Revised: July 18, 2001

First Baptist Church

Niceville, Florida

CONSTITUTION

PREAMBLE

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.

ARTICLE I
Name and Incorporation

This body has been incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida on October 1, 1975 as the First Baptist Church of Niceville, Florida, Inc. located at 622 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, Florida 32578. The corporation has no stock and is not for material gain.

ARTICLE II
Mission Statement

The mission of First Baptist Church Niceville is to carry out the Great Commission through unified efforts of prayer, Biblical preaching, evangelism, missions, and ministry projects in our community, state, nation, and world.

ARTICLE III
Core Values

First Baptist Church of Niceville holds:

Jesus as its model
The Bible as its base
Prayer as its priority
Evangelism as its motivation
Cooperation as its spirit
Missions as its vision
Unity as its goal

ARTICLE IV
Vision Statement

First Baptist Church will be a faithful partner with Choctaw Baptist Association, the Florida Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention as we seek together:

To reach our communities for Christ
To grow stronger in prayer, faith, and service to God
To plan and implement evangelistic and mission projects
To plant and nurture new churches

ARTICLE V
Statement of Basic Beliefs

We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired Word of God and the basis for our beliefs. It is truth without any mixture of error in all it affirms; it is the basis for any statement of faith, and is the final judge and standard for our faith and practice as Christians individually, and this church body collectively. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963, and subsequently amended in conference at SBC meetings and adopted locally by the church in business session. We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are believerís baptism by immersion and the Lordís Supper.

ARTICLE VI
Church Covenant

We subscribe to the following Church Covenant, which shall be provided to each new family member upon joining the fellowship.

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, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel throughout all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to educate our children regularly as to our beliefs, faith, and creed; to seek the salvation of our family, friends, and others; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our behavior; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to use our influence to combat the abuse of drugs and the spread of pornography and to foster the sanctity of human life; 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 Godís Word.

ARTICLE VII
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 (see Article I of the bylaws).

All internal groups created and empowered by the church shall report to and be accountable only to the church, unless otherwise specified by church action.

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. Insofar as it is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Choctaw Baptist Association, the Florida Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.



THE BYLAWS

ARTICLE I
Church Membership

Section 1. General

This is a sovereign and democratic Southern Baptist church under the lordship of Jesus Christ. The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church and the conditions of such membership.

Section 2. Candidacy

Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. It is understood that this offer for membership is to be made in person unless, in the judgment of the pastor, his presence is impossible because of permanent disability, illness, or some other valid reason. All such candidates shall be presented to the church for membership at any regular church service, in any of the following ways:

  1. By profession of faith and for baptism after the manner of our Lord which is immersion. Individuals with a severe handicap that would prevent their baptism in the baptistry may be handled in a manner deemed appropriate by the pastor.
  2. By promise of letter of recommendation from another Baptist church of like faith and order. "Of like faith and order" means one which practices believer's baptism by immersion upon one's profession of faith. The church office will write the former church for a statement of membership.
  3. By statement of a prior profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and believer's baptism by immersion.
  4. By restoration. A person may rejoin the church upon confession to the church of his errors and by giving satisfactory evidence of repentance.
  5. By watchcare. A Baptist of like faith and order may unite with this body of believers in a watchcare status. This is synonymous with joining by promise of a letter with the exception that the letter is not requested. One who is under the church's watchcare has full fellowship and membership privileges with the exception that he is not permitted to vote on matters before the church body or to hold elected office in any capacity.

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

Section 3. New Member Orientation

New members of this church are encouraged to participate in the church's new member orientation in order to insure that they understand the history and doctrinal beliefs of First Baptist Church, and their responsibility as members of this body,

Section 4. Rights of Members

  1. Members of this church are entitled to vote at all elections and to have all questions submitted to the church in its business meetings, both regular and called, provided the member is present. Members who wish to vote on matters to be decided in a business meeting but are unable to attend because of physical infirmity, absence from the area, or employment responsibilities, may vote by registering in writing at the church office and there submitting an absentee ballot prior to the convening of the business meeting. However, absentee ballots will not be permitted for dismissal action because all of the discussion should be considered before any decision is made by the members (reference Article II, Church Staff, Sections 2 & 3).
  2. Members of the church are eligible for consideration by the membership as candidates for elective offices in the church.
  3. Every member of the church may participate in the ordinances of the church as administered by the church.

Section 5. Termination of Membership

Membership shall be terminated in the following ways:

  1. By death of the member.
  2. By dismissal to another Baptist church.
  3. By exclusion through action of this church for disciplinary reasons, which requires a three-fourths approval by those members present and voting after a thirty (30) day notice that such an action is to be considered.
  4. By erasure upon written request or proof of membership in a church of another faith or denomination.
  5. Upon recommendation of the pastor and deacons, the name of a member may be dropped from the membership roll or transferred to an inactive status when the absence from participation in any church activity or the unknown location of a member is of such nature and duration (2 years) as to indicate that such member does not desire to continue as a member. There shall be an attempt to minister to such member by a personal contact with the individual or family, inquiring how the church can minister in their lives before any action is taken.

Section 6. Discipline

It shall be the practice of this church to emphasize to the members that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled member. The attitude of members toward one another shall be guided by a concern for redemption rather than punishment.

Should some serious condition exist which would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accordance with the Gospel according to Matthew, Chapter 18. If it becomes necessary for the church to take action to terminate a member, a three-fourths vote of the members present is required. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance, and the member will be so notified of the action.

Any person whose membership has been terminated for any condition which has made it necessary for the church to exclude him, may upon his request be restored to membership by a vote of the church upon evidence of his repentance and reformation.

ARTICLE II
Church Staff

Section 1. General

The church shall call or employ such staff members as the church may authorize. A job description shall be written by the Personnel Committee when the need for non-ministerial staff members is determined or when the duties of a non-ministerial staff member are to be changed. All ministerial staff members job descriptions will be developed by the pastor, recommended to the active deacons and approved by the church in conference. Non-ministerial staff members are not required to be members of First Baptist Church Niceville, however, all ministerial staff members shall become members as soon as possible after accepting the call to their position.

The Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook adopted by the First Baptist Church of Niceville, is hereby incorporated by reference. Church staff and members shall refer to the handbook for the specific administration, employment, relationships, benefits, and responsibilities of each staff member. Changes to this handbook may be made as required. Upon adoption of changes by the church, the changes will become incorporated.

Section 2. Pastor

The pastor is responsible for leading the church to function as a New Testament church. The pastor will lead the congregation, the organizations and the church staff to perform their tasks. The pastor is leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such, he works with the deacons and church staff to lead the church in the achievement of its vision; engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry, and application; proclaim the Gospel to believers and unbelievers; and care for the churchís members and other persons in the community.

When a vacancy occurs, a pastor search committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor, and its recommendations will constitute a nomination. Any church member has the privilege of making nominations to the search committee for their consideration. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one name at a time. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given by mail or by public announcement on Sunday. Election shall be by a secret, simple ballot (yes to call or no not to call). In accordance with Article I, Section 4A, absentee ballots will be permitted. The absentee and live ballots shall be counted by the active deacons and the results announced at the conclusion of the service in which the ballot is taken, an affirmative vote of three-fourths being necessary for a call. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request, or the church's request. He shall preside at meetings of this church, and as moderator in all business meetings, in keeping with the rules of order authorized in these bylaws.

The pastor may relinquish the office of pastor by giving a minimum of two weeks notice to the church at the time for resignation. Upon receipt of resignation the church shall declare the position vacant.

Should circumstances require the church to terminate the relationship, such action shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least one week's public notice has been given. The meeting may be called upon recommendation of a majority of the Personnel Committee and a majority of the active deacons or by written petition signed by not less than one-third of the resident church members. The moderator for this meeting shall be the chairman of the deacon body unless the church directs otherwise. The vote to declare the office vacant shall be by a secret, simple ballot yes to terminate; no not to terminate. An affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members present is necessary to declare the office vacant, and the termination shall be immediate. Absentee ballots will not be permitted for dismissal action because all of the discussion should be considered before any decision is made by the members.

When the pastor resigns or is terminated from office, except in instances of gross misconduct, the church will compensate the pastor with not less than one-twelfth of his total annual compensation, which shall be comprised of salary, housing allowance, retirement and remaining medical reimbursement account. The compensation shall be rendered in not more than thirty (30) days.

Section 3. Other Ministerial Staff Members

The ministerial staff shall be called and employed as the church determines the need for such leadership. A search committee will be elected by the church to locate the ministerial staff member. The Pastor will be an ex-officio member of the committee in an advisory capacity. The committee shall have the responsibility of examining the candidates' qualifications and experience, as well as following up on references. Only one prospective candidate for the vacancy will be presented to the church at a time.

Procedures for election, resignation and termination of ministerial staff members will be the same as those adopted for the pastor.

The church may vote to vacate ministerial staff positions upon the joint recommendation of the Pastor, active Deacons and the Personnel Committee.

Section 4. Other Employee Staff Members

Non-ministerial staff members shall be employed as the need is determined. The Personnel Committee shall have the authority to employ and to terminate the services of non-ministerial staff members. Such employment and termination of service shall be with the recommendation of the supervising staff member and, when appropriate, after consultation with the pastor. (Reference Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook).

ARTICLE III
General Church Officers

Section 1. Deacons

  1. Duties. The Deacon Body is the active, functional, organized body of men elected by the church and set apart to accomplish ministry to the church in various capacities. The Deacon Body shall be an advisor to the pastor. They shall maintain the office of pastor of the church, and when the office is vacant, assume the responsibility to ensure the pulpit is filled, an Interim Pastor Search Committee is appointed, and the church is called into conference for securing a pastor search committee.
  2. Membership.
    1. There are currently eighteen (18) active deacons serving in the church. Any change in number shall be determined according to need by the deacons and recommended to the church for consideration and appropriate action.
    2. The deacons shall serve on a rotation basis. The term of office shall be three (3) years, except where election is to fill an unexpired term. Terms of service shall be so arranged that the terms of one-third of the total number shall expire annually.
    3. A deacon who is forced to become inactive because of his non-residency, or being removed by any church-approved method, or by illness or death shall be declared inactive and his term completed by another deacon upon his election by the church. Upon completing this unexpired term the deacon elected to fill it may be eligible for re-election immediately in the event this was less than two (2) years. Should the term have been two years or longer, he shall not be eligible for re-election until at least one (1) year has elapsed.
    4. Any active deacon who finds himself unable to faithfully fulfill the qualifications and duties may resign from active service by notifying the deacon secretary or the church, in writing, and the matter will be presented to the church for action.
    5. Reserve (inactive) deacons may serve with active deacons in a volunteer status to accomplish ministry tasks.
  3. Qualifications. The individual must be a professed and practicing Christian for at least (5) years, a member of this church for at least one (1) year, and not less than twenty-five years of age. Further, he must have demonstrated: (1) active continued support of all Church programs; (2) consistent commitment to stewardship; (3) maturity in the spiritual and emotional realms and; (4) a Christian reputation within the home, church and community.
  4. Procedures. Specific procedures for election of deacons, organization of the body, and accomplishing the ministry objectives are contained in the Deacon Ministry Manual adopted by the church.

Section 2. Clerk

  1. Election: The clerk and the assistant clerk of the church shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the church annually with the term of service coinciding with the church year.
  2. Duties: The duties shall include keeping a correct record and preparing minutes of all proceedings of the regular and special-called business conferences of the church, and the minutes of the Church Council. The clerk will file the minutes in permanent file upon adoption by the church.
  3. Membership: The clerk shall also present to the church, for church action, requests for transfer of membership, exclusion or erasure.
  4. History: The clerk shall provide the History Committee a copy of minutes for all regular and special-called business conferences of the church so that a concise record of events might be maintained which could have historical significance.

Section 3. Treasurer

  1. Election: The treasurer and the two assistant treasurers of the church shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the church annually with their terms of service coinciding with the church year.
  2. Funds Disbursement: The treasurer, with assistance of the bookkeeper, will disburse funds in payment of all accounts consistent with the budget of the church, with the exception to be made upon the authority of the Stewardship Committee or the church in conference. The bills will all be paid promptly, and funds received for denominational or other causes shall be remitted at least monthly by check. Before disbursement, all checks will contain two signatures, which may consist of the treasurer and/or assistant treasurers. In circumstances deemed an emergency by a senior staff member, the office manager or a selected secretary, as approved by the Stewardship Committee, may represent one of the signatures with a limit of $300 prevailing. A secretary may not sign payroll checks.
  3. Relationship: The treasurer shall be an ex-officio member of the Stewardship Committee and shall assist in the preparation of the budget. He shall also be an ex-officio member of the Trustees and serve as an officer of the corporation as required.

Section 4. Trustees (also known as: Corporation Board of Directors)

  1. Composition: The board of trustees shall consist of five people, three of which follow a rotating plan of service whereby the individuals will serve a term of three years with at least one member to be retired each year, in accordance with the church year. The remaining two members shall be the current treasurer and the chairman of deacons.
  2. Eligibility: A person shall be eligible for re-election to this board only after having remained off the board for one year. Any church member, 25 years of age and a member for at least one year shall be eligible to serve as a trustee if elected by the church upon recommendation by the Nominating Committee.
  3. Duties: They shall be empowered to execute deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages, liens, promissory notes, or other pecuniary obligations, and to transfer, assign, and convey all church property or any part thereof. These duties will be immediately carried out by the Trustees upon officially recorded instructions of the church in conference. All powers and duties of the Trustees shall be conformable with the laws of the State of Florida. They shall have no power to make any transfers of property or other similar action listed above without a specific vote of the church authorizing such action.
  4. Notice: Action to approve such transactions may be taken by the church at any regular business meeting of the church, or by a called meeting only after public notice has been given from the pulpit and weekly church publication two Sundays immediately preceding the meeting at which such proposed action is to be considered.
  5. Coordination: Any action being considered by committee or individuals involving the trustees area of responsibility will be coordinated with the trustees to insure all legal ramifications have been addressed prior to presentation to the church.
  6. Audit. At least once every three years, or when bookkeeping personnel change, the trustees shall nominate to the deacons for approval an audit committee for the purpose of reviewing the church's general ledger and disbursements/expenditures of church financial resources. Upon completion of the review process, a summary report shall be made available to church members upon request.

ARTICLE IV
Years, Ordinances, and Meetings

  1. Church Year: The church year shall run from January 1 through December 31 of each year.
  2. Fiscal Year: The fiscal year shall coincide with the international calendar year. The financial operation of the church shall be based upon the fiscal year.
  3. Education Year: The education year shall run according to the quarterly Southern Baptist Convention literature with promotion scheduled accordingly. The Minister of Education may authorize exceptions to this policy, on a case-by-case basis, based upon circumstances.
  4. Services
    1. Sunday: The church shall have Sunday School, Discipleship Training, and at least two worship services each Lord's Day.
    2. Prayer Service: The church shall have a mid-week Bible Study and prayer service, with the day and time set by the church.
    3. Changes: The church shall make changes as needed based upon special circumstances. Authorization for changes shall be made by a majority vote of those members attending the regularly scheduled business meeting. In the event of an emergency, authority for change shall come from the pastor, in consultation with the church staff and deacons.
  5. Lord's Supper: The church shall observe the Lord's Supper at least once per quarter on Sunday. The deacons shall be responsible for the physical preparation of the Lordís Supper. Administration of the Lordís Supper will be accomplished by the pastor and staff, and assisted by the deacons.
  6. Baptism: The church shall observe the ordinance of baptism as often as may be required. Baptism shall be administered by the pastor or whomever the church shall authorize.
  7. Business Meeting
    1. Meetings: The church shall have a regular monthly business conference on the third Sunday of each month unless a conflict results, then an alternate date will be selected and announced at least one week in advance. The church may call a special business conference at any time, provided that the specific purpose for which it is called and the time of the conference is announced from the pulpit at least three days prior to the conference. A called meeting may be held as deemed necessary and may be called either by the pastor or by the chairman of the deacons with their mutual consent, or by the written request of at least four active deacons.
    2. Parliamentary Procedure: All business conferences shall be conducted in strict accordance with parliamentary law as provided by Roberts Rules of Order.
    3. Moderator: The pastor shall act as moderator at all church conferences. In the absence of the pastor, the deacon chairman shall act as moderator unless the church sees fit to elect another.
    4. Authority: The will of the church on any given matter, duly approved by itís vote, shall be carried out by all committees, officers, and organizations of the church.

ARTICLE V
Church Program Organizations

Section 1. General

In order to fulfill Christ's mission, the church must have an intentional and functioning structure. The structure helps focus the time, energy, and resources of the church members into effective ministries. This structure allows church members to invest their gifts and abilities in fruitful ways that honor God and help His church to grow.

All organizations of the church shall be under church control, all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church body. The pastor is ex-officio head of all organizations named, and his leadership is to be recognized in them. The leaders of each of the following ministry programs will have general supervision over it, its conduct and direction, consistent with the overall church program. The church shall provide the human resources and the physical and financial resources for the appropriate advancement of these programs.

All literature used by any church program or organizational element will conform to the doctrinal beliefs outlined in the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, and approved by either the Pastor or Minister of Education.

Section 2. Ministry Programs

  1. Pastoral Ministries: This ministry program seeks to share the Gospel with those who are lost, to care and pray for those who are hurting, and to interpret and undergird the work of the church and the denomination. This is the work of the entire church, through the church staff, the deacons, the Sunday School workers, and committed lay people leading in unique ministries
  2. Bible Teaching and Reaching Ministries: This ministry program seeks to teach biblical revelation, to reach people for Christ and church membership, to lead all church members to worship, witness, teach and minister daily, and to provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and the denomination. It shall be organized by departments and/or classes, as appropriate for all ages, and shall be conducted under the leadership of the Minister of Education as assisted by the Sunday School director. The major Bible study emphasis for all ages shall be on Sunday morning, though other Bible study opportunities may be offered throughout the week.
  3. Discipleship Training Ministries: This ministry program seeks to train church members to perform the functions of the church, to train church leaders, to orient new church members, to teach Christian theology, Christian ethics, Christian history and church polity and organization, and to interpret and undergird the work of the church and the denomination. Training shall be organized by departments for all ages and conducted under the leadership of the Minister of Education as assisted by the Discipleship Training director.
  4. Woman's Missionary Union Ministries: This ministry program seeks to be the mission education, mission action, and mission support organization of the church for women, young women, girls, and preschool children by teaching missions, engaging in mission action, supporting world missions through praying and giving, and interpreting and undergirding the work of the church and the denomination. The Woman's Missionary Union shall have such officers and organizations as the ministry program requires.
  5. Baptist Men's Ministries: This ministry program endeavors to involve men of all ages in the understanding of Godís unique roles and responsibilities for Christian men in their families, the church and the community, and the fulfillment of Godís vision for them. It seeks to do so by providing opportunities for open and free worship of God, fellowship and lasting bonding with other men, and education and service to Godís vision. Included in these opportunities are discipleship training, periodic breakfast meetings, small group meetings, menís local outings and retreats and other regional and national organized menís meetings such as Promise Keepers. Additionally, the Men's Ministry assists the deacons and other organizations in reaching out to the community by providing Sunday worship services to various assisted living facilities; conducting adult menís Bible studies at Eglin Federal Prison, the Juvenile Justice Center, and the Waterfront Rescue Mission; and performing assistance to church and community members as needed. Further, this ministry program seeks to be the mission education, mission action, and mission support organization for the men, young men, and boys by teaching missions, engaging in mission action, supporting world missions through praying and giving, and interpreting and undergirding the work of the church and the denomination.
  6. Worship Arts Ministries: This ministry program seeks to witness and minister through music by providing musical experiences in congregational services, developing musical skills, attitudes and understandings, and providing music in the church and community. The music program organization, under the direction of the Minister of Worship Arts, shall have such officers and organizations as the ministry program requires. In addition, the ministry involves adult and youth drama, clowning, puppets and other worship art techniques to reach people for Christ.
  7. Women's Ministry. This ministry seeks to involve all of the women of the church by providing activities that give them opportunities for fellowship one with another, while providing a channel for them to find a place of service in the church. Activities may include eating out regularly, doing crafts, Bible study and assisting the Senior Adult Ministry. Further, they engage in a "Five Touch Ministry" to welcome new ladies into the fellowship and nurture them in their walk with Christ at First Baptist Church.

ARTICLE VI
Church Committees

Section 1. General

The committees will be elected annually in January, except the Committee on Committees, which will be elected in October. All committee members shall be church members in good standing that exemplifies Christian character and conduct. Unless otherwise stated, the size of the committees will vary from three or more at the discretion of the Committee on Committees, pending church approval.

Standing committees should have regular meetings as necessary, or as directed by the appropriate Ministerial Staff Advisor, for the proper discharge of their specific responsibilities. Committee members shall serve on a three-year rotation basis with one-third to be elected each year, unless other basis for rotation has been determined to be more beneficial. A majority of committee members must be present to arrive at a committee recommendation. The number and function of these committees may change from year to year upon the approval of the church.

Special committees, ministry teams, special ministries, and support groups shall be established and elected by the church for purposes not covered by the standing committees. The Committee on Committees, in consultation with the pastor, shall recommend these committees to the church.

A list of these committees, ministries, support groups, etc., and their function is maintained separately as an attachment to the constitution/bylaws to eliminate the need for change to the constitution/bylaws each time a need is identified and established.

Section 2. Organizational Committees

  1. Church Council.

    The Church Council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, orchestrating, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organizations. The primary functions of the Church Council shall be to recommend to the church membership suggested objectives and church goals; to review and coordinate program plans and ministries recommended by church officers, organizations, committees, and ministry teams; to evaluate achievements in terms of church goals and objectives; and to correlate and coordinate the activities and organizations of the church, yet with advisory powers only.

    The Church Council shall consist of the pastor as the chairperson, other ministerial staff, the Bible Teaching and Reaching director, the Discipleship Training director, the Woman's Missionary Union director, the Women's Ministry director, the Men's Ministry director, the Deacon Committee chairman, the Stewardship Committee chairman, the Media Center director, and the Church Clerk or the assistant Church Clerk to serve as secretary.

    The Church Council shall meet quarterly, or on call of the chairperson, at any time deemed necessary. Notification of pending meetings will be made one week in advance by mail and telephone.

    All matters agreed upon by the Church Council, calling for action not already authorized, shall be referred to the appropriate church committee, ministry team, or to the church for action in a business meeting.

  2. Committee on Committees.

    The Committee on Committees will lead the church in the staffing, replacing, or removing of all church-elected committee positions filled by volunteers. The committee shall consist of seven members selected by the pastor for approval by the church during the October business meeting.

  3. Stewardship Committee.

    The Stewardship Committee shall oversee the finances of the church; develop an annual church budget; oversee receipt and dispersal of funds; maintain financial records of individual contributions and church accounting actions; provide periodic reports to the church; and lead the church in Christian stewardship. A bookkeeper shall be employed to assist in these tasks. The specific functions include:
    1. Budget: Input will be received from appropriate persons, organizations, committees and ministry teams, in consultation with the deacons, and presented to the church for adoption.
    2. Funds: The Stewardship Committee shall oversee receipt of all funds received through all channels. A Counting Committee, operating under the supervision of the bookkeeper, will deposit funds in the name of the church at a local bank. Disbursement of funds will be accomplished by the treasurer, assisted by the bookkeeper, and under the guidance of the Stewardship Committee.
    3. Records: The bookkeeper, under the supervision of the Stewardship Committee, shall maintain at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. All books, records, and accounts shall be considered the property of the church. The information shall be available during regular business hours to any church member, by appointment, upon request to the treasurer, the bookkeeper or the Stewardship Committee. Records of contribution will only be provided to the individual or family member involved.
    4. Reports: Monthly financial reports shall be distributed to the church in its regular monthly business conference. The financial report for the month of December each year will suffice as the annual report showing the total amount of receipts and disbursements. Reports required by the federal and state governments will be provided as scheduled. A record of contributions will be provided each church member quarterly. It shall be The Stewardship Committee's duty to present any further pertinent information, which may be helpful to picture the financial condition of the church.

    The Stewardship Committee shall consist of eight members. Two of the Stewardship Committee members shall be the church treasurer and the deacon chairman, with the other six members rotating on a three-year basis, having two rotating off each year.

  4. Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall lead the church in the discovery and enlistment of qualified volunteers to serve in all the non-committee, volunteer church positions, except deacons. When appropriate, this committee will bring to the church the nominated volunteers for church approval.

    Unless otherwise approved by the church, this elected leadership shall serve for one year and shall be eligible for re-election upon the recommendation by the Nominating Committee.

    The Nominating Committee, recommended to the church for approval by the Committee on Committees, shall consist of eight members. These members shall include the directors of the Bible Teaching and Reaching, the Discipleship Training, the Woman's Missionary Union, the Women's, the Men's, and the Worship Arts Ministries. The remaining two members shall include a man and a woman at large, which rotate annually.

  5. Personnel Committee. The Personnel Committee shall assist the pastor and the church in matters related to personnel, administration, and management of the church employees. This committee is responsible for the recruitment, interviewing, employment, termination, development of policies and procedures, and making of recommendations to the Stewardship Committee relative to salaries for all non-ministerial personnel. This committee shall act in accordance with the church-approved Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook and will not be responsible to fill or set salaries for the ministerial staff positions. The committee shall consist of five church members at large, elected to alternating three-year rotating terms.

  6. Missions Development Committee. The purpose of this committee is to support and develop mission opportunities in the local area as well as world- wide scope. The committee also plans Love Offering for Jesus activities and disperses funds received. The committee is comprised of leadership from all of the mission groups, and age levels of the mission groups. The chairperson is elected at large from the church. Mission activity may consist of areas such as Community Wide Thanksgiving Luncheon, Mullet Festival Booth, Christmas for the Needy, Gang Rescue Ministry, Waterfront Mission, Christian Automotive Repairs (CARS) and church members' mission trips.

ARTICLE VII
Church Finances

Section 1. General

Tithes and offerings shall be recognized as our plan of finance. Members shall be encouraged to give at least a tenth of their income to the church, and to support any special emphasis above and beyond the tithe.

Section 2. Budget

The Stewardship Committee shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget, indicating by items the amount needed and sought for all local and other expenses. Offering envelopes will be provided for members' use.

No special offerings shall be taken in the church, or in any organization of the church, except for revival meetings, the three annual mission offerings (namely state missions, home missions and foreign missions), and such as our church may authorize in business meetings, regular or called. In those rare cases where church approval is not practical, the deacon body or church staff members may approve the taking of a special offering, with the church being notified as soon as possible. For the purpose of this article, collections for benevolent or other uses by individual classes, departments, or groups are not considered to be offerings.

The "Love Offering for Jesus" concept will be used to accomplish financial planning for special offerings, and to maintain accountability of funds received. The Missions Development Committee will have direct responsibility for management of these funds, with oversight by the Stewardship Committee.

Section 3. Accounting Procedures

All funds received for any and all purposes shall pass through the hands of the Counting Committee and/or the bookkeeper, and be properly recorded on the books of the church. Expenditure of funds shall be in accordance with the church approved "Budget Policy", or as may be further decided upon by the church in conference.

The church shall provide reports at the end of each quarter to all members, reflecting their contributions to date.

ARTICLE VIII
General

Section 1. Personnel

The church shall authorize the employment of necessary employees as may be recommended by the Personnel Committee. The church shall set salaries, length of vacation, revival time, sick leave, and similar matters for all church personnel. Further specific information concerning the church staff shall be found in the church-approved Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook.

Section 2. Decisions

All organization heads shall be recognized and consulted on matters pertaining to their organization before any action affecting such organization is taken.

Section 3. Licensing and Ordination

Any member, having felt the call of God to the gospel ministry and having ample evidence of such a call by his Christian life, experience, and devotion to the cause of Christ, may upon his own request, be licensed to preach the gospel. Upon such a request, the pastor will make a recommendation to the church. The request will be granted on approval of three-fourths of those members present and voting at any regular business meeting.

Should such a one be called as a minister of a church affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, he may, upon request of that church, be ordained to the full gospel ministry by this church. The pastor will make a recommendation to the deacons that the candidate be examined for ordination. If the deacons approve, they will make a recommendation to the church at a regular business meeting. Upon church approval of three-fourths of those members present and voting, the pastor shall invite an ordaining council, made up of pastors of the local churches in the association. This council shall examine the candidate and make such recommendations as it may see fit. If the recommendation is favorable, the church may, by three-fourths vote of those members present and voting, approve the candidate's ordination to the full gospel ministry.

Section 4. Church Operations

The church engages in a variety of functions in the course of accomplishing itís purpose. To ensure an orderly process, and to protect the comfort and welfare of individual church members and guests, necessary plans, policies and procedures are established and followed by the leadership and members. These plans, policies and procedures are developed as needed and outline in detail necessary actions to achieve the goal of that function, and shall address all risks involved. A central file of these plans, policies and procedures are maintained in the church office for all to review, and use in accomplishing necessary planning and administration.

ARTICLE IX
Amendments

Changes in the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church provided that each amendment shall have been presented in writing, or other accepted media, at a previous regular business meeting. Copies of the proposed amendment shall have been made available to each member present at the earlier meeting, and such proposed changes shall have been submitted to the deacons for their consideration prior to bringing it to the church for action. Amendments to the constitution and bylaws shall be by two-thirds vote of the church members present and voting. Amendments to the attachments to the constitution and bylaws may be made at any regular business meeting of the church with a simple majority of those present and voting.

ATTACHMENT I

Church Committees/Ministry Teams/Special Ministries/Support Groups
(Reference Article VI, Section 1, General - Constitution/Bylaws)

First Baptist Church of Niceville seeks to fulfill the will and call of God in this community and around the world. God has uniquely equipped the members of this church with abilities and gifts He uses to accomplish His work. Through the various organizational committees, the ministry team committees, and the special ministries and support groups, the church provides a structure through which God's people can carry out His mission.

  1. Organizational Committees (Reference Article VI, Section 2)

    1. Church Council: This committee will lead in planning, coordinating, orchestrating, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and itís organizations.
    2. Committee on Committees: This committee will lead the church in the staffing, replacing or removing of all church-elected committee positions filled by volunteers.
    3. Stewardship: This committee will oversee the church finances, in consultation with the church treasurer and bookkeeper; develop an annual church budget; and lead the church in Christian stewardship.
    4. Nominating; This committee will lead the church in the discovery and enlistment of qualified volunteers to serve in all the non-committee, volunteer church positions, except deacons. In the search process for teachers, should an individual that has served faithfully for many years decline because of advanced age or a medical infirmity, or is unable to continue, he or she will be recommended to the church as "Teacher Emeritus". An appropriate certificate or plaque will be presented upon church action to afford recognition.
    5. Personnel: This committee will assist the Pastor and the church in matters related to personnel, administration, and management of the church employees.
    6. Mission Development: This committee plans Love Offering For Jesus activities, disperses funds received and supports special mission activities.

  2. Ministry Team Committees - Standing

    1. Air Conditioning and Heating: This committee has general oversight of the church air conditioning and heating equipment and will take necessary steps to keep the systems functioning properly.
    2. Baptism: This committee shall, when alerted by the church office, assist in arranging all the details in preparation for the baptismal services, including meeting with and helping to prepare baptismal candidates before the service, and taking care of the robes, mats, towels and area clean-up.
    3. Benevolent: This committee assists the church in ministering to benevolent needs primarily within our church family.
    4. Bereavement: This committee, with the assistance of the church membership, provides meals the day of the funeral for church families who have a death in the immediate family
    5. Children: This committee has general oversight of the church's Children's Ministry.
    6. Christian Life: This committee alerts and educates the church on relevant contemporary issues and assists the church in addressing such issues.
    7. Computer: This committee will function in both an advisory capacity and ongoing support to assist the church staff and church with computer equipment and appropriate procedures.
    8. Counting: This committee, under the supervision of the bookkeeper, will receive all contributions from the Bible Reaching and Teaching Ministry, worship services and all other parties collecting gifts, and be responsible for the accurate counting and depositing of the money into the church's bank accounts.
    9. Evangelism: This committee will help lead the church in its God-given commission of reaching others with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    10. Family Life: This committee will assist in planning ministry events and programs for the growth of the families of the church.
    11. History: This committee will assist the church in the development and maintenance of a history of the church and the area.
    12. Hospitality: This committee will provide for church receptions and other events when a committee of this nature would function.
    13. Insurance: This committee will meet when merited and assist the church in addressing the church's insurance needs, providing specific financial recommendations for budget preparation, and guidance in administering the church insurance program. An Insurance and Safety Manual outlines the specific procedures, responsibilities and forms used for these tasks.
    14. Long Range Building and Planning: This committee will look directly ahead to the future for building and land needs and guide the church in the use or disposition of existing buildings and property.
    15. Lord's Supper: This committee, staffed by appropriate deacons, is responsible for preparing the Lord's Supper for the church and caring for the Lord's Supper equipment.
    16. Media & Library Center: This committee will direct the Media Center program of the church, providing requested visual aids for church organizations and assisting in the use of Media Center equipment.
    17. New Member: This committee will relate to the new members and plan activities to help assimilate them into the ministry and life of the church.
    18. Parking & Security: This committee will function when the parking needs control and direction and at times when there is an anticipated need. They also will work to protect the property of worshippers during church services and special events.
    19. Prayer: This committee will plan, coordinate, and promote ministry activities to enhance the prayer ministry of the church.
    20. Preschool: This committee will form, update, and execute preschool policies approved by the church; lead in planning for and selecting adequate preschool equipment; and make recommendations about the care of the preschool rooms and the overall preschool ministry. They will operate under the supervision of the Preschool Director.
    21. Property & Grounds: This committee makes interval checks on property to determine upkeep needs, reports their findings to appropriate church members, and develops and maintains attractive grounds around the church.
    22. Publicity/ Broadcast Committee: This committee works with the Minister of Worship Arts to evaluate, coordinate, and oversee all print/ media operations of the church in regard to advertisements and general media presentations to the community. This does not necessarily include "in-house" publicity and promotion, though this committee may at times be accessed for input and evaluation of such projects. It does specifically include the weekly television broadcast, radio, television, and newspaper advertisements, and other media presentations and advertisements deemed appropriate by the Ministerial Staff and Church Body.
    23. Recreation: This committee will oversee the Recreation Ministry of the church, develop Recreation Ministry policies, and make recommendations to the Stewardship Committee concerning the Recreation Ministry.
    24. Senior Adult: This committee will plan, coordinate, and promote ministry activities to serve senior adults. Membership shall be comprised of directors of the senior adult Sunday school departments, director of the Homebound ministry, director and social chairmen of the Keenagers, and the Minister to Senior Adults.
    25. Single Adult: This committee will plan, coordinate and promote ministry activities to serve single adults.
    26. Sound & Lighting: This committee works with the Minister of Worship Arts to provide whatever sound and lighting equipment needed for any function of the church, and is responsible for equipment upkeep and purchase of new equipment as needed.
    27. Transportation: This committee will have full charge of the transportation needs of the church, the oversight of the use and upkeep of the transportation property, and the responsibility for making recommendations to the church concerning the transportation needs of the church.
    28. Usher: This committee will function inside the worship center welcoming, seating, and attending to the comfort needs of the worshippers.
    29. Welcome & Greeting: This committee will greet guests as they arrive on Sunday mornings, assist these newcomers by escorting them to their proper place.
    30. Worship Arts: This committee assists the Minister of Worship Arts in appropriate Worship Arts Ministry projects and surveys the music programs to determine and address the needs. Assistance is also provided in establishing and maintaining other Worship Art techniques such as clowning, puppets, adult and youth drama.
    31. Youth: This committee has the general oversight of the church's Youth Ministry.

  3. Ministry Teams - Ad Hoc

    1. Church Constitution, By-laws, and Policies: This committee presents a renewed constitution, by-laws, and policies package to the church for consideration when determination is made by the church that revision is necessary. The committee is usually staffed by a committee from the active deacons, with selected membership from the church at large.

  4. Special Ministries

    1. Crisis Pregnancy Ministry: This ministry provides a Hope Center to those in a crisis pregnancy and recommends alternative solutions to those seeking abortions. Individuals are provided free pregnancy testing, counseling, referrals, and in all instances, are ministered to in the spiritual, physical, emotional and psychological realms. The director and co-director will be recommended to the church for approval by the advisory board of the Hope Center.
    2. Hope Center Job Corps Training: This ministry seeks to teach basic job skills to individuals in need of employment, or improved employment skills, to aid them in becoming self-supporting. The director and co-director will be recommended to the church for approval by the advisory board of the Hope Center Job Corps.
    3. GANG RESCUE: This ministry is supported by Niceville First Baptist Church, however, the ministry has national scope of operation. GANG RESCUE is an acronym for Gangs Also Need God Ė Reach Every Single Child Upon Earth. Ezekiel 2:6-7 provides the scriptural motivation for this ministry. The ministry was initiated to reach gang members on the streets of Chicago, Illinois but has been extended to Juvenile Justice prisons, with national exposure of the ministry. Working with youth in these facilities, the volunteers of Gang Rescue establish relationships with these incarcerated young men, follow them to their habitats and gangs telling them about Jesus, and offering help to escape from their gang environment and way of life. The GANG RESCUE ultimate goal is to establish a safe haven ranch where these young gang members can live and learn in a positive environment as their faith grows, along with learning a trade to earn a decent living and become productive citizens.
    4. My Friends House: This is a ministry that is supported and sponsored by the First Baptist Church along with the Florida Baptist Childrenís Homes and Florida Department of Children and Families to provide an emergency shelter house for children who are in a stressful home environment. The home is licensed and staffed to care for up to five children.

  5. Support Groups

    1. Baptist Veterinarian Fellowship Support Group: This group seeks to provide a ministry development team to use the unique skills of veterinarians to minister to others in Jesusí Name and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
    2. Crisis Support Group: This group seeks to provide immediate care and ongoing support for those people undergoing depressions and other life crises.
    3. Grief Support Group: This group seeks to provide support and encouragement to the spouses and family members who have lost a loved one.
    4. Home School Support Group: This group seeks to facilitate, enhance, and enrich the educational, home, and church life of those families which have chosen to home school their children.
    5. TDY Wives Support Group: This group seeks to provide support and encouragement for the spouses and families of servicemen who are on extended training or service missions.