Our church constitution reflects our attempt to implement
New Testament church life in our congregation.
Constitution of Pines Baptist Church
Revised September 9, 2001
We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith, and that this body may be governed in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches and the Southern Baptist Convention.
This body shall be known as Pines Baptist Church of Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Pines Baptist Church, using the Bible as the primary source of authority, is a fellowship composed of baptized believers who share a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This church seeks to be a redemptive body in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The church describes its purpose and nature of existence in its objectives as stated herein. These objectives are statements of ultimate goals toward which this church aims its activities. We recognize that a mature church is one where the greatest gift, love, is experienced and shared (I Corinthians 13). The church encourages its members to discover their God-given gifts. The objectives of the members of Pines Baptist Church are:
1. To WORSHIP as a fellowship of believers seeking to provide opportunities for a personal encounter between God and man (Psalm 95:6; John 10:10).
2. To practice EVANGELISM by witnessing in the name of Jesus Christ by loving word and unselfish deed (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; II Corinthians 5:11:20).
3. To promote MISSIONS by sharing Jesus Christ through ministries to all people in the community and with all people throughout the world (Matthew 24:40b). To grow through CHRISTIAN EDUCATION a fellowship of maturing Christians whose learning results in responsible living (II Peter 1:3-20; Acts 5:42; Psalms 119:11).
4. To grow through CHRISTIAN EDUCATION a fellowship of maturing Christians whose learning results in responsible living (II Peter 1:3-20; Acts 5:42; Psalms 119:11).
STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Holy Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith. We subscribe to the doctrinal statement of the "Baptist Faith and Message", as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000. Where there is a conflict between this constitution and the "Baptist Faith and Message", this constitution will take precedence.
Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
We agree, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to live together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this congregation in knowledge, holiness, and faith; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to support its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and spread of the gospel through all nations.
We affirm the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family, and therefore we agree to maintain family and individual devotions, to teach our children about Jesus Christ; to seek the salvation of our relatives and acquaintances; to live above reproach in the world; to be fair in our dealings, true to our work, and a Christian example in our actions; to avoid practices that would in any way be harmful to our bodies, and to be enthusiastic in our efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Savior.
We further, agree to watch over one another in Christian 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 agree that when we leave this area, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God's Word.
POLITY AND 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 it is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Miami Baptist Association, the Florida Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Section 1: General
This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist Church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the right of self-government in all phases of the Spiritual and temporal life of this church.
The membership accepts the responsibility to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership as set forth in Section 2.
Section 2: Admission to Membership
The Pastor and/or his designates will counsel with prospective members 18 years and older for assurance that they are in accord with the doctrines and practices of the church. Persons may be received into membership with voting privileges by any of the following methods subject to 75% vote of the church at any regular church service. Children and youth up to age 18 will be accepted in the same manner as non-voting members.
(1) By Baptism - Any person who makes a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and is baptized by immersion.
(2) By Letter - Any person by promise of a letter from another Southern Baptist Church of like faith and order, finalized upon receipt of such letter.
(3) By Statement - Any person who presents himself by Christian experience or statement, giving assurance that he has been baptized by immersion following his profession of faith in Christ as his Savior.
(4) By Restoration - In the event of disciplinary action by this church when the individual demonstrates repentance and reformation as set forth in Article I, Section 7 of these by-laws.
Section 3. New Member Orientation
Prior to membership, each prospective member 18 years and over must participate and complete the New Member Orientation program with this Constitution and By-Laws being presented as the final lesson. Each person, upon being received into membership, agrees to be bound by all of the terms, conditions, and provisions of these by-laws. Children and youth will attend an age-appropriate discipleship class as designed by church leadership. Upon reaching the age 18 they must complete the New Member Orientation - which will entitle them voting privileges, as described in Section 4 (1).
Section 4. Rights of Members
(1) Members of the church are entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the church in conference, provided the member is present and in good standing.
(2) Whereas non-members are restricted to serving in limited non-leadership positions, all members may be considered for any appropriate positions within the life of the church.
(3) Each member will be included in our Deacon Family Ministry, which provides care and encouragement.
Section 5. Termination of Members
Members shall be terminated in the following ways:
(2) By letter to another Baptist Church of like faith and order.
(3) By erasure following union with a church of another denomination.
(4) By exclusion due to action by the church as set forth in Article I, Section 6 of these by-laws.
(5) By request of the individual.
(6) After an absence of two years, and no response to attempted contacts by their deacon.
No member may be removed from the rolls of the church except by the methods outlined above, and only after faithful efforts have been made to bring such member to repentance and amendment.
Section 6. Discipline
It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to its members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The Pastor, other members of the staff, and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.
(1) This church recognizes Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1-2 as the main guidelines for all disciplinary action concerning the sin of one member against another. Should action related to the above scriptures be necessary, the scriptural procedure shall be followed.
(2) The church recognizes I Corinthians 5 as action concerning the sin of one member against the congregation. Should any case of serious breach of covenant or of public scandal occur, the Pastor shall endeavor to resolve the offense with advice and counsel of the deacons, and if necessary shall report the case to the church.
- An announcement for a meeting of exclusion shall be given at least fourteen (14) days in advance to the congregation and to the member involved. This meeting will only be open to voting members. The decision concerning exclusion must be supported by 75% of those voting. The vote will be taken by ballot. The offender may speak for his own defense, and/or call witnesses in his favor. If the offending member is not present at the meeting and has not offered satisfactory explanation of his/her absence, the church may proceed.
Section 7. Restoration
Any member who has been terminated by the church may be restored to church membership after counseling by the Pastor and/or deacons, and by the same conditions as his discipline, be restored to church membership after a public display of repentance and request for reconciliation and an affirmative vote by the church body.
SHALL BE KNOWN AS F.A.M.M.I.L.Y.
The church council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, conducting, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organizations.
The primary function of F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. shall be to implement the church’s objectives and goals; to review and coordinate ministry and program plans, organizations, and committees; to oversee leadership, the use of calendar time, and other resources according to these By-Laws; and to evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals. F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. shall be responsible for all nominations to the church and filling all church positions that need no nomination.
Members of F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. shall be the Pastor as chairman, other church staff members, Directors of "F"=Fellowship, "A"=Administration, "M"=Music, “M”=Ministry, "I"=Instruction, "L"=Light (Outreach), and "Y"=Youth. All Directors will be elected annually by the church at the annual membership meeting in December of each year.
CHURCH & CORPORATE OFFICERS
All who serve as officers and those who serve on church committees shall be members of this church in good standing.
Section 1: Church Officers
The officers of this church shall be the pastor, the church staff, deacons, a moderator, a clerk and a treasurer.
(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.
The pastor is the leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such he works with F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. (See Article II) and church staff to: (1) lead the church in the achievement of its mission, (2) proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers, and (3) care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
A. Call - 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 two (2) weeks’ notice shall be given from the pulpit and word posted in the church bulletin.
B. Pastor Selection Committee - The Pastor Selection Committee shall be nominated by F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. and be comprised of five (5) regular members, of which one shall be a deacon, and a first and second alternate who will be nominated. This committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one man at a time. Election shall be by ballot, and an affirmative vote of 75% of those present.
C. Termination - The pastor thus elected shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or by the request of the church. The church’s request must come through the Stewardship/Personnel Committee. If the Stewardship/Personnel Committee deems termination is warranted, they will call for a special business meeting. At the time of the Pastor's resignation at least two (2) weeks notice shall be given to the church. His notice shall be given during a Sunday Morning Worship Service in which a letter is to be read and given to the church clerk for the permanent records.
The church may terminate the Pastor's responsibilities by an affirmative vote of 75% of those church members present and voting at a special business meeting called for the purpose of discussing the termination of the Pastor's duties. Notice shall be given two (2) weeks in advance of the meeting during a Sunday Morning Worship Service. If terminated, the Pastor shall leave immediately and be given a minimum of one month's total compensation. At the discretion of the Stewardship/Personnel Committee, further compensation may be rendered.
(2) Ministerial Staff - The ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such offices. Those staff members of whom the church requires evidence of a personal call of God to minister shall be recommended to the church by the pastor and Stewardship/Personnel Committee, and called by an affirmative vote of 75% of those church members present and voting. At the time of resignation at least two (2) weeks notice shall be given to the church. The church may vote to vacate such positions upon recommendation of the Pastor, and Stewardship/Personnel Committee.
(3) Termination will be immediate. The compensation conditions being the same as for the pastor, except that the amount shall relate to the individual’s compensation.
(4) Full-time/Part-time Non-Ministerial personnel shall be employed as the Pastor and Stewardship/Personnel Committee determines the need for their services.
Temporary Non-Ministerial personnel may be determined and employed by the pastor.
In the event that the church is without a pastor, it shall be the responsibility of the council to see that the pulpit is filled during each service.
(5) With the exception of the moderator, the following church officers shall be elected by the church in its annual election of church officers. They shall be nominated by F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. (see Article II) and elected for a one (1) year term.
A. Moderator - The moderator will preside at all business meetings of the church. The pastor shall be the moderator. In the absence of the pastor or in a case of a matter concerning the pastor or his family the chairman of the deacons shall be the moderator. In the absence of the above the clerk shall call the church to order and an acting moderator shall be elected.
B. Clerk - The Clerk of the church shall keep in a suitable book a record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The Clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members, with dates of admissions, dismissal, or death, together with a record of baptisms. The Clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, and preserve and file all communications and written official reports. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary. All church records are church property and will be filed on church property.
C. Treasurer - The Treasurer or their designate shall make all disbursements. Whenever possible, all local bills due by the church shall be paid promptly, and all disbursements for denominational purposes or other causes shall be made monthly. All funds received through public collections, private donations, or through the mail shall be deposited in the name of the church. Special accounts may be maintained for various receipts and disbursements for the different causes sponsored by the church. Funds from special accounts may not be transferred to another account without authorization by the church on recommendation of the Stewardship Committee.
Quarterly reports of the financial condition of the church shall be provided to the congregation. The Treasurer will have the books ready for audit by February 28th and an audit accomplished prior to April 30th.
There shall be at least one (1) deacon for every twenty (20) families. The deacons shall meet monthly at a time specified by the said group.
A. Qualifications for a Deacon
1. The prospective deacon must have been an active member of this church for at least (1) year prior to election and must be willing and able to participate in all the affairs of the church.
2. In electing deacons, the church shall select men who are honorable, true servants of God, tithers to this church and who conform with the meaning of the work and practice of the New Testament, as reflected by the principles set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13. They shall be zealous to guard the spirit of unity within the church in the bonds of peace.
1. Deacons shall be nominated by F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. and elected by the church in any business meeting.
2. The Chairman of the Deacons and the Vice-Chairman of the Deacons will be elected by the deacon body during the first meeting of the new church year. At such a time as a vacancy occurs in the position of Chairman of the Deacons, the Vice-Chairman of the Deacons will assume the role of the Chairman and will initiate an election of Vice-Chairman at the next meeting of the deacon body.
C. Terms of Service
Deacons shall be elected for three (3) year terms. After having served a full term, the person shall not serve as a deacon for one (1) year, unless otherwise determined by the church at the request of the pastor. In such a case, the deacon may be nominated by FAMMILY for re-election to another term and elected by the church in any business meeting. In case of death, removal or incapacity to serve, the church may elect a replacement to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the original deacon’s term. The Chairman of the Deacons shall initiate proceedings for replacement of a deacon according to the By-Laws of this church as soon as such vacancies occur. Deacons who do not fulfill their obligations in office, after counseling with the pastor and/or the deacon body, will be asked to resign. If he declines to resign, his position as a deacon can be terminated by a simple majority vote at a called business meeting.
It shall be the responsibility of the deacons to serve their church in several ways:
1. Proclaim the Gospel to all people.
Participate in the outreach effort of the church.
b) Faithful participation in all church activities.
2. Provide care for church members and other persons in the community.
a) Minister in time of crises.
b) Provide biblical counsel and referral to the
pastor, if necessary.
c) Perform acts of benevolence.
3. Lead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education and ministry
a) Maintain church fellowship.
b) Lead corporate fellowship.
c) Administer the ordinances.
d) Be informed about the life and work of the church.
Set a personal example of Christian living.
4. Lead the church in performing its tasks.
a) Interpret the work of the church to members and the community.
b) Encourage cooperative work with other churches.
c) Enforce policies set forth in this constitution.
5. In the event that the church is without a pastor, it shall be the responsibility of the deacons to see that the pulpit is filled each service.
Section 2: Corporate Officers
The Corporate Officers shall be the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary.
1). Election of officers. Each of the Officers shall be presented to members by F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. for acceptance by majority of the church membership at the annual membership meeting. Each Officer will remain in office until a successor to such office has been selected and qualified. Such election will take place at the annual meeting of the church membership taking place in December of each year.
2) President. The President will be the Chief Executive Officer of this Corporation, and will, by the vote of the church membership, supervise and control the affairs of the Corporation. The President will perform all duties incident to such office, and such other duties as may be provided in these By-Laws or as may be prescribed from time to time by the church.
3) Vice President. The Vice President shall perform all duties and exercise all powers of the President when the President is absent or otherwise unable to act. The Vice President will perform such other duties as may be prescribed from time to time by the church.
4) Secretary. The Secretary shall perform all duties as are incident to the office of Secretary and other duties as may be required by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, or by these By-Laws, or that might be assigned from time to time by the church.
5) Treasurer. The Treasurer shall perform in general all duties incident to the office of Treasurer and such other duties as may be required by law, by the Articles of Incorporation, by these By-Laws (including Article II, Section 1 (4) C), or that may be assigned from time to time by the church.
6) Removal. Any officer, elected or appointed to office, may be removed by the church membership upon a 75% vote, whenever in their judgment, the best interest of this Corporation will be served.
7) Term. Each corporate officer shall serve a one year term commencing January 1 through December 31.
(1) Purpose of Committees
A. Saves Time - Churches that use committees and officers will save time for the congregation. When a committee has done the proper homework it will save hours of time in the church business meeting.
B. Utilizes Skills - A church will benefit by placing committee members and officers in areas that utilize their special skills. A church can profit from the wisdom and skills when these skills are utilized to a good advantage in doing the Lord's work.
C. Develops Members - One of the primary responsibilities of a church is to help its members mature as Christians. By using people to serve as church officers and committee members a church is fulfilling the commands of the Great Commission.
D. Broadens Participation - The more people involved in the planning of the church’s work, the more will be involved in the implementation process. By involving more people in the church's work, the chances of communication are improved.
E. By-Laws - Committee duties will be carried out within the framework of the By- Laws and policies of the church.
(2) Ex-Officio Membership on Committees - The Pastor and staff members are Ex-Officio members of each committee, and may counsel with the committees to help in any way possible. Committee meetings should be scheduled through the Church Office to avoid scheduling conflicts.
(3) Committees will be appointed by F.A.M.M.I.L.Y.
(4) Tenure on committees will be at the discretion of F.A.M.M.I.L.Y.
(5) Duties of Committee Chair
A. The chair shall be elected by the committee yearly. To serve as chair of any committee is a privilege and a responsibility which should be taken both seriously and prayerfully. If the committee is to function effectively, the chair should be fully cognizant of the following duties:
1. Serve as presiding officer of the committee.
2. Prepare an agenda for consideration at the committee meetings.
3. Make necessary plans for the committee meetings and see that all members are properly notified. The time and place of the meetings should be agreeable to the majority of the committee. The committee should meet a minimum of once a month with a report to be given to F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. as requested.
4. Help the group analyze what needs to be done and in a democratic discussion of the challenges, securing participation on the part of all committee members.
5. See that a secretary keeps complete notes of the committee discussions so that an accurate record of the committee's recommendations are recorded. Submitted records of committee work may be maintained in the church office. The records of committee meetings MUST be given to the Church Office.
6. Lead the committee, after full consideration of the matter, to adopt specific recommendations to report to the church when necessary.
7. Secure the church prior to leaving the church building.
1) Stewardship/Personnel Committee
A. Staffing: This committee shall consist of a maximum of three (3) members plus the church treasurer and all members will be regular tithers to the church.
1. Develop the budget
a. Responsible for the oversight of giving and potential giving of church members.
b. Responsible for the evaluating of budget request
c. Responsible for the presenting of the budget to the church for adoption
d. Keep records for seven years
e. Oversight of annual statement to all contributors Direct the Subscription of the Budget
3. Administer the Budget
a. Monitoring Budget expenditures.
b. Reviewing expenditures in terms of budget allocation.
c. Recommending needed adjustments in the budget.
d. Implementing and maintaining an adequate financial system including an annual audit of financial records. The extent of the audit is at the discretion of the Stewardship/Personnel Committee.
4. Promote stewardship education
5. Supervise the money counters, deposits, withdrawals, and record keeping
6. Provide adequate insurance for the church
7. Oversee all personal and professional matters related to paid church staff and employees.
8. Designated Accounts will be established by the Stewardship /Personnel Committee.
2) Fellowship Committee
A. Staffing: This committee shall consist of a minimum of four (4) members.
1. This committee shall promote the overall fellowship program of the church.
2. This committee shall assist all departments in the area of fellowship.
3. This committee shall make recommendation for the annual budget.
4. This Committee shall plan and oversee all church-wide activities related to fellowship.
3) Special Committees
F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. shall recommend to the church the Special Committees it needs for efficiency in performing the work of the church.
4) Counting Committee
A. Staffing: This committee shall consist of three (3) members.
1. Responsible for counting weekly offering.
2. Responsible for giving empty offering envelopes and books to Financial Record Keeper.
3. Responsible for deposit of weekly offering.
Section 1. Budget
The budget year shall begin on January 1st. The Stewardship Committee shall prepare and submit to the church for approval, an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses. Offering envelopes will be provided for members' use.
It is understood that membership in this church involves financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts.
CHURCH PROGRAM ORGANIZATIONS
The church shall maintain programs of Bible teaching; discipleship, leadership training, new member orientation, mission education, music education, and other programs as determined by F.A.M.M.I.L.Y. All organizations related to the church programs shall be under church control, and all program activities subject to church coordination and approval. The church shall provide the human, physical and financial resources for the appropriate advancement of these programs.
1) The Educational Ministry shall center around a Bible teaching program. Its tasks shall be to teach the biblical revelation, reach persons for Christ and church membership, perform the functions of the church within its constituency, provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
2) The Church Music Ministry tasks shall be to teach music; train persons to lead, sing, and play music; provide music in the church and community.
Section 1: Baptism
This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received 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.
(1) Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
(2) The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism.
(3) Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church or place of choosing by the Pastor.
(4) A person who professes Christ and is not baptized after a reasonable length of time shall be counseled by the Pastor and/or staff.
Section 2. The Lord's Supper
The church shall observe the Lord's Supper periodically. The pastor shall administer the Lord's Supper. The deacons are responsible for physical preparation and appointing servers. The Supper will be offered to all who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord regardless of their church or denominational affiliation.
Section 1. Services
(1) Worship Services - The church shall meet Sunday morning for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the components of these services. The pastor or his designate shall direct the services.
(2) Special Services - Revival services and any other church meetings essential to the advancement of the church's objectives shall be placed on the church calendar by the pastor with consultation of F.A.M.M.I.L.Y.
Section 2. Business Meetings
(1) Annual Membership Meeting - The annual meeting of this corporation shall be held in December.
(2) Additional Business Meetings - Additional business meetings may be held to consider matters of significant nature. A 72 hour notice must be given at any scheduled Worship Service. Matters to be considered shall be stated in the call.
(3) Quorum - A quorum shall consist of the members present.
(4) Parliamentary Rules - Robert's Rules of Order, Revised, is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
The church year as well as the fiscal year shall be January 1st through December 31st.
OUTSIDE GROUP MEETINGS
No organization or club that is not associated with this church or denomination shall hold meetings in any of the church buildings without the consent of the pastor or F.A.M.M.I.L.Y.
LICENSING AND ORDINATION
Any person recommended by the Pastor and approved by the church, and who gives evidence that he is called to the work of the ministry, may be licensed to preach upon a majority vote of those present at a church business meeting. A Certificate of License shall be issued by the church.
The church shall possess the sole right to call Ordination Council to examine the qualifications of the candidate and in turn advise the church as to the propriety of ordination. The final action to ordain and license shall rest with the church.
Changes in the constitution and By-Laws may be made at any business meeting of the church provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at least two weeks in advance at any Sunday service. Amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws will require a quorum and shall be by a 75% vote of church members present and voting.
The adoption of this instrument renders null and void all previous church actions which were adopted as a basis for guidance in the absence of a constitution and by-laws. All future actions shall be based upon the principles contained herein.
CHURCH CONFLICT RESOLUTION
This church is committed to resolving in a biblical manner all disputes that may arise within our body. This commitment is based on God's command that Christians should strive earnestly to live at peace with one another (see Matt. 5:9; John 17:20-23; Rom. 12:18; and Eph. 4:1-3), and that when disputes arise, Christians should resolve them according to the principles set forth in Holy Scripture (see Prov. 19:11; Matt. 5:23-25; 18:15-20; I Cor. 6:1-8; Gal. 6:1). We believe that these commands and principles are obligatory on all Christians and absolutely essential for the well-being and work of the church. Therefore, any and all disputes in this church shall be resolved according to biblical principles, as provided in these By-Laws.
When a member of this church has a conflict with, or is concerned about the behavior of another member, he shall attempt to resolve the matter as follows. (1) The offended or concerned person shall prayerfully examine himself and take responsibility for his contribution to a problem (Matt. 7:3-5), and he shall prayerfully seek to discern whether the offense is so serious that it cannot be overlooked (Prov. 19:11; see also Prov. 12:16; 15:18; 17:14; 20:3; Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:13; I Pet. 4:8). (2) If the offense is too serious to overlook, the offended or concerned person shall go, repeatedly if necessary, and talk to the offender in an effort to resolve the matter personally and privately, having first confessed his own wrongdoing (Matt. 18:15). (3) If the offender will not listen and if the problem is too serious to overlook, the offended or concerned person shall return with one or two other people who will attempt to help the parties resolve their differences (Matt. 18:16); these other people may be members or officers of the church, other respected Christians in the community, or trained mediators or arbitrators (conciliators) from a Christian conciliation ministry. At the request of either party to the dispute, the church shall make every effort to assist the parties in resolving their differences and being reconciled.
Conflicts involving doctrine or church discipline shall be resolved according to the procedures set forth in these By-Laws.
If a dispute arises within the church or between a member and the church and cannot be resolved through the internal procedures described above, it shall be resolved as follows.
1) The dispute shall be submitted to mediation and, if necessary, legally binding arbitration in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Institute for Christian Conciliation, and judgment upon an arbitration award may be entered in any court otherwise having jurisdiction.
2) All mediators and arbitrators shall be in agreement with the statement of faith of Southern Baptist and our basic form of government, unless this requirement is modified or waived by all parties to the dispute.
3) If a dispute submitted to arbitration involves a decision reached by the Church Council, the arbitrators shall uphold the Church Council's decision on all matters of doctrine and church discipline.
4) This section covers the church as a corporate entity and its agents, including its pastors, officers, staff, and volunteers with regard to any actions they may take in their official capacities.
5) This section covers any and all disputes or claims arising from or related to church membership, doctrine, policy, practice, counseling, discipline, decisions, actions, or failures to act, including claims based on civil statute or for personal injury.
6) By joining this church, all members agree that these methods shall provide the sole remedy for any dispute arising against the church and its agents, and they waive their right to file any legal action against the church in a civil court or agency, except to enforce an arbitration decision.
7) If a dispute or claim involves an alleged injury or damage to which the church's insurance applies, and if the church's insurer refuses to submit to mediation or arbitration as described in this section, either the church or the member alleging the injury or damage may declare that this section is no longer binding with regard to that part of the dispute or claim to which the church's insurance applies.
DISSOLUTION AND REVERSION CLAUSE
Upon the dissolution of the church, the corporate officers shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all liabilities of the church, make certain that all church property and appurtenances revert to and become vested in the Miami Baptist Convention, to be used for church and mission purposes.