Northside Baptist Church Constitution
We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in relation to other churches.
This body shall be known as the Northside Baptist Church of North Fort Myers, Florida, located at 8250 Littleton Road.
This church glorifies God by loving Him and obeying His commands through Worshipping Him. Our touchstone statement is: Ministering God’s Mercy in Our World by Sharing Christ Under the Authority of God’s Word and By the Power of His Spirit, for the glory of God and the joy of all people.
III. Statement of Basic Beliefs
We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God and the basis for our beliefs. We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers to Jesus Christ and are personally committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This Church’s doctrinal statement is the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message as printed in the following pages.
IV. Church Covenant
Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, 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, doctrines, and discipline; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations. 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.
V. Polity and Relationships
The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable to the church, and subject to evaluation of the Elders. This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation, which are common among Baptist churches of like faith. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Royal Palm Baptist Association, the Florida Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
VI. Church Leadership and General Principles of Church Life:
(1) The elders shall be comprised of men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. A majority of the active eldership shall be composed of church members not in the regular pay of the church, and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure. Prospective elders shall be nominated by the existing elders, and approved by the church.
(2) Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1-6 and I Peter 5:1-4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.
(3) The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with its polity on elections. These men shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as elders. This recognition shall be reaffirmed by the church triennially. After an elder, (other than the senior pastor, or associate pastors) has served two consecutive three-year terms, he may only be re-elected to the office of elder after at least one year off.
(4) An elder’s term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed should express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 and I Timothy 5:17-21. Any of the elders may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the church.
(5) The elders, under the direction of the senior pastor, shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of baptism and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, and mobilize the church for world evangelism and missions.
(6) The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.
(7) The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The elders may also propose paid staff positions to the church, and shall present a job description for each position to the membership for approval. The senior pastor shall have the authority to hire or dismiss paid staff as needed under the advisement of the elders.
(8) The elders shall share the responsibility of employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members with the senior pastor. This responsibility may, on a case-by-case basis, be delegated to the deacons or other staff member. (9) The senior pastor shall serve as chairman of elders’ meetings and as moderator of members’ meetings. In his absence, the elders shall appoint another elder to fulfill these duties.
(10) Resolutions adopted by the elders shall be reported to the church at members’ meetings and may be reversed by the church.
(1) The office of deacon is described in I Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-7. The church shall recognize, in accordance with its polity on elections, men who are giving of themselves in service to the church, who possess gifts of leadership, and who are called to further service. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons. They shall be elected to one term lasting for three years. This time may be extended by the recommendation of the elders and upon congregational approval. When deacons have finished their term, they may be reelected after one year off.
(2) Deacons shall give leadership to the ministering and care of the church body under the counsel of the elders. They will be assigned families to pray for and minister to. The deacon families will be organized by Sunday school classes, whenever possible, so as to allow the deacon to mobilize the class members in ministering to one another.
(3) Deacons will serve in helping with the worship ordinances and offering under the direction of the elders and the servant leader of worship.
C. Servant Leaders
Servant leaders provide leadership to the various ministries of the church. They may form such leadership teams as is necessary under the counsel of the elders to accomplish their work. The servant leaders will keep the elders informed concerning the needs of the various areas they are individually responsible for so that the elders as a group can give oversight to the ministry and encouragement to the servant leader.
VII. General Principles of Faith and Life
(1) Our doctrinal statement is the Baptist Faith and Message and the Abstract of Principles. These statements do not replace the Bible as the authority of all matters of faith and practice for us as a church. They are not a requirement for church membership. These doctrinal statements affirm what we as a church believe and promote in our teaching ministry. The purpose of a doctrinal statement is to define and defend the truths that we believe and love thus preserving God’s truth and promoting unity and harmony in our fellowship. It is a statement of faith that all who are in leadership are asked to affirm.
(2) We shall conduct regular members meetings during the second month of each quarter, and other members meetings as needed.
(3) The Sunday School ministry shall be the main structure through which we seek to teach, communicate the ministry of the church, accomplish member care and outreach and promote missions education and involvement. A ministry manual for the Sunday School Share Groups will be provided which explains the goals, objectives and strategies of our Sunday School Share Group ministry.
(4) A polity manual shall be maintained which provides the necessary details for our regular church operations and policies.
(5) Each year the servant leaders will give input to the Elders and stewardship committee concerning budgeting for their area of ministry. The elders and the stewardship committee along with the servant leaders will approve the budget and present it to the church for approval. No money shall be solicited by or on behalf of the church or any of its ministries without the approval of the elders.
(6) The Stewardship committee shall be responsible for communicating regular reports of the account balances, revenues, and expenses of the church to the elders and to the church. They shall also seek to promote stewardship in the church throughout the year.
(7) The Benevolent committee shall receive, hold, and disburse a fund for benevolence, reporting on its use to the elders at their request, and reporting to the church its total receipts and total disbursements only.
(8) The servant leaders, with the agreement of the elders, may establish unpaid administrative positions or committees of members to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities in the church.
(9) Recommendations adopted by any internal group shall be reported first to the elders and thereafter to the church at members’ meetings. All such recommendations may be reversed by resolution of the elders, or by the church.