Constitution/Bylaws

Constitution

Preamble

To preserve and make secure the fundamental principles of our faith, to protect our doctrinal integrity and denominational unity, to ensure that the affiliated bodies of this body conduct their business in an orderly and democratic manner under the Lordship of Christ and to set forth the relationship of the affiliated bodies of this convention with one another and other bodies of like faith and order, we do hereby establish this Constitution and Bylaws.

We do moreover declare that whereas the Bible is the only perfect constitution for the defining rules of faith and practice that should be inherent in a Bible-based organization, the Constitution and Bylaws exist merely as a written document that provides a foundation and a framework for the application of these rules to the administration of this body. If in any point they are found to be inconsistent with or contrary to the Word of God, they are, in that point, null and void.

Article I. Name

This body shall be known as Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, Inc. (SBTC)

Article II. Mission Statement

The SBTC exists to facilitate, extend, and enlarge the Great Commission ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Southern   Baptist churches and associations in Texas, upon the authority of God’s inerrant Word, to the glory of God the Father, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Article III. Doctrinal Statement

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 of the Southern Baptist Convention is the statement of faith and message for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Article IV. Affiliation

  • Section 1 Affiliation Qualifications Any affiliate church must agree with the foundational beliefs of the SBTC set forth in its Constitution and Bylaws. Affiliated churches must actively cooperate with the work of the SBTC through regular participation and financial support through the Cooperative Program. Any church which has taken action affirming, approving, or endorsing the practice of female senior pastoral service shall not be considered  for affiliation or continued affiliation with this convention. Also, the SBTC will not consider for affiliation or continued affiliation any church that has taken action affirming, approving, or endorsing the practice of homosexuality. Such actions include but are not limited to the licensure or ordination of homosexuals, marriage or blessing of homosexual relationships, and endorsing homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.
  • Section 2 Method of Churches Becoming Affiliated A. Any Baptist church desiring affiliation with this body shall complete an affiliation application affirming agreement with the doctrinal position of the SBTC and make an initial contribution to the Cooperative Program through the SBTC. The application form and contribution must be received at the SBTC office at least three months prior to the annual meeting in order to have the messengers seated that year. B. All churches having submitted an affiliation form shall be examined by the Credentials Committee as to their qualifications. The Credentials Committee may recommend affiliation status to the Executive Board or the annual session of the Convention. All churches receiving an affirmative majority vote shall be welcomed to affiliation.
  • Section 3 Representation at Meetings of this Body Each affiliated church shall be entitled to two messengers and one additional messenger for each fifty members, provided that no church shall have more than ten messengers.
  • Section 4 Termination of Affiliation Any affiliate church may withdraw from this body at its discretion. An affiliate church may be removed from the SBTC by a majority vote of the Executive Board or of the messengers at an annual session of the Convention after the church has received written notice of the matter prompting the Board’s consideration of removal, which if found to be true, warrants removal and after the Credentials Committee has been unsuccessful in resolving the matter by meeting with the pastor and/or leaders of the church.

Article V. Relationships

  • Section 1 General Relationships The SBTC declares that it fraternally cooperates with and supports the work of the Southern Baptist Convention and its agencies. As a demonstration of this cooperation, the SBTC promotes giving through the Cooperative Program and serves as a conduit for the distribution of Cooperative Program funds given by cooperating churches.
  • Section 2 Individual Relationships The SBTC welcomes individuals who are members of non-affiliated churches to attend any of its general meetings. Such individuals may attend, but not vote, and may speak to business matters only at the discretion of the presiding officer.
  • Section 3 Institutional Relationships Baptist institutions may enter a partnership with the SBTC through a fraternal agreement or affiliation. The SBTC Executive Board shall set the terms of a fraternal agreement or an affiliation. The Executive Board may grant non-voting, ex-officio representation on the SBTC Executive Board from related institutions.

Article VI. Meetings and Proceedings

The SBTC shall meet at least annually at a time and place designated at the preceding annual meeting. Additional meetings may be called by a two-thirds vote of the Executive Board.

Article VII. Serving with the SBTC

Any person serving as an officer, ministry employee or as a member of any board, committee or agency of the SBTC shall be and continue as a member of an SBTC affiliate church.

Article VIII. Officers

  • Section 1 Elected Officers A. The elected officers of this convention shall be a President, a Vice-President and a Recording Secretary. B. The officers shall be elected annually by the messengers of the convention and shall hold their respective offices until the end of the   annual session at which their successors are elected. C. No person may serve in the same elected office of the Convention for more than two (2) consecutive years. D. In the event of the resignation, removal, death or a disability that would hinder the President from fulfilling the responsibilities of the office, the Vice-President shall automatically become President.
  • Section 2 Executive Officer and Other Employees A. The chief executive officer of the Convention shall be the Executive Director. B. The Executive Director shall be employed upon the recommendation of the Executive Board and receive remuneration as recommended by the Executive Board. C. The Executive Director shall supervise and administer all of the affairs of the Convention and all of its activities and shall represent and carry out the policies of the Convention and its Executive Board. D. The Executive Board shall have the authority to elect or employ other personnel as deemed necessary by the body.

Article IX. Boards, Trustees, Agencies, and Committees

A. The convention shall have the authority to elect and empower such boards, trustees, agencies and committees, as may be deemed necessary for handling the convention’s business. B. All such boards, trustees, agencies and committees, shall be nominated to the Convention and elected in its annual session. C. No person shall serve simultaneously on more than one board, agency, or standing committee of the convention. Election to a convention office does not cause the convention officer to forfeit his position on any of the above. D. No salaried employee of this Convention shall be eligible for service as a voting member of boards or committees of this Convention except as provided in the Constitution of the Convention and its Bylaws. No person shall be eligible to serve on any board, agency or committee from which he/she receives any part of his/her salary, directly or indirectly. When such conditions become applicable, that person shall be considered as having resigned and such vacancy shall be filled in accordance with established convention procedure. E. All boards, trustees, and committees shall be governed by the Articles of Incorporation, the Constitution and the Bylaws of the Convention.

Article X. Parliamentary Authority

The parliamentary authority of the SBTC shall be Robert’s Rules of Order (latest revised edition).

Article XI. Amendments

Amendments require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the messengers present at two consecutive annual meetings. Any proposed amendments must be either submitted in writing to the Convention one year before being voted on or recommended by the Executive Board and published in the official publication of the Convention three (3) months prior to the annual Convention session.

Article XII. Quorum

The quorum for conducting business during the annual convention session of the SBTC shall be a minimum of 50% of the enrolled messengers.

 

 

By-Laws

Article I. Elected Officers

  • Section 1 President

A. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all SBTC committees, boards, and agencies. B. The President may call special meetings as provided in Article II, Section 4 of these Bylaws. C. The President shall appoint members to serve on the annual convention committees as outlined in Article III, Section 5 of these Bylaws. D. The President shall appoint members to the Committee on Committees as outlined in Article III, Section 1 of these Bylaws. E. The President, assisted by the Vice-President, shall preside over the annual session of the SBTC.

  • Section 2 The Vice-President
    A. The Vice-President may, in the absence of the President, or when requested by the President, preside over the SBTC and shall perform other duties requested by the President and may act in his stead with the full privileges of his office. B. The Vice-President shall serve on the Credentials Committee as outlined in Article III, Section 4, Paragraph A of these Bylaws.
  • Section 3 Recording Secretary A. The Recording Secretary shall keep a record of all proceedings of the SBTC. These records shall be stored by the SBTC in fireproof safes, vaults, or files. B. The Recording Secretary shall receive copies of motions and resolutions offered for consideration at the annual session of the Convention. C. The Recording Secretary shall serve on the Credentials Committee as outlined in Article III, Section 4, Paragraph A of these Bylaws.

Article II. Executive Board

  • Section 1 Membership

A. The Executive Board of the convention shall be composed of not more than forty-four (44) members. B. A minimum of one-fourth (1/4) of the membership shall be persons whose employment is not church or denominational related. One-fourth (1/4) of the membership shall be made up of individuals who upon their election are members of a church whose resident membership does not exceed 400. C. The membership of the Board will be based on both geographical and numerical considerations. D. The state will be divided into four (4) geographic areas by a line running east and west from the SE corner of the New Mexico Texas border to the Louisiana border just south of Nacogdoches and a line running north and south from the Oklahoma border just east of Wichita Falls to just east of Corpus Christi. (as shown on exhibits A-1 and A-2) E. Each of the four (4) areas will have no less than five (5) representatives. F. The Executive Director of the Convention shall be a non-voting ex- officio member of the Executive Board while the officers of the Convention shall be considered voting ex-officio members of the Executive Board.

  • Section 2 Election

A. Each year the Committee on Nominations of the Convention shall nominate persons to fill the vacancies of the Executive Board and all standing boards and committees of the Convention. B. The Committee on Nominations of the Convention shall use the aforementioned geographical areas for determining the nominees.

  • Section 3 Term of Office The term of office for the members of the Executive Board shall be for four (4) years with no member being allowed to serve more than two (2) consecutive terms. A member who has served a portion of a term shall be considered to have served a full term. No member shall be eligible to serve another term until an interval equal to one-half the number of years served has elapsed.
  • Section 4 Meetings The Board shall hold three (3) meetings per year and any other such special meetings as the President of the Convention may deem necessary provided due notification has been given to all the members of the Board. Meetings may be held via conference call or other such telecommunication alternatives.
  • Section 5 Quorum A number equal to one-half (½) of the membership of the board shall be considered a quorum for the transaction of business.
  • Section 6 Organization The Executive Board shall organize itself to carry out the work of the Convention.
  • Section 7 Duties A. The Executive Board shall be the fiduciary, fiscal and executive agency of the Convention. B. The Executive Board is empowered to act for the Convention in all areas of the Convention’s work between sessions of the Convention, but may not act contrary to or reverse any action of the Convention, except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws. C. The Executive Board shall make a full report of the work of the Convention at its annual session. D. The Executive Board shall have the authority to enter into, modify, and terminate affiliation agreements with third parties which advance the purposes of the Convention, not inconsistent with the directions of the messengers. E. The Executive Board shall recommend the annual budget to the annual session of the Convention. The Executive Board shall have the authority to reduce or eliminate allocations to third parties contained in the annual budget approved by the messengers when, in the Executive Board's judgment, circumstances arising after the messengers have approved the annual budget warrant that action. In such situations, the Executive Board shall have the authority to re-allocate the budgeted funds which were reduced or eliminated. Any exercise by the Executive Board of this authority shall be reported to the next annual session of the Convention. F. The Executive Board shall have the responsibility of locating and employing the Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be accountable to the Executive Board for his actions and direction of the day-to-day operation of the convention. The Executive Board shall also have the authority, upon just cause, to terminate the Executive Director after the Executive Director has received written notice of the conduct that, if found to be true, warrants termination and has had a reasonable opportunity to prepare for a meeting of the Executive Board that has been properly noticed as required by the Bylaws where this matter is on the agenda. Such termination shall be by a majority vote of the Executive Board members in attendance at such meeting. The following reasons shall constitute just cause:

    1. Failure to adhere to and uphold the principles set forth in the doctrinal statement as laid out in the Constitution and Bylaws. 2. Repeated and continuing indications of neglect, inefficiency, immaturity or incompetence in the performance of duties; 3. Failure to comply with official directives and established regulations of the SBTC; 4. Immorality, use of illegal drugs, or use of alcohol as a beverage; 5. Conviction of any felony or other crime involving moral turpitude; 6. Necessary reduction of staff due to changes in the plan of organization; 7. Failure to pay debts; 8. Misuse of leave policy; 9. Any other conduct that would bring public reproach upon the SBTC.

    G. The Executive Board shall also have the authority, upon just cause, to terminate any officer elected by the Convention after the officer has received written notice of the conduct that, if found to be true, warrants termination and has had a reasonable opportunity to prepare for a meeting of the Executive Board that has been properly noticed as required by the Bylaws where this matter is on the agenda. Such termination shall be by a majority vote of the Executive Board members in attendance at such meeting. The following reasons shall constitute just cause:

    1. Failure to adhere to and uphold the principles set forth in the doctrinal statement as laid out in the Constitution and Bylaws. 2. Failure to comply with official directives and established regulations of the SBTC; 3. Immorality, use of illegal drugs, or use of alcohol as a beverage; 4. Conviction of any felony or other crime involving moral turpitude; 5. Failure to pay debts; 6. Any other conduct that would bring public reproach upon the SBTC.

  • Section 8 Officers

    A. The Executive Board shall elect a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, and a Recording Secretary. B. The Officers shall be elected by the Board at its first meeting following the annual meeting of the Convention. C. The Officers shall serve for no more than two (2) consecutive years. D. Should a vacancy occur, the Board shall fill the office at its next meeting.

  • Section 9 Executive Committee A. The Board shall have an Executive Committee composed of the Chairman, the Vice- Chairman and the Recording Secretary of the Executive Board, the President, and all of the chairmen of the Executive Board’s subcommittees. B. The Executive Director of the Convention shall serve as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Executive Committee of the Executive Board. C. The Executive Committee shall act for the Executive Board ad interim, but may not act contrary to or reverse any action of the Executive Board. D. The Executive Committee shall have the power to suspend officers, Executive Board members or committee members pending a determination of whether termination is appropriate as provided in the applicable section of these Bylaws.
  • Section 10 Subcommittees A. The Executive Board shall have the authority to divide itself into subcommittees for the purpose of carrying out its business. B. Each subcommittee may meet as needed to accomplish its tasks as assigned by the Executive Board and shall be responsible to the Board for final approval and execution of any and all of its tasks.
  • Section 11 Termination A. Should any member move from the geographical area in which the member lived when elected to the board, the member shall be considered to have resigned and must be off the board for a period of one year before being considered to represent his/her new area. B. The Executive Board shall also have the authority, upon just cause, to terminate any Board Member elected by the Convention after the Board Member has received written notice of the conduct that, if found to be true, warrants termination and has had a reasonable opportunity to prepare for a meeting of the Executive Board that has been properly noticed as required by the Bylaws where this matter is on the agenda. Such termination shall be by a majority vote of the Executive Board members in attendance at such meeting. The following reasons shall constitute just cause:

    1. Failure to adhere to and uphold the principles set forth in the doctrinal statement as laid out in the Constitution and Bylaws. 2. Repeated and continuing indications of neglect, inefficiency, immaturity or incompetence in the performance of duties, including consistent failure to attend meetings of the Executive Board without notifying the office of the reason for such absence; 3. Failure to comply with official directives and established regulations of the SBTC; 4. Immorality, use of illegal drugs, or use of alcohol as a beverage; 5. Conviction of any felony or other crime involving moral turpitude; 6. Failure to pay debts; 7. Any other conduct that would bring public reproach upon the SBTC.

Article III. Committees

  • Section 1 Committee on Committees A. The Committee on Committees shall be composed of twelve (12) members. B. Committee on Committees members shall serve for a period of four (4) years or the completion of an unexpired term. The four-year (4) terms shall be staggered such that each year the President shall appoint one-fourth (1/4) of the membership of the committee and fill such vacancies as may occur. C. The Committee on Committees shall bring to the Convention in annual session nominees to fill the vacancies on the Committee on Nominations. The Committee on Committees shall make its recommendations to the Convention in the form of a motion to elect those persons it recommends to the Committee on Nominations. The motion may be amended but no messenger shall be allowed to propose more than one (1) person at a time for election. When adopted by the Convention, the motion of the Committee on Committees, as amended, shall constitute the election of persons named in the motion to their respective terms of office. D. The Committee on Committees shall not recommend a fellow committee member or the member’s spouse or a member of the previous year’s Committee on Committees or the member’s spouse for a first term on any entity.
  • Section 2 Committee on Nominations A. The Committee on Nominations shall be composed of twelve (12) members. B. The Committee on Nominations members shall serve for a period of four (4) years or the completion of an unexpired term. The four-year (4) terms shall be staggered such that each year the Committee on Committees shall nominate one-fourth (1/4) of the membership of the Committee on Nominations and fill such vacancies as may occur. C. The Committee on Nominations shall bring to the Convention in annual session, nominees to fill the vacancies on the following:

    1. the Executive Board 2. the Boards of Trustees of SBTC entities 3. all standing committees and procedural committees of the SBTC

    D. The Committee on Nominations shall make its recommendations to the Convention in the form of a motion to elect those persons it recommends for specific terms of office. The motion may be amended but no messenger shall be allowed to propose more than one (1) person at a time for election office. When adopted by the Convention, the motion of the Committee on Nominations, as amended, shall constitute the election of persons named in the motion to their respective terms of office. E. The Committee on Nominations shall not recommend a fellow committee member or the member’s spouse or a member of the previous year’s Committee on Nominations or the member’s spouse for a first term on any entity.

  • Section 3 Standing Committees A. The standing committees of the Convention may include but are not limited to the following committees:

    1. Missions 2. Evangelism 3. Church Ministries 4. Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty 5. Minister/Church Relations

    B. The Executive Board shall be responsible for reviewing, revising, removing or establishing any and all standing committees of the Convention and shall maintain a job description for each committee in an operations manual to be kept in the Convention office. C. The following provisions shall apply to all committees listed in this section and the following section of the Bylaws:

    1. Committee members shall be appointed to four-year (4) terms of service or to complete an un-expired term. 2. Committee appointments shall be arranged such that one-fourth (1/4) of the committee membership shall rotate off each year. 3. After rotating off of a committee a member shall not be eligible for re-election to the same committee until an interval equal to one-half the number of years served shall have elapsed. 4. All committees shall meet at least once per year, or at such other times as needed to carry out their assigned duties. Meetings may be held via conference call or other such telecommunication alternatives. 5. If the Convention hires a ministerial staff member whose responsibilities include the work of a standing committee, those committees shall transition into an advisory committee, responsible to review and advise the staff member in his ministry and make an annual report to the Executive Board or the annual session of the Convention. 6. A committee member may be removed from a committee by a majority vote of the Executive Board after the member has received written notice of the conduct that, if found to be true, warrants removal and has a reasonable opportunity to prepare for a meeting of the Executive Board that has been properly noticed as required by the Bylaws where this matter is on the agenda for any of the following reasons:

    a. Failure to adhere to and uphold the principles set forth in the doctrinal statement as laid out in this Constitution and Bylaws; b. Failure to comply with official directives and established regulations of the SBTC; c. Immorality, use of illegal drugs, or use of alcohol as a beverage; d. Conviction of any felony or other crime involving moral turpitude; e. Failure to pay debts; f. Any other conduct that would bring public reproach upon the SBTC.

    7. Special Provisional Clause – If new committees are formed, membership shall be established in staggered terms.

  • Section 4 Procedural Committees The Convention shall have two Procedural Committees: A. The Credentials Committee shall be composed of the Vice-President and the Recording Secretary plus four (4) persons one of whom shall be designated as chairman of the committee by the Committee on Nominations. The Credentials Committee will be responsible for examining all submitted forms from churches desiring affiliation. The committee shall decide any questions concerning the eligibility of any messenger in keeping with the provisions of this Constitution and Bylaws. Any question arising on the floor concerning the seating of messengers shall be referred to this committee for consideration and the committee shall report the committee’s decision back to the Convention. B. The Committee on Order of Business shall consist of eight (8) members. This committee shall meet as many times as necessary for the complete planning and confirming of the annual program. This committee shall provide time for all business, for the reports of the general phases of the work of the Convention and for full discussion of each report. This committee shall be responsible for receiving all motions from the floor of the convention, evaluating the motions for parliamentary validity, and either assigning the motion to a standing Convention committee or the Executive Board for action, or scheduling the motion for a Convention business session for discussion and vote. This committee shall recommend to the Convention the date and place of the annual session three (3) years in advance. Also, it shall recommend the presenter of the annual message and his alternate one (1) year in advance. This committee is also authorized to select a guest speaker for the Convention three years in advance. This committee shall work with the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer to reserve the meeting facilities for the annual session. This committee shall also make any other preparations for facilities and equipment to prepare for the annual session.
  • Section 5 Convention Committees A. The Registration Committee shall consist of a chairman and four (4) other members appointed by the President prior to the annual session. This committee shall register all messengers duly qualified according to this Constitution and Bylaws and certify the number of messengers and visitors at each annual session. B. The Resolutions Committee shall consist of eight (8) persons and shall be appointed by the President at least two months prior to the annual session. This Committee shall be responsible for establishing an appropriate time limit for receiving all proposed resolutions, scheduling the resolution for a business session of the Convention, or rejecting the resolution. In the case of a rejected resolution, the person submitting the resolution will be provided a reason why the resolution was rejected. C. The Tellers Committee consisting of twelve (12) persons shall be appointed by the President two months prior to the annual session. It shall be responsible for the tabulation of all ballots.

Article IV. Financial Considerations

  • Section 1 Chief Financial Officer (CFO)/Treasurer A. The Executive Board shall have the responsibility of securing a CFO/Treasurer for the Convention. B. The CFO/Treasurer will be an employee of the Convention responsible to the Executive Director and the Executive Board. C. The CFO/Treasurer shall receive remuneration commensurate with the duties and responsibilities assigned to that office by the Executive Director or the Executive Board.
  • Section 2 Funds A. All funds contributed to the SBTC shall be placed in their respective accounts – either designated or undesignated – under the general oversight of the CFO/Treasurer, Executive Director, and the Executive Board for accounting, receipt and disbursement. B. The formula for disbursement shall be governed by the annual budget approved at the annual session of the Convention and the Business and Financial Plan of the Convention. C. All other funding matters shall be governed by the Business and Financial Plan of the Convention.
  • Section 3 Reimbursement A. All officers and members of the committees, boards, trustees, and entities of the SBTC will serve on a volunteer basis and therefore will not be compensated for their service. B. Expenses for travel in association with their service may be reimbursed as provided in the annual budget, provided an itemized accounting of the said expenses along with appropriate receipts are submitted in a timely manner to the CFO/Treasurer.
  • Section 4 Fiscal Year The fiscal year of the SBTC shall begin January 1st and end December 31st of each year.
  • Section 5 Audit A. The CFO/Treasurer shall provide for an annual audit of the financial records of the Convention of the preceding year. B. The audit will be done by an agency outside the SBTC.
  • Section 6 Debt Believing that God will provide for all of the needs of the Convention in His perfect time and according to His good will and pleasure, the Convention will not incur any debt.

Article V. General Provisions

  • Section 1 Convention Year The convention year will begin and end at the closing of the annual session each year.
  • Section 2 Equal Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities A. Every affiliated church in the SBTC shall have equal rights, privileges and responsibilities under the authority of its Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and Bylaws. B. Recognizing the autonomy of other bodies, the Convention will exert no authority over any church, association, or convention. The term "affiliate" is not used in the Convention's governing documents or otherwise as that term is defined in the Texas Business Organizations Code. The use of the term "affiliate" by the Convention in no way intends to suggest that the Convention claims or exercises control over a church, association, or convention. As a matter of polity, this Convention has no right to and shall not exercise any control whatsoever over a church, association, or convention. Further, this Convention, as a matter of polity, insists that this Convention is also autonomous, being subject only to the control of its messengers.
  • Section 3 Historical The Convention shall provide for collection and storage of historical documents and other significant articles to chronicle the formation and on-going operation of this body.
  • Section 4 Miscellaneous A. Messengers shall only vote in person. B. No notice of the Convention’s annual meeting shall be required. C. The Executive Board shall give notice of the time, place, and the reason for calling special meetings of the Convention by publication in the Convention paper at least ten days in advance of the meeting.

Article VI. Amendments

These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the messengers present at any session of any regular annual meeting of the Convention provided the proposed amendment was submitted in writing one (1) year before being voted on, or provided the amendment was recommended by the Executive Board and published in the official Convention paper three (3) months prior to the annual convention session.

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