Our Constitution Was Unanimously Ratified On February 5, 2012.
Our Constitution TWINBROOK HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH
Name of Church
The name of this church shall be: THE TWINBROOK HILLS BAPTIST CHURCH, INC., of Hamilton, Ohio
A Non Profit Corporation – Charter Number 302978 – Incorporated August 11, 1961
Having been led, as we believe by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger; to abstain from the sale of, and use of, destructive drugs or intoxicating drinks as a beverage; to shun pornography; to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s word.
ARTICLE I: Polity
1. The form of government of this church shall be congregational; that is the governmental power of the church is with the members.
2. The right of a majority of the members of this church to rule in accordance with the law of Christ shall be in effect and recognized at all times. This power cannot be transferred or delegated and action of the church is final.
3. The active members of this church shall have equal rights and privileges in work and worship of the church, except those under disciplinary action.
4. This church is and shall always remain self-governing and independent of all other organizations both civil and ecclesiastical. She may associate with other churches of like faith for the purpose of furthering the work of Christ, but said associations are to have no power over the church. Christ is the Head and great Law-giver and no other head is recognized. The laws of our Savior and Lord as laid down in the New Testament are an all-sufficient rule of faith and practice.
ARTICLE II: Church Membership
Section 1. Church membership may be attained as follows:
1. By being received on profession of faith and baptism.
2. By letter from another church of like faith and order.
3. Upon a statement that the said individual has made a public profession of faith in Christ and has been scripturally baptized.
Section 2. Membership may cease as follows:
1. By the church granting a letter to another church of like faith and order.
2. By exclusion.
3. By death.
4. Active membership shall cease if a member absents themselves from the services of this church, unless providently hindered, for a period of ninety (90) days (see Article 3, paragraph 3).
Section 3. Voting on reception, dismissal, and restoration:
1. The reception and the dismissal of members must be by the majority approval of the congregation.
2. Members against whom disciplinary action has been taken, or who are in an inactive status due to non-attendance, may be restored to fellowship by the majority approval of the congregation when they repent and ask the church to restore them.
3. The Bible teaches that homosexuality and other sexual sins are gross immorality and an abomination to the Lord; therefore we cannot receive nor retain in our membership any person who is a practicing homosexual, nor anyone who condones such behavior. See also Section 19 of the Declarations of Faith.
ARTICLE III: Church Discipline
1. No complaint shall be brought into a business meeting of the church by an aggrieved party against alleged transgressing brethren respecting trespasses of a private nature until the aggrieved party has complied with the directions given by our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17.
2. Disciplinary action may be taken by the church against any member who does not conform to the covenant and declaration of faith of the church. Any member under disciplinary action of the church shall have no right to vote in the assembly.
3. Members who absent themselves from regular services of this church, unless providently hindered, for a period of ninety (90) days shall be automatically deprived of any vote or voice until they have been restored by way of repentance.
4. In accordance with I Corinthians 5:7-11, 6:1-8, II Thessalonians 3:6, the church shall purge itself of any members guilty of a disorderly walk as specified in this Constitution.
ARTICLE IV: The Bible
We believe that the final and outstanding representative of the Scriptures is the Authorized Version 1611, seventh edition of 1769, commonly called the King James Version; and this is the only version of the Bible that shall be used in all teaching and preaching in our church and school ministries.
ARTICLE V: Membership Voting
1. Only active church members sixteen years of age or older who are in good standing, as defined under Article II, are eligible to vote during church business meetings.
2. All voting by church members during business meetings shall be conducted by paper ballot, unless waived by unanimous affirmative vote of members present; in which case a show of hand vote may be taken. The use of a paper ballot cannot be waived for any vote pertaining to church staff and officers, missionaries, and financial matters, which shall always be conducted by paper ballot.
3. Unless otherwise stipulated in the Constitution, a simple majority affirmative vote of all active members in good standing present and voting during a church business meeting is required for approving church business.
ARTICLE VI: Election of Church Officers
1. The election of officers of the church shall be conducted each calendar year, no later than December 15. Annual terms of office shall run from January 1 thru December 31. The Pastor and Deacons shall be responsible for administering elections.
2. Terms of service for the Pastor and elected officers shall be as stipulated under Article VII.
ARTICLE VII: Officers of the Church
No person other than a tithing member of this church in good standing and a regular and consistent attendee of its services shall be qualified to hold any office. All officers of the church or Sunday School are required to attend meetings set or called by the church for their advancement, professionally or spiritually.
Section 1. Pastor
1. The church shall have a Pastor chosen by the congregation. His term of office shall be indefinite and when either he or the church feels that his work is finished in this field, a notice of thirty (30) days shall be given before termination of said office. The Pastor may offer his resignation to the church at any time, which shall take effect at the end of thirty (30) days, or sooner if mutually agreed upon by the church and Pastor.
2. The Pastor shall be recognized as the leader of the church and a member ex-officio of all committees.
3. The Pastor shall have supervisory responsibilities for all church staff. All staff positions and detailed job descriptions shall be created by the Pastor in conjunction with the Deacons, Trustees, and Treasurer. Recommendations for the hiring of individuals to fill all staff positions, and associated compensation, shall be determined by the Pastor, Deacons, Trustees, and Treasurer and presented to the members for a vote during a scheduled church business meeting. The hiring and compensation shall be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of active church members present.
4. In no case, without permission granted through majority vote of the Church membership during a church business meeting, shall the pastor be absent for more than three Sundays per year; family illness and vacations excepted.
5. The Pastor shall have two weeks paid vacation for each of the first two years serving as Pastor and three weeks per year for each year thereafter.
6. Remuneration for the pastor shall be recommended by the Budget Committee, Trustees, Deacons, and the Treasurer. The final decision shall be by majority affirmative vote of active members in good standing present during a scheduled business meeting.
7. If it is for any good reason believed by a very considerable number of the members of the church that the office of the pastor should, for all the best interest of the church, be declared vacant, the church in a scheduled business meeting, to be presided over by a moderator pro tem appointed by a majority of the Deacons and Trustees, shall raise the question and, by a majority vote, call for a special meeting of the membership. Public notice shall be given to the church at least two (2) weeks before the meeting is convened to decide the matter. Members in good standing shall elect a male member in good standing to serve as moderator pro tem to preside at a meeting designated for the vote of the church to be taken, and the matter thereby decided. Freedom for free and full discussion of the issue shall be given to all parties concerned, and the matter shall be decided and the pulpit declared vacant by a two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of the members present.
8. No candidate shall ever be considered for the pastorate of this church who does not fully agree with and be willing to comply with all of the church beliefs, declarations, policies, and practices described in this Constitution.
9. When the Office of the Pastor is vacant, it shall be the duty of the members of the church to assemble in a regularly convened business session for the purpose of taking proper steps to call another pastor. A committee may be designated (but not necessarily so) to have the responsibility of securing ministers to supply the pulpit and to cast about for one to be presented to the church to be heard as a candidate for the position of pastor.
10. Any member of the church shall have the right and privilege to present to the church or the committee the name of one to be considered for the Office of Pastor, if a committee be designated.
11. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the active members in good standing present in a specially convened business meeting for the purpose of electing a pastor shall be required to elect.
12. The church shall have the Pastor secure evangelists for all meetings or ministers for all special occasions.
13. The Pastor shall be a member of the Church, except in the case of an Interim Pastor. The interim pastor shall not be considered as a candidate for pastor.
Section 2. Deacons
1. Shall be men, tithing church members in good standing, and diligent about their duties, meeting the qualifications required according to scripture. 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
2. The election of members to fill the office of Deacon shall be by a majority affirmative vote of active members present during a scheduled church business meeting. The number of deacons shall be determined by the needs of the church.
3. The tenure in office shall be for a period of three (3) years, one being re-elected or retired and another elected each and every year. The senior Deacon shall be president of the Board of Deacons.
4. With the Pastor, they shall make such recommendations to the church as they deem wise, and aid the Pastor in zealously guarding and fostering the spiritual life of the church.
5. Shall be responsible for ensuring that the church Constitution is adhered to.
6. When required, shall organize a Pulpit Committee which shall be comprised of five or more men in good standing elected by the members or appointed by the Deacons.
7. Shall encourage and promote unity within the church (Acts 6:1-3).
Section 3. Trustees
1. Shall be men, tithing church members in good standing and diligent about their duties.
2. The church shall elect and maintain in office a minimum of three trustees, or more, as determined by the recognized needs of the church or as required by law to hold in trust the properties of the church.
3. The tenure in office shall be for a period of three years, one being re-elected or retired and another elected each and every year. The senior Trustee shall be president of the Board of Trustees.
4. In cooperation with the Pastor, Deacons, and Treasurer, shall oversee the legal business of the church.
5. Shall be responsible for caring for the church property and equipment.
6. Shall ensure that no church property is sold, mortgaged, or otherwise encumbered or disposed of without a (2/3) approved vote of the church.
7. Shall be responsible for the safe keeping of all legal documents belonging to the church.
8. Shall be responsible for ensuring that all state and federal documents are reported to authorities annually, or as otherwise required, and that copies of the documents are provided to the Church Clerk for inclusion in the official church records.
9. Shall be responsible for ensuring that all property is adequately covered by insurance.
10. Shall accept responsibility as the church’s financial officers. No checking, savings, or any other type of account shall be established in the name of the church without prior approval by the majority of the Trustees. No loan, credit card, line-of-credit, or contractual financial obligation shall be obtained or entered into unless recommended by a majority of the Trustees and Deacons and approved by a majority vote of members present in a scheduled business meeting. Shall ensure that, as a Nonprofit Corporation in the State of Ohio, the church complies with the law as set forth in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1702: Nonprofit Corporation Law.
11. Shall reconcile offering statements with the church bank statement each month, as set forth in Article VII, Section 7.
12. Shall reconcile all deposits and expenditures provided by the Treasurer with the church bank statements monthly.
Section 4. Church Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer
1. Shall be tithing church members in good standing, trustworthy and willing to perform all duties in a timely and accurate manner, and have knowledge of established accounting procedures or an aptitude and willingness to learn them.
2. The church shall elect and maintain in office one Treasurer and one Assistant Treasurer by majority affirmative vote of members present during a scheduled business meeting.
3. The tenure in office for the Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer shall be a period of three years.
4. Shall maintain accurate records of all monies received and disbursed; reconcile monthly bank statements and correct records as needed; sign all checks and verify supporting information for each check request; present annual, quarterly, and as-needed financial and budget reports to the congregation; keep the Pastor, Deacons, Trustees, Budget Committee, and congregation informed of any trends or changes in financial matters; and submit accurate financial records for audits of church finances as directed by the Deacons and Trustees. Accounting records shall be maintained for a minimum of 10 years.
5. Shall be responsible for depositing all tithes, offerings, and other income into the church’s account at the authorized financial institution; shall retrieve funds for deposit prepared by the Counting Committee from the church safe following each service and reconcile the Counting Tally Sheet with the deposit amount and add any additional funds received, such as tithes and offerings mailed in and other income.
6. Shall be responsible for preparing the deposit and making the deposit within two banking days of collection. Paper documents for each deposit shall be kept on file in the Treasurer’s office and shall be made accessible to the Pastor or Trustees for review.
7. Shall post all tithes and offerings to individual donor accounts, designating the areas of giving; shall compile and supply to each donor a statement of giving at the end of each fiscal year. The treasurer shall be responsible for maintaining the confidentially of the individual donor accounts.
8. Shall post, in a place accessible to all members, a document stating the tithes and offerings collected during each service and all other income received. Posting shall be kept current.
9. The Treasurer’s shall post, in a place accessible to all members, a monthly financial statement indicating the income and expenses incurred for that month.
10. The Treasurer’s shall provide access to financial records upon request by the Pastor or Trustees.
11. The duty of the Assistant Treasurer is to serve as backup during times when the Treasurer is unable to perform his or her duties or to assist as requested by the Treasurer.
Section 5. Church Budget Committee
1. The church shall elect and maintain in office four Budget Committee members by majority affirmative vote of members present during a scheduled business meeting. Committee members must be tithing church members in good standing.
2. Shall develop a mandatory annual church budget and present it to the congregation for discussion, modification, and approval by majority vote of church members present during the annual business meeting to be convened on the second Sunday of December of the year preceding the budget year. Each approved budget shall be in effect from January 1 through December 31 of the budget year.
3. Shall be chaired by the Pastor who is a voting member. The Committee shall recommend a budget agreed to by majority vote of members during a scheduled church business meeting. The Pastor shall call one or more Budget Committee meetings during the month of November preceding the budget year to prepare the budget.
4. The tenure in office for Budget Committee members shall be three years.
Section 6. Church Clerk
1. The church shall elect and maintain in office one Church Clerk by majority vote of members present during a scheduled business meeting.
2. Duties shall include taking minutes of all business meetings and votes, maintaining accurate records, and making copies of the minutes, or a summary of the minutes, available to church members following each meeting or vote.
3. The tenure in office of the Church Clerk shall be three years.
Section 7. Counting Committee
1. Shall be comprised of at least two tithing church ushers in good standing for each service.
2. For each service, both Counting Committee members shall independently count all monies collected during the service and complete the Counting Tally Sheet documenting the checks, currency, and coins collected. The original Counting Tally Sheet shall be kept on file in the Treasurer’s office and a copy shall be placed in the bank deposit bag with the tithing envelopes and collected funds. The bag shall then be placed into the church safe which shall then be locked.
3. The Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, or a Trustee shall deposit the tithes and offerings to the church’s account at the church’s financial institution. The Counting Talley Sheet shall be signed by the individual making the deposit.
4. The offering statement and bank statement shall be reconciled the first Sunday of each month by the Trustees.
ARTICLE VIII: Church Staff
Section 1. Staff
1. No person shall ever be considered for a staff position of this church who does not fully agree with and be willing to comply with all of the church beliefs, declarations, policies, and practices described in this Constitution.
2. When a church staff member, the Pastor, or a majority of the Deacons and Trustees feel that the staff member’s work is finished in his or her position, a notice of 30 days shall be given before the termination of said position. In cases other than the ordinary, or for cause, a staff member may resign or be dismissed with a notice fewer than 30 days.
Section 2. Standards of Conduct:
Staff members and their immediate families must maintain Biblical standards of courtesy, kindness, morality, integrity, and honesty. They must dress appropriately and modestly. Hair for men must be above the collar and ears.
Section 3. Attendance
All staff members shall be required to attend all church services and staff meetings called by the pastor, unless excused or Providentially hindered. All staff members’ immediate family members shall regularly attend church services.
ARTICLE IX: Church Budget
1. A mandatory annual budget shall be developed by an elected Budget Committee each calendar year and presented to the congregation for discussion, modification, and approval by majority vote of members present during the annual church business meeting to be convened on the second Sunday of December of the year preceding the budget year.
2. A Budget status report and update shall be presented to the congregation for discussion during a scheduled business meeting conducted once each quarter (minimum) or as needed.
ARTICLE X: Specially Called Business Meetings
1. Any active member can petition the church to conduct a special business meeting. The petition must be signed by a minimum of seven active members in good standing; the petition must state the purpose of said business meeting. Petition shall be submitted to the Church Clerk who will then present the petition to the Pastor. The Pastor will then present it to the church members for a vote. After an affirmative vote of the active members in good standing present, the special business meeting shall be scheduled and conducted within two (2) weeks, unless otherwise specified before the vote is taken.
2. Other special business meetings, with a minimum advance notice of seven days given at a regularly scheduled church service, may be called by the Pastor whenever such meetings are deemed necessary.
ARTICLE XI: Amending the Church Constitution
Section 1. Church Covenant and Bylaws.
The Church Covenant and By-laws may be changed or amended under the following procedure:
1. The proposed changes or amendments do not conflict with the Summary of Beliefs and Declarations of Faith described in this Constitution.
2. The proposed changes are announced during a regular church service or a scheduled business meeting and a written copy of proposed changes are made available to each member 14 days previous to a vote being taken.
3. A two-thirds (2/3) affirmative vote of all active members in good standing present in a scheduled business meeting is required for adoption of the proposed change.
Section 2. Summary of Beliefs and Declarations of Faith
1. In no wise shall an amendment, change, or alteration be considered or enacted with reference to the Summary of Beliefs and Declarations of Faith described in this Constitution.
ARTICLE XII: Financial Audits
As directed by the Deacons and Trustees, an audit of church finances shall be conducted every two years by a qualified auditor to ensure that church finances and financial records are in order and in compliance with established accounting practices. Results of each audit shall be reported to the congregation during a scheduled business meeting. An audit shall also be conducted when a sitting Treasurer leaves office, in accordance with directions of the Deacons and Trustees.
Article XIII: Hamilton Christian Schools
1. Hamilton Christian Schools of The Twinbrook Hills Baptist Church, founded in 1972 by Dr. I. D. Riddick, is the result of much prayer and hard work by the people of The Twinbrook Hills Baptist Church. The schools are totally owned and operated as a part of the ministry of The Twinbrook Hills Baptist Church and are governed by the constitution and by-laws of the same.
2. The schools are integrated auxiliaries of the church for the following reasons:
a) The church and schools share common facilities.
b) The church and schools use the same staff members in many cases.
c) The schools are accountable to the church for the schools have the same controlling body as the church in many cases.
d) Most importantly, the purpose of the schools is to bring the students to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and to make them Disciples of Christ, and this is the same purpose for which the church exists.
3. Why state licensing of Christian schools is wrong
a) It is wrong Scripturally – The responsibility for training a child is first laid on the parents (Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4). Human government is ordained by God to suppress those who work violence and evil in society (Romans 13:3-4). The mission of the church is clearly to preach and teach. The home, church, and state must maintain their proper roles.
b) It is wrong educationally – Christian schools usually achieve academic excellence through disciplined subject-centered teaching methodology which is often entirely different from inferior child-centered programs used by the state. Many of the same objectionable programs which have failed could be forced on Christian schools if they are required to obtain a license from the same government whose educational philosophy has already been rejected. Even a cursory look at state licensing rules quickly reveals a philosophy of secular humanism. Christians cannot be secular humanists.
c) It is wrong constitutionally – The First Amendment guarantees a separate church and state. State licensing of church school operations would entangle the state in church affairs to a far greater extent than is commonly realized. Licensing implies standards to be met, and guidelines to be followed, so it involves control, and therefore, would lead to governmental control of church ministries. The First Amendment also guarantees “Free Exercise of Religion.” Our nation has long recognized the value of this most important clause and resisted attacks on it. State licensing of Christian schools would set up de facto state schools because the school would be at the mercy of the state agencies for their existence. The wall of separation of church and state would be broken, and would be a dangerous step toward a state-controlled church. Christians should zealously guard their First Amendment rights and oppose licensing of their schools.
4. Nondiscriminatory policy
The Hamilton Christian School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other school-administered programs.
ARTICLE XIV: Limited Personal Liability
The following shall apply (as of January 1, 2012 and thereafter) to active members, the current Pastor, and current officers of the church, as a not for profit organization: Section A, Ohio General Code, a) Section 8623-110, “neither the members nor the trustees of a corporation not for profit shall be personally liable for any debt or obligation of a corporation not for profit.” This provision shall not be applicable for unlawful acts or misconduct.
ARTICLE XV: Church Dissolution
Section 1. Voluntary Dissolution
The church may adopt resolutions calling for its voluntary dissolution through the affirmative vote of a majority of the members present at a scheduled meeting called for that purpose, reasonable efforts having been made to notify all members of the church at least 30 days in advance of such meeting. Upon adoption of the resolutions, a dissolution certificate shall be prepared, signed by all acting Trustees, and filed with the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State. Following the filing of the certificate, the Trustees shall cause a notice of dissolution to be published in a local newspaper of general circulation for two successive weeks, and shall cause a notice of dissolution to be delivered to all known claimants of the church corporation.
Section 2. Responsibilities of the Trustees
The Trustees shall be responsible for the winding up of the affairs of the church corporation, and shall pursue a plan of dissolution pursuant to the resolutions passed by the church.
Section 3. Asset Distribution
Notwithstanding any other provisions herein, and in accordance with all applicable governmental statutes, assets shall be distributed upon the dissolution of the church corporation, after making provision for the payment of all liabilities, to an Independent Baptist Church of like faith and order, formed and operating exclusively for religious purposes and that qualifies as an exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Tax Code, or corresponding provision then in effect. All decisions in this event must be made by a majority vote of Deacons and Trustees.