OUR CHURCH CONSTITUTION
LATEST REVISION, APRIL 2021
Hillcrest Baptist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina
Since it pleased Almighty God, by His Holy Spirit, to call certain servants to unite here in 1958 under the name Hillcrest Baptist Church, for the worship of God and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ to sustain and prosper this work to the present day; and
Whereas we, the members of Hillcrest Baptist Church of Charlotte (North Carolina), Inc., having searched the Scriptures under the guidance of His Spirit, have recognized the need to replace the Bylaws to conform more closely to His will for the Church and prepare ourselves for greater efforts in His name;
Now therefore we, the members of Hillcrest Baptist Church of Charlotte (North Carolina), Inc., do hereby adopt these Bylaws as our articles of governance, to be interpreted at all times to reflect the character of and bring glory to Jesus Christ, as revealed in the Holy Bible and articulated in the standards set forth in the church’s Statement of Faith.
Article 1 – Name
This body shall be known as Hillcrest Baptist Church of Charlotte, North Carolina (sometimes hereinafter referred to as the “church”).
Article 2 – Purpose
This church exists to love people genuinely, teach scripture faithfully, and disciple believers fully as we endeavor to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ locally and throughout our world.
This church seeks to accomplish this purpose by loving God and obeying His commands
Equipping the saints through Bible instruction and study for the work of the ministry and personal progressive sanctification;
Proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching, personal evangelism, and any other means consistent with the teachings of Holy Scripture;
Encouraging, supporting, and participating in missions work locally, domestically, and internationally;
Administering the ordinances of believer’s baptism by immersion and communion;
Encouraging Biblical fellowship among believers;
Serving other individuals, families, and churches by providing for physical, emotional, and spiritual needs in the name of Jesus Christ; and
Seeking fellowship with God through prayer and supplication.
Article 3 – Statement of Faith
Section 1. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000
We affirm the Holy Bible as the inspired word of God and the basis for our beliefs and actions. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of The Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000.
Section 2. Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s birth sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Gen 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of Hillcrest Baptist Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the Hillcrest Baptist Church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by Hillcrest Baptist Church in any capacity, who are members, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality. (Matt 5:16; Phil 2:14-16; 1 Thess 5:22.)
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11.)
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31.) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of Hillcrest Baptist Church.
Article 4 – Ordinances
The ordinances of the church are believer’s baptism by immersion and communion.
Article 5 – Church Covenant
Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in the presence of God and this church we wholeheartedly and joyfully covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We commit, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love;
To strive for the advancement of this church in wisdom and holiness;
To promote its health and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, doctrines, and discipline;
To devote ourselves to the life and mission of this church, and to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together;
To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations.
We also commit to maintain family and personal devotions; to teach our children the Word of God; to seek the salvation of our family, friends and acquaintances;
To live wisely in the world; to be faithful in our dealings and commitments, and Christlike in our character and actions;
To avoid all gossip, quarreling, and ungodly anger;
To use our influence to combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol and the spread of pornography and other practices which lead to moral and spiritual decay;
And to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further commit to watch over one another in brotherly love;
To remember one another in prayer; to give aid to one another in sickness and distress;
To cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech;
To be slow to take offense, and always ready for reconciliation and to pursue it without delay;
We moreover commit that if we move from this place we will as soon as possible unite with another church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
Article 6 – Church Relationships
This church is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body, but it recognizes and sustains the obligations of mutual counsel and cooperation which are common among Baptist churches.
Insofar as is practical, this church will cooperate with and support the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention.
Article 7 – Membership
Section 1 - Qualifications
To qualify for membership in this church, a person must be a believer in Jesus Christ who gives evidence of regeneration, who has been baptized by immersion, in obedience to Christ, following his or her regeneration, and who wholeheartedly believes in the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible. Each member must agree to subscribe and submit to the teaching of Scripture as expressed in the Statement of Faith and must promise to keep the commitments expressed in the Church Covenant. Prospective members must attend a membership class which does not mandate pursuit of membership but affords individuals the opportunity to become familiar with Hillcrest Baptist Church’s Church Covenant, ordinances, and membership duties, after which he or she may submit an application for membership. The elders shall be responsible for determining each person’s qualification for membership. In making this determination, they may rely on a person’s statement of his or her profession of faith as disclosed in the membership application, or such other evidence, as the elders deem appropriate.
Section 2 - Admission of Members
To be admitted into church membership, applicants shall be recommended by the elders for admission and presented for affirmation at any regular or special meeting of the members, and shall at that point relinquish their membership in other churches.
Section 3 - Duties and Privileges of Membership
In accord with the duties enumerated in the Church Covenant, each member shall be privileged and expected to participate in and contribute to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. Only those shall be entitled to serve in the ministries of the church who are members of this congregation; non-members may serve on an ad-hoc basis with the approval of the elders. Notwithstanding, non-members may serve the church for purposes of administration and professional consultation.
Under Christ this congregation is governed by its members. Therefore, it is the privilege and responsibility of members to attend all members’ meetings and vote on
The election of officers;
Decisions regarding membership status, including church discipline;
Approval of the annual budget and expenditures outside of the budget;
Approval of any transactions regarding real property;
Matters submitted by the membership of the church, by the elders, or raised by a motion at a member’s meeting;
Changes to the Bylaws;
The call, job description, and initial salary and termination (if needed) of a pastor; and on
such other matters as may be submitted to a vote.
Section 4 - On Church Discipline
Any member of this church who teaches or insists on holding false doctrine, or who persistently conducts him or herself in a manner inconsistent with Biblical instruction(1 Cor 6:9-11), or who persists in disturbing the unity and peace of Hillcrest Baptist Church, or who is consistently neglectful of his or her duties or guilty of conduct by which the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be dishonored, and so opposing the welfare of the church, shall be subject to the admonition of the elders and the discipline of the church, according to the instructions given in 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Matthew 18:15–17 and the example of Scripture. Church discipline, then, should ordinarily be contemplated after individual private admonition has failed.
Church discipline can include admonition by the elders or congregation, deposition from office, and termination of membership or other disciplinary measures. The purpose of such discipline should be
For the repentance, reconciliation, and spiritual growth of the individual disciplined;
For the instruction in righteousness and good of other Christians, as an example to them;
For the purity of the church as a whole;
For the good of our corporate witness to non–Christians; and
Supremely for the glory of God by reflecting His holy character.
Section 5 - Termination of Membership
Termination of membership shall be recognized by the church following the death or voluntary resignation of any church member. Membership may be terminated by exclusion in the event that a member habitually absents him or herself from the stated meetings of the church without valid reason, or if due to relocation he ceases to maintain vital contact with the church. Membership may be terminated as an act of church discipline at the recommendation of the elders and with a vote of the members at any regular or special meeting of the members.
Section 6 - Rights of Membership
Such members as are in good standing, having attained age sixteen, may act and vote in the transactions of Hillcrest Baptist Church. Voting privileges are reserved for active church members. Inactive members are ineligible to cast ballots or votes.
Section 7 – Inactive Membership Designation
With the exception of members who are homebound or infirmed for more than six months and students, servicemen and servicewomen who are temporarily stationed beyond a 100-mile radius from the church, all other members whose permanent residence is outside a 100-mile radius of Hillcrest Baptist Church shall be classified as a “non-resident member.” This membership status on the church roll does not carry the privilege of voting in church business meetings and the non-resident member will not have a Deacon assigned to their care.
The Church Clerk will instate inactive membership status after six months nonresident, or after the same space of time not faithfully worshiping with the Church at the recommendation of the elders. Members who are designated as inactive may regain active membership status per their request of a meeting with an elder after a period of three consecutive months of attendance and participation in the life of the Church during which they have fulfilled the duties of membership as defined in Section 3.
Article 8 - Meetings
Section 1 – Worship Meetings
Worship services shall be held each Lord's Day, and may be held throughout the week as the elders determine.
Section 2 – Members’ Meetings
In every meeting together, members shall act in a spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration which is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There shall be a regular members’ meeting at least every quarter, at a time set by the elders.
The moderator designated by the elders shall preside at all members’ meetings of the church. The elders shall see that the stated meetings of the church are regularly held and that required reports are submitted to the church by the responsible members.
A quorum shall be understood to be met by those members present. All votes shall be tallied based on the number of votes cast by members present.
A budget shall be approved by the membership at a members’ meeting no more than three months and no less than one month prior to the start of the fiscal/calendar year.
At any regular or special members’ meeting, officers may be elected and positions filled/approved as needed.
Special members’ meetings may be called as required by the elders, or at the written request, submitted to the elders, of ten percent of the membership. The date, time, and purpose of any special meeting shall be announced at a worship service of the church at least two weeks prior to the meeting. In the event of a written request from the members, the elders shall call a special meeting to be held within one month of their receipt of the request. Discussion and business conducted at a special members’ meeting is restricted to the topic for which it was called.
Article 9 – Officers & Other Positions
Section 1 – Summary
The Biblical offices in the church are elders and deacons. In addition, our church, under these Bylaws, recognizes the administrative positions of clerk and treasurer as officers in the church. All officers must be members of this church prior to assuming their responsibilities.
Section 2 – Elders
The elders shall be comprised of not less than 4 men who satisfy the qualifications for the office of elder set forth in 1 Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:6–9. A majority of the active eldership shall be composed of church members not in the regular pay of the church, and no elder shall hold the office of deacon during his tenure.
Subject to the will of the congregation, the elders shall oversee the ministry and resources of the church in accordance with the Word of God. In keeping with the principles set forth in Acts 6:1–6 and 1 Peter 5:1–4, the elders shall devote their time to prayer, the ministry of the Word (by teaching and encouraging sound doctrine), and shepherding God’s flock.
The church shall recognize men gifted and willing to serve in this calling, in accordance with provisions on elections in the Bylaws. The term of office for an elder, other than the senior, associate and assistant pastor(s), is three years. An elder, other than the senior, associate and assistant pastor(s), may serve for two consecutive three-year terms, and cannot be re-elected to serve again as an elder without a one year absence from service. The members should receive these men as gifts of Christ to His church and set them apart as elders (Number 8:19, Ephesians 4:7-13). Elders should see themselves as servants of the church not lording it over those entrusted to them, but being examples to the congregation (1 Peter 5:3).
An elder's term of office may be terminated by resignation or by dismissal. Any two members with reason to believe that an elder should be dismissed must express such concern to the elders and, if need be, to the congregation. Any such action shall be done in accordance with the instructions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15–17 and 1 Timothy 5:19–20. Any elder may be dismissed by a two-thirds vote of the members at any members’ meeting of the church after these actions are taken. Pending action of the membership on the dismissal of an elder, an elder may be suspended from his duties by the action of the elders.
The elders shall take particular responsibility to examine and instruct prospective members, examine and recommend all prospective candidates for offices and positions, oversee the work of the deacons and appointed church agents and committees, conduct worship services, administer the ordinances of believer’s baptism by immersion and communion, equip the membership for the work of the ministry, encourage sound doctrine and practice, promote growth in Christ-like maturity, admonish and correct error, oversee the process of church discipline, coordinate and promote the ministries of the church, mobilize the church for world missions, manage the budget, and care for/provide counseling to the members. The elders are further to ensure that all who minister the Word to the congregation, including outside speakers, share our fundamental convictions.
The elders may establish ministry positions or committees to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities. The elders may also propose funding for new paid staff positions. The elders may give authority to the pastors to define job descriptions, hire, manage and terminate additional staff positions.
The elders shall have primary responsibility for the employment, supervision, and evaluation of staff members. This responsibility may be delegated to another staff member. The elders shall elect a chairman of elders’ meetings and shall also elect one of their number or another member to serve as moderator of members’ meetings.
The elders shall serve to execute legal documents. They shall hold in trust the church property. Upon specific vote of the membership authorizing each action, they shall have the power to buy, sell, mortgage, lease, or transfer any church property. When the signatures of elders are required, at least four shall sign legal documents involving the sale, mortgage, purchase, or rental of property, or other legal documents related to church approved matters.
Any question not covered by this constitution and bylaws which cannot be settled by the proper officer or committee shall be referred to the elders for their consideration and interpretation.
Section 3 – The Senior Pastor
The senior pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
He shall serve as ex-officio member of all committees, teams, or boards and is not subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article 9, Section 2, for elders. His call shall be defined as per Article 10, Section 3.
He shall have charge of the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, administer the ordinances of believer’s baptism by immersion and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to that office, or as set forth in the Bylaws.
In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastor for either a permanent or defined period of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the elders shall assume the ultimate responsibility for his duties any of which may be delegated to an associate pastor.
Section 4 – Associate Pastors
The church may call additional pastors whose relationship to the senior pastor is that of associate.
An associate pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching.
His call shall not be subject to the triennial reaffirmation or to the term limitation set out in Article 9, Section 2, for elders. His call shall be defined as per Article 10, Section 4.
He shall assist the senior pastor in the performance of his regular duties and shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of pastor, or as set forth in the Bylaws, or which may be specifically assigned to him by the elders.
Section 5 – Assistant Pastors
The church may call additional pastors, whose relationship to the senior pastor is that of assistant.
An assistant pastor shall be an elder. He shall perform the duties of an elder described in Section 2, above, and shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to full-time ministry. His call shall be defined as per Article 10, Section 5.
He shall assist the senior pastor and associate pastor(s) in the performance of their regular duties, and shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the office of pastor. The elders shall define the responsibilities of the assistant pastor(s).
Section 6 – Additional Staff
The elders may hire additional staff to assist with pastoral ministry or administration. The elders shall define the responsibilities for additional staff positions. On a case-by-case basis, the hiring of additional staff may be delegated after the elders have defined the responsibilities for the additional staff position. The funding for paid staff positions must be approved by the membership.
Section 7 – Deacons
The qualification for the office of deacon is described in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The church shall recognize, in accordance with the provisions of elections, members (men or women) who are giving of themselves in service to the church, and who possess particular gifts of service. These members shall be received as gifts of Christ to His church and set apart as deacons. The term of office for a deacon is three years. A deacon may serve for two consecutive three-year terms, and cannot be re-elected to serve again as a deacon without a one year absence from service. The deacons shall
Be chief servants of and in the church;
Be zealous to guard the unity of the Spirit within the Church in the bonds of peace;
Serve as agents of ministry to the members assigned to their care as life events including birth, death, sickness, crisis, or benevolence needs arise;
Act as a nominating team to recommend Team Leaders for vacant Volunteer
Positions of Service whenever these vacancies arise;
Serve in concert with the elders for the health and well-being of the church.
Section 9 – Clerk
It shall be the duty of the clerk to record the minutes of all regular and special members’ meetings of the church, to preserve an accurate roll of the membership, and to render reports as requested by the pastor, the elders, the deacons, or the church.
The clerk shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation subject to yearly approval of the Volunteer Positions of Service document.
In the absence or incapacity of the clerk the elders shall appoint a member to perform the duties of the church clerk.
The clerk shall ensure that dated copies of the most recent revision of these Bylaws shall be available for all church members.
Section 10 – Treasurer
The treasurer, who shall not be an active elder or paid church staff member, shall ensure that all funds and securities of the church are properly secured in such banks, financial institutions, or depositories as appropriate. The treasurer shall also be responsible for presenting regular reports of the account balances, revenues and expenses of the church at each members’ meeting. This responsibility may be delegated with the approval of the elders. The treasurer shall also ensure that full and accurate accounts of receipts and disbursements are kept in books belonging to the church, and that adequate controls are implemented to guarantee that all funds belonging to the church are appropriately handled by any officer, employee, or agent of the church. The treasurer shall render to the elders annually, or whenever they may require it, an account of all transactions and of the financial condition of the church. The Treasurer shall work with the Finance Team and elders to present for approval an annual budget to the church. All expenditures of the church shall abide by the approved budget.
The treasurer shall be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation subject to yearly approval of the Volunteer Positions of Service document.
Article 10 – Elections
Section 1 – Principles
The process for church elections shall be interpreted and carried out to fulfill the following principles:
Substantial prayer, both individually and corporately, should be an integral part of the
Nominations should proceed with the support of the elders;
All candidates for church office should be treated with the grace, kindness, and honesty appropriate in evaluating fellow members;
The election process shall express a spirit of mutual trust, openness, and loving consideration that is appropriate within the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Section 2 – Election of Officers
The election of officers shall be held at a members’ meeting of the church. Names of nominees to serve as elders, deacons, clerk, or treasurer shall be presented by the elders at a members’ meeting prior to the election. The election shall proceed as directed by the moderator.
The elders should seek recommendations and involvement from the general membership and deacons in the nomination process. Any member with reason to believe that a nominated candidate is unqualified for an office should express such concern to the elders. Members intending to speak in opposition to a candidate should express their objection to the elders as far in advance as possible before the relevant church members’ meeting.
The moderator shall declare elected as elders all men receiving a three-quarters vote of the members present and voting at a members’ meeting. Voting for elders shall be conducted by ballot. For all other offices, the moderator shall declare elected all persons receiving a simple majority of all votes cast; abstentions will not be considered as votes cast.
The persons elected shall assume their respective offices on the first day of October after their respective approval. If a need or vacancy arises, the elders may hold a special election upon which the person elected will assume office immediately following the election. Officers elected during a special election will serve the office’s normal term. If service starts with six months or less in the calendar year, the time in service will not count towards the first year of the office’s term.
Section 3 – Calling of the Senior Pastor & Associate Pastor
In the calling of any man to the position of senior pastor or associate pastor, the same basic process of calling an elder must be followed. Before being asked to express judgment, the church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the preaching gifts of any potential senior pastor or associate pastor, and must receive assurance from the elders that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith and Church Covenant. Notice of the nomination of a man to be called as senior pastor or associate pastor (which shall include, if necessary, election to membership of him and his wife if he is married) must be given at two Sunday morning services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a members’ meeting.
Section 4 – Calling of Assistant Pastor
In the calling of any man to the position of assistant pastor, the same basic process of calling an elder must be followed. Before being asked to express judgment, the church must be given adequate opportunity to assess the gifts of the individual for the position to which he is called, and must receive assurance from the elders that, having interviewed the man concerned, they are in no doubt as to his wholehearted assent to the Statement of Faith and Church Covenant. Notice of the nomination of a man to be called as assistant pastor (which shall include, if necessary, election to membership of him and his wife if he is married) must be given at two Sunday morning services following the nomination, prior to the vote at a members’ meeting.
Article 11 – Indemnification
Section 1 – Mandatory Indemnification
If a legal claim or criminal allegation is made against a person because he or she is or was an officer, employee, or agent of the church, the church shall provide indemnification against liability and costs incurred in defending against the claim if the elders determine that the person acted (a) in good faith, (b) with the care an ordinarily prudent person in a similar position would exercise under similar circumstances, and (c) in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in the best interest of the church, and the person had no reasonable cause to believe his or her conduct was unlawful.
Section 2 – Permissive Indemnification
At the discretion of the elders, the church also may indemnify any person who acted in good faith and reasonably believed that his or her conduct was in the church’s best interest and not unlawful.
Section 3 – Procedure
If a quorum of the elders is not available for an indemnification determination because of the number of elders seeking indemnification, the requisite determination may be made by the membership or by special legal counsel appointed by the membership.
Article 12 – Dispute Resolution
Believing that the Bible commands Christians to make every effort to live at peace and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian Church (Matthew 18:15–20, 1 Corinthians 6:1–8), the church shall require its members to resolve conflict among themselves according to biblically based principles, without reliance on the secular courts. Consistent with its call to peacemaking, the church shall encourage the use of biblically based principles and the avoidance of suits of law or equity to resolve disputes between itself and those outside the church, whether Christian or secular and whether individuals or corporate entities. The elders shall adopt policies and procedures to effect these requirements and aspirations.
Article 13 – Amendments
These Bylaws may be amended by two-thirds of the votes cast at the members’ meeting, provided the amendment shall have been offered in writing at least four weeks prior, and shall have been announced at church services two successive Sundays prior to such vote.
The revised version of these Bylaws shall be made available to all church members by the church clerk.
Article 14 - Facility Use Policy
A Facility Use Policy document has been adopted by church action. It will remain effective until such time as any amendment is deemed necessary. In that case, proposed changes shall be provided to the Church for consideration and adopted by majority vote at the next scheduled business meeting at least one week after suggested amendments have been distributed in writing to active church members.
In every instance Hillcrest Baptist Church buildings and grounds are to be reserved for activities that honor The Lord according to Biblically historical standards. Copies of the Facility Use Policy will be made available upon request.
Article 15 - Wedding Policy
Hillcrest Baptist Church affirms Biblical Marriage as a sacred institution designed and defined by God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures to be a covenant commitment between one biological (from birth) male and one biological (from birth) female.
Anyone desiring to be joined in Christian, Covenantal Matrimony at Hillcrest may request a copy of the church’s detailed wedding policy document.
Be it known further that we affirm, approve, agree with and abide by the Nashville Statement, its preamble and articles, definition of marriage and we reject any other secular or contradictory definition of who may enter into the covenant of Christian marriage.
The entirety of the Nashville Statement is available through our church office or online.