*DRAFT* Article 4: Membership

4. Membership.

4.1. Qualifications for Membership. All those who have publicly professed faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and given satisfactory evidence of the same, who have been baptized in water, who subscribe to the Articles of Faith, and pledge themselves to participate in the organized efforts of the Church, and to support it with their attendance, their prayers, and their financial support may be received into membership.

4.2. Receiving New Members. The Church receives as new members those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have been baptized in the manner taught by the New Testament. Those desiring membership in the Church shall express their desire to the Pastor and/or a Deacon or other duly licensed Minister of the Gospel. The Pastor, Deacon, or Minister will explain the Church’s purpose, ministries, and membership responsibilities. The Pastor will announce and introduce those received into membership at the next convenient regular meeting of the Church. Those desiring membership may come:

4.2.1. By a profession of faith in Christ, requesting membership through baptism.

4.2.2. By transfer of letter of recommendation from another Baptist church where currently a member

4.2.3. By statement of faith of having received Christ as Savior and having been baptized in the manner taught by the New Testament.

4.3. Voting Members. All active members, who are in good standing, and 16 years of age and over, shall have voting privileges at all business meetings of the Church membership. Each voting member shall be entitled to cast one (1) vote with respect to those matters submitted to the members for action or approval. Votes may be taken by voice, by a show of hands, or by written ballot. No voting shall be done by proxy, and voting members shall have to right to cumulate their votes.

4.4. Inactive Members. Members who do not regularly attend the meetings of the Church for three (3) months without a reasonable cause shall be considered inactive members. “Reasonable cause” includes the inability to attend because of sickness, service in the armed forces of the country, attendance at college, or conflicting working hours, etc. “Regular attendance” shall be defined in accordance with the customary forms and practice of the Church. Inactive members shall be ineligible to vote until they have been restored to regular attendance for a period of three (3) months or shown reasonable cause for inability to attend.

4.5. Meetings of Members. The annual meeting of the voting members shall be held during the first quarter of each fiscal year at such date and time as the Board of Trustees may fix in the notice of such meeting, at the place where Church services are normally held or in such other place as may be designated by the Board of Trustees. Special meetings of the voting members for any purpose or purposes may be called at any time by the Pastor or by a majority of the Board. The Pastor shall preside at all meetings of the members and conduct them in accordance with recognized rules of parliamentary procedure, i.e., Robert’s Rules of Order. Should he be unable to preside at a duly called meeting of the members, the Board of Trustees shall appoint someone to preside as chairman pro tempore.

4.6. Notice of Meetings of Members. Notice of each regular and special meeting shall be given to each member entitled to vote thereat, either personally, by announcement at regular Church services, or by prepaid mail addressed to each member at the address appearing on the books of the Church. Such notices shall be sent not less than ten (10) and not more than sixty (60) days before each meeting, and shall specify the place, day, and hour of the meeting and shall state the general nature of the business to be considered in such meeting. The notice of the annual meeting shall designate it as such.

4.7. Quorum. The presence in person of the lesser of twelve voting members or ten percent (10%) of the voting membership shall constitute a quorum. The members present in person at such meeting may continue to do business until adjournment, notwithstanding the withdrawal of enough members to leave less than a quorum. Whether or not a quorum is present, the meeting may be adjourned by a vote of the members present.

4.8. Termination of Membership. The membership of each member of the Church will terminate upon the member’s death, resignation, expulsion, or letter of transfer. The Membership Committee may, by majority vote at a regular meeting of the Committee, terminate the membership of any member(s) determined to have been inactive for more than one year if no acceptable reason for absence is readily known.

4.9. Dismissal of Members. Should a member become an offense to the Church by reason of immoral behavior or conduct unbecoming a member, or conduct that is contrary to the Articles of Faith or the teachings of the Holy Scriptures, after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance (Matthew 18:15-18), the Church may terminate his/her membership by a majority vote of the Board of Deacons. An announcement will be made to the Church body (concerning the fact of dismissal but not the reasons therefore) only if it is necessary to protect other members from spiritual harm. Nothing in this Constitution and Bylaws shall be construed as granting to any member a continued membership or expectation of membership in the Church.

4.10. Restoration of Membership. Any person whose membership has been terminated for any offense may be restored by vote of the Church upon evidence of his/her repentance and reformation, or if on account of continued absence, upon satisfactory explanation or attendance.

4.11. Member Discipline. The policy of church discipline and restoration is derived from the teachings of Scripture (Matthew 18:15-18). Any member of the Church who 1) persists in serious behavior or doctrinal error contrary to Scriptures; 2) no longer conforms to the qualifications for membership; or 3) willingly causes discord within the Church by word or action, in spite of repeated warnings and admonition, shall be subject to church discipline. No action shall be taken until patient and persistent effort has been made to win such member back to the standard of faith and conduct of the Church.

4.11.1. Purpose of Discipline. The purpose of discipline is to bring about repentance from sin and to reconcile and restore an individual to the fellowship. Discipline is essential for three (3) Scriptural reasons: The glory and honor of God; For the sake of the individual who is sinning; and As a warning to others who are sinning.

4.11.2. Process of Discipline. In accordance with Matthew 18:15-18, if any member of the Church has knowledge of another member’s unbiblical beliefs or conduct, it shall be the duty of the member with knowledge to privately approach and communicate the error to the offending member. If the member feels uncomfortable, that member should seek guidance from a spiritual officer of the Church (Pastor, Deacon, Minister, etc.).
If the offending member does not repent of the offense after being privately approached, then the process of discipline shall be carried out in the following manner: The member with knowledge of the offense shall privately approach the offending member again, accompanied by one or two witnesses, seeking the repentance of the offending member. If the offending member does not repent, then the process of discipline shall continue in the manner set forth in Section of this Article. The members with knowledge of the offense, who contacted the offending member, shall contact the Pastor(s) and/or Deacon Board Chair, and one or two more deacons shall contact the offending member seeking more information, and his or her repentance if the sin is confirmed. If the member refuses to repent, then the Deacon Board shall either revoke the membership of the offending member, or develop another method of discipline.
During the entire discipline process, the officers and members involved must continually pray for the offending member’s repentance and restoration to membership.

4.11.3. Confidentiality of Discipline. All persons involved in the discipline process of an offending member are required to keep the process completely confidential.