Constitution and Bylaws

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Articles of Incorporation,

and ByLaws

First Baptist Church
of Show Low, Arizona

Revised 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017

A cooperating church of the Southern Baptist Convention



We declare and establish this Constitution for the purpose of preserving and making secure the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body be governed in an orderly manner, consistent with the accepted tenets of churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of the church, and to set forth the relationship of this body to other bodies of the same faith, we do declare and establish this Constitution.

Article I – Name and Location

This body shall be known as First Baptist Church of Show Low, Arizona,
700 North Central Ave., Show Low Arizona 85901.

Article II – Purpose

The purpose of this body is to be based on the New Testament principles:

  • To proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to all our community and the world;
  • To advance the Kingdom of God through the teaching and training of all born again believers;
  • To be a worshiping fellowship;
  • To be Christ-like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality and possessions to the Lordship of Christ.
    Acts 2: 42 (Amended 1-15-89)

Article III – Statement of Faith and on Marriage

The Statement of Faith of this Church shall be those set forth in the Baptist Faith and Message, (Appendix A) as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, June 14, 2000.

Our world changes quickly and perspectives on marriage may differ. First Baptist Church of Show Low believes what we call marriage today began as an act of creation. The Bible tells of God creating male and female persons, and instructing them to multiply and care for creation.

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [Genesis 1:28 NKJV]

When the Pharisees questioned Jesus regarding marriage and divorce, He replied:

… “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” [Matthew 19: 4-6 NKJV]

Later, Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, taught exclusivity in the marriage relationship between one man and one woman.

Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. [1 Corinthians 7:2 NKJV]

We do therefore affirm the biblical ideal that marriage can only occur between one biologically-born and presenting male and one biologically-born and presenting female, as evidenced by birth certificates, in covenant commitment. Consistent with this belief, our pastors, staff and officials will not officiate in same-sex unions or same-sex marriages, nor will its property or resources be used for such purposes.

Paul also spoke of how a man and a woman should relate to one another. Paul compared the relationship of a husband and a wife to the relationship of Christ and the church. He spoke of love and submission. Specifically, he said men are to love their wives and women are to submit to their husbands, and he then adds:

32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. [Ephesians 5: 32-33 NKJV]

The writer of Hebrews expressed the value of marriage and the dangers it faces in regard to sexual matters.

Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. [Hebrews 13: 4 NKJV]

So faithfulness and fidelity between a husband and wife are critical if the marriage is to live up to the ideal set forth in Scripture.

Marriage was and is God’s plan for a man and a woman to be a blessing to the world as they unite themselves in a committed relationship and live together for His purposes. The Bible teaches that legitimate sexual relations are exercised solely within marriage between a man and woman.

Hence, this Church opposes all forms of sexual immorality, including premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual behavior, and pornography. [Amended 26 July 2015]

Article IV – Church Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the professing of our faith having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.

We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; John 13: 34-35 to strive for the advancement of this Church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and Spirituality; 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church; 1 Corinthians 12: 25-26 the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and private devotions, to religiously educate our children, to seek the salvation of our family and acquaintances, to walk circumspectly in the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger.

Because Christ now lives in our heart, we should abstain from any act harmful to our witness, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; Ephesians 4: 2 to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian compassion in feeling and courtesy of speech; Ephesians 5: 21 to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the commands of our Savior to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that when we move from this place 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.

Article V – Government and Policy

Section 1.

The government of this Church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is under the control of no other groups, but it recognizes and sustains the obligation of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Baptist churches. Acknowledging only the Lordship of Christ as its head and the direction of the Holy Spirit as its guide. All authority or privileges are derived from the congregational body, and any task or duty assigned shall be in accord with the expressed will of the Church.

Section 2. Doctrine

We accept the Holy Scriptures as our sole authority in matters of faith and practice and recognize Jesus Christ as our perfect example in matters of personal
conduct. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Section 3. Affiliations

This Church is affiliated with:

  • The Desert Pines Baptist Association
  • The Arizona Southern Baptist Convention
  • The Southern Baptist Convention

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Article VI – Articles of Incorporation
of First Baptist Church of Show Low


That we, the undersigned, whose names, residence and post office addresses are as shown below, being a quorum of the duly-elected Trustees of the First Baptist Church of Show Low, Arizona, do hereby associate ourselves together as incorporators for the purpose of forming a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Arizona for religious, educational, and charitable purposes, and not for pecuniary profit, and to that end do hereby adopt Articles of Incorporation as follows:

Article I

The name of this corporation shall be: First Baptist Church of Show Low, Arizona, with principal place of business in Show Low, Navajo County, Arizona.

Article II

The purpose and general nature of the business of this corporation is to proclaim, teach, and spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in accordance with the teachings of the New Testament, and for religious, educational, and charitable purposes, and not for pecuniary profit; and in order to properly perform and carry out said objects and purposes said corporation shall, among other things, have the power to establish, build, acquire, and operate a church, places of worship, and other facilities, to disseminate, publish and broadcast, by every lawful means, religious and educational services and information, and programs as may be deemed proper; and said corporation shall have the power to acquire, own, maintain, loan at no cost, rent, mortgage or otherwise encumber, sell, convey, remodel, build or improve property, real, personal, or mixed; and shall have power to accept, disseminate, lend or borrow money, with or without security; and shall have power to issue notes, bonds, or other evidences of indebtedness and to mortgage, pledge or otherwise encumber its property to secure payment of same; and shall have power to participate in all church and church-related activities, including but not limited to sports activities of all kinds; tours, travels, excursions and trips of all kinds; excursions to and from all church activities, parties, dinners and all types of social events or activities; religious conventions, conferences and camps, visitation and soul-winning programs; all kinds of meetings and activities directly or indirectly related to the raising of funds; and shall have and may exercise all other powers and acts and things, which it may lawfully have or do under the laws of the State of Arizona in connection with or for the promotion of its purposes and objects.

Article III

The corporation shall have no capital stock and no stockholders but will be composed of members in accordance with its By-Laws and shall not conduct its affairs for the pecuniary profit of any individuals and shall declare no dividends to its members.

The members or membership of this corporation who shall be entitled to vote and have voice in this corporation similar to that of stockholders in pecuniary corporations shall be those of that previous unincorporated association or Church known as a Southern Baptist Church, located at Show Low, Arizona, who are members of said Church and in good standing on the date of the commencement of this corporation, and such other persons as may hereafter become members of this corporation in accordance with its By-Laws until such membership shall terminate as may be provided in the By-Laws of this corporation.

Article IV

The time for the commencement of this corporation, or corporate existence hereunder, shall be the date of the issuance to it of a Certificate of Incorporation by the Arizona Corporation Commission and it shall continue perpetually.
Amended June 13, 1999

Article V

Although this Church (corporate membership) is an autonomous democracy with the membership being the final authority and with all trustees and officers accountable and subject to the authority and direction of the church membership, the business affairs of this corporation shall be conducted by a Board of Trustees of not less than three nor more than twenty-five members and there shall be a President (Chairman) and a Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and said officers shall execute all formal and official legal papers for the corporation, and there shall be such other officers as the Church (membership) or Trustees, may designate or as may be provided for in the By-Laws of the corporation; and the duties and authorities of said Trustees, and officers, shall be as authorized by the membership, and, or, as provided and set forth in the By-Laws; said Trustees shall be elected from the members of said Church at the annual meeting of the members of said corporation (Church) to be held at the main office or place of business of the corporation in Show Low, Arizona, at 7:00 P.M. at the business meeting on Wednesday after the first Sunday in October each year, beginning in1974, or such other time and place as may be lawfully provided in the By-Laws of the corporation, for a term of one year, or such other term or terms, as may be provided in the By-Laws, and until their successors are elected and qualified.

Until their terms expire, or are terminated, and their successors elected, in accordance with the By-Laws of the corporation, said Board of Trustees shall be composed of Jack Moody, Jim Roten, and Harold Ritzmann, who were elected at the business meeting of the membership of said unincorporated Church held at said Church in Show Low, Arizona, on March 5, 1974.

The Board of Trustees shall have power and authority to adopt By-Laws for this corporation for its guidance until By-Laws are approved, or adopted, by the members of said corporation, which may be done by the members at any regular or special business meeting of said Church. Unless otherwise provided in the By-Laws, a majority of the members of said Trustees shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the vote of a majority of those present when a quorum is present shall be necessary and sufficient to constitute a valid act of the Board and of said corporation. Said Trustees may organize as provided by the By-Laws. The qualifications of members and officers of this Church (corporation) and conditions of their election, suspension and expulsion, and their rights, powers, and authority, shall be set out in the By-Laws approved by the membership of the corporation; and said By-Laws may be amended or changed by the membership as therein provided.

Article VI

The highest amount of indebtedness or liability, direct or contingent, to which the corporation shall at any time subject itself shall be limited to ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS or such higher amount as is allowed by the laws of the State of Arizona governing such non-profit corporations as this.

Article VII

The private and individual property of the members, Trustees, and officers of the corporation shall not be liable for but shall be forever exempt from the debts and liabilities of the corporation.

Article VIII

This corporation shall have an impression seal, circular in form, with the name of the Church and year and state of incorporation engraved or inscribed thereon.

Article IX

Jack Donald Carlisle, Sr., whose residence and address is P.O. Box 823, Show Low, Arizona, and who is and has for more than three years been a bona fide resident of the State of Arizona is hereby designated and appointed Statutory Agent of the corporation, upon whom all notices and processes, including service of summons, may be served, and when so served, shall be lawful personal service on such corporation. The foregoing appointment may be revoked or changed at any time by filing appointment of a successor agent as provided by law.

Article X

These Articles of Incorporation may be amended or changed by a majority vote of the members of said Church who are present at any annual meeting of the corporation, or by a two-thirds majority vote of members present at any special meeting called for that purpose, provided notice of the meeting and proposed amendment has been given at least fifteen days prior to said meeting by posting such notice on the church bulletin board at the main Church or place of business of the corporation in Show Low, Arizona, or mailing such notice to the members of the corporation who are in good standing; or they may otherwise be amended as provided by the laws of the State of Arizona EXCEPT these Articles shall not be amended so as to change the corporation from a non-profit religious, charitable and educational institution or to defeat the exemption of the individual property of the officers, Trustees and members from the debts or liabilities of the corporation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we hereunto subscribe our names on the 7th day of March, 1974.


s/ Jack Moody, Route 1, Box 61, Show Low, Arizona

s/ Jim Roten, Box 681, Show Low, Arizona

s/ Harold Ritzmann, Box 191, Show Low, Arizona



                                                      )  ss.


This, the foregoing and attached instrument was acknowledged before me on this 7th day of March, 1974, by JACK MOODY, JIM ROTEN, and HAROLD RITZMANN.

                                          s/ Pat Cassels, Notary Public

My Commission Expires Oct. 21, 1976

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Article I – Membership

Section 1. Admission

A.  By public profession of faith in Jesus Christ, followed by New Testament baptism.

B.  By Letter from a church of like faith as stated in Article III of the Constitution.

C.  By statement provided a letter is not attainable.

D.  By restoration.

All candidates for membership must affirm agreement with the principles outlined in the Statement of Faith and on Marriage as set forth in Article III of the Constitution and the Baptist Faith and Message, as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, June 14, 2000. All new members shall complete the Church’s New Members Orientation Class. New members shall be presented at the next Quarterly Ministry Conference for approval by a majority of those present. [Amended 26 July 2015]

New members shall not hold a leadership position for a period of one (1) year following completion of the New Members Orientation class. Leadership positions are, but are not limited to, deacon, department directors, class/Bible study teacher, worship team leaders, committee chair, etc. New members may serve on committees or as teacher aides during the one-year period. Members of the pastoral staff and their spouse are exempt from the above one-year requirement. (Amended 11 December 2016)

Section 2. Voting Rights of Members

Every member actively supporting the ministries of the Church is entitled to vote at all elections and on all questions submitted to the Church, provided the member is present. An active member is regular in attendance; financially contributes to this local Church; and serves by seeking to fulfill their Spiritual gifts within the local body of believers.

Section 3. Termination of Membership

Membership will be terminated in the following ways:

A.  By letter of transfer or dismissing to a church of like faith and practice or by request for removal from the Church roll.

B.  Death

C.  By recommendation from the Pastor/Deacon Body for exclusion, as prescribed in Scripture Matthew 18; such action will require a two-thirds vote of members present at a Special-Called Ministry Conference for that purpose.

D.  By inactivity for one (1) year or more, with exceptions reviewed by the Deacon Body.

Upon leaving this fellowship, any Church property, records and keys shall immediately be relinquished to proper Church officers/Trustees.

Section 4. Restoration

A recommendation from the Pastor/Deacon Body is required for any person whose membership has been terminated for any offense to be restored by the vote of the Church, upon evidence of their repentance and reformation. A two-thirds vote of members present is necessary to restore membership.2 Corinthians 2: 5-8

Section 5. Discipline

God’s order is an order of grace and government, and in the assembly of believers it is both grace and government. The local Church has the awesome responsibility to follow this divinely arranged order Matthew 18: 18, 20 for restoration and discipline.

If unity is to be maintained in the Church, it must be sustained in righteousness. Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the Church, every reasonable measure will be taken by the Pastor and the Deacons Body to restore the health of the Church and the individual. Matthew 18: 15-17

All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance; but finding that the welfare of the Church will be served by the exclusion of the member, the Church may take this action by a vote of two-thirds of the members present at a meeting called for this purpose.

And the Church may proceed to declare the offender to be no longer in the membership of the Church. 1 Corinthians 5: 11, 13; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6; 1 Peter 4: 17-18

Section 6. Property

A.  Should a division of membership occur because of doctrinal differences, the title to and possession and assets owned by this Church shall remain with the group holding the doctrinal position common to churches of the Southern Baptist Convention.

B.  An advisory council will determine the division of the assets. This council shall be made up of representatives from sister Southern Baptist churches and the Executive Director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, or his appointee.

C.  Parties of the outgoing group in custody of physical properties, records and keys shall immediately relinquish same to proper Church officers/Trustees.

D.  All offices and positions held by the outgoing group shall automatically be declared vacated at time of division.

E.  If the Church votes to dissolve or leave the Southern Baptist Convention, all assets and liabilities will automatically become the property/responsibility of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, or its successor organization.

Article II – Ordinances

Section 1. Baptism, the First Act of Obedience

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. Matthew 3:13-17; Romans 6:3-5 (cq Baptist Faith & Message, Appendix A, page vi)

A.  Baptism shall be by immersion.

B.  Baptism shall be administered by authority of the Church as soon as practical after public profession.

C.  The Baptism Committee shall be responsible for the physical preparations of the baptism service and will assist candidates during the actual service.

Section 2. The Lord’s Supper, the Second Act of Obedience

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby practicing New Testament believers, through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, commemorate the death of Jesus Christ and anticipate His second coming. Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 21; 11: 23-29 (cq Baptist Faith & Message, Appendix A, page vi)

A.  The Lord’s Supper shall be observed that first Sunday of each month, or as in coordination with the Pastor and Deacon Body.

B.  The Pastor and Deacon Body shall be responsible for the preparation and administration of the Lord’s Supper.

Article III – Church Meetings

Section 1. Regular Services

The Church will maintain full-time services: shall conduct Sunday morning Bible studies, discipleship training or other meetings that shall foster the Spiritual development of its members. Matthew 28: 18 It shall conduct prayer and Bible study on some weekday evening.

Section 2. Provision

The Church shall provide all necessary services for the educational, missionary, evangelism and promotional activities of the Church.

Section 3. Regular Ministry Conferences

A.  The Church fiscal year shall begin January 1 and end December 31.

B.  The Church shall hold regularly scheduled quarterly ministry conferences. Notice of the conferences will be announced one week in advance. The Moderator will notify in writing all committee chair persons to submit their written reports to be included on the agenda, no later than one week prior to the conference. The duly-elected Moderator shall preside over all ministry conferences of the Church. In the case of (his or her) absence, the Vice Moderator shall preside.

C.  The Church Clerk or Assistant Clerk shall keep the minutes of each ministry conference and will make copies available to the Church members as soon as possible.

D.  Following the guidelines of the Constitution and By-Laws, actions approved by a vote of the Church shall take effect immediately, unless otherwise indicated.

E.  The annual ministry conference of the Church shall be held during the month of October and shall be duly announced by the Moderator or Vice Moderator at least one week in advance. At this time the annual reports of each committee shall be presented, officers elected, the budget for the next fiscal year presented, and such other business transacted as may be specified in the agenda. A Special-Called Ministry Conference two weeks after the annual meeting shall be conducted to formally adopt the budget. During the remaining months of the year, the newly-elected officers shall work with the current officers to ensure a smooth transition. They will assume office on January 1, at the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Section 4. Special Ministry Conferences

The Church may conduct Special-Called Ministry Conferences to consider matters of special nature and significance. The Pastor, and other Church officers or Church Council members shall decide the necessity to call a Special Ministry Conference for a specific purpose.

As directed by the Church leadership, the Moderator, or if not available the Vice Moderator, will announce from the pulpit and in the Church Bulletin one full week in advance, for the Special-Called Ministry Conference, unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, the date, and time and place. Any discussion or action shall be limited to items announced as the reason for the Special-Called Conference.

Section 5. Rules of Procedure

The principles outlined in God’s Word shall govern all decisions of this assembly. Meetings will be civil and courteous. Comments on topic are encouraged, respecting the rights and opinions of others. No one speaks unless recognized by the Moderator. No one will speak for more than three (3) minutes at any one time, without permission from those assembled. Reports should be submitted in advance to allow review prior to the vote to accept or act upon recommendations. Motions shall be stated as simply and precisely as possible, and are repeated as needed, to facilitate discussion and for the Clerk to accurately capture them. A consensus of those present is required for adoption of motions, except for the purchase or sale of real property or employment of the Senior Pastor which shall require a two-thirds majority affirmative vote of the quorum. Adopted October 8, 2017.

Section 6. Quorum

Active members present at a regularly-scheduled or properly announced Special-Called Ministry Conference shall constitute a quorum.

Article IV– General Church Officers

Section 1. Officers

The General Officers of the Church are the Church Clerk, Treasurer, Trustees and Moderator. All shall be active, full-time members of First Baptist Church of Show Low, Arizona. The names and term of service shall be recorded in the official records of the Church.

Be it understood that all officers of the Church or its organizations shall abstain from any practices detrimental to the cause of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior or the peace of the Church.

Section 2. Resignation/Termination of Church Officers/Leaders

A.  All officers shall notify the Church two weeks in advance when desiring to offer their resignation. This time may be decreased by mutual agreement between the officer and the Church.

B.  No officer elected by the Church shall be dismissed from office without first having a written notice served by the Deacon Body prior to a Special-Called Ministry Conference in which action is to be taken.

C.  Upon resignation or termination, all church keys, records, property, equipment/tools, credit cards, computers, telephones, office supplies, and furniture shall immediately be returned to the Church Office in good condition. [Added 7 August 2016]

Section 3. Job Descriptions

The Church Personnel Committee shall compile a job description, listing duties and responsibilities, for each job title of Church officers, committees and church employees. A copy of each job description will be kept in the personnel files.

Section 4. Church Clerk

A.  The Church shall annually elect a Clerk as its clerical officer. An Assistant Clerk shall also be elected annually.

B.  The Clerk or Assistant Clerk shall serve as a member of the Church Council.

C.  The Clerk/Assistant Clerk shall be responsible for keeping a record of all official actions of the Church, except as otherwise herein provided.

D.  The Clerk shall keep a register of the names of members with dates of admission, dismission or death, together with a record of baptisms.

E.  The Clerk shall issue letters of dismission voted by the Church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give all notices required by law.

F.  Take notes and keep minutes of all Church ministry conferences.

G.  Shall present the minutes of each ministry conference, and read said minutes if called upon to do so.

H.  Send for letters of recommendation from previous Church for candidates for membership desiring to join by transfer of letter.

I.  Bring before the Church ministry conference any requests for transfer of letter, sending letters of recommendation upon approval of the Church.

J.  Maintain current records on all Church members.

K.  Oversee the preparation of the annual Church profile each fall.

Section 5. Treasurer

A.  The Church shall annually elect a Church Treasurer as the financial officer of First Baptist Church of Show Low, Arizona.

B.  The Treasurer shall serve as a member of the Church Council and as Chair of the Finance Committee.

C.  The Treasurer and all check signatories shall be bonded in such amount as the Church shall designate.

D.  It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to present a monthly detailed report of the receipts, disbursements and other pertinent facts pertaining to the financial status of the Church to the Finance Committee.

E.  The Treasurer shall oversee safeguarding, counting, recording and depositing of all Church monies and the financial records of the Church.

F.  The Treasurer shall present an itemized report of all Church financial transactions that have occurred since the last regular ministry conference at the next regularly scheduled ministry conference.

G.  The Treasurer’s report and records shall be reviewed annually by an outside qualified accounting service, selected by the Finance Committee.

Section 6. Trustees

A.  The number of Trustees shall be three or more as determined by the Church and the laws of the State of Arizona. They must be active, full-time members of First Baptist Church of Show Low, Arizona.

B.  The Trustee Board shall elect their own President, who shall serve or appoint a representative to the Church Council, and a Secretary. The Trustees shall also designate one member to serve as Statutory Agent for the corporation. The names of the Trustees and Agent shall be reported annually in accordance with rules of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

C.  The Trustees represent the Church in all legal affairs of the Church and are responsible regarding purchase or improvement and disposal of Church property. However, the Trustees have no authority to act except upon express and specific authorization by the Church.

Section 7. Moderator

A.  The Church shall annually elect a Moderator and Vice Moderator.

B.  The Moderator will automatically serve as a member of the Church Council.

C.  The Moderator shall preside over the ministry conferences. In the absence of the Moderator, the Vice Moderator shall preside.

Article V – Pastoral Ministry

Section 1. Pastor

A.  The Pastor serves as the leader of Pastoral Ministries and all church organizations in accomplishing the Church’s mission by proclaiming the Gospel to believers and unbelievers and care for the Church’s members and other persons in the community.

B.  A Pastor shall be chosen and called by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a Special-Called Ministry Conference for that purpose.

C.  A Pastor Selection Committee, whose membership, duties and authority are outlined in the Policy and Procedure Manual of First Baptist Church of Show Low, shall be elected by the Church to seek out a Pastor and its recommendations will constitute a nomination. Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the active members present being necessary for a choice.

D.  The Pastor, upon consultation with the Deacon Body, may relinquish the office as Pastor. At that time, the Deacon Body shall be responsible for obtaining pulpit supply.

E.  The Church, under the direction of the Deacon Body, may declare the office of Pastor vacant. Such action shall take place at a Special-Called Ministry Conference for that purpose. The conference may be called by the recommendation of the Deacon Body after consultation with the Personnel Committee.

Section 2. Guidelines for the Deacon Ministry

A.  Purpose of Deacons

The Bible teaches that men are to serve as deacons in the local church. In accordance with the meaning of the word, and the teaching of the New Testament, Acts 6: 1-6, 1 Timothy 3: 8-13 the Deacon Body is to be servants to the Church and the community. Though the duties of deacons are not set forth systemically in the New Testament, the deacons are to be ready and willing and available to serve with the pastor and staff in performing pastoral ministries; proclaiming the Gospel to believers and unbelievers; providing care for Church members and other persons in the community; assisting the pastor and being an extension of his vision and ministry for the Church.

B.  Qualifications of a Deacon

1.  He must be a Christian, having been born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; John 3:1-8, Acts 6:3 must be an active, full-time member of First Baptist Church, Show Low, full of the Holy Spirit, having wisdom and faith.

2.  He must be a man who has proven that his life demonstrates (in character, words, actions and devotions) a commitment to follow God’s will for his life; Acts 6:3, 1 Timothy 3:8-10 (must be worthy of respect, sincere, and live a life of integrity).

3.  He must be a doctrinally sound Baptist who is mission-minded and cooperative with the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program; 1 Timothy 3:9 (must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience).

4.  He must support the whole program of this Church by his prayers, involvement and cooperation; 1 Timothy 3:10 (must be tested and have nothing against him).

5.  He must be a Scriptural tither and a good steward of all God has given him in support of First Baptist Church, Show Low; 1 Timothy 3:8 (must not pursue dishonest gain, but have the Biblical attitude about material possession.)

6.  He should refrain from the use of intoxicating drink as a beverage and the mis-use of prescription or illegal drugs; Romans 14:14-21, 1 Timothy 3:8 (should not be a stumbling block to others).

7.  He must be an example of a Christian husband in commitment and love to his wife and family; 1 Timothy 3:12 (must be a “one woman man” in his commitment to the sanctity of the marriage bond and be committed to nurture his family in the training and instruction of the Lord).

8.  He must have the support of his wife and family for this ministry; 1 Timothy 3:11-12; cf 3:4-5 (must manage his house well, being loved and respected by his wife and children as he serves as a deacon).

9.  He must participate fully in the Deacon Ministry; 1 Timothy 3:13 (the deacon must serve well).

C.  Duties

In accordance with the Word of God, and the practices of the New Testament Church, deacons are to be servants of the Church. They are to minister to the physical and Spiritual needs of Church members, but shall not be responsible for the daily operation and administration of Church business or programs. As an ordained man, the deacon is encouraged to maintain an active personal prayer and Spiritual enrichment time, while also supporting the ministry of the Church with his involvement. He should pray for the pastor, the Church staff, the Church families under his care and those who are lost and unchurched. Duties shall consist of three distinct areas of ministry:

1.   Caring for Families:

a.  Deacons shall seek to know the physical needs, and the moral and Spiritual struggles of Church members. This will be accomplished through a selected family plan allowing the deacons to maintain fellowship with, and minister to, each Church family.

b.  Provide Spiritual support, nurturing and encouragement to Church families.

c.  Give compassionate assistance in times of need, such as:

i.  Spiritual problems

ii.  Domestic difficulties

iii.  Crises situations as in illness, death, family problems and financial needs.

2.  Proclaiming the Gospel:

As Spiritual leaders of the church, and in partnership with the pastor and staff, deacons are to lead the Church in proclaiming the Gospel to its members and community by:

a.  Witnessing to unbelievers and build up believers through the Word whenever opportunities present themselves.

b.  Give special emphasis to the Spiritual growth of new Christians.

c.  Encourage Biblical stewardship of resources and talents of individuals and Church families.

d.  Encourage individual and family involvement in Church programs.

e.  Be the Spiritual leader in his family, and encourage family worship in the home and at the Church.

3.  Maintaining the fellowship:

a.  As servants of the Church who are zealous to guard the unity of the spirit within the Church in the bonds of peace, deacons shall assist the pastor in maintaining fellowship. They are to:

i.  Be regular in attendance at the monthly deacon meetings and should faithfully fulfill responsibilities which may be assigned to him in the course of his deacon ministry unless proven providentially hindered.

ii.  During his tenure of office, and within 6 months of taking office, should take at least one study on deacon ministry.

iii.  Encourage Biblical stewardship of resources and talents of individuals and Church families.

iv.  Provide assistance at altar call during the invitation.

v.  Assist in serving the Lord’s Supper.

vi.  Serve in matters of Church discipline in accordance with By-Laws, Article I, Section 5. In consultation with the pastor and by such methods as directed by the Holy Spirit in accordance with New Testament teachings found in Matthew 18: 15-17, 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13, and 1 Thessalonians 5: 12-14, the pastor and deacon body are to have oversight in matters of Church discipline.

b.  Maintain active participation in and support of the Church programs, including leadership positions.

D.  Number

The desired number of deacons needed for ministry and service should equal 10-15% of the resident Church families.

E.  Term of Service

1.  A man shall be elected to serve as an active deacon for three years. The rotation system will be used. This means that a deacon whose term has expired will rotate off the voting/assigned deacon body for one year (become inactive). He will not be eligible for re-election until one year has expired.

2.  An ordained deacon is a deacon for life; however, any deacon serves at the will of the Church.

3.  Any deacon coming to our Church from a sister Church may, after a period of 1 year as an active Church member, be considered for active deacon status upon examination and approval by the Church.

F.  Method of Nomination and Election:

The following guidelines/requirement should be considered by members submitting nominees:

1.  A man shall be considered for ordination or election to the deacon body whom has, by previous service, proven himself faithful to the Church’s mission and vision, while being a commendable example of a Christian gentleman in his home, at his business and with social contacts.

2.  Shall be at least 25 years of age, or demonstrated Spiritual maturity and approved by the Church body.

3.  Shall have been an active resident member of this Church for at least one (1) year.

4.  Should be a man of vision and progressive disposition concerning the affairs of the Kingdom of God and the Church, always faithful and eager to serve the church body.

5.  During the month of August, the Church members will nominate men for the office of deacon as they are led by the Holy Spirit.

6.  During the month of August, the deacon body will nominate men for the office of deacon as they are led by the Holy Spirit with consideration to the guidelines/requirements as set forth above.

7.  During the month of August, the pastoral staff will nominate men for the office of deacon as they are led by the Holy Spirit with consideration to the guidelines/requirements as set forth above.

8.  Names of the nominees must appear on two of the three groups of ballots to be considered for the office of deacon.

9.  No Church member may nominate on more than one ballot.

10.  The pastor/deacon body will screen all deacon nominees, including deacons that have rotated off, concerning qualifications and willingness to serve. They will present the list of qualified deacon nominees to the Church.

11.  The nominees will be presented to the Church for election. Each must receive a two-thirds majority vote of those participating in the election.

Article VI – Church Council

Section 1.

The primary function of the Council shall be to recommend to the congregation suggested objectives, and Church goals; to review and coordinate program plans recommended by Church officers, organizations, and other committees; to recommend to the congregation the use of leadership, calendar time and resources according to priorities.

Section 2.

The Council, unless otherwise determined by vote of the Church, shall have as regular members: the Pastor, Treasurer, Clerk, Moderator, Trustee Chairman and committee chairpersons. The Pastor shall serve as Chairman, with the Moderator as Vice Chairman.

Section 3.

The Council shall meet monthly, or upon call of the Pastor or Vice Chairman.

Section 4.

All matters agreed upon by the Council, calling for action not already provided for in the Constitution and By-Laws, shall be referred to the Church for approval or disapproval.

Section 5.

The Council may authorize expenditure of discretionary funds up to $2,500, with a report of said expenditure made to the Church at the next regular ministry conference.

Article VII – Committees

Section 1. Committees

The Administrative committees of this Church are the Finance, Nominating, Personnel, and Property and Equipment committees and such other administrative committees as the Church shall authorize by the amendment procedure prescribed within these By-Laws. A Church member shall only serve on one Administrative committee. Family members may not serve on the same Administrative committee.

The Ministry committees of this Church are the Baptism, Education, Kitchen/Hospitality, Missions, Multimedia, Ushers/Greeters and Worship Ministry committees. The Church may authorize additional ministry committees by the amendment procedure prescribed within these By-Laws.

At times it will be necessary to elect a special Ad Hoc committee to study a problem or a special need. The Pastor and Church Council will make recommendations to the Nominating Committee, to establish such a committee. The Nominating Committee’s recommendation shall be forwarded to the Church for approval. There may be as many Ad Hoc committees as necessary.

The tenure of such Ad Hoc committees shall be until the task or function assigned has been completed. Each committee shall elect a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary.

The Pastor, or his designee, shall be an ex officio non-voting member of all organizations and committees and his leadership shall be recognized in all of them.

Section 2. Committee Membership

All Church committee members shall be selected and recommended by the Church Nominating Committee, and elected by the Church unless otherwise specified within these By-Laws.

A.  A person considered for a position on an Administrative committee must be a full-time, active member of the Church, as defined in Article I, Section 2 of these By-Laws. Service on any Ministry committee is open to all church members. All candidates to serve on any committee shall first be approved by the Nominating Committee before they are approached for recruitment.

B.  The Nominating Committee shall present to the Church for election all who accept the invitation to serve.

C.  At-large committee members shall serve on a three-year rotation basis with one-third to be elected each year. After serving for three years, a person may not be re-elected to the same committee for at least one year. Upon reconstituting any committee, the newly-elected members shall draw lots to determine initial term of service – thus establishing the staggering of terms and providing continuity within the committee.

Section 3. Deacons

A Deacon may serve on each committee as an ex officio member. The Deacon will act as an advisor to the committee with no vote unless elected to the committee by the Church.

Section 4. Minutes

A.  Each committee shall elect a Secretary who will keep the minutes of each meeting.

B.  The minutes of each meeting shall be turned in to the Church Clerk no later than two (2) weeks after the meeting.

Section 5. Finance Committee

Principle Function: To plan and promote stewardship education in all areas of Church life and to lead the Church in budget planning, promotion, subscription, and administration.

A.  The currently-elected Treasurer shall automatically serve as the chairperson of the Finance Committee. The Deacon Chairman, or his designee, shall also serve as an ex officio member. Three at-large members shall be nominated and elected to serve, based on their spiritual gifts and demonstrated giving and support of the ministries of this Church. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.

B.  The Finance Committee shall coordinate the submission of ministry action budgets and prepare an annual ministry budget for adoption by the Church, and, once approved, administer that budget. The budget preparation shall begin by August 1st and the budget completed for presentation at the October Quarterly Ministry Conference.

C.  The Finance Committee shall annually recommend individuals to serve as Deposit Counters and Check Signers to the Church for approval.

D.  Provide leadership in stewardship of life and resources by:

1.  Contributing regularly by giving at least a tithe to the Lord’s work at First Baptist Church, Show Low.

2.  Being faithful in all Church and home responsibilities.

3.  Encouraging members to be good stewards of their life and resources.

E.  The Finance Committee should meet at least once each quarter and whenever the Chairman calls special meetings. Some weekly meetings will be held during budget development time.

F.   [NEW 26 July 2015] Before the Church can accept a contribution of cash or cash equivalent (such as property) for a designated purpose, a designated fund must be established and approved by the Finance Committee and the Church.

G.  [NEW 26 July 2015] Any member of the Church or Church committee may submit, in writing, a request to the Finance Committee to establish a designated account. The request must include:

1.  The purpose of the fund and how it furthers the mission of the Church;

2.  The procedure on how the fund will be spent;

3.  The procedure on how the fund can be closed; and

4.  That any possible future re-allocation of any designated funds, created after the adoption of this amendment, shall be to the Church’s General Fund.

H.  [NEW 26 July 2015] If the Finance Committee approves establishment of a designated account, the request is then presented to the Church at a regular or duly-called special Ministry Conference, where a majority vote of the quorum present is required for approval. If the Church fails to approve creating such a designated account, the Church cannot receive any funds so designated.

I.  [NEW 26 July 2015] The Finance Committee is responsible for oversight of any designated account expenditures to insure compliance with the wishes of those contributing to such accounts. A list of contributors and their contributions shall be maintained per Internal Revenue Service requirements.

J.  [NEW 26 July 2015] If the designated gift is a gift of property, not cash or cash-equivalent, then the Church reserves the right to use the property for the purposes of the Church. Every attempt will be made to honor the intention of the donor, however, the Finance Committee reserves the authority to seek the Church’s permission to use or dispose of the property to best foster the Church’s mission.

Section 6. Nominating Committee

Principle Function: To lead the Church in securing volunteer staff for all elected ministry positions filled by volunteers; to approve all volunteer workers before they are nominated to serve in Church-elected positions.

A.  The Nominating Committee shall consist of five (5) members, who shall serve rotating three-year terms. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect its own Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.

B.  As a need arises, the Nominating Committee shall examine the roster and spiritual gift profiles and personality profiles of active resident Church members, as defined in Article I, Section 2 of these By-Laws, to determine names to consider for all Church offices, organization and ministry leaders, and Bible study and Discipleship Training teachers.

C.  Survey the Church program to determine ministry needs in each area.

D.  In consultation with the current committee chairperson, prayerfully propose names of individuals who seem best suited for each position.

E.  Consult with all nominees for Church positions, supplying them with a copy of the appropriate committee duties and responsibilities. If the candidate accepts, names are presented to the Church for election.

F.  Meetings of the Nominating Committee will be called by the Chairperson whenever necessary.

Section 7. Personnel Committee

Principle Function: To assist the Church in administrative matters related to all employed personnel.

A.  The Personnel Committee shall consist of a representative of the Deacon Body, the Treasurer as an ex officio non-voting member, and three (3) at-large members, who shall serve rotating three-year terms. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect its own Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.

B.  Meetings will be called by the chairperson whenever necessary.

C.  Develop a job description, listing duties and responsibilities, for each job title of Church officers and Church employee. A copy of each job description will be kept in the personnel files.

D.  Develop and present to the Church for adoption, policies for paid Church staff. All personnel policies shall be published in a single manual.

E.  The Personnel Committee in conjunction with the Pastor, shall annually, preferably in August, evaluate performance of all paid staff and interview each Church staff member individually to determine their attitudes and needs in relationship to their position. New paid staff members are subject to a six-month probationary period, with performance reviews at three-month and six-month intervals

F.  The Personnel Committee, in conjunction with the Deacon Body, shall annually meet with the Pastor to review the Pastor’s performance for the just-ended year and discuss ministry goals and initiatives, and concerns for the coming year.

G.  Consult with the Finance Committee on policies and considerations regarding financial compensations.

H.  Recommend budgeting for salaries and benefits of all personnel to Finance Committee and review worker compensation, as there is a need.

I.  If necessary, serve as a Hearing Board for problems and needs concerning staff and their responsibilities or relationships.

Section 8. Property and Equipment Committee

[Amended 7 August 2016 to correct title of committee]

Principle Functions: To assist the Church in the area of all properties, vehicles, and buildings; to study and recommend the use of space and furnishings as they relate to all programs, ministries, and activities; to study the need and recommend acquiring property and creating space; and to administer work assigned to it.

A.  The Property and Equipment Committee shall consist of three (3) members, who shall serve rotating three-year terms. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect its own Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.

B.  The Committee shall survey the Church property and buildings to determine needs for maintenance and repair (including church-owned vehicles), but excluding areas specifically assigned to other committees within these By-Laws. A minimum of three (3) bids is preferred for all major repairs and a recommendation made at a regular or specially-called Ministry Conference, unless the repair is of an emergency nature, in which case, the Church shall be notified of the expense at the next regular Ministry Conference.

C.  Oversee the maintenance and repairs performed on Church property, buildings and vehicles.

D.  The Property and Equipment Committee should meet at least once each month and whenever the Chairperson calls a special meeting. The Chairperson should assign each committee member a supervisory responsibility for a part of the building or property (i.e., landscaping, building, vehicles, etc.) to assure that it is not neglected.

E.  The Property and Equipment Committee shall prepare a Ministry Action Plan annually, submitting the plan to the Finance Committee for inclusion in the annual operating budget.

Section 9. Baptism Committee

Principle Functions: To prepare the baptistery and to assist candidates following the Lord in baptism.

Membership shall consist of two men and two women nominated and elected by the Church.

A.  See that all necessary baptismal equipment and facilities are available and in order prior to each baptismal service. Check the baptistery for proper water filling and temperature. Any maintenance/safety issues should be reported in a timely manner to the chairperson of the Property and Equipment Committee.

B.  Meet the candidate(s) at the appointed time and show them to their dressing rooms, answer questions that may arise and see that each candidate has proper robe, towel, etc.

C.  Assist the candidate(s) into and out of the baptistery and to their dressing rooms. Seek to give each candidate as much privacy as possible.

D.  Arrange for baptismal garments, towels, and other supplies to be made ready for next service.

E.  If the committee determines a need for additional equipment or robes, a Ministry Action Plan should be submitted to the Finance Committee for inclusion in the annual budget.

Section 10. Education Committee

Principle Functions: To plan, organize and coordinate a cohesive educational program, consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message, to equip leaders and the membership to share the truths of the Holy Scriptures and grow in the admonition of the Lord.

A.  The Education Committee shall consist of the leaders of the various educational ministries authorized by the Church, including, but not limited to, Sunday morning Bible studies, Youth, Nursery and Extended Care, Children’s Church, mid-week DiscipleNight programs, Vacation Bible School or other outreach programs for children, culturally-based and other outreach programs. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect its own Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary. Elected officers may serve no more than three (3) years in that capacity, before rotating off committee leadership for a minimum of one year. The committee shall meet regularly, and present an annual Ministry Action Plan to the Finance Committee.

B.  The Education Committee Chairperson shall regularly communicate the educational goals and objectives to the Church during Quarterly Ministry Conferences, or at other times as deemed appropriate.

C.  The Education Committee will plan and coordinate the Church’s educational programs, appointing advisory sub-committees as needed. Staffing needs for these programs will be presented to the Nominating Committee, who shall review the roster of active church members, as defined in Article I, Section 2 of these By-Laws, to determine spiritually-gifted and qualified workers for these positions. The Nominating Committee’s recommendations will be submitted to the Church for approval.

D.  All leaders and teachers of educational programs shall be active church members, as defined in Article I, Section 2 of these By-Laws. Part-time Church members and non-members may serve as assistants under the supervision of an active Church member. All persons working with children in any capacity must first complete a background check, or submit evidence of such clearance from an approved law enforcement agency.

Section 11. Kitchen/Hospitality Committee

A.  The Kitchen/Hospitality Committee shall consist of five (5) members, who shall serve on rotating three-year terms. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect its own Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.

B.  The Kitchen/Hospitality Committee shall provide oversight of the Feeding the Hungry and Food Pantry ministries and any activity utilizing the Church’s Kitchen/Fellowship Hall.

C.  When notified of a need arising in the Church family (mother, father, husband, wife, or children of Church members or those who attend regularly but are not members), due to illness, death, or some other disability, the Kitchen/Hospitality Committee will:

1.  Contact the family to determine what type of aid is needed.

2.  Arrange for meals to be taken to the family if needed.

3.  Arrange for some household chores to be done for the family if needed.

4.  Provide other aid that is needed by the family if possible.

D.  See that the kitchen is stocked with necessary items, such as paper products, coffee, dish soap, etc.

E.  Check kitchen at least once a week to see that it is clean and in order. A committee representative shall be present during any inspections by regulatory agencies.

F.  Inform Janitor or member of the Property and Equipment Committee of any maintenance or repairs on the kitchen.

G.  Post check-out sheet for any kitchen equipment that is used outside the Church building.

H.  Arrange meals and housing (when asked by the Pastor) for out-of-town guests of the Church.

I.  Arrange for preparation of Wednesday night meals.

J.  Prepare for potlucks, banquets, funerals, and receptions when asked to do so by the Pastor.

K.  A committee member, or designee, shall act as supervisor when other groups use the facility.

L.  A Ministry Action Plan shall be submitted annually to the Finance Committee.

Section 12. Missions Committee

A.  The Missions Committee shall consist of five (5) members, who shall serve rotating three-year terms. The committee membership shall meet annually to elect its own Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and a Secretary.

B.  To survey and discover the need and feasibility for establishing missions, children’s missions programs, extension Bible studies, or other outreach efforts.

C.  To recommend to the Pastor and Church Council the establishment of specific mission endeavors.

D.  To annually evaluate the mission endeavors of the Church, encouraging and promoting giving to the Annie Armstrong, Lottie Moon, Arizona State Mission, Arizona Baptist Children’s Services, and other missions projects approved by the Church.

E.  The Missions Committee shall annually present a Ministry Action Plan to the Finance Committee.

Section 13. Multimedia Committee

A.  The Multimedia Committee shall consist of three (3) members, elected annually by the Church, who shall meet to elect their own Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary.

B.  The Committee, in coordination with the Pastor and Worship Leaders, shall arrange for Multimedia and Audio-Visual services for all regular worship services and special activities, such as funerals, weddings, associational meetings, banquets and Vacation Bible School.

C.  The Committee shall be responsible for arranging for the repair, installation and/or upgrade of computers, copiers, networking and audio-visual equipment.

D.  The Committee shall develop an equipment replacement plan, to be outlined in the annual Ministry Action Plan submitted to the Finance Committee.

Section 14. Ushers/Greeters Committee

A.  The Usher/Greeters Committee shall consist of three (3) members, who shall serve rotating three-year terms. The committee shall annually elect a Chairperson, who shall serve on the Church Council, a Vice Chairperson and Secretary.

B.  The committee shall endeavor to create a friendly, Spiritual atmosphere in seating people in an orderly manner.

C.  They should enlist greeters for Sunday services, both Bible study and worship, for each of the main entrances to distribute bulletins, visitor’s cards and materials and to tactfully handle disturbances without interruption of the service. Be prepared to handle emergency situations such as medical emergencies.

D.  Provide ushers for special services (revivals, weddings, funerals, etc.)

E.  The committee should conduct training for new ushers on a regular basis.

F.  Bring recommendations to Pastor, staff, or other committees that will create a friendly atmosphere in which members and visitors can worship and study.

G.  The Ushers/Greeters Committee shall annually submit a Ministry Action Plan to the Finance Committee for inclusion in the annual operating budget.

Section 15. Worship Ministry Committee

Principle Functions: To plan, organize and coordinate with the Pastor and Multimedia Chair the regular worship services and special activities, such as funerals, weddings, associational or ministry conferences and banquets, of the church.

A.  Upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, the church shall annually elect a Worship Leader, who shall chair the Worship Ministry Committee and serve on the Church Council.

B.  The Worship Leader shall recommend three (3) additional active church members to serve as the Worship Ministry Committee to the Nominating Committee, who shall review their qualifications and forward the names to the Church for approval.

C.  The Worship Ministry Committee will annually submit a Ministry Action Plan to the Finance Committee.

Article VIII– Use of Church Property

[Amended 26 July 2015]

Section 1. Primary Use

The Church property, facilities and equipment are dedicated for use in the core ministries of this Church.

Under no circumstances can church facilities be used for activities restricted in Article III of the Constitution or the Baptist Faith and Message, (Appendix A) adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, June 14, 2000.

Section 2. Use by Members

Only church members in good standing may request use of church facilities and/or equipment, submitting a signed Facilities/Equipment Use Agreement at least 10 business days prior to use.

Section 3. Third Party Use

A Church member in good standing may serve as a sponsor for a third party desiring to use church facilities and will be totally responsible for said usage to be in compliance with Church policies and procedures. A signed Facilities/Equipment Use Agreement must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to use. Said Agreement must clearly state the nature of the third-party use. Commercial third-party users must submit a $1 million liability insurance waiver, specifically naming First Baptist Church of Show Low as a co-insured party.

Article IX– Amendments

Section 1.

The Constitution and any accompanying By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present at a stated ministry conference, provided the amendment has been offered in writing at a previous regular ministry conference.

Section 2.

No changes or amendments shall be made the Preamble and Article I, II and VI of the Constitution.

Section 3.

Those present at a regularly scheduled or properly announced special Ministry Conference shall constitute a quorum.

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Appendix A

The Baptist Faith and Message

(Adopted June 14, 2000)

I. The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.

Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11,89,105,140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 2:16ff.; 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21.

2. God

There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, Spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

A. God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11ff.; 20:1ff.; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:3,15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9ff.; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1­8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:6; 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17; 1 John 5:7.

B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1ff.; Psalms 2:7ff.; 110:1ff.; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16,27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6,19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18,29; 10:30,38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16,28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20,28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5,20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6­21; 8:1-3,34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6; 15:1-8,24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15,24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7­9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16.

C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Saviour, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the Spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judges 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28­32; Matthew 1:18; 3:16; 4:1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1,18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 5:3; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-11,14-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17.

III. Man

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.

IV. Salvation

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and Spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life. D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8­22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14­26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

V. God's Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is the glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, and bring reproach on the cause of Christ and temporal judgments on themselves; yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; 1 Samuel 8:4-7,19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31ff.; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22,31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44­48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45,65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6,12,17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7,26-36; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2:10,19; Hebrews 11:39–12:2; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5,13; 2:4-10; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:19; 3:2.

VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1­30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

VII. Baptism and the Lord's Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to 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 the fruit of the vine, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Matthew 3:13-17; 26:26-30; 28:19-20; Mark 1:9-11; 14:22-26; Luke 3:21-22; 22:19-20; John 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 20:7; Romans 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:16,21; 11:23-29; Colossians 2:12.

VIII. The Lord's Day

The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should include exercises of worship and Spiritual devotion, both public and private. Activities on the Lord's Day should be commensurate with the Christian's conscience under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1ff.; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3,33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1,19-28; Acts 20:7; Romans 14:5-10; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10.

IX. The Kingdom

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22.

X. Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24:27,30,36,44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40,48; 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28,35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1ff.; 2 Thessalonians 1:7ff.; 2; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:7ff.; 1 John 2:28; 3:2; Jude 14; Revelation 1:18; 3:11; 20:1-22:13.

XI. Evangelism and Missions

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit by God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a Spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has commanded the preaching of the gospel to all nations. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37­43; 16:19; 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 24:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7­8,16; 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3; 11:39-12:2; 1 Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17.

XII. Education

Christianity is the faith of enlightenment and intelligence. In Jesus Christ abide all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. All sound learning is, therefore, a part of our Christian heritage. The new birth opens all human faculties and creates a thirst for knowledge. Moreover, the cause of education in the Kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian education is necessary to a complete Spiritual program for Christ's people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1,5,9,14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7ff.; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13ff.; 4:1-10; 8:1-7,11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24ff.; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3,8-9; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17.

XIII. Stewardship

God is the source of all blessings, temporal and Spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a Spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1­4,19-21; 19:21; 23:23; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21,42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

XIV. Cooperation

Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is Spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.

XV. The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.

Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21; Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9­10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12­17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8.

XVI. Peace and War

It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ they should do all in their power to put an end to war.

The true remedy for the war spirit is the gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love. Christian people throughout the world should pray for the reign of the Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 5:9,38-48; 6:33; 26:52; Luke 22:36,38; Romans 12:18-19; 13:1-7; 14:19; Hebrews 12:14; James 4:1-2.

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its Spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates Spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.

Genesis 1:27; 2:7; Matthew 6:6-7,24; 16:26; 22:21; John 8:36; Acts 4:19-20; Romans 6:1-2; 13:1-7; Galatians 5:1,13; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; James 4:12; 1 Peter 2:12-17; 3:11-17; 4:12-19.

XVIII. The Family

God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.

The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.

Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children Spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.

Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; 3:1-20; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 1:26-28; Psalms 51:5; 78:1-8; 127; 128; 139:13-16; Proverbs 1:8; 5:15-20; 6:20-22; 12:4; 13:24; 14:1; 17:6; 18:22; 22:6,15; 23:13-14; 24:3; 29:15,17; 31:10-31; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 9:9; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:31-32; 18:2-5; 19:3-9; Mark 10:6-12; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 5:8,14; 2 Timothy 1:3-5; Titus 2:3-5; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7.

Copyright © 2005, Southern Baptist Convention. All Rights Reserved.

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