradlin, Intentional Interim Pastor.
This revised Constitution and Bylaws of Southpark Baptist Church will supersede any and all previous editions.
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 relation to other churches.
This body shall be known as Southpark Baptist Church, Incorporated, located at 2900 SW 119th Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73170.
II. Purpose and Objectives
The purpose of Southpark Baptist Church is to advance the Kingdom of God through public worship, preaching the Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ, teaching His Word, encouraging evangelism, missionary endeavor and consistent Christian living of its members, all for God’s Glory.
* To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, community, and throughout the world.
* To be a worshipping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His person, and responding in obedience to His leadership.
* To experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
* To help people experience a growing knowledge of God and man.
* To be a church which ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and the world in Jesus’ name.
* To be a church whose purpose is to be Christ like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the lordship of Christ.
III. Statement of Basic Beliefs
We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired Word of God and the basis for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963 with the latest versions. We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. (See Article V. of the Bylaws.)
IV. Church Covenant
Having been lead as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and 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 Spirit, we do now in the presence of God 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, and discipline; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and 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; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to use our influence to combat the abuse of drugs and the spread of pornography; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
V. Polity and Relationships
1) The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. (See Article I of the Bylaws.)
All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.
This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as it is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the association, the state convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
2) Registered Agent. The president of the trustees will be the registered agent for Southpark Baptist Church. His or her trustee correspondence address shall be the same as the church.
3) Spokesperson. The pastor shall be the spokesperson for the church. Should an alternate spokesperson be necessary, the Chairman of Deacons, Administrator, or President of the Trustees will be called upon when there is need to respond to the media.
I. Church Membership
Section 1. General
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right to self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church.
The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership. Member/membership referred to in this document included all members, staff and employees.
Section 2. Candidacy
Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:
1) By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church.
2) By promise of a letter of recommendation from another church of like faith and order.
3) By restoration upon a statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in a church of like faith and order when no letter is obtainable.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to an ad hoc membership committee as appointed by the moderator for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days. A three-fourths vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.
Section 3. New Member Orientation
New members of this church are encouraged to participate in the church’s new member orientation.
Section 4. Rights of Members
1) Every member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference provided the member is present.
2) A “Majority vote” in this document refers to a “50% +1 vote” of all members voting.
3) Every member of the church is eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
4) Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church.
Section 5. Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
1) Death of the member,
2) transfer of membership to another Baptist church,
3) exclusion by action of this church, or
4) erasure upon request of the individual or proof of membership in a church of another denomination.
Section 6. Discipline
It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The pastor, other members of the church staff, Personnel Committee, and deacons are available for consultation and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.
If this church member is a staff member, employee, or a deacon, this person will be required to attend a meeting with the Personnel committee.
Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accordance with Matthew 18. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a majority vote is required; and the church may proceed to declare the person to be no longer in the membership of the church. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance.
The church may restore to membership any person previously excluded, upon request of the excluded person, and by a vote of the church upon evidence of the excluded person’s repentance and reformation.
II. Church Officers and Committees
All who serve as officers of the church and those who serve on church committees shall be members of this church. The Personnel committee will perform an evaluation yearly for all staff members and employees and will make recommendations for salary increases or positions changes.
Section 1. Church Officers
The officers of this church shall be the pastor and ministerial staff, the deacons, the clerk, the treasurer, financial secretary, and trustees.
1) The Pastor. The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. The pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff to perform their tasks.
The pastor is the leader of pastoral ministries of the church. As such he works with the deacons and church staff to:
* Lead the church in the achievement of its mission,
* proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and
* Care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
The pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given.
A pastor search committee consisting of seven (7) members and no alternates shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor. The pastor search committee shall continue to function without alteration so long as the committee has lost no more than two (2) members. Any church member may make a recommendation to the pastor search committee during it search process. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one name at a time. Election shall be by ballot, and an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the present and voting church members. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request.
The pastor may relinquish the office as pastor by giving at least two (2) week’s notice to the church at the time of resignation. The Deacon’s and Personnel committee have the option to declare that the position be vacant. The compensation due will be rendered within ten (10) days.
The church may declare the office of pastor to be vacant. Such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon the recommendation of a majority of the Personnel Committee and the deacons or by written petition signed by a 67% majority of members. The moderator for this meeting shall be designated by the members present by majority vote, and shall be someone other than the pastor. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by confidential ballot; an affirmative 67% majority vote to declare the office vacant. Except in instances of gross misconduct by the pastor so excluded from office, the church will compensate the pastor with not less than one-twelfth of his total annual compensation. The termination shall be immediate and the compensation shall be rendered within ten (10) days.
2) Ministerial Staff. Ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. A job description shall be written by the Personnel Committee in consultation with the pastor and approved by the church when the need for a staff member is determined. Those staff members of whom the church requires evidence of a personal call of God to minister shall be recommended by the Personnel Committee in consultation with the pastor and called by church action of three-fourths of the present and voting members. At the time of resignation, at least two week’s notice shall be given to the church.
The church may vote to vacate such positions upon recommendation of the Personnel Committee in consultation with the pastor, such termination being immediate and the compensation conditions being the same as for the pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual’s compensation.
3) Non-ministerial; Staff. Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the church determines the need for their services. The church Personnel Committee shall have the authority to employ and to terminate services of non-ministerial staff members. Such employment and termination of services shall be with the recommendation of the supervising staff member and, as appropriate, with the consultation of related committees of the church.
4) Deacons. In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice in the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church. Their task is to serve with the pastor and staff in performing the pastoral ministry tasks of:
* Leading the church in the achievement of its mission,
* proclaiming the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and
* caring for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
Any church member may nominate a man to be a deacon at any time. This nomination shall be presented to the chairman of deacons in writing. At least one time during the calendar year the deacon body will evaluate the need for new deacon candidates to be nominated by the church. A report of this evaluation shall be presented to the church during a regular business meeting.
The deacons shall appoint a team, composed of the Pastor and at least two deacons who are selected by the deacon body, to examine those nominated, and interview them concerning Scriptural requirements and their willingness to serve. The wife of the deacon candidate must be present during the interview(s). Names of nominees who are found to be qualified and willing to serve will be submitted to the church.
Deacons shall be selected by a vote of three-fourths of the present and voting church members on a written ballot at a regular or special business meeting, and shall serve until requesting inactive status or being removed by the church. A deacon may be reinstated by three-fourths majority vote of the present and voting church members.
The deacon elect shall serve for one year before being ordained as deacon. If after one year of Christian service he still desires to serve as deacon, he shall be ordained.
The deacons shall elect their own officers annually. The Pastor or chairman of the deacons may call the deacons into special session when the need arises, but only after the meeting has been announced at two worship services. Any church member may attend deacon meetings except when specific church member personal issues are to be presented. Only active, ordained deacons of this church may vote on issues brought to the deacon body.
5) Moderator. The church shall annually elect a moderator as its presiding officer. The Pastor may preside at meetings of this church, and if so designated may serve as moderator in all business meetings in keeping with the rules of order authorized in these bylaws.
In the absence of the moderator, the chairman of deacons shall preside; or in the absence of both, the president of the trustees; or in the absence of the aforementioned persons, the church clerk shall call the church to order and preside for the election of an acting moderator.
6) Church Clerk. The church shall annually elect a clerk as its clerical officer. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a suitable record of all official actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a register of names of members, with dates of admission, dismission, death, or erasure, together with a record of baptisms. The clerk shall issue letters of dismission voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give required notice of all meetings where notice is necessary, as indicated in these bylaws. The clerk shall be responsible for preparing the annual letter of the church to the association.
The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary who will assist the elected clerk. All church records are church property and shall be kept in the church office when an office is maintained.
7) Church Treasurer and Financial Secretary. The church shall annually elect a church treasurer and financial secretary as its financial officers. It shall be the joint duty of the treasurer and secretary to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements at all times. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to render to the church at each regular business meeting a summary report of the receipts and disbursements of the preceding reporting period. The treasurer’s report and records shall be audited at least once every three years by an auditing committee or public accountant. An audit will be conducted at the time a new treasurer is elected. The finance secretary and treasurer shall be bonded, the church paying for the bond.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be maintained as permanent record for a period of seven (7) years.
The Finance Committee shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses. Offering envelopes will be provided for member’s use.
It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular proportionate gifts.
The financial records shall be kept in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. The system of accounting will adequately provide for the handling of all funds and shall be the responsibility of the Finance Committee.
The church fiscal year shall run concurrently with the calendar year, January 1 through December 31.
8) Trustees. The church shall elect three or more trustees to serve as legal officers for the church. They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any church property. When the signatures of trustees are required, they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church-approved matters.
With church approval, the trustees may at any time audit or cause to be audited any or all financial accounts of the church for any time period. The trustees shall assure appropriate church officers are bonded as necessary.
The trustees shall serve for three years, one church member being elected annually to fill the vacancy of Secretary, who rotates to Vice President, who rotates to President.
Section 2. Church Committees
The Nominating Committee will propose members for committees which have been deemed necessary by the church. All church committee members shall be presented to the church by the Nominating Committee for approval unless otherwise specified in these Bylaws. Committee members shall serve on a three-year rotation basis with one third to be elected each year. A member may chair only one committee and can serve on no more than two standing committees.
Except where the congregation specifically provides otherwise, the pastor shall be ex officio member of all committees. As such, he shall be entitled to notice of all meetings, the option of but not the duty to attend any meetings, and shall retain the right to vote in meetings he attends.
All other members of all committees, including church employees, officers, or paid or unpaid staff members shall be approved by the church upon recommendation of the Nominating Committee (only the pastor may be ex officio). All committee members shall have notice of all meetings and voting rights unless specifically excepted by the church.
Except for the Pastor and duly elected members, no attendee at any meeting shall vote or take direct part in any other decision-making process (e.g., consensus poling).
III. Church Program Organizations
The church shall maintain programs of Bible teaching: church member training, church leader training, new member orientation; mission education, action, and support; and music education, training, and performance. All organizations related to the church programs shall be under church control, all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church, and all program activities are subject to church coordination and approval. The church shall provide the human resources, the physical resources, and the financial resources for the appropriate advancement of these programs.
1) The Sunday School shall be the basic organization for the Bible teaching program. Its task shall be to teach the biblical revelation, reach persons for Christ and church membership, perform the functions of the church within its constituency, and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination. The Sunday School shall be organized by departments as appropriate for all ages, and shall be conducted under the direction of the Sunday School Director who has been elected by the church.
2) Discipleship Training shall serve as the training unit of the church. Its task shall be to train church members to perform the functions of the church; train church leaders; orient new church members; teach Christian theology, Christian ethics, Christian history, and church polity and organization; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination. Discipleship Training shall be organized by departments for all ages and conducted under the direction of a general director.
3) Women on Mission shall be the mission education, mission action, and mission support organization of the church for women, young women, girls, and preschool children. Its task shall be to teach missions; engage in mission action; support world missions through prayer and giving; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination. Women on Mission shall have such officers and organization as the program requires.
4) Baptist Men shall be the church’s organization for mission education, mission action, and mission support for men, young men, and boys. Its tasks shall be to teach missions, engage in mission action, support world missions through prayer and giving, and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination. Baptist Men shall have such officers and organization as the program requires.
5) The Church Music organization, under the direction of the church-elected Minister of Music, shall be the music education, training, and performance organization of the church. Its tasks shall be to teach music; train persons to lead, sing, and play music; provide music in the church and community; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination. The Church Music program shall have such officers and organization as the program requires.
IV. Church Council
The Church Council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organizations.
The primary functions of the Church Council shall be to recommend to the church suggested objectives and church goals; to review and coordinate ministry and program plans recommended by church officers, organizations, and committees; to recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendar time and other resources according to program priorities; and to evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals.
Regular members of the Church Council shall be the pastor, other church ministerial staff members, directors and coordinators of church program organizations, chairman of deacons and chairmen of church committees.
All matters agreed upon by the council which call for action not already approved shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.
V. Church Ordinances
Sections 1. Baptism
This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship services, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
1) Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
2) The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer Baptism. Persons on the Baptism Committee shall assist in the preparation for, and the observance of, baptism.
3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
4) A person who professes Christ and requests baptism shall be baptized within thirty (30) days, unless extenuating circumstances prevail. If negative interest is ascertained on the part of the candidate, he or she shall be deleted from those awaiting baptism.
Section 2. The Lord’s Supper
The church shall observe the Lord’s Supper at least quarterly as scheduled by the church council. The pastor and deacons shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparations.
VI. Church Meetings
Section 1. Worship Services
Normally, the church shall meet each Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the components of these services. The pastor shall direct the services for all the church members and for all others who may choose to attend.
Section 2. Special Services
Revival services and any other church meeting essential to the advancement of the church’s objectives shall be placed on the church calendar.
Section 3. FAMILY Meetings
Family meetings shall be held as scheduled by the church.
Section 4. Special FAMILY Meetings
The church may conduct special-called family meetings to consider matters of special nature and significance. A one-week notice must be given for the special-called family meeting. The notice shall include the date, time, and subject to be discussed.
Section 5. Quorum
The quorum consists of those members who attend the family meeting, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section 6. Parliamentary Rules
The latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
VII. Church Operations Manual
Church policies and procedures shall be maintained by an appointed staff member. Policies and procedures may be added, revised, or deleted by: recommendation of the church officer or organization to whose areas of assignment the procedure relates, the Church Council, or an individual, with final approval by the church.
This document may be amended by vote of three-fourths of the members present and voting at a regularly scheduled or called family meeting, provided the proposed amendments are made available in writing at a previous regular or special family meeting and are included in at least one issue of the weekly bulletin and church weekly e-Letter prior to the meeting in which the amendments are to be considered.
IX. Mission Statement
The Southpark Baptist Mission Statement will be defined in the Church’s Operations Manual and on the Web Page under 'ABOUT US'.