Good Hope Baptist Church Bylaws
Section 1: General
Good Hope Baptist Church of North Carolina, Inc. (henceforth referred to as the “church”), is a self-regulating and autonomous Baptist Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ alone. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership according to our understanding of the Holy Scriptures. Members must have given evidence of regeneration by the Spirit of God and have been baptized by immersion.
Section 2: Candidacy for Membership
Candidates for baptism are not candidates for membership in this local church body upon profession of their faith. Candidates shall be presented to the church for membership at a regular church service in any of the following ways:
- After profession of faith and baptism according to the policies of this church.
- By letter from another Baptist church, or church of like faith which practices baptism by immersion.
- When no letter is obtainable, upon a statement of prior conversion experience and baptism by immersion.
Prior to becoming a member of Good Hope Baptist Church each individual is required to attend a membership orientation class. This class will cover various aspects of the Christian life, including basic Bible doctrines, the mission and practices of the church, and church governance as detailed in our constitution, bylaws, policies, and procedures.
Candidates for church membership must agree in writing with the church’s constitution, including the statement of faith, these bylaws and the church covenant, which is attached as Appendix A.
A three-fourths vote of those church members present and voting shall be required to confirm a candidate to membership.
Section 3: Membership Privileges
Church membership is both a privilege and a responsibility. All Christians are expected to join a church community for fellowship, for encouragement and for mutual Christian service. Membership at Good Hope Baptist includes benefits such as voting, serving in leadership roles, and using church facilities. Regular attendance, prayer, service, and financial support of the church are expected of all members.
Every active member of the church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member has reached the age of twelve and is in good standing.
There will be no absentee balloting.
Section 4: Termination of Membership
Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:
- By death
- By affiliation with another church
- By written request for removal from church membership
- By exclusion through action of this church as detailed in Article I: Section 5: Church Discipline
The Clerk will issue letters to churches of like faith after approval by a majority of members present at a regular business meeting.
Section 5: Church Discipline
The membership affirms that according to God’s Word, the church body should remain holy and unified. Church discipline is an unfortunate, but needed, process that Jesus commanded churches to do in order to reconcile broken relationships and to protect the unity and purity of the church body. It shall be the basic purpose of Good Hope Baptist Church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any member who struggles with unrepentant sin and to resolve division in the church in a way that glorifies our Lord.
The pastor, other members of the church staff, and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. Love, redemption and reconciliation rather than punishment should be the guideline that governs the attitude of one member toward another. Should any unrepentant sin, as revealed by God’s Holy Word, or division in the church body arise among members, the aggrieved members shall follow, in a tender spirit, the guidance of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-20.
Members are subject to the church discipline process as described in Matthew 18:15-20. Each member has a duty to one another to respond to the discipline of the church with repentance, love and thankfulness. Should a member fail to respond to the discipline of the church by repenting of sin and reconciling with the church, his or her membership will be terminated.
Section 6: Membership Status
When Christians first join Good Hope Baptist they are received into active membership. If members stop attending Worship Services for reasons other than physical/medical limitations, recognized Christian service outside the church, or employment responsibilities for a period of three months, members will become inactive.
Inactive members have no voting rights in business meetings of the church and can no longer hold leadership positions in the church, including the positions of church officers.
Should an inactive member desire to have his or her membership reinstated to active status, he or she will be required to take the members orientation class and recommit to the church in writing by agreeing to the church’s statement of faith, church covenant, and church bylaws that are in existence at that time. The purpose of this process is to reacquaint the inactive member to the responsibilities and expectations of church membership.
All church officers must be active members of the church in good standing at the time of election, except in the case of the pastor, who would normally join in membership following his call as pastor. All church officers are expected to lead the church through regular attendance at worship services, prayer, and financial support of the church. The officers of this church shall be as follows:
Section 1: Pastor
The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament Church. The pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations, and the church staff to perform their tasks. He will also preside over business meetings. He shall be an ex-officio member of all organizations and teams and he may call a special meeting of the deacons or any team when necessary.
The pastor is the leader of the pastoral ministries the church. As such, he works with the deacons, church staff, teams, and other leadership of the Church to do the following:
- Lead the church in the achievement of its mission.
- Proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers.
- Care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
- Oversee the various ministerial and administrative activities.
- Determine events/activities of the Church to achieve its purpose and maintain a church calendar.
A pastor shall be called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. The calling of a pastor will take place in a meeting called for that purpose in accordance with the recommendations made by a pastor search team in the search process or by a “committee of the whole” and communicated to the church in advance. Details concerning the pastor search team are included in Article III: Church Teams. An affirmative vote of three-fourths of active members present is necessary to extend the call to a pastor.
A pastoral candidate must meet the qualifications found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. He shall share with the church his personal testimony and call to preach. The pastoral candidate should endorse the constitution and bylaws of the Church.
The role of the pastor is a covenant relationship with the church. The search team shall present the pastor-church covenant for approval by the church as a part of the process of calling a pastor.
The pastor-church covenant will include details regarding annual reviews, salary recommendations, time away for revivals, conferences, vacations, etc. as well as other specific responsibilities and expectations of the pastor and the church’s responsibility to the pastor. The pastor-church covenant will detail specifics related to the resolution of conflict between the pastor and the church and termination procedures in the event conflict cannot be resolved. As a general rule, the pastor must provide 30 days notice of his resignation. In the event of termination by the church, the church will pay the pastor four weeks paid leave.
If a pastor should die in service to the church, his widow shall receive five weeks salary at the time of his death. The church reserves the right to determine more assistance if deemed possible by the church.
Section 2: Church Staff
This church shall call or employ such staff members as the church shall need. A job description shall be written when the need for staff members is determined.
Section 3: Board of Directors
The following leadership positions shall also serve as the corporate board of directors and officers of the corporation:
- The chairman of the deacons shall be the corporate president.
- The treasurer shall be the corporate treasurer.
- The clerk shall be the corporate secretary.
Section 4: Deacons
In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice of the New Testament, particularly I Timothy 3 and Acts 6, deacons are to be servants of the church. The task of the deacons is to serve with the pastor and staff in performing tasks of pastoral ministry; to proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; to care for church members and other persons in the community; to coordinate work involving church facilities as approved by the church; and to lead the church to achieve its mission.
- Deacons shall serve three-year terms on a rotation basis. At the expiration of each term, that deacon will rotate off for one year before becoming eligible to return for a full term.
- There shall be up to six deacons total with up to two full terms up for election each year.
- Election of deacons shall take place each year before the new church year begins. No person can serve as active deacon of the church without the vote of the church and screening from those deacons currently serving. The vote will be by ballot. The deacons presently serving, under the authority of I Timothy 3, shall screen each candidate, beginning with the one with the most votes and thereafter the same with each candidate until the number needed has been fulfilled. Screening shall include validating that each candidate meets the scriptural requirements in I Timothy 3 and Acts 6 for being a deacon and other requirements for church officers as stated in the church bylaws. In case of a tie, the two or more eligible candidates will be brought before the church and chosen by ballot vote.
- At any point a vacancy within the deacons occurs, an election can be held to fill the unexpired term.
- Upon vacancy in the position of pastor, the deacons shall be responsible for securing supply preachers or an interim pastor, if necessary.
Section 5: Clerk
The church shall elect a church clerk annually. The elected clerk of the church shall keep in a suitable book a record of all actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of active and inactive members, with dates of admission, dismission, or death, together with a record of baptisms.
The clerk shall issue letters of dismission 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 bylaws.
The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary. All church records are church property and should be filed in the church office when an office is maintained.
Section 5: Treasurer
The church shall elect a church treasurer and assistant church treasurer annually. The treasurer and assistant treasurer have the following responsibilities:
- The treasurer will serve as the corporate treasurer for the church corporation.
- The treasurer (with the help of the assistant treasurer) receives, preserves, and pays 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.
- The treasurer (with the help of the assistant treasurer) renders to the church at each regular business meeting a full accounting of all receipts and disbursements, and financial reports.
- The treasurer and assistant treasurer shall have signatory authority on all bank accounts.
Section 1: General
Biblical principles regarding protecting and preserving the unity of the church are to be followed in the operation of church business. The purpose of establishing leadership in the church is to enable the church to achieve its mission. As a tool to assist the church in this purpose, Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised Edition will serve as a guide during business proceedings.
As a general rule, church team members are to be recommended by the Nominating Team and elected by the church. However, leadership needs of the church may be addressed at any time deemed necessary by the church in any regular or called business meeting. Thereafter, church leadership chosen at such meetings will become a part of the nominating process of the church.
Section 2: Church Leadership Council
A Church Leadership Council may be formed by the Pastor (as chair), church staff, and leadership of the church ministries. Its purpose, if formed, is to coordinate the ministries and events of the church and communicate activities in a timely manner to the church membership. If the Council is not formed, the deacons may perform these functions.
Section 3: Nominating Team
A Nominating Team may be elected by the church annually. It is the task of a Nominating Team to coordinate the staffing of all church leadership positions filled by volunteers. The team recommends persons for all leadership and officers, except for the pastor. The Nominating Team should elect its chair at their first meeting each calendar year. If this team is not formed, the deacons may perform these functions.
The membership of the church may also make nominations for leadership positions in the church.
Section 4: Pastor Search Team
A pastor search team may be elected at a regular or called business meeting and shall consist of active regular members in good standing. The team shall consist of one deacon representative, shall not include a husband and wife, and the church shall make an effort to have representation of the full church on the search team. Upon their election by the church, the members of the pastor search team should meet to select a chairman to lead them in their work.
Upon election of the pastor search team, the finance team will work with the pastor search team to establish a compensation package along with any recommendations for expenses incurred in the pastor search process to the church for approval. This will establish parameters for the pastor search team in their working with a prospective pastor. The team must return to the church congregation via a business meeting to gain approval for any provision outside the approved compensation package.
This team, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, shall seek out the man they feel led to recommend as pastor of this church and shall present his name to the congregation for consideration. Should the first nominee be rejected by the church, the team should then seek out another man and present him. In no case should the team present more than one name at a time to the church.
In the event the pastor search team cannot come to unanimous consent about a candidate for pastor or is unable to bring forward a nominee within 18 months of their appointment, the church may ask for a report of the team as to their progress and problems with the search. The church may then choose to select another search team and begin the search process anew.
Section 5: Finance Team
The Finance Team will be comprised of the treasurer, assistant treasurer, one active deacon, and other church members as deemed necessary by the church.
It is the responsibility of the Finance Team to put in place a system of checks and balances to insure a proper accounting of all monies and to recommend an annual budget to the church for their approval.
Section 6: Other Teams
The church may establish other teams and church leadership positions as it deems necessary. Recommendations may come from the Nominating Team or any active member of the church at a regular or special called business meeting of the church.
Section 1: General
All organizations of the church are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the oversight of the church with all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church.
Section 2: Sunday School
There shall be a Sunday School. As the church needs require, the church will divide the classes into appropriate, age-divided classes so that the Biblical educational needs of all participants can be best met. As a general rule, this ministry will be conducted under the direction of a Sunday School director in partnership with the pastor and other appropriate church leadership.
Section 3: Missions Organization and Education
The church will be engaged in missions education, keeping the church membership informed of denomination efforts to reach the world for Christ, as well as personal opportunities to engage in missions and ministry. As the church needs require, efforts will be made to maintain appropriate missions grouped for men, women, youth, and children.
Section 1: Baptism
A person who receives Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship service, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord shall be received for baptism.
- Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
- Baptism shall be administered by the pastor or whomever the church shall authorize.
- Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service.
- Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership. Therefore, a person professing Christ and failing to be baptized after a reasonable length of time shall not be added to the membership roll of the church.
Section 2: The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, commemorate the death of Jesus Christ and anticipate His second coming.
- The Lord’s Supper shall be observed at least quarterly.
- The pastor and deacons shall be responsible for administering the Lord’s Supper.
Section 1: Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning to corporately worship our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, through preaching, praying, instruction, and evangelism. 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. The church reserves the right to add additional times of regular worship as deemed appropriate by the pastor or the membership of the church.
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 placed on the church calendar.
Section 3: Regular Business Meetings
Regular business meetings shall be held once per quarter.
Each year in August, deacon elections will be held, and nominating team reports will be approved. In the event circumstances prevent meeting this deadline, the church may determine alternate steps to achieve the mission of the church. If nominations are made at alternate times, it is understood that the nominees will serve that year and be placed on the normal church rotation unless otherwise designated by the church.
Recognizing the necessity of prayerful evaluation of the ministries of the church, there will be an annual review by the church to determine the ministry needs of the church and community. When such review reveals different or new ministry needs, the ministries, programs, and events of the church may be altered to best meet those needs.
Section 4: Special Business Meetings
A specially called business meeting may be held to consider special matters of significant nature. A two week notice of the subject, date, time, and location must be given for the specially called business meeting, unless extreme urgency renders such notice unfeasible. Such matters could include manmade or natural disasters, situations that might create conflict or interfere with the unity within the fellowship of the church, etc.
Section 5: Church Governance
The Church desires to do the will of God in ministry to the community. Therefore, it shall strive to function in accordance with Biblical principles as described in God’s Word. It will operate in accordance with congregational rule, meaning the church will move forward when the majority of active members, having sought God’s counsel, vote to go forward with a recommendation to the body. Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised, will be used as a guide for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
Except as otherwise indicated within these bylaws, all votes shall pass by a simple majority of those active church members present and voting.
Section 1: Budget
Each year, the Finance Team shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and worldwide expenses.
The church is supported through tithes, offerings and gifts.
Section 2: Accounting Procedures
All funds for any and all purposes shall pass through the hands of the church treasurer and be properly recorded on the books of the church.
Section 3: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the church shall be the calendar year, January 1 to December 31.
The upkeep and use of the Good Hope Baptist Church Cemetery shall be governed by the document titled “By-Laws and Guidelines of the Good Hope Baptist Church of NC Cemetery 4038 Graham Sherron Road, Wake Forest, NC 27587”. This document was Revised and Adopted 06/14/09 by the active members of Good Hope Baptist Church, and is attached to these bylaws.
Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church, provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous regular or called business meeting and that copies of the proposed amendment be furnished to each member present.
Amendments to the Constitution shall be by two-thirds vote of all members of the church present who are entitled to vote. Amendments to the bylaws shall be by a simple majority of active members present and voting.
Amendments shall be recorded in the clerk’s minutes. This document will be edited to include the text of the amended wording including deletion of changed or removed text.
PDF version of Good Hope Baptist Bylaws – Revised 04-12-15.