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Constitution

1. Name

1.1. The name of the church shall be CRYSTAL PARK BAPTIST CHURCH (hereinafter referred to as ‘the church’).

2. Church Government and Objects

2.1. The church recognises Jesus Christ as its supreme head and undertakes to manage its affairs according to New Testament teaching believing that as the Body of Christ it is equipped by His Spirit to act, decide and direct as set out in article 8.1.

2.2. The objects of the church shall be:-

2.2.1. To glorify the Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church.

2.2.2. To proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures and to encourage and support the proclamation of that gospel (in accordance with Matthew 28:18-20) to the ends of the earth.

2.2.3. To provide instruction and fellowship for believers, seeking to build them up to the measure and stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

3. Statement of Belief

3.1. We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in their original writing as fully inspired of God and accept them as the supreme and final authority for faith and life.

3.2. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3.3. We believe that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary and is true God and true man.

3.4. We believe that God created man in His own image, that man sinned and thereby incurred the penalty of death, physical and spiritual, that all human beings inherit a sinful nature which issues (in the case of those who reach moral responsibility) in actual transgression involving personal guilt.

3.5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, a substitutionary sacrifice, according to the Scriptures and that all who believe in Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood.

3.6. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus, His ascension into heaven and His present work as our High Priest and Advocate.

3.7. We believe in the personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

3.8. We believe that all who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.

3.9. We believe in the resurrection both of the just and the unjust, the eternal blessedness of the redeemed and the eternal banishment of those who have rejected the offer of salvation.

3.10. We believe that the one true Church is the whole company of those who have been redeemed by Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit, that the local church on earth should take its character from this conception of the Church spiritual and therefore that the new birth and personal confession of Christ are essentials of church membership.

3.11. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ appointed two ordinances – baptism and the Lord’s Supper – to be observed as acts of obedience and as perpetual witnesses to the cardinal facts of the Christian faith, that baptism is the immersion of the believer in water as a confession of identification with Christ in burial and resurrection and that the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of bread and wine as symbolical of the Saviour’s broken body and shed blood in remembrance of His sacrificial death till He comes again.

4. Membership

4.1. The membership shall consist of:-

4.1.1. Those whose names were in the church register of members at the time of the adoption of this constitution.

4.1.2. Those who have given evidence of their personal salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have confessed that faith in baptism by immersion, have accepted this constitution in writing and who have been admitted to membership in terms of article 5.2.

4.1.3. Those who have been accepted by transfer, from some other Baptist church, having been baptised in water by immersion and having accepted this constitution in writing, in terms of article 6.3.

4.2. The church shall maintain two rolls:-

4.2.1. The main church roll for active members.

4.2.2. The supplementary church roll for members no longer active in the Crystal Park Baptist Church.

4.2.3. The names of members on the supplementary roll shall not be included in official statistics.

5. Admission of Members

5.1. Every application shall be decided on at a general meeting.

5.2. Application for church membership under article 4.1.2. shall be made in the first instance to the pastor or secretary. The executive shall make careful enquiry regarding the applicant’s spiritual experience and submit their recommendation to a general meeting.

5.3. Application for church membership under article 4.1.3. shall be made in the first instance to the pastor or secretary. The executive shall satisfy itself concerning the applicant’s spiritual experience with a view to applying for a letter of transfer for submission to a general meeting.

5.4. Prior to any person’s name being submitted to a general meeting for acceptance as a member that person shall attend membership classes to acquaint themselves with this constitution. These classes will be conducted by the pastor or someone appointed by the executive in the case of there being no pastor at the time of the application. This procedure applies to all applicants under both articles 4.1.2. and 4.1.3.

6. Transfer of Members

6.1. Any member in good standing who desires to join another Baptist church shall be given a letter of transfer upon application from the church concerned.

6.2. Any member in good standing who desires to join a Protestant church other than a Baptist church shall be given a letter of commendation upon application from the church concerned.

6.3. A general meeting shall be advised of any transfers.

7. Updating of Church Membership Roll

7.1. Main church roll:-

7.1.1. If any active member is absent from services for a continuous period of 3 months and is attending another Baptist or Protestant church but does not wish to join in membership with that church the executive may recommend to a church meeting that their name be placed on the supplementary roll.

7.2. Supplementary church roll:-

7.2.1. A letter will be sent to all persons on this roll one month before the annual general meeting, reminding them of their name being on this roll and asking whether they wish their name to remain there. The church shall be notified at the annual general meeting of all responses to this letter. Members whose names are on the supplementary roll may be transferred to the main roll on the recommendation of the executive and by the vote of a two-thirds majority of members present and eligible to vote at a church meeting.

8. Privileges and Obligations of Church Membership

8.1. Under the divine headship of the Lord Jesus Christ the final authority and responsibility in all matters touching the life and service of the church rests with the active membership. Each active member has the responsibility and the right to participate fully in the life and government of the fellowship including the appointment of its leadership.

8.2. Every member shall be entitled and shall be expected to attend general meetings unless prevented by some reasonable cause and in the case of active members to exercise his/her vote for the welfare of the whole church in a spirit of prayer and love.

8.3. Members shall be expected to support the ministry and maintain the fellowship of the church by:-

8.3.1. Prayer.

8.3.2. Attendances at services whenever possible.

8.3.3. Engaging in some specific service.

8.3.4. Conscientious giving as God’s provision enables.

8.3.5. Attendance at church business meetings.

8.3.6. Introducing strangers to the fellowship.

8.4. Members whose names have been placed on the supplementary roll may not:-

8.4.1. Vote at any church meeting.

8.4.2. Hold any church office.

8.4.3. In every other way they enjoy the benefits of church membership.

9. Church Discipline

9.1. If a member is made aware of another’s sin they are to confront them privately and call them to repentance (Matthew 18:15).

9.2. If they refuse to repent the member is to take one or two other members to confront them and call them to repentance (Matthew 18:16).

9.3. If they refuse to repent those witnesses are to take it to the church at a General Meeting. The person under discipline shall be given at least seven days notice of the meeting in writing and the matters to be discussed at the meeting. The executive must clearly set out in writing the conditions with which the member must comply as well as set a date by which these conditions must be complied with. Collectively the church are then to plead with them to repent (Matthew 18:17).

9.4. Finally, if they still refuse to repent they are to be regarded as outside of the fellowship and their names removed from the role at a decision taken at a General Meeting (Matthew 18:17). The matter shall be decided by a two-thirds majority vote of those present. The person under discipline shall be given at least seven days notice of the meeting and the matters to be discussed at the meeting.

10. The Ordinances

10.1. Baptism:-

10.1.1. In addition to those desiring to join the church in accordance with article 4.1.2. the pastor or any person nominated by the executive shall be free to baptise by immersion any believer who desires thus to confess the Lord Jesus.

10.2. The Lord’s Supper:-

10.2.1. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed, as far as possible, on the first and third Sundays of the month, or at such times as the fellowship shall decide. Attendance shall be open to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

11. General Meetings

11.1. Annual general meetings:-

11.1.1. The church business shall end on 30th September and the annual general meeting shall be held as soon as possible thereafter but not more than 8 weeks after 30th September.

11.1.2. Reports and reviewed financial statements shall be submitted by the treasurer.

11.1.3. Written reports shall be submitted by all departments of the church.

11.1.4. The annual elections of the executive shall take place.

11.1.5. The annual elections of the secretary and the treasurer shall take place. They will be members of the deaconate and their election will thus be subject to article 14.1.-14.4.

11.1.6. The agenda shall be posted to all members 14 days prior to the meeting.

11.2. Ordinary (or Quarterly) general meetings:-

11.2.1. Ordinary (or Quarterly) general meetings shall be held in February, May and August.

11.2.2. The agenda shall be made available to members prior to the meeting.

11.3. Special general meetings:-

11.3.1. Special general meetings shall be convened:-

11.3.1.1. As required in this constitution.

11.3.1.2. On the initiative of the executive.

11.3.1.3. On written request of at least ten members, stating the purpose and within one month of such request.

11.3.2. Notice of a special general meeting shall be posted to all members prior to the meeting, clearly specifying the matters to be submitted for consideration.

11.4. Quorum:-

11.4.1. 33% of the active membership of the church shall be deemed to constitute a quorum.

11.4.2. In the event of a quorum not being present at a general meeting, the general meeting will automatically reconvene at the same time and place 7 days later. If still no quorum is present the meeting shall be deemed constituted.

11.5. Notice of meetings:-

11.5.1. Notice of all general meetings shall be given at all services held on 2 Sundays preceding the date of the meeting and as required by article 11.1.6., and article 11.3.2.

11.5.2. The non-receipt of the notice as required by article 11.1.6. and article 11.3.2. shall not invalidate the proceedings at the meeting.

11.6. Voting:-

11.6.1. Only members on the active roll of the church shall be entitled to vote.

11.6.2. Unless otherwise required elsewhere in this constitution all matters shall be decided by a two-thirds majority vote of those present.

11.6.3. Voting shall be by show of hands unless:-

11.6.3.1. Otherwise required in this constitution.

11.6.3.2. One member requests a ballot.

11.6.4. There shall be no postal or proxy voting.

12. Chairman

12.1. The pastor, or in the event of there being more than one, the senior pastor, shall ex-officio be chairman of all general and executive meetings except when his own position is under consideration or when he may elect to vacate the chair.

12.2. In the absence of the pastor the assistant/associate pastor shall act as chairman with the same exception as in 12.1.

12.3. When 12.1. or 12.2. do not apply the church shall elect a chairman.

12.4. The chairman shall have a deliberative vote only.

12.5. If one third of the members present and entitled to vote object to any matter brought up without prior notice the chairman shall rule that it be referred to a future general meeting.

13. The Executive

13.1. The Elders shall constitute the Executive. The Executive will comprise of no less than two members.

13.2. The Executive shall be accountable to the Church. The Church shall be led by the Executive.

13.3. The Executive shall meet at least once monthly if possible.

13.4. If the Executve is comprised of two members then 100% of the Executive shall constitute a Quorum. If the Executive is comprised of more than two members then 50% of the Executive shall constitute a Quorum.

13.5. At its first meeting after the Annual General Meeting, the Executive shall appoint a Secretary and Treasurer, these appointments to be confirmed at the next General Meeting.

13.6. In the event of the church not being able to meet its criteria with regard to Clause 10, Clause 13.1.-13.5. shall be suspended for not more than a year at a time and an interim Leadership Team of not less than five persons (members) shall be elected, comprising respected people in the church who have the confidence of at least 60% of those present and entitled to vote. A Chairperson shall be appointed by the Leadership Team.

14. Deacons

14.1. The church may appoint to the office of deacon a member recognised as gifted by the Holy Spirit for this office who satisfies the requirements as detailed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.

14.2. The executive may recommend a candidate at a general meeting. The recommended candidate shall be made known when the notice of the meeting is given. Appointment shall be on a favourable vote of two-thirds of the meeting.

14.3. A deacon shall hold office for two consecutive years. Continuance in office for a further period of two years shall be on a favourable vote of two-thirds of a general meeting.

14.4. The Executive may recommend a deacon be removed from office at a general meeting. The recommendation shall be made known when the notice of the meeting is given. Removal of a deacon shall be on a favourable vote of two-thirds of the meeting.

15. Elders

15.1. The church may appoint to the office of elder a member recognised as gifted by the Holy Spirit for this office who satisfies the requirements as detailed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

15.2. The executive may recommend a candidate at a general meeting. The recommended candidate shall be made known when the notice of the meeting is given. Appointment shall be on a favourable vote of two-thirds of the meeting.

15.3. An elder shall hold office for two consecutive years. Continuance in office for a further period of two years shall be on a favourable vote of two-thirds of a general meeting.

15.4. The Executive may recommend an elder be removed from office at a general meeting. The recommendation shall be made known when the notice of the meeting is given. Removal of an elder shall be on a favourable vote of two-thirds of the meeting.

16. Staff

16.1. Senior Pastoral Staff

16.1.1. The church may call a senior pastoral staff member.

16.1.2. He shall be an elder and perform the duties of an elder described in Section 15.

16.1.3. He shall preach on the Lord’s Day, be responsible for the administration of the ordinances of baptism and communion, and perform such other duties as usually pertain to the function, as set forth in the constitution or delegated by the elders. He shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry of preaching and teaching. He shall be responsible for the supervision and evaluation of staff members.

16.1.4. In his absence or incapacity the elders shall assume responsibility for his duties, any of which can be delegated.

16.2. Associate Pastoral Staff

16.2.1. The church may call additional pastoral staff whose relationship to the senior pastoral staff is that of associate.

16.2.2. He shall be an elder and perform the duties of an elder described in Section 15.

16.2.3. He shall assist the senior pastoral staff in the performance of his regular duties and shall perform any other duties as usually pertain to the function, as set forth in the constitution or delegated by the elders. He shall be recognized by the church as particularly gifted and called to the full-time ministry.

16.2.4. In the absence or incapacity of the senior pastoral staff for defined periods of time (such as sabbatical or illness), the associate pastoral staff shall assume the responsibility for his duties under the oversight of the elders.

16.3. Pastoral Assistants

16.3.1. The elders may appoint pastoral assistants whose relationship to the pastoral staff is that of assistant.

16.3.2. A pastoral assistant may be recognized as an elder should he be nominated by the elders and elected by the congregation, in accordance with Section 15.

16.3.3. The elders shall define the responsibilities of pastoral assistants, the primary activity being the gaining of practical experience for the equipping to future pastoral ministry.

16.3.4. They shall serve at the will of the elders for an initial term up to five years, though that term may be extended with the approval of the elders.

16.4. General Assistants

16.4.1. The elders may appoint assistants whose relationship to the pastoral staff is that of general assistants.

16.4.2. A general assistant may not be recognized as an elder.

16.4.3. The elders shall define the responsibilities of general assistants.

16.4.4. They shall serve at the will of the elders.

16.5. Staff Interns

16.5.1. The elders may appoint staff interns whose relationship to the pastoral staff is that of intern.

16.5.2. A staff intern may not be recognized as an elder.

16.5.3. The elders shall define the responsibilities of staff interns, the primary activity being continued theological study and the gaining of practical experience for the equipping to future pastoral ministry.

16.5.4. They shall serve at the will of the elders for an initial term of one year, though that term may be extended with the approval of the elders.

16.6. Calling Staff When an appointment becomes necessary the procedure shall be as follows:-

16.6.1. If the senior pastoral staff is to be called a general meeting shall appoint no more than four members to serve with the executive as a call committee.

16.6.2. If an associate pastoral staff is to be called the executive serve as a call committee.

16.6.3. The committee shall recommend only one name to any general meeting.

16.6.4. The invitation shall be contingent upon the following:-

16.6.4.1. At least two-thirds of the members present shall vote in favour. The vote shall be by ballot.

16.6.4.2. The person shall have been baptised by immersion, shall accept in writing this constitution and shall accept in writing the Sola 5 Statement of Faith.

16.6.4.3. The person shall become a member of the church and elder of the church upon assuming the role.

16.6.4.4. Any engagement between the church and the person shall be terminable by 3 months notice on either side, unless mutually agreed upon.

17. Departments

17.1. The appointed leaders of all departments shall be church members.

17.2. The church executive shall appoint leaders of all departments having considered suggestions from the membership. Such appointments will be ratified at a general meeting.

17.3. Each department shall appoint its own committee. Such appointments must be approved by the executive before such appointments take effect. The executive may disallow such appointment only if:-

17.3.1. The person appointed demonstrably does not accept articles 3. and 4. of this constitution in full.

17.3.2. The executive is of the opinion that such a person is already engaged in a sufficient number of ministries in the church.

18. Finance

18.1. The church shall be supported by voluntary giving.

18.2. The methods of voluntary giving shall be decided upon by the executive.

18.3. Proper books of account shall be kept.

18.4. The membership shall appoint annually a competent person/s who shall examine the church securities, review the accounts and financial records of the church and furnish a report thereon to the members in writing not less than 14 days prior to the annual general meeting (see article 11.1.2.). Such report shall refer to the existence of the securities and the adequacy of the records maintained and shall express an opinion on the accuracy of the accounts presented.

18.5. The activities of the organisation are carried on in a non-profit and with an altruistic or philanthropic intent.

18.6. No activity will directly or indirectly promote the economic self-interest of any fiduciary or employee of the organisation otherwise than by way of reasonable remuneration.

18.7. At least three persons who accept fiduciary responsibility for the public benefit organisation, will not be connected persons in relation to each other, and no single person directly or indirectly controls the decision making powers relating to the organisation.

18.8. No funds will be distributed to any person (other than in the course of undertaking any public benefit activity).

18.9. The funds of the public benefit organisation will be used solely for the objects for which it was established.

18.10. On dissolution of the public benefit organisation, the remaining assets must be transferred to –

18.10.1. A public benefit organisation, which has been approved in terms of section 30 of the Act.

18.10.2. Any institution, board or body which is exempt from the payment of income tax in terms of section 10(1)(cA)(i) of the Act, which has as its sole or principal object the carrying on of any public benefit activity; or

18.10.3. Any department of state or administration in the national or provincial or local sphere of government of the Republic, contemplated in section 10(1)(a) or (b) of the Act.

18.11. No donation will be accepted which is revocable at the instance of the donor for reasons other than a material failure to conform to the designated purposes and conditions of such donations, including any misrepresentations with regard to the tax deductibility thereof in terms of section 18A: Provided that a donor (other than a donor which is an approved public benefit organisation or an institution, board or body which is exempt from tax in terms of section 10(1)(cA)(i), which has as its sole or principal object the carrying on of any public benefit activity) may not impose and conditions which could enable such donor or any connected person in relation to such donor to derive some direct or indirect benefit from the application of such donation.

18.12. A copy of all amendments to the constitution will be submitted to the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service.

18.13. No remuneration will be paid to any employee, office bearer, member or other person which is excessive, having regard to what is generally considered reasonable in the sector and in relation to the service rendered and has not and will not economically benefit any person in a manner which is not consistent with its objects.

19. Financial Transactions

19.1. The church shall have the power to buy, sell, donate, let or hire, exchange, transfer, receive by way of donation or otherwise, movable and immovable property and to invest its funds in government or municipal stock, mortgage bonds or on fixed deposit or otherwise, in banks, post offices, building societies or approved organisations and shall further have power to borrow money with or without security in such manner as the church shall think fit, negotiate loans from bankers or others by overdraft or otherwise and by passing mortgage and notarial bonds for registration with the proper authorities and to open and operate upon banking accounts and to make, draw, accept, discount, execute and issue promissory notes, bills of exchange and other negotiable and transferable instruments to guarantee the performance of contracts by any person or duly constituted church having objectives wholly or partly similar to the objectives of this church and to enter into guarantee or suretyships of every description.

20. Immovable Property

20.1. All immovable property acquired by the church in any manner shall be registered in the names of the trustees of the church.

20.2. The executive of the church shall be the trustees of the church. They shall act as required by resolution of a general meeting.

20.3. All acquisitions of immovable property in any manner shall require the approval of a general meeting, due notice having been given of the proposed transaction.

20.4. Any proposal to sell, donate, exchange, mortgage, hypothecate or otherwise alienate or encumber any movable property shall have the prior approval of a special general meeting by a two-thirds majority of the members present.

21. Sale of Property

21.1. The proceeds derived from the sale or other disposal of any property of the church shall be used in such manner as the church may deem best fitted to secure the furtherance of its objects.

22. Indemnity

22.1. The trustees and all officers of the church shall be fully indemnified against all actions, costs, charges, losses, damages and expenses which they or any of them shall or may incur in the execution of their duties, except such as they shall incur by their own wrongful action done intentionally or with gross negligence.

23. Dissolution

23.1. The dissolution of the church may be effected by a two-thirds majority vote of members present at a special general meeting.

23.2. In the event of 23.1. such meeting shall thereupon authorise the executive to take the necessary steps to wind up the affairs of the church and in particular to transfer the immovable property in due and proper form to the Sola 5 Association (see article 23.4.).

23.3. Should the number of elders be less than that required by article 13. the meeting shall appoint and authorise any other person/s to comply with the requirements.

23.4. In the event of the church at any time ceasing to exist all acquired property or rights to property at such time shall ipso facto vest in and become the property of the Sola 5 Association which shall hold, administer or deal with it in such manner as the said Association through its steering committee may deem best fitted to secure the objects in article 2.

23.5. The church shall be deemed to have ceased to exist when:-

23.5.1. Dissolution shall have been resolved in accordance with 23.1.

23.5.2. Public worship shall have been discontinued for a consecutive period of six calendar months without an executive.

23.5.3. The number of members, whose names and full addresses are known, has dropped below 10.

24. Modification of the Constitution

24.1. Any proposal to change this constitution may be submitted by way of a notice of motion to any general meeting.

24.2. Such notice of motion shall be circulated to all members for consideration at a special general meeting convened not less than three months after the general meeting referred to in 24.1.

24.3. Proposed changes shall require the approval of two-thirds of the members present at the meeting with the reservation that the number so present shall not be less than ten regardless of the number of members on the membership roll.

24.4. This constitution was approved at a general meeting held on 23 August 2015.

24.5. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary hereinbefore contained no modification of this constitution may be made which has the effect directly or indirectly of modifying the principles outlined in article 2.1. (the nature of the church) and article 8.1. (final authority resting with the membership).

24.6. It shall be understood that articles 2.1. and 8.1. are entrenched and may not be revoked, amended or amplified.