Adopted, September 27, 2009
Emmaus Baptist Church of Dalton, Inc.
We declare and establish this Constitution and Bylaws to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the body in an orderly manner. This Constitution and Bylaws is to preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this body in relation to other churches.
I. NAME AND PURPOSE
This body shall be known as Emmaus Baptist Church of Dalton Inc. Emmaus Baptist Church Inc. may also be referred to in the Constitution and Bylaws as “Emmaus Baptist Church”, “the church” or “EBC”.
To be a dynamic spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit to share Christ with as many people as possible in our church, community, and throughout the world.
To promote and maintain regular worship of the True and Living God, both publicly and privately, among the membership of this body.
To be a church which recognizes and meets the spiritual and physical needs, in as far as possible, throughout the community and the world.
To help people experience a growing knowledge of God and man through emphasis in Bible study, Christian training and personal service.
To be a church whose purpose is to be Christ-like in our daily living by emphasizing total commitment of life, personality, and possessions to the Lordship of Christ.
II. STATEMENT OF BASIC BELIEFS
We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired, inerrant Word of God and the basis for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of “The Baptist Faith and Message” as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000. It is our intent to remain baptistic in nature, therefore it is the responsibility of every member to protect and promote the recognized doctrine of Emmaus Baptist Church and to reject and refute any doctrine that is contrary to our beliefs. Although we believe in denominational cooperation we do not subscribe to any doctrine or teaching that would cause us to lose our Baptist distinctive.
III. MEMBERSHIP COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and, on the profession of 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 commit, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in 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 contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the needy, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We also commit to maintain personal devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our relatives and acquaintances; to walk carefully in the world; to live sexually pure lives; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our commitments and modest in our dress; to avoid all gossip, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to abstain from the illegal use of drugs; to use our influence to combat the abuse of drugs and the spread of pornography; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further commit to watch over one another in brotherly love; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offence, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the words of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover commit 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.
IV. POLITY AND RELATIONSHIPS
The polity of this church shall be a congregational form of church government under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it.
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.
We are, and shall remain a part of the North Georgia Baptist Association, the Georgia Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention and shall support and promote the mission causes fostered by the afore-named groups.
V. CHURCH FELLOWSHIP
Fellowship with Emmaus Baptist Church takes place by visiting, attending, participating in one or more church ministries, or membership. Those in fellowship with EBC are sometimes referred to as “the congregation.”
Friends are those persons attending a worship service at EBC, a church-sponsored event, or on church property with permission, for the first time.
Attenders are those persons attending a worship service at EBC, a church-sponsored event, or on church property with permission, after the first time.
C. Participants in Any Church Ministry
Participants are those persons participating in any church ministry.
Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates seeking membership in this body will be required to:
1) Accept our doctrinal position as set forth in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message;
2) New members will be encouraged, not mandatory, to complete the membership orientation course; and
3) Present themselves for membership in any of the following ways:
a) By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church.
b) By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist Church of like faith and order.
c) By statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in a Baptist church when no letter is obtainable. The reason why letter cannot be obtained shall be made known to the pastor.
d) By baptism in this Baptist church upon statement of the candidate that their salvation experience occurred while they were a member of another denomination.
e) By statement of prior conversion and scriptural baptism in a church of another evangelical denomination. All candidates desiring to join Emmaus Baptist Church in this manner should meet with the pastor or other appropriate church leaders prior to presenting themselves for membership. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the details of the individual’s conversion and baptism. The baptism must be scriptural in regards to time (after conversion), purpose (public proclamation of faith), and method (immersion) to be acceptable for membership.
Should there be dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the Pastor 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.
2. Termination of Membership
b. By request of transfer of letter to another specific Baptist Church.
c. Erasure upon proof of having become affiliated with another faith or denomination.
d. Upon prior written request to the church, a person’s membership can be terminated.
e. Termination of membership by disciplinary action of the church shall be by the following guidelines.
3. Membership Status
a. All active members are entitled to vote whenever the church body is called upon to do so.
b. Members who have missed church services and functions for (3) consecutive months *absent extenuating circumstances will be considered inactive and ineligible to vote.
c. Members whose status has changed as a result of inactivity may regain active status by demonstrating faithfulness to the church and its mission.
d. Membership status may also be altered by Disciplinary action or Restoration.
The threefold purpose of church discipline is to glorify God by maintaining purity in the local church (I Corinthians 5:6), to edify believers by deterring sin (1 Timothy 5:20), and to promote the spiritual welfare of the offending believer by calling him to return to a biblical standard of doctrine and conduct (Galatians 6:1). It shall be the basic purpose of Emmaus Baptist Church to emphasize that every reasonable measure will be taken to assist any troubled person in fellowship with EBC. The pastor, church staff, and deacons are available for counsel and guidance. Restoration, rather than punishment, shall be the attitude of those in fellowship with EBC toward one another.
Persons in fellowship with this Church who err in doctrine, who engage in conduct that violates Scripture, or whose conduct is not in accordance with this Constitution and Bylaws, in such a way that he hinders the ministry influence of the Church in the community, as determined by the pastor and deacons, shall be subject to Church discipline (Titus 3:8-11), and/or including change in member status and dismissal after following the procedures contained in Article XIII (Resolution of Disputes) of this Constitution and Bylaws. All such proceedings shall be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance. In regular conference, upon prior notice to the individual, the church may take action by a majority vote of the members present and the church may proceed to declare the offender to be no longer in the fellowship of this church.
Any person, whose membership status has changed as a result of church action may upon his request, be restored to fellowship by a vote of the church upon evidence of his repentance and reformation.
VI. CHURCH ORDINANCES
A person who received Jesus Christ as Savior by profession of faith; who professes Him publicly at any worship service; and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord, shall be received for baptism.
1. Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
2. Baptism shall be administered by the pastor or whomever the pastor or church shall authorize.
3. Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service.
4. Baptism is the public proclamation of the candidate’s faith, and a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
B. The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby Christians, through partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, commemorate the death of Jesus Christ and anticipate His coming.
1. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed on a regular basis, preferably once a quarter, and shall be scheduled by the pastor and the chairman of deacons.
2. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed in the morning or evening service.
3. The pastor and the chairman of deacons shall be responsible for the administration of the Lord’s Supper.
VII. CHURCH MEETINGS
A. Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening for preaching, instruction, evangelism, and for the worship of the Almighty God. These meetings shall be open for the entire fellowship of the church, and for all people, and shall be conducted under the direction of the pastor.
B. Sunday School
The church shall provide a weekly ministry of Bible fellowship known as Sunday School. The Sunday School shall be the foundational strategy in the church for leading people to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and for building Great Commission Christians through Bible Study groups that engage people in evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry and worship. The Sunday School leadership shall ensure that each class is properly organized to minister to the needs of its members and prospects. The church shall provide a system for adequately tracking the attendance of the Sunday School.
C. Special Services
Revival services and any other church meetings, which will be beneficial for the promotion of the objectives of the church, shall be placed on the church calendar. All special services shall be called by the pastor.
D. Ministry Meetings (also known as Conference) and Family Forums
The New Testament demonstrates times when entire congregations made decisions (Acts 6) and other times when leaders of congregations made decisions (Acts 15). Most church members trust their leaders to make most decisions, but want to have input on larger issues. At Emmaus the congregation votes on five kinds of decisions. Decisions that fall outside the realm of these five areas are decided on by the church staff and/or a church appointed ministry team or committee. The five kinds of decisions voted on by the congregation in ministry meetings are:
The annual church ministry budget and expenditures outside of that budget.
The election and dismissal of the pastor and pastoral staff.
The selection of ministry teams or committees.
The acquisition of land or buildings; and any legal documents which obligate the church in any way.
Any changes to the documents of the church – constitution and by-laws.
Rules Concerning Ministry Meetings.
1. Advance notice of major items shall be made known to the church on the preceding Sunday before conference unless extreme urgency renders such notice impracticable.
2. Roberts Rules of Order, Revised, is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church, not otherwise covered in this Constitution and Bylaws.
3. Only active members present at conference will be allowed to vote.
4. Only a church approved committee or body may bring an item of new business to the floor in a business meetings.
5. Those members present and voting at a meeting shall constitute a quorum of membership for the transaction of business.
Family Forums: There are times when the Pastor and /or a ministry team or committee needs to make a decision and wants the input of the whole congregation. Family Forums are times of discussion without having to make an immediate decision. During Family Forums, information is shared and the opinions of the church body are heard.
VIII. CHURCH OFFICERS
1. All officers shall be members of Emmaus Baptist Church who are regular in attendance and supportive of the church and its ministries.
2. All officers are expected to be a proper example of Christian character according to accepted biblical standard, the church Constitution and Bylaws and the church covenant.
3. All officers must be in agreement with The Baptist Faith and Message of 2000.
4. All officers shall be required to submit to a confidential criminal background check.
The Pastor must demonstrate Christian values and behaviors and meet the qualifications of a pastor as stated in I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9 and other scriptural passages related to the qualifications of a pastor. The pastor should conduct himself in a manner reflective of the ministry of Emmaus Baptist Church and is expected to comply with the requirements for officers as stated in Article VIII, Section A of the Constitution and Bylaws.
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 the leader of pastoral ministries in the church. As such he works with the deacons and church staff to:
1. Lead the church in performing its tasks.
2. Lead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry, and application.
3. Proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers.
4. Care for the church’s members and other persons in the community.
5. The pastor is an Ex Officio member of all the ministry teams and committees of the church. There is no distinction between him and the other team members.
6. It is the responsibility of the pastor to protect the doctrine of the church.
The pastor shall give at least a thirty (30) day notice at the time of resignation before terminating his responsibilities as pastor. Subject to Article XIII (Resolution of Disputes) of this Constitution and Bylaws, the church shall give the pastor a thirty (30) day notice of dismissal and reserved the right of immediate dismissal by paying a minimum of a thirty (30) day salary. Upon the pastor’s resignation the church may exercise the option to accept his resignation effective immediately with payment of a thirty (30) day salary and benefits.
The pastor shall preside at meetings of the church. In case of the pastor’s absence any person designated by the pastor, or elected by the church may serve. The pastor shall also secure speakers for special service and revival meetings.
1. The deacon body shall consist of as many deacons as the church deems necessary.
2. Any active church member may recommend in writing a nominee for deacon. This recommendation is to be given to any member of the active deacons. The active deacons and pastor may also nominate a person for deacon.
3. Deacon nominees will be reviewed by the pastor and active deacons from among those recommended. Those who are qualified according to I Timothy 3 and Acts 6, are supportive of the church’s objectives and mission, and are unanimously approved by the deacons and pastor may be recommended for deacon.
4. Church members shall vote on the recommended candidate at a regular or called business meeting.
5. At the appropriate time, upon recommendation of the active deacons and approval of the church body, the church shall proceed with ordination for those selected to serve.
An ordained deacon who becomes a member of Emmaus Baptist Church by transfer of letter from another Baptist church will not become an active deacon until selected by the pastor and active deacons, and elected by the church.
In accordance with the meaning of the word and the practice of the New Testament, deacons are to be servants of the church. The tasks of the deacons are to serve with the pastor and staff in performing pastoral ministry tasks; proclaim the gospel to believers and unbelievers; care for the church members and other persons in the community; lead the church to engage in a fellowship of worship, witness, education, ministry and application; and lead the church in performing her purposes.
The chairman and assistant chairman of the deacons shall serve on an annual rotating basis. At the beginning of each church year the assistant chairman shall become the chairman and another deacon shall become assistant chairman.
If the pastor becomes unable to preach or secure a suitable replacement, the deacons shall be responsible for securing a suitable person to fill the pulpit, and, if necessary, appoint an interim church administrator to work with the staff and other leadership to handle the day to day operations of the church until an interim/pastor is called by the church body.
The church shall elect at least three (3) trustees. They shall hold in trust the church property. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any property without a specific vote of the membership of the church to authorize the action. It shall be the function of the trustees to affix their signature to legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, or purchase or property or other legal documents where the signatures of trustees are required.
E. Church Financial Secretary (CFS)
The church shall have a church financial secretary as her financial officer. It shall be the duty of the financial secretary to receive, preserve, and pay out, all monies keeping, at all times, an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements of all accounts and/or designated funds. It shall be the duty of the financial secretary to maintain an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements of the preceding month from all church accounts or funds. All church accounting (with the exception of donor records) may be called for by any active member of the church. In connection with this, the CFS shall maintain a monthly audit for legal compliance and accounting by an outside firm.
F. Staff Members
The church shall employ such staff members as the church shall need. Decisions on employment will take into consideration the ability of the prospective candidate to support and honor the ministry of Emmaus Baptist Church. All employees must demonstrate Christian values and behaviors, and conduct themselves in a manner reflective of the ministry of Emmaus Baptist Church. All staff members are expected to comply with the requirements listed for officers in Article VIII, Section A, of this Constitution and Bylaws.
All prospective candidates for employment must complete an employment application. Final candidates must be willing to consent to a criminal and/or financial investigation background check prior to employment.
All staff positions must be approved by the church in conference prior to the initiation of any employment process. Once the position is approved, filling of the position follows the procedures listed below.
Staff persons may also be terminated due to poor job performance after appropriate warning. Serious moral/ethical failure may result in immediate termination of any staff person by the Senior Pastor.
1. Ministerial Staff
The senior pastor and Deacons shall be responsible for the selection and employment of all ministerial staff positions as well as volunteer department directors. The senior pastor and Deacons shall have the ability to terminate employment of staff and volunteer department directors without seeking the churches approval.
2. Support Staff (Volunteer Positions)
The senior pastor and department directors shall be responsible for the selection of all support staff positions. Department directors must submit the support staff candidate’s name to the senior pastor for approval prior to the volunteer(s) being placed in a particular position of leadership.
The moderator normally shall be the pastor. In the absence or presence of the pastor, a person designated by the pastor may fill this position.
In the event the church is without a pastor or the pastor is absent without having designated someone as moderator, one of the deacons shall act as moderator. If the need arises, the church may elect a person to act as moderator.
The church-elected clerk shall keep in a suitable book a record of all the actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of the members, with date of admission, dismissal, or death, together with a record of baptism. The clerk shall issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary, as indicated in this Constitution and Bylaws.
The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibility to a church secretary. All church records are church property and should be kept by the clerk and any non-current records kept on file in the church. The church clerk shall prepare annually the church letter to the association.
I. General Leadership (Volunteer positions)
All church officers shall be recommended by or dismissed by department directors with approval from the senior pastor first.
IX. MINISTRY TEAMS AND COMMITTEES
The senior pastor and deacons are responsible for establishing ministry teams and committees as needed by the church; evaluating the function, structure and continuing need for committees; and implementing modifications in committee personnel, function or structure. All members are expected to comply with the requirements listed for officers in Article VIII, Section A of this Constitution and Bylaws. In addition to the following committees, the church may elect any committee necessary for the on-going work of the church. Except where noted these approved bodies are for specific task. Once this task is completed the body ceases to exist.
A. Budget & Finance Team
The Budget and Finance Team shall consist of the senior pastor, the CFS, and three members as recommended by the deacons annually.
This committee shall be responsible for studying the financial needs of the church and presenting an annual budget for undesignated gifts to the church for approval annually in a November or December Ministry Meeting. This committee has the authority to approve emergency items as they may arise (e.g., repairs).
B. Personnel Committee
The Personnel Committee shall consist of the senior pastor and Deacons. The senior pastor and Deacons will oversee matters related to employed personnel administration. Their work includes such areas as determining staff needs, employment, salaries, benefits, other compensation, policies, job descriptions, and personnel services.
C. Pastor Selection Team
Where there is a vacancy of the church pulpit, the deacons shall appoint three (3) of their own to serve on the Pastor Selection Team. Four (4) additional members shall be elected by the church to complete a seven (7) person team within thirty (30) days of the previous pastor’s resignation or removal. A husband and wife may not serve together on this team. Upon approval by the church this committee shall be responsible for seeking a suitable person to be presented to the church as prospective pastor.
Upon the recommendation of the Pastor Selection Team the church may vote to extend a call to a prospective interim/pastor. The vote to extend this call shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose of which one (1) week public notice has been given. The interim/pastor, thus elected by three-fourths (3/4) vote, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request.
D. Constitution and Bylaws Committee
The Constitution and Bylaws Committee shall consist of the senior pastor and Deacons. This committee shall review the Constitution and Bylaws periodically to keep them current as the authority describing the purpose and activities of Emmaus Baptist Church.
X. CHURCH FINANCES
The senior pastor and Budget Finance Team shall prepare and submit to the church for approval an inclusive budget for undesignated gifts, indicating by items the amounts needed and sought for all local and other expenses. Offering envelopes shall be provided as requested to those individuals who request them. It is understood that membership in this church involved financial obligation to support the church and its causes with regular, proportionate gifts.
B. Accounting Procedures
All funds received for any and all purposes shall be accounted for by the church financial secretary, and be properly recorded in the church accounting system. A system of accounting that adequately provides for the handing of all funds shall be the responsibility of the church financial secretary, an independent counting team, and be published in the church policy manual. An audit of the church books may be performed as ordered by the deacons and/or trustees.
C. Fiscal Year
The church fiscal year shall run concurrently with the calendar year of January 1 – December 31.
D. Designated Funds
The church may establish designated funds as it deems necessary for the furthering of the work of the church and advancement of God’s kingdom. No fund may be established without the senior pastor and Deacons approval and oversight the fund.
All contributions given to the church shall be considered part of the general operating budget unless given to a church-approved designated fund. Any other requested designations shall be considered suggestions, but are not binding. Contributions designated to a group or organization with the church (i.e. Sunday School class) for the group or organization’s exclusive use and under its total control is not considered a deductible contribution to the church and therefore cannot be added to the donor’s contribution statement. The church may not accept any contribution, (money, property or otherwise) that contains any restrictive stipulation. All contributions to the church are considered the property of Emmaus Baptist Church and shall be treated as such. No gifts will be accepted with the expectation of receiving any consideration in return. Neither will any contribution (money, land, physical property, etc.) be accepted with the expectation of that contribution being returned to the possession or ownership of the giver at any point for any reason.
Individual statements of giving shall be prepared from the church offering envelopes, and shall be completed by January 31 of the following year. Only contributions made between January 1 and December 31 of the preceding year shall be recorded in these statements.
XI. CHURCH POLICY MANUAL
The church shall develop a church policy manual to include church policies and procedures and organization charts depicting lines of responsibility in the administration of the church. The manual shall be kept in the church office and shall be maintained by the church secretary.
XII. CHURCH PROGRAM ORGANIZATIONS
The church shall establish and maintain programs as needed for the advancement of the church and its mission including, but not limited to: Bible teaching, church member training, church leader training, new member orientation, mission education, action and support, and music ministry. All organizations related to the church programs shall be subject to church coordination and approval; with all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church. The church shall provide the human, the physical, and the financial resources for the appropriate advancement of these programs and the church.
XIII. RESOLUTION OF DISPUTES
Recognizing that, when people interact, conflict is inevitable, EBC is committed to following the scriptural instructions for resolving disputes. Therefore, any claim, controversy, or dispute arising from or relating to the Articles of Incorporation or Constitution and Bylaws of the church, or breach thereof, involving or relating to the fellowship of the church (hereinafter “dispute” which term is to be interpreted expansively), shall be settled by mediation and, if mediation is unsuccessful, arbitration in accordance with CPR Rules of Procedure for Dispute Resolution (the complete text of which is available from the church office or WMApeace.com). The methods described in this paragraph shall be the sole remedy for any such dispute, except to enforce an arbitration decision. This paragraph is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (9 USC 1-16) and shall continue to govern any dispute that may arise during or relating to any term of fellowship in or with the church, even after such fellowship is terminated for any reason.
A. Protection of Confidential Information
The Bible teaches that Christians should carefully guard any personal and private information that others reveal to them. Protecting confidences is a sign of Christian love and respect. (Matt. 7:12) It also discourages harmful gossip (Proverbs 16:28; 26:20), invites confession (Proverbs 11:13; 28:13; James 5:16), and encourages people to seek needed counseling (Proverbs 20:19; Romans 15:14). As these goals are essential to the ministry of the gospel and the work of this church, all members are expected to refrain from gossip and to respect the confidences of others. In particular, all information received though pastoral counseling shall be carefully protected, subject to the following guidelines.
B. Exceptions to Confidentiality
Although confidentiality is to be respected as much as possible, there are times when revealing certain information to others is appropriate. In particular, when it is biblically necessary, confidential information may be disclosed to appropriate people in the following circumstances:
1. When there is uncertainty about how to counsel a person concerning a particular problem and the need to seek advice from one in fellowship with this church or, if the person attends another church, from the pastor or deacons (or the equivalent) in that church.
(Proverbs 11:14; 13:10; 15:22; 19:20; Matthew 18:15-17)
2. When the person who disclosed the information or any other person is in imminent danger or serious harm unless others intervene. (Proverbs 24:11-12)
3. When a person refuses to repent of sin and instituting disciplinary proceedings (Matthew 18:15-20 and Article XIV, Resolution of Disputes, of this Constitution and Bylaws), or seeking the assistance of individuals or agencies outside this church, (e.g., Romans 13:1-5) is necessary; or
4. When required by law to report suspected abuse of a child, spouse, elder or disabled person.
C. Disclosure of Confidential Information
Scripture commands that confidential information is to be shared with others only when a problem cannot be resolved through the efforts of a small group of people within the church (Matthew 18:15-17). Therefore, except as provided in Article XIII (Resolution of Disputes) of this Constitution and Bylaws, no one shall disclose confidential information to anyone without the approval of the pastor and deacons or the consent of the person who originally disclosed the information. The pastor and deacons may approve such disclosure only when they find that all internal efforts to resolve a problem have been exhausted (I Corinthians 6:1-8) and the problem cannot be satisfactorily resolved without the assistance of individuals or agencies outside the membership of this church (e.g., Romans 13:1-5). This limitation shall apply to, but is not limited to, the giving of testimony in a court of law and the reporting of abuse.
D. Effectiveness of These Provisions With or Without Notice
The pastor and deacons may, but need not, provide counselees or disputing parties with written notice of these confidentiality provision, but these provisions shall be in effect regardless of whether such notice is given.
XV. CORPORATE POWERS
The Church shall have perpetual duration and succession in its corporate name.
The Church has the same powers as an individual to do all things necessary or convenient to carry out her business and affairs, including without limitation those powers enumerated in and by Section 14-3-302 of the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code, Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.), in effect on the date of ratification of this Constitution and Bylaws, or as expanded by amendment thereafter by the Georgia General Assembly, which powers are incorporated herein by reference.
C. Emergency Powers
In addition to the powers to which reference is made in Paragraph B of this article, the Church trustees shall have the powers in anticipation of or during an emergency enumerated in and by Section 14-3-303 of the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code, O.C.G.A., in effect on the date of ratification of this Constitution and Bylaws, or as expanded by amendment thereafter by the Georgia General Assembly, which powers are incorporated herein by reference. An “emergency” exists for the purpose of this section if a quorum of the church’s pastor and deacons cannot readily be assembled because of some catastrophic event, in accordance with O.C.G.A. 14-3-303(d).
The Church shall indemnify her officers and directors/trustees for those amounts authorized by Title 14, Chapter 3, Article 8, Park 5 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A. 14-3-830 ff); provided, however, indemnification shall only be made upon compliance with the requirements of, and only in those circumstances in which indemnification is authorized under, those provisions.
Liability insurance may be purchased by the Church on behalf of those persons for whom she is entitled to purchase and maintain such coverage under, and to the extent permitted by, O.C.G.A. 14-3-857.
XVI. DISSOLUTION OF THE CHURCH
Dissolution of the Church shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Georgia Nonprofit Corporations Code, O.C.G.A. 14-3-1402 et seq.
XVII. INTERPREATION AND DEFINITIONS
A. Guiding Principles
The Church’s Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and Bylaws shall be construed in accordance with and governed by the Holy Bible and, where applicable, the laws of the State of Georgia as they pertain to nonprofit corporations, with the exception of Article XIII, Resolution of Disputes, which shall be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. 1-16) with the Bible always as supreme authority.
B. Conflict Between Church Doctrine and the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code
Where doctrine governing the affairs of the church is inconsistent with the provisions of the Georgia Nonprofit Corporations Code on the same subject, the church doctrine shall control, as expressed in this Constitution and Bylaws, to the full extent allowed by the Constitution of the United States or the State of Georgia, whichever is more expansive on the subject. Ref.: O.C.G.A. 14-3-180.
All paragraph headings appearing herein are intended to facilitate references to the terms and provision hereof and are not in any manner to be deemed to affect the construction or meaning of any term or provision.
D. Use of Masculine and Singular Pronouns
Throughout this Constitution and Bylaws the use of masculine pronouns (e.g., “he”) includes the feminine (e.g., “her”), and the neuter (e.g., “it”) where applicable.
XVIII. AMENDMENTS TO CONSTITUTION AND BYLAW
The Constitution and Bylaws shall be amended upon the direction of the church in conference; provided such amendments have been presented in writing one (1) month prior to the Ministry Meeting. Amendments shall be proposed by the deacon body, and made by a two-thirds vote of all members present at conference.