Table of Contents:
We, the Missionary Baptist Churches composing the Mountain State Baptist Association, convinced of the necessity of an Association of churches in order to promote fellowship, missions, education, Christian service, the preaching of the Gospel, and cooperation with the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists and the Southern Baptist Convention of their work, do hereby agree
and subscribe to the following articles:
ARTICLE I. NAME AND MESSENGERS
SECTION 1. This body shall be known as the Mountain State Baptist Association.
SECTION 2. Messengers shall be composed of officers and staff of the Association, the Association Council, and Pastors and Ministerial staff of affiliated Churches. Each Church shall elect three (3) additional messengers for each church, plus one (1) additional messenger for every fifty (50) members, or fractional part thereof, selected from the membership of the respective Church, not to exceed ten (10) messengers. Each messenger should be certified in the Annual Church Letter to the Association.
ARTICLE II. PURPOSE
SECTION 1. The primary purpose of this Association shall be to counsel together for the enlargement and strengthening of God’s Kingdom and to promote unity and growth among the Churches who compose it.
SECTION 2. The Association shall seek to enlist all of the Churches into full cooperation with the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention and their agencies in the work of missions, evangelism, Christian education, Christian stewardship and social services.
ARTICLE III. POWERS AND PREROGATIVES
SECTION 1. The Association shall have no power to infringe upon the rights or usefulness of the Churches. It may advise or recommend measures for their adoption or rejection but cannot bind them in any way. However, it may justly claim for itself, for its purpose, and for its recommendations the highest regard and consideration.
SECTION 2. The Churches composing this Association shall each retain complete self-government under Christ as the supreme head, lawgiver, governor, and Lord over His Churches, and unite only that they may more successfully promote the cause of Christ throughout the world.
SECTION 3. Any church found to be unfaithful to the faith and practice common to this Association shall be encouraged to correct such errors. If the conduct of the Church is not corrected and is of such nature as to alienate said Church from the orderly and faithful Churches of the Association, the Executive Board may recommend that fellowship be withdrawn from said Church. Upon majority vote in the annual meeting of the Association, fellowship with such Church can be withdrawn. Any Church requesting dismissal shall be granted its request by a majority vote at the annual meeting.
ARTICLE 1. ASSOCIATIONAL COUNCIL
SECTION 1. The Associational Council shall be composed of the Director of Missions as Chairman, the officers of the association, the directors of the organizations and the chairpersons of the following committees: Men’s Ministries, Disaster Relief, Campus Ministries, Discipleship Training, Evangelism, Family Ministries, Mission Development, Music, Resort Ministries, Sunday School, and WMU. Persons missing two unexcused meetings in a row forfeits the right to serve as a department head or on the Associational Council.
SECTION 2. The Council shall hold regular meetings to plan, coordinate, and evaluate the work of the Association. It shall make regular reports to the Executive Board and annual meeting of the Association. The Council shall prepare and present an annual calendar and long range plans to the Association for approval.
ARTICLE II. EXECUTIVE BOARD
SECTION 1. Executive Board members shall be composed of officers and staff of the Association Pastors, and paid Ministerial staff of affiliated Churches, the Association Council, and three (3) members at large from each Church. These members at large must be certified on the Annual Uniform Church Letter. No Church will have more than (10) members. The Board shall act as the Association ad-interim. It shall exercise the functions and discharge the duties usually committed to the Executive Board, but at no time shall action be taken by the Executive Board that is in conflict with, or contrary to, any action of a previous session of the Association. It shall hold meetings at least quarterly during the year between the annual meeting of the Association. Ten (10) members shall constitute a quorum to transact business matters after notice of such meeting has been given to all members of the Board. The Moderator of the Association shall serve as chairman of the board.
SECTION 2. The State Executive board member from this Association shall be recommended by the Moderator and Director of Missions, or Associational Nominating Committee. For each Board member rotating off the State Executive Board annually, two names for each vacancy shall be submitted to the State Executive Board, who may select one or none of the two names submitted to them for each vacancy. The selection should be kept as broad as possible to represent as many areas as possible of the Association. It shall be both pastor and lay people. Any vacancy during the year will be the same procedure. The Association’s recommendation to the State Nominating Committee is that no Church shall have more than one member serving on the State Executive Board at the same time.
SECTION 3. All business to be presented at the Executive Board Meetings must FIRST be approved by the Associational Council. This is also applicable for the Annual Meeting or any called meetings as presented in Article VII.
ARTICLE III. TRUSTEES
SECTION 1. There shall be three (3) trustees elected to serve on a rotating basis, one being elected annually to serve for a term of three (3) years.
SECTION 2. The trustees shall hold in trust the property of the Association but shall have no personal interest or personal obligation relating to the Association approved transaction concerning such property. The function and responsibility of the trustees of this Association shall be limited to the affixing of their signatures to legal documents involving the purchase, sale, mortgage, lease or rental of real property or other legal documents where the signature of trustees is required. They shall have no power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, rent, or transfer any property without specific vote of this Association or its Executive Board, authorizing and requesting action.
ARTICLE IV. OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES
SECTION 1. The officers of this Association shall be : Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Clerk, and
SECTION 2. The officers of this Association shall be elected at the March meeting of the Executive Board. They shall meet with the Council and take advantage of training opportunities in preparation to take office at the close of the annual meeting following election.
SECTION 3. Vacancies that occur during the year may be filled by the Executive Board upon recommendation by the Nominating Committee.
SECTION 4. The Moderator shall preside over meetings of the Association and the Executive Board. As the presiding officer, he shall open the meetings punctually at the appointed time, preserve order, enforce the rules and exercise all the prerogatives of a presiding officer according to the principles of established parliamentary usage. The Moderator shall appoint committee members as described in Article VI, Section 2. The Moderator shall be elected annually for a one year term, but no Moderator
shall serve more than two (2) consecutive full terms.
SECTION 5. The Vice-Moderator shall exercise the duties of the Moderator in the absence of, or at the request of the Moderator. A Vice-Moderator shall be elected annually for a one year term, but no Vice-moderator shall serve for more than two (2) consecutive full terms.
SECTION 6. The Clerk shall keep an accurate record of the proceedings of the Association in regular and special meetings, keep accurate records of the meetings of the Executive Board, keep on file the printed annual and other important documents and papers belonging to the Association; furnish the Churches with the blank letter forms on which to make the annual reports to the Association; superintend the printing of the annual and distribute them as soon after adjournment as possible. For this service the Clerk shall be paid annually an amount recommended by the Stewardship Committee and approved by the Association. The Clerk shall be elected annually for a one (1) year term.
SECTION 7. The Treasurer shall receive all the funds of the Association and disburse them according to the budget, or the purpose for which they are contributed. No designated funds shall be used for any purpose other than that for which they were designated without the approval of the Association in annual session. For services rendered, the Treasurer shall be given an honorarium of an amount recommended by the Stewardship Committee and approved for a one (1) year term. The Treasurer shall be bonded.
SECTION 8. There shall be an Assistant Treasurer who shall serve in the absence of the Treasurer. The Assistant Treasurer shall be elected annually for a one (1) year term. The AssistantTreasurer shall be bonded.
SECTION 9. There shall be a Financial Secretary who shall keep the financial records and prepare monthly reports for publication in the Associational newsletter. The latest monthly report shall be presented to the Executive Board and an annual report shall be maintained in the office of the Association for inspection by the Stewardship Committee and Audit Committee. The financial records hall be audited annually by those appointed by the Moderator for that purpose. The audit shall be included in the annual financial report to the Association. For services rendered, the Financial Secretary shall receive an honorarium of an amount recommended by the Stewardship Committee and approved by the Association in its budget.
ARTICLE V. PROGRAM DIRECTORS
The directors of Associational programs organizations shall lead in planning, coordinating and evaluating the work of their organization; execute meetings of the organization when prescribed by and for the advancement of the work of the Association. They shall serve on the Associational Council. They shall make regular reports of their work to the Executive Board and the annual meeting of the Association. Associational organizations are: Men’s Ministries, Disaster Relief, Campus Ministries, Discipleship Training, Evangelism, Family Ministries, Mission Development, Music, Resort Ministries, Sunday School, and WMU.
ARTICLE VI. COMMITTEES AND THEIR DUTIES
General: the chairpersons of committees shall lead their committees in doing assigned work according to the ministry needs of the Association. They shall execute meetings of their committee when prescribed by and for the advancement of the work of the Association. They shall make reports of their work to the Executive Board as needed. Two unexcused meetings in a row forfeits the right to serve on a committee.
SECTION 1. Members of all standing committees shall be elected for a three (3) year term with the terms rotating so that only one third (1/3) of the members are elected each year.
SECTION 2. The Moderator shall appoint in advance of the annual meeting the following special committees: Resolutions Committee, Place and Preacher Committee, and any other special committees he may deem necessary. Each of these committees shall report to the annual meeting for which they were appointed.
SECTION 3. The Advisory on Ordination Committee shall be composed of six (6) elected members. This committee shall serve in an advisory capacity when called upon by a Church to assist in the examination and ordination of a candidate to the Gospel Ministry.
SECTION 4. The Scholarship Committee shall be composed of three (3) elected members. This committee shall determine and award Scholarships to college or Seminary students within the Mountain State Baptist Association.
SECTION 5. The Committee on Committees shall be composed of six (6) elected members plus the Moderator as ex-officio member. It shall recommend for approval at the annual meeting the names of persons to serve on all standing committees.
SECTION 6. The Constitution Committee shall be composed of three (3) elected members. This committee shall receive, consider, and make recommendations concerning changes in the constitution when deemed necessary. All recommendations must be handled according to ARTICLE X.
SECTION 7. The Credentials Committee shall be composed of six (6) elected members who shall examine the credentials, procedures, operation and denominational relationship of Churches requesting admission into this Association. They shall go to the church and explain what is expected of them if they are admitted into the Association. This committee may be contacted for assistance relating to procedures for starting and continuing new missions.
SECTION 8. The Nominating Committee shall be composed of six (6) elected members. It shall recommend to the March meeting of the Executive Board nominees for the Association officers and directors of Associational Program Organization.
SECTION 9. The Annual Program Committee shall be composed of the moderator, music director of MSBA, and the pastor of host church. It shall report a suggested order of business at the opening of the annual meeting of the Association. When adopted, their report shall become the order of the meeting and can be changed only by vote of the body. This committee shall enlist personnel for Associational meetings, publicize a complete order of business at least thirty (30) days before the annual meeting, arrange for and conduct proper registration of messengers and visitors, report registration as requested, arrange for all facilities needed for the meeting.
SECTION 10. The Resolutions Committee shall be composed of three (3) members appointed by the Moderator. It shall draw up and present to the Association suitable resolutions of appreciation and expression of sentiment on any matter chosen by the committee or directed by the messengers of the Association.
SECTION 11. The Seminary Extension Continuing Education Committee shall be composed of three (3) elected members. It shall encourage and coordinate Seminary Extension Continuing Education work in the Association. It shall enlist others to assist in this work as deemed necessary.
SECTION 12. The Stewardship Committee shall be composed of three (3)elected members. The Moderator, Treasurer, and Clerk shall serve as ex-officio members. It shall promote an emphasis on biblical stewardship throughout the Association, encourage and assist the Churches in stewardship education and organized programs of Church finance. It shall encourage regular and systematic giving to Associational missions through the Association budget and to world missions through the cooperative program. It shall prepare and recommend to the Association a budget for the coming year. In case some items in the budget do not necessitate the full use of the amount allotted, upon recommendation of the Stewardship Committee, the Executive Board may direct the use of the surplus of such items to other items of the budget where it is needed. It shall present a written financial report through the Treasurer, and report on the stewardship of the Association to the annual meeting.
SECTION 13. The Search Committee for a Director of Missions (Associational Missionary) shall consist of five (5) elected members nominated from the floor. No one shall be eligible to serve who has not been an active member in one of our Associational churches for one (1) year. No one may nominate more than one person. A minimum of 80% vote is required to call a Director of Missions (Associational Missionary). No resumes will be accepted by this committee unless they are solicited by the Search Committee.
SECTION 14. The Personnel Committee shall be composed of the Moderator, Treasurer and three (3) additional members elected at large. The committee shall have a minimum of two pastors. The Personnel Committee shall have the responsibility of recommending all employees, except the Director of Missions, to the Association. The Committee shall meet with the Director of Missions and other Associational employees as deemed necessary.
SECTION 15. The Properties Committee shall be composed of three (3) members. The committee shall oversee upkeep and maintenance of all Association property.
SECTION 16. The Construction Committee shall be composed of at least three (3) members. The committee shall be consultants for any new construction or remodeling for churches in our association.
ARTICLE VII. MEETINGS
SECTION 1. The Association shall meet at least annually at a time set in the calendar, by the Council, and place recommended by the Time, Place and Preacher Committee.
SECTION 2. Special meetings may be called by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Executive Board or by request of a majority of affiliated Churches.
ARTICLE VIII. NEW CHURCHES
SECTION 1. A Church desiring to affiliate with this Association shall make their request to the Moderator. He shall instruct the Credentials Committee to visit and counsel with the Church after which they will report to the Executive board. If the report is favorable, the Executive Board may recommend to the annual meeting of the Association that the Church be received into the fellowship of the Association. A two-thirds (2/3) majority vote shall be necessary for such action. No Church shall be considered for membership whose application has been filed less than three (3) months prior to the annual meeting.
SECTION 2. Any group of believers in Christ desiring to organize themselves into a new Church with the purpose of seeing the recognition of and fellowship and cooperation with this Association, shall make their desire known to the Moderator. He shall instruct the Credentials Committee to counsel with the group and assist them in any way needful in the formation of their organization. Membership in the Association shall follow the procedure set forth in ARTICLE VIII, SECTION 1, above.
ARTICLE IX. DECORUM
SECTION 1. All business shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rule of Order, Revised.
SECTION 2. Visitors from similar bodies and churches outside this Association may be invited by the Moderator to sit with the Association, to participate in its discussions, but may not have the privilege of voting.
ARTICLE X. AMENDMENTS
This Constitution and By-laws may be amended, revised, or a new constitution and by-laws adopted by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) majority of messengers present and voting at the annual meeting provided such changes have been considered by the Executive Board.
Revisions . . .04/17/2012