These Congregation-Approved Policies are intended to allow West Cannon Baptist Church to fulfill its purpose and therefore reflect the primary principles declared in its Constitution.
1. Acceptance into Membership
Membership responsibilities (see Church Membership Covenant) become effective when an applicant who meets the requirements for membership listed in the Constitution of West Cannon Baptist Church has completed the membership process and is accepted by a simple majority vote.
2. Categories of Members
A. Members have responsibilities as set forth in the Constitution and the Church Membership Covenant; each member has an equal vote in all congregational meetings.
B. Associate members are those with temporary area residence in our area such as college students and those who receive temporary occupation transfers. They shall be accepted into membership in the same way as members. They have the same responsibilities, but cannot vote on church matters.
3. Termination of Membership
A. By Physical Death
B. By Request—A member in good standing (i.e., not under discipline―see Policy 4) may submit a written request to the church office that their membership be terminated. Membership will be terminated on the date the request was received. The congregation will be informed of the termination at the next regular business meeting.
C. By Discipline—Any member who knowingly lives in willful and continued disobedience to God shall be disciplined according to the biblical steps outlined in Policy 4. As the final step of the process, their membership will be revoked. Once the elders become involved in the discipline of a member (see Policy 4), a request for termination will not be honored until the matter is resolved.
D. By Exclusion—If a member is habitually absent for more than six months from the stated meetings of the church without valid reason, or if due to relocation they cease to maintain a vital contact with the church, they may be removed from membership. The congregation will be informed of the termination at the next regular business meeting.
E. Anyone who is removed from membership and later desires to become a member again will be required to repeat the membership process.
4. Discipline of Members
Discipline is a way to express genuine love and to practice accountability in the body of Christ. Therefore, the entire discipline process should be motivated by and carried out in love, with the goal of complete restoration of the disobedient believer to fellowship with God and the church body.
If a member is caught in sin:
1. Another member aware of the sin is responsible to confront and restore them.
2. If they are unrepentant, the confronting member shall ask one or two additional members to help resolve the issue.
3. If they are still unrepentant, the matter shall be brought to the elders.
4. If necessary, the matter may need to be presented to the entire church. If they remain unrepentant, they are to be treated as an unbeliever. The church family should discontinue fellowship with them.
5. Confidentiality of Church Records
No unauthorized individual, group, or organization shall have the right to inspect the church records as to (1) the disciplining of any member, (2) the hiring or firing of any employee,
(3) the needs or problems of any employee, (4) the financial contributions of any member, or (5) any other records which the elders determine to be in the best interest of the church to keep confidential.
6. Property and Assets
A. The name of this church shall be West Cannon Baptist Church of Belmont, Michigan. Our legal address is 5760 Cannonsburg Road NE, Belmont, Michigan, 49306.
B. The church has the power to receive, either by gift or purchase, and so hold such real, personal, or mixed property as is authorized by the laws of the state of Michigan, and as is deemed necessary for the functioning of the church. The church has the power to dispose of such property by mortgage, bill of sale, deed or otherwise. All property shall be held in the name of the church.
C. In case of division of the church caused by conflict (from which we pray God will preserve us), all property and assets of the church will belong to members who abide by its Constitution.
D. In case of dissolution of the church organization, the property and all assets shall be sold either through private or public sale. From the proceeds, first, all current and long-term monetary obligations of the church shall be paid. Secondly, all remaining funds shall be directed to one or more Christian organizations under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, for the benefit of the church’s supported missionaries and/or such other Christian endeavors as the congregation shall determine. The church shall be considered dissolved if so decided by the members, or when the church has not held an annual meeting for two years, or when less than fifteen adult members remain.
E. No real property shall be purchased or disposed of without approval of the members, except as noted in Section C above.
7. Procedures for Appointing and Dismissing Elders
A. Appointing Elders
Any qualified male member of West Cannon Baptist Church may seek to be considered for the office of elder. Those deemed qualified will undergo a process of thorough examination into their lives, ministry, and doctrine by the existing elders. Those who prove themselves through this examination process will be presented to the congregation and must be approved by a vote of at least three-fourths majority. Elders will normally be brought to the congregation for reaffirmation every four years. A newly appointed elder will normally be brought to the congregation for reaffirmation after his second year of service.
A candidate to fill the Lead Teaching Elder position with the primary responsibility of corporate teaching and preaching shall be identified and appointed by the elders. Candidates for this position may be sought from outside the current West Cannon Baptist Church membership. The appointment is subject to a congregational vote of at least three-fourths majority. Upon acceptance of this appointment, he and his wife, if he has one, immediately become members of the church, and he becomes an elder.
B. Leadership Structure
Scripture does not limit the number of elders, but a minimum number of elders (approximately three elders per one hundred members) ought to be maintained so that the burdens and privileges of leadership are spread out. All elders are equals and accountable to one another, although some may perform unique roles. Some elders may also be hired as staff.
C. Removing an Elder
While an elder may step down from office at any time and for any reason, he may be made to step down if he no longer meets the qualifications of office. Scripture warns not to entertain frivolous accusations, but to be diligent in investigating serious matters
(1 Timothy 5:19). An elder should not be expected to be perfect and should be treated graciously and charitably at all times just as any member should hope to be treated. If an elder is found disqualified by a simple majority of the elders, the elders must go before the congregation and present their decision for removal in a spirit of gentleness and humility (Galatians 6:1).
8. Procedures for Appointing and Dismissing Deacons
A. Appointing Deacons
Any qualified male member of West Cannon Baptist Church may be considered for the office of deacon. The process for the appointment of deacons will involve both elders and the congregation identifying members who are gifted to serve, examining their qualifications, and training them for ministry. Potential deacons will be examined by the elders and then presented to the congregation for approval. The elders will commission them to serve in meeting the needs of the church.
B. Removing Deacons
Deacons must maintain their qualifications. A deacon may step down from office at any time and for any reason, but they may also be made to step down if they no longer meet the qualifications of office.
If a deacon is found disqualified, the elders must go before the congregation and present their decision for removal in a spirit of gentleness and humility (Galatians 6:1).
9. Budget Program
A. The church’s method of finance is the “unified budget system,” meaning that there will be only one general fund. The budget for each year will be adopted by the congregation at the Annual Meeting by a three-fourths majority vote.
B. The fiscal year will be February 1 through January 31.
C. Finance reports will be given each month to the elders and at each regular congregational meeting.
D. Any non-budgeted expenditure that is one percent or less of the current year’s budget may be approved by the elders. Non-budgeted expenditures that exceed one percent of the current year’s budget must be approved by the congregation.
1. Regular Business Meetings—There will be three meetings per year to be held in February, June, and October to handle general church matters related to ministry, including a financial report for the previous four months. The February meeting will serve as the Annual Meeting. Meetings shall be announced two weeks prior to the date each is to be held.
2. Special Meetings—Meetings to handle special matters may be called by the elders or by a petition of 25% of the membership. The subject(s) to be handled at such a meeting shall be announced and posted at least two weeks in advance. No other matters shall be handled at that meeting.
Thirty-three percent of members will constitute a quorum for voting on church matters.
All meetings will be presided over by the Chairman of the Elders or another elder if it is expedient to delegate that responsibility to another person.
Questions about procedure at meetings will be answered by following the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
These policies can be amended through revisions, additions, or deletions by a minimum of three-fourths majority vote (see Policy 10 Section B, 1) at any meeting of the church. A notice of proposed changes to be voted upon shall be given at least two weeks preceding the meeting.
12. Pastor/Deacon Council Approved Policies
The congregation gives authority to the elders to establish other policies that give definition, guidance, and continuity to the ministry of West Cannon Baptist Church. These policies shall be communicated as necessary to those concerned.