The Constitution of
Immanuel Baptist Church
500 ST. Charles Street
Elgin, IL 60120
With grateful hearts and a full appreciation of the blessings bestowed upon us as a church of God, we acknowledge His Word as our Great Charter, and do hereby adopt and ordain this Constitution to the end that we may carryon His work in a more orderly and regular manner.
Article I – Name
The name of this incorporated religious association shall be The Immanuel Baptist Church of Elgin, Illinois.
Article II – Purpose and Doctrine
Section 1. Purpose
The object of this church shall be to provide a place for Divine worship; to proclaim the Gospel of Grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; to observe the ordinances of the Church; to train members in the principles of Christian living; to render Christian, community and social service; and to cooperate in missionary and Christian educational work in this and other countries.
Section 2. Doctrine
The Church receives the Scriptures as its authority in matters of faith and practice. Its understanding of the Christian truth as contained therein is in essential accord with those principles set forth in the New Baptist Church Manual by J. N. Brown, D.D.
Article 111- Membership
Section 1 – Qualifications
Its membership consists of such persons as confess Jesus Christ to be their Savior and Lord, and who
- After having been examined by the Church Board as to their Christian experience, have been recommended for baptism and membership, and are accepted by the vote of the Church for Baptism and membership; or
- Have been examined by the Church Board as to their Christian experience and recommendation from their church, have been recommended for membership by letter of transfer, and on statement of faith, and are accepted by vote of the Church for membership by letter of transfer; and enter into the covenant of the Church.
- Voting members are those active members who are eighteen (18) years or older
Section 2 – Duties (The Church Covenant)
The Church Covenant: Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and in profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, we solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ. We acknowledge our dependence upon the Holy Spirit for help in these commitments:
- We will walk together in Christian love, striving for the advancement of this Church in knowledge and holiness;
- We will give this Church a sacred pre-eminence over all institutions of human origin;
- We will sustain its worship, ordinances, disciplines and doctrines;
- We will contribute faithfully of our talents and resources for the ministry and mission of the Church at home as well as the Church worldwide;
- We will maintain family and secret devotion, and will educate our children in the Faith;
- We will seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances;
- Our lives will reflect that we are seeking first the Kingdom of God and resisting ungodly influences;
- We will be just in our dealings with others, faithful in our responsibilities, and exemplary in our conduct;
- We will abstain from immoral behavior and the sale and consumption of things that would be harmful to our minds, bodies and spirits;
- We will exercise Christian sympathy, caring for one another, praying for one another and helping those who are sick and in need;
- We will cultivate our speech to be consistent with our faith;
- We will not take offense, but will be agents for reconciliation, and, mindful of the rules of our Savior, we will secure it without delay;
- Moreover, we pledge that if we move from this area we will quickly join another church where we can carry out the intent of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
Section 3 – Termination
- It is the duty of every member to attend services regularly and to contribute regularly to the support of the Church. Members living temporarily outside the neighborhood are urged to keep the Church informed of their address and to report by letter at least once a year. Members residing permanently too far away to attend the services should request a letter of dismissal to a church of a like faith and order. To a church of another faith, a letter of good and regular standing may be granted. Dismissal of members is to be acted on at quarterly business meetings only.
- The Church may also, after due notice and hearing and kindly effort to make such action unnecessary, place on the inactive list as a matter of record the membership of persons for the space of two (2) years non-resident, or for the same space of time not habitually worshipping with the Church, or for the same space of time not contributing to its support according to the system prescribed by the Church or in some way satisfactory thereto. Upon being placed on the inactive list, the member shall no longer be eligible to vote, hold office or be included in the annual listing of members until he/she has been restored to active membership. Active members shall be considered as being in attendance at least once a month unless extenuating circumstances prevent it.
- Charges of misconduct against a member shall be put in writing, properly signed, and submitted to the Pastor and Church Board. If serious misconduct is verified and the member remains impenitent, the Church Board shall by three-fourths (3/4) majority vote recommend termination of that person’s membership to the Church, who can in turn terminate by a three-fourths (3/4) vote, but only after due notice and hearing is given.
Section 4 – Restoration
Any person, on the active or inactive list, whose membership has been terminated, may be restored by vote of the Church upon evidence of his/her repentance and reformation, or if on account of continued absence, upon satisfactory explanation to the Church Board.
Section 5 – List of Members
The Church Board shall annually make a list of all active members, both resident and non-resident.
Article IV – Officers and Committees
Section 1 – The officers and committees with their duties are as follows
(1.) A Pastor is to be chosen and called by the Church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which two (2) weeks public notice shall have been given. The election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of three-fourths (3/4) of the voting members present being necessary to a choice. The Pastor shall have in his charge the spiritual welfare of the congregation; he shall preach the Word, and have in his care the stated services of public worship, and shall administer the ordinances. The Pastor shall be an ex-officio member of all committees and organizations of the Church. The Pastor shall be called for an indefinite period, the terms of his work and annual remuneration to be fixed at time of call and subject to vote of the Church for any change thereafter. The resignation or dismissal of the Pastor shall be submitted in writing to the Church Board at least one month prior to the termination of his services. The Pastor shall be given an annual vacation of at least two weeks with regular pay.
(2.) The individuals to serve on the Church Board shall be the
- Moderator/Administrator (2 year term)
- Church Clerk (2 year term)
- Deacon (2 year term)
- Deaconess (2 year term)
- Trustee (2 year term)
- Financial Secretary (2 year term)
- Music Coordinator (2 year term)
- Christian Education Superintendent 2 year term)
- Missions Coordinator (2 year term).
These officers shall be members in good standing. After 2009, all terms will be of two-year duration that will result in half the board members being elected each year. Board members will be elected on either odd years or even years depending on the office as described below. If a position is unable to be filled, the Church Board will assume the duties of the unfilled position until a suitable replacement can be appointed.
As of 2010, an additional Deacon and Deaconess shall be appointed by the Church for 2-year terms; resulting in 2 Deacons and 2 Deaconesses in service at all times, and election of 1 Deacon and 1 Deaconess each year. The Deacons will meet separately from the Church Board. The Deacons are allowed one vote and Deaconesses are allowed one vote at Church Board meetings.
(3.) The job descriptions of the Church Board members of Immanuel Baptist Church are:
The Moderator/Administrator will preside over all official meetings of the church. He or she will also be responsible for the day-to-day decision-making. Meetings are to be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and in the absence of the Moderator, the Deacon shall preside. The Moderator will be elected on even years for a two year term.
The Church Clerk shall record, post, and file all minutes of business meetings and keep records of membership and transfers. The Clerk shall issues letters of dismissal and recommendation voted by the Church, preserve on file communications and written official reports, give notice of meetings as necessary, and print/distribute nominations. The Church Clerk will be elected on odd years for a two year term.
The Deacons, Deaconesses, and Pastor(s) shall oversee the spiritual life and leadership of the Immanuel Baptist Church congregation. They are to prepare and serve monthly communion and assist the Pastor(s) in all appropriate ways as needed. The Deacons will assist with the men of the church and the Deaconesses with the women. The Deacons and Deaconesses will meet together bi-monthly at least six (6) times a year independently of the Church Board. One Deacon and one Deaconess will be elected on even years; and one Deacon and one Deaconess will be elected on odd years, each for a two year term.
The Trustee will be responsible for any matters concerning the building, grounds, property, or equipment in their legal, financial or upkeep needs. The custodian of the church will be under the Trustee’s supervision. The Trustee is authorized to make repairs or improvements on the Church as may be found necessary, but no contract shall be made for repairs or improvements for a larger sum than six hundred dollars ($600.00) without the consent of the Church Board. The Trustee will be elected on even years for a two year term.
The Financial Secretary shall maintain an accounting of the individuals’ contributions, other incomes, and all disbursements of money. Reports of all funds are to be reported to the Church Board at each monthly meeting. All monies contributed to the Fellowship Fund, shall be primarily devoted to the relief of the poor; All monies raised for the objects of Christian missions and benevolence shall be paid by the treasurer to the several persons or mission societies entitled thereto; All monies received for the support of public worship, or of any department of the church’s work, shall be paid out for the operations of Immanuel Baptist Church or of any persons or committees authorized by the Church. The Treasurer shall be bonded. The Financial Secretary will be elected on odd years for a two year term.
The Music Coordinator shall act as a go-between to the music minister, musicians, choir and Pastor(s) in the church’s musical programs. The Music Coordinator will be elected on odd years for a two year term.
The Christian Education Superintendent shall be responsible for the teaching and learning needs of all Sunday school gatherings and related events. The Christian Education Superintendent will be elected on odd years for a two year term.
The Missions Coordinator shall promote and supervise the missions activities of the Church. The Missions Coordinator will be elected on even years for a two year term.
The Church Board will meet bi-monthly (six times a year) to consult and communicate concerning past reports, present decisions, and future projects affecting the well being of Immanuel Baptist Church.
The Church Board will annually select a Social Chairperson who will be in charge of any meals, but will not be a member of the Church Board.
(4.) A Board member can only hold one board position at a time, but may serve more than one consecutive term.
(5.) Each board member is free to select appropriate team members to assist him/her in evaluating and executing his/her duties although team members may not vote and are not required to attend Church Board meetings. For example the paid custodian is answerable to the Trustee and the Treasurer is answerable to the Financial Secretary
(6.) Attendance is required at regular Church Board meetings by the board members unless there is a legitimate reason for being absent such as sickness, being out of town, or some other similar emergency. If a board member misses two board meetings without a legitimate excuse, he or she may be removed from office by a board vote.
(7.) The Pastor is required to attend Church Board meetings and has voting rights.
(8.) The Church Board will meet as often as deemed necessary, but at least bi-monthly, with a minimum of six (6) official meetings being held each year. The meetings are to be called by the Moderator or a majority of Church Board members. The Church Board will also act as the auditing committee and participate in the budget process.
(9.) Members of the church are invited to attend the Church Board Meetings. A total of ten (10) minutes will be scheduled for church members to present/discuss any issue(s) not on the regular agenda. If a member wants to have a time slot longer than ten (10) minutes he/she shall contact the Moderator no less than 48 hours prior to the meeting to have the issue included on the agenda.
(10.) Churches that rent our property will be invited to send a representative to the Church Board meeting. They will be excused after their report(s) so as to not be involved with our church business.
(11.) When confidential or sensitive issues are to be discussed, the Moderator shall have the authority to call an Executive Session which will include only the Pastor(s), Deacon and Deaconess and any other whose participation the Moderator deems appropriate.
(12.) When confidential or sensitive issues are to be discussed, the Moderator shall have the authority to call an Executive Session which will include only the Pastor(s), Deacon and Deaconess and any other whose participation the Moderator deems appropriate.
Section 2 – Separation of Duties
No person may serve as Financial Secretary and Treasurer at the same time.
Section 3 – Election
The election of Church Board positions will be held during November at the Annual Meeting. The Church Board will serve as the nominating committee and nominations may also be made from the floor. Those who cannot be present because of illness, work or absence from the city may obtain absentee ballots from the Church Clerk. Absentee ballots must be returned before the meeting in a sealed envelope with the name of the voter written on the outside. The Clerk will open these envelopes and deposit the ballots with the tellers appointed at the meeting. In the event there is only one (1) candidate nominated for each office, the nominees shall be declared elected by unanimous ballot at the meeting and no formal election need be held.
Article V – Organizations
The Church regards as integral parts of itself all organizations formed for the purpose of ministration and fellowship and which use the facilities of the Church property. Of all such organizations the Church will expect a report from each at the annual meeting. The schedule of the meetings of these organizations shall be under the guidance of the Pastor and the Church Board and shall not conflict with the meetings of the Church.
Article VI – Meetings
Section 1 – For Worship
- Public services shall be held regularly on the Lord’s Day and on some regular evening or evenings of each week.
- The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month, or at such other times as the Church or Church Board may determine. The Church Covenant shall be read at the regular monthly Communion service.
- Occasional religious meetings may be appointed by the Pastor at his discretion and with the approval of the Church Board or by vote of the Church.
Section 2 – For Business
- At any of the regular meetings for worship, the Church may, without special notice, act upon the reception of members, upon the appointment of delegates to councils, but not upon any other business.
- The Pastor may, and shall, when requested by the Church Board, call from the pulpit special business meetings, the particular object of the meeting being clearly stated in the notice. Special meetings of the Church shall also be called by the Clerk upon the written application of any five (5) adult members specifying the object thereof, which notice shall be read at the public service on the Lord’s Day preceding the day fixed for such meeting.
- The Annual Meeting of the Church shall be held during November. At this time the annual reports will be presented, the budget opted, and such other business transacted as may be specified by the caller or authorized in the Constitution. The Church Board shall annually fix the date for the meeting and the membership will be notified during the two Sundays preceding the annual meeting. The meeting shall be called by the Clerk in the manner specified in the preceding paragraph. The Church year shall run from January 1st to December 31st, beginning in 1957.
- At the annual and all special meetings, 30% of the active church membership shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Article VII – Discipline
Should any unhappy differences arise between members, the aggrieved member shall follow, in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew.
All such proceedings should be pervaded by Christian kindness and forbearance.
Article VIII – Church Property
All requests for the use of the church for any activities other than that of the Church shall be submitted to the Church Board and the Trustee with the program, for approval.
The property of the Church shall belong to and be controlled by a majority of those who adhere to the Articles of Faith and Covenant as set forth in the New Baptist Church Manual, by J.N. Brown, D.D.
Article IX – Denominational Affiliations
The Church shall associate with The American Baptist Churches, USA (Area 1 of the Great Rivers Region) and other religious organizations as it shall approve. It shall reserve the right to withdraw from any organization upon due consideration of the same. The motion for association or withdrawal shall come from the Church Board. The intention for such shall be made known in a letter to all active members of the Church at least one month preceding a regular quarterly business meeting. Approval shall be granted only by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the voting members present.
Article X – Amendments
This Constitution shall not be altered or amended except by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of voting members present at any regular or duly notified business meeting, a copy of the proposed amendment having been printed in the regular church calendar or openly read from the pulpit at the Sunday morning service, at least twice in the thirty (30) days preceding the date of the meeting.
No change shall be made in Article II.
This Constitution shall become effective when adopted and shall automatically nullify all previous existing rules and bylaws. This Constitution was unanimously adopted by the Church in October 1992 and ratified on October 23, 1992.
November 28, 2004-Constitution revisions ratified – Approved by vote January 8, 2008
Temporary for the period January 1 through December 31, 2009 were proposed November 9, 2008.
Temporary for the period January 1 through December 31, 2010 were proposed November 12, 2009.
Adopted December 2010