Articles I & II – Name and Purpose
Cross Roads Baptist Church formerly called Maranatha Independent Baptist Church, incorporated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on November 17, 1986.
The purpose of the Cross Roads Baptist Church shall be to further the advancement of Christ’s Church through worship, Christian education and discipleship, evangelism and missionary outreach.
Article III – Doctrinal Statement
A. BASIC TENETS:
1. We believe the Scriptures of the Old (39 books) and New Testaments (27 books) are verbally inspired of God, inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life. (II Peter 1:16-21; II Timothy 3:16-17; Revelation 22:18-19)
2. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19; John 10:30; Acts 5:3-4)
3. We believe concerning the Incarnation of Christ, that He was begotten by the Holy Spirit, was born of the virgin Mary, and is true God and true man. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Galatians 4:4; Colossians 2:9)
4. We believe that Creation was completed in six literal days, and that man was created in the image of God, and that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also the spiritual death which is separation from God. We believe that all human beings are born with a sinful nature and are now sinners by birth and by choice, positively inclined to evil, and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin without defense or excuse. (Genesis 2:7; 3:1-24; Exodus 20:11; Romans 5:12-21; Psalm 58:3; I Corinthians 2:14; Romans 1:20)
5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified by God on the basis of Christ’s shed blood. (I Corinthians 15:1-4; II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:24; Romans 5:9; I Peter 1:18-19)
6. We believe in the bodily resurrection of our Lord, His bodily ascension into heaven and His bodily presence there for us as High Priest and Advocate. (I Corinthians 15:1-4; 15:20-25; Acts 1:9-11; Hebrews 7:25; I John 2:1-2)
7. We believe in the “blessed hope”, the personal, bodily, pre-tribulational, premillenial, and imminent return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13;I Thessalonians 4:16-18;John 14:1-3)
8. We believe that Satan is literal and personal, the agent of the fall, the prince and power of this world, and that he shall be judged and eternally punished. (Revelation 20:1-10; Ephesians 2:1-4)
9. We believe that all who through repentance and faith believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are born again of the Holy Spirit and are thereby children of God and are eternally saved. (John 3:3; Galatians 3:24-26; I John 5:13)
10. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead; (I Corinthians 15:12-58) both of the saved and unsaved. We believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell. The spirits of the saved immediately ascend upon physical death to Heaven to be with the Lord (John 14:2-3; II Corinthians 5:8), while their bodies await a physical resurrection (I Thessalonians 4:16). The spirits of the unsaved descend immediately into hades where they are kept under punishment until the final day of judgment (Luke 16:19-31; II Peter 2:9) at which time their bodies shall be raised from the grave, they shall be judged according to their works, and cast into the place of final and everlasting punishment. (Mark 9:43-48; I Thessalonians 4:16-18; Jude 13; Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8)
11. We believe that a New Testament Church is a body of baptized believers, assembled for worship, service, and the spread of the Gospel in all the world. (Acts 2; Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20)
12. We believe that immersion is the only form of baptism revealed and it is the believers identification with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. Baptism is commanded in the Scriptures, has no saving power, is only for those who are already saved; and that the new birth is the Scriptural prerequisite to baptism. (Acts 2:38-41; Romans 6:3-5).
13. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a memorial of the death of Christ and that only those who have been saved through faith in His atoning blood and are walking in obedient fellowship with Him ought to partake of it. We do not believe in closed communion. ( I Corinthians 11:23-32) This position being commonly known as “close” communion.
14. We believe that the Bible teaches that the offices of Pastor(s) and Deacons should be held by men only. (I Timothy 2:12; Acts 15)
15. We believe that all saved are called into a life of separation. This separation is in at least three areas: moral, personal, and ecclesiastical.
B. MORAL: The Biblical commandments are God’s perfect standard for a perfect man. We are commanded to perfect holiness (II Corinthians 7:1) in the fear of God. The believer is never to suffer as an evil doer (I Peter 4:15), but is commanded to be clean in body and mind. (II Corinthians 10:5).
C. PERSONAL: Each believer has the responsibility to practice before God a personal separation from the evil of this world. (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1) Romans 14 explains that there are going to be areas where believers are going to disagree in matters which they call sin. In matters of eating, holy days, etc., every man should be fully persuaded in his own mind. (Romans 14:5,6; I Corinthians 8:9, 10:23,31)
D. ECCLESIASTICAL: While recognizing the unity of all true believers, it is also evident that unbelief and error in many organized fellowships has developed to the point where recognized and indisputable apostasy exist. We, therefore, as a church body separate from all such compromise. (II Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:11-12; Luke 12:51; I Corinthians 14:33,40; 13:8-11)
Article IV – Membership
All candidates shall be received into membership on the basis of their profession of faith and scriptural baptism.
All candidates shall receive, read, and be supportive of the Constitution of the church before applying for membership.
Any one desiring to unite with this church shall appear before the membership committee of the deacons and the Pastor (or an Assistant Pastor). Candidates shall be interviewed privately by this group and upon their recommendation be presented to the church for membership. All candidates will then give a testimony of salvation to the church before being received into the church membership by church vote. No candidate can become a member that is a member of any secret society such as Communism, Masonry, Lodge, etc. (John 18:20) or who is a member of any group that teaches or practices civil disobedience. (Romans 13) No candidate can become a member if there is one (1) or more active members casting a justifiable dissenting votes.
Those that object must appear before the Pastor and deacons and the candidate to give their reasons. If reasons are found justifiable, the vote stands. If reasons are not valid , the Pastor and deacons can place the candidate into the membership, overruling the objectors.
A. ACTIVE MEMBER: One who attends regularly the meetings held in this church and who contributes and participates in the work of this church according to New Testament teachings. (I Corinthians 16:2, Hebrews 10:25)
B. UNFAITHFUL MEMBER: When members, without just cause or reason satisfactory to the deacons, shall fail to attend or manifest any interest in the church for a period of three months, they shall be placed on the unfaithful list. They shall lose their right to speak, vote or be included in the church voting quorum at any meeting of the church whatsoever, provided formal notice of this action has been tendered the member. The deacons shall make every effort to re-establish the member’s fellowship with the church and may restore an unfaithful member to active membership whenever such person shall indicate a desire to be reinstated by his regular attendance at church for three full months. After three months names remaining on the “unfaithful list” shall be officially notified and removed from the church roll. If a member has fallen into explicit moral or doctrinal error procedures under corrective discipline (Section 6, B) must be followed rather than these aforementioned procedures.
C. INACTIVE MEMBER: One who is permanently ill, disabled, in college, in military service, in full-time Christian service, or who has temporarily moved and faithfully supports the church. Also one who through no circumstances of his own cannot faithfully attend the house of God. Each case shall be judged by the deacons and approved by them. These members shall not be included in the church voting quorum.
Discipline is for the glory of God, the welfare and purity of the church, and the spiritual growth of the members. The discipline of the church shall be both formative and corrective.
A. FORMATIVE DISCIPLINE: The spiritual emphasis of the church shall be one of instruction, growth, unity and service. This positive influence will have that formative effect in producing godliness and orderly conduct within the membership of the church body. (I Corinthians 12:12-27, Ephesians 2:21-22; 4:12-13; II Peter 1:5-8).
B. CORRECTIVE DISCIPLINE: When a member falls into either moral or doctrinal error, or causes division within the church, corrective discipline must take place. (II Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; I Corinthians 5:1-13; Romans 16:17; Titus 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:1-6; Jude 4; Philippians 1:27). Following the pattern in Matthew 18:15-17, the offender must be confronted first on an individual basis. If there is no repentance, the offender must be confronted with one or two witnesses. If there is still no repentance offenses shall be presented unto the church. The church body being informed shall be engaged in a restorative process. If the offender still does not repent the matter shall be presented at a church business meeting for corrective discipline. A vote will be taken to dismiss the offender from the membership. Restorative efforts shall continue.
C. Any person dismissed, who gives satisfactory evidence of being penitent, shall be restored according to Article IV, Section 3.
Article V – Officers and Workers of the Church
SECTION 1. THE PASTOR
A. CALLING A PASTOR
1. When a vacancy occurs in the pastorate, the deacons shall elect a pulpit committee of five (5) to nine (9) godly men of the church. The committee shall be comprised of no less than two (2), nor more than four (4) deacons; and no less than two (2), nor more than five (5) members. The committee may also include up to (2) two assisting pastors. The chairman of the deacons shall be the chairman of this committee. No active member of the pulpit committee shall be considered for the vacancy.
2. The purpose of this committee shall be to seek, interview and examine a suitable pastor who is biblically qualified and espouses a methodology compatible with the needs of the church.
3. The committee should be united in spirit and in vote with no more than one (for a committee of 5 to 7 men) or two (for a committee of 8 to 9 men) dissensions or abstentions in presenting a candidate to the church body for consideration.
4. The candidate must preach a minimum of three messages to the church. He must meet with the church to explain and answer questions concerning his methodology, and his doctrinal beliefs.
5. The candidate’s wife shall also be questioned by the committee pertaining to her salvation testimony and support of our church constitution. She shall also give her salvation testimony to the church.
6. Voting is to be done immediately after the candidate preaches his final message and the questioning opportunity has been completed. A candidate must be approved by the church with at least a three-fourths (3/4ths) vote of the quorum.
7. Voting of one candidate must be done before another candidate can be considered and presented to the church.
8. A minimum salary shall be set by the church body before any candidates are considered. The final amount of his compensation shall be approved by the church at the time of the election of a pastor, depending on individual qualifications, experiences and needs.
9. The pulpit committee shall be responsible to notify the pastor-elect of the call, to report his response to the congregation, and to make the necessary arrangements for his relocation.
10. Upon the acceptance of the pastor-elect he and his wife shall be considered members of the church. Their children shall be voted into membership according to Article V, Section 3 of this constitution.
11. The deacons may elect an interim pastor to provide pulpit supply and assist in the leadership responsibilities of the church. He is to understand that this position is temporary. Any man accepting this position would be disqualified as a pastoral candidate for the vacancy unless his position as interim should be terminated for a period of at least three (3) months.
B. QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PASTOR
He shall be an ordained or licensed Baptist minister, subscribing without reservation to the doctrinal statement as found in
Article III of this Constitution. He shall be qualified in accord with I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9. He shall not have been divorced or married to one who has been divorced.
C. DUTIES OF THE PASTOR
1. He will endeavor as a faithful servant to live and hold forth the Word of God. (I Timothy 4:12, I Peter 5:3)
2. He shall fulfill his spiritual duties in the church as outlined in the New Testament. These duties include the following:
a. Leading and overseeing the church body in its spiritual direction (Acts 20:17-31, I Timothy 3:5; 1 Peter 5:1-3; Hebrews 13:7,17)
b. Preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God’s Word without reservation or apology (Acts 20:17,28; I Timothy 4:13; 5:17; II Timothy 4:1-4)
3. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees connected with the church or any of its organizations.
4. The Pastor shall approve and invite only those guest speakers who subscribe without reservation to the doctrinal statement. The Pastor shall respectfully confer with the deacons when inviting speakers.
5. The Pastor shall approve all speakers for all church organizations and functions.
6. The Pastor shall be the moderator of the Church in the conducting of business. (Acts 15; Acts 20:28) At the Pastor’s judgment, he may entrust this duty to a deacon for a particular item of business or meeting.
D. COMPENSATION OF THE PASTOR
1. Salary – The pastor shall receive a salary and housing allowance at least adequate for meeting the financial needs of his family; a sum determined by mutual agreement between pastor and church, and paid in accordance with a mutual arrangement.
2. The pastor shall be entitled to an annual vacation with full pay in accordance with the following schedule: One week after six months, one additional week per year to a maximum of four weeks.
3. Car expense, insurance policies, retirement, education and other expenses in connection with church associated activities shall be considered and reviewed each fiscal year and acted upon as the church so chooses.
E. TERMINATION OR DISMISSAL OF THE PASTOR
1. The Pastor shall be free to resign as he feels led of the Holy Spirit but out of Christian courtesy shall give thirty (30) days written notice to the church.
2. Whenever dismissal proceedings may be in order against a pastor on grounds of proven immorality, heresy in doctrine, apostasy, or failing to properly attend his duties as pastor of the church, his services shall be terminated by a three-fourths (3/4ths) vote of the active church membership present and voting. In the event the congregation votes the pastor’s services terminate abruptly, the salary involved shall continue for thirty (30) days, and he shall be entitled to any earned and unused vacation pay on a pro-rata basis.
3. A recommendation for temporary financial provision may be made by the deacons, subject to approval by three-fourths vote of the active members present.
SECTION 2. ASSISTING PASTORS
A. CALLING OF THE ASSISTING PASTORS
1. The assisting pastors shall be employed with the same procedures as the hiring of any church staff other than the pastor as outlined in Article VI, Section 6.
2. The membership of an Assistant Pastor and his wife shall be in accordance with article 6 Section 1 A; 5, and 10.
B. QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ASSISTING PASTORS
The qualifications of assisting pastors shall be the same as that of the pastor as noted in Article VI, Section 1, B.
C. DUTIES OF THE ASSISTING PASTORS
The assisting pastors shall be responsible to the church through the pastor. He shall be directly under the supervision of the pastor for all his duties.
D. COMPENSATION OF THE ASSISTING PASTORS
The compensation of the assisting pastors shall be determined by the same procedures as that of the pastor as noted in Article VI, Section 1, A, 8; and D, 1-3.
E. TERMINATION OR DISMISSAL OF THE ASSISTING PASTORS
1. The assisting pastors shall be free to resign as led of the Holy Spirit and out the Christian courtesy shall give thirty (30) days written notice to the pastor and church.
2. Since assisting pastors are answerable to the pastor, the pastor shall have authority to dismiss any of his assistants immediately for reasons sufficient to himself.
3. A recommendation for temporary financial provision may be made by the deacons, subject to approval by three-fourths vote of the active members present.
SECTION 3. DEACONS
1. The qualifications of all deacons shall be those set forth in I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-6.
2. These men must be active members for at least one (1) year, willing to follow the leadership of the Pastor, and to serve the assembly.
B. NUMBER AND TERM:
1. The number of deacons shall be determined by the church
according to its need.
2. The term of office shall be for two years, not to exceed two consecutive terms. No deacon shall be eligible for reelection until the expiration of twelve calendar months from the end of his second consecutive term.
C. DUTIES: THE DEACONS SHALL:
1. Assist the Pastor in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, in conducting the services and in the administering of the ordinances.
2. Visit the sick, distressed and unfaithful members of the church.
3. Approve with the Pastor the type and kind of public assemblies on the church property.
4. Review and update the church roll regularly and prior to the annual business meeting in cooperation with the church clerk.
5. Be responsible for the supply of speakers for the pulpit when the church is without a Pastor.
6. Hold in trust and have oversight of the property of the church. Keep the same in good repair. They shall have no power to alter or make any major changes in the church property without consent of the church.
7. Manage the financial concerns of the church, including provision for payment of all salaries, wages, and other obligations. They shall keep, through the treasurer, a faithful account of all monies received and disbursed. They shall cause accurate and detailed reports of all finances to be rendered to the church at the annual meeting and at other times as deemed necessary.
8. Bring any disbursements of more than five hundred ($500.00) dollars that is not budgeted before the church for approval.
9. Be further governed in their duties and responsibilities by the Church Charter of Incorporation. They are responsible to the church at all times and in all matters. They are the custodians of all legal documents of the church.
10. Shall not purchase, sell, mortgage, or encumber any real estate belonging to the church or use in any way money, real estate, or gift of any kind devised to the church, without authority in writing given by the church at a regular or special business meeting.
11. Shall be responsible for counting all church offerings. At least one (1) deacon and one other man shall count the offering.
1. The deacons shall meet as soon as possible after the annual business meeting for the election of its officers.
2. A quorum of the deacons for any deacon’s meeting shall be a majority.
1. Offices – Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary. Other offices can be created as deemed necessary. They shall function as the corporate officers of the church.
2. Committees within the deacons shall be created and dissolved as deemed necessary.
SECTION 4. CHURCH TREASURER
A. The treasurer shall be elected annually by the members of the church. He shall be able to succeed himself for a period not to exceed five (5) years. He shall receive and take charge of all monies and disburse same in accordance with orders of the church or of its deacons. He shall keep a full and faithful account of all monies received and paid out specifying the purposes for which they were received and expended. He shall make a report to the church, quarterly and annually, and to the deacons as often as he may be required to do so.
B. His books and accounts shall be examined by a public accountant annually.
SECTION 5. CLERK
1. The clerk shall be elected at the annual church meeting by the membership for a period of 1 year, and shall be able to succeed himself (herself) on an yearly basis.
2. The clerk shall keep a full and careful record of all church business. A complete register of the names, residences, baptisms, dismissals, etc. of the church members shall also be maintained.
SECTION 6. CHURCH STAFF
1. When the services of additional paid personnel are needed in the operation of the church, the church shall approve the necessary position(s) and finances.
2. The pastor shall be responsible for the engagement and dismissal of all paid employees of the church. All such personnel are responsible to the pastor in the performances of their duties.
SECTION 7. ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMITTEES
Organizations and committees may be enacted under the direction of the church leadership for the proper administration of the church the leadership of such must be active members and must be willing to follow the leadership of the Pastor.
SECTION 8. NOMINATIONS AND ELECTIONS
1. The Pastor and deacons shall function as the Nominating Committee. Suggested names from the church body shall be submitted to this committee for consideration. (Acts 6:3)
2. The committee’s purpose is to recommend to the church at least one or more candidate(s) for each vacant office.
3. Committee nominations shall be posted one month prior to the election at any business meeting.
4. A candidate must be elected by a 3/4th vote of the Quorum.
SECTION 9. PROVISIONARY CLAUSE
If there are no qualified individuals to handle any duties as specified in this constitution, the church will take provisionary measures until it is capable of fulfilling the constitution in every respect.
Article VI – Missions
The policy of this church is to proclaim the gospel and to support only mission endeavors engaged in evangelization and in establishing New Testament churches. They shall be in hearty agreement with our Confession of Faith, both in doctrine and practice. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Any group connected with the Ecumenical Movement shall not be supported by this church. They shall not be associated with any of the organizations listed in ARTICLE III, 15 C.
Any mission endeavors to receive support shall be approved by this church.
Article VII – Meetings
The church shall meet for prayer and public worship every Sunday, at least one other time during the week, and at such other times for spiritual purposes as recommended by the Pastor. (I Cor. 16: 1-2)
A. The Sunday School is a teaching arm of the church.
B. The officers and teachers must be active members, and must be willing to follow the leadership of the Pastor.
C. All music presented in the church must be approved by the Pastor. Only music that is glorifying to God in lyrics, music and style will be permitted.
The annual business meeting of the church shall be held on any day between January 1 and February 28 each year. At that time, the following shall give a written report of their activities of the previous year: Pastor, Deacons, Treasurer, Clerk and all other church organizations recommended by the Pastor.
Special business meetings (non-disciplinary) may be called by the Pastor, Deacons, or on a written request to the Church Clerk of not less than seven (7) unrelated active voting members in good standing. Notice and agenda shall be posted and announced two weeks before any meeting is held.
No non-member can serve in any regular capacity in this church.
SECTION 6: Quorum
When an Annual Business Meeting, or a Special Meeting, has been called according to Article VIII, Sections 3 and 4 (a two week notice is given by announcement from the pulpit and printed in the bulletin), or when any church vote is taken a quorum shall be at least one-quarter (1/4) of the voting members. No business can be conducted if a quorum is not present, and if at any time during a meeting, the number of voting members drops below one-quarter (1/4), the meeting is to be adjourned and another meeting called. All business to be discussed at any meeting must first have a motion and then a second in order to be discussed. All business is then passed by a majority vote, except where otherwise indicated in the Constitution. No member shall be eligible to vote until he or she attains eighteen years of age. The moderator shall decide the number of times each individual can speak, but no one can speak twice unless each one who wants to speak has spoken once. All votes shall be announced to the meeting and recorded in the minutes. All matters of disagreement over motions, seconds, procedures, length of discussion, etc. (if it is doctrinal or constitutional) shall be decided by a majority vote of the church.
SECTION 7: Order of Meetings
In the conducting of business, each vote shall be determined by those present and voting.
Article VIII – Ordinances
The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed by the church (Article III, 11) as a memorial of the broken body and shed blood of our Lord. This ordinance shall be observed regularly throughout the year.
The Ordinance of Baptism shall be administered upon request, according to Article III-12.
Article IX – Licensing and Ordination
SECTION 1. LICENSING
When Spirit-filled men are called to the ministry, such men may be given a commission to preach and to administer the ordinances. A license may be issued by a three-fourths (3/4ths) vote of the active members present and voting, based upon the candidates Scriptural qualifications, suitable gifts, necessary training, and the blessing of God upon his life.
SECTION 2. ORDINATION
When the church decides that one of its men possesses the Scriptural qualifications and divine call to the gospel ministry it shall call an ordination council of ministers and brethren from churches of like faith and practice to examine the qualifications of the candidate and to recommend him to the church. After due consideration of the council’s recommendation, the church shall decide to ordain the candidate by three-fourths (3/4ths) vote of the active members present and voting. (Acts 14:23; I Tim 5:17-22; Titus 1:5-9)
SECTION 3. WOMEN CANDIDATES
We believe that the Scriptures teach that women should not be ordained to the ministry; therefore, the church shall not sponsor such applications. (I Timothy 2:12)
Article X – Finances
The entire program of this church shall be sponsored by the tithes and offerings of the members of the Cross Roads Baptist Church and those who are led by the Holy Spirit to contribute to its support. At no time may this church be permitted to use any unscriptural method for raising funds.
The fiscal year shall be the calendar year, beginning January 1 and ending December 31.
The church budget shall be a unified budget. Various funds within the budget may be established and dissolved as necessary for the administration of the church.
Article XI – Ammendments
This constitution may be altered or amended at any legally called meeting of the church by a three-fourths (3/4ths) vote of the active members present and voting. Notice of such alterations or amendments must be posted at least one month before action is taken.
The following articles can be changed only by one hundred (100) percent vote in a special or regular business meeting.
Article III Doctrinal Statement
Article IV Section 1 Membership received by profession of faith
Article V Section 1-B Qualifications of the Pastor
Article VI Section 2 Support of a missionary
Article IX Section 3 Women Candidates
Article XII – Dissolution
In the event of dissolution of this church as a nonprofit organization, the assets of the organization shall be given and paid over to a nonprofit organization of like faith and order as outlined in the Articles of Faith of this constitution which would satisfy the remaining membership and qualify under the provisions of Section 505 (c) (3) of the 1996 Internal Revenue Code and it’s regulations. None of its assets shall be divided among its members, individuals, or any groups not holding tax exemption.