We declare and establish this constitution for the preservation and security of the principles of our faith and so that this body may be governed in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual member of this Church and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other Churches of the same faith.
Article I. Name
This body shall be known as the EMMAUS BAPTIST CHURCH of Poquoson, VA, and noted hereinafter as EMMAUS BAPTIST CHURCH.
Article II. Statement of Faith
The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the basis for our statement of faith. The Church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963. We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the Church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Article III. Purpose and Objectives
The purpose of EMMAUS BAPTIST CHURCH is found in our Lord’s command:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35 NIV)
We exist to love our Lord, to love our brothers and sisters in Christ and to love the world to the glory of the Father, by the Holy Spirit, and in the Name of the Son, for the salvation of the world.
Our objectives are:
To be a dynamic spiritual New Testament Church empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our Church, community and throughout the world.
To be a worshipping fellowship, experiencing an awareness of God, recognizing His Person, and responding in obedience to His leadership.
To help people grow in knowledge of God and man through His Holy Word, applying the Word to family and individual needs.
To be a Church that ministers unselfishly to persons in the community and world in Jesus’ Name.
To be a Church whose purpose is to be Christlike in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the Lordship of Christ.
Article IV. Mission Statement and Values
Our Mission Statement:
By God’s command, by the call of Jesus Christ, and by the counsel of the Holy Spirit, we exist to reach and teach men and women, boys and girls in Poquoson and beyond with the unavoidable love of Christ.
Biblical Preaching and Teaching: We view the entire Holy Bible as our “authoritative textbook” for both preaching and teaching His word.
Romans 15:4 (NASB) “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV) “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from who you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Prayer Ministry: We are a praying Church…for Christ has taught us that the power of prayer is vital to the effective lives of individuals, of Churches, and to the advancement of Christ’s gospel throughout the world.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NASB) “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing.”
Matthew 6:5-15 (NIV) “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. This, then, is how you should pray: ’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, you Father will not forgive your sins”
Family Ministry: We endeavor to practice and to provide an atmosphere of nurturing and caring for each family, family member and individual and to be a positive and contributing testimony of God’s love, grace, and mercy to those both within and without the Church are in need.
Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV) “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Creating a Healthy Fellowship and Community: We believe in building community and nurturing relationships through healthy fellowship. Toward that purpose we offer a multitude of opportunities to connect with others. We consider friendliness and fellowship to be at the very core of our congregation and our ministry.
Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV) “Jesus replied: ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Maturing Believers: Only God can cause a believer to grow spiritually (1 Corinthians 3:1-7). We, at Emmaus Baptist Church, endeavor to prompt one another toward that growth, as well as toward emotional, physical, and social growth.
Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV) “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Article V. Church Covenant
Recognizing, ” for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ” (Romans 3:23 NIV) and yet hearing the call “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1 NIV) we agree to strive towards the high calling together, by God’s Grace, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The ideal to which we strive involves our mutual commitment expressed as follows:
The Spirit of God has led us to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. We have professed our faith, been baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and we desire to live under the Lordship of the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit for the Glory of our Father. This being so, we enter into fellowship with one another as the Church, the Body of Christ.
As the Body of Christ we solemnly agree to carry on His work here on earth. We all have differing gifts and functions. We pledge to work together, each making his contribution for the common good.
We understand His work to be rooted in our worship of our God, in the study of His Word, in the training up of the members, and in the evangelism of the lost. We are empowered by His Presence in prayer.
We agree to love, nurture, and uplift each other at all times as brothers and sisters in Christ and especially to be available to one another in times of crisis.
We believe that marriage is God ordained and is to be between one man and one woman. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV); “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24/Ephesians 5:31 NIV). We will minister to the needs of all family members and single persons by God’s grace with His love. We will encourage family and personal devotions, promoting the religious education of our children at home, and the salvation of our friends and family.
We will not be labeled “Sunday Christians,” but with the close of worship on Sunday, we will continue our Christian walk throughout the week. We will try to guard our tongue, bridle our temper, and guard our heart. We will endeavor to honor the Lord with our lifestyle, so that others might see Christ in our home, workplace, and Church. Our bodies are His Temple. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV). We will seek to be faithful in keeping His Temple clean. We pray the Lord will give us a heart to love those who struggle with addictions and other life issues, and that we might minister to them. We pray for Christian humility that will be slow to take offense, always ready to seek reconciliation, abounding in forgiveness, yet hoping never to judge.
We do have a responsibility to support the work of this Church as stewards accountable to the Lord. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house. “Test me in this” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” (Malachi 3:10 NIV). We are also stewards of our time that the gospel may be proclaimed here and abroad. As a Church we will support the mission endeavors of our Southern Baptist Convention through the cooperative program, and with our prayers and special mission offerings.
We are called to be “instruments of His peace and love” in the middle of hostility, bread in the middle of hunger, salt in the middle of life, and light in the middle of darkness.
For, Jesus Christ is our foundation for being, our hope for living and our example in ministry. We look forward to the day of His returning when we will go and be with God forever and ever.
Article VI. Relationships
The government of this Church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this Church will cooperate with and support the local association and Virginia Baptist General Association affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Article VII. Adoption and Amendments
Section 1. Adoption
This constitution shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when three-fourths vote of the members present at any business meeting of the Church; provided, however, that such amendment, alteration, or repeal must be given to the Clerk in writing; and this proposed change shall be presented to the Church at least one week prior to the time the vote is taken.
Section 2. Amendments
This constitution may be amended, altered, or repealed by a three-fourths vote of the members present at any business meeting of the Church; provided, however, that such amendment, alteration, or repeal must be given to the Clerk in writing; and this proposed change must be presented to the Church at least one week prior to the time the vote is taken.
Article I. Membership
Section 1. Admission
Persons may be received into the fellowship of this Church by majority vote at any regular meeting for worship of the Church in one of the following ways.
- By baptism upon profession of faith.
- By letter of recommendation from a Church of like faith and order.
- By statement of having had an experience of saving faith in Christ followed by immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Section 2. Duties
Members are expected to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life, to regularly attend the services of this Church, to give for its support and its causes, and to share in its organized work.
Section 3: Rights
Only members whose names are on the resident roll of EMMAUS BAPTIST CHURCH may act and vote in the transactions of the Church.
Section 4. Termination
A. Termination of membership may be accomplished in the following ways by the majority vote of the members present at a business meeting.
- Letter. Any member in good and regular standing who desires a letter of recommendation to the membership of any other Baptist Church of like faith and order is entitled to receive it. Except for unusual circumstances, the letter shall be sent to the Church from which the request is received instead of being given to or sent to the individual requesting it.
- Request from a member. If a member in good standing requests to be released from his or her covenant obligations to this Church for reasons which the Church may deem satisfactory, after it shall have patiently and kindly endeavored to secure his or her continuance in its fellowship, such request may be granted, and his or her membership terminated.
- Nonresident. The Church may also, after due notice and hearing and kindly effort to make such action unnecessary; terminate the membership of persons after one (1) year non-residency.
- Should the member become an offense to the Church, and its good name, the Church may terminate his or her membership, but only after due written notice and hearing, and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and reform.
- All actions looking toward the termination of membership by reason of (2), (3), and (4) of this section shall first be considered by the Deacons who shall make recommendations to the Church.
B. Termination of membership may be accomplished by erasure of Church roll by the Clerk in the following instances:
- Uniting with a Church of another denomination
Section 5. Restoration
Any person whose membership has been terminated for any offense may be restored by a majority vote of the Church: (1) Upon evidence of his or her repentance and reformation, or
(2) In the case of continued absence, upon satisfactory explanation.
Article II. Staff Members
Section 1. General
The Church shall call or employ staff members when the Church determines the need. A job description shall be written by the Personnel Committee for all staff members except the Pastor. Staff members, other than the Pastor, shall be recommended to the Church by the Personnel Committee, working with the Pastor. Call and employment shall be by Church action, with terms of employment and termination in accord with the adopted Church staff policy.
Staff members shall understand that the Pastor is the spiritual leader of the Church and the administrator of the paid staff. He shall give overall direction and guidance to the total life of the Church. Staff members shall be sensitive to and follow his leadership, and shall communicate with him for counsel in matters pertaining to methods of accomplishment to fulfill the Church’s roll as a New Testament Church.
Section 2. Pastor
- A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week’s public notice shall be given.
- A Pastor Search Committee shall be nominated and elected by the Church to seek out a suitable Pastor, and their recommendations will constitute a nomination. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the Church only one person at a time. Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of three-fourths of those Church members present and voting being necessary for a call. The Pastor, thus elected, upon his acceptance, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the Church’s request. The Pastor shall give at least two weeks’ notice at the time of resignation before terminating his responsibilities as Pastor.
- The Pastor is responsible for leading the Church in functioning as a New Testament Church. The Pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the Church staff in performing their tasks. The Pastor is the leader of worship, proclamation, education, and pastoral ministry. He shall preside at all services of the Church except as otherwise provided in the by-laws. The Pastor shall be the administrative head and be responsible for approving all absences and vacations of the Church Staff. Personnel, in partnership with the Deacons, will perform an annual evaluation of the Pastor.
- The Pastor may serve as an Ex-officio member of all committees and organizations of the Church.
Section 3. Associate Pastor
- An Associate Pastor shall be nominated by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs or it becomes the will of the Church. The Church approval shall take place at a Church business meeting and requires a majority vote of the members present.
- The Associate Pastor serves to build Disciples of Christ by developing and implementing a comprehensive ministry (in the areas of group relationships, worship, discipleship, mission, and outreach) while serving as a spiritual leader and role model.
- The Associate Pastor is supervised by the Pastor. The Pastor, in cooperation with the Personnel Committee, provides an annual evaluation of the Associate Pastor’s performance. The Associate Pastor will be responsible and subject to Emmaus Baptist Church policy and doctrine, the Pastor and the Personnel Committee. Attendance is expected at: Worship services, Church-wide events, Weekly Staff Meetings, and other related meetings. The duties, required and preferred qualifications for the Associate Pastor will be specified by the Personnel Committee for each nomination.
Section 4. Youth Minister/Director
- A Youth Minister/Director shall be nominated by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. The Church approval shall take place at a Church business meeting and requires a majority vote of the members present.
- The Youth Minister/Director serves to build young Disciples of Christ by developing and implementing a comprehensive youth ministry (in the areas of group relationships, worship, discipleship, mission, and outreach) while serving as a spiritual Director and role model.
- The Youth Minister/Director is supervised by the Pastor. The Pastor, in cooperation with the Personnel Committee, provides an annual evaluation of the Youth Minister’s/Director’s performance. The Youth Minister/Director will be responsible and subject to Emmaus Baptist Church policy and doctrine, the Pastor, and the Personnel Committee. Attendance is expected at Worship Services, Church-wide events, Weekly Staff Meetings, Youth Committee Meetings, Church Business Meetings, Church Council Meetings, and other related meetings. The duties, required and preferred qualifications for the Youth Minister/Director will be specified by the Personnel Committee for each nomination.
Section 5. Children’s Minister/Director
- A Children’s Minister/Director shall be nominated by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. The Church approval shall take place at a Church business meeting and requires a majority vote of the members present.
- The Children’s Minister/Director plans, directs, and promotes children’s ministries at Emmaus Baptist Church. Attendance is expected at Worship Services, Church-wide events, Weekly Staff Meetings, Children’s Committee Meetings, Church Business Meetings, Church Council Meetings, and other related meetings. The duties, required and preferred qualifications for the Children’s Minister/Director will be specified by the Personnel Committee for each nomination.
Section 6. Administrative Assistant
- An Administrative Assistant shall be nominated by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. The Church approval shall take place at a Church business meeting and requires a majority vote of the members present.
- The Administrative Assistant is responsible to the Pastor for the overall management of the Church office by performing administrative and clerical functions related to Church ministries. In the absence of the Pastor, the Administrative Assistant reports to the Chairperson of the Personnel Committee. Copies of guidelines and procedures for Church committees shall be furnished to the Administrative Assistant and kept in a central file in the Church office. The duties, required and preferred qualifications for the Administrative Assistant will be specified by the Personnel Committee for each nomination.
Section 7. Custodian
- A Custodian shall be nominated by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. The Church approval shall take place at a Church business meeting and requires a majority vote of the members present.
- The Custodian is responsible to the Pastor for maintaining clean facilities ready to use for Church activities. The duties, required and preferred qualifications for the Custodian will be specified by the Personnel Committee for each nomination.
Section 8. Music Minister/Director
- A Music Minister/Director may be nominated by the Personnel Committee and approved by the Church. The Church approval shall take place at a Church business meeting and requires a majority vote of the members present.
- The Music Minister/Director is responsible to the Pastor. The duties, required and preferred qualifications for the position will be specified by the Personnel Committee for each nomination.
Article III. Church Officers
Section 1. General
All who serve as officers of this Church shall be members of this Church. Officers of this Church shall include the Pastor, applicable Church staff members, and those set forth in the following sections.
Section 2. Deacons
In accordance with the meaning of the word and the practice of the New Testament, Deacons are to be servants of the Church. The task of the Deacon is to assist the Pastor in performing pastoral responsibilities.
In the event of a disturbance by or toward the Pastor, the Deacons (after consulting with the Personnel Committee) will address the disturbance privately and publicly as the situation warrants. In addition, should the Pastor leave the Church, the Deacons will take the lead in (a) calling for a special business meeting to select a Pastor Search Committee and (b) assuming the responsibility for providing Pulpit Supply Pastors until an Interim Pastor or a New Pastor for the Church can be installed.
The Deacons shall elect their officers and shall be organized to assist the Pastor, and for the consideration of problems related to their work. They may organize themselves into committees to serve the Church including the specific areas of Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Benevolence, Pastoral Care, and Stewardship. Special committees may be needed for special assignments and projects.
- Benevolence Committee: The Benevolence Committee’s principal purpose is to provide financial or material assistance to the needy. The committee shall investigate each case brought to its attention. The committee shall be the sole judge as to the extent it shall offer in each case.
- Pastoral Care Committee: The Pastoral Care Committee’s purpose is to assist the Pastor and the Deacons caring for the elderly and infirm members of the Church. The committee shall consist of six (6) members whose duties shall be to recruit, train, and coordinate volunteers to visit on a regular basis members of the Church who are hospitalized or confined to their home.
- Stewardship Committee: The Stewardship Committee is responsible for leading a continuous program of growth in Christian stewardship with the objective of involving members in personal commitment of time, abilities, and material possessions. The duties of this committee are as follows: (1) Annual stewardship emphasis through education and special programs and (2) Work with appropriate committees to incorporate the leading, understanding and practice of Christian stewardship of the Church.
When used herein the word Deacon shall include both male and female gender.
Each June the congregation will nominate persons 21 years of age or older from the active Church membership to serve as Deacons for a three (3) year term. The active Deacons will compile all nominations received from the congregation and interview qualified nominees. The interviews will conclude when enough qualified nominees to meet the number needed have accepted nomination. The Deacons will use as their guide in the interview process, that part of the Bible and other approved Church policy that points out the qualifications of a Deacon. Their recommendations will then be brought to the Church for approval. Each year a determination will be made as to the maximum number of Deacons required, excluding life Deacons. The Deacon Ministry will use a formula of one (1) Deacon for every fifteen (15) resident families within our membership to determine the maximum number.
The Deacons shall serve on a rotational basis. Each year the term of office of one-third (1/3) of the number of Deacons shall expire, and election shall be held to fill the vacancies. In case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the Church may elect to fill the unexpired term. After serving a term of three (3) years, no Deacon shall be eligible for re-election until the lapse of at least one (1) year. There is no obligation to constitute as an active Deacon a person who comes to the Church from another church where he or she has served as Deacon.
Deacons who are qualified and in good standing who have served as many as two (2) terms as Deacon will upon reaching the age of 70 be eligible for nomination as life-time Deacons. Candidates for this honorary appointment shall be actively supporting the Church and will be recommended to the Church for their approval by the Deacons.
Section 3. Moderator and Vice-Moderator
A Church Moderator and Vice-Moderator will be nominated annually by the nominating committee and elected by the Church. The Vice-Moderator shall serve at such times as the Moderator is unable to serve.
In the absence of both officers from a business meeting, the Chairperson of Deacons may serve as an Acting Moderator, or in his absence, the Clerk shall call the Church to order and an Acting Moderator shall be elected.
The duties of the Moderator, or the person serving in the absence of the Moderator are: (1) To preside at business meetings of the Church, both regular and special; (2) be familiar with parliamentary procedures; and (3) to ensure that appropriate Church officers and leaders are notified, in writing, of actions taken by the Church in business meetings that affect their respective areas of responsibility and particularly those actions which involve either the budgeting, expenditure, or control of Church funds.
Section 4. Clerk
A Clerk shall be nominated annually by the Nomination Committee and elected by the Church. The Clerk shall keep in a suitable book a record of all the actions of the Church, except as otherwise herein provided (See Administrative Assistant Duties). The Clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admission, dismissal, or death, together with a record of baptisms. The Clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the Church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary, as indicated in these by-laws. The Church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to the Administrative Assistant. All Church records are Church property and are to be filed in the Church office. The Clerk shall be responsible for updating any approved changes to the Church’s Constitution and By-Laws.
Section 5. Treasurer
A Treasurer shall be nominated annually by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Church. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money, or things of value paid or given to the Church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer, with the Finance Committee, to render to the Church at each regular business meeting a report of the receipts and disbursements for the preceding period. The Treasurer’s records shall be audited annually by an auditing committee or public accountant.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year, and its acceptance and approval by the Church, the records shall be delivered by the Treasurer to the Administrative Assistant who shall keep and preserve the account as part of the permanent records of the Church.
Section 6. Assistant Treasurer
An Assistant Treasurer shall be nominated annually by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Church. The Assistant Treasurer shall serve in the event that the Treasurer is incapacitated, such as a long illness or absence from the city.
Section 7. Financial Secretary
A Financial Secretary shall be nominated annually by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Church. The Financial Secretary shall receive the empty collection envelopes after the money has been removed and counted by the Counting Committee. The envelopes will provide the data for which donors will be given individual credit. The Financial Secretary shall keep the envelopes for reference until April 15 of the following Church fiscal year and then they may be destroyed. The Financial Secretary shall also be responsible for preparing and distributing annual records of contributions to all contributing members.
Section 8. Trustees
The Trustees shall consist of three (3) members. The Trustees shall be elected to serve indefinite terms at the will of the Church. When a vacancy occurs, nominations to fill the vacancy shall be made by the Nominating Committee.
When a trustee becomes physically unable to serve, he or she shall be made an honorary Trustee by recommendation of the remaining Trustees.
The Trustees shall represent the Church in all of its legal and property matters. Until their successors shall be appointed, they will hold in trust the property of the Church. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property without a specific vote of the Church authorizing each action. It shall be the function of the Trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents involving the sale, mortgaging, purchase, rental of property, or other legal documents where the signatures of trustees are required.
The Trustees shall see that the Church properties are adequately protected by insurance against hazard and liability.
Section 9. Church Council
The Church Council shall consist of the Pastor, other ministerial staff, Sunday School Director, WMU Director, Chairperson of Deacons and Chairperson or representatives of standing committees.
The primary functions of the Church Council shall be to recommend to the congregation suggested objectives and Church goals: (1) to review and coordinate program plans recommended by Church officers, organizations, and committees; (2) to recommend to the congregation the use of leadership, a Church calendar, and other resources according to program priorities; and (3) to evaluate program achievements in terms of Church goals and objectives.
All matters agreed upon by the Council, calling for action not already provided for, and any action which would involve the expenditure of funds not included in the Church budget, shall be referred to the Finance Committee for approval or disapproval, and then to the Church body.
Article IV. Committees
Section 1. General
All members of committees shall be members of the Church. Unless otherwise provided for in these by-laws, all nominees, including committee chairperson shall be selected by a Nominating Committee and recommended to the Church for election. Chairperson thus selected shall serve as consultants to the Nominating Committee and assist in the recruitment of additional persons to serve for their respective areas of responsibility. The Church staff shall act in an advisory capacity on any committee dealing with their employed function.
The duties and responsibilities of all committees shall be set by the Church. Each committee shall be responsible for the development and updating of operating guidelines and procedures to assist in: (1) effective administration of their assigned function and (2) the guidance of successor committee personnel.
Each committee should be composed, to the extent possible, of persons who represent the diversity within the Church membership, and serve on a three (3) year rotational basis.
- A year of service shall be from January 1 through December 31.
- Vacancies occurring in the membership of committees shall be filled by the nomination of new committee members by the Nominating Committee and their election by the Church. A person elected to fill a vacancy shall complete the remainder of the term of the person being replaced.
- One-third (1/3) of the membership of each committee shall be elected each year. Committee members shall not be eligible to succeed themselves. Under special circumstances, the Nominating Committee may consider reappointment of an individual for a second term.
- A committee member should have served on that committee for at least one (1) year before being eligible for nomination as the Chairperson. The year of service may have been completed during a previous term on that committee.
As a general policy, the position of chairperson of a committee should rotate annually.
The Church may, from time to time, name members to serve as messengers, delegates or representatives to bodies with which it cooperates or is affiliated, including those named in Article V of the Church Constitution and other bodies such as civic and community movements.
Section 2. Committees
The Church shall elect such standing committees as may be deemed necessary to carry on the various phases of the program of the Church efficiently and effectively.
Principle duties and responsibilities of Standing Committees are as follows:
Audio Visual: Our ministry provides audio/visual (A/V) and media to support the mission and vision of Emmaus Baptist Church. This includes Sunday services, special events, and needs of Church committees and groups. A/V is responsible for the use and maintenance of Church A/V equipment as well as budgetary responsibility. Other responsibilities include recording of services, website, social media, and general technology support. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Building and Grounds: This Committee shall supervise the care and maintenance of all the Church’s buildings and utilities, oversee custodial work, and provide for security of the Church’s physical properties. It shall also be responsible for the proper maintenance and upkeep of the grounds including the parking lots. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Cemetery: The Cemetery Committee is responsible for overseeing all activities involving use and maintenance of the cemetery. These activities include, but are not limited to: (1) assisting Church members with the selection and purchase of burial plots; (2) maintaining permanent records of plot ownership; (3) monitoring use of cemetery funds; (4) overseeing maintenance and improvements of the cemetery; and (5) reporting to the Church, at least annually, as to the overall status of the cemetery program and on any matters of general interest related thereto.
Children’s/Nursery: The Children’s/Nursery Committee are responsible for planning and coordinating the children’s ministries at Emmaus Baptist Church. This Committee will focus on a well-rounded ministry including Bible Study, Fellowship, Missions, Outreach, Nursery Workers, and supplies for the nursery. The focus of the ministries will change as trends and needs change in the specific areas of ministry. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Decorating, Weddings and Flowers: This committee is responsible for preparing the Church building for regular and special worship services using flowers, both live, and/or silk, plants, banners, artistic arrangements, etc., in keeping with the type of service or special celebrations. This Committee shall also be responsible for use of any Church facilities required for rehearsals and weddings. These responsibilities shall include any necessary preparations for the sanctuary, brides room, and reception areas and to ensure that furniture and equipment are put back in place after they are used. The committee shall also develop and recommend policies and guidelines to be followed in the care and use of Church facilities and equipment for wedding functions. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Fellowship: The Fellowship committee shall plan and implement activities to connect the Church family through healthy fellowship. The committee shall be mindful of the various adult age groups. (Example: Young Adults, Senior Adults, and Adults with families.) The Committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Finance: The Finance Committee shall have general oversight of the financial program of the Church including the work of the Counting Team. The Finance Committee shall devise ways and means, in harmony with scriptural teaching, for keeping the Church in a healthy financial condition. The Finance Committee shall consider all matters pertaining to expenditures that are not provided for in the Church budget. (See section 5 ARTICLE VII of these By-Laws for additional guidelines.)
A Counting Team, approved annually by the Finance Committee, will be composed of no more than six (6) members and shall count all monies collected from worship services and other meetings of Emmaus Baptist Church. The team will be responsible for keeping records of the offerings, supplying copies to the Church treasurer, and securing such funds in its care, and shall, without delay, place such monies in the designated depository of the Church.
The Auditor or Auditing Committee shall annually review the financial records of the Church and render a written report of its findings to the Finance Committee in conference. Additionally, whenever there is a change of Treasurer, the financial records shall be audited and a report rendered to the Church.
Kitchen/Hospitality: The duties of the Kitchen/Hospitality Committee are as follows: Formulate and publish policies to guide in the use of the kitchen; Keep the kitchen organized and clean; maintain proper levels of consumable supplies (paper plates, napkins, cups, etc.); purchase required equipment or materials as needed (pots, pans, dishes, etc.); maintain security of kitchen equipment and supplies; chairperson develops a budget and authorizes expenditures of all funds; arranges of equipment repairs, and disposes of all undated and perishable food weekly. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Long Range Planning: The Long Range Planning Committee shall be composed of six (6) members with one (1) member rotating off the committee at the end of each year beginning with the end of the third year. The purpose of the Long Range Planning Committee shall be: (1) to discover and analyze long-range strategies to the congregation; (2) to evaluate the long-range effectiveness of Church programs; and (3) to interpret long-range goals and strategies to appropriate groups. This Committee shall also be responsible for making recommendations to the Church concerning needs for the acquisition, utilization, and disposal of buildings, parking lots, and other facilities. The Committee shall work closely with the Church Council in determining such needs.
Music and Drama: The Music and Drama Committee shall assist the Music Minister/Director in developing, organizing, and coordinating the music and drama ministry of the Church. This committee shall serve as custodians of musical instruments, props, and costumes. In addition, the Committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Nominating: The Nominating Committee canvasses Church members and makes recommendations of persons to serve on all committees both standing and ad hoc, and as Church Officers, Sunday School Directors and Teachers, and WMU Director. The Nominating Committee makes it recommendation to the Church for approval at any regularly scheduled business meeting. This committee shall be comprised of six (6) to eight (8) members of the congregation with the Sunday School and WMU Directors serving as ex officio members of the committee. The following schedule is recommended:
- Sunday School Director is presented for approval at the March business meeting with service to begin in April.
- Sunday School Teachers are presented for approval at the July business meeting with service to begin in September.
- Members of standing committees, Church Officers, and WMU Director are presented for approval at the November business meeting with service to begin in January.
- Members of Ad Hoc committees and recommendations to fill vacant positions are presented for approval at the next regularly scheduled business meeting with service to begin immediately after approval.
- The term of service for all standing committees is three (3) years and members may not be reappointed to the same committee at the end of their term. Under special circumstances, the Nominating Committee may consider reappointment of an individual for a second term. All Officers, Directors and Sunday School Teachers serve for one (1) year and may be reappointed. Members of Ad Hoc committees serve for the duration of the committee. Appointments to fill vacant positions end with the original term.
The Nominating Committee ensures that each standing committee has held their first meeting and elects a chairperson in January. The complete list of committee members with their chairpersons is made available to all Church members through distribution at business meetings and in the Welcome Center.
Personnel: The Personnel Committee serves as the Human Resources unit of the Church. The duties of the Personnel Committee shall include for all employees except the Pastor: preparing and updating, as necessary, position descriptions; surveying the need for Church staff positions and making recommendations for additions and deletions; and recruiting, interviewing, and recommending to the Church new personnel for established positions. The Personnel Committee shall ensure an annual evaluation is performed for all employees, and in partnership with the Deacons, will perform an annual evaluation of the Pastor; develop an annual personnel budget that include recommendations for salaries, benefits, housing allowances, and professional development expenses, as applicable; recommend cost of living and meritorious raises as deemed appropriate; and develop and recommend performance improvement plans and termination, as needed. The Personnel Committee develops, revises, and recommends to the Church the policies and procedures to ensure accountability for all employees, including the Pastor.
Transportation: The Transportation Committee shall be responsible for the maintenance and management of all Church transportation vehicles. The committee shall work through normal Church channels in matters involving the sale, trade, purchase, or repair of all such vehicles. The committee shall develop and recommend to the Church guidelines for the use of such vehicles. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Ushers/Greeters: The Ushers and Greeters shall be responsible for greeting people as they enter the Church Building, and for Bulletin Distribution. The Ushers are responsible for receiving Tithes and Offerings during services and counting attendance.
Youth: The Youth Committee shall assist the Youth Minister/Director with the planning, coordination, and oversight of all youth ministries, activities, and fundraising events. The Youth Committee shall also assist the Youth Minister/Director with annual budget planning. The Youth Committee shall ideally include one (1) Middle School youth representative and one (1) High School youth representative. The committee is responsible for the formulation and management of their annual budget.
Article V. Educational Ministries
Section 1. General
All program organizations of the Church shall be under Church control, all officers being nominated annually by the Nominating Committee and elected by the Church and reporting regularly to the Church. It shall be understood that the Pastor is an ex-officio officer of all the program organizations named, and his leadership is to be recognized in them.
Section 2. Sunday School
There shall be a Sunday School, divided into departments and classes for all ages and conducted under the direction of a Sunday School Director for the study of God’s Word. Sunday School is to be conducted each Sunday morning.
The tasks of the Sunday School shall be to teach the biblical revelation; lead in reaching all prospects for the Church; lead all Church members to worship, witness, learn, and minister daily; provide and interpret information regarding the work of the Church and the denomination.
Section 3. Woman’s Missionary Union
There shall be a Woman’s Missionary Union with such officers and such forms of organization as needed. The tasks of the Woman’s Missionary Union shall be to teach missions; lead persons to participate in missions; provide organization and leadership for special mission projects of the Church; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the Church and the denomination.
Section 4. Music Ministry
There shall be a Music Ministry under the direction of the Music Minister/Director with the help of the Music and Drama Committee. This ministry shall support the leadership and overall ministry through music, drama, and worship planning. The committee will work with Pastor, Music Minister/Director, organist, pianist, and with volunteer leadership to provide direction and long-range planning for this ministry. Specific tasks of this ministry include: teaching music and hymnody; providing music and musicians for the congregational services and the organizations of the Church; leading the congregation to participate in hymn singing; training people to fully participate in this ministry; and providing organization and leadership for special work in the Church and the denomination.
Article VI. Meetings
Section 1. Worship Services
The Church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning for preaching, instruction, evangelism, and for the worship of Almighty God and on Wednesday evening for prayer and Bible study. These meetings will be open for the entire membership of the Church and for all people and shall be conducted under the direction of the Pastor.
Section 2. Special Services
Revival services and any other Church meetings which will be essential in the promotion of the objectives of the Church shall be place on the Church calendar.
Section 3. Regular Business Meetings
The regular business meeting shall be held bi-monthly on the fourth Sunday evening. It will be required that matters of unusual business or of unusual interest be pre-announced at a Sunday morning worship service prior to the business meeting before any action on the matter can be taken (i.e., salary or benefit changes for staff positions; expenditures of over $1,000.00 that are not covered under the budget; and changes to the Church staff structure by adding or deleting staff positions, etc.)
Section 4. Special Business Meetings
A special called business meeting may be authorized by the Moderator, or in his absence the Vice-Moderator, after consultation with the Pastor and the Chairperson of Deacons, to consider special matters of a significant nature which would be impractical to delay until the next regular business meeting. A one (1) week notice stating the subject, date, time and location must be given for the special called business meeting. When such notice is also impractical, a meeting may be called provided the meeting is announced on Sunday morning for the following Wednesday night.
Section 5. Secular Meetings
No meeting of a secular nature shall be held in any of the Church buildings until permission from the Deacons has been obtained.
Section 6. Quorum
The quorum consists of those members of Emmaus Baptist Church who attend the business meeting, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called. In order to vote on any matter of business, a member must be present at the meeting when the question is called for a vote. Absentee voting will not be permitted.
Section 7. Parliamentary Procedures
In business meetings the Church shall observe the principles of good parliamentary law, using “Robert’s Rules of Order” as a guide.
Article VII. Church Finance
Section 1. Stewardship
It is understood that membership in this Church involves financial obligation to support the Church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts. Each new member shall be given an opportunity to pledge to the Church’s unified budget; and, at least annually, plans shall be put into operating or securing a financial commitment from each member of the Church. The Church will approve and conduct a yearly stewardship campaign to keep the membership aware of its financial responsibility. It will be the responsibility of the Deacons to plan and conduct this campaign.
Section 2. Annual Budget
An annual budget shall be approved annually by the Church. The first meeting is to be called in July by the Chairperson of the Deacons. The budget committee will be composed of the following: Church Treasurer, Sunday school Director, and committee Chairmen of Building and Grounds, Deacons, Finance, Music, Personnel, Children and Youth. The proposed annual budget shall be presented in the November business meeting for Church approval.
Section 3. Receipts
All money collected by and through the Church or any Church organization shall be turned into the Church treasury through the counting team and shall be properly recorded in the books of the Church, except that Sunday School classes and other Church groups may have incidental funds for flowers, cards, socials, and community mission activities. Unless noted, all receipts are considered non-restricted and are to go into the general budget. Those gifts that are restricted (designated) may only be accepted if the Finance Committee has approved an account for the designation. All other gifts with unapproved designations must be submitted to the Finance Committee for special consideration before acceptance.
Section 4. Special Offerings
The following special offerings are authorized:
- The four (4) mission offerings each year for foreign, home, state, and associational missions.
- The Vacation Bible School Mission Offering.
- Revival Offerings
- All other special offerings must be approved by the Church and announced at least one (1) week prior to the business meeting.
Section 5. Expenditures
Expenditures of the Church shall be controlled through a record system of numbered budget accounts and a voucher system to support expenditures against those accounts. Upon approval by the Church of the annual Church budget, Church officers, staff members, and committee chairpersons are authorized to approve expenditures against budget accounts for which they have specific responsibility. The amounts established in the individual budget accounts are not to be exceeded without obtaining additional authorization from the Church through the Finance Committee. Further, depending on the general financial condition of the Church, the Finance Committee may establish other guideline limitations on spending as needed.
With the exception of the budget accounts for Missions, Salaries, and Debt Retirement which involve regular and fixed payments, all other expenditures must be supported by a voucher indicating the item for which payment is to be made, the amount to be paid and the specific budget item to be charged. Before any payment or reimbursement can be made, each voucher must bear the approval signature of the individual having responsibility for the budget account to be charged (i.e., the committee chairperson).
Any proposed expenditure not provided for in the approved Church budget must first be referred to the Finance Committee for consideration before any commitment or obligation of funds is made. Such proposed expenditures estimated to cost less than $1,000.00 may, depending upon the current financial resources of the Church be approved by the Finance Committee. Such proposed expenditures estimated to cost in excess of $1,000.00 must be submitted to the Church body for consideration through the Finance Committee, and accompanied by their recommendation, before any commitment or obligation of funds is made.
In an emergency, with the consent of two-thirds (2/3) of the Finance Committee, the treasurer may expend funds beyond the budget for any line item up to $5,000 for emergency repairs. This provision is intended only to be utilized when the need is sufficiently compelling and there is inadequate time to secure congregational approval. When this authority is utilized, the Finance Committee shall advise the Church of its action in the next business meeting.
Section 6. Accounting and Reporting
The fiscal year of the Church shall begin on January 1 and end on December 31. Ledger accounts shall be maintained for all monies received and for all expenditures. Expenditures shall be recorded against individual budget accounts which shall be totaled each month by account. At each regular business meeting reports shall be submitted to the Church of the receipts and disbursements for the prior month and the cumulative status of all budget and residual accounts.
Members have access to the principal financial reports of the Church, but do not have access to individual donor records. Staff salaries and benefits will not be itemized in the budget or financial statements; this information must be requested from the Personnel Committee.
Section 7. Fund Raising
- The Church will support its ministries financially through the giving of tithes and offerings.
- The Church will approve and conduct a yearly stewardship campaign to keep the membership aware of its financial responsibility. It will be the responsibility of the Stewardship Committee under the Deacons to plan and conduct this campaign.
- Fund raising will be permitted for the children and youth, in the name of their groups, to facilitate their activities. Methods of fund raising should be sanctioned by the Children’s Minister/Director and his or her committees, and be approved by the Church.
- Promotional items will not be sold on Church property, except as noted in item (5).
- Special groups or individual such as the gospel singing groups authorized to use our Church may take a love offering and sell promotional items to support their ministry while on Church property, provided their promotion is done tastefully and kept to a minimum.
Article VIII. Discipline
Should differences arise among members, the aggrieved member shall follow, in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in the 18th Chapter of Matthew.
If there should occur any breach or endangerment to our fellowship as a result of a member(s) conduct, the Deacons shall endeavor to remove the offense and, if the effort fails, shall report the case to the Church.
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 as stated in Section 4 of Article I of these by-laws.
Article IX. Property Rights
If a division shall occur in the membership, as defined by these by-laws, a majority of the members entitled to vote shall decide the right, title, and control of all property held in trust for the membership of this Church. Their decision shall be reported by the Court appointed Trustees to the Circuit Court of York County, Virginia, and if approved by it, shall be entered in its Chancery Order Book and shall be conclusive as to the title to and control of any property held in trust for the membership.
Article X. Adoption and Amendments
Section 1. Adoption
These by-laws shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when three-fourths (3/4) of the members present at the Business Meeting at which vote is taken shall vote in favor of same. This vote shall be taken not less than thirty days after formal presentation of the by-laws of the Church. Changes in current operating practices and procedures resulting from adoption of these by-laws shall be implemented in an expeditious and practical manner.
Section 2. Amendments
These by-laws may be amended, altered, or repealed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at any business meeting of the Church; provided, however, that such amendment, alteration, or repeal must be given to the Clerk in writing; and this proposed change shall be presented to the Church at least one week prior to the time the vote is taken.