MSBC Church Constitution
 
 

Church Constitution

 

ARTICLE I

NAME

The name of this Church shall be:

MORNING STAR BAPTIST CHURCH

and is presently located at 10250 Shaker Boulevard in the city of Cleveland, Ohio.

 

ARTICLE II

PURPOSE

The purpose of this congregation is to give visible form to that faith and fellowship to which God has called

his people. We acknowledge ourselves to be a local manifestation of the universal church through which

Jesus Christ continues to minister to the world by His Holy Spirit. We shall seek to fulfill this calling through

Corporate worship services, through a program of Christian nurture by which our members may be built up

in their faith and love, through proclamation of the Gospel by word and deed, and through ministering to

human need in the name of Christ.

Section 1:

The government of this Church is vested in the members who compose it and it is not subject to the control

of any other ecclesiastical organization. Also, none of its boards or committees can usurp its executive

 governmental or policy-making powers.

Section 2:

 It shall maintain affiliation and cooperation with the Cleveland Baptist Association and the American Baptist

 Churches, USA. It may maintain affiliation with other organizations that promote the purpose of this church

as stated in this article.

 

ARTICLE III

DOCTRINE

 This church accepts the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired record of God’s

 revelatory actions in human history using the King James Version (1611) as the authoritative basis of its

 doctrine and practice.

Section 1: OUR DOCTRINAL BELIEFS

DOCTRINAL STATEMENT

  1. We believe in the Scripture of the Old and New Testaments as verbally inspired by God and inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith and life. II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20-21; Psalms 119:105
  2. We believe in one God, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, manifesting Himself in Three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – one in nature, attributes, power and glory. Mark 12:29-30; Deuteronomy 33:27; Revelation 19:6; I John 3:20; Jeremiah 23:24; II Corinthians 13:14
  3. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and that He is true God and true man, yet without sin. Luke 1:35; Isaiah 7:14; John 1:1,2,14; Hebrew 4:15
  4. We believe that man was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death which is separation from God; and that all human beings are born with a sinful nature, and in the case of those who reach moral responsibility, become sinners in thought, word and deed. Genesis 1:27; 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12; Mark 7:21-23
  5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and rose again for our justification; and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood and are saved by grace through faith wholly apart from human merit and works. I Corinthians 15:3; I Peter 2:24; Romans 4:24-25; Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 2:8-9
  6. We believe that all who receive by faith the Lord Jesus are born again by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God thereby become the children of God, possessing eternal divine life, which can never be lost. I Peter 1:23; John 3:5-7,15, 10:27-30; Galatians 3:26
  7. We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person – the Administrator of the Godhead – convicting of sin, revealing Christ, teaching truth, restraining evil, energizing believers in prayer, worship, and service, and is ever present in the believer as Comforter and Helper. John 15:26, 16:7-14; Romans 8:26-27; John 14:16-17
  8. We believe in the physical resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord, His ascension into Heaven, His present life there as our High Priest and Advocate, and his personal, bodily, visible, premillennial return to establish His kingdom on earth and to reign as the Only Potentate, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Luke 24:6-7; Acts 1:8-11; Hebrew 7:24-27; Matthew 24:27-30; I Timothy 6:15
  9. We believe that at any moment the rapture of the saved may occur, when “the Lord shall descend from heaven” to catch up His people to meet Him in the air, and “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Luke 12:40; I Thessalonians 4:15-17
  10. We believe in the bodily resurrection of all the dead – the saved to a life of eternal glory and bliss in Heaven with God; the unsaved to eternal judgment of conscious suffering and woe in the lake of fire. Daniel 12:22; John 5:28-29; Revelation 21:8; Matthew 25:41
  11. We believe in the separation from all religious apostasy, worldly pleasures, sinful practices, and all associations involved therein, and separating ourselves in wholehearted devotion to the cause of Christ as the only scriptural basis for a happy and useful Christian life. II Corinthians 6:14-7:1; II Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15; Romans 12:1-2; I John 2:15-17; II John 10-11; Titus 2:12
  12. We believe that it is the privilege and responsibility of every believer to be a personal soul winner and to do his utmost to give the Gospel of Christ to the whole world. Psalms 107:2; Acts 1:8
  13. We believe that the true, universal church includes all believers in Christ during this present dispensation of grace and is the body and bride of Christ of which He is the Head. We believe that this local church is a congregation of believers, associated by covenant, observing the ordinances of Christ, exercising the gifts, privileges and responsibilities given in the New Testament, and following a democratic and congregational type of church government. I Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 5:23-32; Acts 2:41,42,47; Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-12; Acts 6:3-5
  14. We believe that there are two church ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water to show forth in solemn and beautiful emblem our faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and our death to sin and resurrection to a new life. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial service commemorating His death, burial and resurrection until He comes. Acts 2:41-42; Romans 6:3-5; I Corinthians 11:23-30
  15. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex. We believe that God disapproves of and forbids any attempt to alter one’s gender by surgery or appearance. Genesis 2:24; 19:5, 13; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman. Genesis 2:24; Rom. 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23

 

 

Section 2: OUR CHURCH COVENANT

This Church also has adopted the following covenant as a means by which its members may express their intent to accept the lordship of Jesus Christ in the affairs of daily life.

THE COVENANT

Minister: By what common experience do we enter into spiritual fellowship and covenant with one another.

Congregation: Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus 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.

Minister: What is the great bond of our nation with God and each other?

Congregation: We engage therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian Love.

Minister: What are our great privileges and duties in this our church?

Congregation: 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.

Minister: What vows do we gladly make as stewards of that which God has entrusted to us?

Congregation: To contribute cheerfully and regularly, to the support of the ministry, the support of the

church, the relief of the poor, and the spreading of the gospel throughout all nations.

Minister: For the sake of our homes and our loved ones, what gracious task do we humbly assume?

Congregation: We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion, to religiously educate our children, to

seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.

Minister: For the sake of the unsaved, for whom our Savior died; to what manner of life and consecration

are we solemnly pledged?

Congregation: To walk circumspectly in the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements,

and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid tattling, backbiting and excessive anger; to abstain from

drunkenness and the excessive use of alcoholic beverages of any kind. To further abstain from any habits or

practices that are harmful to the body, mind and spirit and which may cause a person to stumble. And to be

zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.

Minister: What is your responsibility when we remove ourselves from this church?

Congregation: We moreover engage that, when we remove from this place, we will immediately unite with

a church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s word.

Minister: Since one is our master, even Christ, all we are brethren; by what fraternal ministries are we to

strengthen each other and adorn the teachings of our Lord and Savior?

Congregation: We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love, to remember each other in

prayer, to aid each other in sickness and distress, to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in

speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior,

to seek it without delay.

Unison: Humbly confessing our past sins, we pray for the grace and strength to keep these our holy vows for

the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

ARTICLE IV

CHURCH MEMBERSHIP

Section 1: Admission of Members

 All applications for admission to church membership shall be presented to the Membership Committee and   

 followed by the Right Hand of Fellowship.  Persons may be received into membership by any of the

 following methods:

By Baptism

 A person who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and adopts substantially the views of this church

 and is baptized by immersion, may be received into the fellowship of the Church.

By Letter

 A baptized believer who is in substantial accord with the views of faith and the principles of this Church may

 be received by letter from any other Baptist Church.

By Experience

 A baptized believer of worthy character who has formerly been a member of a Baptist church, but who for a

 sufficient reason cannot present a letter from that church, but who is in substantial accord with the views of

 faith and the principles of this church may be received upon statement of experience.

By Restoration

 A person who has lost membership over a period of 3 years in this church may be restored to membership

 upon recommendation of the Pastoral Care Committee.

By Watch Care

A person who is a member of another Christian church but sojourning in this community for a brief period

of time may be received into the membership of this Church for a two year period.  Furthermore, students

may unite under Watch Care while they are enrolled in a local institution of learning.

Section 2: Termination of Members

By Letter

  Any member in good standing who is departing from this church and desires a letter of recommendation to

any other Baptist church may receive it upon his or her request.  The letter of recommendation shall come

under the signature of the Pastor of this Church and be forwarded to the Pastor of the named Church. 

Such letter shall be valid for only six (6) months after its date and this restriction shall be stated in the

  letter.

By Statement

 Any member in good standing may be granted a certificate of standing for the purpose of associating

 himself or herself with any evangelical church other than a Baptist church.

By Exclusion

Should any member become an offense to the Church and to its good name by reason of immoral or

unchristian conduct or by consistent breach of his covenant vows, the Church may terminate his or her

membership, but only after application of Matthew 18:15-17.  In this matter the Fellowship of Deacons

shall serve as representatives of the Church.

By Suspension

 The Fellowship of Deacons shall receive from year to year a list of those members who have for a period of

two (2) or more years failed to participate in the service of worship, financial  support and the educational

program of the Church without valid excuse.  If they are satisfied that the persons so described cannot be

reclaimed, they shall present to the Church a recommendation that these inactive members be removed

from the membership roll.  Upon such action being taken by the Church, said members shall thereafter

cease to be members of this Church.

By Death    

 

 

ARTICLE V

PASTOR

Section 1:

 The Pastor shall preach the gospel, administer the ordinances, watch over the membership and have charge

of the spiritual welfare of the congregation and the stated services of public worship.  The Pastor shall be

an ex-officio member of all boards and committees of the Church and its auxiliary organizations. The Pastor

  shall be the moderator and shall preside at all business meetings of the church except when good cause

  dictates otherwise.

Section 2:

 When it is necessary to fill the office of the Pastor it shall be the duty of the Fellowship of Deacons to

  take the necessary steps to secure a Pastor.  The Fellowship of Deacons shall assemble a Search Committee

for this process.  The Search Committee shall consist of no more than nine (9) active members and be

made up of a cross section of our Church membership.  A Search Committee, once approved by the Church,

  shall investigate the merits of every candidate under consideration in regard to personal character,

education, ministerial record, managerial skills, preaching ability and other relevant qualifications in          

  determining the candidate’s fitness for said pastorate.  The Search Committee will present its findings to

the Fellowship of Deacons for review.  When a suitable candidate is found, the Fellowship of Deacons shall

recommend that person to the Church for consideration.

Section 3:

The call of a Pastor shall come before the church at a regularly called business meeting. Notice of such

meeting and its purpose shall be read from the pulpit on three (3) successive Sundays. A vote of two-thirds

(2/3) of the members present and qualified to vote shall be necessary to extend a call. Only one candidate

shall be presented to the church at any one regular meeting. The vote shall be by written ballot.

Section 4:

The Pastor shall be called for an indefinite period of time. The salary shall be fixed at the time of the call

And may be changed, as necessary, provided that such a change has been considered by the Fellowships

of Deacons and Trustees in a joint meeting. The salary shall be paid in weekly installments. The Pastor

shall be given an annual vacation of not less than four (4) weeks with pay. The Pastor shall be given a

sabbatical of not less than two (2) weeks with pay for the purpose of a spiritual renewal and program

planning for the ensuing year.

Section 5: How and When to Dismiss the Pastor

The Fellowship of Deacons may recommend to the Church that the office of the Pastor be vacated based

on the following conditions: Unscriptural teaching; unscriptural conduct which hinders the church;

behavior/performance that does not meet the stated purposes of the Church.

 

ARTICLE VI

BOARDS / MINISTRIES

Section 1: Deacons

The Fellowship of Deacons shall be ordained to their work according to Acts 6:1-8 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

There shall be a Fellowship of seven (7) or more deacons. As the need arises, this office may be filled

upon recommendation from the Pastor and Fellowship of Deacons and brought before the Church at a

regular business meeting. At such meeting, recommendations may be ratified by the body.   Those

persons to be accepted by the Church to fill the office of a deacon must meet the moral qualifications as

listed in the above-mentioned Scriptures. Any member who feels that a candidate is not suited for the

office must apprise the Church and present their reason at a special meeting. The one who opposes must

bring specific reasons stated in writing, presenting evidence that is cogent to its truth.  Persons found to 

be qualified will be placed on trial for a period of one (1) year, in which time they will undergo training and

preparation for their charge. At the end of this period and upon recommendation to the Church, the

candidate or candidates will be ordained. A deacon shall hold office as long as he shall faithfully discharge

his duties. Any deacon who, for a period of three (3) months, fails to perform the duties of his office

faithfully, automatically vacates the same. The Church may, for good and sufficient cause, remove any

deacon from office. The Fellowship of Deacons shall in every way assist the Pastor; cooperate with the

Pastor in providing the pulpit supply and the leaders of the Prayer Meeting; visit the members; care for

the sick, needy, and distressed members of the Church; use the Benevolent Fund as may be needed. The

Fellowship of Deacons shall promote Christian instruction and minister to the Church membership;

provide for the Ordinances and aid in their administration.   The Fellowship of Deacons shall choose

annually a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer and shall meet monthly or as

necessary . Special meetings may be called by the chairman and the secretary shall notify other members. 

A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum.

Section 2: Deaconesses

The Fellowship of Deaconess shall be ordained to their work according to Acts 6:1-8 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

There shall be a Fellowship of seven (7) or more deaconess. As the need arises, this office may be filled  

upon recommendation from the Pastor and Fellowship of Deaconess and brought before the Church

at a regular business meeting. At such meeting, recommendations may be ratified by the body.  Those

persons to be accepted by the Church to fill the office of a deaconess must meet the moral qualifications

as listed in the above-mentioned Scriptures. Any member who feels that a candidate is not suited for the

office must apprise the Church and present their reason at a special meeting. The one who opposes must

bring specific reasons stated in writing, presenting evidence that is cogent to its truth. Persons found to

be qualified will be placed on trial for a period of one (1) year, in which time they will undergo training

and preparation for their ­­­charge. At the end of this period and upon recommendation to the Church, the

candidate or candidates will be ordained. A deaconess shall hold office as long as she shall faithfully

discharge her duties. Any deaconess who, for a period of three (3) months, fails to perform the duties of

her office faithfully, automatically vacates the same. The Church may, for good and sufficient cause,    

remove any deaconess from office. The Fellowship of Deaconess shall assist the Pastor in developing the 

the spiritual life of the women and girls of the Church for the best possible Christian service. They shall

cooperate with the Pastor and the Fellowship of Deacons in visiting the members; in the care of the sick,

needy, and distressed members of the Church; in disbursement of the Benevolent Fund; and in the

preparation of the observances of the Ordinances of the Church. The Fellowship of Deaconess shall 

choose annually a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer and shall meet monthly or

as necessary. Special meetings may be called by the chairperson and the secretary shall notify other

members. A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum.          

Section 3: Trustees

  1. Fellowship of Trustees

There shall be a ministry of at least eleven (11) trustees including the Church Financial Secretary and the

Church Treasurer. The Fellowship of Trustees, except the Financial Secretary and the Church Treasurer,

shall be elected at each annual meeting for a term of three (3) years with no more than one third rotating

 off each year.  The Fellowship of Trustees shall choose annually a chairperson, a vice-chairperson, a

secretary and a treasurer and shall meet monthly or as necessary. Special meetings may be called by the

chairperson and the secretary shall notify the other members. A majority of the members shall constitute

a quorum. Any trustee who, for a period of three (3) months, fails to perform the duties of their office

faithfully, automatically vacates the same. The ministry shall hold in trust all property belonging to the

Church and shall take all necessary measures for its protection, management and upkeep. The Trustees

shall have no power to buy, mortgage, lease or transfer any property without specific vote of the Church

authorizing such action. They shall designate the bank where the funds of the Church shall be deposited.

All bills/expenses/expenditures authorized by the Church shall be cleared through the Fellowship of Trustees

before payment is made. They shall perform such other duties as are imposed upon it by the Church and

State. They shall supervise ways and means of raising the necessary funds for the support of the Church and

supervise the disbursements of these funds as appropriate. They shall make written reports to the Church at

the annual business meeting and at such other times as may be needed. Each Trustee, whether permanent or

in training, shall be covered while in the service of Morning Star Baptist  Church and thirty (30) days after

service under the Bonding Coverage as approved by the Church Joint Board.

  1. Treasurer

It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all monies. It is his/her responsibility to count, bank,

balance, and report everything connected to the Church. At the Business Meeting he/she shall lay before

the Church a statement of the monies received. The Treasurer shall be elected at the annual Church

Business Meeting with no term limits.

  1. Financial Secretary

It shall be the duty of the Financial Secretary to keep records of all finances undertaken by the Church,

prepare bills and file the appropriate tax forms for periodic filings. At the Business Meeting he/she shall

lay before the Church a statement of the monies paid out. The Financial Secretary shall be elected at the

annual Church Business Meeting with no term limits.

Section 4: Clerk

The Church Clerk shall keep accurate minutes of the business meetings of the Church. He/she shall

distribute the minutes of previous business meetings and shall preserve and properly file all reports and

other documents pertaining to the office. The Church Clerk shall issue letters of recommendation when

requested by exiting members and request letters from churches from which prospective members have

indicated an active membership. All records, minutes, etc. must be kept in the church in a safe place

except those currently being used by the clerk. The Church Clerk shall assume all other duties that may be

required of this office.

Section 5: Joint Board

The Joint Board is the official board of the Church. The Joint Board shall consist of the Pastor, the

Fellowship of Deacons and the Fellowship of Trustees. It shall make decisions on matters referred to them

by the Pastor, the Fellowship of Deacons and the Fellowship of Trustees. The Joint Board at its discretion

may bring up issues or make recommendations to the Church body concerning Church affairs. It shall

have the responsibility to discuss and/or act upon any and all delegated matters deemed to be of general

interest and welfare of the Church congregation. All matters of importance shall be considered by the

Joint Board before being presented to the Church. The Joint Board will meet on a date and frequency

determined by the Pastor and Chairs of the Fellowship of Deacons and the Fellowship of Trustees. Special

meetings of the Joint Board may be called upon request of the Pastor, the Chair of the Fellowship of

Deacons or the Chair of the Fellowship of Trustees. All members of the Joint Board must be notified of the

special meetings at the earliest possible time.

Section 6: Christian Education

The Christian Education Ministry exists to develop children, men and women in the ways of the Lord and

to equip them for ministry as servant leaders in the body of Christ. A servant leader is one who is

committed to Scripture, spiritual maturity, prayer, fellowship, stewardship and discipline.

Section 7: Ministry of Missions and Evangelism

This ministry shall promote interest in missions at home and internationally. It shall accept and reach a

high goal of missionary giving and shall cooperate with regional and national groups on missionary giving.

The ministry shall cooperate with the Pastor in providing practical ways for implementing the evangelistic

mission of the Church, such as neighborhood visitation, preaching services, study groups, etc.

 

ARTICLE VII

ELECTIONS

Section 1: Annual Elections

The annual election of officers shall be held before the annual Church Business Meeting and shall be

supervised by two (2) members of the Fellowship of Deacons.

Section 2: Qualification of Voters

All matters pertaining to the purchase, sale or mortgaging of property of the Church shall be voted on by

active members who are at least eighteen (18) years of age. On all other matters, active members who

are at least fifteen (15) years of age are entitled to vote.

Section 3: Vacancies

All vacancies of official offices occurring during the year may be filled for the unexpired term at the next

available Church Business Meeting.

Section 4: Worship Services

Public services shall be on each Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Supper shall be celebrated on the first Sunday of

each month and at such times as the Church may determine.  The Church School shall meet at times fixed

by the Ministry of Christian Education and approved by the Joint Board.

Section 5: Church Business Meetings

  1. Annual Business Meeting

The annual Business Meeting shall be held no later than the second Saturday morning in March for the

purpose of transacting all business as is proper to come before this meeting. Such business shall include

the receiving of annual reports of individual officers, boards, auxiliaries, and committees of the church

and the election of officers.

  1. Quorum

Seventy-five (75) members in good standing, who are qualified voters, shall constitute a quorum for the

transaction of business.

  1. Special Meetings

Special business meetings may be called at any time by the Pastor or by the Joint Board. In addition one

hundred active members can petition a request to call a special business meeting. Notice of such

meetings and the purpose for which they are called shall be announced from the pulpit on three (3)

successive Sundays preceding the date of the meeting.

 

ARTICLE VIII

CHURCH YEAR

The church year shall begin on the first day of January and close the last day of December.

 

ARTICLE IX

RULES OF ORDER

Section 1:

The Hiscox Directory is the book on which our Church is incorporated.

Section 2:

The Holy Bible and Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern business proceedings of the Church.

 

ARTICLE X

AMENDMENTS

This Constitution may be amended at any regular or special business meeting of the Church by a

two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present, provided a quorum is present.  Notice of such amendment stating

the proposed change shall be put in writing and made available to the members on three (3) successive

Sundays.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

ADOPTION

This constitution was ratified at a regular business meeting held on

July 30, 2016

by two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and supersedes any preceding constitutions. 

 

The following persons worked on and completed this constitution.

 

____________________________________                        ____________________________________

Rev. Clarence W. Hall, Jr., Pastor                              Deacon Tucker White                       

           

____________________________________                        ____________________________________

Deacon Daunteley Signal                                          Deaconess Cheryl Wakes                                                                                                                             

____________________________________                        ____________________________________

Trustee Ricky Owens                                                 Elder Thelma Campbell Brown

 

____________________________________                        ____________________________________

Elder Beverly Redfield                                               Elder Kandice Simmons