For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the Scripture, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body, we do bond ourselves together as a body of baptized believers joined together in the name of Jesus Christ to carry on His work. We adopt the following articles for our government and service.
The name of this church shall be Ebenezer Baptist Church (hereafter referred to as “Ebenezer Baptist Church,” “this church” or “the church”).
The address of the principal office of this church shall be withersoever the LORD places it for the accomplishment of His work, as so acknowledged by the consent of its members.
1. The purpose of this church shall be to spread the Gospel both locally and around the world, build up believers through the preaching and teaching of Scripture, and accurately reflect the character of the LORD God in our activities, fellowship, relationships and interactions with our community.
2. The church shall train and send out men who are called to the Gospel ministry from within it’s membership, evangelize the unsaved by the proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, educate believers in a manner consistent with the requirements of Holy Scripture, maintain and/or support missionary activities in the United States and any foreign country, and engage in any other ministry that the Church may decide, from time to time, to pursue in obedience to the will of God.
This church has sovereign control over its own affairs, and shall remain unaffiliated with any denominational body, convention, association or fellowship which could exercise authority over the church or restrict the independent choices of Ebenezer Baptist Church in any matter.
V. AUTHORITY OF STATEMENT OF FAITH
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 attached Statement of Faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible, and therefore, is binding upon all members.
The Statement of Faith does not cover current social issues, due to the fact that they do not constitute doctrinal positions. This church maintains a position on all social issues as given in the word of God, including current moral issues.
VI. CHURCH COVENANT
The Church Covenant is attached to this document, and is binding upon all members of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The ordinances of this church shall consist of that which is strictly stated in the New Testament:
A. Water Baptism by immersion
The Statement of Faith is authoritative on the form and mode of Water Baptism:
We believe that proper New Testament baptism consists solely of a single immersion of the believer fully in water, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, by the authority of the local church. It is an ordinance of the local church that cannot be set aside or taken lightly. The purpose of this is to show forth a solemn and beautiful emblem of faith in the crucified, buried and risen Saviour. Though it is not effectual for salvation, it is an outward demonstration of the inward effect of salvation in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ Jesus. For proper administration of this ordinance, the candidate must fully comprehend the purpose of the ordinance, understanding that this is the sealing of a covenant of service to the Lord in His church. Thus, believer’s Baptism is a prerequisite to the privileges of a church relationship and the ability to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
B. The Lord’s Supper
The Statement of Faith is authoritative on the form and mode of the Lord’s Supper:
We believe the Lord’s Supper is the second of the two ordinances of the local church, in which the members of the church, by the sacred use of unleavened bread and unfermented blood of the grape (wine), commemorate together the death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Lord’s Supper is not open to anyone who is not a member of that particular local church, and is always to be preceded by a solemn self-examination. As demonstrated in Scripture, failure to hold this ordinance properly severely affects the church’s relationship with the Lord.
VIII. ORDAINED OFFICES
The pastor must meet the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3, and possess the call of a pastor. The pastor must agree with the Constitution, Bylaws, Statement of Faith, Covenant, and the fundamental positions of this church.
As the Bishop and Undershepherd, the pastor is both a servant and leader of the people; he functions as head of all church ministries, meetings, ordinations, and administration of the church. The pastor or his designee shall preside over all church meetings. He shall shepherd the flock by providing leadership, instruction and exhortation from the Scripture, and will provide particular care to the needs of this congregation.
Pastors are ordained for an indefinite period of time. It shall be the privilege of either the pastor or the church to terminate the pastoral relationship by giving one month’s notice. All actions to dismiss a pastor must be done in a way that reflects the character of Christ in attitude and word. Termination will be by a unanimous vote.
A deacon shall meet the qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3. He must also have been a member of the church for a minimum of two years and shown to be spiritually mature, of sober temperament, and blameless in conduct.
Deacons will be voted on at a business meeting on a date set by the pastor. Those who are called to be Deacons will be announced a minimum of one month before the vote. There is no set term of service for a Deacon.
The Deacons shall serve under the direction of the church, making provision for the proper order and operation of church functions, and assisting those in the church who are unable to provide for their own needs. A majority of the duties of a Deacon shall consist of attending to the physical burdens of the church. The Deacons shall operate under the leadership of the Pastor. The responsibilities of a Deacon do not preclude him from engaging in other ministries within the church.
IX. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
1. The membership of Ebenezer Baptist Church shall consist of such persons who have made a profession of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and who, having been scripturally baptized by immersion, are in agreement with the church Constitution and its attaching documents, consisting of the Articles of Faith, Church Covenant, and these Bylaws.
2. Upon joining the church, new members must sign a statement affirming they have read and are in agreement with these documents.
Membership in Ebenezer Baptist Church may be attained by one of the following methods, subject to unanimous consent of the congregation, being attentive to the express will of the LORD:
1. Scriptural baptism by immersion, after profession of faith in Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior;
2. Transfer of church letter from another Baptist church of like faith and order;
3. Upon a proper testimony and experience of:
b. scriptural baptism
4. Restoration to church membership after having been dropped due to disciplinary action, upon proper repentance of the member under discipline.
C. Duties of a Member
1. On becoming a member of this Church, each one covenants to recognize the authority of the Pastor in the 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 support as the Lord enables; and in accordance with Biblical commands to support, through their daily conduct, the beliefs and practices of the Church.
2. It is expected that each member not only be loyal to Christ and his Word, but also loyal to this assembly in word and deed. This includes attendance at a majority of services, financial support, an overall demeanor characterized by willingness to work and use talents and spiritual gifts, and the maintenance of a positive reflection upon this church in the community.
D. Voting Privileges of a Member
Those who are members and have demonstrated an understanding of the issues of the church may vote. Such examination is at the discretion of the Pastor and elders of the church.
F. Church Discipline
1. Should any unhappy difference arise among members, the aggrieved member shall, in a tender spirit, follow the rules given by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17. If the issue is not resolved, the aggrieved member must then take the issue before the church.
2. Should any case of gross breach of covenant, or of public scandal, occur, the church leadership shall endeavor to resolve the conflict. If this effort fails, they shall bring the matter before the church.
3. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance, but should an adverse decision be reached, the church may proceed to admonish or declare the offender to be no longer in the membership of the church.
4. If a member is persistently absent from services without just cause, they may be subject to church discipline.
5. Any person whose membership has been terminated may be restored by a unanimous vote of those present and voting, upon evidence of their repentance and reformation.
Membership in Ebenezer Baptist Church shall be terminated when a member:
1. Requests a letter of transfer to join another Baptist Church of like faith and order;
2. Is dropped from the roll of membership when he or she joins another kind of church for which a letter of transfer may not be necessary;
4. Is dismissed by a vote of the church due to reasons and circumstances provided under Article VI Church Discipline. The pastor and deacon(s) will do all they can to counsel the member for restoration prior to action of dismissal or a request of the member to be dismissed from the church membership.
This Constitution may not be revised or amended, but may only be replaced by reorganizing this church.
The Bylaws are attached to this document, and are binding upon all members of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The forgoing Constitution and Attached Documents of Ebenezer Baptist Church are so adopted this ____ day of _____, 2009 by a vote in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws in effect at the time of said vote, which required a “unanimous vote of all members of the church present entitled to vote.”