Constitution and By Laws

Constitution and Bylaws of The First Baptist Church of Holbrook, Arizona.  Approved January 20, 2019

 I. Preamble

            We declare and establish this Constitution for the preservation and security of the principles of our faith and so that this body may be governed in an orderly manner. This Constitution will preserve the rights of each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches and of the same faith.

We do hereby adopt the following Constitution and By-Laws to guide our labor together for Christ the Lord and His Kingdom.

 II. Name

            This body shall be known as “The First Baptist Church of Holbrook, Arizona” located at  360 N. 1st Ave in Holbrook, Arizona 86025.

This church is authorized under warrant of the Holy Scriptures and is incorporated under, and by virtue of the laws of the State of Arizona. It shall have no capital stock and is not organized for material or pecuniary profit.

 III. Doctrine

The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith. The church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963, including all subsequent amendments. We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ, personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost people. The ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

IV. Purpose

United by the grace of God in Christian experience and doctrinal belief, we declare our adherence to the doctrines and teachings of the Holy Bible and recognize no obligation of religion or of conscience unless contained therein. We state our purposes to be:

             A. The maintenance of worship of God and the observance of the church ordinance;

             B. The study of the entire body of inspired scriptures contained in the Holy Bible for the determination of Christian Principles and truth revealed to us by    Almighty God, and the practice of those principles and that truth in our Christian experience;

            C. The salvation of the lost at home and abroad;

            D. The proclamation and advancement of Christ’s Kingdom throughout the earth.

 V. Church Covenant

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and, on the profession of 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 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 religiously educate our children, to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

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 Savior 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.

 VI. Character

Section 1: Government and Policy

The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual council and cooperation, which are common among Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical this church will cooperate with and support the Desert Pines Baptist Association, the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Section 2: Ordinance

A. Definition: The ordinances of the church, as set forth in the Holy Scriptures, are Baptism and  The Lord’s Supper.

B. Baptism: The ordinance of Baptism shall be by immersion of the professed believer in obedience to the command of Christ and shall be administered on the authority and in the presence of the church, under the leadership of the Pastor.

C. The Lord’s Supper: The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed at a worship service with such frequency as the church shall determine. The Pastor shall preside at the table and shall be assisted by the Deacons of the church. In the Pastor’s absence, or upon his request, or when the church shall be without a pastor, the Chairman of the Deacons shall preside.

Section 3: Cooperation

A. Organizations of Cooperation: This church shall cooperate with other Baptist churches of like faith and order through conventions, associations, and organizations devoted to the propagation of the Gospel, education, benevolence, and other Christian efforts.

B. Activities of Cooperation: This cooperation may be manifested by systematic giving, election and sending of messengers to conventions, and serving on conventions boards and committees as requested.

Section 4: Church Property

All church property, including real estate, bank accounts, and any other assets, are owned by  The First Baptist Church of Holbrook, Arizona and may not be sold or encumbered except on a recommendation of the trustees and approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those present and voting at a regularly scheduled business meeting where all church members have been notified in advance at least seven (7) days prior to the date of the meeting.

In the event that the church is no longer a Southern Baptist Church, or does not teach and practice the doctrines outlined in the Baptist Faith and Message, as amended, or as is commonly practiced by Southern Baptist people, the church properties, bank accounts and other assets will be transferred to the Desert Pines Baptist Association. If that association is no longer in existence, then the properties, bank accounts, and other assets will be transferred to the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention.

Section 5: Ratification of Constitution and Amendments to the Constitution

This Constitution adopted by the church in a regular business session held in July 30, 2003 shall supersede all prior constitutions, by laws, resolutions, precedents, and actions of the church not in harmony with its provisions. The Constitution is effective immediately upon it adoption by the church.

Amendments to the Constitution: This Constitution may be amended by a three-fourths (3/4) vote of the members present and voting at a regular business meeting of the church, provided that the amendment shall have been presented in writing to the church body. The proposed amendment shall be read at three (3) regular business meetings before a final vote is taken. All church members must be notified by mail of the date of the proposed voting on the amendment.

The By-Laws may be amended as needed by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members present and voting at any regular business meeting, provided the amendment has been presented in writing at lease thirty (30) days  prior to the voting and a date of consideration announced at the time of the offering.

Section 6: Recording of the Constitution

Five (5) official copies of the Constitution and By-Laws, together with all amendments thereto, shall be kept on record at all times. One (1) is to be held by the Clerk, one (1) by the Chairman of the Deacons, one (1) by the Pastor, one (1) by the Church Financial Secretary, and one, (1) filed in the church office.



I. Church Membership

Section 1. General

This is a sovereign and democratic Baptist church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the right of exclusive self-government in all phases of the Spiritual and temporal life of the church.

The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions for such membership.

 Section 2. Candidacy

Any person may offer himself/herself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to the church in a regular worship service in the following ways:

            A. By profession of faith and by baptism according to the policies of this church;

            B. By promise of a letter from another Baptist church of like faith and order;

            C. By restoration upon statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in a Baptist church when no letter is obtainable.

Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the Pastor and the deacons for investigation and the making of a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days. A three-fourths (3/4) vote of those members present and voting shall be required to elect such candidates to membership.

            The church leadership shall provide a plan for acquainting new members with our denomination life, Baptist history, and Baptist beliefs. The extent of training will be based on previous Southern Baptist training and experience.  Copy of the Constitution and By-Laws will be given to new members by the church Clerk.

 Section 3. Rights of Members

Members are expected to exercise the following responsibilities:

A. To be faithful in all the essential privileges of the Christian life;

B. To attend regularly the services of the church;

C. To give regularly to the support of the church and the causes which it sponsors;

D. To share in the organizational work of the church.

E. Privileges-All members shall enjoy all the privileges of the church, including participation in its ordinances and exercising the privileges of acting and voting in the transactions of the church.

 Section 4. Termination of Membership

            Membership will be terminated in the following ways:

            A. Death

            B. Transfer to another Baptist Church

            C. Exclusion by church action of this church

            D. Removal upon becoming affiliated with a church of another faith or denomination

            E. Practicing rituals and ordinances that are foreign to Southern Baptist doctrine

            F. By personal request

The church shall annually review its membership roll in October for the purpose of taking action with regard to membership as described herein and to classify as active, inactive (one or more years of non-attendance), and non-residents. The revised list of active members should be sent to the editor of the portraits publication.

 Section 5. Discipline

            Should any gross breach of covenant or public scandal occur because of the actions of a church member, the Pastor and the deacons of the church shall endeavor to bring the member to repentance. If this effort fails and the member becomes an offense to the church and to its good name by reason of immoral or unchristian conduct, or by persistent breach of his/her membership by three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of those present, but only after due notice and hearing (not to exceed three (3) months) and after faithful efforts have been made to bring such members to repentance.

            In addition, church membership may be terminated by three-fourths (3/4) vote of those present and voting at a regular business meeting or one called for this specific purpose when a member practices or actively encourages and supports other members who participate in groups that carry on rituals and practices that are not generally accepted by the Southern Baptist Convention and this church, thus knowingly causing confusion and division in the church. If their behavior is not renounced or if a satisfactory explanation has not been given to the church regarding their behavior, their membership may be terminated thirty (30) days after attention has been called to this at a regular business meeting.

            All such proceedings shall be conducted in a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance, but should an adverse decision be reached, the church may proceed to admonish or declare the offender to no longer be a member of this church.

            Should any differences arise among members of this church, the aggrieved member shall follow, in a tender spirit, the rules given by our Lord in the eighteenth (18th) chapter of the gospel of Matthew.

 II. Church Officers

All church officers shall be members of the church and shall be elected by and be held accountable to the church.

Section 1: Scriptural Officers (Titus 1:5-7)

The scriptural officers of this church shall be the Pastor and the deacons. The deacons shall be known as the Body of Deacons. The election and term of office for the Body of Deacons is found under part B of this section.

A. Pastor: The Pastor is the leader of worship, proclamation, education, and pastoral ministry. When a vacancy occurs, a Pastor Search Committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor, and their recommendations will constitute a nomination. However, any member has the privilege of making other nominations according to the policy established by this church. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one prospective candidate at a time.

An ordained or licensed Southern Baptist pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. His election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, with at least one week’s prior notice being given to the members of the church. The Pastor’s starting salary will be voted on during this meeting, but shall be offered on a separate ballot. The salary may be changed at the next annual budget meeting if desired.

Election shall be by ballot with an affirmation vote of three-fourths (3/4) of those present and voting. Members who cannot attend the scheduled business meeting may require absentee ballots. The absentee ballot must be returned to the Chairman of the Pastor Search Committee prior to the scheduled meeting. The Pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by this request or the church’s request by a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of those present at a meeting called for this specific purpose. The Pastor shall give at least two (2) weeks notice at the time of his resignation before terminating his responsibility as Pastor. The church shall likewise give two (2) weeks notice to the Pastor before termination.

 Shortly after a new Pastor is called, the church will elect a five (5) member Performance Evaluation Committee, composed of the Chairman of the Deacons and four (4) other church members. This committee will conduct an evaluation of the Pastor’s performance after he is on the field for six (6) months. Thereafter the committee will conduct an evaluation annually on or before the anniversary date.

The Pastor may serve as an ex-officio member of all teams and committees. Two weeks paid vacation shall be given annually to the pastor and may not accumulate. The Pastor may be granted leave to hold revivals in other churches, but shall not be absent from the pulpit more than two (2) Sundays a year for this purpose. In the event that the Pastor is absent, the church body shall be responsible for providing for and paying a guest speaker.

B. Deacons

1. Candidates for deacons shall be recommended as needed to the church nominating committee by the Body of Deacons and the Pastor. Qualifications for this office are stated in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:3.

2. There may be one active deacon for every twenty-five (25) church members until a maximum of forty (40) deacons is reached. Deacons shall; be elected at regular business meetings of the church secret ballot.

3. The deacons shall serve until found unqualified using Section 6 of the Discipline of a Church Member as a basis for disciplining or removing a deacon from active service. When praying and examining a candidate as to his qualification to serve, 1 Timothy 3:1-13 should be the guidelines as to his qualifications. We suggest also that the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:1-8 which expounds duties of Pastor, or minister and wife, should be used when examining the candidates and their wives for the office of deacon.

4. There will be three (3) classifications of deacons: active, inactive, and honorary. The Body of Deacons elected will be called active deacons, those retiring from the body shall be classified as inactive. Others will be honorary deacons. The manner in which a deacon will become inactive or honorary will be by his request due to illness, age, or the disciplining in Section 6 of this document.

5. In accordance with the meaning of the work and the practice of the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church. The task of the deacon is to assist the Pastor in performing pastoral responsibilities.

6. The deacons shall elect their chairman annually at the first regular scheduled meeting after October 1 of each year. They shall be organized to assist the Pastor and for the consideration of problems related to their work. The deacons’ committees consist of the following: Benevolence, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.

7. When a deacon moves to this community and has served well in another Southern Baptist Church, we should seriously consider utilizing his talents as an active deacon.

8. Each year during August deacons will be asked if they wish to continue serving as an active deacon for the following year. The names of those wishing to serve will be presented to the church at the September business meeting.

9. Whenever practical the yoke fellow program will be followed.

The officers of the church shall be as follows: Moderator, Clerk, Assistant Clerk, Treasurer, Assist Treasurers, Financial Secretary, Trustees, and Parliamentarian.

Regular officers and teams shall be elected annually at the September business meeting of this church. The newly elected officers will assume their positions October 1 of said year.

A. Moderator: The Moderator at business meetings shall be nominated by the appropriate team and elected annually at the regular election. The Moderator may be the Pastor, a deacon, or any church member in good standing.

B. Clerk: The church elected Clerk shall keep in a suitable book of record all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The Clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members with dates of admission, records of baptism, dismissal or death. The Clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church; preserve on file all communications and written official reports; and give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary as indicated in these By-Laws.

The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary. All church records are church property and should be stored in a fire proof file in the church office. Two (2) official copies of the minutes of each business meeting shall be made  with one (1) copy given to the Moderator and one (1) to be kept in the Clerk’s records. In addition to these duties, the Clerk shall assist the Pastor when candidates present themselves for membership.

C. Assistant Clerk: The Assistant Clerk shall serve in the absence of the Clerk.

D. Treasurer: It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive, preserve, and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all monies or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to render to the church at each regular business meeting and itemized report of the receipts and disbursements for the preceding month a copy of the report shall be filed with the Clerk, which will be filed in the church records as stated concerning the minutes under General Church Officers II, Section 2 B. Additional copies of the minutes will be given to church members at the regular scheduled meetings. The Treasurer’s report shall be audited at least annually by the Resource Team or by an appointed public accountant.

Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year, and upon its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be maintained by the Treasurer for the current year. Other copies of the records shall be filed at the church as part of the permanent record. The Treasurer will be responsible for filling any and all tax reports and forms as required by Law.

E. Assistant Treasurer: It shall be the duty of the Assistant Treasurer to assist and act in the absence of the treasurer.

F. Financial Secretary: The Financial Secretary shall be elected by the church. The financial Secretary shall receive the collection envelops after the money has been removed and counted and from these the Financial Secretary shall give donors individual credit. The envelopes shall be kept for reference for a period of two (2) years.  It is the responsibility of the financial Secretary to prepare the records of the contributions by members and these shall be kept for a period of five (5) years. These records shall be available by January 31st of each year.

G. Trustee: three (3) trustees, one of whom shall be elected annually to serve for three (3) YEARS AND UNTIL THEIR SUCCESSORS SHALL BE ELECTED, WILL HOLD IN TRUST THE PROPERTY OF THE CHURCH. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property without specific vote of the church authorizing such action. It shall be the function of all the trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents involving the sale, mortgaging or purchase, or rental of property or other legal documents where the signatures of the trustees are required. No trustee’s term shall exceed three (3) years. The trustees shall elect from among their members a chairperson who will be responsible for calling meetings of the trustees as needed. They will, under the direction of the church, be responsible for all legal matters involving the church property.

I. Other Church Officers: Other church officers may be added as deemed necessary by the church.

Section 3: Other Elected positions

A. Music Minister: There shall be a music ministry under the direction of the Music Minister. His/her responsibilities will be determined by the church body. The Music Minister may be an ex-officio member of all teams.

B. Service Teams: In order to fulfill the mission of the church, four teams will be elected annually in September and will take office on October 1st to serve for the following year. Each team will have a facilitator to help lead the work of the team. The teams will work under a structure approved by the church and will report to the church body each month by turning in the meeting minutes along with any recommendations. The team reports will be presented at the church’s monthly business meetings for review and such action as deemed necessary.

1. Worship Team: the purpose of the Worship Team is to identify and implement the elements that encourage personal and corporate worship defined by an encounter with the Living God. Opportunities for non-believers to hear and respond to the gospel should be included as part of worship. The team’s areas of concern are: proclamation, music, children’s worship, drama, childcare, bulletin service, audio/visual equipment, greeter/ushers, flowers for the sanctuary, and such other duties as the church may assign.

2. Ministry Team: The purpose of the Ministry Team is to identify a process and structure that will help believers discover, develop. And exercise their spiritual gifts in appropriate ministries, missions, and outreach opportunities. The team’s areas of concern include: Bible Study, Sunday School, Deacon Ministry, Discipleship Development, Stewardship Development, Family Ministry, Community Missions (Operation Love), care ministry, prayer ministry, recreation, Library Ministry and such other duties as the church may assign.

3. Resource Team: The purpose of the Resource team is to identify staff needs, enlist volunteers, monitor finances, prepare an annual church budget, oversee the maintenance of church properties and equipment, and provide services that support the mission of the church. The team’s areas or concern include: financial, personnel, volunteer enlistment, facilities, transportation, food service, historical records, and any other such duties as the church may assign.

a. Qualifications for the Team members: The team concept requires a team that can work together while respecting each other’s giftedness, leadership style, and roles in order to accomplish the best outcome for the present and future health of the church. Team members should be selected on the basis of their character, their influence in the church, their ability to represent various ministries and interest groups, and their giftedness for the tasks assigned to the team.

b. Election of Team Members: Each team shall nominate potential members to the church in August. Other team members to be considered may be nominated by church members. The list of nominees shall be presented to the church at the September business meeting, and teams of not more than seven (7) members each shall be elected to serve one (1) year. The teams will begin their terms on October 1st. If a vacancy occurs on the team during the year, that team may nominate someone to fill the vacancy, subject to a vote of the church at the next business meeting.         

Each team will represent areas of concern determined by the church. There will be no less than four (4) and no more than eight (8) members on a team and no one is to serve on more than one (1) team except facilitators and the pastor. The Pastor will serve as an ex-office member of each team. Team members will be asked to serve for one (1) year at the approval of the church. Additional teams may be created, with the approval of the church, as new issues emerge requiring the focus of a team. During the year, the team on which a vacancy occurs shall fill that vacancy. Teams will meet monthly on the date determined in the Church Calendar. The Team Facilitator may call additional meetings if more time is required for team business.

The nature of a team structure is dynamic. The desired expectation from each team member is God-given creativity that contributes to Christ’s mission for his Church. This requires an atmosphere of non-restricted discussion and decisions that will, at times, lead to adjusting structure and creating new ministries. In other words, change is inevitable. Teams must be empowered to make necessary changes when those changes are consistent with the doctrines of the church and are within the guidelines of the Church Constitution and By-Laws. The church should affirm the teams in their work and encourage them to explore that which has yet to be discovered for the cause of Christ.

 If there are issues that require church approval between the scheduled business meetings, a special meeting will be called and announced one (1) week prior to the meeting. The purpose and date of the meeting shall be stated in the announcement.

III. Vacancy in Office

Any officer or team member moving from Holbrook or the vicinity shall by such action automatically vacate his/her office. If an officer or team member deems it necessary for him/her to resign their office before the term for which they were elected or appointed, they shall submit their resignation, in writing, to the church at a regular business meeting. In the case of a vacancy, a successor shall be elected or appointed at any regular business meeting of the church to serve the unexpired term of office.

IV. Business Meetings

The church shall have regular business meetings once a month at a time and date to be determined by a vote of the church. The reports and recommendations from the teams shall be made available to church members prior to the meeting.

Revised and Adopted this 20th day of January , 2019.