Doctrinal Statement and Constitution

of North Ridge Baptist Church

PREAMBLE

We, the members of North Ridge Baptist Church, in orderly manner do hereby establish the following principles by which we mutually agree to be governed in the affairs of our church.

Article I: Name

This church shall be known as the North Ridge Baptist Church.

Article II: Affiliation

North Ridge Baptist Church shall be known as an Independent Baptist Church, associated in fellowship with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International.

Article III: Purpose

The purpose of the church, and so every individual member, is to glorify God and serve Him forever (Ephesians 3:21; Romans 11:36; 1 Peter 4:11). Any activity which does not serve this objective should not be done. This church shall have as its goal the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) in reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ at home and abroad (Ephesians Romans 1:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; Acts 1:8), and equipping the saints unto the work of the ministry in all its aspects along with their spiritual maturity in the Lord (Ephesians 4:12-16; Colossians 1:28-29).

Article IV: Statement of Faith

This church holds the following Statement of Faith as being a summary of Christian doctrine whose authority consists only in its agreement with the Word of God.

1. OF THE SCRIPTURES

We believe the Holy Scriptures are divinely inspired. The Spirit of God moved upon men to write the sixty-six books of the Bible (Acts 1:16, 2 Peter 1:21). The inspiration is plenary and verbal. That is, it includes all Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), and it includes every word (1 Corinthians 2:13). The Bible carries with it the divine authority of God. The Lord Himself said, “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). It is inerrant and infallible in the original manuscripts and is the only guide for faith, life and practice. The Bible is the complete Word of God, and therefore no further revelation is needed (1 Corinthians 13:10, Revelation 22:18-19).

We believe that the Holy Bible was written by men supernaturally inspired; that it has truth without any admixture of error for its matter; and therefore is, and shall remain to the end of the age, the only complete and final revelation of the will of God to man; the true center of Christian union; and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and opinions should be tried.

1 .        By the “HOLY BIBLE” we mean that collection of sixty-six books, from Genesis to Revelation, which, as originally written does not only contain and convey the Word of God, but is the very Word of God.

2.         By “INSPIRATION” we mean that the books of the Bible were written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, in such a definite way that their writings were supernaturally and verbally inspired free from error, as no other writings have ever been or ever will be inspired.

2. OF THE GODHEAD

We believe in one true and living God existing in the Trinity – The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Matthew 28:19, Romans 1:20, 2 Corinthians 13:14) God is self-existent (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58) and eternal (Genesis 21:33, Psalm 90:2). Each person of the Trinity has equality of person but diversity in function. Each is coexistent, identical in nature, equal in power, and have the same attributes.

We believe that there is one, and only one, living and true God; an infinite, intelligent Spirit, the Maker and Supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth; inexpressible glorious in holiness, and worthy of all possible honor, confidence, and love; that in the unity of the Godhead there are three persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in every divine perfection, and executing distinct but harmonious offices in the great work of the redemption.

A: GOD THE FATHER

We believe the Father is a Spirit (John 4:24). He is the first person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19). His basic attributes include:

Omnipresence (1 Kings 8:27, Psalm 139:7-10, Acts 7:48-49).

Omniscience (Isaiah 46:10, Psalm 147:5, Hebrews 4:13).

Omnipotence (Job 42:2, Jeremiah 32:17, Matthew 19:26, Revelation 19:6).

Immutable (Psalm 102:26-27, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 1:12, James 1:17).

Sovereign (Exodus 15:18, 1 Chronicles 29:11 Psalm 115:3, Rev. 11:17).

Holy (Leviticus 11:44, Psalm 22:3, 1 Peter 1:15).

Righteous (Ezra 9:15, Isaiah 45:21, Psalm 89:14, 97:2, Revelation 16:5).

Good (Exodus 34:6, Mark 10:18).

Love (2 Corinthians 13:11, 1 John 4:8, 16).

Benevolent (Psalm 145:9, 15, Matthew 5:45, Acts 14:17).

Mercy (Ephesians 2:4, James 5:11, 1 Peter 1:3).

Grace (Exodus 34:6, Ephesians 2:7-9, Titus 2:11).

Truth (Jeremiah 10:10, John 3:33, Romans 3:4).

B: GOD THE SON

We believe that Jesus Christ is God veiled in human flesh (John 1:14). He is the second person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19). He is fully man (John 8:40), and fully God (Colossians 2:9). He existed with the Father from eternity past (John 1:1). He was involved in creation (Colossians 1:16). We believe He was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit  in a miraculous manner; bom of Mary as no other man was ever bom or can ever be bom of woman(Matthew 1:18, 20, 23), and He is both the Son of God and God the Son. He experienced all human temptations, and lived a completely sinless and perfect life (Hebrews 4:15).

We believe Christ’s death on the cross, His burial, and resurrection, purchased fallen man to God for all that believe (John 3:16). It was the chief purpose of His incarnation (Mark 10:45, 1 John 3:5). Christ paid the sinner’s penalty (Romans 3:25). He did not die for His own sin (Mark 10:25, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18). The Person and work of Christ is the foundation and basis of our faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), and is essential for salvation (Matthew 16:21, Acts 17:3). Christ’s death is sufficient in that it satisfies God’s holy wrath against sin (Romans 3:26, 1 John 2:2, 4:10). By His death, we are reconciled to God and God to us (Romans 5:10, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Atonement is available for all (John 1:29, 1 Timothy 2:6, 2 Peter 2:9), but effective only for those who believe (John 3:18, Romans 10:9-11)

We believe that the Lord physically and bodily rose from the grave (Matthew 28:9, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:39, John 20:25-28). His resurrection is the fundamental doctrine of Christianity (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). It attests to His deity (Romans 1:4) and assures the acceptance of His work (Romans 4:25). His resurrection gives the believer the assurance that all necessary power for life and service are available to him (Ephesians 1:18-20).

We believe that Christ ascended into heaven after His resurrection (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50, Acts 1:9), and has been exalted by the Father (Acts 2:33, 5:31, Romans 8:31, Philippians 2:9). As our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14), Christ is currently fulfilling His role as our Intercessor and Advocate to the Father (Hebrews 7:25, 9:24, Romans 8:34, 1 John 2:1-2).

C. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe the Holy Spirit is fully and completely God (Acts 5:3-4). He is the third person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19). He was actively involved at creation (Genesis 1:2). He possesses all the divine attributes of God (Psalm 139:7, Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, the need of salvation, and the judgment to come (John 16:8-11). He testifies of Christ (John 15:26), bears witness of the truth (John 14:17) and He restrains evil (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). To resist the Spirit is a sin (Acts 6:10, 7:51).

The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21, John 16:13, Ephesians 3:5). He is also the interpreter and teacher of Scripture (Ephesians 11:17, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 1 John 2:27). It is the Spirit who produces the fruit of the Spirit in the life of believers (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9, Philippians 1:11).

The Holy Spirit sovereignly gives spiritual gifts to all believers. (1 Corinthians 12:4, 7-11, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Peter 4:10). We believe sign gifts, (speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing), were used to authenticate the Apostle’s ministry and message to unbelievers, and were temporary. (1 Corinthians 14:21-22) When the Bible was completed, they ceased, and are not for today. (1 Corinthians 13:8-10) We do believe God frequently answers prayer for physical healing, according to His will, but we do not need a human mediator. (Hebrews 4:16)

We believe that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of the Gospel in preaching and testimony; that He is the agent in the New Birth; that He seals, endues, guides, teaches, witnesses, sanctifies, and helps the believer; that He is the imparter of Spiritual gifts, and equips each believer with at least one spiritual gift for use in the service of the church.

3.  OF MAN AND SIN

We believe that man was created by God in His image (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:1, Psalm 104:30). They were created sinless and put into a perfect paradise (Genesis 1:31, Genesis 2:8-15). We believe in the Genesis account of creation, and that it is to be accepted literally and not allegorically or figuratively; that man was created directly in God’s image and after His own likeness; that man’s creation was not a matter of evolution or evolutionary changes of species, or developments through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; that all animal and vegetable life were made directly, and God’s established law was that they should bring forth only “after their kind.”

By the willful disobedience of the first man, Adam, sin entered the world. (Genesis 3:1-7, 1 Timothy 2:13). Through this act, sin and the consequences of sin are universally passed on to all men (Romans 5:12-19, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22). All men are born sinners (Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:10, 12, 23). The Scriptures speak of human nature as totally depraved (Romans 3:10-17, 7:18, 8:7, Ephesians 4:18). Because of this man is guilty before God (Romans 1:18, I John 3:20). The penalty of sin is death and is threefold:

Physical Death (Genesis 3:19, John 8:44, Romans 5:12-17)

Spiritual Death (Genesis 2:17, Romans 5:21, Ephesians 2:1, 5)

Eternal Death (Matthew 10:28, 25:41, Revelation 20:14)

We believe that man was created in innocence under the law of his Maker, but by voluntary transgression fell from his sinless and happy state, in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners; not by constraint, but by choice, and therefore, under just condemnation without defense or excuse.

4. OF THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace; through the mediatorial offices of the Son of God, who by the appointment of the Father, freely took upon Him our nature, yet without sin, honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and by His death made a full and vicarious atonement for our sins; that His atonement consisted not in setting us an example by His death as a martyr, but was the voluntary substitution of Himself in the sinner’s place, the just dying for the unjust, Christ the Lord, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree; that, having risen from the dead, He is now enthroned in heaven and uniting in His wonderful person the tenderest sympathies with divine perfection.  He is every way qualified to be a suitable, compassionate, and all-sufficient Savior.

We believe that the person and work of Jesus Christ is the only possible solution to fallen man’s condition. It is a free gift, and man can do nothing to save himself (Ephesians 2:8-9). The shed blood of Christ redeems us (1 Peter 1:18-19), and His resurrection assures us that the sacrifice was accepted by the Father (Romans 4:25, 1 Peter 1:21). Salvation is available to all who will call upon the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith (Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9-10, 13). We believe in an unlimited atonement; there is a provisional benefit to all men because of Christ’s vicarious sacrifice (1 John 2:2).

The experience of salvation has many elements. There is no chronological sequence – all take place at the same instant.

Repentance (Matthew 21:32, Acts 17:30, Hebrews 6:1). Repentance is an absolute condition of salvation (Luke 13:2-5).

Faith (Acts 16:31, Romans 5:1, 9:30-32, Ephesians 2:8).

Justification (Romans 1:17, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Regeneration (John 3:5, 10:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 John 5:11).

The Union with Christ (John 14:20, John 15:1-6, Galatians 2:20).

Adoption (Romans 8:15, 23, 9:4 Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5).

Sanctification alone is both an act (1 Corinthians 1:2, Hebrews 10:14) and a process (Hebrews 12:14, 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Grace is God’s unmerited and undeserved favor to sinful man (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:8).

5. OF THE FREENESS OF SALVATION

We believe in God’s electing grace; that the blessings of salvation are made free to all by the Gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial, pertinent and obedient faith; and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, but his own inherent depravity and voluntary rejection of the Gospel; which rejection involves him in condemnation. We believe God elects those who will be saved, and that man’s free will is in no way compromised. (1 Peter 1:2, Romans 8:33, 1 Corinthians 2:7, Ephesians 1:5, 11-12).

6. OF GRACE IN THE NEW CREATION

We believe that in order to be saved, sinners must be born again; that the new birth is a new creation in Jesus Christ; that it is instantaneous, and not a process; that in the new birth the one dead in trespasses and in sins, is made a partaker of the divine nature and receives eternal life, the free gift of God; that the new creation is brought about in a manner above our comprehension, not by culture, not by character, nor by the will of man, but wholly and solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in connection with Divine truth, so as to secure holy fruits of repentance and faith and newness of life.

7. OF JUSTIFICATION

We believe that the great Gospel which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is justification; that justification includes the pardon of sin, and the gift of eternal life, not on principles of righteousness which we have done; but solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood; His righteousness is imputed unto us.

8. OF REPENTANCE AND FAITH

We believe that repentance and faith are solemn obligations, and also inseparable graces, wrought in our souls by the quickening Spirit of God; thereby being deeply convicted of our guilt, danger, and helplessness, and of the way of Salvation by Christ, we turn to God with unfeigned contrition, confession and supplication for mercy; at the same time heartily receiving the Lord Jesus Christ and openly confessing Him as our only and all-sufficient Savior.

9. OF ETERNAL SECURITY

We believe that once a person sincerely comes to faith in Christ, they are kept by God’s power and can never lose their salvation (John 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 8:1, 38-39); they are kept by the power of God through faith unto eternal salvation (1 Peter 1:5). This does not, however, give the believer a license to sin (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:13; Titus 2:11-15).

10. OF THE CHURCH

We believe that a church of Christ is a congregation of baptized believers associated by a covenant of faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges, invested in them by His Word; that its officers of ordination are pastors (elders) and deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are clearly defined in the scriptures; we believe that the true mission of the church is found in the Great  Commission; first, to make individual disciples; second, to build up the church; third, to teach and instruct as He commanded.  We do not believe the reversal of this order; we hold that the local church has the absolute fight of self-government, free from the interference of any hierarchy of individual organizations; and that the one and only superintendent is Christ through the Holy Spirit; that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other in contending for the faith and for the furtherance of – the Gospel; that every church is the sole and only judge of the measure and method of its cooperation; on all matters of membership, of policy, of government, of discipline, of benevolence, the will of the local church is final.

We believe the church consists of all those, in this age, who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of God have been baptized into His body. (Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 5:25). In the local sense, the church consists of a group of believers in any one locality (Acts 8:1, 20:17, Romans 16:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2, etc.). The word church means a “called-out” assembly and “belonging to the Lord.” The church was founded on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Christ is the head of the church, which is His body (Romans 12:3, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Ephesians 1:22, Colossians 1:18). We believe in the autonomy of the local church – it is independent and self-governing (Acts 6:1-6, 13:3, 15:2, 4, 1 Corinthians 5:13, 2 Corinthians 8:19).

Every believer should live in such a way as to bring glory and honor to Christ, separating themselves from sinful living and worldly practices (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 1 John 2:15-17). We do not believe, however, that we should be cut off from society. Believers are to be in the world but not of it – to be separated internally, not externally (John 17:15-16).

The offices of the church are pastor (Acts 20:17, Titus 1:5-9) and deacon (Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:8-13). The pastor is the shepherd, leader, overseer, and example to the church. He is responsible to God for it’s care (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1-4). Deacons are to be servant leaders in the church and aids to the pastor (Acts 6:1-7).

11. OF BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER

The ordinances of the church are baptism (Matthew 28:19) and the Lord’s supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Baptism is a symbol of the believer’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-11, Colossians 2:12, 1 Peter 3:21). It is an outward expression of what has taken place in the heart and is in no way essential for salvation (Luke 23:42-43). Baptism is necessary for church membership (Acts 2:41). We believe the only Biblical mode of baptism is by immersion. (Mark 1:10, John 3:23, Acts 8:38). The Lord’s Supper is where saved individuals remember the beaten body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s significance in their life (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Believers may come to the Lord’s Table only after careful examination (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). To be obedient to Christ, we are obligated to observe both ordinances.

We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer; in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, with the authority of the local church, to show forth in a solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, with its effect in our death to sin and resurrection to a new life; that it is a prerequisite to the -privileges of a church relation and to the Lord’s Supper; in which the members of the church by the sacred use of bread and wine are to commemorate together the dying love of Christ, preceded always by solemn self examination.

12. OF ANGELS AND SATAN

We believe angels are created beings (Psalm 148:2, 5, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16). They are not glorified human beings (Matthew 22:30). They are incorporeal (Psalm 104:4, Hebrews 1:7, 14), but have often revealed themselves in bodily form (Genesis 18, 19, Luke 1:26, John 20:12). They were created to worship God and accomplish His plans and will. (Psalm 103:20). They possess great wisdom (2 Samuel 14:20), but are not omniscient (Matthew 24:36). They are very powerful (Psalm 103:20, 2 Peter 2:11), but not omnipotent (Daniel 10:13, Jude 9). They roam and walk about the earth (Job 1:7, Zechariah 1:11, 1 Peter 5:8), moving from one place to another (Daniel 9:21-23).

We believe every angel was created perfect (Genesis 1:31), but some became evil, having rebelled from God (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6). Satan was the inciter of the rebellion, trying to assume the place of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). One-third of the angelic beings followed in disobedience (Revelation 12:4-9). Satan is the leader of these fallen angels (Matthew 12:24, 25:41), and they are his servants (2 Corinthians 11:15). Satan employ’s various methods to accomplish his purpose today. The believer must not be ignorant of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). He should be sober and alert, and must resist him (Ephesians 4:27, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8). He should take the whole armor of God to stand against him (Ephesians 6:11). Fallen angels possess the same attributes as described above. Christ conquered Satan at the cross (Hebrews 2:14). Satan’s final destiny will be the lake of fire, where he and his followers will be tormented forever (Revelation 20:7-10).

We believe that Satan was once holy, and enjoyed heavenly honors; but through pride and ambition to be as the Almighty, fell and drew after him a host of angels, that he is now the malignant prince of power of the air, and the unholy god of this world.  We hold him to be man’s great tempter; the enemy of God and His Christ, the accuser of the saints, the author of all false religions, the chief power back of the present apostasy; the lord of the Antichrist, and the author of all the powers of darkness, destined, however, to final defeat at the hands of God’s Son, and the judgment of an eternal justice in hell, a place prepared for him and his angels.

13. OF THE RESURRECTION AND RETURN OF CHRIST AND RELATED EVENTS

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that such only as through faith are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and sanctified by the Spirit of God, are truly righteous in His esteem; while all such as continue in impenitence and unbelief are in His sight wicked, and under the curse, and this distinction holds among men both in and after death, in the everlasting felicity of the saved and the everlasting conscious suffering of the lost.

We believe the next event on God’s prophetic calendar is the imminent return of Jesus Christ to rapture His church (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). In this coming Christ does not come to the earth, but He gathers His own in the air. The dead in Christ are raised, and those living are changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-54). This event will take place before and usher in the tribulation period (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:7 Titus 2:13, Revelation 4-19).

After the rapture, the church will be assembled in heaven for two events; The Marriage Supper is the presentation of the Bride (the church), to the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ). The church will be presented spotless, cleansed by the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ and for His glory (Revelation 19:7-9). The Judgment Seat of Christ is when Christ judges the works of the believer and bestows his rewards (Romans 14:10, 12, 2 Corinthians 5:10). The believer will not be judged for his sin (John 5:24), for that penalty has been paid in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21). The believer will be judged as to the use of his talents (Matthew 25:14-30), resources (Luke 19:11-27), and opportunities (Mathew 20:1-16) that were entrusted to him. His works will be tested by fire and rewards will be given accordingly (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

After the rapture of the church, earth will be thrown into “a time of great distress” (Daniel 12:1) and “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) for a period of seven years (Daniel 7:25, 12:7, Revelation 11:2-3, 12:6, 14, 13:5).

At the end of the great tribulation, Christ will literally, physically, and visibly return to the earth to defeat his enemies. (Zechariah 12:1-9, 13:8-14:2, Revelation 16:12-16, Revelation 19:11-21). Satan will be bound (Revelation 20:1-3) and Christ will rule and reign the world for a thousand years on the throne of David, from Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:6-10, Psalm 72, Matthew 25:31-46, Revelation 20:1-6). At the close of the millennial reign, Satan will be loosed for a little time (Revelation 20:3, 7-10). After a short rebellion, Satan will be banished to his final place of punishment, the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10). At this time, the resurrected unbelievers will stand before the Great White Throne Judgment to receive their eternal punishment (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:8). With God’s plan consummated, there will be a new heaven, a new earth, and a New Jerusalem. (Isaiah 65:17, 66:22, 2 Peter 3:10-13, Revelation 21:1). The New Jerusalem will be a city of perfect security and beauty, where the redeemed of Christ will serve God and be blessed in His presence for all of eternity. (Revelation 21:9-22:5)

We believe in and accept the sacred Scriptures upon these subjects at their face value and full value.  Of the resurrection, we believe that Christ arose bodily “the third day according to the Scriptures;” that He ascended “to the right hand of the throne of God;’ that He alone is our “merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God;” “that this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him to into heaven;” bodily, personally, and visibly; that the “dead in Christ shall rise first;” “that the living saints “shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump;” “that the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David:” and that “Christ shall reign a thousand years in righteousness until he hath put all enemies under His feet.”

14. OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT

We believe that civil government is by divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed; except only in the things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only Lord of our conscience (Romans 13:1-7; Acts 5:29)

15. OF MISSIONS

We believe that the command to give the Gospel to the world is clear and unmistakable and this commission was given to the church (Matthew 28:19-20).

16. OF THE GRACE OF GIVING

We believe that God’s method of financing His earthly work of spreading the Gospel to all nations, the care of the churches, and the support of the ministry is through the tithes and offerings of His people. That it is to be given to the Lord through His church and distributed as directed by the leadership of the Spirit as the need arises (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). We believe the tithe (or tenth) is a good place to begin giving (Luke 11:42), but that New Testament believers are to participate in “grace giving” as directed by God (2 Corinthians 9:6-8), and that everyone is accountable to the Lord for the resources entrusted to them (Matthew 25:14-28).

Article V: Covenant

As a bond of unity among us, North Ridge Baptist Church accepts for its members the following covenant:

Having been led by the Holy Spirit to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and on profession of our faith in Him, having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, we do now most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.

We promise that we will watch over and counsel one another in the Spirit of brotherly love, that we will remember one another in our prayers, and that we will aid each other in sickness and distress.

We further agree, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to give it a sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin; and to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.

We further covenant to maintain family and private devotions; to religiously educate our children; to see the salvation of our family and acquaintances; to live carefully in this present world; to be just in our dealings; faithful in our engagements; and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, excessive anger; to abstain from everything that will cause our brother to stumble or that will bring reproach upon the cause of Christ; and to strive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, that amidst evil and good report, we will humbly and earnestly seek to live to the honor and glory of Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

We moreover engage that when we remove from this place, we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

Article VI: General Organization and Structure

The local church body is composed of one body with many members all of whom are in vital relationship with Jesus Christ, but the body also has “joints of supply,” units of control, and unity, i.e., church leaders (Eph. 4:16). This together suggests body participation under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ with leadership direction, submission and an authority in a two-directional manner.

First, the local government is invested in the body of believers who compose the local body under the headship of Jesus Christ according to the Word of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 18:20; Eph. 1:22-23; 4:16; 5:21; Col. 1:18; 2:19).

Second, executive authority or leadership, however, is invested by the con­gregation, as authorized by Scripture, in the pastor who leads the church and to whom the congregation is to submit under the headship of Christ. The pastor has the authority and responsibility to delegate to individuals, committees or other boards authority and responsibility to carry out the business or ministry of the church in spiritual and physical (material) matters (Acts 20:28; 15:6; Eph. 4:11-12; Phil. 1:1; 1 Thess. 5:12-13; Heb. 13:7, 17). In using his delegated authority, and in making his decisions, the pastor must seek to be guided by the Scripture, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and by input from the congregation (Acts 20:32; 6:2-5a; 11:22; 15:22; 2 Cor. 8:19).

In the event of the misuse of the delegated authority, the church has recourse to the principles as set forth in this constitution.

Article VII. Pastor

The pastor’s life should be characterized by the qualities set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. He must hold to the doctrinal statement of this Constitution in accord with the statements of Article V, and be supportive of the entire Constitution.

The ministry of North Ridge Baptist Church shall be under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ working in and through the pastor. The pastor will make the primary decisions within the church. However, it is critical that the he make decisions based on carefully assembled facts, scriptural insight, the individual and corporate leading by the Holy Spirit, and input from the body (Acts 6:5; 15:6, 22; Heb. 13:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13).

The church is not a democracy or a government where the majority rules. Jesus Christ Himself is the Head and Ruler of the church. However, as seen in Article VI, the Lord Jesus leads and directs through both the body and the pastor. Since the Lord Jesus dwells in each member of the body of Christ, as so leads and directs through the body as to needs, desires, and responsibilities for each local body, it is important and necessary for the pastor to seek input, information and guidance from the body, especially on practical matters of church life. As a result of these biblical facts, in major decisions of church life, the congregation will vote to show a unified movement toward the direction in question and to show a sense of God’s leading. The pastor will not move forward with a decision until, or unless, the majority of the body is unified on the matter. The following illustrates the major areas of concern:

(1) Making major financial decisions.

(2) Adding to or removing deacons from the board.

(3) Carrying out church discipline.

NOTE: When a vote is taken, the procedure outlined in Article X shall be followed.

Because of external and internal Christian testimony to be promoted with the local body, the pastor must first and foremost exercise a personal spiritual walk which promotes self examination, maintain a servant-like quality in life, and serve with gentleness and humility in all that he does. Out of his biblical perspective, the pastor is to joyfully undertake the following duties:

(1) Give himself to prayer and the ministry of the Word.

(2) Guard and protect the flock.

(3) Oversee and provide spiritual direction for the activities and growth of the flock.

(4) Warn and discipline as outlined in Article VI.

(6) Support, encourage, counsel and lead in humility.

(7) See to the appointment of deacons.

.           (8) See to the oversight of the finances of the flock.

(9) Pray for and encourage the sick.

(10) Provide the majority of the teaching during worship services (1 Tim. 4;13).

(11)  Supervise the paid church staff (secretaries, assistant pastors, youth pastors, etc.).

(12) Coordinate the administration of the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s supper).

(13) Make decisions and perform any other duties as situations within the church dictate.

The pastor plays a critical role in the growth, maturity, spirituality and effectiveness of the church. He is responsible for the quality and content of the teaching and counseling within the flock (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim. 4:6-16). North Ridge Baptist Church recognizes that the Lord has given spiritual gifts to all believers and there­fore does not expect the pastor to provide all the teaching, evangelism and counseling, etc., within the body (Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). Rather they are to equip the saints “for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).

The pastor shall strive to maintain open communication with the flock, both to discern needs, concerns and viewpoints, and to communicate information and decisions. This may be done through the Sunday bulletin, pulpit announce­ments, group or congregational meetings and discussions (at least one such meeting held annually), votes, and one-on-one personal contact (Acts 6:1-5; 11:22; 15:1, 6, 22; 16:2).

The Scriptures emphasize that the pastor is not appointed by men, but by God (Acts 20:28). The task of the people in the church then should be to seek and discover God’s direction and leading within the church body in the appointment of a pastor. It is the purpose of North Ridge Baptist Church to base the selection process upon an orderly, proper sequence of events which will most easily facilitate the recognition of God’s appointment of His choice to this ministry. The following procedures outline the steps necessary to appoint a pastor:

Upon the need for a new senior pastor, the Board of Deacons will guide and direct the selection process. The attitude of the Board should be one of submission to the Lord, waiting on Him to fill the need with the right man. They should also be expectant, knowing that God will provide a person to fill the need. The following procedure outlines the method North Ridge Baptist Church will follow in selecting a new senior pastor:

(1) The committee shall seek the names and resumes from any qualified and inter­ested men by any means at their disposal. This may include contact­ing doctrin­ally sound seminaries to assist in finding qualified men for the position and seeking information from the congregation about possible candidates.

(2) The committee will carefully and prayerfully consider any resumes sub­mitted. The resumes will be evaluated in light of the man’s experience, interests, doctrinal beliefs, philosophy of the ministry and in light of the needs of the flock.

(3) The committee will contact one or more men who appear to fill the needs of the church based on the resumes and other gathered information. The men may be invited to visit the church one or more times. These visit(s) should include time for the committee and flock to evaluate the man and his family, time for him to present the Word and time for him to evaluate the church and the community. Attendance of a man’s family is not required on the first visit.

(4) After each visit, the committee will prayerfully consider the candidate. During the process, they will seek input from the flock concerning the individual by means of informal verbal communication. After evaluation of the candidate(s), the committee will announce their recommendation to the flock. Unanimous agreement must be reached before a recommendation should be made.

(5) A congregational meeting will be called to vote to see if there is unified agree­ment with the committee’s recommendation. The meeting date should be at least two (2) weeks after the committee’s recommendation is reported to allow the church ample time to prayerfully consider the decision. The vote will be conducted as outlined in Article X. If at least two-thirds of the voting members agree with the committee’s recommendation, the committee will offer the position to the man.

(7) If the man turns down the offer, or if the flock does not agree with the committee’s recommendation, the above procedure will be repeated until a qualified man is hired.

The pastor is appointed to an indefinite tenure consistent with their con­tinued desire and ability to serve in this capacity. The removal of the pastor from office shall be effected by personal resigna­tion or by disciplinary actions in accordance with the following:

The pastor may step down at any time he so chooses. He should prayer­fully reflect on his decision and seek counsel from the Board before making a final decision.

Involuntary dismissal of the pastor will be a disciplinary action of the church body in accordance with the instruction of 1 Timothy 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1 and Matthew 18:15-18. The specific procedures for this are spelled out in Article XI with the following difference:

If the situation is such that it necessitates dismissal from office, the Board may suggest voluntary resignation by the pastor. If he refuses, or believes he has been unfairly treated, then it is to be brought before the congregation to hear the issues and to allow the person concerned to present his case. It will then be decided by a two-thirds majority vote of the body at a congregational meeting. The body must be informed of such meeting at least two weeks prior to the time of the meeting.

In the absence of a pastor, the Board of Deacons will oversee the day-to-day operation of the church.

The need for paid associate pastoral staff to assist in meeting the needs of the flock may be recognized by the pastor. The call for this expenditure should be discussed with the church. The decision for additional staff will be made by the pastor after consideration with the board and consultation with the congregation.

All paid pastoral staff will look to the senior pastor for supervision of their duties and for periodic reviews of their performance. A written job description should be prepared for all paid staff members. This description will be prepared by the senior pastor. Removal of any associate pastoral or paid staff shall be directed by the pastor in accordance with biblical guidelines outlined in Article XI.

The hiring of secretaries, janitorial services, etc., will be planned for and directed by the pastor. Other leaders not listed herein which may be needed in the future to serve the church or its related ministries, shall be called to the service of the church by the pastor.

Article VIII: Deacons

Deacons shall be men who desire to be servants of the local church body, who are able to serve, who meet all the qualifications of Scripture set forth in Acts 6:3 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12, and who are conscientiously and wholeheartedly in agreement with the Constitution of this church.

In Acts 6:1-4, certain men were appointed to minister to the physical needs of the flock, to relieve the Apostles so they would have more time to concentrate on prayer and on the Word. These were undoubtedly the first deacons and functioned as helpers to the leaders of the Jerusalem church.

Deacons shall be helpers of the pastor in ministering to the needs of the body, especially the physical needs (such as caring for the building and property), though they may serve in other capacities as their gifts and training allow. Their specific duties will be designated by the elders according to the need of the church and a deacon’s particular gifts, capacities and talents.

Deacons shall be appointed to serve for three years, with at least one year interval between. Should extenuating circumstances necessitate, the pastor may request an extension of one year past the three year tenure, by the procedure spelled out in this article. The Board of Deacons must have a minimum of 3 members; however, more could be added as directed by the pastor.

First Timothy 3:10 teaches that potential deacons are to be tested. The primary means of testing is time; time for the flock to evaluate a man’s commit­ment to the Lord, his qualifications according to 1 Timothy 3:8-12, his doctrinal understanding and his willingness to serve the local body. The flock and the Board of Deacons should be on the alert to those men who demonstrate the qualifications of a deacon.

In the New Testament church, both the church leaders and the flock played an important role in choosing deacons (Acts 6:1-6). Deacons will be appointed yearly during the January business meeting. However, only qualified and willing men will be appointed. If no qualified men are available, or if those qualified are unable or unwilling to serve, no appointment will be made. The church shall wait on the Lord to provide a qualified man or men to meet the need.

The following outlines the procedure North Ridge Baptist Church will follow in selecting deacons:

(1) Evaluation and recommendation will be made yearly directed by the pastor.

(2) The pastor will consider from the flock and Board of Deacons recommendations for men whom they believe meet the qualifications.

(4) Each name submitted will be carefully and prayerfully considered and reviewed according to their qualifications, gifts, the need, and the in­dividual’s willingness to serve.

(5) The pastor will then choose that man (men) whom he believes to be the most qualified to serve according to the specific needs and the qualifica­tions for a vote at the annual meeting.

(6) In the absence of a pastor, the Board of Deacons shall select qualified candidate(s) for a church vote.

(7) A two-thirds majority will appoint the man (men) for the term as described under this article.

A deacon may voluntarily step down from his position at any time he so chooses. The deacon should prayerfully reflect on his decision and seek counsel from the pastor before making a final decision. Involuntary dismissal of a deacon shall be in accord with the procedures for church discipline outlined in Article XI. If the situation is such that it neces­sitates dismissal from office, the pastor may suggest voluntary resignation by the person involved. If he refuses, the church may remove him from office, but only after the principles for church discipline have been prayerfully considered and followed (Matt. 18:15-18).

Article IX: Church Membership

At the time of personal faith in Jesus Christ, the believer is called into the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor. 1:2, 9; 12:12-13, 20; Col. 1:18), and joined into union with the body of Christ by the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Col. 1:18).

There second aspect of this fellowship into which the believer is joined is the local church. Believers are to seek the fellowship of one another in a local body or assembly of believers to which they are to become responsible (1 Pet. 5:2-3; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1). Believers in isolation, operating independently of other believers of a local assembly, is an idea contrary to Scripture. Scripture teaches that there are to be local assemblies of believers, united together by a common faith, by union in Christ, and the universal indwelling of the Holy Spirit, by common purposes, commitments and responsibilities, and with a common leadership of that specific body, independent in government from other local assemblies (Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Pet. 5:1-3; 1 Cor. 1:2; Heb. 13:7, 17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13). The local church is to be a body of people allotted to the charge of pastors (1 Pet. 5:1-3; 1 Thess. 5:11; Heb. 10:14-15; 1 Pet. 4:8-10; 1 Cor. 12:20-27), and subject to the discipline of that body or assembly (1 Cor. 5:2; 1 Thess. 5;14 [admonish the unruly], 2 Thess. 3:6, 14; 1 Tim. 5:20). This of necessity implies more than a loose relationship of a believer or believers to a particular body or assembly. It involves a tie, an involvement, a commitment, responsibility and submission to both the leadership and to each other.

The Scriptures contain neither a mandate for nor a command against an official membership roll. In Acts, we see that believers were added to the church in Jerusalem; however, this serves primarily to show the growth in the early church (Acts 2:47; 9:31; 16:5). These people were devoting themselves to a local assembly and its leadership for teaching, leadership, fellowship and worship (Acts 2:42). There were also letters of commendation or acceptance written on behalf of both men and women to be welcomed and accepted into the fellowship or various assemblies. These letters commended believers to other assemblies regarding their faithfulness and ministry and thus they were not a transfer of membership by letter (Rom. 16:1-2; 1 Cor. 16:10; Col. 4:10; 2 Cor. 3:1; 8:16-24).

The emphasis of these Scriptures is that every believer become identified and committed to a specific local assembly of believers following the leading and direction of God. This commitment is revealed by their attitude, faith, atten­dance, involvement, giving and submission to that assembly. Thus a membership roll cannot, in and of itself, serve as the sole means of commitment a believer has to a local body.

Any individual who confesses the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior and who is in agreement with this Constitution is qualified and eligible for membership in North Ridge Baptists Church. The membership of this church shall consist of persons who have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior and have been baptized by immersion. New members will be accepted into the membership when requesting membership in any of the following ways:

(1) By profession of faith and baptism.

(2) By letter from a church of like-faith and order.

(3) By statement of faith, having been scripturally baptized by another church of like-faith and order.

(4) By restoration.

The church will not solicit anyone to become a member and thus will respect the privacy and personal initiative of the individual in this matter. Anyone who desires to become a member should contact the pastor and request membership.

Membership can be terminated by:

(1) Death.

(2) Transfer to a church of like-faith and order.

(3) Church discipline.

Article X: Church Meetings

For worship and study: The church shall have regular services on Sundays and during the week, plus such meetings of organizations as needed. Special meetings will also be held as directed by the pastor.

For business: The church shall meet for an annual business meeting in January. This meeting will report to the church the activities of the previous year and the presentation to the church of any appropriate business items. In addition special meetings may be called by the pastor and/or the deacons. Meetings of any nature shall not be called without the knowledge of the pastor unless the church is without a Pastor at the time of the meeting.

Each member of the church will have an equal voice in its government exercised through a vote at regular or called business meetings. Members must be present to vote; No absentee or proxy vote shall be accepted.

The pastor shall serve as moderator of all business meetings. If the church is without a pastor, the chairman of the deacons will serve as moderator. The church shall vote on the pastor; deacons; establishment or modification of major policies; the buying, selling, or mortgaging of church properties; and the annual budget.  Meetings of lesser importance will be handled by the pastor, staff, deacons, and administrators within their prescribed responsibilities.

The purpose of voting is not to simply obtain a “majority-rules” consen­sus. Rather, all voting in this church is designed to show God’s leading within the flock on an issue. A two-thirds majority vote in favor of an issue is required for the decision being voted on to pass. If the two-thirds majority vote in favor is not achieved, the pastor will reevaluate the situation. No steps will be taken on any issue that requires a vote without a two-thirds majority. Any member of the church at least 16 years old may vote. The means of voting will normally be by written ballot. This may vary, however, if the pastor announces the form of voting to be used when the meeting of the vote is announced. The flock will be advised of the date and time of a meeting for a vote at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

Article XI: Church Discipline

We believe in the responsibility and necessity of church discipline as clearly outlined in Scripture. It is a very difficult area and hard to practice. Nevertheless, church discipline has the divine authority of Scripture and is vital to the purity of the church. In church discipline, the following matters must be carefully understood and applied.

The discipline of the church is first patterned after the fact that the Lord Himself disciplines His children (Heb. 12:6) and, as a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the wife, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself.

Discipline is further based on the holy character of God (1 Pet. 1:16; Heb. 12:11). The pattern of God’s holiness, his desire for the church to be holy, set apart unto Him, is an important reason for the necessity of church discipline. The church is therefore to clean out the leaven of malice and wickedness from its ranks (1 Cor. 5:6-8). A failure to discipline in a church today evidences a lack of awareness of the holiness of God. Church discipline must be patterned after and based on the divine commands of Scripture. We have numerous passages which both command and give us biblical directives on the how, when and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the author­ity of the Bible (1 Cor. 5:1-13; Matt. 18:17-18; Titus 3:10; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 5:20; Gal. 6:1).

A final basis for the necessity of church discipline is the testimony of the church in the world. The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world it loses its credibility and authenticity (1 Pet. 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4).

The purpose of church discipline include:

(1) Concern for the glory of God and the testimony of the flock.

(2) The restoration and building up of the sinning believer.

(3) The winning of a soul to Christ (if only a professing Christian).

(4) The purity of the local body and its protection from moral and doctrinally impure influences, knowing a little leaven can leaven the entire lump (1 Cor. 5:6-7).

Such goals automatically govern the spirit in which all disciplinary action is to be given. Thus:

(1) It must be done in the spirit of humility, gentleness and patience, looking to yourself lest you too be tempted (Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:24-25).

(2) Those who walk disorderly are to be admonished, warned, and appealed to in love (1 Thess 5:14-15; 1 Tim. 5:1-2; Eph. 4:15; 2 Tim. 4:2). This ad­monishing, etc., is not restricted to the leaders but may be done by any member (1 Thess. 5:14).

(3) If there is no response in repentance and obedience, then members are to withhold intimate fellowship until there is obedience (2 Thess. 3:6, 14). This is to indicate to the offender that his action has caused a rupture in the harmony of the body. Its goal is restoration and the person is still to be counted as a brother (2 Thess. 3:14-15).

(4) If the person persists after admonition and withdrawal of intimate fellow­ship, the final step is rejection or excommunication (Titus 3:10; Matt. 18:17b), accom­panied by public rebuke before all (1 Tim. 5:20). Examples of church discipline are found in Scripture. The Corinthian believers were to be “gathered together” in order to take action against the offending brother (1 Cor. 2:6). We also find that it was the whole church in Rome and in Thessalonica who were to take action with regard to the unruly and schismatic and not just a few (2 Thess. 3:6-15; Rom. 16:17).

(5) Finally, discipline in the name of our Lord always includes a readiness to forgive. Those who discipline must also be ready and eager to forgive, comfort, and reaffirm their love to the sinning person (2 Cor. 2:6-8).

Great care must be exercised here. Scripture does not warrant the exercise of church discipline for an individual or a church’s pet taboos or peeves. According to Scripture, there are five categories which warrant church discipline. These are:

(1) Difficulties between members (Matt. 18:15-17).

(2) Divisiveness. People causing divisions in the church (Rom. 16:17-18; Titus 3:9-11).

(3) Disorderly conduct. Conduct clearly out of line with the prescribed commands of Scripture (2 Thess. 3:6-15).

(4) Sins of the type mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5: incest, immorality, covetousness, idolatry, abusive speech, drunkenness, and swindling (1 Cor. 5:1, 11).

(5) False teaching. Erroneous teaching and views which concern the fundamentals of the faith, not lesser differences of interpretation (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17-18; also implied in Rev. 2:14—16; Phil. 3:2-3, 15-19; Rom. 16:17-18).

The key concerns here are:  (a) the holy character of God, (b) the testimony of the flock, (c) the effect upon the unity and purity of the flock, and (d) the edification and restoration of the individual.

Scriptural procedure here is clear and specific steps are prescribed. They are as follows:

(1) Recognize the offense. Caution—one must be sure it is an offense which calls for discipline. Again, the Word is our criterion.

(2) Seek private correction and/or reconciliation with the offender (Matt. 18:15). This is when the problem involves two believers. The one offended or the one who recognizes the offense is to go private­ly and try to rectify the problem. If this fails, he is to take witnesses, preferably spiritual leaders, so that if it has to be brought before the whole church it can be firmly proven or es­tablished (Matt. 18:16-17).

(3) Seek reconciliation through the spiritual leadership if the problem involves an offense that is against the whole body, or is a threat to its unity. Initiatory action following the concept of Galatians 6:1 should be taken by the mature spiritual leaders of the church rather than by just one person. “You who are spiritual” in Galatians 6:1 is plural meaning literally, “you, the spiritual ones …”  These initial contacts provide opportunity for loving admonition, correction and forgiveness. On the other hand, if these first steps are not heeded, it constitutes a warning that further action will be taken and gives occasion for serious rebuke (2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Thess. 5:12-14; Titus 2:15; 3:10).

(4) Seek reconciliation through the whole body. If further action is necessary, it is to be taken before the whole church (Matt. 18:17). This action would consist of a minimum of loss of voting privileges, but may result in more severe action. Any action taken must be approved by a congregational vote as outlined in Article X.

In essence then, this is the action of the Lord carrying out dis­cipline through the action of the whole body through the leadership of the pastor or the spiritually mature (1 Cor. 5:4 “in the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled… with the power of our Lord Jesus …”). Similar heavenly authority is seen in the ratification of this disciplinary action as spelled out in Matthew 18:18-19).

Article XII: Church Finances

The fiscal year shall be from January 1 through December 31.

Believers are to give financially from an attitude of commitment to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:1-6). It is the policy of North Ridge Baptist Church to keep the congrega­tion informed of financial needs by means of the weekly bulletin, announcements from the pulpit, or other means as necessary. This will not include individual solicitation of members to taking of financial pledges. The purpose of this information is not to coerce or pressure anyone into giving, but rather to provide avenues for giving as the Lord provides. Each believer is to give according to their ability with a cheerful heart (2 Cor. 9:7).

The member shall be expected to give their tithes and offerings through this church. Each believer is to give as God provides from an attitude of cheerfulness and commitment to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:12-15; 9:7), recognizing that we are only stewards of what God already owns.The church secretary shall keep proper records, including a record of individual contributions.  A budget shall be prepared by the pastor and administrators, and approved by the church. Special offerings may be taken up with the approval of the pastor and/or administrators.

Because giving is done unto the Lord, it is critical that the local church handle the finances given with care and wisdom both for the glory of the Lord and for the testimony of the church (2 Cor. 8:20-21). With this view in mind, the following outlines the policies of handling financial decisions:

(1) All paid staff shall be paid a salary commensurate to their duties and abilities (1 Tim. 5:17-18; Gal. 6:6-7; 1 Cor. 9:6-11).

(2) All gifts given as a designated gift will be used as designated so long as those designations are in accord with biblical principles. If any special gifts are given with the directions to use it in whatever area has the greatest need, the pastor will decide how that gift will be used. All other gifts will go into the general fund.

(3) The local church has the privilege and responsibility to provide financial support for those in service for the Lord (missionaries, seminary students, etc. [Phil. 4:14-17; 2 Cor. 8;1-5]). North Ridge Baptist Church will support certain of those in service as the Lord leads and provides. All of these supported must hold a doctrinal view in agreement with the doctrinal statement presented in this Constitution. The pastor will recom­mend to the congregation which people and ministries North Ridge Baptist Church will support.

(4) Depending on the amount of money involved, the pastor may make a financial decision by himself on any non-budgeted item(s) per week (up to $1,000.00), or the Board of Deacons may be consulted in the decision (up to $10,000.00), or the congregation must make the decision (above 10,000.00).

Article XIII: Grievance Procedures

Suggestions and proposals from the flock can be a vital and healthy avenue by which the leadership may minister to the rest of the flock. When handled scripturally, this type of communication edifies the body, ministers to the needs of the flock, helps preserve and promote unity within the church and brings glory to God.

Following the principles outlined above, any member of the flock who harbors a disagreement about any policy or procedure promoted by the church or its leadership, should as a first step, prayerfully and privately approach the pastor. This may be done through informal consultation, by means of a signed letter, or meeting with the Board at the church member’s request. It is recognized that these steps should be taken prior to public discussion of any issue so as to help the leadership minister to the body more effectively and to help avoid discord and disunity within the flock (Prov. 13:3; 16:27-28; 17:4).

The church leadership should seek to prayerfully accept and address any complaint thus presented and seek to resolve all problems in a manner which best promotes those benefits mentioned above (Prov. 16:21-24). When these policies are not followed, causing factions and strife, it will be necessary to exercises church discipline to deal with the offending member as per Article XI (Titus 2:10-11).

Article XIV: Ammendments

 

This Constitution may be amended or replaced when the need for change is recognized by the pastor and the members of the church body. At the time such need is believed to be present, the pastor, after consultation with the body, shall make provisional modification in light of Scripture and all essential information on this matter shall be communicated to the congregation in written form, providing adequate time for study and response. A date will be proposed for acceptance of the revisions at a congregational meeting. The congregation will then vote to see if there is a unity of acceptance and understanding of the amendments. A two-thirds majority is required for amendments to the Constitution to become effective. No modifications should be made without a pastor.

Article XV: Dissolution of Property

            No part of the property or other buildings of this church shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member, officer of the church, or any individual.  If for any reason the church is dissolved, all assets shall be distributed equally to organizations selected by the church and recognized as religious and charitable in nature. The decision to dissolve or disband must be approved by two-thirds of the membership of the congregation by means of the procedure outlined in Article X.

By-Laws

ARTICLE I: BOARD OF DEACONS

SECTION 1:

The Board of Deacons shall be made up of at least 3 members.

SECTION 2:

The terms of office shall be limited to three years with at least a one-year interval between terms. The pastor may request a year extension for any deacon whose term is up to meet the required number of board members. Approval must be made by the policies set forth in the constitution.

ARTICLE II: TERM OF OFFICE OF PASTOR

Pastor–Term of office is indefinite.

ARTICLE IV: MEETINGS

SECTION 1:

The annual meeting of this Church shall be held during January of each year.  The pastor shall fix the date and time for the meeting and announce it during the morning Worship Service at least two weeks in advance.

SECTION 2:

Only members in good standing shall have voting rights with all meeting privileges.

SECTION 3:

The pastor is responsible to bring the nominations to the Congregation for voting.

SECTION 4:

A two-thirds majority is need for adoption of any church officers, amendments or constitutional changes.

ARTICLE V: ELECTIONS

SECTION 1:

The election of Deacons shall take place at the annual meeting in January.

SECTION 2:

Election shall be by secret ballot except in cases where there is but one nominee for the office then the meeting may vote to instruct the Secretary to cast a unanimous ballot for the election of such nominee.

SECTION 3:

Nomination for Deacons shall be made on the floor of the meeting.  One nominating speech shall be given in which the nominator shall detail the nominees qualifications according to Article XIII of the Constitution.

ARTICLE VI: AMENDMENTS

These By-laws may be amended in whole or in part at any annual meeting by two-thirds majority of those voting, provided notice setting forth the proposed amendment shall have been given at least two weeks in advance of the meeting.