We, the members of Maple City Baptist Church of Chatham, having entered into Covenant together as a local assembly, adopt this Constitution as a declaration of our Doctrinal Statements and as a guideline for our conduct in governing the affairs of our church. We mutually agree and submit to these articles and principles in order that we may be able to carry on the work of our church in a decent and orderly manner.
Article I – Name
The name of this church shall be Maple City Baptist Church of Chatham, Ontario.
Article II – Purpose
The purpose of Maple City Baptist Church is to glorify God by carrying out the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved the church and gave Himself for it, and now has made it His body here on earth (Ephesians 5:25; I Corinthians 12:13). We shall do this by:
1. Proclamation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ expressed in the shed blood and finished work of Christ on the cross (Matthew 28:19-20; Romans 1:16; I Corinthians 15:1-4).
2. Promotion of godly worship, conducting services on a regular basis, and serving as a church home for those of like faith (Hebrews 10:25).
3. Edification of the saints of God by the faithful preaching and teaching of the whole counsel of the Word of God (Acts 20:26-27; Ephesians 4:11-16).
4. Administration of the church ordinances of baptism (union) and the Lord’s Supper (communion) (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41; 10:48; Matthew 26:26-30; Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 11:23-26).
5. Application of biblical discipline (Matthew 18:15-20; I Corinthians 5:1-13; 6:1-8).
6. Incorporation of all other possible God-honouring means in propagating our Christian faith such as: personal witness, evangelistic campaigns, fervent missionary efforts and programs, Christian education, printed page, establishing other churches of like faith, and by maintaining a good testimony for Christ in our own community through godliness and good works (I Corinthians 9:19-23).
Article III – Autonomy
Maple City Baptist Church shall be an independent, fundamental, autonomous church, subject only to Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church. It has the right to cooperate and associate with other fundamental groups on a voluntary basis.
Article IV – Membership
A list of church members is available in the church offices.
The membership of Maple City Baptist Church shall be constituted of persons who, having professed faith in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, give evidence of regeneration and of conduct worthy of their profession, whose convictions are in harmony with the faith and practice of this church as set forth in the Covenant, Doctrinal Statement, and Constitution, and who have been examined and recommended by the Pastor and/or elders to be received into membership upon majority vote of the church.
Membership is open only to those who have been baptized scripturally by immersion. All those baptized in Maple City Baptist Church are thereby constituted members of the church. Baptism will not be extended to those refusing membership in the assembly, since both are matters of Christian obedience.
It shall be required by those seeking membership, by transfer and/or baptism, to give a personal testimony before the church and/or Elders as to their Christian experience of salvation.
All candidates for membership shall receive, read, and subscribe to the Covenant, Doctrinal Statement, and Constitution of this church.
Section 4: Definition of Membership
Active Member: A member who regularly attends the meetings of this church and who contributes to and participates in the work of this church according to the New Testament.
Voting Member: Any active member who is over eighteen (18) years of age is eligible to be a voting member.
Inactive Member: When members, without just cause or reason satisfactory to the church, shall fail to attend or manifest any interest in the church for a period of time (3 months), they shall be placed on the inactive list by the church and lose their right to speak or vote at any meeting of the church. The pastor and people of the church shall make every effort to reestablish the member’s fellowship with the church, and may restore an inactive member to active membership whenever such persons shall indicate a desire to be reinstated by their regular attendance at, and commitment to, the church for three (3) full months. Names remaining on the inactive list for one (1) year shall automatically be removed from the church membership roll.
Section 5: Discipline
Discipline has as its aims the glory of God, the purity of the church, and the spiritual growth of the offender.
With these aims in view, it shall be the duty of the Pastors, Elders, and people of Maple City Baptist Church to seek diligently to reclaim any member known to be living in disregard of his Biblical and Covenant obligations. It is recognized that while every member has the right of private opinion in all matters, no member shall have the right to engage in secret or open propaganda, or of deliberately disturbing the peace and interrupting the work of the church (Ephesians 4:1-3; 1 Corinthians 3:10-17; Titus 3:10).
Members of this church who are walking disorderly and in conflict with the above principles, or who are involved in any known immorality, dishonesty, public scandal, or doctrinal heresy shall be subject to dismissal after recommendation by the Elders and by a majority vote of the members of the church according to Matthew 18:15-18 and I Corinthians 5:1-13. Any person so dismissed who gives satisfactory evidence of being repentant shall be fully restored to the fellowship of the assembly after recommendation by the Elders and by majority vote of the members of the church (2 Corinthians 2:4-11; 7:8-12).
Section 6: Duties
The members shall abide by the Covenant and the Constitution and shall subscribe to the Doctrinal Statements. The documents of the Covenant and Doctrinal Statements are attached to this Constitution.
It is further recognized that when the church, by regular order and proper vote, has determined upon a course of action, that course becomes the duty of every member of the church. If any member cannot conscientiously follow the decision of the church, he should quietly and peacefully withdraw from the membership.
Article V – Leadership
Section 1: Officers
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of this church.
2. There shall be a Senior Pastor and he shall be the Chief Elder.
3. Lay Elders and Deacons will be elected from among the active members.
4. The church shall be Elder led and congregationally ruled.
Section 2: Qualifications
1. The officers shall be chosen with the personal endowments as listed in Romans 12:1-8; I Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:1-16; and I Peter 4:10-11.
2. The officers shall be chosen in full compliance with the moral and spiritual standards listed in Acts 6:1-6; I Timothy 3:1-13; and Titus 1:5-9.
3. All officers shall strive to be separated from practices which discredit our Christian testimony and cause others to stumble (Romans 14:21; I Corinthians 8).
Section 3: Responsibilities
1. The responsibilities of those in leadership will be commensurate with their titles and according to the teaching of the Word of God.
2. The Senior Pastor (Elder) shall:
a) Preach and teach the whole Word of God.
b) Have general oversight of the church.
c) Fulfill the duties relating to such oversight.
d) Be the executive head of the church and the corporation.
e) Supervise all other staff members of the church.
f) Present all recommendations and motions from the elders, except where matters concerning him are under consideration, or at his request.
3. The Elders shall:
a) Be mutually accountable.
b) Meet twice per monthly.
c) Act in an advisory capacity concerning all matters of church business and in the employing and dismissing of other positions of leadership.
d) Oversee the process of nominating additional Elders and Deacons as made by the members of the church.
e) Present to the congregation qualified nominees for the positions of Pastor(s), Elder(s), and Deacon(s).
f) Appoint all other positions in the church.
g) Retain and terminate paid staff that may be required from time to time.
h) Examine and recommend individuals for baptism or membership.
i) Oversee the process of church discipline with the hope of restoration.
j) Authorize the preparation of distribution of the elements of the Lord’s Supper.
k) Prepare the annual budget to present to the congregation.
l) Moderate all congregational meetings.
4. The Deacons shall:
a) Care for the physical needs of the church (Acts 6:1-6).
b) Act in harmony and subject to the direction of the elders.
Section 4: Appointments
1. When a vacancy occurs in the position of the Senior Pastor, this procedure shall be followed:
a) The remaining Elders shall serve as a Nominating Committee and seek a suitable Senior Pastor.
b) The Elders shall present a suitable candidate to the congregation when they deem wise. The business meeting called for this purpose shall be convened after public notice has been given from the pulpit for at least two (2) Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting.
c) Any candidate recommended to the church for the position of Senior Pastor must be accepted by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the active members who are present and eligible to vote.
d) The voting shall be conducted by secret ballot.
e) This process shall be repeated until a Senior Pastor is appointed.
2. If an Assistant Pastor is required, he shall be recommended by the Elders and approved in the same manner as the Senior Pastor.
3. Elders and Deacons shall be nominated by the church membership. Nominated candidates will be reviewed by the existing Elders to determine if they are qualified. If a nominated person is qualified, he will be presented to the church for a vote. Elders must receive the approval of the congregation by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the active members who are present and eligible to vote.
4. There shall be no permanent committees or other offices. The Elders may appoint temporary positions to provide service or advice as the need arises and the Holy Spirit directs. Temporary positions will make recommendation to the Elders.
Section 5: Termination
1. An Elder or Deacon may resign at any time.
2. A Pastor, Elder, or Deacon may be recommended for removal by a majority of the elders and terminated by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the active members who are present and eligible to vote at a meeting called for that purpose.
3. At his request, or in the case of a temporary incapacity or illness, a Pastor, Elder, or Deacon may be relieved of his responsibilities for a period of time without forfeiting his office permanently.
Article VI - Government
The government of Maple City Baptist Church shall be congregationally ruled and elder led. The business of the church shall be transacted by the congregation in its annual business meetings as defined in Article VIII, Section 2 of this Constitution. All interim business shall be transacted by the Elders, except in such cases as should require special sessions of the congregation. The action of the Elders shall always be subject to the congregation.
Article VII – Finances
The entire program of this church shall be supported by tithes and offerings of the members of Maple City Baptist Church and those who are led by the Holy Spirit to contribute to its support. This organization shall be carried on without purpose of gain for its members, and any profit or accretion to the organization shall be used in promoting its purposes.
A budget shall be generated by the Elders and Deacons and approved by vote at the annual business meeting. Financial decisions made are expected to follow the guidelines laid out in the church’s budget. Any changes to the budget exceeding $10 000 must be presented to the congregation for a vote.
Article VIII – Meetings
Section 1: Worship
1. Meeting for spiritual worship shall be maintained on the Lord’s Day at least once a week.
2. Other meetings for prayer and teaching as directed by the Senior Pastor and Elders.
3. Special meetings such as missionary conferences, Bible conferences, revival meetings, etc. may be arranged as the Pastor may determine.
Section 2: Business
1. The annual business meeting of the church shall be held during the last week of February each year.
2. The fiscal year shall be the calendar year, beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
3. Special business meetings may be called at any time, providing public notice be given of the same on the Lord’s Day preceding except that those calling or dismissing a Pastor, or other officer, shall be given public announcement for two preceding Sundays.
4. At any regular service of the church, new members may be brought into the membership.
Section 3: Quorum
A quorum for all regular and special meetings of this church consists of 50% of the active membership. Any active member who is away at school, or work, or who is permanently confined because of illness, or in military service, or any member below voting age, shall not be counted in the total membership to constitute the quorum.
Section 4: Voting
1. A majority vote shall decide all matters, except those stated otherwise in this Constitution.
2. All votes shall be done by secret ballot except when voting on new members.
3. At the request of any three active members, the vote shall be by secret ballot.
4. A voice, rising, or show-of-hands vote is binding, except where otherwise provided for in this Constitution.
Section 5: Order of Business
1. An Elder shall act as moderator in all meetings for the transaction of business.
2. It shall be the duty of the moderator to keep order.
3. The moderator shall cause the meeting to be opened and closed with prayer.
4. The order of business for the annual meeting shall be as follows:
a) Read and pass the minutes of the previous meeting.
b) Consideration of any financial report.
c) Consideration of recommendations and motions from the elders presented by the Senior Pastor, except where the Senior Pastor is absent or a conflict exists.
d) New business.
Article IX - Organizations
Maple City Baptist Church shall have the authority to develop other programs as the church growth shall demand to reach others for Christ. All such organizations shall be in harmony with Biblical principles and subject to the general supervision of the church and its Constitution and Doctrinal Statement. All such organizations shall be approved and accepted by the congregation after the Senior Pastor and Elders have first recommended such organizations.
Article X – Missions
It shall be the policy of this church to support only missionaries engaged principally in evangelization or establishment of fundamental churches (schools, hospitals, and similar ministries must be kept subordinate to the primary objectives). They shall be known to be in hearty agreement with our Doctrinal Statement, both in faith and practice. This church will not support any missionary or mission board that is a member of the World Council of Churches, is involved in the charismatic movement, ecumenical evangelism, or is in sympathy with new evangelicalism.
Article XI – Ordination
Since it is our hope that men will be called out from among us to preach the Gospel of the grace of God, such men may be ordained by this church who meet the scriptural qualifications, possess suitable gifts, have the necessary training and the blessing of God upon their public ministry. The church shall call a council of ministers and brethren to examine the qualifications of the candidate and recommend him to the church. After due consideration of the council’s recommendation, the church shall decide upon the ordination of the candidate by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the active members present and voting.
Article XII – Property and Corporation
1. The property of Maple City Baptist Church shall forever remain in the control of its members.
2. The property of Maple City Baptist Church of Chatham shall be transferred to and kept in a corporation. Bylaw 1 of such corporation shall be this Constitution, the Covenant and the Doctrinal Statements.
3. The Senior Pastor shall be the President of the corporation. For corporate purposes, the unpaid Elders and Deacons shall serve as directors of the corporation.
4. Significant matters concerning the property shall be undertaken following a majority vote of the active members who are present and eligible to vote at a duly called business meeting.
If, for any reason, a division should occur, those members, even if in the minority, who shall abide by the Covenant, Doctrinal Statement, and Constitution as herein set forth, and shall remain as members of this church, shall always have possession and control over all church property.
In the event a decision is made to dissolve this corporation, all of its tangible assets and holdings shall be distributed to one or more non-profit organizations in Canada which would be in full agreement with this Covenant, Doctrinal Statement, and Constitution. All decisions in this event would be made by majority vote of the remaining members of the church.
Article XIII – Amendments
No changes shall be made to the Doctrinal Statement or Covenant without a 90% approval vote of the active members present and voting at the annual business meeting, providing notice of such changes shall have been given in writing four (4) weeks prior to and public announcement two (2)Sundays prior to the annual business meeting.
This Constitution may be amended at any business meeting by a three-quarters (3/4) majority vote of the active members present and voting, providing notice of the proposed amendment shall have been given in writing four (4) weeks prior to and public announcement two (2) Sundays prior to the regular meeting.