PreamblePlacing our faith wholly in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation, believing in the Articles of our Doctrinal Statement, and accepting the responsibilities of our Church Covenant we, therefore, band ourselves together as a body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, adopt for our government, for our plan of worship, and for our service, the following articles:
Article 1: Name
The name of this church shall be The Bethany Bible Church, Inc. of Hendersonville, North Carolina. We are Independent and Baptist in doctrine. The corporate officers are as follows: President—Chairman of the Board; Secretary—Clerk of the Church; Treasurer—Treasurer of the Church.
Article 2: Mission
The mission of the church shall be to maintain public prayer and worship services; to study and teach the Bible; to preach the gospel of Christ in order to reach the lost; to maintain a Christian witness at home and abroad; to administer the New Testament ordinances; and to maintain the divine blueprint as delineated in Acts 2:37-44.
Article 3: Government
Section I. This church shall remain an Independent Baptist Church, shall acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as its only head, and shall not be subject to the control of any outside ecclesiastical organization.
Section II. The government of Bethany Bible Church, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, shall be vested in the body of believers who compose the membership, hereafter referred to in this document as “the church.” Their majority vote shall be final. Each member who has reached the age of sixteen years in entitled to vote in church business meetings. Active members who are absent due to illness, business, or vacation are entitled to vote by absentee ballot.
Section III. In electing an administrative board composed of pastors and deacons, the church shall commit to their care the immediate ministry needs.
Article 4: Membership
Section I. Every candidate for membership in this church shall profess salvation by grace through repentance and faith in Christ alone. He shall furthermore indicate willingness to obey the commands of Christ, including the ordinances, and to consent to the doctrinal statement of this church.
Section II. Any person desiring membership shall first attend scheduled sessions in which the Doctrinal Statement and other pertinent Articles of the by-laws are explained. The candidate shall then meet with the pastor(s) and deacons. They shall recommend the candidate to the church after they are satisfied with the candidate’s confession of Christ alone for salvation, consent to the doctrinal statement, and willingness to be obedient to Christ. The candidate shall then be received by a majority vote of the members.
Section III. Members are to share actively in the financial, prayer, and ministry needs of the fellowship.
Section IV. Members shall endeavor to preserve the unity of the church. If at any time they find themselves opposed to the fundamental doctrines of this church, or if for any reason they are unable to harmonize with others, they will not seek to disrupt its fellowship but will quietly withdraw themselves from its membership.
Section V. Any member in good standing is entitled at any time to a letter of transfer of membership with which the member may then unite with a different church. The letter is sent to the church of the member’s choice.
Section VI. Any member who shall fail to attend the church for six months without a satisfactory reason will be placed on the inactive list. An active status is restored by attending three consecutive Sundays.
Section VII. The ministry of the church shall be a healing, restoring ministry. Members overtaken in any trespass are to be restored in a gentle manner, and by individuals who are spirit-controlled (Gal 6:1-2; Heb 10:24-25). This restoring ministry is to remain as private as the situation demands.
If a member persists in living contrary to the teachings of Scripture, that member shall come under the public discipline of the church, following the path delineated in Matt 18, 1 Cor 5; and 1 Thess 3. During the discipline process, the church body shall keep both the purity of the body of Christ and the gentle, loving restoration of the errant member in view. Forgiveness, comfort, and the re-affirmation of love are for the purpose of restoring one whose godly sorrow leads him to repentance (2 Cor 2:5-11). When it becomes necessary to separate from a member who persists in sin (1 Cor 5:1-13; 1 Thess 3:6-15), the church shall continue to admonish that member to repent and shall remain open to the possibility of restoring that member to fellowship.
A member undergoing public discipline shall be put on the inactive membership voting list but shall be returned to a voting status upon repentance.
Article 5: Officers
Section I. Administrative Board. In electing an administrative board composed of pastor(s) and deacons, the church shall commit the immediate ministry needs into their care. The Administrative Board is directly responsible to the church. The Board shall elect its chairman (president). Board responsibilities include the following: maintaining safe-keeping of the deeds and official documents, appointing all committees to be approved by the church (all committees are responsible to the Board), preparing and administrating ordinances, planning for pulpit supply and special meetings, calling councils for ordination, administrating the mission program, and overseeing the membership process.
Section II. Pastoral Staff. The Pastor’s Call or Dismissal. The pastor is called by a three-fourths vote of the church, and will continue as long as both parties are agreed. When calling or dismissing a pastor, the church shall be called into a special business meeting by the deacons. An announcement will be given by the deacons at least two Sunday morning services prior to the said meeting.
A two-week notice shall be given to the church by the pastor when he plans to resign. A two-week notice shall be given by the church when they are planning to dismiss a pastor, except when he is accused of apostasy, heresy, or departure from the doctrines of the church. He shall be given a fair and proper hearing by the deacon board and, if convicted, the deacons shall recommend action to the church for his dismissal.
The Pastor’s Benefits. The pastor’s salary and benefits as suggested by the deacons shall be determined by a vote of the church. He shall be paid weekly. The pastor(s) shall be allowed two weeks vacation with pay per year. After serving the third year, the deacon board will review and present to the church for their approval any recommendations for change. All other absences, other than sickness or death in the family, shall be approved by the deacon board.
The Pastor’s Qualifications. A pastor shall meet the biblical qualifications set forth for his office in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9, being above reproach in the sight of those in the church and in the community. A pastor shall be faithful to his wife, serious-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, sober, patient, peaceable, and free from greed. His children shall be obedient, respectful, and give evidence that they are being led by their father in the Christian faith. He shall give evidence of seasoned experience in his personal walk with Christ and shall be able and qualified to teach sound doctrine as well as to carry out his other pastoral duties. He shall also maintain a good testimony with those outside the church, including a good testimony regarding his personal finances. Moreover, the pastor shall take heed unto himself (Acts 20:28), shepherd the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Thess 5:12; 1 Tim 3:5; 1 Pet 5:2-3), and combat false teachers (Acts 20:30; Titus 1:9).
Section III. Deacons. Deacons share with the pastor(s) the total needs of the congregation and relieve those needs as they are able.
The church is to be constantly examining and testing the members of the church so that when a need arises, they know what members are qualified for appointment to the office of deacon (1 Tim 3:10). Nominees for the office are elected to a three-year term at the annual business meeting and are eligible for re-election. They shall begin their term on January 1. Should the church elect to add additional members to the deacon office during the course of any year then the deacons shall take office immediately after an affirmative vote.
The deacons shall meet the qualifications set forth for their office in 1 Tim 3:8-13, being above reproach. Deacons shall be dignified, honest, sober, free from greed, and able to be examples of the Christian faith with a clear conscience. Their wives shall also be faithful, dignified, not slanderers, serious-minded. Deacons shall be faithful to their wives and nurture their own children in respect and obedience to the Christian faith.
In addition to their board responsibilities, deacons shall have the further duties of considering the needs of the pastor(s) and making recommendations for remuneration to the church.
All nominees for the office of deacon must meet the board’s approval prior to being considered by the church.
Section IV. Sunday School Superintendent. The superintendent shall be elected annually at the annual business meeting for a one-year term and is eligible for re-election. He shall take office on January 1
He is responsible to the board for the administration of the Sunday School program, which may include planning opening exercises, overseeing the curriculum selection, keeping pertinent records, and selecting teachers.
The Sunday School Superintendent shall give particular attention to see that the doctrines and principles of the church are maintained in the Sunday School.
Section V. Church Clerk. The clerk is elected at the annual business meeting for a one-year term and is eligible for re-election. The clerk shall take office on January 1.
The church clerk responsibilities include the following: maintain records of the minutes for all church business meetings, maintain a record of membership, issue church letters at the sanction of the church, keep an account of any special events in the life of the church, and care for all official correspondence.
Section VI. Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and Offering Counters
The treasurer and assistant treasurer are elected at the annual business meeting for a one-year term and are eligible for re-election. They shall take office on January 1.
Their responsibilities include the following: keep careful records of all receipts and expenditures of the church, issue all checks as ordered by the church, present written quarterly reports at business meetings, and count the offering in the absence of the two counters who have been selected by the church to tally the offerings.
At least two offering counters are elected at the annual business meeting for a one-year term and are eligible for re-election. They shall begin their term on January 1.
Article 6: Meetings
Section I. All church meetings shall begin with the reading of Scripture and prayer.
Section II. At least one-third of the active membership must be present before business will be transacted. All votes must pass with a two-thirds majority except a vote to table a motion which requires a simple majority. At least two-thirds of the active membership must be present to conduct business which involves the sale of the building.
Section III. Any active member may request that ballots be used in any vote.
Section IV. The church year shall run from January 1 through December 31. The annual business meeting shall be held during the month of November. The announcement of the date for the annual business meeting must be made at least two weeks in advance during a Sunday morning service and then posted on a bulletin board.
Section V. Special business meetings of the church may be called by the board as the need may arise. A two-week announcement must be made in a preaching service prior to the said meeting. In the event of an emergency, if a two-week notice cannot be given, every effort will be made to inform as early as possible all qualified voters.
Section VI. When matters pertaining to the pastor(s) and/or his immediate family are under consideration, he and his family shall be excused during that consideration. The same shall be true when other specific individuals are being considered.
Article 7: Committees
Section I. Property Committee. The church shall elect property committee members whose terms last three years. Their terms shall end on staggered dates. They are to be members who exemplify Christian conduct and who regularly attend services. They shall acquaint themselves with the laws of North Carolina pertaining to churches and church properties and see that the church faithfully complies therewith. They shall make recommendations to the board concerning needed improvements. Any necessary and emergency repairs are to be cared for whenever needed.
They shall be authorized to hire and supervise people to take care of the maintenance and upkeep of the church buildings and property. They shall recommend the salaries to the church for approval.
They shall be responsible for making ready the buildings for services and closing them after services.
Section II. Music Committee. The music committee shall assist the pastor(s) in guiding the music program of the church.
The music committee is elected at the annual business meeting for a one-year term and is eligible for re-election.
Section III. Youth Committee. The youth committee shall assist the pastor(s) and youth leaders in maintaining and effective youth program.
The youth committee is elected at the annual business meeting for a one-year term and is eligible for re-election.
Section IV. Nominating Committee. A nominating committee of at least five members shall be established as follows. The pastor, one deacon elected by the deacons, and at least three members elected by the church at a special business meeting several weeks prior to the annual business meeting. The committee shall act for a period of one year or until a successive committee is elected. They shall nominate officers to be elected by the church.
Section V. Pulpit Committee. The deacons shall be responsible to question candidates for the pulpit. They shall do so in regard to doctrines, practices, and affiliations, and prior to the church’s voting on the candidate. The chairman of the board shall then read the recommendation to the church. The church shall also have an opportunity to question the candidates. If they so desire, the church may add members to the pulpit committee.
Section VI. Finance Committee. The finance committee shall be responsible for the development and presentation of an annual budget to the church. Upon the church’s approval the budget shall be administered under the Finance Committee’s care. The budget shall be presented to the administrative board for their approval prior to its submission to the church at the annual meeting.
Section VII. The board and committees shall make a report to the church at its annual meeting.
Article 8: Church Ordinances
Section I. Water Baptism. We believe immersion to be the New Testament mode of baptism and that it should be administered under the authority of the local church upon the personal acceptance and public confession of Christ as Savior. Baptism in our church, therefore, shall be only by immersion. We believe Christ Himself established and commended the ordinance to symbolize the believer’s death to the old life of sin and his spiritual resurrection to the new life in Christ (Acts 2:4; 8:12; 9:18; 10:47-48; Rom 6:3-6).
Section II. The Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper (Communion, the Lord’s Table) is the biblical commemoration of Christ’s death for our sins and the church’s expression of union with Him and with each other until He returns; thus, it should be preceded always by serious self-examination. The Lord’s Supper shall be administered under the authority of the local church. The Table is not a denominational Table; we invite anyone to participate who has been genuinely saved through repentance and faith in the death and resurrection of Christ and who is walking in obedience to the Lord. (1 Cor 10:16-17; 11:23-30).
Article 9: Finances
Section I. The financial policy of the church and all its auxiliaries shall be that of voluntary giving.
Article 10: Dissolution of Church
Section I. In case the church dissolves, properties (not otherwise directed) shall be sold and the money used for missionary work. This shall be determined by the remaining members.
Article 11: Amendments
Section I. These articles and by-laws may be amended or changed by a two-thirds majority vote of the membership at any business meeting of the church. Previous notice of change or changes should be given in writing two Sundays prior to the said meeting.