MSBC Church Constitution


Church Constitution




The name of this Church shall be:


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




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.




 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.



  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


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.


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.




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    



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.




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/she shall faithfully discharge his/her duties.  Any deacon who, for a period of three (3) months, fails to perform the duties of his/her 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:  Trustees

A.  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.

B. 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.

C. 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 3:  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 4:  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 5:  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 6:  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. 




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

A. 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.

B. Quorum

A simple majority of the members of the Joint Board that are present shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

C. 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.  

D. Voting

Unless stated elsewhere in this constitution, a simple majority vote of those present at a meeting 




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




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.




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



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This amended constitution was ratified at a regular business meeting held on April 3, 2022 by two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and supersedes any preceding constitutions. 


The following persons worked on and completed this amended constitution.



Rev. Clarence W. Hall, Jr., Pastor                                                    



Deacon Daunteley Signal                                                                                                                                                                                         


Trustee Marvin Brown                                                         



Trustee Ricky Owens                                    



Elder Beverly Redfield
Amended 1