III. LAY OFFICERS - POLICIES & PRECEDURES
The Deacon Ministry Team shall remain the authority of fulfilling the Purposes, vision, and mission of First Baptist Church as discerned from the Lord by the Congregation, Senior Minister, and Ministry Staff. The Deacon Ministry Team is composed of nine servant leaders serving three-year terms, three retiring each year and three elected each year. Each deacon must be at least 21 years of age. Retiring deacons are ineligible for re-election for two years. Deacons serving one year or less of an unexpired term are eligible for election to a three-year term.
First Baptist Church uses the following guidelines in the selection of deacon nominees in order to maintain high standards and for fairness to prospective deacons. First Baptist Church seeks to:
a. Maintain Biblical Qualifications (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5)
1. Christian Purpose
Nominees should possess Christian purpose and have a reverence for spiritual matters. (1 Timothy 3:8)
2. Spiritual Integrity
Nominees should possess a confidence that their relationship with God and their relationships within the fellowship of the church are worthy of their commitment to them. (1 Timothy 3:9; Hebrews 11:1)
3. Proved Spiritual Maturity
Nominees have demonstrated their spiritual qualifications in daily conduct and speech. The prospective deacons ought to be persons who have demonstrated a commitment to ministry; who have supported the church and its programs; and who have been loyal to the church staff, despite whatever honest differences they may have between them. (1 Timothy 3:10)
4. Christian Family Life
"Let the deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well" (1 Timothy 3:12). This statement insists on at least three things: (a) deacons must maintain a healthy view of the home and of marriage as a calling within the will of God; (b) deacons are to be a model of faithful devotion to one's spouse; and (c) deacons are reminded both of the commitment to the sanctity of marriage and of Jesus' teaching about marriage (Mark 10:2-12).
5. Temperate in Living
Christians must be stewards of good influence (1 Timothy 3:8). "Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). Deacons are under surveillance by non-Christians. Deacons should be free from any excesses that would cause personal injury or injury to the deacon's family, and make ineffective their witness (1 Corinthians 8:13).
6. Steward of Possessions
Rather than being persons who have an obsession for material possessions, deacons should find fulfillment in ministering to persons in need, in serving with others in and through the church, and in giving their money so that others may minister and serve, and do so freely and compassionately as if Jesus were ministering with and sharing those possessions. (1 Tim. 3:8)
b. Choose individuals who can serve well
Nominees should be committed to serving in and through their church. They should have or be willing to develop skills in witnessing, counseling, visiting, ministering, maintaining fellowship, and interpreting the work of the church to others.
c. Choose those who can work well with others
Nominees should have a double portion of patience and understanding. They should have a sensitive spirit but not be so sensitive that their feelings are easily hurt. Consistent sound judgment is needed, and the ability to disagree in an agreeable tone and manner.
d. Choose persons who will train for service \
Because the work of the deacon is changing, nominees should be willing to participate in training sessions in order to develop into skilled and dedicated servants of Christ and of their church. They should review the Biblical Qualifications above, the 1963 Baptist Faith & Message, and what it means to be a "servant-leader" (such as described in Wilkes, C. Gene. Jesus on Leadership: Developing Servant Leaders. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 1998).
The first two weeks in August, the Congregation, Church Staff, and leaders suggest nominations to the Deacon Ministry Team of those who meet the Church's qualifications for Deacon, and with the Senior Minister the Deacon Ministry Team conducts an orientation for nominees. With two weeks' notices to the congregation, the Deacon Ministry Team submits a list of nominees up to double the number needed. The congregation shall vote by ballot the first Sunday in October on the members of the Deacon Ministry Team. When a deacon cannot serve out an elected term, the Deacon Ministry Team selects a qualified replacement to complete the unexpired term.
3. Duties and responsibilities
Deacons serve the church as spiritual leaders whose stature in the church lends authority to their office. They strive to live up to the Biblical qualification of the office, as stated in "A.1." above. With the ministers they have particular responsibility for the life of the church, to safeguard its good name, care for its fellowship and promote its welfare. As a matter of practical necessity, they oversee the work of the church, making recommendations to the church in all matters of major concern. Specific responsibilities of deacons include the following:
a. Set a good example in all areas of the life of the church, such as Bible study and corporate worship, as
well as personal meditation, prayer, and spiritual growth, and regularly attend meetings of the Deacon
b. Lead by equipping and empowering others through building ministry teams to fulfill God's plan for
First Baptist Church.
c. Preserve the teachings and doctrines of First Baptist Church as indicated in these Bylaws.
d. Nurture and cultivate a clear spiritual direction for the church.
e. Develope and maintain a practical ministry ad organizational structure for the church.
f. Hold church staff and lay leadership, church ministries and congregation accountable for godly living
g. Keep confidential those things that should not be shared.
h. When final decisions are made by fellow deacons or the congregation, deacons will accept the decision even though they may have voted against the recommendation.
4. Officers of the Deacon Ministry Team
a. The officers of the Deacon Ministry Team are Chair and Vice-Chair. They are elected from the Deacon
Ministry Team by majority vote at a regular meeting of the Deacon Ministry Team following the annual ]
election of the Deacons and to which new deacons are invited, and serve during the next calendar year.
b. Officers of the Deacon Ministry Team may be removed at any time and their successors elected from the current Deacon Ministry Team by a majority vote of all Deacon Ministry Team members present at any regular or special meeting of the Deacon Ministry Team.
The trustees hold in trust the church property and are representatives of the church. Trustees are nominated by the Deacon Ministry Team and elected by the church for usually life terms. They have no authority for making decisions without church action.
Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, trustees shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any church property. When the signatures of trustees are required, at least two shall sign legal documents.
C. CHURCH CLERK
The clerk and assistant clerks shall be elected upon nomination by the Deacon Ministry Team. In the absence of the clerk or an assistant clerk, a substitute clerk shall be designated by the moderator to perform the es of the clerk. The church clerk shall assist the church in maintaining an accurate record of its actions.
Duties of the clerk include the following:
1. Record the minutes of all regular and called business meetings of the church and see that appropriate
copies maintained in the church office.
2. At church business meetings, provide the minutes of previous meetings.
3. Record data about persons presenting themselves for church membership in worship services.
4. Sign certificates of baptism for new members, and certificates of ordination for deacons.
NATURE OF ORGANIZATION
POLICIES & PROCEDURES