Fairlawn Baptist Church & FLC

501 20th Street - Dunbar, West Virginia

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Church Covenant, Constitution-Bylaws, Rules of Order

Date: Sunday, March 08, 1964
Time: -

 Church Covenant

Having been led, as we believe by the spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into 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; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and the use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay.

We moreover engage that when we remove 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 1. Name

This body shall be known as the Fairlawn Baptist Church of Dunbar, Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Article II. Purpose

The purpose of this body shall be to provide regular opportunities for public worship, to sustain the ordinances, doctrines, and ethics set forth in the New Testament for the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ; to nurture its members through a program of Christian Education to channel its offerings to the support of the objects of the Redeemer’s Kingdom, and to preach and propagate among all people the gospel of the Revelation of God through Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.

Article III. Membership

Section 1. The membership of this church shall be composed of persons who have given evidence of regeneration, who have been baptized by immersion under the principles of this church, who subscribe to the covenant and constitution of this church, and who have been received by vote of the church.

Section 2. A member of another Baptist church of like faith and order may be received by vote of the church upon a letter of dismission from that church.

Section 3. Letter of dismission may be granted to any church of like faith and order for members in good standing. When letters are granted, membership in this church will terminate.

Section 4. When a member of this church joins a church of different faith and order, membership in this church will terminate.

Section 5. In considering the duties involved, members are expected, first of all, to be faithful in all the duties essential to the Christian life; to attend regularly the services of the church; to give regularly and systematically to its support and kingdom causes; and to share in its organized work.

Section 6. In considering the rights involved, members and members only, may act and vote in the transactions of the church after the age of 16 years of age.

Article IV. Meetings

Section 1. This church shall hold regular meetings for worship, teaching, training, and fellowship. (See Bylaws)

Section 2. This church shall hold regular business meetings at which time the material and spiritual conditions of the church will be discussed and plans projected for the progress in Kingdom endeavors.

Section 3. Other meetings of the church as a whole or of authorized groups within the church shall be set according to the needs of the congregation.

Article V. Church Officers

Section 1. Officers: The officers of this church shall be a pastor, and other vocational leaders as needed, deacons, trustees, clerk, treasurer, and such other officers as shall be required for the work of the church in any of its departments or organizations. All of these shall be elected by the church and shall be members in good standing. As a condition of acceptance of an office or a specific continuing duty, a 30-day notice will be required in order to resign to provide for a proper transition of duties.

Section 2. Election and duties.

A. Pastor:

Whenever a vacancy occurs, a pastor shall be called by the church to serve until the relationship is dissolved at the request of either the pastor or the church. In either case, at least 30 days notice shall be given of termination of the relationship, unless otherwise mutually agreed, with both pastor and the church seeking to follow the will of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Exception to be made only by majority vote of those present after one week’s notice.

The call of the pastor shall take place at a meeting especially set for that purpose of which at least one week’s notice has been given the membership. The election shall be upon the recommendation of a special committee appointed to seek out and nominate as pastor a minister of the Gospel whose Christian character and qualifications fit him for the office of pastor of this church. The committee shall bring only one name at a time for consideration of the church, and no nomination shall be made except that of the committee. Election shall be by written ballot with an affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of those present and voting necessary for a call. Should the one recommended by the committee fail to receive a three-fourths (3/4) vote, the committee will be instructed to seek out another minister, and the meeting shall be adjourned without debate.

The pastor shall have in charge the welfare and oversight of the church; he shall be ex-officio member of all organizations, departments, and committees; he may call a special meeting of the deacons or any committee according to procedures which may be set forth in the Bylaws; he shall conduct religious services on stated and special occasions, administer the ordinances, minister to members of the church and community, and perform other duties that usually pertain to that office; he shall have special charge of the pulpit ministry of the church and shall, in cooperation with the Pulpit Committee or the deacons, provide for pulpit supply when he is absent and arrange for workers to assist in revival meetings and other special services. The pastor shall preside at all meetings of the church except as otherwise provided by the Bylaws. He shall be the administrative head of the church and shall arrange and approve all absences and vacations of all church employees.

B. Deacons:

Deacons shall be nominated and elected by ballot at the regular business session, due notice having been made previously. The number of deacons shall be increased as the growth of the church may require. The number of additional deacons shall be determined according to the membership of the Fairlawn Baptist Church at the beginning of each Associational Year. The deacons shall be elected from among those members who have proven themselves to have scriptural qualifications. Deacons shall be elected for a term of three years with one-third (1/3) of the number being elected each year. After the completion of a full three-year term, no deacon shall be eligible for re-election until after a lapse of one year. The deacons shall elect annually their own chairman. Deacons shall at all times consider themselves as servants of the church.

With the pastor, and as the Holy Spirit may direct, they are to consider and make recommendations to the church in all matters pertaining to its work and progress; including oversight of the discipline of the church; establish and maintain spiritual fraternal relations with all members of the church; assisting the pastor in the observance of the ordinances, having general oversight over the upkeep, repair and use of the church property; and supervising the financial program of the church. They shall arrange for regular meetings and such committees as are necessary to the discharge of their duties. The pastor or any of the deacons may call the deacons into special session whenever need for such arises. Chairman of the Deacon Body is to be elected by the deacons by secret ballot.

C. Trustees:

Item 1. The church shall have three trustees, and they shall serve indefinitely as long as they are active members of this church.

Item 2. As vacancies occur new trustees shall be elected for a term of three years. Having served on a previous term will not disqualify him for re-election.

Item 3. The trustees shall, as provided by law and the action of the church, hold in trust the title to all property of the church and shall represent the church in all matters of legal responsibility regarding the purchase, improvement, and disposal of church property. They shall execute legal papers relating to the church and to the community as the church may direct. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property of the church without a specific vote of the church authorizing such action; neither shall they have any control over the use of the church property except by vote of the church.

D. Corporation Officers:

Corporation officers shall be Chairman of the Deacon Body serving in the capacity of president of corporation; the church clerk serving in the capacity of secretary of corporation; the church treasurer serving in the capacity of the treasurer of the corporation.

E. Clerk:

The clerk and an assistant clerk shall be elected annually. It shall be his duty to attend or be present at, all church business meetings, to prepare the annual associational letter and shall make due entry of all officers, members of committees and messengers of their election or appointment. He shall issue letters of dismission as authorized by the church, and preserve all papers and valuable letters and records that belong to the church, and preserve a true history of the church. It shall also be the duty of clerk to see that an accurate roll of the church membership is kept with dates and methods of admission and dismissal, change in name, correct mailing addresses and other pertinent information.

F. Treasurer:

The treasurer and an assistant treasurer shall be elected annually. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, keep in a bank, and disburse by check upon proper authority all money or things of value that are given to the church, and keep at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements; rendering regular account to the church to be preserved by the church clerk. The treasurer books shall be audited annually as arranged by the church, and all book records and accounts kept by him shall be considered the property of the church. The treasurer shall upon invitation meet with the deacons and shall be a member of the Finance Committee. The assistant treasurer shall act in the absence or inability of the treasurer to discharge his duties and perform all duties of this office. All receipts to be counted by two or more designated persons before given to the treasurer.

Article VI. General

Section 1. License:

When a member announces to the church that he feels the call to the ministry, providing he meets the qualifications as set forth in the New Testament, the church, by majority vote, may license him for one year, to be renewed at the discretion of the church as an acknowledgment of his call to the ministry and encouragement to make preparation for it. The clerk of the church may furnish the member with a copy of the minutes or a certificate of license as his credentials. It is understood that the performance of civil duties by the member shall be governed by state law.

Section 2. Ordination:

In the event this church has been requested to ordain a member who has been called as pastor of a Baptist church, the following procedure shall be followed: The church will express its approval by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the members present at any regularly arranged business meeting of the church. Then the church shall invite the Associational Council on Ordinations to examine the candidate concerning his fitness for the ministry. In the event the association has no such council, this church shall invite representatives of neighboring churches to examine the candidate and report to the church. Then in the event the report of the committee is favorable, the church shall proceed with the ordination.

Section 3. Affiliation with Associations and Conventions:

We recognize that there is mutual helpfulness in the association of churches who are in such agreement in faith and practice as to encourage the spirit of fellowship and good will. We also recognize that there have been devised, through the voluntary cooperation of churches of like faith and order, organizations whose purpose it is to implement the missionary, educational, and benevolent interests and obligations of the individual Christian and his church family.

Believing that the Pioneer Baptist Association, the State Convention of Baptist in Ohio, and the Southern Baptist Convention are organizations which have as their sole purpose the promotion and support of missions, education, and benevolence of the character and in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution and the Articles of Faith of this church, we therefore agree to participate in these organizations through our duly elected messengers and our support of the causes which these organizations represent, until such time that a State Convention is organized in West Virginia.

Section 4. Property Holding:

It is agreed that the securing and maintaining of real property, building and equipment by this church shall be for the express purpose of providing facilities for public worship and for the engagement upon the missionary, educational, and benevolent interests of this church, of the character and in the spirit of the Constitution and Articles of Faith of this congregation.

If at any time this church shall determine to alter the quality of its beliefs and practices so as in important respects to be at variance with the character described in this Constitution and in these Articles of Faith if the decision is by less than unanimous vote of those present at a regular business meeting of the church shall adhere in the part of the congregation which shall agree to continue to use the property for the purpose for which shall agree to continue to use the property for the purpose for which it was purchased and has been to that time maintained.

Article VII. Adoption and Amendments

Section 1. This Constitution shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when two-thirds (2/3) of the members present at the regular business meeting at which a vote is taken shall vote in favor of same. This vote shall be taken not less than thirty (30) days after formal presentation of the Constitution of the church.

Section 2. This Constitution may be amended, altered, or repealed by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at any regular business meeting of the church; provided, however, that such amendment, alteration, or repeal must be given to the church clerk in writing, and this proposed change shall be presented to the church at least thirty (30) days prior to the time the vote is taken.

By Laws

Article 1. Meetings

Section1. The regular worship services of the church shall be held on Sundays and Wednesday evenings, unless otherwise agreed upon by the church. The Lord’s Supper will be observed at least once a quarter at a time approved by the church. The annual meeting for the election of officers shall be held during June unless otherwise approved by the church.

Section 2. The church shall hold regular business meetings at least quarterly. Special business meetings may be called by the pastor or any of the deacons at such time as they may be needed, with reasonable notice of the time and place of meeting given to the congregation. The pastor shall serve as Moderator of the business session of the church. In his absence, or upon his request, the chairman of the deacons, or some other person chosen by the church, may serve as Moderator.

Article II. Other Church Officers

In addition to those named in the Constitution, other officers of the church shall be a Superintendent of the Sunday School, Director of Training Union, President of the Brotherhood, President of the Woman’s Missionary Union, Director of Music, Pianist-Organist, and such other officers as may be desired. All officers of the church and its organizations, unless otherwise specified, shall be elected for a term of one year.

Section 1. Sunday School Superintendent:

The Superintendent of the Sunday School shall have general oversight of the entire school and shall administer its affairs in cooperation with, and according to the Convention, subject to the approval of the local church. He shall acquaint himself with the best methods of religious education and endeavor to adopt them in this school. It shall be his duty to counsel weekly or monthly with his teachers or officers through officers and teachers meetings in the work of the school, giving advice and receiving suggestions from his coworkers. He shall see that a full, written, and accurate report is made of the work of the Sunday School in the regular business meetings of the church.

Section 2. Training Union Director:

The Training Union Director shall have charge of the activities of the Training Union. He shall acquaint himself with the program and methods outlined by the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention for this organization and shall endeavor to adopt such programs in this church, subject to the approval of the church. He shall see that a full, written, and accurate report is given at regular business meetings of the church.

Section 3. President of the Brotherhood:

The President of the Brotherhood shall promote the Brotherhood as outlined by the Brotherhood Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, seeking to enlist men and boys of the church in an active program for Christ. He shall see that a full, written, and accurate report is given at the regular business meetings of the church.

Section 4. President of the Woman’s Missionary Union:

The President of the Woman’s Missionary Union shall seek to enlist all the women and young people of the church in a program of missions, training, giving, and activity according to plans promoted by the Woman’s Missionary Union, Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. She shall see that a full, written report is given at the regular business meetings of the church.

Section 5. Music Director:

The Music Director shall be responsible for providing worshipful music at all services. He is to direct the choir or choirs, in practice and public singing and is to cooperate with the pastor and other leaders in the selection of suitable music and the devising of appropriate musical programs for all occasions where such services are needed.

Section 6. Organist:

The organist shall play for all public services and shall assist the music director in a suitable program of music for the church.

Section 7. Pianist:

The pianist shall play for all public services and shall assist the music director in a suitable program of music for the church.

Article III. Standing Committees

Section 1. Number of Committees:

The church shall elect such standing committees as may be deemed necessary to carry on the various phases of the program of the church efficiently and effectively. In any event the church shall at all times have the following standing committees: Nominating, Budget and Finance, Building and Grounds.

Section 2. Election of Committees:

A. Nomination Committee:

The members of the Nominating Committee shall be elected by the church upon the recommendations of the deacons and pastor three months before the beginning of the associational year.

B. Budget and Finance Committee:

The Budget and Finance Committee shall be elected by the church upon the recommendations of the deacons and pastor. (See Article V, Section 2B)

C. Building and Grounds Committee:

The Building and Grounds Committee shall be elected by the church upon the recommendations of the deacons and pastor. (See Article V, Section 2B)

Section 3. Duties of Committees:

A. Nomination Committee:

This committee shall consist of seven persons, three elected by the church upon the recommendation of the deacons and pastor. This committee of three persons will recommend the Superintendent of Sunday School and Training Union Director; Baptist Women Director, Baptist Men Director, and when these are elected by the church, they will compose the General Officers, Sunday School Leaders, Church Training Leaders, Baptist Women Leaders, and Baptist Men Leaders. The report of the Committee shall be suggestive to the church, and any member of the church will have the priviledge of nominating from the floor.

B. Budget and Finance Committee:

This committee shall be composed of five members and may consist of the deacons of the church and/or of persons selected from the membership at large; in any event, at least two deacons and the church treasurer shall be members of the committee. This committee shall meet at regular intervals to consider the financial condition of the church and shall make regular reports of the same to the church, after approval by the deacons, in business meetings. This committee shall prepare annually a proposed budget including local expense, education, missions and benevolences, and shall submit the same to the church in regular business session at least one month prior to the beginning of the fiscal or budget year. In preparing the budget the committee shall confer with the head of each organization of the church.

C. Buildings and Grounds Committee:

This committee shall have three members. It shall be the duty of this committee to give attention to and study the condition and state of repair and appearance of the buildings and grounds including the pastorium property, making such repairs and improvements authorized by the church and included in the church budget. All matters of major repair or improvement and items of equipment shall be referred to the Finance Committee for recommendation to the church.

The committee shall be responsible for the work of the janitor and all other persons employed in the capacity of caring for the buildings and grounds. The chairman of the committee shall be responsible for purchasing janitor’s supplies.

The janitor, or janitors, shall be recommended to the church by the Building and Grounds Committee for employment by church action. It shall be the janitor’s duty to so care for the physical plant as to contribute helpfully to the comfort and well being of the members at all services. He shall see to the cleanliness, ventilation, and up-keep of the building. He shall see that the grounds are kept in such a way as to be keeping with what would be expected of God’s house.

Section 4. Other Committees:

Other committees such as Auditing, Ordinances, Library, Music, Publicity, Flower and Coordinating, etc., and any additional committees shall be elected as desired by the church and serve for the purpose designated. Duties of all committees desired by the church shall be defined and adopted as a part of the Bylaws.

Article IV. Special Committees

Special committees shall be elected for specific obligations as desired by the church. These committees shall be elected by the church upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee unless the church directs their appointment in a different manner.

Article V. Adoption and Amendments

Section 1. These Bylaws shall be considered adopted and in immediate effect if and when two-thirds of the members present at the business meetings at which vote is taken shall vote in favor of same. This vote shall be taken not less than thirty days after formal presentation of the Bylaws to the church.

Section 2. Any of the rules in these Bylaws may be amended, altered, or repealed by two-thirds vote of the members present at any regular business meeting of the church, provided, however, that notice and proposal of such amendment, alteration, or appeal is given in writing at the preceding regular business meeting of the church.

Article VI.

Section 1. The adoption of this Constitution and Bylaws shall effect a repeal of all all previously adopted rules in conflict herewith.

Section 2. A copy of this Constitution and Bylaws shall at all times be kept by the clerk among his records and another copy shall be kept in the church office, and all amendments to or revisions thereof shall, after passage by the church, be prepared by the clerk and pasted in the copies of the Constitution and Bylaws and made available to the church members generally upon request. All amendments to or revisions thereof, shall be put in Constitution and Bylaws to be kept by Church Clerk and Church Office, including date of revision and said business meeting.

Rules of Order

For The Conduct of Church Business Meetings

"Let all things be done decently and in order."

Regular Business Meeting

I. Items usually Considered in a Regular Business Meeting.

A. Prayer and Meditation

B. Reading of Minutes of Previous Meeting

C. Report of Church Treasurer

D. Report of Other Church Officers

1. Sunday School Superintendent

2. Training Union Director

3. Woman’s Missionary Union Director

4. Brotherhood President

5. Other Church Officers

E. Unfinished Business {Note: A motion to consider is not necessary. The matter is before the church and should be acted upon unless a motion to postpone is acted upon.}

F. Report of Committees {Note: These reports should be adopted, together with any amendments that may be made unless a motion to postpone be carried. In such case, such reports remain as unfinished business for the next meeting.}

G. New Business {Note: It is the privilege of any member to present any matter which in his or her judgment, should claim the attention of the church. But such procedure is usually unwise unless the one presenting the matter is prepared to make a motion to consider the matter, and unless counsel of others has been previously sought.}

1. Consideration of Recommendations of the Deacons.

2. Authorization of Expenditure of Money

3. Acceptance of Resignations and Employment of New Workers

4. Consideration of New Buildings and Repairs and Replacements

H. Granting of Letters and Dismissal

II. Items Usually Considered in a Special Business Meeting

{Note: No items of business should be considered in such meetings except the one matter for which the meeting is called, except by unanimous consent other matters may be considered which were not specified in the call.}

III. Procedures to be Followed Concerning Reports, Motions, Resolutions, etc.

A. A matter may not be discussed until a motion has been made and duly seconded; and, unless withdrawn by the one making and the one seconding it, the motion must be voted on.

B. During the discussion of a motion, a new motion dealing with another subject matter may not be presented.

C. An amendment to a motion changes neither the meaning nor the purpose of the original motion. It is concerned with method, clarification, time, place, persons, etc. At times an amendment, or an amendment to an amendment, has the effect of changing the meaning and purpose of the original motion. In such cases it is the duty of the moderator to rule that the adoption of such amendment, or amendments, would in effect deny the meaning and purpose of the original motion and consequently is out of order. In such an event, unless the ruling of the moderator is over-ruled by an appeal to the floor, a substitute motion would be in order.

D. If an amendment to a motion is accepted by the mover, no vote on the amendment is necessary. When, therefore, an amendment is accepted or voted upon then the motion to adopt the original motion, following a free discussion, is in order.

E. There are other motions which are always in order when a matter is under discussion. These are:

1. A motion to "lay on the table."

2. "To commit to a committee"

3. "To postpone action"

4. "To call for the previous question"

5. "To adjourn"

6. "To reconsider"

None of these motions can be made or acted upon while a member is speaking or a vote is being taken. Such motions are always in order, but it is most often unwise to make use of them.

F. Comments on Types of Motions Listed Above

1. The effect of a motion "to lay on the table" is to postpone action; and when once a motion is laid on the table, it may be considered at a subsequent meeting, but as though it were new business. Such a motion is not debatable unless some mention of time, place, or purpose forms a part of the motion.

2. The effect of a motion "to commit to a committee" is to postpone action in the belief that the matter under discussion merits further study. It means that the maker of such a motion, and those who are inclined to favor, believe that careful study by a smaller group would be profitable to all.

3. A motion to "postpone action" on a matter differs from that of a motion "to commit to a committee" to study only to the extent that a committee to study is not provided in the matter.

4. A "call for the previous question" is a call for the cessation of debate and immediate action on the motion before the body. It shold be used sparingly in a democratic body because the effect of it is to deny full debate to what may be a large minority. When such a motion is made, the moderator may say, "shall the main question now be put?" If the vote is affirmative, the motion without further debate must be acted upon by the body. Such a motion is not open to debate unless the original motion contains some condition as to time, place, or purpose.

5. The effect of a motion "to adjourn" is to cut off further debate without any opportunity for a vote. Such a motion should not often be made in a democratic body. It is not debatable unless there is in the motion some condition as to time, place, or purpose. However, if the body decides to adjourn at a given time, it is the duty of the moderator, without a motion, to adjourn the meeting when the hour arrives.

6. A motion "to reconsider" has reference to a motion which has been formerly adopted. Such a motion can be made only by a person who voted with the majority when the original motion was passed. If such a motion is before the body as though it had never been acted upon.

G. Any member has the right to appeal from the decision of the moderator should say, "shall the appeal to sustained?" If a majority vote to sustain the moderator, then his ruling stands. If a majority does not vote to sustain, then the ruling made by the moderator does not stand. It is the business and duty of the moderator to call to order any member who in debate or otherwise violates any regular rule or order. Moreover, any member has a right to make a point of order, if in his or her judgment the moderator has failed to observe, or has wrongly interpreted recognized rules of order or procedure. In this event the moderator may refuse to recognize the point of order as raised. Then in such an event an appeal to his decision as outlined above may be made.

IV. Miscellaneous Matters

A. In stating a motion, or when one is being made and acted upon, the moderator should stand.

B. In the event of a "tie vote" the moderator may vote or decline to vote. If he declines, the matter is decided in the negative.

C. No member is entitled to speak on the matter or motion preparatory to making a motion unless he or she is explaining why in his or her judgment such a motion should be made. However, it is better to make a motion, get a second to it, and then explain the motion.

D. In case there are several nominees for an office, the moderator should call first for a vote on the nominee last named, and so on.

E. All reports from committees, and all motions and resolutions of any considerable length should be written out and handed to the clerk.

F. All persons addressing the moderator shall rise.

G. All persons shall be recognized by the moderator before speaking in any business meeting.

Copyright © 1964, 2005 by Fairlawn Baptist Church and Family Life Center.  All rights reserved.

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