Rules of Decorum

PREAMBLE

Inasmuch as we have covenanted together to meet and function as a Church of Jesus Christ, we desire to do all things a Church of Jesus Christ ought to do and we desire to do these things “decently, and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:40) We believe the safe and prudent thing is to have rules to help guide us to do what is right in the right way. (Proverbs 11:14) We trust these rules are based on scripture and show due reverence and godliness. We cannot create a rule for every issue knowing that, though it may be lawful to do so, not all things are expedient, nor do all things edify (1 Corinthians 10:23) but we have prayerfully labored to provide rules that we trust embraces the Spirit of Christ and the truth of scripture. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

We believe the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18) set-up His church with everything needed to sustain and maintain it. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 4:11-16) Our Lord provided all the guidance the church will ever need (Colossians 1:12-17; 2 Peter 1:3) being that He established the church (Matthew 16:18) and in the writings of His Apostles, to whom He especially revealed the glorious truths of His gospel (Ephesians 3:2-4), we have in God’s holy bible all that should be necessary to govern ourselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 3:16) We liberally borrowed from those rules used by other sound Primitive Baptist churches believing that “in the multitude of counsellers there is safety” and that, “in the multitude of counsellers they are established.” (Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 15:22)

We pray that we may always esteem the Holy Scriptures as our only rule of faith and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16) May we always keep in view the great Cause of our Blessed Redeemer.  (Ephesians 3:1-21; Colossians 1:25-29) May it please God to bless us to do all things with charity. (1 Corinthians 16:14; 1 Peter 4:8) May we use these rules as we originally intended: a helpful guide to conduct ourselves “decently, and in order.” Amen.

ARTICLES

Article 1     The conference shall be composed of the members of this church. (Acts 15:6)

Article 2    Conference shall be opened and closed with prayer to Almighty God. (1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17,18)

Article 3    The pastor shall normally preside as Moderator if present, and shall be addressed under the appellation of Brother Moderator, and to whom every speech shall be directed.  If the pastor is not present, one of the available ministers who are members of this church or, failing that, the oldest Deacon present shall act as Moderator to open the conference until the church chooses one.  The church retains authority to choose a moderator of her choice at any meeting.   (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Section 1     Any member desiring to speak must first address the moderator and obtain his approval to speak. The member may then speak as appropriate to the occasion.

Section 2    Motions and seconds shall be addressed to the moderator.

Article 4    It shall be the duty of the members to attend conference meetings. (Hebrews 10:22-25, James 5:19, 20)

Article 5    At each church meeting, the church shall publicly state that it is open to requests for membership and will receive new members as authorized by scripture. None shall be admitted but by unanimous consent.

Section 1     A member in good standing of a sister church of the same faith and order may be received by letter from the sister church.

Section 2    A member previously excluded from this church may be restored to church membership if the errant member has repented of the excludable offense and has made an acknowledgment agreeable to this church.

Section 3    A member from a sister church which has either dissolved or gone into disorder, whether this person was excluded or not from that church, after satisfying the church of their qualifications for membership, they may be received by statement.

Section 4    Any other person may be received for church membership by baptism upon profession of the person’s faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the church is satisfied that 1) suitable evidence is seen of the work of God in the person’s heart, and 2) the person’s beliefs are consistent with the principals stated in our own Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum.

Section 5     A presumption of innocence concerning the applicant’s life-style shall be given to all who ask to join this church. If however it is made known to the church that an applicant is involved in a way of life that is proscribed by scripture, then the church should defer reception of the applicant until such time as the church can adequately investigate the matter and determine if things can be righted such that the church may receive the applicant into its fellowship.

Section 6    We will not accept into membership anyone who belongs to any secret, oath-bound society or order of the day, and we believe it is disorder for members of the church to unite with such institutions. (Ephesians 5:12)

Article 6    No complaint of a private offense by one member against another shall be brought into conference until the aggrieved member has complied with the directions given by our Lord as recorded in Matthew 18:15-17.

Article 7    Every motion made and seconded shall come under the consideration of the conference unless withdrawn by the member who made it.  (1 Corinthians 14:40)

Article 8    Every query that is moved and seconded for consideration by the membership shall not be voted on until the moderator insures the membership clearly understands the query to be decided.

Section 1     All matters pertaining to fellowship must be by unanimous vote.

Section 2    All other matters, such as those pertaining to church government, shall be decided by a majority of voters then present.

Article 9    If the minority shall be grieved at any time by the determination of the majority, they are hereby directed to make make known immediately to the church their grievance; and if satisfaction cannot be obtained, it may be necessary to call for help from sister churches.

Article 10  Minutes of each conference session shall be recorded by the clerk or clerk pro tem. The minutes of each session shall be read in the hearing of the membership while still in session. If the membership, upon hearing the minutes read,  feel no corrections are needed, the minutes automatically become part of the official church record.

Section 1     Regular conference shall be at a time decided upon by the church and all business pertaining to the church, whether it be matters concerning the peace of the church, fellowship, or scriptural duties of the church shall be brought before and decided upon by the body composing the conference, with the exception of receiving members which may be done by the members attending at any service.

Section 2    If it is deemed for a given month that there is no business to discuss, the church may forgo conference. In such cases, the moderator shall instruct the clerk to make a notation in the official church record that a conference session was deemed by the church to be unnecessary for that month.

Section 3    If a need for a special or called (conference) meeting should arise, the church shall decide on the called meeting if time shall allow; otherwise, it shall be called by the agreement of the pastor, deacons, and the clerk, and all members shall be notified, and when assembled shall vote for or against the special meeting before going into any business.

Section 4    The clerk serves at the churches discretion or until unable to fulfill the obligations of clerk and when this becomes the case, the church will at its next most conveniently available conference time select someone else to be its clerk.

Section 5     When the clerk is unavailable to record the minutes of a conference session, the moderator shall appoint a member to act as clerk pro tem for that session.

Article 11   The church shall appoint an annual conference session to call for Pastor and regular preaching appointments.

Section 1     The Pastor shall be elected by majority vote, for a term which expires at the annual conference.

Section 2    Preaching appointments shall be selected by majority vote for a term which expires at the annual conference.

Article 12  The responsibility of the church treasury shall be left to the deacons of the church and they shall choose one of their members to see to the duties of the bookkeeping and to the reporting of the church’s finances during its conference sessions. All deacons of the church will be listed as signers with the church’s bank.

Article 13  Amendments to these rules may be made at any time when the church shall deem it necessary.

Article 14  Conduct of the members during conference shall be in a decent and orderly manner. Specific examples are given in the following sections:

Section 1     If two or more shall speak at one time, or any member speak without obtaining approval of the moderator, the same is disorder.

Section 2    Any member speaking more than three times to one subject without special approval, the same is disorder.

Section 3    Any member being grieved at anything done in conference and shall hold his or her peace, and shall not let the same be known until conference is dismissed, and shall afterward speak of the same, as it manifestly tends to confusion, it is hereby deemed disorder.

Section 4    Any member speaking or acting in wrath or anger, or in a threatening or degrading manner brings shame upon him- or herself, harms the peace of the church, wounds the Cause of Christ, and grieves all true believers in Christ. Such behavior is hereby deemed disorder.

Section 5     Any member refusing to attend conference, the same is disorder.

Section 6    Any member absenting him or herself from conference without leave, the same is disorder.

Section 7     Any member whispering or laughing in time of conference, the same is disorder.

Section 8    If the moderator shall neglect to reprove plainly and timely any member transgressing any of these rules, or if he behaves in any irreverent manner during the conference session, the same is disorder in him and he is liable to be reproved.

Section 9    All members in good standing have the right to speak in conference as per Article 3 Section 1. All who are permitted to speak are obliged to speak charitably and compassionately, and in lowliness of mind esteem their brothers and sisters in Christ better than themselves.

Article 16  Should it become necessary in the future to dissolve this church, the remaining members of this church who approve the dissolution shall select one or more Primitive Baptist churches in the State of Texas to which to donate all assets of this church, at which time they shall authorize the transfer of all those assets to those selected church or churches. Any selected church or churches must be qualified as a charitable organization under Section 501 (c) (3), Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s