Constitution, Page 1
For the purpose of preserving and making secure the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body be governed in an orderly manner, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of the church, and to set forth the relationship of this body to other bodies of the same faith, we do declare and establish this constitution. The Scriptures are our supreme authority in faith and practice and nothing in this constitution shall be deemed to take precedence over Scriptural principles.
ARTICLE I: Name
The name of this body is the Upper Cross Roads Baptist Church. It is incorporated under the laws of the State of Maryland as a non-profit religious corporation; its government is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is located at 2717 Greene Rd., Baldwin, MD 21013.
ARTICLE II: Purpose
The overriding philosophy of Upper Cross Roads Baptist Church is to glorify God in all that we do. The purpose of this body is to evangelize the lost and edify the saints. This purpose is fulfilled through: providing regular opportunities for public worship; administering the ordinances; sustaining the doctrines and ethics set forth in the New Testament for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ; nurturing its members through a family-oriented program including Christian education and fellowship; influencing the community, state, and nation for righteousness; disbursing its offerings to the furtherance of the Gospel; and through preaching and propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord in this area and throughout the world.
ARTICLE III: Articles of Faith
ARTICLE IV: Membership
Section 1. Qualifications. The membership of this church shall be composed of persons who have given testimony of their salvation and the basis of their faith to the Deacons, who have experienced believer’s baptism by immersion, who have subscribed to the Articles of Faith, the Covenant and the Constitution of the church, and who have been accepted by vote of the church.
Section 2. Procedure. All persons desiring membership in this church must present themselves at any regular service of the church. They will then meet with the Deacons to give testimony as per Section 1. Upon recommendation of the Deacons, they will be presented to the congregation for vote. There are three ways one can present him/her self for membership: a. Transfer of a letter of membership from another church of like faith and practice. b. Statement of Faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and testimony of baptism by immersion after salvation, by a church of like faith and practice. c. Statement of Faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and submission to the ordinance of baptism at Upper Cross Roads Baptist Church.
Section 3. Vote. If the vote of the congregation is other than unanimous, the Pastor will call together the Deacons of the church to look into the matter and make a recommendation to the church after careful and prayerful consideration, seeking the will of the Holy Spirit.
Section 4. Member’s Standing. Members who have been received into membership in accordance with the procedure set forth in Section 2 of this article, or those who were members prior to the establishment of this procedure, who support the church and faithfully attend the services, and who are not under church discipline are considered members in good standing and are entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership. Members who have not yet reached their eighteenth birthday shall not vote, hold office, or serve on committees. Members who attend fewer than six services of the church in any six month period, unless providentially hindered or temporarily residing out of the area, shall be moved to an inactive membership list. Inactive members have no right of franchise (voice or vote). For an inactive member to be returned to good standing the person must show obvious (at least six weeks) faithfulness in attending the services of the church. The Deacons shall have the final say as to a member’s standing, if there be any question.
Section 5. Transfer of Letter. Letters of transfer may be granted to any church of like faith and practice for members in good standing. For inactive members or members under church discipline, their standing will be so noted in the letter. When letters are granted, membership in this church will terminate. When a letter of transfer is requested to a church of another faith or order, a statement will be given indicating the “termination of membership at the individual’s request.”
Section 6. Termination. When a member of this church joins a church of different faith or order, membership in this church will automatically terminate.
Section 7. Duties. In addition to the duties set forth in the church covenant, members are expected to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life; to attend regularly the services of the church; to give regularly and systematically to its support; and to share in its organized work. Furthermore, members are to love, honor, and esteem the Pastor, pray for him, and recognize his authority in spiritual affairs of the church. They are to live a life style in affirmation of the beliefs and practices of the church, as set forth in the Articles of Faith and from the pulpit.
Section 8. Privileges. In consideration of the rights and responsibilities involved, only members in good standing have the right to speak, act, and/or vote in the matters of the church. Non-members, regardless of faithfulness in attendance, or contributions given, will have no say or vote in any matters of the church.
Section 9. Discipline & Restoration. The panel for hearing all matters of church discipline shall be composed of the Pastor(s) and Deacons. These men have sole authority in determining heretical deviations from the Articles of Faith, or violations of the Church Covenant. Furthermore, whenever a member’s behavior exhibits the practice of any of the sins condemned in the following Scripture passages, church discipline may be warranted.
Proverbs 6:16-19, 1 Corinthians 6:9- 10, Galatians 5:19-20, Ephesians 5:3-5, Colossians 3:5,8 & 9, 1 Timothy 6:10, 2 Timothy 3:2-5.
If a Pastor or a Deacon is the subject of the disciplinary matter, he shall not sit as a member of that body when the discipline matter is under discussion. All matters of church discipline are to be conducted in accordance with the following steps: (ref. Matthew 18:15-20, Galatians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
1. When a member becomes aware of the offense of another member of such magnitude that it hinders spiritual growth and/or testimony, he or she is to go alone to the offending party and seek to restore the brother or sister. Before he goes, he should first examine himself. When he goes, it should be with a spirit of humility and have the goal of restoration.
2. If reconciliation is not reached in step 1, one or two from the Pastor and Deacons are to accompany the one seeking to resolve the matter. This second step should also be preceded by self-examination, exercised in a spirit of humility, and have the goal of restoration.
3. If the matter is still unresolved after steps 1 and 2 have been taken, the Pastor and Deacons, having Biblical responsibility for putting down murmuring, shall hear the matter privately and in confidence. In the case where a person refuses to meet with the Pastor and/or Deacons, the Deacons shall announce to the congregation that that person is suspended from the rights and privileges of membership, and such suspension shall continue in force as long as the situation giving rise to it continues.
4. If the matter is still unresolved after the hearing, the individual involved will be notified in writing that disciplinary action is being contemplated. One week’s notice shall be given to the membership that a special meeting is being called for the purpose of considering disciplinary action, without giving the names or the offense.
5. At the meeting, the Pastor and Deacons will bring the matter before the church and recommend proper disciplinary action. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting is required to approve the action. Discipline may consist of: a) If the individual is an officer, teacher, worker, or committee member, he may be removed from the position. b) Temporary suspension of the rights and privileges of membership for a specified period of time, to be recommended by the Pastor and Deacons. c) Removal from membership of the church.
6. If an unrepentant offending member is removed from church membership, all contact with that person from that point forward, must be for the sake of restoration only, except for family members.
7. If a member who has been disciplined shall repent and humbly submit to the imposed discipline, he/she shall afterwards be wholly forgiven and publicly restored to the full fellowship of the church.
ARTICLE V: Meetings
Section 1. Worship Services. Regular worship services shall be held by the church each Sunday and a mid-week service at a time agreed upon by the church. Revivals, Mission Conferences, and other special services may be held as deemed necessary in the fulfillment of the purpose (Article II).
Section 2. The Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at least once a quarter at a time arranged by the Pastor and Deacons.
Section 3. Regular Administrative Meetings. The church shall hold regular administrative meetings at least once each quarter following a mid-week service. Special administrative meetings may be called by the Pastor or the Deacons at such time as they may be needed, with one week’s notice of the time and purpose of meeting given to the congregation. A special meeting may be requested by the congregation through written request submitted to the Deacons and signed by ten percent of the membership who are eligible to vote. All administrative meetings shall be held at the church. The Pastor shall serve as moderator of the administrative meetings of the church. In his absence, or upon his request, the chairman of the Deacons, Vice Chairman of the Deacons, or some other person chosen by the church, may serve as moderator. At the annual and regular church administrative meetings, any reports by heads of organizations, church officers, chairman of the Deacons, chairmen of all standing committees, and/or chairmen of ad-hoc committees of the church shall be submitted in writing in order that the Church Clerk may properly keep the records of the church.
Section 4. Annual Administrative Meeting. An annual meeting for the election of officers and approval of the annual budget shall be held during November or December, in order that all newly-elected officers will assume office the first of January. The election of church officers and committees shall be by secret ballot. The annual budget shall be voted on by section. A simple majority of a quorum is required for approval. If any section should fail to be approved, it shall be sent back to the Budget and Finance Committee for revision and re-submittal. A full financial report shall be given by the Budget and Finance Committee at the January meeting.
Section 5. Quorum. A quorum shall consist of one third of the members in good standing who are eligible to vote. The following matters shall be voted on by secret ballot and shall require a quorum to conduct the meeting: -Call or dismissal of a Pastor or Assistant/Associate Pastor. -Amendment or revision of the Constitution and By-Laws. -Borrowing or lending money. -Sale or purchase of real estate property. -Non-budgeted expenditures of three thousand dollars or more. -Addition or deletion of any full or part-time staff positions. -Re-allocation of permanent established funds. -Addition or termination of a missionary for support. -Election of church officers. -Approval of annual budget. -Joining in affiliation with, or separation from, any organization. All other matters may be conducted by those present and qualified to vote.