ARTICLE I – Name
This association shall be called St. Joseph Baptist Association.
ARTICLE II – Purpose
“Building Up Great Commission Churches”
ARTICLE III – Definition
The St. Joseph Baptist Association is a self-determining, Baptist, inter-church community, created and sustained by the churches affiliated with it and responsible to them through their messengers, in which the churches foster their fellowship, their unity in faith and practice, and give and receive assistance in achieving their purpose.
ARTICLE IV – Objectives
1. Motivate and equip both Associational leaders and church leaders.
2. Assist churches to reach the unchurched in our area with the Gospel.
3. Assist churches to develop ministries to heal human hurts.
4. Provide appropriate communication of the ministry of the association.
5. Provide organization and facilities appropriate to/for accomplishing the Associational purpose.
6. To maintain a non-profit corporation for the ownership of property consistent with these objectives.
ARTICLE V – Membership
Section 1. COMPOSITION: Membership in this association shall be composed of Baptist churches who have been received into the fellowship of the St. Joseph Baptist Association. These churches shall also be in good standing with the Southern Baptist Convention and have subscribed to a statement of faith adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention and to this constitution.
Section 2. MESSENGERS: It is the responsibility of each church to send messengers to the annual and/or semiannual meetings of the association. A messenger to the association is one who is elected by his church to represent his church when the association is in business meeting. Messengers, present and voting, constitute the governing body of the association.
Each church is entitled to three messengers. One additional messenger may be sent for each 50 resident members or major fraction thereof, above the first 50 resident members.
ARTICLE VI – Officers
Section 1. OFFICERS OF THIS ASSOCIATION: Shall be president, vice-president, treasurer and clerk-historian. Officers shall be nominated by the nominating committee. Time shall be given for nominations to be made from the floor for unfilled offices. Officers shall be elected annually by a majority of votes cast and continue in office until their successors are elected. The president and vice-president shall not be elected for more than two successive terms.
Section 2. DUTIES OF OFFICERS: Shall be as outlined in the current Organization Handbook.
ARTICLE VII– Associational Year
The year for the purpose of preparing church letters to the association shall be July 1 through June 30.
The association’s budget and financial year shall be January 1 through December 31.
ARTICLE VIII– Rules of Decorum
The business of the association, its board and its committees shall be conducted in the fullest Christian spirit and shall be guided by the most current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.
ARTICLE IX – Rules Repealed
The adoption of this constitution shall repeal the existing constitution and by-laws and shall repeal all other resolutions and rules which may be contrary to this constitution.
ARTICLE I – Admission of New Churches
Any Church desiring to become a member of this association must make a formal application in writing to the president not less than 60 days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the association. Upon receipt of the letter a credentials committee appointed by the president or the Director of Missions will examine the church concerning its origin, doctrine, articles of faith, polity, denominational sympathy, desire to cooperate and support the program of the association, and other pertinent matters.
Upon the recommendation of the credentials committee and two-thirds vote of the association, a church may be received into the fellowship of the association without voting rights for a period of up to one year. The credentials committee shall give further consideration to membership and make a recommendation at the next regularly scheduled meeting. Upon receiving a two-thirds vote of the messengers favoring their admission the church shall be received into full membership of the association. Its messengers shall receive the right hand of fellowship from the president in behalf of the association.
ARTICLE II – Doctrine and Practice
The association has no authority over any church, but when questions of doctrine and practice arise, it reserves the right to examine any church relative to the conditions set forth in Article V, Section 1, of this constitution. A credentials committee shall investigate this matter and report to the association in a regularly scheduled meeting. The association may withdraw its fellowship upon a two-thirds vote of the messengers.
ARTICLE III – Human Sexuality and Gender
This association affirms God’s original design to create two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female, to glorify Him. (Gen. 1:27; Is. 43:7; Mt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6). Marriage is the first divine institution, essentially rooted in the created order, uniting one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime, for their good and for the good of any children who may be conceived and born into this union (Gn. 1:28; 2:19-24; Ma. 2:13-16; Mk. 10:11-12). Scripturally, gender and biological sex are one and the same as ordered at conception and are gifts of God and part of God’s glory in creation. The Fall of Man into sin and God’s subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God’s good creation (Gn. 3:1-24; Ro. 8:20). We extend love and compassion to those whose experience of this brokenness includes a perceived conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity by one’s self-perception—a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design (Ep. 4:17-18). We affirm distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God as part of the created order, and that those distinctions should find an echo in every human heart (Gn. 2:18, 21-24; 1 Co. 11:7-9; Ep. 5:22-33; 1 Ti. 2:12-13). We believe that efforts to live contrary to natal sex, whether by behavior, attire, cosmetics, or even medical or surgical therapy, are resisting or rebelling against the gift of God and a central dimension of his will for that person, and therefore such behavior is sinful. We condemn efforts to alter one’s bodily identity (e.g., cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery) to bring it into line with welcome them into our congregations as they repent and believe in Christ, and to spur them on to love and good deeds in the name of Christ (2 Co. 5:18-20; Ga. 5:14; He. 10:24). We continue to oppose steadfastly all efforts by any court, or legislature or policymaker to validate transgender identity as morally good, right, or praiseworthy (Is. 5:20). We commit ourselves to make decisions about membership, personnel and other church matters based on this biblical perspective of human sexuality.
Furthermore, we affirm efforts to help those with unwanted sexual attractions by means of biblical counseling, discipleship, accountability, prayer, and other Scriptural means. We condemn efforts to restrict, prohibit by law, or criminalize such efforts.
ARTICLE IV – Marriage and Civil Unions
This association affirms the biblical truths that marriage is the first divine institution, essentially rooted in the created order, uniting one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime, for their good and for the welfare of any children who may be conceived and born into this union. Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the lived experience that children need both a mother and a father. Re-defining marriage to fit popular norms rejects these truths. By encouraging the norms of true marriage – man-woman monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence – the state strengthens civil society and promotes human flourishing, including the well-being of children.
Christian marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church, as illustrated by the wedding of a Christian man and woman in this exclusive and permanent covenant relationship. As such, this association believes that Christian wedding ceremonies on associational property are spiritual observances of worship of God who created this divine institution. As worship services, weddings on associational property shall be officiated by one or more ordained ministers of the gospel approved by the Director of Missions or, in his absence, the president of the association.
The association may decline to make its facilities or ministers available for any wedding if it is determined that one or both of the parties are not biblically qualified to marry. Such determinations may be made by the Director of Missions, subject to the direction of the association.
The association may also decline to participate in or recognize in any manner any marriage, so-called marriage, civil union, commitment ceremony or other activity which may, directly or indirectly affirm, approve or communicate behavior or beliefs which are contrary to the association’s beliefs about biblical morality. Such actions would violate the religious conscience of this association and its member churches. We must obey God, who is Lord of our conscience.
No employee of the association shall officiate at any marriage or similar ceremony unless such event or ceremony is consistent with this policy. No employee of this association shall officiate at any civil union or commitment ceremony that is not approved by the association as being consistent with this policy.
ARTICLE V – Church Dissension
In the case of internal dissension in a church from whom two or more delegations come to the association, each claiming to represent the church, neither delegation shall be seated until a credentials committee has reviewed the case, made a recommendation, and the association, by two-thirds vote has decided which delegation will be seated.
ARTICLE VI – Church Report
Each church shall make an annual report to the association. When a church fails to make an annual report, it shall be contacted by a credentials committee to ascertain the reason for their non-reporting and to offer assistance of the association relative to the needs to the church.
ARTICLE VII – Associational Board, Church Assistance Programs,
Cooperative Activities, Programs, and Committees
Section 1. ASSOCIATIONAL BOARD: Prior to adjournment of the annual meeting an Associational board shall be seated by the messengers for the purpose of transaction of such business of this association as may come before it between its semi-annual and annual meetings if time allows for Kingdom Work. If such business arises requiring immediate attention for the sake of the Gospel, the Director of Missions shall contact the president, team leader, or leadership involved in that ministry and move forward without board approval.
Each church shall elect two Associational board members, one of who, may be the pastor. Each church having more than five hundred resident members may elect one additional board member. No church may elect more than three Associational board members. Officers, program directors and committee chairmen, and teams shall be members of the Associational board. Employed staff (not including clerical and maintenance) shall be ex-officio members of the Associational board without vote. The board shall meet as needed between annual and semiannual meetings of the association. The president shall report board actions to the association in annual and semiannual meetings. Special board meetings may be called by the president or the administrative committee to consider matters of significant nature. A one-week notice of the subject, date, time and location must be given for the called meeting.
Officers, committees, and teams shall be elected at the semiannual meeting, and take leadership in planning the following calendar years after the annual meeting.
Section 2. ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE: The administrative committee shall have the power to conduct business of the association between meetings of the Associational board. The committee shall be composed of the following: D.O.M, President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Clerk-Historian (when not an employee of the association), Chairman of Finance Committee, Chairman of Nominating Committee, Team Leaders and Campus Missionary. This committee shall meet as needed. Any member or the director of missions may call a meeting of the committee. The President shall report committee actions to the Associational board.
Section 3. FILLING VACANCIES: If a vacancy occurs in any elective office the Associational board shall elect a successor who will serve until the next annual meeting of the association.
Section 4. ASSOCIATIONAL COUNCIL: The members and duties of the Associational council shall be as indicated in the Organization Handbook.
Section 5. COMMITTEES/TEAMS: The committees / teams responsibilities shall be
as indicated as in the Organization Handbook.
ARTICLE IX – Semiannual Meetings
The association shall meet semiannually at times and places designated during the previous annual meeting. The place and time of the meetings may be changed by the Annual Committee in agreement with the host church. The scope of meeting and business shall be arranged by the Annual Meeting Committee.
ARTICLE X– Amendments
The provisions of this constitution or by-laws may be altered, amended or repealed at an annual or semiannual meeting by the affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of the messengers present and voting, provided that any such alterations, amendments, or proposals for repeal have been first approved by the action of the Associational board at least 30 days prior to an annual or semiannual meeting.
Notwithstanding anything in this article to the contrary, the provisions of this constitution or by-laws may be altered, amended, or repealed at an annual or semiannual meeting by the unanimous action of the messengers present and voting.