WHO WE ARE

our constitution

INTRODUCTION

preamble

Three Rivers Baptist Church, located in Irmo, South Carolina and organized under the laws of the state of South Carolina, is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The government of this church is vested in its body of Elders. It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but recognizes the stewardship of mutual counsel and cooperation with Southern Baptist churches and other churches of like faith.

STATEMENTS OF PURPOSE

article I

  1. Church MinistryBased upon our understanding of the Bible as God’s holy, inerrant, infallible and immutable Word, we the people of Three Rivers Baptist Church believe that we, as a local church, are a called out body of Believers established by God for His pleasure and glory. Our foundational purpose is to glorify God by obeying His Word, which declares that we as His people have various privileges and duties, with responsibilities toward both God and Man:

    A. God’s Word
    This Church shall strive to proclaim and protect the whole counsel of God’s Word, by proclaiming the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, by establishing and teaching sound doctrine, and by exhorting individuals and families to engage in and promote the personal study of God’s Word, for through these means we guard the truth entrusted to us for this and following generations.

    B.Worship
    This Church desires to offer up to God the worship that He so richly deserves as our Creator, Savior, and Lord, humbly worshiping Him in spirit and truth with a desire to please Him.

    The word of God prompts us to worship Him in many ways: praising Him in word and song, with instruments; through prayer and thanksgiving, through joyful giving, and through our loving obedience in all things.

    An important part of our worship is keeping the two ordinances which Christ Jesus gave us: the baptism of believers as a testimony of salvation, and the celebration of the Lord’s supper as a proclamation of the Lord’s death until He comes again. In all these things we confess that God alone is worthy of our worship, and that we are to worship no other.

    C. One Another
    This Church is to build up and protect one another through discipline and training; meeting each other’s physical, spiritual and emotional needs; meeting together regularly; avoiding and settling disputes; purifying itself by exercising discipline; and through praying for, encouraging , and loving one another.

    D. Making Disciples
    This Church as a body of individuals, is to make disciples by teaching and exempting the Word of God so that believers grow in their love of Christ, in their obedience to His word, in their anticipation of His return, and in their ability and desire to proclaim His gospel. Those whom God saves we are to baptize and bring into the body so that they also may grow and make disciples.

    E. In the World
    This Church shall minister both spiritually and physically to fellow-believer and the strangers in our midst, as well as to the world-at-large, especially to widows, orphan, prisoners, the poor, and the sick. This Church must also be an example to the community, as demonstrated in our relationships with our families, employers and employees , as well as in our obedience to leaders in governments and in the Church.

  2.  

  3. Legal Responsibility
    The civil authority that God has appointed over us recognizes this Church as a legal entity subject to certain laws and regulations. One privilege we enjoy as a non-profit corporation is a tax-exempt status. At this time this privilege has no conditions that prevent us from carrying out the purposes of the Church.

    Therefore:

    This Church shall at all times be operated so as to be consistent with the requirements of 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and any regulations promulgated thereunder or the corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws. No part of net earnings, gains, profits or dividends shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, deacons, officers, elders, or other private persons, except that reasonable compensation for services rendered, and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth above. The private property of the incorporators, elders, and officers, shall not be subject to the payment of corporate debts to any extent whatever, in furtherance of and not in limitation of the powers conferred by statute; this Church is expressly authorized to on its business and to hold annual or special meetings of its Board of Elders in any of the states, territories or possessions of the United States, or the District of Columbia. Notwithstanding any other provision of these Bylaws, this Church shall not conduct or carry on any activities not permitted to be conducted or carried on by an organization exempt under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

    In the event of dissolution of this Church, its assets remaining after payment, or provision of payment of all debts and liabilities of this Church, shall be distributed exclusively for religious purposes to one or more churches or organizations of like faith, which are then exempt from deferral tax under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws and to which contributions are then deductible under 170(c)(2) of such code or corresponding provisions of any subsequent federal tax laws.

    Should there come a time when the conditions of maintaining our tax-exempt status would prevent us from carrying out the purposes of the Church, we must obey God rather than man, and, therefore, forfeit our tax-exempt status.

MEMBERSHIP

article II

  1. Membership Candidacy

    A person shall be received as a candidate for membership in one of the following ways:
    A. by an initial Profession of Faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, followed with baptism by immersion;
    B. by Believer’s Baptism: (baptism by immersion after profession of Faith);
    C. by promise of a Letter of Transfer from another church of like faith and practice; or
    D. by statement if a Letter of Transfer is unavailable.

  2. Membership Confirmation

    Candidates recommended by the Elder Body who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to the Church, have successfully completed the New Members’ Candidate Class, have received Believer’s Baptism by immersion, and have given credible testimony as to their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, will be presented to the church body in special conference for confirmation during a New Members Covenant Ceremony. Following the candidate’s vow of commitment to the church body and the church body’s vow of commitment to the candidate, the “right hand of fellowship” will be extended, signifying the acceptance of the candidate into full membership.

  3. Forms of Membership
    A. Regular
    All who are received into the membership of this Church on the conditions set forth in this article shall be considered members in good standing until such status is changed. B. Other

    • i. Under Watchcare: A student, tourist or other person temporarily residing in the Columbia area may request to be received under Watchcare, with no letter of transfer to be requested.

    • ii. In Absentia: A person providentially hindered from attending worship services in person may request membership by any way the Church accepts a candidate for membership. 

    • iii. The membership of those received under Watchcare or m Absentia, whose relationship to this Church involves special consideration and circumstances, shall be determined in each case by a unanimous vote of the Eldership. Those received into the membership other than by regular membership shall have all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of regular members except that of voting.

     

  4. Termination of Membership
    A. by Letter of Transfer upon request of another church of like faith and practice;
    B. a member’s personal written request;
    C. by erasure:

    • i. upon a member’s uniting with a church of another faith and order;

    • ii. upon the death of a member; 

    • iii. upon a member being wilfully absent from the stated meetings of the Church without just cause for more than six months; or 

    • iv. upon a member having moved from the Columbia area and not able to attend the stated meetings of the Church for more than six months without the Church having received a request for Letter of Transfer; or

    D. by exclusion as an act of discipline.
     

  5. Membership Responsibilities and Privileges
    A. Responsibilities: It will be expected of members of this body to:

    • i. maintain a vital, intimate personal relationship with the Lord.

    • ii. appropriately respond to the authority of this Church’s God appointed leadership for their care over the spiritual health of the Church and its individual members; for their instruction in spiritual matters; and for corrective discipline, should it ever be required. 

    • iii. consistently study the Scriptures, being strengthened in the wisdom and knowledge of God, and purpose to obey the precepts and commandments of the Lord as He teaches them. 

    • iv. consistently pray for this Church, its leaders, and its ministries. 

    • v. consistently attend, presenting oneself with the corporate body before the Lord on every occasion, prepared to give and to receive in worship. 

    • vi. accept all biblical roles within one’s family, as unto the Lord, whether they be of authority or submission. 

    • vii. love, accept, pray for, serve and be an example to the other members of this body.

    B. Privileges: It shall be the privilege of every member to:

    • i. be ruled by the Word of God in everything.

    • ii. be lovingly received by the Church into its life and fellowship. 

    • iii. be under the care and discipline of faithful elders. 

    • iv. be nurtured and edified by clear teaching, by public preaching, and by personal counseling. 

    • v. be equipped for the work of the ministry. 

    • vi. receive the ordinances of our Lord. 

    • vii. when at least the age of 18 years or older, to participate in the process of the selection or removal of Church Officers, the amendment or repeal of bylaws of the Church, or any other special conference of the Church, as hereafter provided.
       

  6. Church Discipline
    A. Purpose of Church Discipline
    It is the God-given duty of every church member, including church staff or church officer, to participate in and subject oneself to both formative and corrective church discipline. When biblically administered, church discipline is beneficial to both the individual and the church body. Out of obedience to God, we purpose to exercise biblical discipline in order to:

     

    • i. maintain, and where necessary restore, full fellowship with Christ and His Church40.

    • ii. protect the purity of the Church41. 

    • iii. keep the name of the Church above reproach in the community42.

     

    B. Formative Discipline
    Formative Discipline is the embodiment of Col. 3:12-16, namely letting “the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…,” accompanied by public teaching and preaching of the word and the private exercise of spiritual gifts to the edification of the body. Such ministry will effect growth in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ within the body. It is acknowledged that failure of formative discipline leads to the necessity of corrective discipline.
    C. Corrective Discipline

     

     

     

    • i. Procedure of Discipline

      • a. Since every member of the Church is to be a minister, all members are encouraged to exhort and stimulate one another to love and good works. If a member (the restorer) has firsthand knowledge of another member (the offender) in sin43 , he should go privately to the offender and seek to restore him to fellowship with the Lord and His church.If the offender repents, the matter is over, the brother is restored. If the offender does not repent:

      • b. the restorer shall take one or two other members to again confront the offender with his sin and again seek to restore him to fellowship and obedience. If the offender repents, the matter is over, the brother is restored. If the offender does not repent, the members who went to the offender shall advise the Elders of what has transpired. If the elders are satisfied that all actions have been scripturally undertaken and that the offender is indeed in a state of unrepentant sin, then the Elders shall inform the offender of the next step. If he remains unrepentant, then:

      • c. at a special conference of the Church, the Elders shall inform the church body of the offender’s sin and refusal to repent. The entire Church shall be encouraged to go to the offender and seek to restore him.If the offender repents, the matter is over, the brother is restored. If the offender does not repent, he is informed by the Elders of the next step:

      • d. at a special conference of the Church, the Elders shall inform the church body of the offender’s continued refusal to repent. The offender’s name shall be removed from the membership roll, the offender excluded from the ordinance of Communion, and the entire Church admonished to avoid any social contact with him.  

    • ii. Procedure For ReinstatementShould a member once excluded by discipline show by his attitude and actions that he has repented of his sin and is once more seeking to live a life of obedience to Jesus Christ, upon his request, and under review of the Elder Body, he will be reinstated as a member and will be restored and welcomed back into full fellowship.

CHURCH OFFICERS

article III

Jesus Christ is the pre-eminent and rightful head of His Church and all believers are in subjection to Him. As the Head, Jesus Christ has ordained the offices of Elder and Deacon. In addition, the Church has established the offices of Church Clerk and Church Treasurer. Other offices may be established for the benefit of the Church by the congregation affirming the recommendations of the Elders.

  1. Elders

    1. Composition The Body of Elders, which includes the Senior Pastor, shall consist of a plurality of godly men, who meet the qualifications set forth especially in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

    2. Selection

      1. The process will begin by public teaching and discussion of eldership, and explanation of the selection process.

      2. Following a two week period of prayerful consideration, forms will be distributed to members to recommend men to the Elder body. The recommendations will be tallied by the Church Clerk and Church Treasurer or other church officer if such are unavailable.

      3. Those men who have been recommended by at least 20% of the members submitting forms, who are willing and able to serve, will be interviewed by the active Elders.

      4. Those found by the Elders to be biblicaly qualified will be presented for their public testimony and interview by the church body.

      5. Following another two week period of prayerful consideration written affirmation forms submitted by church members will be tallied by the Church Clerk and the Church Treasurer or other church officer if such are unavailable.

      6. Those receiving affirmations of two-thirds (2/3) of those members submitting forms will be publicly ordained to the Elder Body, unless a scriptural disqualification becomes apparent during the affirmation process.

    3. Term of Office Elders shall serve an indefinite term; however:

      1. Elders will typically serve three years and receive a one year sabbatical before resuming official responsibilities. However, the timing and length of the sabbatical may be adjusted by the Elder Body according to the needs of the Church.

      2. an Elder may resign his office.

      3. any Elder who for any reason no longer meets the biblical qualifications for the office or who is unwilling or unable to carry out the duties of the office shall be subject to the following procedure:

        1. following review and upon recommendation by the Body of Elders, a special church conference open only to members shall be called to consider the matter. The matter shall be presented to the church body with opportunity for the Elder in question to respond.

        2. the Elders shall recommend appropriate action to the church body.

        3. upon recommendation of removal48 an Elder shall be removed by church vote. Voting shall be by written ballot and shall require two-thirds (2/3), majority of the members present and voting.

        4. once removed from office and after completing a restoration process prescribed by the Elder Body a man may be eligible to serve as an elder through the normal elder selection process.

    4. Leadership of the Body of Elders The Elder Body shall appoint administrative leadership from within the Elder Body.

    5. Responsibilities The Elders shall serve as the Trustees of the Church. As Trustees, they are empowered to: make and execute all contracts, deeds, bonds, notes, negotiable instruments, mortgages, trusts and all other instruments of indebtedness or conveyance of said corporation upon the order thereof. The title to all property, however, shall be vested in the name of the Church. In addition, the Trustees shall also have the power and responsibility to:

      1. authorize sale of any and all real property and/or tangible or intangible personal property, other than cash, received by the Church as a contribution donation or any other form of lifetime gift, or by devise or bequest under will, at such price as the Trustees deem in the best interest of the Church, provided however, that all such sales shall be for cash, and placed in the Church’s capital fund unless otherwise designated by the donor.

      2. represent the Church in any litigation brought by or against the Church.

      3. oversee the ministry and business of the Church.

      4. employ and oversee the church staff, including associate pastor(s) and other personnel.

    6. The Senior Pastor

      1. Responsibilities of the Senior Pastor To enable the Senior Pastor to devote himself to the ministry he shall be supported by the Church in a fulltime capacity. The Senior Pastor will provide spiritual direction to the Body of Elders. The Senior Pastor shall be the primary teaching elder; a great percentage of his “work time” shall be spent in the study of God’s Word. It shall be his responsibility to equip and disciple the people of God for ministry. The Senior Pastor shall be engaged in intercessory prayer for the congregation. The supervision of the church staff is the responsibility of the Senior Pastor.

      2. Call of the Senior Pastor

        1. When a pastoral vacancy occurs or is anticipated, the Body of Elders shall appoint a Pulpit Committee, including both elders and other members of the Church.

        2. The Pulpit Committee shall begin a prayerful search for the Senior Pastor. By consent of the full committee and recommendation of the Elder Body the search shall be narrowed down to one candidate. This candidate shall be thoroughly interviewed by the Pulpit Committee; by consent of the full committee the candidate shall be invited to speak to the church body. The church body shall be given opportunity to get acquainted through informal and formal interview sessions.

        3. Upon recommendation of the Pulpit Committee to extend a call to become Senior Pastor, the Church shall assemble at a special church Conference called for that purpose.

        4. The affirmative two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members present and voting shall be necessary to call the new Pastor.

      3. Term of Office The Senior Pastor shall serve an indefinite term; however, he may resign his office or be removed from office as any other Elder under the provisions of this article.

  2. Body of Deacons

    1. Composition The Body of Deacons shall consist of a number of qualified godly men, who meet the qualifications set forth especially in I Tim. 3:8-13.

    2. Selection

      1. The process will begin by public teaching and discussion of the Diaconate and explanation of the selection process.

      2. Following a two week period of prayerful consideration, forms will be distributed to members to recommend men to the Diaconate. The recommendations will be tallied by the Church Clerk and Church Treasurer or other church officer if such are unavailable.

      3. Those men who have been recommended by at least 20% of the members submitting forms, who are willing and able to serve, will be interviewed by the active Elders.

      4. Those found by the Elders to be biblicaly qualified will be presented for their public testimony and interview by the church body.

      5. Following another two week period of prayerful consideration written affirmation forms submitted by church members will be tallied by the Church Clerk and the Church Treasurer or other church officer if such are unavailable.

      6. Those receiving affirmations of two-thirds (2/3) of those members submitting forms will be publicly ordained or installed to the Diaconate, unless a scriptural disqualification becomes apparent during the affirmation process.

    3. Term of Office Deacons shall serve an indefinite term; however:

      1. a Deacon may resign his office.

      2. Deacons will typically serve three years and receive a one-year sabbatical before resuming official responsibilities. However, the timing and length of the sabbatical may be adjusted by the Elder Body according to the needs of the church.

      3. any Deacon who for any reason no longer meets the biblical qualifications for the office or who is unwilling or unable to carry out the duties of the office shall be subject to the following procedure:

        1. following review and upon recommendation by the Body of Elders, a special church conference open only to members shall be called to consider the matter. The matter shall be presented to the church body with opportunity for the Deacon in question to respond.

        2. the Elders shall recommend appropriate action to the church body.

        3. upon recommendation of removal, a Deacon shall be removed by church vote. Voting shall be by written ballot and shall require two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members present and voting.

        4. once removed from office and after completing a restoration process prescribed by the Elder Body a man may be eligible to serve as a deacon through the normal deacon selection process.

    4. Responsibilities The role of Deacon is that of a servant.

      Each Deacon will function in two distinct roles: as a member of the Deacon Body that will care for church-wide matters assigned to them by the eldership and as part of a shepherding team caring for the needs of the flock to which they are assigned.

  3. Church Clerk

    1. Qualifications The Church Clerk shall meet the moral and spiritual qualifications as set forth in I Tim. 3:8-13.

    2. Selection and Term of OfficeThe Church Clerk shall be appointed by and serve under the direction of the Body of Elders until such time as another Church Clerk is appointed.

    3. Responsibilities

      1. Record actions of the Church at any church conference.

      2. Maintain accurate membership roll.

      3. Request Letters of Transfer for new members from other churches.

      4. Process personal requests for terminations from the Church roll and requests for Letters of Transfer to other churches.

      5. Make necessary certifications of actions of the Church sitting in conference.

      6. Attest to the corporate seat of the Church on any official document.

  4. Church Treasurer

    1. Qualifications The Church Treasurer shall meet the moral and spiritual qualifications set forth in 1 Tim. 3:8-13.

    2. Selection and Term of Office The Church Treasurer shall be appointed by and serve under the direction of the Body of Elders until such time as another Church Treasurer is appointed.

    3. Responsibilities

      1. The Church Treasurer shall have custody of the church funds and securities, shall ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the Church. The Church Treasurer shall ensure that all monies and other valuable effects are deposited in the name and to the credit of the Church in such depositories as may be designated by the Elders.

      2. The Church Treasurer shall reconcile all church bank accounts monthly and will supervise the preparation and administration of the monthly financial statement published by the Church. The Church Treasurer shall be responsible for making sure that annual audit of the church financial records is done by a firm outside the church membership.

AMENDMENTS

article IV

These by laws may only be amended or repealed upon recommendation of the Elders and confirmation by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members of the congregation present and voting at a special conference duly called for the specific purpose of amending or repealing the same. Proposed amendments from church members will be accepted for consideration by the Elder Body when received in writing. Notification of the conference shall be by publication in a regular or special issue of the church paper. First notification must be at least two weeks before the conference. During the two week period, the Elders shall make provision for public discussion of any proposed amendments or provisions proposed for repeal.

Affirmed by the Church sitting in conference on this 18th day of April, 1993.

FOOTNOTES

biblical references

1. 2 Tim. 3:14-4:5.
2. Gal. 1:6-9; John 3:16-17.
3. Titus 2; Deut. 6:4 – 9; 2 Tim. 3:16 -17.
4. Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 2:15.
5. 1 Tim. 6:20 – 21; 2 Tim. 1:13-14.
6. 2 Tim. 2:2; Deut. 4:9.
7. 1 Chron. 16:9; Ps. 95:6-7a; Ps. 2:11-12; Ex.20:7. Ps.51:16-17;8
8. Ps. 42:1-2a; John 4:23-24.
9. Heb. 13:15; Isa. 43:21; Rev. 19:5.
10. Col. 3:16; Ps. 100:1-2.
11. Ps. 150.
12. I Thess. 5:17-18; Phil. 4:6-7.
13. 2 Cor. 8 & 9.
14. I John 5:3; 1 Sam. 15:22-23; Ps. 15.
15. Acts 2:38-41; Matt. 28:19.
16. I Cor. 11:23-26; Matt. 26:26-29.
17. Ex. 20:3-5, Mk. 12:29-31.
18. Eph. 4:11-16; Matt. 28:18-20.
19. 1 John 3:16-18; Rom. 12: 10-11; 13:15-16.
20. Heb. 10:23-25.
21. I Cor. 6:1-11; Gal. 5:15-26; Phil. 2:1-2.
22. Titus 3:9-1 1; Matt. 18:15-17; Gal. 6: 1.
23. James 5:16.
24. Isa. 35:3-5; 1 Thess. 5:11-14.
25. John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:14-18.
26. Eph. 4:11-16; Matt. 28:16-20; Prov. 27:17; 1 Thess. 1:6-7.
27. I Pet. 3:15; Heb. 10:23-25; John 14:15-24; Titus 2:11-15; 1 Thess. 4:13-18.
28. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:46-47; 2 Tim. 2:2.
29. Gal. 6:9-10; 2 Cor. 8.
30. Matt. 25:34-40; Heb. 13:2.
31. Gal. 6: 1 0; I Tim. 2:1-2.
32. James 1:27; Acts 6:1-6.
33. Heb. 13:3; Matt. 25:34-40.
34. Isa. 58:6-10; Prov. 19:17; 21:13.
35. Matt. 25:34-40.
36. Luke 10:25-37; Matt. 5:13-16.
37. Col. 3:17-4:6.
38. Rom. 13:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Acts 5:27-29.
39. Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-3.
40. Matt. 18:15; 1 Cor. 5:5 cf; 2 Cor. 2:7.9. Gal. 6:1. 2 Thess. 3:14-15.
41. I Cor. 5:6-8, 13; Heb. 12:15.
42. Rom. 2:23,24; 2 Pet. 2:2; Rev. 2:2, 14, 15, 20.
43. Gal. 6: 1; Matt. IS: 15-17; James 5:19-20.
44. Eph. 1:22.
45. I Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-3.
46. Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
47. Acts 6:1-6.
48. I Tim. 5:17-20.

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ADDRESS

803.781.2293

 

7452 Broad River Rd.

Irmo, SC 29063

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