We declare and establish this constitution to preserve and secure the principles of our faith and to govern the church in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual church member and the freedom of action of this church in relation to other churches.
ARTICLE I. NAME
This church shall be known as Woodlake Baptist Church of San Antonio, located at 6980 Woodlake Club Drive, San Antonio, Texas.
ARTICLE II. AFFILIATION AND APPLICATION OF ASSETS
This church is a cooperating Southern Baptist Church and is organized and shall be operated for the purpose of engaging in religious worship and promoting the spiritual development and well being of individuals. Its assets are pledged for use in performing its religious functions. On discontinuance of this church by dissolution or otherwise, its assets are to be transferred to the San Antonio Baptist Association.
ARTICLE III. MISSION STATEMENT
We are a Baptist fellowship of Christians sharing Christ’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit in a church that teaches the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. We share Christ’s love and message of salvation to the lost and encourage spiritual growth, discipleship, fellowship, giving and outreach.
ARTICLE IV. STATEMENT OF BASIC BELIEFS
We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God and the basis for our beliefs. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.
Furthermore, we believe the Bible teaches that the ideal for sexual behavior is the marital union between husband and wife and that all other sexual relations – whether premarital, extramarital, or homosexual – are contrary to God’s purposes and thus sinful. (Exodus 20:14; Romans 1:26-32; Acts 15:29) Furthermore, we believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. Rejection of one’s biological gender is a rejection of the image of God within that person. (Genesis 1:26-27) Additionally, we believe the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.
We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm 139)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.) We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.)
We voluntarily band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. (See Article XII)
The government of this church is vested in its members. Persons duly received by the members shall constitute the membership. (See Article VI)
All internal groups created and empowered by this church shall report to and be accountable only to this church, unless otherwise specified by church action.
ARTICLE V. POLICY AND RELATIONSHIPS
This church is not subject to the control of any ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Southern Baptist churches. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the San Antonio Baptist Association, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
ARTICLE VI. CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. General
The membership retains unto itself the exclusive right of self-government in all phases of the spiritual and temporal life of this church. The membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this church as defined by Article IV. STATEMENT OF BASIC BELIEFS of this constitution. New member orientation will be made available to all new members.
Section 2. Candidacy
Any person may offer himself as a candidate for membership in this church. All such candidates shall be presented to this church at any regular church service for membership in any of the following ways:
A. By profession of faith and for baptism according to the policies of this church.
B. By promise of a letter of recommendation from another Baptist Church.
C. By restoration upon a statement of prior conversion experience and baptism in a church of like faith and order when no letter is obtainable.
In becoming a member of Woodlake Baptist Church the member is acknowledging they agree with Article IV. STATEMENT OF BASIC BELIEFS of this Constitution and will seek to reflect these beliefs in their life.
Should there be any dissent as to any candidate, such dissent shall be referred to the pastor and deacon body for investigation and a recommendation to the church within thirty (30) days.
Section 3. Rights of Members
The privilege of voting at business meetings of this church shall be extended to all members in good standing. On matters pertaining to legal business voting shall be limited to those of legal age as defined by the laws of the state.
Section 4. Termination of Membership
Membership in this church may be terminated for any of the following reasons:
A. Death of the member.
B. Transfer of letter to another Baptist Church.
C. Exclusion by action of this church.
D. Upon request or evidence of membership in a church of another denomination.
Section 5. Discipline
Should some serious condition exist that would cause a member to become a liability to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons will take every reasonable measure to resolve the problem in accord with Matthew 18:15-18. If the pastor and deacons determine it is necessary for the church to take action to exclude a member, a two-thirds vote of the members present is required; and the church may declare the person to no longer be a member.
The church may restore to membership said person upon the recommendation of the pastor and deacons and by two-thirds vote of the church.
ARTICLE VII. CHURCH OFFICERS
The biblical offices of this church shall be the Pastor and the Deacons. The administrative officers of the church shall be the Pastor, Trustees, Church Clerk and Church Treasurer.
Section 1. Pastor
The pastor is leader of the church and is responsible for leading the church in accordance with its mission statement. (See Article III)
A pastor shall be chosen and called by the church whenever a vacancy occurs. The election shall take place at a meeting called for that purpose, of which at least two weeks notice to the congregation has been given.
A pastor selection committee shall be elected by the church to seek out a suitable pastor. This committee shall be comprised of four members nominated by the membership at a called business meeting and a representative from the Nominating Committee, the Personnel Committee, and the Deacon body. These representatives shall be selected by their respective groups. The committee shall bring to the consideration of the church only one candidate at a time. Election shall be by ballot, an affirmative vote of 85% of those present being necessary. The pastor, thus elected, shall serve until the relationship is terminated by his request or the church’s request.
The church may declare the office of pastor to be vacant. Such action shall take place at a special called business meeting. This meeting may be called only by the Personnel Committee. The pastor shall not moderate this meeting. The moderator shall be selected in accordance with Article XIII, Section 4. An affirmative vote of two thirds of the members present shall be necessary to declare the office vacant. In the event of gross misconduct of the pastor, the Personnel Committee shall have the authority to suspend him immediately.
Section 2. Deacons
Deacons engage in the caring ministry of the church in such ways as, but are not limited to, doing the benevolence work, visiting the sick, being alert to the spiritual needs of the congregation – for the purpose of freeing its pastor to focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word, promoting unity within the church, and facilitating the spread of the gospel.
Deacons shall be elected and ordained by the church as needed. There shall be no obligation to constitute as an assigned deacon one who has been a deacon in another church, but in such instances as one might be chosen by this church for assignment as a deacon, his previous ordination by another Southern Baptist church shall suffice for this church.
Section 3. Trustees
The church shall elect three or more trustees to serve as legal officers for the church. They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon a specific vote of the church authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any church property. When the signatures of trustees are required, they shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church approved matters.
Section 4. Church Clerk
The church shall elect a clerk as its clerical officer. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a suitable record of all official actions of the church, except as otherwise herein provided. The clerk shall be responsible for keeping a register of names of members, with dates of admission, transfer, death, or exclusion, together with a record of baptisms. The clerk shall issue letters of transfer voted on by the church, preserve on file all communications and written official reports, and give required notice of all meetings when necessary. The clerk shall be responsible for preparing the Annual Church Profile. The church may delegate some of the clerical responsibilities to a church secretary. All church records are church property and shall be kept in the church office.
Section 5. Church Treasurer
The church shall elect a Church Treasurer as its chief financial officer. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to receive, preserve and pay out, upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel, all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements. It shall be the responsibility of the treasurer to render to the church at each regular business meeting an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements since the previous meeting. (Also see Article XI) These reports are to be kept by the church clerk as part of the permanent records of the church.
The treasurer’s reports and records shall be audited annually by an auditing committee or public accountant. Upon completion of the annual audit, it shall be the responsibility of the treasurer to ensure the preservation of the year’s financial documents, payroll records and associated files. These records are to be preserved for the time prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service, then destroyed unless otherwise instructed by the Stewardship Committee.
The treasurer shall be bonded, the church paying for the bond.
Upon rendering the annual account at the end of each fiscal year and its acceptance and approval by the church, the records shall be delivered by the treasurer to the church clerk, who shall keep and preserve the account as a part of the permanent records of the church.
ARTICLE VIII. STAFF
The ministerial and non-ministerial staff shall be employed as the church determines the need.
The church personnel committee will have the authority to employ and to terminate employment of ministerial and non-ministerial staff members. Such employment and termination of employment shall be with the recommendation of the supervising staff member and Personnel Committee.
ARTICLE IX. CHURCH COMMITTEES
The committees of this church shall be Nominating Committee, Personnel Committee, Property Committee, Stewardship Committee, Missions Committee, Capital Improvements Committee and such other regular and special committees as the church shall authorize. Committees identified within this constitution are considered to be essential for the operation of the church. All other committees authorized by this church shall be listed in the Church Operations Manual. Additional committees essential to the operation of the church may be added to this constitution by the amendment procedure prescribed within Article XV of this constitution. Regular and special committees may be added to or deleted from the Church Operations Manual by the procedure prescribed within Article XIV of this constitution. All church committee members shall be recommended by the Nominating Committee and elected by the church unless otherwise specified within this constitution.
Section 1. Nominating Committee
The Nominating Committee coordinates the staffing of all church leadership positions unless otherwise specified herein. The Nominating Committee shall consult with the appropriate committee prior to approaching an individual for nomination to that committee. The nominating committee shall present to the church for election all who accept the invitation to serve.
Section 2. Personnel Committee
The Personnel Committee is responsible for determining ministerial and non-ministerial staff needs, employment, salaries, benefits, and other compensation, personnel policies, job descriptions, and all other personnel related matters.
Section 3. Property Committee
The Property Committee is responsible for maintaining all church property, recommending policies for property use, and consulting with the Personnel Committee and the church staff regarding the needs for maintenance personnel.
Section 4. Stewardship Committee
The Stewardship committee is responsible for developing an annual budget, the financial year being from January 1 through December 31. It coordinates with the treasurer in the preparation and presentation to the church of required reports regarding the financial affairs of the church. A system of accounting that will adequately provide for the handling of all funds shall be the responsibility of the Stewardship Committee.
Section 5. Missions Committee
The Missions Committee recommends mission projects, and conducts such mission projects with church approval.
Section 6. Capital Improvements Committee
The Capital Improvements Committee is responsible for developing comprehensive plans to meet projected real estate needs. Comprehensive planning is defined as setting goals to accomplish property expansion. They shall seek input from ministries that may be affected by property improvement initiatives.
ARTICLE X. CHURCH PROGRAMS
The church shall maintain programs of Bible teaching, training, and mission education, All church programs shall be under church control with all officers being elected by the church and reporting regularly to the church. All program activities shall be subject to church coordination and approval.
Section 1. Sunday School
The Sunday School shall be the basic organization for the Bible teaching program. Its tasks shall be to teach the Biblical revelation, reach persons for Christ and church membership, provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
The Sunday School shall be organized by departments and/or classes, as appropriate for all ages, and shall be conducted under the direction of the Sunday School Director elected by the church.
Section 2. Discipleship Training
The Discipleship Training organization shall serve as the training unit of the church. Its tasks shall be to train church leaders; orient new church members; teach Christian theology, Christian ethics, Christian History, and church policy and organization; and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
Section 3. Women’s Ministry
The Women’s Ministry shall be affiliated with and support the goals of the Woman’s Missionary Union to include mission education, mission action and mission support for women, young women, girls and preschool children.
Section 4. Men’s Ministry
The Men’s Ministry shall be the church’s organization for mission education, mission action and mission support for men, young men and boys. Its tasks shall be to teach missions, engage in mission action, support world mission through praying and giving, and provide and interpret information regarding the work of the church and denomination.
ARTICLE XI. CHURCH COUNCIL
The church council shall serve the church by leading in planning, coordinating, conducting, and evaluating the ministries and programs of the church and its organizations. The Church Council shall meet monthly.
The primary functions of the church council shall be to recommend to the church suggested objectives and church goals; to review and coordinate ministry and program plans recommended by church officers, organizations, and committees; to recommend to the church the use of leadership, calendar time, and other resources according to program priorities, and to evaluate achievements in terms of church objectives and goals.
Regular members of the church council shall be the pastor, other church staff, directors of church programs, chairmen of church committees, and church officers. The Church Treasurer shall render a monthly financial statement at the Church council meeting. All matters agreed upon by the council which call for action not already approved shall be referred to the church for approval or disapproval.
ARTICLE XII. CHURCH ORDINANCES
Section l. Baptism
This church shall receive for baptism any person who has received Jesus Christ as Savior by personal faith, who professes Him publicly at any worship serve, and who indicates a commitment to follow Christ as Lord.
A. Baptism shall be by immersion in water.
B. The pastor, or whomever the church shall authorize, shall administer baptism. The deacons shall assist in the preparation for, and the observance of, baptism.
C. Baptism shall be administered as an act of worship during any worship service of the church.
2. The Lord’s Supper
The church shall observe the Lord’s Supper no less than quarterly. The observance may alternate between the morning and the evening services of worship. The pastor and deacons shall administer the Lord’s Supper, the deacons being responsible for the physical preparation.
ARTICLE XIII. CHURCH MEETINGS
Section 1. Worship Services
The church shall meet regularly each Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening for the worship of Almighty God. Prayer, praise, preaching, instruction, and evangelism shall be among the ingredients of these services.
The pastor shall direct the services for all the church members and for all others who may choose to attend. All other church meetings essential to the advancement of the church’s objectives shall be placed on the church calendar.
Section 2. Regular Business Meetings
The church shall hold regular business meetings quarterly on a designated Wednesday night.
Section 3. Special Business Meetings
The church may conduct called business meetings to consider matters of special nature and significance. A called business meeting will be announced at two regular services unless extreme urgency renders such notice impractical. The notice shall include the subject, the date, the time, and place; and it must be given in such a manner that all resident members have opportunity to know of the meeting.
Section 4. Moderator
The pastor shall serve as moderator. The church shall elect annually a member to serve as moderator in the pastor’s absence. In the absence of both the pastor and the moderator, the Church Clerk shall call the church to order and preside for the election of an acting moderator.
Section 5. Quorum
The quorum consists of those members who attend the business meeting, provided it is a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
Section 6. Parliamentary Rules
Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised is the authority for parliamentary rules of procedure for all business meetings of the church.
ARTICLE XIV. CHURCH OPERATIONS MANUAL
The church shall develop a church operations manual to include ministry descriptions and organization charts depicting lines of responsibility in the administration of the church. The manual shall be kept in the church office and made available for use there by any member of the church. The church secretary shall maintain the manual. The church council will review the manual annually, with authority to recommend changes for the church to consider
Revisions to the Church Operations Manual require:
A. The recommendation of the church officer or organization to whose areas of assignment the policy relates
B. Approval by the church council
C. Approval of the church, if the church council deems it necessary.
ARTICLE XV. AMENDMENTS
Amendments to the Constitution may be made at regular business meetings provided each amendment shall have been presented in writing at a previous business meeting and copies of the proposed amendment shall have been furnished to each member present at the earlier meeting. Amendments to the Constitution shall be by two-thirds vote of church members present.
Amended April 19, 2015
Constitution of Woodlake Baptist Church of San Antonio