The Constitution and By-Laws of The Pantano Baptist Church has been updated, then approved by a vote of the membership of the Pantano Baptist Church on December 8, 2019. The text is reproduced below, and the original signed document is on file in the church office.
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS OF PANTANO BAPTIST CHURCH
For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted policies of Baptist churches and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body in relation to other organizations of like faith and order, we do declare and establish this Constitution and By-laws.
ARTICLE I. NAME
This body will be known as Pantano Baptist Church of Tucson, Arizona.
ARTICLE II. STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith. We band ourselves together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation. The ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
We affirm the Baptist distinctives of the Trinity, the lordship of Jesus Christ, salvation by grace through faith for works, the inspiration and authority of the Bible as God’s Word, believer’s baptism by immersion, the priesthood of all believers, religious liberty, and the separation of church and state. We encourage openness and diversity of all believers, regardless of race or sex, in the living and expressing of Christian faith, and we desire for everyone to know and grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
ARTICLE III. STATEMENT OF IDENTITY
Section 1. Our Purpose
To love God; to love people; to follow Jesus; and to make disciples for Jesus
Section 2. Our Mission
To be the presence of Christ demonstrating the love of God in the Spirit of grace
Section 3. Our Objectives
We seek to:
1. Engage the unique gifts of our congregation to be the presence of Christ.
2. Enrich worship to be biblically based, authentic, God directed and grace filled.
3. Empower the mind to think and the heart to love like Jesus.
4. Embody a community of faith where people feel welcomed and loved.
5. Embrace the world beyond our own walls.
6. Experience an increasingly meaningful fellowship with God and fellow believers.
Section 4. Our Baptist Identity
We believe in salvation by grace through faith. We practice believer’s baptism by immersion. We celebrate the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We affirm historic Baptist principles:
1. BIBLE FREEDOM is the historic Baptist affirmation that the Bible, under the Lordship of Christ, must be central in the life of the individual and church and that Christians, with the best and most scholarly tools of inquiry, are both free and obligated to study and obey the Scripture.
2. SOUL FREEDOM is the historic affirmation of the inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God without the imposition of creed, the interference of clergy or the intervention of civil government.
3. CHURCH FREEDOM is the historic Baptist affirmation that local churches are free under the leadership of Christ, to determine their membership and leadership, to order their worship and work, to ordain whom they perceive as gifted for ministry, male or female, and to participate in the larger Body of Christ.
4. RELIGIOUS FREEDOM is the historic Baptist affirmation of freedom OF religion, freedom FOR religion and freedom FROM religion.
ARTICLE IV. GOVERNMENT
The government of this church is democratic and equally vested in the body of believers who compose it. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body. Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with the objectives that are common among Christ following churches. This is a sovereign body and the membership retains the right of exclusive self-government in all phases of its spiritual and temporal life and reserves the right to determine who shall be members of this church.
ARTICLE V. COVENANT
Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord and having been baptized as a symbol of death and new life in Him, we do solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ for the purposes as stated in this Constitution. BY-LAWS
ARTICLE I. MEMBERSHIP
Section 1. Qualifications
Any person can present himself or herself as a candidate for membership in this church at any scheduled worship service in one of the following ways:
1. By immersion baptism as an expression of repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ.
2. By letter of membership from another church of like faith and order.
3. By statement of prior conversion experience in another church of like faith and order where no letter of membership is obtainable.
4. By restoration into full fellowship upon repentance before the church.
A majority vote of members present is required. Should there be any dissent such dissent shall be referred to the pastor and deacons for investigation. A recommendation shall be made to the church body during a church business meeting within 30 days.
Section 2. Rights
1. Such members in full and regular standing may act and vote in all transactions of the church.
2. Individuals will be permitted to designate the manner of their gift distribution that is consistent with the church’s objectives.
3. All gifts, offerings and designated gifts received by the church will become the property of the church and individual member(s) shall have no further right of individual ownership.
4. All members will have access to information and organizations of this church, except those individual records of gifts and offerings of others. The personal records of staff will not be made public.
Membership will be terminated in the following ways:
2. Transfer to another Baptist Church
3. Affiliation with a church of another faith or denomination
4. By request
Exclusion by action of this church (see Article I, Section 4)
Section 4. Discipline*
1. Should some serious issue exist which would cause a member to bring harm to the general welfare of the church, the pastor and the deacons will endeavor to confront the issue according to the biblical principles set forth in Matthew 18: 15-17, Ephesians 4:25-32, and Luke 6:31-36. All such proceedings will be pervaded by a spirit of Christian kindness and forbearance with the goal of bringing the individual back into Christian community. If the pastor and deacons fail to resolve the issue, they may bring a recommendation to terminate membership to a special business meeting called for this purpose.
2. Any person whose membership has been terminated for any offense may be restored by vote of the Church upon evidence of repentance and reformation.
3. The church is committed to following all applicable laws where mandatory reporting is required and the church deems necessary for other action.
ARTICLE II. ADMINISTRATION
Section 1. Pastor
1. Description a. The pastor is responsible for leading the church in worship, education, administration, outreach and care for the membership and will have final responsibility for direction of the staff.
b. The pastor will serve as moderator of the church in business sessions. The pastor will serve as the ex-officio member of all committees and will familiarize employees with their job descriptions. In the absence of a pastor or interim pastor, the chairman of deacons assumes pastoral responsibility and becomes a member of all committees.
c. The pastor will select pulpit supply and leaders for special services in consultation with the deacons.
d. The pastor will be paid a salary and allowances as determined by the church.
e. The personnel committee will authorize absences for vacation and other activities for the pastor.
a. Whenever a vacancy occurs, the church will select a pastor search committee.
b. The committee will be responsible for seeking out a prospective pastor for consideration by the church.
c. Members are encouraged to make recommendations to the committee.
d. The committee’s recommendation will constitute a nomination. The committee will bring to the consideration of the church only one person at a time, and the election shall be by secret ballot.
e. The pastor will be chosen and called by at least ¾ majority vote of those members present and voting.
f. The pastor selection will take place at a meeting called for that purpose and announced in two regular scheduled public services in advance of such election.
g. The pastor will serve until the relationship is terminated either by the pastor or the church. Severance pay, if any, will be determined by the church.
h. If deemed necessary to call an interim pastor, the deacons will select a person to be presented to the church for approval and called by at least a ¾ majority of those members present. The interim pastor will not be considered for the pastorate and will be advised prior to the church calling.
Section 2. Deacons
a. In accordance with the meaning of the work and practice of the New Testament, deacons will assist the pastor and church in meeting the members’ spiritual and physical needs. They will establish and maintain personal relationships with the congregation.
b. Deacons will organize themselves to carry out these tasks.
a. The number of active deacons will be determined by the church.
b. A list of all the persons on the church membership roll (except active deacons and paid ministers) will be presented to the church members at least four Sundays prior to a regular or special business meeting.
c. Members will circle the names of persons they feel are qualified to serve as deacons and submit these as instructed.
d. The deacons and pastor will tabulate the names and list the persons according to the number of nominations received.
e. The deacons and pastor will begin at the top of the list and screen all persons for qualifications to serve. After these persons have agreed to serve, they will be presented to the church for election.
f. Those who have not been previously ordained will be set aside for six months probation, after which the date of their examination and ordination will be set by the pastor and the deacons.
a. Deacons should be able and willing to regularly attend deacons’ meetings.
b. Deacons should participate in the full teaching and training programs of the church and seek to be good stewards of their time, giving a fair share of it to church activities.
c. Deacons will be good stewards of their income, contributing their tithes and offerings.
Section 3. Staff
1. Staff members are any employees of the church and will be hired as needed.
2. The personnel committee will provide job descriptions and recommend the pay rate for each position.
3. Staff members will be employed until such time as they submit a letter of resignation, or are terminated by the personnel committee, with recommendation or approval from the pastor.
Section 4. Moderator
1. The moderator of the business meeting will be the pastor.
2. In the absence of the pastor, the chairman of deacons will preside, or in the absence of both, the clerk will call the church to order and an acting moderator will be elected.
Section 5. Clerk
1. The clerk must be a member of the church and will be elected annually.
2. The church clerk will keep in a suitable book a record of all the actions of the church.
3. The clerk is responsible for keeping a register of the names of members with dates of admission, a record of baptisms, requests for moving of letters, and removal of names because of death, or request.
4. The clerk will issue letters of dismissal voted by the church, preserve a file of all communications and written official reports, and give legal notice of all meetings where such notice is necessary as indicated in these By-laws.
5. All church records are church property and should be filed at the church with copies stored in at least one other secure location.
6. The church may delegate some of these clerical responsibilities to the church administrative assistant.
Section 6. Treasurer
1. The church treasurer must be a church member and will be elected annually.
2. It will be the duty of the treasurer to oversee the receipt, preservation, and payment upon receipt of vouchers approved and signed by authorized personnel. The treasurer will oversee all money or things of value paid or given to the church, keeping at all times an itemized account of all receipts and disbursements.
3. It will be the duty of the treasurer to render to the finance committee an itemized report of the receipts and disbursements to be presented to the church at the regular business meetings.
4. The finance committee or a public accountant will audit the books every five years or if the treasurer or church requests it.
5. The treasurer may delegate some of these clerical responsibilities to the church administrative assistant.
Section 7. Contributions Secretary
1. The Contributions Secretary, elected by the church, must be someone other than a member of the pastoral staff.
2. The Contributions Secretary will receive the collection envelopes after the money has been removed and counted.
3. The Contributions Secretary will oversee the confidential storage of contribution envelopes and posted contributions records for reference in two secure locations for a period of seven taxable years. He/she will also be responsible for confidential destruction of all contribution records that predate the seven-year period.
4. The Contributions Secretary will keep accurate individual records for each family unit, unless requested otherwise by the family, and will mail year-end statements to all contributors
5. The Contributions Secretary will be available to each person who wishes to review his/her personal contribution record.
Section 8. Trustees
1. Three trustees elected by the church must be members and one must be a deacon. Trustees will serve on a rotating basis, with one new trustee being elected each year for a three-year term.
2. Trustees will hold in trust the church property. Trustees will have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease or transfer any property without a specific vote of the church authorizing each action.
3. It will be the function of the trustees to affix their signatures to legal documents where the signatures of trustees are required.
4. At least one trustee must be a deacon.
Section 9. Committees
Church committees will be elected from the membership and function as is deemed appropriate to effectively execute the ministry of the church.
Section 10. Program Organizations
a. All organizations of the church will be under church authority, will report to the congregation, and are subject to church oversight.
b. The pastor is an ex-officio member of all the organizations.
c. All elected or appointed officers of church organizations must be church members.
2. Church Programs
The church will establish the necessary programs to accomplish the Church’s Purpose as stated in Article 3 of the Constitution.
Section 11. Church Meetings
1. Worship Service
a. The church will meet regularly each week for the worship of the Almighty God.
b. These meetings will be open to all and conducted under the direction of the pastor. In the absence of the pastor, meetings will be under the direction of the associate pastor. In the absence of the pastor and associate pastor, meetings will be under the direction of the deacons.
c. Additional worship services will be established as deemed appropriate.
2. Regular Business Meeting
a. Regular business meetings will be held quarterly or as determined by the current membership.
b. If additional business meetings are needed, a Special Business Meeting will be called.
c. No absentee balloting will be allowed.
d. Moderator will call for agenda items at least two weeks prior to the regular business meeting.
e. Agenda, minutes and financial statements will be made available prior to regular business meetings.
3.Special Business Meetings
a. The moderator (pastor and/or deacon chairperson) may call a special business meeting.
b. Two weeks notice must be given to the membership.
c. No absentee balloting will be allowed.
The Quorum will consist of those members in attendance at the regular business meeting or at any authorized special business meeting.
a. All business will be conducted in a democratic way and in a spirit of Christian love and understanding.
b. A majority of the quorum present will rule.
c. Roberts Rules may be used as a guideline.
6. Church Year
The church year will run from January 1 through December 31.
Section 12. Church Finances
1. The finance committee, in consultation with other committees and organizations, will annually prepare and submit for approval to the church an inclusive budget.
2. The appointed person will disburse and record all funds for any and all purposes.
Section 13. Dissolution Clause
1. Dissolution of the Corporation will be at a Church Business Meeting called for such purpose and in accordance with the laws of the state of Arizona.
2. At least four weeks notice of the time and place of this meeting will be given by personal correspondence to members of the church at their last known address as reflected in the Church Membership records.
3. An affirmative ballot of not less than ¾ of the members present and voting will be necessary to dissolve the Corporation.
4. If at any time Pantano Baptist Church of Tucson, AZ votes to dissolve, all outstanding debts must be given priority. All remaining property and assets will be dispersed by voting church members to non-profit affiliations and/or partnerships of their choice.
5. No property, assets, or money will or can be shared among the members.
Section 14. Amendments
1. This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended.
2. Such amendments must be presented in writing and distributed to the membership and posted at least two weeks prior to a business meeting.
3. Amendments to this Constitution and By-Laws must have a ¾ majority of the members present and voting.
4. All amendments to this Constitution and By-Laws and all other items of church policy will be filed by the church clerk, with the master and duplicate copies of this Constitution and By-Laws in the church office. Also, copies will be stored in one other secure location.
1. The adoption of this Constitution and By-Laws will be by a ¾ majority vote of the members present and will rescind all previous Constitution and By-Laws.
2. Official copies of this Constitution and By-Laws will be kept in the records of the church clerk and in the church office.
3. All changes will be recorded by the clerk and will be attached to the official copies and will be made available to any church member upon request.
This Constitution and By-laws were adopted in a business session of Pantano Baptist Church on__________________________.
____________________________ _____________________________ ____________________________ Pastor Chairman of Deacons Church Clerk