In order to carry out and make effective the principles and declarations contained in this Constitution as set forth and contained in the Church Covenant and the Baptist Faith and Message this Church enacts and ordains the following Bylaws:
Membership in this Church shall be based solely upon a personal faith in Jesus Christ and obedience in following Him in New Testament baptism (immersion).
A. ACCEPTANCE OF MEMBERS
Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and giving evidence of a change of heart may, upon being baptized, be admitted to the fellowship and privileges of the Church.
Members of other Southern Baptist Churches may be received into the fellowship of the Church on promise of letter of recommendation from their respective Church.
Persons who, because of peculiar circumstances, can secure no church letter of recommendation may be received into the fellowship of the Church upon a statement affirming their faith, baptism, and membership in a Church of like faith and order.
4. PRESENTATION OF MEMBERS
Each applicant for membership shall appear in person before the Church unless in the judgment of the Ministerial staff he or she is mentally or physically incapable of appearing before the Church. In such event a member of the Ministerial staff shall provide decision counseling to the applicant and present the applicant’s name to the Church. An objection to receiving an applicant shall be referred to the Deacons who shall report to the Church.
C. DISMISSAL OF MEMBERS
The policy of this Church shall be to remove the names of members from the Church roll by the following:
1. DEATH OF THE MEMBER
2. TRANSFER OF LETTER
Letters of recommendation for any member in good standing shall be granted to any Church of like faith and order upon proper request from said Church. We do not grant letters of dismissal to individuals.
Any member uniting with a Church of another faith and order upon notification by said Church, or receipt of substantiated evidence of such action, shall have his or her name removed from the roll. This Church will issue a letter of recommendation to Churches of another Christian faith and order if requested.
D. CLASSIFICATION OF MEMBERSHIP
Those members residing in the geographical area served by First Baptist Church.
Those members who have moved outside the area.
Those members attending First Baptist Church or donating to First Baptist Church within three years.
Those members not attending First Baptist Church or donating to First Baptist Church within three years.
E. NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION
New members of this Church are encouraged to participate in the Church’s new member orientation in order to insure that they understand the history and doctrinal beliefs of the church and their responsibility as members of this body.
II. GENERAL CHURCH OFFICERS AND STAFF
The Pastor is called by vote of the Church, upon recommendation of a Pastor Search Committee, for an indefinite period of time. He is the spiritual leader and head of the Church as the under-shepherd of Christ. He is charged with the oversight of the Church family and to minister to their spiritual needs without partiality. He is to preach and teach the Word of God declaring the whole counsel of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is to be responsible for the general direction of the entire Church program. All members of the Ministerial and Administrative Staff are to be responsible to him for the successful performance of the duties which are delegated to them, and the coordination of the activities and work in which they are engaged. The Pastor or his designated representative shall be a non-voting member of all committees. He will serve as ex-officio member of all committees and in an advisory capacity to all organizations. The Pastor is to seek through the ministry of his office to promote and extend the Kingdom of God everywhere in the winning of the lost and the edification of children of God. In the absence of the Pastor, due to resignation, incapacity or death, the ministerial staff shall assume the administrative duties of the Pastor until such time as the vacancy is filled as set forth herein.
B. MINISTERIAL STAFF
The Church shall call and employ an ordained Ministerial Staff based on the needs of the Church. This staff shall work under the leadership and guidance of the Pastor and in close cooperation with all other staff members and the congregation. A special Search Committee, assisted by the Personnel Committee, is responsible to the Church for locating, interviewing, and recommending qualified persons for all ministerial positions. All ministerial staff shall be called by the vote of the Church. The Personnel Committee shall present to all new staff members a detailed job description, the compensation, and all conditions set forth in the personnel policy.
C. ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
The Church shall call and employ an Administrative Staff based on the needs of the Church upon the recommendation of the Pastor. The administrative staff shall work under the direct supervision and guidance of the Pastor and in close cooperation with all other staff members, Church appointed directors, and the congregation. The Personnel Committee is responsible for locating, interviewing, and recommending qualified persons to the Church for all administrative positions.
D. CHURCH COUNCIL
The Church Council shall be composed of the Pastor, the members of the Ministerial Staff, the Sunday School Director, the Discipleship Training Director, the Brotherhood Director, the Women’s Missionary Union Director, Children’s Department Director, AWANA Director, one member of the Senior Adult Committee, and the Chairman of the Deacons. The Church Council is an advisory agency through which all organizations and committees may coordinate their activities into one harmonious program of work.
The Church Clerk is elected by the Church upon recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee each year. The duties of the Church Clerk are to keep records of all the business meetings and official acts of the Church, including membership records. These written accounts shall be kept with the permanent records.
The office of the deacon is one of the highest calls to service offered by First Baptist Church. Qualifications are set forth in the Bible. These are primarily found in Acts 6:1‑7 and I Timothy 3:8‑13. Though there is not always complete agreement on what certain verses mean, a Deacon should make every effort to live out these Biblical concepts.
The Deacon should support the Church by giving of time, talent, tithe, and prayer.
The Deacon should be a faithful and loyal supporter of the entire Church program and should attend all regular and special called meetings of the Deacons, unless hindered by good reason, which is approved by a good conscience.
The Deacon should exercise God‑given gifts through appropriate service in the Church.
According to scripture, the Deacon should tithe his income through the Church.
Prayer should be a part of the Deacon’s daily schedule.
The Deacon should establish an exemplary lifestyle. He should at all times bring honor to the name of Christ by having social and moral standards that are above question.
The Deacon shall be at least 25 years of age.
The Deacon shall have been an active member of First Baptist Church for at least two (2) years.
The Deacon should support the Church Covenant and the Baptist Faith and Message.
a. PASTORAL ASSISTANCE
These officers will serve the Church by aiding the Pastor in the oversight of spiritual interests of the Church.
b. ORDINANCE ASSISTANCE
They will aid in the administration of the ordinances
c. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE
They will aid in the supervision of the business administration of the Church.
4. DEACON ELECTION
There will be thirty (30) active Deacons and an unspecified number of Life Deacons.
Each year ten of the active Deacons will rotate off the active group.
Active Deacons are elected and serve on the calendar year.
A Deacon who has rotated off the active Deacon Body will not be eligible for reelection until at least one year has elapsed.
The Deacon Chairman shall appoint five of the active deacons who are rotating off the active group as the Committee on Deacon Nomination. Each October the Committee shall receive nominations from the membership by paper ballot for a three year term. The nominations and the compiled list shall be retained for one year and shall be available for review by any member. The Committee shall nominate the ten men with the highest vote count to the Church in conference only after each candidate has been interviewed and all qualifications met to the satisfaction of the Committee. The Committee shall present these nominations to the Church at its November Conference. The Committee will present any nominations for Life Deacon at the same time. Any vacancy that may occur during the year shall be filled by the candidate who met all deacon qualifications and who received the largest number of votes among the remaining qualified candidates who were not elected.
5. DEACON OFFICERS
The officers of the Deacons shall be Chairman, Vice‑Chairman, Secretary, and Assistant Secretary and the Chairman of the Finance Committee.
All officers shall be elected at the January Deacon meeting for a term of one calendar year. Offices becoming vacant during the year may be filled by election at the regular Deacon’s meeting. In the October meeting, the Chairman of Deacons shall appoint no less than three or more than five of the outgoing Deacons as a Nominating Committee for Deacon Officers. In January, said Nominating Committee will nominate one person for each office. The chair shall receive nominations from the floor. If nominations are made from the floor a secret ballot will be taken. An individual must receive a majority of the votes to be elected. Should no nominations be made from the floor, a standing vote shall suffice. All current Deacons, new Deacons, and Life Deacons shall have the privilege of voting.
b. PASTOR EVALUATION
It shall be the duty of the Deacon Officers to conduct an annual evaluation of the Pastor, which shall be kept on file with the Secretary of the Deacons.
6. LIFE DEACONS
The names of all deacons who are eligible for Life Deacon shall be presented to the Church for consideration.
To be elected to Life Deacon, one must have reached the age of 65 and have served at least 12 years as an active Deacon of First Baptist Church of Sylacauga, Alabama.
Any Deacon so nominated who shall receive the approval of the membership shall become a Life Deacon.
7. DEACON MEETINGS
A meeting of the Deacons shall include all active Deacons and Life Deacons and shall meet on a monthly basis. Special meetings of the Deacons may be called by the Chairman of the Deacons, after consultation with the Deacon Officers, upon giving at least 48 hours notice of the purpose, time and place of the meeting to the Deacons.
The Church Treasurer is elected each year by the Church upon recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee. The duties of the Treasurer are to disburse funds as authorized in the budget or otherwise authorized by the Church; control disbursements; serve as a member of the Finance Committee; and to make available to the Finance Committee, the Deacons, and the Church a report of all receipts and disbursements each month.
The Trustees shall be composed of five members who have been active in this church for at least six years, and shall serve for a five year term. The Trustees are elected by the Church upon the recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee. The duties of the Trustees shall be to serve as the proper legal authority through which the Church shall act in the exercise of the powers conferred upon it by the Church Charter with respect to the acquiring, holding, and disposing of her properties. It shall also be their duties to adequately insure her properties and generally care for the corporate welfare of the Church. When a vacancy occurs leaving an unexpired term, a replacement to serve the unexpired term shall be nominated by the Church Nominating Committee, presented to the Deacons and to the Church for approval. A Trustee will not be eligible for reelection until at least one year has elapsed.
The Ushers are elected each year by the Church upon recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee. The duties of the Ushers are to aid the seating and comfort of the congregation, the greeting and introduction of visitors, the prevention of interruptions and distractions, and similar services. They will collect the offerings at worship services.
A Moderator shall be elected each year by the Church upon recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee. The Moderator shall be acquainted with the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, with these Bylaws and other church policies and procedures.
A vacancy in an unexpired term of the Moderator shall be filled by the Associate Moderator.
Work with the pastor and church officers to prepare the agenda for all business meetings. Conduct church business meetings. Call the church into a business meeting. Maintain the spirit of Christian love and fellowship while presiding by conducting meetings in an orderly, fair and impartial manner. All motions must be stated and seconded before they are discussed. Call on the person who made the motion to discuss it first. Alternate discussions to bring out both sides of a question. Take and record the results of all votes. Follow up after each business meeting with the church clerk, responsible committees and individuals to ensure that decisions made are executed properly. In the absence of the Moderator, the Associate Moderator shall have all of the duties and authorities of the Moderator.
K. ASSOCIATE MODERATOR
The Associate Moderator shall be elected each year by the Church upon recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee. The Associate Moderator shall be acquainted with the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, with these Bylaws and other church policies and procedures.
A vacancy in the unexpired term of the Associate Moderator shall be filled by the Church upon recommendation of the Church Nominating Committee.
Act as Parliamentarian and assist the Moderator in interpreting and following the bylaws, the constitution and the published policies and procedures of the church. Assist the Moderator in ruling on whether motions are in order or not in order. If the motion is not in order, the Associate Moderator will inform those making motions of the appropriate course of action. Assist the Moderator in conducting and counting votes and properly reporting results. Assist the Moderator in following proper procedures for leading discussions, voting, handling amendments, referring items to committees, and other such procedural matters.
A. STANDING COMMITTEES
1. COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES
The members of this committee shall serve on a rotation basis for a three-year term, with two members added every year to serve a subsequent three-year term. Each vacancy on this committee shall be filled by nomination from the Nominating Committee to the Deacons and the Church in that order. The work of the committee shall be the annual nomination to the Church of all committees. This committee shall supply each committee member elected with a description of the duties and functions of the committee to which he or she belongs. It is desired that members not be given more than two assignments. The committee shall nominate for each standing committee no less than three and no more than seven members.
2. FINANCE COMMITTEE
This committee is a deacon committee that rotates on a three‑year cycle. In addition to the Deacon elected members and the Church Treasurer, three at-large members shall be recommended by the Committee on Committees for election by the Church. The Finance Committee shall authorize expenditures approved in the budget and any two (2) members may co‑sign checks for Church expenditures. They shall exercise controls on spending in said areas when needed. They shall make recommendations to the Church for special approved expenditures. This committee shall be responsible for the division of monies received in revival love offerings. They shall work with the Personnel Committee on salary structures for all staff members. They shall offer suggestions to the Church when inflationary or recessionary inroads affect the budget. The Finance Committee will meet monthly to monitor the current budget. They will be charged with the responsibility to review, adjust and approve the proposed budget as presented, present the proposed budget to the Deacons, and present the proposed budget to the Church during the November Church Conference. The approved budget will be implemented on January 1 of the budget year.
3. NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The Nominating Committee shall discover, interview, enlist, and recommend for election by the Church such persons as are suitable and needed to fill all Church offices whose election is not otherwise called for in this Constitution or By-Laws.
4. PERSONNEL COMMITTEE
This committee shall assist the Pastor in relationship to personnel administration and management. It shall prepare, file, and keep available job descriptions for all staff members and present to the Church recommendations and salary proposals for employment of all staff personnel other than the Pastor. This committee shall work with the Finance Committee in the annual evaluation of salaries. Salaries and benefits available to church staff and ministers shall be determined by the Personnel Committee within the Budget adopted by the Church. All personnel employed by the Church, except the Pastor, shall have an annual evaluation by their immediate supervisor. These evaluations shall be kept on file with the Personnel Committee.
B. SPECIAL COMMITTEES
Upon recommendation of the Church, Pastor, or Deacons special committees may be appointed whenever necessary to attend to any matters requiring the Church’s action and not falling within the scope of any of the standing committees. Special Committee members shall be nominated by the Committee on Committees and approved by the Church. The duties and authority shall be clearly defined by the Committee on Committees and may have a fixed termination date or event, not to exceed three years, or may have continuing status subject to termination of the Committee on Committees or the Church.
The Church recognizes that there are many members who, as a group, minister to the needs of the Church and its members as its sole or primary function. For the purpose of this article, the flower ministry, bereavement ministry or any other group of members whose sole purpose is to minister to the members of this Church may be recognized by the Committee on Committees as a ministry and shall not be subject to nominations and membership restrictions which would be required in a church committee.
D. GENERAL PROCEDURES
Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws:
1. Each committee shall have a chairperson who shall keep the members informed about the activities of the committee.
2. All committees shall keep the Church informed of their work and receive Church approval when necessary for the work to proceed.
3. All committees shall keep and file detailed records of their actions.
4. All committee members should be an active member of FBC for at least one year.
5. All committee members shall serve for a fixed term not to exceed five years and shall not be eligible for re-election to the same committee for one year.
6. Committee meetings shall be scheduled with sufficient advance notice for all members to plan to attend.
7. Members of the ministerial staff and the administrative staff shall be non-voting members of any committees upon which they serve.
1. The Church shall conduct regular worship on each Lord’s Day, morning and evening, as well as on Wednesday evenings.
2. These meetings shall be under the direction of the Pastor.
3. There shall be a Sunday School and a Discipleship Training conducted on the Lord’s Day, mission organizations for each age group and other organizations which are deemed advisable by the Church for the purpose of teaching the Word of God and advancing the message.
B. EVANGELISTIC MEETINGS
The Church shall conduct at least one evangelistic meeting each year.
C. CHURCH CONFERENCES
1. The Church shall meet regularly in conference to conduct its business. Subject to the will of God, the Church Conference shall be the final authority in all Church affairs.
2. Church Conferences shall be held quarterly in the months of February, May, August, and November.
3. Special meetings may be called by the Pastor or the Chairman of the Deacons.
4. The Moderator, or in his absence, the Associate Moderator shall preside at all business meetings. In the absence of a Moderator, the Church may elect any member to serve as temporary moderator of the meeting.
5. All business meetings shall be opened with prayer and conducted according to the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, and with these Bylaws.
6. All meetings shall be conducted on Sunday morning immediately after the 11:00 a.m. regular worship service. A written notice of the agenda, with a brief description of each item or specific motion to be voted upon, shall be published in the Church newsletter at least ten calendar days prior to a business meeting. Electronic delivery by email of such notice is permitted to those members who have provided the Church with an email address. Notice shall also be posted on the Church’s primary internet web site.
7. A quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting shall be the membership of the Church present at the business meeting.
8. The method of voting will be at the discretion of the Moderator. Paper ballots should be used for nomination of Deacons, calling of ministers, and for items that have generated significant discussion. A majority vote of a quorum shall determine any matter voted upon except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws.
9. A report summarizing actions taken by the Church Conference shall be published to the Members in the Church newsletter or by such other means as is practical.
V. DENOMINATIONAL AFFILIATION AND REPRESENTATION
1. Messengers may be sent annually to represent the Church at the Coosa River Association, or other such District Associations with which it may be affiliated.
2. Messengers may be appointed annually to attend the Alabama Baptist State Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
3. The Pastor shall be considered by virtue of his office an appointed messenger to these denominational meetings.
Any member having cause of complaint against another must seek to remove it as directed in the Holy Scriptures.
VII. GENERAL OR MISCELLANEOUS
A. PROCEDURES FOR LICENSING AND ORDINATION
Any member, who in the judgment of the Church, gives evidence that he is called of God to the ministry, after having preached in the hearing of the Church, may be licensed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, provided two thirds (2/3) of the members present at any regular meeting shall agree thereto.
a. ORDINATION OF MINISTERS
If another Church of like faith shall call as pastor a minister licensed by this Church, and should request his ordination, the Church shall form a council of ministers and ordained brethren from associated Churches to examine the qualifications of the candidate. Upon recommendation of this council, the Church may proceed with the ordination.
b. ORDINATION OF DEACONS
Elected Deacons who have not been previously ordained shall be ordained as soon as possible.
B. CHURCH YEAR
The Church Year shall coincide with the calendar year, although certain phases of the Church program may not be made to do so.
C. WILL OF THE CHURCH
The Will of the Church on any given matter duly expressed by its vote, shall be carried out by all committees, officers, and organizations.
VIII. ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF BYLAWS
Any article or subdivision thereof, in these Bylaws may be amended or repealed in the same manner as the Constitution as stated in Section V of the Constitution.
The Constitution and By‑Laws shall be printed in booklet form and a copy made available to every member of this Church. As additional members affiliate with this Church, they shall be presented with a copy of this document and urged to familiarize themselves with its contents.
The Deacons, Trustees, Ministers, officers and employees of the First Baptist Church shall be indemnified from any expense or liability incurred as a result of the performance of their lawful duties to or for the Church to the full extent permitted by Alabama law.
Adopted in Church Conference August 24, 2014