KCCC

Bylaws – Revised April 2010

ARTICLE II. MINISTERIAL LEADERSHIP
 

SECTION 1. PASTOR

 
Call Upon the Pastor’s termination, a church conference will be called and the church will elect a Pastor Search Team. The nominations will be submitted by written ballot and given to an Elder or Lay Pastor. The nominees will then be presented to the church body. This team will consist of no fewer than seven (7) and no more than nine (9) members. The team will consist of representatives of the church body. The team will be made up of male and female elected members by the body of the church. No person shall serve on this team who has been a member of the church for less than one (1) full year. This team will seek out and evaluate prospective pastoral candidates until they achieve complete consensus on a single candidate. They will then report to the church body who, will set a time and date for the candidate to be received by the church. The approved date, must allow for a minimum of thirty (30) days before the church will receive the candidate. On that date, after the church has worshiped with the recommended candidate, a church conference shall be called and after a full discussion, a vote will be taken by secret ballot. A three-fourths (3/4 -75%) vote of the church members present and voting is required to extend a call. If the church body does not extend a “call” to the candidate, or if the candidate declines to accept, then the Pastor Search Team will begin a new search and come before the church with a second recommendation. This method will proceed until a Pastor is secured.
Duties The Pastor shall be the spiritual leader of the congregation. In that capacity, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, he shall preach and teach the word of God, lead the church in regular worship services, assist with administering the ordinances of the church, assist with moderating at church conferences, provide leadership to the ministerial staff, assist with administering church affairs, and generally fulfill all his pastoral duties as set forth in Scripture. The Pastor will be confidentially evaluated annually by the Elders of the church.
Termination The Pastor’s duties with the church may be terminated by resignation, death, or dismissal. Such dismissal will require three-fourths (3/4 – 75%) vote of the members present and voting at a called business meeting. The moderator for such a meeting will be a disinterested third party appointed by the elected leaders.
 

SECTION 2. PROFESSIONAL MINISTERIAL STAFF

 
Call The church will employ professional ministerial staff, sufficient for fulfilling the church’s mission. Such ministerial staff will require three-fourths (3/4 – 75%) vote of the congregation upon the recommendation of the search team. The search team shall be nominated by the church leadership and voted on by the church body.
Duties Professional ministerial staff persons will have specific and written job descriptions as outlined by the Pastor and Personnel Team.
Termination The service of professional staff persons may be terminated by resignation, death, or a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at a church conference called by the Elders for that purpose.
 

SECTION 3. LAY PASTORS

 
The role of the Lay Pastor shall be described as follows:
 
In all things, a man of Christ-like Character towards all people in all situations.
A man who lives above reproach, not only from the scripture, but also his fellow Christians.
A man who leads the congregation to Christ centered service.
A man who serves his church in hard work, attending worship and events, and in giving.
A man who is an extension of the Pastor in service and in spirit.
A man who takes an active role in leading the worship service and shares his own faith.
A man who ministers to the congregation in their distressed times, in their developing faith, in their unsure decisions for Christ.
A man who looks after the physical needs of the congregation and the facilities.
A man who carries the name of Christ in all of his relationships.
An encourager to other leaders.
Purpose and Function Lay Pastors shall serve as an extension of the ministry of the Senior Pastor and in that capacity may serve as ex-officio members of teams, administer the ordinances of the church, assist in leading worship, and generally perform any other ministerial function of the Senior Pastor with his approval or at his request.
Qualifications Since Lay Pastors represent the ministry of the Senior Pastor, they must be men beyond reproach who meet the biblical qualifications set forth in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1: 6-9. Before a nominee is recommended to the church for the role of Lay Pastor, the nominee must have been a church member for one (1) full year.
Selection Lay Pastors shall be nominated to the church body as needed by the Senior Pastor or in the absence of a Pastor, by elected leaders. To serve they must receive a three-fourths (3/4 – 75%) vote from the church body.
Duties Each Lay Pastor will have specific responsibilities as assigned by the Senior Pastor.
Term of Office Lay Pastors will be elected up to three (3) one (1) year terms, but may serve additional terms after a one (1) year lay-off. For the sake of the person and their family, no person should serve in this capacity for more than three (3) years unless there is a one (1)year sabbatical between terms of service.
Removal A Lay Pastor may be removed before their term of office expires by death, resignation, or consensus decision of the church body.
 
 

SECTION 4. ELDERS

 
Purpose and Function Elders shall serve to provide spiritual leadership and accountability to the church in accordance with scripture. They will provide a brotherhood of support and accountability for the Pastor, assist the ministry teams with difficult issues, serve as arbiters in matters of conflict or church discipline, and in general provide spiritual leadership, guidance, and assistance whenever and wherever appropriate. The Elder body shall be made up of a maximum of three (3) elected Elders plus the pastor, who is also an Elder. Elders do not run the church, they serve the church according to the scripture.
Qualifications Because Elders may be called on to handle the weightiest matters of the church, they should above all be men filled with wisdom, love and the Holy Spirit. All Elders must meet the Biblical qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:17 and Titus 1: 6-9 and must have a connection to the cowboy culture. The Senior Pastor shall be an Elder. Elders are selected from a group of men who have previous experience as Deacons or Lay Pastors and meet the qualifications (SEE SECTION 3 ABOVE) as a Lay Pastor prior to being considered as an Elder.
Selection and Term of Office
Elders serve a three (3) year term. Each year, at a time that is agreed upon by the leadership of the church, the church will be asked to submit in writing the names of men who have been a member of the KCCC for at least one (1) year to fill any vacancies among the Elders. The Pastor and existing Elders will screen the names to ensure that the nominees meet the qualifications set forth above. If it is determined that a nominee is qualified, his name will be placed before the church as a candidate. However, if the Elders, the Pastor, or the nominee determines that he is not qualified, then he will not be a candidate.
 
Once a list of qualified candidates has been assembled, an election by written ballot will be held. The candidates’ names shall be placed on a secret ballot and those church members present and voting shall be asked to mark three (3) names. The candidates receiving the most votes will serve as Elders until the next election unless precluded by death, resignation, or removal. An Elder may not serve more than one (1) three (3) year term. He is free to serve as an Elder again after one (1) year rest from service.
 
Removal Any member of the church may bring a written scriptural reason for removal of an Elder. Elders may be removed from office by their own decision or by consensus decision of the other Elders. Removal shall be based upon being spiritually unqualified or the inability to serve.
Vacancies Elder vacancies can occur by death, resignation, or removal. When a vacancy occurs, the existing Elders, meeting in Church Conference, shall select an interim to fill the vacancy until the next election.
 
 

SECTION 5. ELECTED LEADERSHIP

 
Purpose and Function Elected leaders shall serve to provide spiritual leadership and accountability to the church in accordance with scripture. They will provide support and accountability for the Pastor, assist the ministry teams with difficult issues, and in general provide spiritual leadership, guidance, and assistance wherever and whenever appropriate. No one should be considered for an elected position in the church until they have proven themselves as a faithful member of the church for not less than one (1) year.
Qualifications (these expectations are required for all elected leaders in the church) Because elected leaders may be called on to handle the weightiest matters of the church, they should above all be persons filled with wisdom, love, and the Holy Spirit. They must meet the Biblical qualifications set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. The Senior Pastor and all additional staff members must also meet these qualifications.
 
They commit themselves to be a learning person, focused on His will in their life. They commit themselves to live above reproach, and to develop servants to be leaders in the future.They commit themselves to make this church a priority in their life, even when it is inconvenient to their personal schedules and agendas, because they know God will use them if they are faithful. They commit to give and to attend faithfully, believing that God will use them to set the pace for service and support of His church.
Removal Any member of the church may bring a written scriptural reason for removal of an elected leader. Elected leaders may be removed from office by their own decision or by consensus decision of the church body. Removal shall be based upon being spiritually unqualified or the inability to serve.
Vacancies Leadership vacancies can occur by death, resignation, or removal. When a vacancy occurs, the church, meeting in Church Conference, shall select an interim to fill the vacancy until the next election.
 
 

ARTICLE III. SUPPORT STAFF

 
The Pastor and Personnel Team may suggest employment and termination of other employees as necessary for the efficient conduct of the business of the church.
 
 
 

ARTICLE IV. MINISTRY TEAMS

 

SECTION 1. GENERAL MINISTRY TEAMS

 
Purpose and Function Ministry teams shall be organized to carry out the specialized ministries of the church. Each ministry team shall have specific functions and responsibilities as assigned or approved by the Pastor and/or Elders.
Structure Ministry teams will be made up of an odd number (usually 5 – 9) of people organized to carry out a necessary ministry or function of the church. Each team member will have individual functions and responsibilities as assigned by the team. A staff member or Lay Pastor will be assigned to each team to offer assistance and serve as a liaison between the team and the Senior Pastor. One member of the team shall be designated by the Lay Pastor or staff member to be team leader and will be responsible for ensuring that the team functions properly. Teams will function by consensus, not majority vote. This means that teams must arrive at decisions that can be supported by each member of the team. If consensus cannot be reached, the matter shall either be tabled or placed before the church body for a final decision.
Qualifications Team members must be active members of the church in good standing, love the Lord and have a desire to see His kingdom grow, have credibility with other church members, have a passion for the mission of the team, be determined to make the team a top priority in their lives (this means that they are willing to rearrange their daily schedules or do whatever it takes to participate in team meetings and activities), and desire to use their talents and abilities to accomplish the team’s mission.
Formation of Teams General Ministry teams may be formed as needed by the Pastor and church body, by the Leadership Team, or by any active ministry team.
Selection of Team Leaders A ministry team leader is elected in a church conference by secret ballot. They must be a baptized member of the church to serve and be a person above reproach in their Christian character. It is suggested that ministry team leaders serve in a position for one (1) year and then move to a different ministry or step down. This is for the purpose that others may have the opportunity to serve in that capacity and so that one (1) person does not dominate the team leader role. If other persons are not available for the respective role, then the team leader is welcome to serve a second year.
Removal If a team member causes conflict, fails to carry out his or her responsibility to the team, or otherwise hampers the work of the team, every effort should be made by the team leader and assigned staff person to rectify the issue in a positive redemptive manner. However, if the problem persists, a team member may be removed by the consensus decision of the other team members.
 
 

SECTION 2. STANDING CONGREGATIONAL TEAMS

 
Purpose and Function Standing Congregational Teams shall provide oversight of the church’s regular business affairs and assist in finding and providing the tangible resources necessary to effectively carry out the church’s ministries. Membership on a standing team does not preclude a person from serving on a ministry team, such as Women’s Ministry, or Fellowship Lunch.
Structure Standing Congregational Teams shall be composed of three (3) to six (6) members serving a three (3) year term with two (2) members rotating off each year. A staff member or Lay Pastor will be assigned to each team to offer assistance and serve as a liaison between the team and the church. Each year, one (1) member of the team shall be elected by the team members to be team leader and will be responsible for ensuring that the team functions properly. Teams will function by consensus, not majority vote. This means that teams must arrive at decisions that can be supported by each member of the team. If consensus cannot be reached, the matter shall either be tabled or placed before the Pastor and Elders for a final decision.
Qualifications Qualifications for standing ministry team members will be the same as those of general ministry team members. (Article IV. Section 1.)
Standing Teams The standing teams of the church shall be:
Personnel Team The Personnel Team will be responsible to ensure that the church has adequate support staff to effectively carry out its ministries. They will fill staff vacancies as needed or as directed by the church (except in the case of seeking a pastor, upon a vacancy of the pulpit, the personnel team may be used to select an interim pastor, but the Pastor Search Team will seek out and recommend a pastor to the church), conduct annual staff evaluations in the first quarter of each year periodic staff evaluations, make salary recommendations, and mediate church/staff disputes. The personnel team does not have hiring or firing authority. They do have the right and the responsibility to advise the church in such matters. This team will include at least one (1) church Elder other than the Pastor.
Facility Team The Facility Team will be responsible to ensure that the church has adequate facilities to effectively carry out its ministries. They will oversee the care, maintenance, and use of all facilities and grounds except the arena. They will also assist the Pastor and Elders with long range planning which will ensure that the church has adequate facilities to meet future needs. The facilities or equipment of the church are not to be loaned or rented for personal use by any member, employee, or friends of the church. Facilities are not loaned or rented for the events of other groups in the community.
Finance Team The Finance Team will be responsible to ensure that the church has adequate financial resources to effectively carry out its ministries. They shall work cooperatively with the Pastor, Lay Pastors, professional staff, and team leaders to find maximum resources for meeting each ministry need. They shall also be responsible for the preparation of the annual budget, for the oversight and accounting of all financial records, and for assisting the Pastor and Elders with long term planning which will ensure that the church has financial resources to meet future ministry needs. This team should include at least one (1) Elder other than the Pastor.
Arena Team The Arena Team will be responsible for providing the tools, resources, and personnel necessary for the church to effectively carry out its arena ministry. They shall be responsible for the oversight, care, maintenance, and use of the arena. They will work with the Leadership Team, as well as other ministry teams, to develop strategies and plan events that will utilize the arena to effectively reach the cowboy/western culture for Christ. Opening prayers should be offered at the opening of each event. No Arena events schedule on Sunday shall start before 3:00pm.
 
Arena events should include but are not limited to, roping, barrel racing and family play days. The postponement of any event will not change/interrupt any other scheduled events, but be re-scheduled.
Selection and Term of Office
On or about October 1st of each year, the church will be asked to submit in writing the names of individuals to serve on the various standing teams. These names will be screened by the Pastor and Lay Pastors to ensure that the nominees meet the qualifications of an effective team member as set forth in Article IV, Section 1. If it is determined that a nominee is qualified, his name will be placed before the church as a candidate. However, if it is determined that they are not qualified, they will not be a candidate.
Once a list of qualified candidates has been assembled, an election will be held on or before October 31st of each year. The candidates’ names will be placed on a secret ballot and those church members present and voting shall be asked to vote on the candidates for the standing team. The candidates receiving the most votes will serve three-year terms as standing team members unless removed.
Removal If a standing team member causes conflict, fails to carry out his or her responsibility to the team, or otherwise hampers the work of the team, every effort should be made by the team leader and assigned staff person to rectify the issue in a positive redemptive manner. However, if the problem persists, a team member may be removed by consensus decision of the other team members.
 
Vacancies on standing teams can occur by death, resignation, or removal. When a vacancy occurs, the team shall, by consensus and with the approval of the Elders, select an interim to fill the vacancy until the next election.
 
 

SECTION 3. SPECIAL TEAMS

 
Special teams are teams such as a Building Team or a Pastor Search Team. The establishment of such teams comes from special elections in a regular church conference that are under the direction and supervision of the Elders. Persons serving on a special team must have been a member of KCCC for not less than one (1) year. All such teams will be selected by secret ballot after the church body has had reasonable opportunity to nominate and pray over the matter
 
 
 

ARTICLE V. CORPORATE OFFICERS

 

SECTION 1. PRESIDENT

 
The Pastor shall serve as the President and overall representative and overall administrator of the corporation. He will assist as moderator at church conferences and be responsible for ensuring that the daily business affairs of the church are appropriately and effectively executed.
 

SECTION 2. TRUSTEES

 
Purpose and Function When authorized and instructed by the church body, Trustees shall sign the title to church property; all legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property; all notes and loan instruments; and such other legal documents as may require execution on behalf of the church. There shall be a minimum of three (3) trustees.
Selection and Term of Office The church shall elect Trustees to a three (3) year rotating terms with one (1) trustee rotating off annually.
Removal A Trustee may be removed by death, resignation, or consensus decision of the Elders.
 

SECTION 3. CLERK/SECRETARY

 
Purpose and Function The Church Clerk shall serve as Secretary of the corporation. The responsibilities of the clerk will be to keep the minutes of all church conferences, insure that a proper file of all members is maintained, and prepare an annual report to be given to the Kauf-Van Baptist Association.
Selection and Term of Office The position of Church Secretary/Church Clerk shall be filled in the same process as other leadership roles in the church.
 

SECTION 4. VACANCIES

 
Fiscal year The Fiscal Year of the church will be on a calendar year basis beginning on January 1 and ending on December 31 of each year.
Accounting Procedures The Finance Team shall follow a system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds.
Budget The Finance Team, in consultation with the Pastor and ministry team leaders, shall prepare and submit a budget for congregational approval prior to the beginning of each Fiscal Year. The Finance Team must provide quarterly budget reports to the church within thirty (30) days of the end of each quarter. The Treasurer of the church is the manager of all checkbooks, financial records, ect.
The church does not advance payments or salaries until services are rendered. The church does not loan money to any member or employee. The church does not co-sign loans or credit cards/cell phone bills/utility agreements/leases, ect. for any member or employee. Except in the case of items such as food, cleaning supplies, paper goods, etc., the purchaser needs to provide evidence of competitive shopping for items worth $250.00 or more. The Finance Team should not be made up of husband and wives, nor should the Treasurer be a spouse to anyone on the Finance Team. Any notice of late payments could be ground for dismissal from position. The Finance Team should require monthly reporting, no exceptions.
Checks, Drafts, Etc.
All checks, drafts or orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the church shall be signed by at least two (2) people who have been designated by the Finance Team for that purpose.
The Treasure/Secretary of the church must not at any time be signer of church drafts, credit card or checks.
All checks, drafts, or orders for the payment of money, notes, or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the church shall be signed by at least two (2) people who have been designated by the Finance Team for that purpose. All reimbursements must be for church authorized functions only.
Payees must present a bill or receipt in order to received payment.
Treasurer or Secretary must gain authorization from the Finance Team to issue any check over $150.00 unless the expense is authorized by the church approved budget.
Deposits
Utilize attached weekly offering log sheet.
Ensure that there are two (2) to three (3) counters that rotate each week.
The Treasurer must never be a counter. Use different color ink per counter for signature purposes.
Only bank issued depository bags and deposit slips must be used each week.
All funds received by the church shall be deposited on the Sunday they are received to the credit of the church in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as determined by the Finance Team.
No cash or other funds are to be removed from the weekly offerings for petty cash or other causes. All funds received must be deposited into the bank.
Special Offerings: Except in the case of annual mission offerings/world hunger offerings sponsored by the Baptist General Convention of Texas or the Kauf-Van Association, all special offerings must first be approved by the Finance Team, and then announced to the church not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the offering.
 

SECTION 2. CHURCH CONFERENCES

 
Church Conferences Church conferences may be called by the members of the church in the event that a special session needs to function in between the quarterly church conferences. Notices of the time and place of all church conferences shall be given not later than thirty (30) days prior to such meetings by publication in the church newsletter or worship bulletin, or by public announcement at a regular Sunday morning worship service.
Place of Church Conferences All church conferences shall be held on the premises of the church.
Quorum The church members present at any duly called church conference shall constitute a quorum.
Proxies Voting by proxy at any church conference shall not be allowed or recognized.
Will of the Church All Ministry Teams, officers, and organizations of the church shall carry out the will of the church on any given matter, duly expressed by its vote.
Rules of Procedure The order of proceedings at church conferences shall be determined by the rules of practice contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised.
Conduct of Church Business All business of the church shall be conducted in a manner that honors Christ and respects others. The church shall strive to seek the will of God by prayerful deliberation and common consensus. The process of voting on significant matters such as church leaders/employees, financial matters, budget reports, purchase of land/facilities, etc will be conducted by written secret ballots. Only adult church members may vote on church business.
 
 

SECTION 3. CONTRACTS

 
 
 
The Trustees shall execute and deliver any contract or instrument in the name of the church, which may be authorized by the church to be so executed and delivered. In this connection, the church body as a whole shall be the ultimate authority for all actions taken by the church and no other person, organization or corporate officer shall have any authority to contract or otherwise bind the church without express authorization from the church body.
 

SECTION 4. BOOKS AND RECORDS

 
The church shall keep and maintain a complete and accurate record of all financial accounts, membership lists, and church conference minutes at its principle office. Any member, or his agent or attorney may inspect all books and records of the church, for any purpose at any reasonable time.
 

SECTION 5. PROHIBITION AGAINST SHARING IN CORPORATE EARNINGS

 
No member, officer, or person connected with the corporation, or any other private individual shall receive at any time any of the net earnings of pecuniary profit from the operations of the corporation, provided that this shall not prevent the payment to any such person of a reasonable compensation for services rendered to or for the corporation in effecting any of its purposes as shall be fixed by the church; and no such person or persons shall be entitled to share in the distribution of any of the corporate assets upon the dissolution of the corporation. All members of the church shall be deemed to have expressly consented and agreed that upon such dissolution or winding up of the affairs of the corporation, whether voluntary or involuntary, the assets of the corporation, after all debts have been satisfied, then remaining in the hands of the officers of the church shall be distributed, transferred, conveyed, delivered, and paid over, in such amounts as the church may determine or as may be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction upon application of the church, exclusively to charitable, religious, or educational organizations affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas or Kauf – Van Baptist Association which would then qualify under the provisions of Section 501 (C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.
 

SECTION 6. EXEMPT ACTIVITIES

 
Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, no member, officer, or representative of the corporation shall take any action or carry on any activity by or on behalf of the corporation not permitted to be taken or carried on by any organization exempt under Section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code and its Regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended, or by any organization contributions to which are deductible under Section 170 (C)(2) of such code and regulations as they now exist or as they may hereafter be amended.
 

ARTICLE VII. AMENDMENTS

 
These Bylaws may be amended by a three-fourths (3/4 – 75%) vote of the members present at a church conference called for that purpose. Any member of the church may propose amendments. Proposed amendments for church consideration shall be in written form and mailed thirty (30) days prior to the church conference to the last known address of all members eligible to vote. Amendments will be numbered, dated and attached to the original instrument.
 
Motivating Scriptures:
 
Matthew 18: 15-17
A Brother Who Sins Against You
15″If your brother sins against you, [a] go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[b]17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Timothy 3: 1-7
Overseers and Deacons
1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, [a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?). 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
Titus 1: 6-9
6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer[a] is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
 
THEOLOGICAL STATEMENT OF KAUFMAN COUNTY COWBOY CHURCH
 
 
 
1963 Baptist Message of Faith
 
REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE
 
The 1962 session of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in San Francisco, California, adopted the following motion: “Since the report of the Committee on Statement of Baptist Faith and Message was adopted in 1925, there have been various statements from time to time which have been made, but no overall statement which might be helpful at this time as suggested in Section 2 of that report, or introductory statement which might be used as an interpretation of the 1925 Statement. “We recommend, therefore, that the president of this Convention be requested to call a meeting of the men now serving as presidents of the various state Conventions that would qualify as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Committee under Bylaw 18 to present to the Convention in Kansas City some similar statement which shall serve as information to the churches, and which may serve as guidelines to the various agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention. It is understood that any group or individuals may approach this committee to be of service. The expenses of this committee shall be borne by the Convention Operating Budget.”
Throughout its work your committee has been conscious of the contribution made by the statement of “The Baptist Faith and Message” adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925. It quotes with approval it affirmation that “Christianity is supernatural in its origin and history. We repudiate every theory of religion which denies the supernatural elements of our faith.” Furthermore, it concurs in the introductory “statement of the historic Baptist conception of the nature and function of confessions of faith in our religious and denominational life.” It is, therefore, quoted in full as part of this report to the Convention:
“(1)That they constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us. They are not intended to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
“(2)That we do not regard them as complete statements of our faith, having any quality of finality or infallibility. As in the past so in the future Baptists should hold themselves free to revise their statements of faith as may seem to them wise and expedient at any time.
“(3)That any group of Baptists, large or small have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so.
“(4)That the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience.
“(5)That they are statements of religious convictions, drawn from the Scriptures, and are not to be used to hamper freedom of thought or investigation in other realms of life.” The 1925 Statement recommended “the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, revised at certain points, and with some additional articles growing out of certain needs . . .”
Your present committee has adopted the same pattern. It has sought to build upon the structure of the 1925 Statement, keeping in mind the “certain needs” of our generation. At times it has reproduced sections of that Statement without change. In with instances it has substituted words for clarity or added sentences for emphasis. At certain points it has combined articles, other minor changes in wording, to endeavor to relate certain doctrines to each other. In still others (e.g., “God” and “Salvation”) it has sought to bring together certain truths contained throughout the 1925 Statement in order to relate them more clearly and concisely. In no case has it sought to delete from or to add to the basic contents of the 1925 Statement. Baptists are a people who profess a living faith. This faith is rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ who is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” Therefore, the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. A living faith must experience a growing understanding of truth and must be continually interpreted and related to the needs of each new generation. Throughout their history Baptist bodies, both large and small, have issued statements of faith which comprise a consensus of their beliefs. Such statements have never been regarded as complete, infallible statements of faith, nor as official creeds carrying mandatory authority. Thus this generation of Southern Baptists is in historic succession of intent and purpose as it endeavors to state for its time and theological climate those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us. Baptists emphasize the soul’s competency before God, freedom in religion, and the priesthood of the believer. However, this emphasis should not be interpreted to mean that there is an absence of certain definite doctrines that Baptists believe, cherish, and with which they have been and are now closely identified. It is the purpose of this statement of faith and message to set forth certain teachings which we believe.