What We Believe

A Biblical Perspective

At New Hope Baptist Church, we strive to bring everything into perspective through the lens of scripture. In fact, New Hope Baptist started out as Berean Baptist over 50 years ago – a name chosen because of the importance we place on the study of scripture. Acts 17:11 discusses the importance of “studying scripture every day” so we may compare what we see and hear in the world against what scripture tells us.  Does it line up with what God’s inspired Word tells us?  And how do we apply it in our lives?

Below you’ll find our Statement of Faith and Church Government information, straight from our constitution. Additional resources are linked below, including a full .pdf of our constitution, so that you can view or print them if you wish. As always, if you have further questions, please contact the office – your questions will be forwarded as appropriate, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

New Hope Baptist Church Statement of Faith

The Scriptures (Bibliology)

A. Inspiration

The Bible, in its original manuscripts, is completely inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), the very words inspired by God (2 Peter 1:19-21), and is the infallible (Psalm 19:7-11) and authoritative (John 17:17) Word of God given to man.
B. Interpretation

Since the Bible was written by many authors over a long period of time, the most accurate and comprehensive method of interpretation is the literal-historical-grammatical method. In order to be consistent with Scriptural intent and meaning this is the method this church will use to interpret the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 4:5; Proverbs 30:5-6)


The Trinity (Theology)

There is one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) who is spirit and as such is infinite (Psalm 102:25-27), intelligent (Isaiah 40:13-14; Proverbs 3:19), omniscient (Psalm 139:2-6), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12), omnipotent (Genesis 18:14; Luke 18:27), immutable (Psalm 102:25-27), perfect (Psalm 18:30; Matthew 5:48), holy (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15), and righteous (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 11:7). God exists eternally in three Persons (Matthew 28:19; John 10:30; 2 Corinthians 13:14): Father (John 8:41), Son (John 1:1; Titus 2:13), and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). These three Persons are equal in deity, essence, power, sovereignty, and majesty; yet perform distinct but harmonious functions (Ephesians 1:3-14).

A. God the Father

God the Father is a distinct (1 Samuel 2:2) person of the Trinity, yet shares in the same essence with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. He is sovereign (Psalm 29:2; Isaiah 29:15-16; 43:6-7; Romans 9) over all creation and His purpose (Isaiah 14:24-27) for all creation is to display His glory, person, and name (Revelation 4:11). Therefore, He does what He pleases (Isaiah 46:8-13; 55:8-13; Daniel 4:34-35) when and how He pleases.

B. God the Son, Jesus Christ

God the Son has eternally existed as a distinct person of the Trinity, yet shares in the same essence with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. He is the creator (Colossians 1:15-22; Revelation 4:11), sustainer of all creation, and the LORD, Jehovah of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies (John 10:30-31). In the redemptive plan, even though He was still God (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1), He took upon Himself the form of man by being supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35) and born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-35; John 1:14). In this way He became, and is today, the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for man and the only payment for the penalty of sin (John 14:6; Acts 2:38-39). After His death on the cross He rose bodily from the grave (Matthew 28:1-15), ascended into heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:1-4) making intercession for us (Acts 2:22-36). Both then (incarnation) and now He is completely God and completely man (Philippians 2:5-8), and will physically return (John 14:1-4) to rule and reign on the earth in keeping with His promises. We believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus is LORD, Yahweh (Jehovah), without sin and without the possibility of sinning (Hebrews 4:14-16; 1 John 3:5). Jesus is the Savior and the Christ, the Messiah, the One who will establish the Theocratic Kingdom on earth at the time of His second advent. When the word “Christ” (Messiah) is used in the New Testament it is a reference to His work, position, and title as the “Anointed One”, the God/Man Ruler, and the King who has all power and authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus is His given name (Matthew 1:20-25).

C. God the Holy Spirit

God the Holy Spirit is a distinct person of the Trinity, yet shares in the same essence with God the Father and God the Son. He was active in the creation of this world along with God the Father and God the Son (Genesis 1:2, 26). In the Old Testament He came upon men selectively to empower them for service (Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 63:10-11; Judges 3:10). In the New Testament, following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-41) to institute the church and to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment to come. He came to indwell all believers making them spiritually alive (John 3:5-8), setting them apart for purity, and sealing them as God’s eternally secure possessions. Today the Holy Spirit is our helper (John 14:16-18) as He comforts and leads us through life. He teaches us the truths of God’s Word, controlling and strengthening us to live Christ-like lives (John 16:7-14). At the moment we put our faith in Christ the Holy Spirit baptizes (John 3:5-8; I Corinthians 6:11; 12:13; Galatians 3:27) us into the Church, which is the Body of Christ, and gives spiritual gifts to be used in service for our Lord and the Church (1 Corinthians 12-14; Romans 12; Ephesians 4). Because of the completed revelation of the Bible, certain sign gifts that were used to authenticate an apostle’s message from God have ceased to be needed and have come to an end (1 Corinthians 13; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:1-4; Revelation 22:18-19).


The Church (Ecclesiology)

A. The Church

There is one true church (Matthew 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:11) called in Scripture the body and bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-30). The church was a mystery in the time before Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection; yet now has been revealed in the New Testament. It came into existence on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given (Acts 2:1-13). At this time the disciples became a part of the body of Christ. All who have been “born from above” by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are members of His body (John 3:3-8), of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23).

B. The Local Church
The local church is comprised of those belonging to the body of Christ who are associated together by faith. In keeping with the admonition of Scripture, they voluntarily fellowship together (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:42) in order to observe the ordinances (1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Luke 22:19-20; Matthew 28:19-20), preach Jesus Christ, worship (Luke 4:8), exercise their spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16), care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27), and teach the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15; 4:1-5) to equip the saints for ministry (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 13:1-3). The local church has the absolute right of self-government (Matthew 22:21; 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 19, 23; 10:3-4; 1 Timothy 3:1-13) with dependence upon none, other than Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18).

C. The Ordinances of the Local Church
Jesus Christ instituted the observances of baptism and communion (the Lord’s Supper) as the two ordinances of the church. These ordinances are to be observed by born-again believers who are old enough to understand their meaning and are walking with the Lord. They are an act of obedience for the believer but are not required for salvation.
1. Baptism
Scriptural baptism is by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is to be observed only once after conversion (Acts 8:12; 10:47; 16:33) as an outward sign of the inward work of grace by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38)
2. Communion
The Lord’s Supper is to be observed regularly until He comes. It is a remembrance of all that Christ did for us in His substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection. Observance of the Lord’s Supper is for believers only and has no spiritual merit for the unsaved. (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34)

D. The Church and Civil Government
God established both the church and the civil government, and He gave each its own distinct sphere of operation (Matthew 22:21; John 18:36; Romans 13:1-7; 2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 4; 1 Timothy 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:13-17).


Man (Anthropology)

A. The Purpose of Man

The primary purpose of man is to worship God and to bring glory to Him forever. (Isaiah 45:5-9, 21; Ephesians 1:3-6,11-12; 3:10, 20-21; 1 Peter 4:10-11)

B. The Condition of Man

Man was created by God in a state of innocence (Genesis 1:27-31; 2:25), but as a result of the temptation of Satan, Adam voluntarily sinned and fell from his innocent state (Genesis 3:1-7). Because of this act of disobedience (Romans 5:12-14), all people are sinners by nature and choice (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:9-23) and are totally depraved (Romans 8:5-8). Therefore, man, unless redeemed, is condemned eternally to a literal Hell (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

C. The Redemption of Man

The only hope for man in his lost condition is the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:23). This sacrifice of His body and blood (Leviticus 17:11; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22) satisfied God’s demand for the payment required for the penalty of man’s sin. Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection were not merely an example for us to follow (Romans 6:4-10). He acted as our only substitute and received the penalty for sin that we deserved (1 Peter 3:18).

D. The Individual Liberty of Man

Individual liberty is the implementation of the truth that we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). Every man must give an answer to God individually (Romans 14:12); therefore, no other man, and no church, can act as his conscience. He has the responsibility to interpret the Scripture for himself and to answer to God for the way in which he does so (Romans 14:1-8). The believer has the Holy Spirit to guide and enable him (Romans 8:1-5; 1 John 2:27), apart from any other ministry of man or of the church. Every believer will stand individually responsible for the proper interpretation and application of everything the Bible teaches (Romans 14:9-12).

E. The Final Judgment

1. Of the Believer
Every saved individual will someday stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgment is not of their worthiness of salvation but of their works in order that every believer may receive rewards from the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 4:5).
2. Of the Unbeliever
Unsaved individuals will someday stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) where they will recognize Jesus Christ as Lord, be judged according to their works, and sentenced to eternal judgment in hell (Luke 16:19-31; John 3:18).


The Spirit World (Angelology)

A. The Creation of Spirit Beings (commonly called angels)

God created a host of spirit beings (Ezekiel 1:1-14) to serve Him and bring Him glory (Job 38:7; Psalm 148:1-5). They were created with rank and authority, which is seen in their names: anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:14), cherubs (Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 10:20), seraphs (Isaiah 6:1-8), archangel (Jude 9), and angels. The Scriptures further describe the ranks or organization of angels as powers, rulers, thrones, dominions, and authorities (Collossians 1:15-17).

B. The Present State of Spirit Beings

1. Elect Spirit Beings
a. Their State
The spirit beings that did not leave their original state of creation are unfallen or elect spirit beings and will forever remain in that state. (1 Timothy 5:21)
b. Their Ministry
These spirit beings today minister in two general areas: (1) they worship God and carry out His will (Isaiah 6:1-3; Revelation 4:6-11); (2) they are ministering spirits to those who are heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14).
2. Fallen Spirit Beings
a. Satan
God created all things perfect and without sin. But when Satan, the anointed cherub and God’s highest created being (Ezekiel 28:11-19), determined to be like God (Isaiah 14:12-17), sin entered into the creation. Satan is a real being and is extremely powerful, but he does not have God-like attributes (Job 1-2). He is evil and cunning (John 8:44), intending to destroy God’s plan and usurp God’s sovereign rule (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 12:7-10). He seeks to achieve his purposes and control through deceitful temptations and trying circumstances (1 Peter 5:8; Genesis 3:1). He is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).
b. Demons
In seeking to overthrow God’s authority Satan convinced one third of the angels to follow him (Revelation 12:4), resulting in their fall (2 Peter 2:4). Because of this willful act of sin, their eternal punishment and destiny is sealed with no opportunity for repentance (Jude 6). Until these fallen angels are sent to their eternal punishment (Matthew 25:41), they are demonic messengers under Satan’s control opposing God’s plan and purpose (Revelation 12:7-9; Ephesians 6:10-12).
c. Their Activities
Both believers and unbelievers are influenced by these demonic forces (Luke 4:33-36; 9:38-43; 2 Corinthians 11:1-15; Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Timothy 4:1), but unbelievers are powerless to resist their schemes and dominance (Acts 5:3; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 John 5:19). Unbelievers may also be demon possessed (Matthew 9:32-33, 12:22; Mark 5:1-20). Believers have the strength to resist Satan’s temptations if they use the armor of God and the power given to them by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11; 6:14-16; Ephesians 6:10-18). Demons seek to entice believers to act independently of God; however, they cannot be demon possessed because they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11; 1 John 4:1-6).


Salvation (Soteriology)

A. Its Provision and Assurance

God authored and Christ purchased our eternal salvation (John 3:16). God has chosen those who will believe in Christ and exercise their personal faith in Him (Romans 8:27-30; 1 Peter 1:2-5) though we are still obligated to obey and yield to His sovereignty. This salvation is all of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ Who paid the full redemptive price for our sins. He satisfied God’s righteous demands by suffering the death and penalty for man’s sin on the cross of Calvary (Hebrews 5:9; 10:10-18). Salvation is made effective to man only as he believes (John 20:31; Acts 16:30-31), exercising personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10). Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ are saved forever and nothing can separate them from God’s love (Romans 5:5-11; 8:31-39; Philippians 1:6). Since believers are eternally His, God will not allow the believer to be separated from Himself.

B. Its Content

1. New Birth
Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden brought the penalty of death (Genesis 2:17) to him and all his descendants (Romans 5:12-21). At the moment of his sin, both Adam and Eve died spiritually and began to die physically. In order for God to deal with mankind’s spiritual death, He sent His Son to die for all sin and to be raised from death in order to give victory over the penalty of sin (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). At the moment of salvation or new birth, the Spirit of God gives to a person who is spiritually dead, spiritual life (John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Believers are made partakers of the divine nature (Romans 8:16-17; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4). This spiritual life enables them to understand spiritual truth and to communicate with God (Romans 8:5-11). Not only are believers made alive spiritually, but also indwelt with the Holy Spirit, who is the believer’s source of power (Romans 8:11-14).
2. Justification
Individuals are acquitted from the guilt of sin when they are saved by faith (Romans 5:1-11). At the moment of salvation God declares them to be righteous and holy in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and they are set apart for a holy purpose. It is not possible for anyone to earn justification before God.
3. Sanctification
Believers are in an ongoing process of being set apart from Sin to do the will of God in their lives. This is a daily sharing and participating in God’s holiness as the Holy Spirit is active in their lives. (Romans 6:1-23; Colossians 3:1-11; 1 John 3:1-4)
4. Glorification
In the future, when believers are in His presence, they will be like Jesus Christ. Not that they will become gods, but they will be glorified and holy in reality as Jesus Christ is holy. (John 3:1-3; Romans 6; 8:30; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Ephesians 4:11-16; Colossians 3:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13; 2 Peter 1:2-11; 1 John 3:1-4)


Future Events in Prophetic Scripture (Eschatology)

Future Events

A. The Church Age

The church began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit was given and will continue on earth until the rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17) of the church.

B. The Rapture

The next great prophetic event awaiting the church spoken of by Paul is the bodily coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:1) in the air when true believers from the day of Pentecost until His coming will be caught up to meet the Lord and be taken into heaven in glorified bodies (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 1 John 3:2). The word “rapture” comes from the Latin translation of the word “caught up” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and means to seize or snatch.

C. The Judgement Seat of Christ

This is a judgment for believers in order to receive rewards (1 Corinthians 4:5). It is not a judgment of our being qualified for heaven but a judgment of our life as we give account of what we have done for the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:10).

D. The Tribulation

This is the seven-year period, also known as “Daniel’s Seventieth Week”, in which God will once again focus on the people of Israel and will pour out His wrath on all nations of the earth (Jeremiah 30:7). The tribulation is divided into two equal parts, the first half being “the beginning of sorrows” and the second half being “the great tribulation”. The church will be taken to be with the Lord sometime prior to the beginning of this seven-year period (Matthew 24; Daniel 9).

E. The Second Coming of Christ

This is the personal, bodily return of Jesus Christ with His church to the earth to establish His earthly kingdom just prior to the end of the tribulation period (Zechariah 14:1-5; Jude 14-15). As Jesus Christ sets foot on the earth He will bring the great campaign of Armageddon to an end (Revelation 19:11-21). At that time He will conquer the nations and establish His millennial kingdom.

F. The Resurrection of Old Testament saints

Following the tribulation, Old Testament saints will be resurrected in order to receive their inheritance in Christ’s millennial kingdom (Daniel 12:1-3, 9-13).

G. The Millennium

This is the fulfillment of God’s promise to David (2 Samuel 7:8-16; Isaiah 11:1-16) that he would have a descendent who would sit on his throne forever. Jesus Christ will literally begin to fulfill this prophecy as He rules and reigns on the earth for one thousand years. At the end of the one thousand years, Satan will be released from his prison to deceive and gather the rebels for battle. However, fire from heaven will consume them, and the devil will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:1-10).

H. The Great White Throne judgment

This is the judgment of unbelievers from all generations. All will be resurrected to stand before the Lord to be cast alive into the lake of fire because their names are not written in the book of life (Revelation 20:11-15).

I. The New Heavens and the New Earth

Following the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ and the judgment of unbelievers, God will restore the heavens and the earth to their original perfection. The new heavens and earth will be the eternal home of the saints (2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:1-22:5).

J. Eternity

Believers will exist eternally in the presence of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:3-57). For the unbeliever it will be an eternal existence in hell separated from God to bear the punishment of their sin without relief (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). (Revelation 21-22)



New Hope Baptist Church Government

Government

The church acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ as its only Head and accepts the Scriptures as its supreme and only guide in all matters of faith, order, and discipline. Under that Authority, the government of this church is vested in the corporate body of believers who compose its membership. Within the guidelines and limitations defined by this document, the members assign authority and administrative functions to the elders as its board of directors.


Members

While the members (Article V) assign authority and administrative functions to the elders, they retain the right to be involved in:
1. Calling (Article VI, Section 2.C.1) or dismissing (Article VI, Section 2.G.2) the Pastor or Associate Pastor(s)
2. Affirming the selection of elders (Article VI, Section 2.C.2)
3. Nominating and affirming the selection of deacons (Article VI, Section 3.B) and deaconesses (Article VI, Section 4.B)
4. Affirming the recommendation of new members (Article V, Section 3)
5. Excluding unrepentant members as the final step in church discipline (Article V, Section 5)
6. Adopting, amending, or repealing the constitution as may be required (Article VIII, Section 1)
7. Affirming the annual budget (Article VII, Section 4.C.1)
8. Changing its associations (Article IV)
9. Dissolving the corporation
10. Selling, acquiring, or encumbering property[/togglebody] [/togglegroup] [togglegroup] [togglehead id=”Church_Government” tab_id=”Church_Government2″]Elders[/togglehead] [togglebody tab_id=”Church_Government2″]The elders are charged with teaching, feeding, and protecting the church; and it is the elders who are accountable to God on behalf of the church (1 Peter 5:1-4).

A. Qualifications

Each elder must be an active male member of this church. He must subscribe without reservation to the statement of faith and agree to abide by the guidelines of this constitution. He must possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9:
1. Aspires to the office of overseer; exercising oversight voluntarily and eagerly, according to the will of God (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Peter 5:2)
2. Blameless as a steward of God; above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6-7)
3. Husband of one wife; a one-woman man (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6)
4. Temperate, sober, vigilant (1 Timothy 3:2)
5. Sober minded, prudent (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
6. Of good behavior; orderly, respectable (1 Timothy 3:2)
7. Given to hospitality (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8)
8. Able to teach; he can exhort believers and refute false teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9)
9. Not given to wine (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
10. Not violent; not pugnacious (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
11. Patient, moderate, forbearing, gentle (1 Timothy 3:3)
12. Not a brawler; not contentious; not soon angry or quick tempered (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
13. Not covetous; not a lover of money; not greedy of base gain (1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7)
14. Rules well his own house; his children are faithful, not accused of rebellion to God (1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:7)
15. Not a novice; not a new convert (1 Timothy 3:6)
16. Has a good report or reputation with outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7)
17. Not self willed (Titus 1:7)
18. Loves what is good (Titus 1:8)
19. Just, fair (Titus 1:8)
20. Holy, devout (Titus 1:8)
21. Self controlled (Titus 1:8)

B. Types

1. Pastor
The pastor is a Scriptural elder, overseer, shepherd, and a spiritual leader of the church; and is henceforth referred to as “pastor”. The pastor is a professional staff member and is responsible for the pulpit ministry. The pastor will have direct supervisory oversight for all paid and volunteer office staff members, including the right to delegate oversight as needed.
2. Associate Pastor(s)
Additional professional pastoral staff may be needed to compliment the total ministry of shepherding this church body. Responsibilities will be designated in a job summary written by the elders before candidates are sought.
3. Elder(s)

C. Selection

Elders are called by God, confirmed by the church elders, and appointed by the elders to the task of leadership. The starting point in identifying a potential elder is the desire in the heart of the individual (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Peter 5:2). God plants in a man’s heart a passion for the ministry (Acts 20:28), and then confirms it by the leading of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the elders through prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23).
A man should be considered for the office only after he has proven himself suitable for a ministry of leadership through a period during which he is tested. Then he may be tempered for a time, where he is observed functioning in a limited position of delegated oversight. At this point if it becomes clear to the elders that God is preparing this man for leadership in the church, an announcement of such should be made to the congregation. After this time of being tempered if he demonstrates capability in leadership and loyalty to the Scriptures, he can be publicly acknowledged as one who is to be trusted in the service of leadership (1 Timothy 5:22).
This public acknowledgment will be done through the laying on of hands by the elders (1 Timothy 4:14). This visible act will demonstrate solidarity between the elders and the one on whom they laid their hands, and is a means of saying, “We commend you to the ministry. We stand with you, support you, and affirm your right to function in a position of leadership in this church.”
1. Pastor & Associate Pastors
When it is necessary to call a pastor or associate pastor, it will be the duty of the elders to investigate the merits of every man under consideration in regard to personal character, education, ministerial record, and preaching ability to determine his fitness for the pastorate of this church. When a suitable man has been found and unanimously agreed upon by the elders, they will recommend him to the members for consideration.
The call of a pastor will come before the church at a specially called business meeting and handled in accordance with Article VII, Section 3. Only one candidate will be presented to the church at a time. The vote will be a written ballot, and a call will not be extended unless 80% of those voting vote in the affirmative.
Absentee voting may be permitted only when a qualified voting member has sufficiently informed himself or herself concerning the candidate by being present when the candidate occupied the pulpit and participated in subsequent congregational activities relative to his candidacy.
The salary and other compensations will be fixed at the time of the call and will be documented as a bylaw.
2. Elders
In accordance with there being a desire in a man’s heart to be an overseer, a unanimous confirmation of the elders through prayer and fasting, and a period of time where the man is tested and tempered for the position, that man may be appointed by the elders to join them as an elder. The elders will present this new elder before the church for their affirmation and officially recognize him through the laying on of hands by the elders (1 Timothy 4:14).

D. Responsibilities

Elders, as the spiritual overseers of the flock, are to determine church policy (Acts 15:22); oversee the church (Acts 20:28); appoint other elders (1 Timothy 4:14); rule well, teach, and preach (1 Timothy 5:17); exhort and refute (Titus 1:9); and act as shepherds, setting an example for all (1 Peter 5:1-3). They are to devote themselves first of all to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, and select deacons and deaconesses to handle the daily operational matters of the church (Acts 6:3-4). The elders will be responsible to:
1. Uphold the truth of the Scriptures
2. Identify, equip, and organize the members for their best possible service to the Body of Christ
3. Develop procedures to establish order in the church’s activities that will fulfill its purpose and vision
4. Administer the ordinances
5. Serve as the church’s board of directors, exercising trusteeship over the physical and financial assets of the church
6. Adopt or amend the annual budget
7. Establish the functional departments of the church; and organize itself, the deacons, and the deaconesses to support the work of these departments
8. Meet regularly
9. Have complete authority to oversee the administrative affairs of the church with the exception of those items listed in Article VI, Section 1 that include the members.

E. Accountability

The elders, under the headship of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and
the authority of the Scriptures, are accountable to:
1. God (1 Peter 5:1-4)
2. Each other (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-18)
3. The members (1 Timothy 5:19-21; Matthew 18:15-18)

F. Organization

1. Officers
The elders will appoint their own officers who will also serve for legal purposes as chairman of the church, vice-chairman of the church, and secretary of the church. Men with an expressed desire to serve in these offices will be eligible for nomination. If an officer desires to step down from his position, new officers may be appointed at their first meeting following the church’s annual meeting.
Because of his position as the main teaching elder and his need to commit his time to the study of the Word, the pastor will not be allowed to serve as an officer of the elders.
2. Number
The number of elders will be determined by the number of male members who meet all of the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 2.A.
3. Term of Office
The term of office for an elder will be continuous as long as he remains a member of the church and meets the qualifications of an elder. Elders may have the option of taking a sabbatical if personal need warrants such. The sabbatical policy for the pastor or associate pastor is addressed in the bylaws.

G. Termination

1. Elders
An elder may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the elders if he is found to be spiritually unqualified according to the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 2.A. and pertinent Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9), in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture (Matthew 18:15-18; 1 Timothy 5:19).
When an elder is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from shepherding, a notice will be made before the church congregation at a regularly scheduled worship service (Matthew 18:15-18). If he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal will be accompanied by a public rebuke (1 Timothy 5:20).
2. Pastor or Associate Pastor(s)
Following the same Scriptural guidelines outlined for removing elders from office a pastor or associate pastor may be removed from his position if he is found to be spiritually unqualified.
He may also be dismissed from his position by a unanimous decision of the elders followed by a vote of the members at a specially called business meeting in accordance with Article VII, Section 3. Before the elders consider this action, efforts must be made to resolve any differences with the pastor.


Deacons

Deacons are charged with supporting the ministry of the elders (Acts 6:3-4), uniting the body (Acts 6:5), and caring for the needy (Acts 6:2-3). Their role is of service, sacrifice, and commitment to others’ needs.

A. Qualifications

Each deacon must be an active male member of this church. He must subscribe without reservation to the statement of faith and agree to abide by the guidelines of this constitution. He must possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13:
1. Aspires to the office of deacon (1 Timothy 3:1, 8)
2. Men of dignity; worthy of respect (1 Timothy 3:8)
3. Sincere; not double-tongued; not a malicious gossip (1 Timothy 3:8)
4. Not indulging in much wine; not addicted to much wine (1 Timothy 3:8)
5. Not fond of gain; not pursuing dishonest gain (1 Timothy 3:8)
6. Keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience (1 Timothy 3:9)
7. He must first be tested, then appointed to serve as deacons if he is beyond reproach (1 Timothy 3:10)
8. Husband of one wife; a one-woman-man (1 Timothy 3:12)
9. Manages and leads his children and his household well (1 Timothy 3:12)
10. Known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom (Acts 6:3)

B. Selection

Deacons are called by God, confirmed by the church’s elders, and appointed by the elders to the task of leadership. The starting point in identifying a potential deacon is the desire in the heart of the individual (1 Timothy 3:1, 8). God plants in a man’s heart a passion for the ministry, and then confirms it by the leading of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the elders through prayer and fasting.
Any male member who meets all of the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 3.A. may be nominated by a member of the church for the office of deacon. The nominations will be reviewed by the elders where, upon a unanimous decision, a list of qualified nominations will be formed. This list will be made available to the members one month before the annual meeting. If one or more members, because of knowledge of some existing circumstance, deem it necessary to object to a nomination, a written objection shall be brought in person to the elders to examine. Should the objection be found valid, the nomination for deacon will not be approved. The elders will appoint approved nominations for the office of deacon and at the annual meeting present them to the members for their affirmation.
A public acknowledgment of this appointment will be done through the laying on of hands by the elders (1 Timothy 4:14). This visible act will demonstrate solidarity between the elders and the one on whom they laid their hands, and is a means of saying, “We commend you to the ministry. We stand with you, support you, and affirm your right to function in a position of leadership in this church.”

C. Responsibilities

Deacons are to assist the elders in shepherding the church. In fulfilling their calling to serve, the deacons are responsible to serve the general, physical, and spiritual needs of the church. The deacons will be responsible to:
1. Assist the elders in the administration of communion and baptismal services
2. Organize ministries specifically designed to meet the needs of the men in the church
3. Together with the deaconesses, administer the ministries of benevolence, caring for the needy, widows, and orphans
4. Oversee the routine care of the facilities and properties
5. Together with the deaconesses, elect the financial committee (Article VII, Section 4.A.)
6. Meet Regularly
7. Perform other duties as assigned by the elders

D. Accountability

The deacons, under the headship of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the authority of the Scripture, are accountable to:
1. The elders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
2. Each other (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-18)
3. The members (Matthew 18:15-18)

E. Organization

1. Officers
The deacons will appoint their own chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary to administer their meetings. Men with an expressed desire to serve in these offices will be eligible for nomination. If an officer desires to step down from his position, new officers may be appointed at their first meeting following the church’s annual meeting.
2. Number
The number of deacons will be determined by the number of male members who meet all of the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 3.A.
3. Term of Office
The term of office for a deacon will be continuous as long as he remains a member of the church and meets the qualifications of a deacon. Deacons may have the option of taking a sabbatical if personal need warrants such.

F. Termination

A deacon may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the elders if he is found to be spiritually unqualified according to the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 3.A. and pertinent Scripture (1 Timothy 3:8-13), in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture (Matthew 18:15-18).
When a deacon is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify him from the office of deacon, a notice will be made before the church congregation at a regularly scheduled worship service (Matthew 18:15-18). If he refuses to repent from that sin, the removal will be accompanied by a public rebuke (1 Timothy 5:20).



Deaconesses

Deaconesses are charged with supporting the ministry of the elders, uniting the body, and caring for the needy. Their role is of service, sacrifice, and commitment to others’ needs.

A. Qualifications

Each deaconess must be an active female member of this church. She must subscribe without reservation to the statement of faith and agree to abide by the guidelines of this constitution. She must possess the qualifications described in 1 Timothy 3:11:
1. Aspires to the office of deaconess (1 Timothy 3:1, 11)
2. Worthy of respect; dignified (1 Timothy 3:11)
3. Not a malicious talker or gossip (1 Timothy 3:11)
4. Temperate (1 Timothy 3:11)
5. Trustworthy in everything; faithful in all things (1 Timothy 3:11)

B. Selection

Deaconesses are called by God, confirmed by the church’s elders, and appointed by the elders to the task of leadership. The starting point in identifying a potential deaconess is the desire in the heart of the individual (1 Timothy 3:1, 11). God plants in a woman’s heart a passion for the ministry, and then confirms it by the leading of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the elders through prayer and fasting.
Any female member who meets all of the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 4.A. may be nominated by a member of the church for the office of deaconess. The nominations will be reviewed by the elders where, upon a unanimous decision, a list of qualified nominations will be formed. This list will be made available to the members one month before the annual meeting. If one or more members, because of knowledge of some existing circumstance, deem it necessary to object to a nomination, a written objection shall be brought in person to the elders to examine. Should the objection be found valid, the nomination for deaconess will not be approved. The elders will appoint approved nominations for the office of deaconess and at the annual meeting present them to the members for their affirmation.
A public acknowledgment of this appointment will be done through the laying on of hands by the elders (1 Timothy 4:14). This visible act will demonstrate solidarity between the elders and the one on whom they laid their hands, and is a means of saying, “We commend you to the ministry. We stand with you, support you, and affirm your right to function in a position of leadership in this church.”

C. Responsibilities

Deaconesses are to assist the elders in shepherding the women and children of the church. In fulfilling their calling to serve, the deaconesses are responsible to serve the general, physical, and spiritual needs of the women and children of the church. The deaconesses will be responsible to:
1. Assist the elders in the administration of the baptismal services and prepare the elements for communion 2. Organize ministries specifically designed to meet the needs of the women in the church
3. Together with the deacons, administer the ministries of benevolence, caring for the needy, widows, and orphans
4. Assist the deacons with the care of the facilities
5. Together with the deacons, elect the financial committee (Article VII, Section 4.A.)
6. Meet Regularly
7. Perform other duties as assigned by the elders

D. Accountability

The deaconesses, under the headship of Jesus Christ, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the authority of the Scripture, are accountable to:
1. The elders (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Hebrews 13:7, 17)
2. Each other (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-18)
3. The members (Matthew 18:15-18)

E. Organization

1. Officers
The deaconesses will appoint their own chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary to administer their meetings. Women with an expressed desire to serve in these offices will be eligible for nomination. If an officer desires to step down from her position, new officers may be appointed at their first meeting following the church’s annual meeting.
2. Number
The number of deaconesses will be determined by the number of female members who meet all of the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 4.A.
3. Term of Office
The term of office for a deaconess will be continuous as long as she remains a member of the church and meets the qualifications of a deaconess. Deaconesses may have the option of taking a sabbatical if personal need warrants such.

F. Termination

A deaconess may be removed from office at any regular or special meeting of the elders if she is found to be spiritually unqualified according to the qualifications listed in Article VI, Section 4.A. and pertinent Scripture (I Timothy 3:11), in accord with the procedures prescribed by pertinent Scripture (Matthew 18:15-18).
When a deaconess is removed because of sin that is deemed sufficient to disqualify her from the office of deaconess, a notice will be made before the church congregation at a regularly scheduled worship service (Matthew 18:15-18). If she refuses to repent from that sin, the removal will be accompanied by a public rebuke (1 Timothy 5:20).


Non-Pastoral Staff

A. Office Staff

All non-pastoral office staff positions will be administered by the elders. The positions may be paid or nonpaid, part-time or full-time. If designated as such by the elders the positions may require special education, training, or skills and may be supervisory in scope.
1. Hiring and dismissal
Within the approved budget, the elders may establish, revoke, or modify each office staff position’s job description, rate of pay, and fringe benefits. The elders will have the authority and responsibility to hire or dismiss all non-pastoral office staff. The needs of the pastor and associate pastor(s) must be considered in these positions.
2. Accountability
All paid and volunteer office staff will report to the pastor and the elders.

B. Facility Operations Staff

These are role positions that may be established as needed and will be supervised by the deacons to complete those services or tasks required by the church in its day-to-day operations. The positions may be paid or non-paid, part-time or full-time. These positions, designated as such by the deacons, may require special education, training, or skills and may be supervisory in scope.
1. Hiring and dismissal
Within the approved budget, the deacons may establish, revoke, or modify each position’s job description, rate of pay, and fringe benefits. The deacons will have the authority and responsibility to hire and dismiss all facility operations staff.
2. Accountability
All facility operations staff will report to the deacons.


Offices

From among the offices of the church, the officers of this organization will be a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, and treasurer. All of these offices will serve under the direction and authority of the board of directors, the elders.

A. Chairman

The chairman of the elders will be the chairman of the church. He will preside over all meetings of the church, leadership, and elders. He will have general supervision of the activities and officers of the church.

B. Vice-Chairman

The vice-chairman of the elders will be the vice-chairman of the church. In the absence or disability of the chairman, the vice-chairman will perform all the duties of the chairman having the same authority and being subject to the same restrictions as the chairman.

C. Secretary

The secretary of the elders will be the secretary of the church. In the absence of the chairman and the vice-chairman, the secretary will perform all the duties of the chairman having the same authority and being subject to the same restrictions as the chairman. He will keep, or assign to be kept, a record of the minutes of all meetings of the members, elders, deacons, deaconesses, and other designated committees. These minutes will include the date and time of the meeting, names of those present, reason for meeting, and the proceedings thereof.

D. Treasurer

The treasurer of the church will be elected by the deacons and deaconesses from among their membership and must be approved by the elders before taking office. The treasurer will be responsible for keeping financial records of all money deposited and withdrawn both for designated funds and budgeted items. The treasurer will pay all bills and payroll promptly, and will complete the tax requirements for the church as an organization and to its employees. The treasurer will give a financial report at every leadership team meetings, regular church meetings, and at any time a request with sufficient notification has been given by the elders. The treasurer will serve as a member of the financial committee responsible for preparing and submitting the annual budget to the elders.

E. Vice-Treasurer

The vice-treasurer of the church will be elected by the deacons and deaconesses from among their membership and must be approved by the elders before taking office. The vice-treasurer will be assigned to work under the direction of the treasurer to assist in the tasks assigned to the treasurer. In the absence of the treasurer, the vice-treasurer will be responsible to submit a financial report at the required meetings, or complete other tasks of the office, as required by the elders. The vice-treasurer will serve as a member of the financial committee responsible for preparing and submitting the annual budget to the elders.

F. Financial Secretary

The financial secretary of the church will be elected by the deacons and deaconesses from among their membership and must be approved by the elders before taking office. The financial secretary, under the direction of the treasurer, will be responsible to receive, keep individual record of, and deposit all funds contributed to the church. A copy of all deposits made to each specific fund will be given to the treasurer to be added to the financial records. The financial secretary will prepare and deliver forms detailing all charitable contributions for tax deductions. The financial secretary will serve as a member of the financial committee responsible for preparing and submitting the annual budget to the elders.


Additional Resources

The links below provide .pdf versions that can be viewed or printed for your convenience.

New Hope Baptist Church Statement of Faith

New Hope Baptist Church Government

New Hope Baptist Church Constitution