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A place of grace, a people of grace

Church Constitution

1. THE CHURCH

1.1 The name of the church is the Riccarton Baptist Church.
1.2 The Church is the community of those who believe in one God - Father, Jesus Christ his Son, and the Holy Spirit - who openly confess Jesus Christ as their forgiver and leader and are committed to the church's vision, aims and functions.
1.3 The church affirms:

1.3.1 God is loving and just and is creator and sustainer of all things.
1.3.2 Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully human.
1.3.3 Jesus Christ's death on the cross dealt with the sin of the world.
1.3.4 We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
1.3.5 The Holy Spirit is at work to accomplish God's saving purpose in the world and lives in every Christian to enable them to participate with God in this.
1.3.6 The Bible is inspired by God guiding our beliefs and actions.
1.3.7 Believer's Baptism is our public confession of our commitment to Christ.

2 AIMS AND FUNCTIONS

The aims and functions are:
2.1 To meet regularly for worship, prayer, teaching, encouragement and fellowship.
2.2 To engage in the task of mission, principally within New Zealand but also overseas (see Matthew 28:19 – 20).
2.3 To express God's love to the community through ministries of the Word and practical care.
2.4 In every possible way to seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ and bring them into his church.

3 STRUCTURE

3.1 The church is an autonomous body governed through its members, working closely with Regional and National Baptist Staff, the Baptist Churches of New Zealand and the wider body of Christ.
3.2 The leadership team shall consist of the Pastoral Team Leader, Ministry Leaders and Board of Elders.

4 MEMBERSHIP

4.1 Any person who confesses faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who has been baptized as a believer, shows evidence of following Christ in newness of life and who is willing to uphold the commitments as outlined in the members pledge may apply to become a church member.
4.2 Application for membership shall be made to a Pastoral Team Leader or Staff member with a recommendation being made to the Board of Elders. Acceptance of the application shall be advised in the church newsletter.
4.3 A membership roll shall be kept comprising resident and non-resident members.
The Roll shall be updated annually by the Pastoral Team Leader and Board of Elders. Any member who has ceased to fulfill the spirit of the Members' Pledge shall be contacted, where possible, and given the opportunity to comment.
4.4 Resolution of Differences and Church Discipline

4.4.1 In cases of difference between church members, the Lord's words, as set out in Matthew 18:15 – 17 shall be followed.
4.4.2 If an allegation of misconduct by a member (or conduct inconsistent with the teaching of scripture) is received the Board of Elders will investigate the allegation.

5 LEADERSHIP

5.1 Pastoral Team Leader

5.1.1 Pastoral Responsibility
The Pastoral Team Leader and Board of Elders shall be entrusted with the oversight of the church and of all Ministry Leaders and Staff, including the appointment of such people.
The Pastoral Team Leader shall ensure an annual plan is produced for the church. This plan shall require the approval of the Board of Elders. The Pastoral Team Leader shall be accountable to the Board of Elders for the agreed outcomes contained in the plan.
5.1.2 Pastoral Vacancy
When a vacancy occurs in the pastorate, a search committee shall be appointed, by the Board of Elders, who will be guided by the Baptist Union of New Zealand pastoral placement protocols. The committee shall bring one nomination to a church meeting called for that purpose. No call to the pastorate shall be made except on the votes of 75% of the votes cast.
Voting shall be by secret ballot.
Any resolution to terminate the pastorate shall also require a vote of at least 75% of votes cast by secret ballot at a properly constituted special members meeting called for that purpose.
5.1.3 Nature of the Relationship
Unless the parties agree in writing to the contrary, the relationship between the church (or membership) and pastoral staff will not be an employment relationship, but a relationship of spiritual service, and is not intended to create a legal relationship.

5.2 Board of Elders

5.2.1 Responsibilities
The Board of Elders, along with the Pastoral Team Leader are responsible for the governance and direction of the church seeking to bring into reality the vision and mission of the church.
5.2.2 Appointment
Elders shall be church members. The Board of Elders shall bring a nomination to the church meeting where a secret ballot vote of not less than 75% is required. Board members shall serve for a term of two years and shall be eligible for re-election.
The Board of Elders may second a non-member of good standing within the Christian Church as an advisor to the board.
5.2.3 Character
Board members shall have exhibited the qualities of an elder as found in I Timothy 3:1–7.

5.3 MINISTRY LEADERS

5.3.1 Ministry Areas
The Pastoral Team Leader and Board of Elders shall determine the ministry areas.

5.3.2 Responsibilities
The Ministry Leader shall lead their ministry according to the values and policies of the church and within the parameters of the budget allocated to that ministry. They shall be given the authority to develop their ministry and shall be accountable to the Pastoral Team Leader for achieving the agreed outcomes.
Each Ministry Leader shall develop an annual plan for their ministry, which includes goals and expected outcomes and resources required. This plan shall require the agreement of the Pastoral Team Leader.
5.3.3 Appointment
The Pastoral Team Leader shall appoint church members to lead the ministry areas. Such appointment shall require the ratification of the Board of Elders.

6 GOVERNMENT OF THE CHURCH

There shall be an annual church member's meeting and such other meetings as may be called from time to time.
The church financial year shall end on 31 December.
The annual meeting shall be held in or near November and shall include -

  • consideration of the annual plans for the next 12 months (see 5.1.1 and 5.3.2)
  • approval of the budget.

At least two Sundays notice is required for any church members' meeting.
The accounts for the preceding year, which have been reviewed by an independent accountant, will be made available to members in or near March.

6.1 Purpose
The purpose of any church members meeting shall be to seek to discover the mind of God on matters affecting the life and work of the church and its mission.
The following are matters that must be decided by members after giving at least 14 days notice.
• Appointment and removal of a Pastoral Team Leader.
• Appointment and removal of an Elder to the Board.
• Approval of variances to the budget of over 10%.
• Suspension, alteration, or replacement of the church Constitution.
Members can vote at a members meeting or by Postal Vote. The above appointments, approvals require approval of 75% of votes cast. A secret ballot shall be held if requested by not less than 10% of the members present at the meeting or if requested by the chairperson.

6.2 Special Meetings
The Board of Elders, on receipt of a request signed by at least 10% of the resident members, shall call a special meeting of the church within 21 days of the request being received. Normal notice of the meeting shall be given.

6.3 Chairperson
The Board of Elders may nominate a chairperson.

6.4 National Leader
The National Leader of the Baptist Union of New Zealand may call a special members' meeting by making announcements, or arranging for announcements to be made, on at least two Sundays prior to the meeting. The National Leader or nominee shall chair such a meeting.

6.5 Attendance
Both church members and others of the congregation shall be able to attend church meetings, but only members may vote.

6.6 Quorum
At least 20 votes or 20% of the resident members (whichever is greater) shall be cast for a decision to be accepted.

7. DECLARATION OF TRUST

7.1 Any land or any property including church buildings and manses shall be vested in the Baptist Union of New Zealand as Trustee, which shall hold them for and on behalf of the church; and shall deal with the property by consent and direction of the church in accordance with the Trusts declared in the Sixth Schedule to the "Baptist Union Incorporation Act 1923".

8. ALTERATIONS TO THIS CONSTITUTION

8.1 Any recommended alteration to the Constitution shall be circulated at least two Sundays before a members meeting, both verbally and in writing. No alterations or additions shall be made to the Constitution unless adopted by a majority of at least 75% of the votes cast.
8.2 No alteration shall be made to this constitution which would in any way detract from the exclusively charitable nature of the church and in particular shall not alter the provisions of clauses 9 and 10 hereof.

9. NO PECUNIARY PROFIT FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL.

9.1 No payment shall be made which would allow a member or members to receive any private pecuniary profit other than for services or product provided on a commercial basis.

10. WINDING UP PROVISIONS

Subject to clauses 17, 18 and 19 of the Sixth Schedule to the Baptist Union Incorporation Act, if the members resolve at a properly constituted meeting of the church adopted by a majority of at least two thirds of the members present at such a church meeting that the church should be wound up then the nett proceeds arising from such winding up shall be applied, with the prior approval of the Baptist Union of New Zealand, to such charitable purposes within New Zealand as the members may determine or in default of such determination as may be determined by a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand on application by the members, and such proceeds shall not be paid or distributed amongst the members of the church.

11. Policies and Procedures.

11.1 As appropriate, the Pastoral Team Leader, in conjunction with the Ministry Leaders and Board of Elders shall develop, revise and comply with policies and procedures.

23 September 2014

Addendum to the Constitution

Member's Pledge

  • To live at all times such a life as reflects a follower of Jesus and a member of the church.
  • To take an active part in achieving the Vision and upholding the Values of the church through supporting and encouraging the leadership and participating in the decision making process.
  • To discover and use my spiritual gifts and participate in the community and ministry of the church.
  • To do all in my power to deepen and enrich the spirit of fellowship in the church, always seeking to develop authentic relationships in this fellowship of Christ's people.
  • To share by my life, deeds and words in the supreme task of the church, namely by witnessing to the saving power of Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • To be faithful in prayer for the church and its witness in the community.
  • To share conscientiously in resourcing the church using my money, talents, time according to my means.