Our By-Laws outline how we operate as a church. They explain how our membership works, how we handle finances and how our leadership is structured.
These By-Laws are intended to provide structure and order in the operation and ministry of Village Baptist Church (VBC). They can be changed at any regular Quarterly Members’ Meeting where notice on two consecutive Sundays has been given. The meeting must have a 25% quorum and a majority vote greater than 50%.
Article I: Membership
All members of this church shall be born-again believers who have been baptized by immersion, following, and because of their regeneration. All candidates for membership shall have read the Constitution, By-Laws, Covenant, Purpose and Vision Statements, position statements, and Doctrine of VBC and be in substantive agreement with their content. All prospective members must meet with at least one of the pastors and at least 50% of the deacons and have their recommendation. This recommendation can be brought to the church at any regular or special members’ meeting for consideration by the congregation. Those candidates who are rebellious to the clear teachings of the Scripture or are under unresolved biblical discipline, as determined by the pastors and deacons, by a former church will not be considered for membership.
Members may be admitted who are younger than 18 years of age. Such members will enjoy the responsibilities and privileges of membership with the exception of voting participation in members’ meetings.
Members can be removed from membership by:
a. Personal letter of request unless presently under church discipline as described in Article 1, Paragraph 3.
c. Discipline according to Matthew 18 as described in Article 1, Paragraph 3.
d. Letter of transfer to a like-minded church.
e. Nonattendance. Nonattendance is defined as a failure to attend for a period of six months. Members will be contacted by the pastor or deacons prior to church action.
4. In order to maintain its purity and peace, the local church has the Scriptural right and responsibility to discipline its members who consistently and willfully neglect the teachings of Scripture and are unwilling to repent. All discipline must accord with the pattern found in Matthew 18:15-20, and the spirit of Galatians 6:1 as outlined in our policy on church discipline. In the event that disciplinary action is required concerning a non-voting member (a minor), such action will be carried out in cooperation with the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the non-voting member.
Article II: Members' Meetings
VBC will conduct its business in an orderly, dignified and open manner. Rules of parliamentary procedure will be observed.
There will be four regularly scheduled members’ meetings each year. The first meeting for each year will be an annual meeting where reports will be presented concerning the various areas of the church's ministries for the past year, and plans for the upcoming year. There will be three quarterly meetings scheduled following the annual meeting. At the third quarterly meeting, the budget for the following year will be approved, and officers for the following year will be elected.
VBC will be bound by its approved Constitution and Bylaws during these meetings.
There must be a quorum of 25% of the voting members of the church to conduct any business, unless otherwise stated in these By-Laws or Constitution.
Special members’ meetings may be called at any time to conduct business. These meetings may be called by the lead pastor, a majority of the deacons, or 50% of the voting membership of the church requesting the same by written petition. Notice and purpose of the special meetings shall be publicly read at two consecutive Sunday services and the agenda shall be posted in writing in a public place during the week prior to the meeting. No business except that which is posted may be transacted during special members’ meetings.
All church meetings will be officiated by the lead pastor, a staff pastor if he is absent, or the Lead Deacon if no pastor is present. In the absence of pastors and the Lead Deacon, the deacons will elect one of their own to officiate.
Voting members will be at least 18 years of age and attend services regularly.
The clerk will keep minutes of all business transacted during the meeting. This report will be a written and public record read during the following regularly scheduled meeting. The clerk will also be the keeper of the church minutes, and will maintain an accurate record of church membership. The clerk will be appointed by the church leadership.
Article III: Ecclesiastical Associations
This church shall be free to associate with whom it pleases, but in obedience to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, this church shall not be involved in any cooperative ministry (to include mission organizations, para-church organizations and providers of teaching materials) that associates it with a group which would deny the fundamentals of the faith (e.g. Virgin Birth, Deity of Christ, Substitutionary Atonement, Sinfulness of Man, Inspiration of Scripture, etc.) as determined by the pastor and deacons.
Article IV: Finances
It is expected that the church shall assume its financial obligation by discharging any and all indebtedness on a scheduled payment plan. The church shall provide regularly and adequately for those whom God calls to minister here.
The ministries of the church will be financed by freewill offerings.
The deacons will appoint a financial secretary who shall keep a record of all giving, and this record will be available for each contributor at the beginning of each year.
The deacons will appoint a treasurer who shall perform those duties common to this office. The treasurer will present quarterly reports to the church concerning all receipts and expenses. All checks will have a double signature; the second signature will be a deacon. No pastors will sign checks. All bills that are budgeted expenses shall be paid by the treasurer. No individuals will sign checks personally benefiting them.
The deacons shall have full supervision of the finances of the church according to its desires. No indebtedness may be incurred at any time without congregational approval. The deacons are authorized to spend from the general funds no more than 20% of the average weekly budget by majority vote of the deacons. Non-Budgeted disbursements greater than 20% of the average weekly budget must have congregational approval (according to Article II, Paragraph 5) as well as a majority vote of the deacons. Designated funds may be spent up to the available fund balance by the deacons or any VBC committee if approved by a majority vote of the deacons, with the exception of the VBC Missionary Fund. Disbursement of VBC Missionary Funds will occur upon written request of the VBC Missionary Fund designee with approval of the deacons.
Article V: Church Leadership
God has entrusted the leadership and oversight of His church to "faithful men" who fulfill the character qualities presented in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1. These men are to fill two offices referred to in the Scripture as pastor (elder, bishop) and deacon. The church may have as many of each as its size and work demands. No pastor or deacon can be divorced or be a member of any organization that violates the Scripture. Each man elected to these two offices must live a life that is characterized by the character qualities listed in the Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9).
The duties of a pastor at Village are, according to the Scriptures: the giving of himself to prayer, the ministry of the Word, the administration of the ordinances, the pastoral oversight of the flock, and the administration and spiritual welfare of the church. The pastors will be responsible for the worship services and securing pulpit supplies. All staff pastors at Village will share in the general duties of pastoral ministries in the church. They will take full responsibilities for duties assigned to them and will report directly and regularly to the lead pastor. All other office, maintenance, and appointed personnel shall be under the Lead Pastor's supervision either directly, or indirectly through other pastors or deacons.
The pastors, in consultation with the deacons, shall be responsible for final determinations in hiring, dismissing and management of all personnel.
One of the pastors will serve as moderator of all members’ meetings, as chair of all deacon meetings and shall be an ex officio member of all organized groups and committees connected with the church.
When the pastorate becomes vacant or a new pastoral position is opened, the pastors and deacons shall organize a Pastoral Search Committee. Membership of this committee shall include pastors, deacons and congregational members. Congregational members must be members in good standing, well-respected by the church at-large, having demonstrated maturity in life and service. They will be recommended by the congregation by a process of nomination, and a select number approved by the pastors and deacons. This committee shall perform preliminary inquiry concerning the suitability of a new man for the pastorate. The pastors and deacons must approve any candidates presented to the church. The congregation will be kept apprised concerning this process and will be notified by mail when a candidate is being considered.
a. Suitable candidates shall first come as "pulpit supply."
b. They shall then, after appropriate inquiry, be invited to candidate.
c. The special meeting regarding the calling of the pastor will be announced with a written notice sent to each member's home.
d. An existing staff pastor may be recommended to the office of senior pastor by a majority vote of the deacon board without the need for a "Pastoral Search Committee" or steps (a) and (b) above.
e. The church then may extend a call to the candidate if the vote exceeds 75% with a 50% quorum of voting members.
6. Deacons shall be elected from the membership for terms not to exceed three years. Prospective deacons will be nominated by the congregation. The pastors, in conjunction with the deacons, will finalize a ballot to be considered at a quarterly members’ meeting. Nominations will not be accepted from the floor at this members’ meeting. The deacons shall meet at least monthly with the pastors and assist in the administration and care for the physical, benevolent and spiritual needs of the church and community. They shall elect one of their own as Lead Deacon who will provide oversight of deacon responsibilities and act in the pastors' place in the event all pastors are absent.
7. All other leadership positions necessary for the efficient operation of the church will be appointed from the membership by the pastors/deacons. These positions will be filled with individuals who have shown themselves to be mature and godly.
Article VI: Standing Policies
Policy statements are directives for ministry and operation of the church. They are developed by the pastors and deacons to provide structure to carry out ministry objectives. Policy statements are always concordant with existing Policy statements, these By-Laws, the Covenant and the Constitution. In the event of conflict, the Constitution followed by these By-Laws prevail. Policy statements deal with a wide range of issues and are available for public viewing upon request. Each policy statement will be reviewed by the pastors and deacons every three years.