ARTICLE I - NAME; ARTICLE II - PURPOSE AND COVENANT; ARTICLE III - DECLARATION OF FAITH; ARTICLE IV - MEMBERSHIP; ARTICLE V - CHURCH OFFICERS; ARTICLE VI - ORGANIZATIONAL MEETINGS; ARTICLE VII - ELECTION OF OFFICERS; ARTICLE VIII - POLICIES; ARTICLE IX - ASSOCIATION & DISSOLUTION; ARTICLE X - AMENDMENTS
ARTICLE I - NAME
The name of this non-profit corporation is the Prairie Baptist Fellowship of Yelm, Washington.
ARTICLE II - PURPOSE AND COVENANT
SECTION 1. PURPOSE
The purpose of this non-profit corporation is be to establish a local family oriented Baptist church dedicated to growing hearts toward God and reaching our world with the gospel of Christ.
SECTION 2. CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the public confession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We purpose, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to attend its services regularly; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, and expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations.
We also purpose to maintain family and private devotions; to train our children according to the Word of God; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk carefully in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagement, and exemplary in our conduct; to abstain from all forms of activity and practice which dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the cause of Christ, our Savior; and to give Him preeminence in all things.
We further purpose to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior, to secure it without delay.
We moreover purpose that when we remove from this place we will as soon as possible unite with some other church of like faith and order where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
ARTICLE III - DECLARATION OF FAITH
This 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 following statement of faith accurately represents the teaching of the Bible, and therefore, is binding upon all members.
SECTION 1. THE SCRIPTURES
We believe that the Holy Bible as originally written was verbally and plenarily inspired by God and is the product of Holy Spirit controlled men, and therefore is the truth without any error. We believe the Bible to be the true center of Christian union and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions shall be tried. II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:19-21
SECTION 2. THE TRUE GOD
We believe there is one and only one living God, an infinite Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth; inexpressibly glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence and love; that in the unity of the God-head there are three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of redemption. Exodus 20:2,3; II Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 4:11
SECTION 3. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, with God the Father and God the Son, and of the same nature; that He was active in creation; that in His relation to the unbelieving world He restrains Satan until God's purpose is fulfilled; that He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; that He bears witness to the Truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the Agent in the New Birth; and that He seals, empowers, guides teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer. John 14:16,17; Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 9:14; John 14:26; Genesis 1:1-3; John 16:8-11; Acts 5:3,4; Ephesians 1:13,14; Romans 8:14,16,26,27
SECTION 4. THE DEVIL, OR SATAN
We believe in the personality of Satan; a created, fallen angel; that he is the unholy god of this age, and is destined to the judgment of an eternal torment in the lake of fire. Matthew 4:1-3; II Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10.
SECTION 5. CREATION
We believe in a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation that man came by direct creation of God and not by evolution. Genesis 1 and 2; Colossians 1:16,17; John 1:3.
SECTION 6. THE FALL OF MAN
We believe that man was created in innocence, in the image of God, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state; in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners; not only by nature, but of choice; and therefore under just condemnation without defense or excuse. Genesis 3:1-6; Genesis 3:24; Romans 3:10,23; 5:12; 6:23; 1:18,32.
SECTION 7. THE VIRGIN BIRTH
We believe that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost in a miraculous manner; born of Mary, a virgin, as no other man was ever born or can ever be born of woman; and that He is both the Son of God and God the Son. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:35; John 1:14.
SECTION 8. CONCERNING SALVATION
We believe that salvation is all of grace through the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ who paid the full redemptive price, fully satisfied God's righteous demands by suffering the death penalty for man's guilt, and imputed to man His perfect righteousness reconciling him to God, thus salvation is made effective to man only upon his exercise of personal faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Such faith is not a meritorious work but possible only by the grace of God. 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 5:24; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-10.
We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again, that the new birth is a new creation in Christ Jesus; that it is instantaneous and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creations is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with divine truth, so as to secure our voluntary obedience to the Gospel; that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life. John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 5:1; John 3:6-7; Acts 16:30-31; 2 Peter 1:4; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19.
SECTION 9. SANCTIFICATION
We believe that sanctification is the divine setting apart of the believer unto God accomplished in a threefold manner, first an eternal act of God, based upon redemption in Christ, establishing the believer in a position of holiness at the moment he trusts the Savior, second a continuing process in the saint as the Holy Spirit applies the Word of God to the Life; third, the final accomplishment of this process at the Lord's return. Hebrews 10:10-14; John 17:17; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23-24; 1 John 3:2; Jude 24-25.
SECTION 10. THE LOCAL CHURCH
We believe that a local church is a congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word; that its officers are pastors (elders) and deacons whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the Scriptures.
We believe the true mission of the church is the faithful witnessing of Christ to all men as we have opportunity. We hold that the local church has the absolute right of self government free from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 12:12,13; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 5:23-27; 1 Timothy 3:1-13
SECTION 11. BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water to show faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior. Being a solemn and beautiful emblem of our death to sin and resurrection to a new life, it is pre-requisite to the privileges of local church membership.
We believe that the Lord's Supper is the commemoration of His death until He comes and should be preceded always by solemn self-examination. Acts 8:26-39; John 3:23; Romans 6:3-5; Matthew 3:16; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28
SECTION 12. SEPARATION
We believe in obedience to the Biblical commands to separate ourselves unto God from worldliness and ecclesiastical apostasy. 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Romans 16:17; 2 John 9-11
SECTION 13. THE RAPTURE AND FOLLOWING EVENTS
We believe in the imminent, premillennial return of Christ for His Church, and that at that moment the dead in Christ shall be raised in glorified bodies, and the living in Christ shall be given glorified bodies without tasting death, and all shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before the seven years of tribulation. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 51-54; Philippians 3:20,21; Revelation 3:10
We believe that the Great Tribulation, which follows the Rapture of the Church, will be culminated by the revelation of Christ in power and great glory to sit upon the throne of David and to establish the literal millennial (1,000 years) kingdom. Daniel 9:25-27; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 1:30-33; Isaiah 9:6,7; 11:1-9; Acts 2:29,30; Revelation 20:1-4,6
SECTION 14. THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED
We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of our God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse; and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting happiness and joy of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost in the lake of fire. Genesis 18:23; Romans 6:17,18; Romans 6:23; Proverbs 14:32; Matthew 25:34-36; John 8:21
SECTION 15. CIVIL GOVERNMENT
We believe that civil government is of divine appointment for the interests and good order of human society; that government officials are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed except in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the coming Prince of the Kings of the earth. Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:20; Acts 4:19,20; Daniel 3:17,18
SECTION 16. BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES
In summary, we adhere to the following distinctives traditionally held by Baptists:
Biblical Authority - The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Autonomy of the Local Church - Human governing of the local church resides within that church (2 Corinthians 8:19,23).
Priesthood of the Believer - A believer may directly approach God without another human mediatory agent (1 Peter 2:5-9).
Two Ordinances - Baptism and Communion are the local church ordinances (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
Individual Soul Liberty - Individuals are free and responsible for their spiritual beliefs (Romans 14:5,12; Titus 1:9).
Saved, Baptized Church Membership - Prerequisite to local church membership is a credible testimony of faith in Christ (Acts 9:26).
Two Offices - Scripture mandates only two offices in the local church: pastor (elder) and deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-13).
Separation of Church and State - Church and civil government operate in distinct spheres without controlling each other (Matthew 22:15-22; Acts 15:17-29).
Note: Articles IV through VII constitute the BY-LAWS of
Prairie Baptist Fellowship.
ARTICLE IV - MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. Receiving Members
Any person professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, giving satisfactory evidence of regeneration, having been subsequently baptized (by immersion), accepting the Statement of Faith and the Covenant held by this church, and who is recommended by the deacons, may be received into membership by a majority vote of the church membership.
SECTION 2. Active Members
All members who show their interest in the welfare of the church by regular attendance and those members who because of sickness or infirmities are unable to attend services shall be classed as active members.
SECTION 3. Inactive Members
All those who do not attend the regular services without reasonable excuse for a period of four months shall automatically be placed on the inactive membership roll. Members of the inactive list shall not be counted in any statistical reports or be eligible to vote in the church organizational meetings. Any members on the inactive list can be restored to active status upon their resumption of regular attendance and a majority decision by the pastors and deacons.
SECTION 4. Removal of Members
A person may be removed from membership for the following reasons: a) Having been on the inactive list for six (6) months; b) By reason of church discipline; c) By written request of said member.
SECTION 5. Discipline of Members
The procedure for discipline shall be followed as outlined by the principles in Matthew 18:15-20. The aim of discipline is to "gain" the erring brother (Galatians 6:1). If restoration attempts fail, then church discipline should culminate in dismissal from membership.
ARTICLE V - CHURCH OFFICERS
The elected officers of the church shall be, but not limited to, pastor (or pastors), deacons, clerk, treasurer, assistant treasurer, and financial secretary and assistant financial secretary. All officers except pastors and deacons shall be elected for a one-year term.
SECTION 1. PASTOR
The pastor(s) shall meet the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The Pastor shall be elected for an indefinite term, the relation to be dissolved upon at least thirty (30) days notice from the pastor. The call or dismissal of the pastor shall come before the church at a called organizational meeting. A notice shall be read from the pulpit in all services on the two Sundays preceding the called meeting. A three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the active members present and voting is necessary to call or dismiss a pastor. The quorum for calling or dismissing a pastor shall not be less than fifty percent (50%) of the active voting membership. (See Article VI, Section 5 for other quorumrequirements).
The pastor shall preach the Word of God regularly, administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, act as a moderator of organizational meetings (the pastor may appoint a moderator to serve in his place at any organizational meeting), oversee the ministry of the church, watch over its membership and spiritual interest, and organize and develop its strength for best possible service. He shall be an ex officio member (coequal with the group leader) of all ministries and officially organized groups within the church.
SECTION 2. DEACONS
The term of office for a deacon shall be for three years. Any deacon who has served six consecutive years shall be ineligible for reelection for a period of one year. The church may elect as many deacons as is deemed appropriate by the pastor and deacons. The deacons shall meet the New Testament standards as given in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
The deacons shall propose a budget to present to the church at the Annual Organizational Meeting.
The deacon body shall form the group to interview and recommend to the church a candidate for pastor(s) and staff when there is a vacancy. They shall at least annually evaluate personnel and staffing needs.
The deacons shall oversee assimilation of new members, correction of wayward members, and nominations of members who will perform elected service.
The deacons shall direct the treasurer as to the paying of all current expenses.
The deacon body shall function as the Trustees of this corporation, therefore, they shall be responsible for performing any duties required of them by the State of Washington.
SECTION 3. CHURCH CLERK
The Church Clerk shall be responsible for notifying all members of upcoming meetings, keeping the minutes of all church organizational meetings, keep a complete registry of membership, and perform such other particular duties as may be prescribed by the church.
SECTION 4. TREASURER
The treasurer shall act as bookkeeper of the church, shall keep accurate records of all receipts and disbursements, disburse money as directed by the church or deacons and shall make regular reports to the pastor, deacons and church.
The assistant treasurer shall assist the treasurer in all of their duties and shall act as the interim treasurer in the treasurer’s absence.
SECTION 5. FINANCIAL SECRETARY
The Financial Secretary shall count all church offerings and keep an accurate record of the income of the church, and provide annual individual receipts of giving.
The assistant financial secretary shall assist the financial secretary in all of their duties and shall act as the interim financial secretary in the financial secretary’s absence.
SECTION 6. BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
In order to comply with the laws of the State of Washington, the pastor(s) and deacons shall constitute the board of directors. The Senior pastor will serve as president, the chairman of the deacons will serve as vice-president, the treasurer will serve as treasurer and the clerk will serve as secretary for any legal matters. Any such action must be approved by the membership.
ARTICLE VI - ORGANIZATIONAL MEETINGS
The fiscal year shall be from March 1st though the last day of the following February.
All organizational activities of this church shall be guided by the Word of God (Ephesians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 14:40; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 13:17; and Galatians 5:22), following parliamentary procedure.
The annual organizational meeting shall be held during the month of February, the date of which shall be set by the deacons and announced on the two previous Sundays. Organizational meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor, the Deacons, or upon written request of a quorum* of the voting members of the church to the Deacons. The church clerk will notify members by postcard or by email (when the member so agrees) at least two weeks and not more than four weeks prior to said meeting. Organizational meetings and agenda shall be publically announced two weeks prior to said meeting. Only those items announced may be considered at the meeting. (*See Article VI, Section 5 for quorum requirements).
Voting in all meetings may be by voice or show of hands, except that upon request of one member, ballot voting shall be mandatory. Election of all officers shall be by ballot only. Active members eighteen (18) years of age or over, are entitled to vote.
A quorum shall consist of not less than 25% of the active voting membership, except in the case of calling or dismissing a pastor when the quorum shall not be less than fifty percent (50%) of the active voting membership.
ARTICLE VII - ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The election of officers shall be held during the annual meeting of the church in the month of February.
At least four weeks before the annual meeting the nominating group shall make available sample ballots, with qualified nominees for each office, to all voting members of the church. Space is to be provided following each of the names in order that all members of the church may have opportunity to write in any additional nominations for that office. Those writing in nominations must return their ballots to the nominating body not less than three weeks prior to the annual meeting. The nomination committee shall review their nominations and shall place on the ballot the name of each qualified person willing to serve. No voting by proxy shall be allowed.
Vacancies occurring during the year may be filled at any organizational meeting. The Deacons shall present to the church qualified nominees for vacancies to be filled.
Election of officers other than pastor(s) shall be by a simple majority vote.
ARTICLE VIII - POLICIES
SECTION 1. POLICY MANUAL
General procedures of operation for ministries and groups of Prairie Baptist Fellowship, not addressed in this constitution, are to be defined in the Policy Manual of Prairie Fellowship. Each policy shall contain a ministry, group, or operation name, governing spiritual principles, scriptural justification, the ministry's relation to the church's purpose, names and contact means of current leaders, and the dates of the policy's draft and approval.
SECTION 2. ESTABLISHING POLICIES
Policies are to be drafted by the leaders of respective ministries, groups or operations in consultation with the pastoral staff. Policies are approved and established by consensus of the Deacons.
SECTION 3. CHANGING POLICIES
Respective ministry leaders and decons should review policies annually. Policy changes are to be recommended at the prerogative of the Sr. Pastor in consultation with ministry leaders and deacons.
ARTICLE IX - ASSOCIATION & DISSOLUTION
SECTION 1. ASSOCIATION
The Prairie Baptist Fellowship shall reserve the right to associate/fellowship with any group that is aligned with it doctrinally. Historically we are aligned with Baptist Network Northwest and Northwest Baptist Home Mission (BNN/NBHM).
SECTION 2. DISSOLUTION
In the event of the dissolution of this corporation, all of its debts shall be fully satisfied. None of the assets or holdings shall be divided among the members or other individuals, but shall be designated to the Northwest Baptist Home Mission to be used for the purpose of planting churches. No profit shall ever accrue to the benefit of any individuals from the assets, holdings or other transactions in which this corporation may be involved.
ARTICLE X - AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at any annual organizational meeting, or at a called meeting, provided said amendment has been given out in writing at a morning service at least two weeks preceding its being acted upon, and announced from the pulpit each Sunday following the initial announcement.
Reserved for Future Revisions. Future revisions are to be made in accordance with Article X.