Constitution and Bylaws

GREEN MOUNTAIN BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
Approved October 20, 2012

CONSTITUTION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREAMBLE
ARTICLE I – Name
ARTICLE II – Purpose
ARTICLE III – Core Values
ARTICLE IV – Membership
ARTICLE V – Cooperation
ARTICLE VI – Meetings
ARTICLE VII – Organization
ARTICLE VIII – Authority
ARTICLE IX – Staff
ARTICLE X – Amendment
BY-LAWS

PREAMBLE:

Recognizing our unity under the lordship of Christ and our common mission received from Him, the members of Baptist churches in the general area of Vermont hereby establish and maintain an Association in conformity to the following plan:

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ARTICLE I – Name

The name of this body shall be the Green Mountain Baptist Association (GMBA).

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ARTICLE II – Purpose

The Green Mountain Baptist Association exists to glorify God by strengthening and mobilizing affiliated churches to fulfill the Great Commission.

Our churches will partner together to grow healthy congregations that:

  • Encourage visionary leadership
  • Engage our culture with the Gospel
  • Ignite spiritual passion

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ARTICLE III – Core Values

1. Jesus Christ as our Model.
Everything we do should be modeled on the life of Jesus Christ. He is our Example in everything and our only Hope for eternal salvation.  We seek to bring glory to God as we model our lives after that of Christ.

2. The Bible as our Base.
We accept the Holy Bible as God’s Word, without any mixture of error and as absolute truth.  As such, it alone is our ultimate authority for life and ministry.

3. Prayer as our Support.
Through prayer we express our dependence on Almighty God, and through prayer we trust in the power of His Holy Spirit to direct and empower our ministry.

4. Cooperation as our Essential.
Believing we can do more together than apart, we will partner with the Baptist Convention of New England, the Southern Baptist Convention, and other evangelical groups of like faith and practice in ministering in our communities and throughout the world.

5. Equipping as our Method.
We desire to provide leadership and training opportunities in and through local churches to help them grow spiritually and numerically.

6. Missions and Evangelism as our Result.
We seek to promote missions and evangelism through education, giving and involvement locally, regionally, across North America, and around the world.

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ARTICLE IV – Membership

Section 1 – Affiliation

A church desiring to affiliate with this Association shall present a petition to the Association Operations Team. When satisfied that the church is of like faith and practice, this leadership team shall recommend to the Association that the church be received under watchcare. After the first year, the Association Operations Team may recommend that the church continue under watchcare for a second year, or be received into membership.  If after the second year, the Association Operations Team does not recommend membership for a church, that church’s petition for membership shall be automatically withdrawn.  Churches shall be received under watchcare and into membership by two-thirds majority vote of messengers present at the annual meeting.

Churches may be dually aligned with other evangelical denominations, agencies, mission boards or organizations. By accepting a dually aligned church, the Green Mountain Baptist Association is not endorsing these affiliations but is recognizing that issue as a matter of local church autonomy.

Section 2 – Responsibilities of Member Churches

Churches shall be considered to be in cooperation with the association when they are willing to partner with the Green Mountain Baptist Association by:

a) being willing to host or sponsor ministry events for other churches in the Association and/or participate in events hosted by other churches.
b) being willing to allow their pastor and/or other leaders to participate in the Association to further the work of evangelism and discipleship in our region
c) sending messengers to at least one business meeting a year
d) completing the Annual Church Profile each year in a timely manner
e) making financial contributions to the GMBA General Fund in accordance with the church budget.

Section 3 – Messengers

Messengers from the affiliated churches shall constitute the meeting of the Association. Messengers shall be elected by the churches they represent. Each affiliated church shall be entitled to at least five messengers for each fifty members or fraction thereof. However, no church shall be entitled to more than fifteen messengers.

Section 4 – Doctrine/Statement of Faith

While no document shall supersede the Bible as our authority in matters of faith and practice, the Baptist Faith and Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention shall be considered the guide for determining whether a church desiring affiliation is of like faith and practice.

Section 5 – Dismissal or Withdrawal

Churches may withdraw from the Green Mountain Baptist Association at any time, but agree to allow a representative from the Association to speak to their leadership before taking such action in the hope of possible reconciliation.

The Association may withdraw membership from any church which has ceased to be of like faith and practice, or which fails to be cooperative, upon a two-thirds majority vote of messengers present at the annual or the semi-annual meeting, following a recommendation by the Administrative Council.

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ARTICLE V – Cooperation

In so far as it is consistent with our purposes, this Association shall cooperate with and encourage the ministries of our sister Associations, the Baptist Convention of New England and agencies which are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, and such other Christian endeavors which are recommended to and approved by this body.

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ARTICLE VI – Meetings

The Association shall hold meetings semi-annually at such time or times as it may set. Special meetings may be held upon call of the Administrative Council.  Churches shall be given two weeks notice of special meetings.

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ARTICLE VII – Organization

Section 1 – Officers
The Association shall have the following officers: Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Clerk, and Treasurer. The officers shall function as the trustees of the corporation.

Section 2 – Leadership Teams
The Association shall have the following Leadership Teams: Mission Advancement, Church Health, and Association Operations. The Leadership Teams will function in the following areas:
a) The Mission Advancement Leadership Team shall coordinate the work of the Association in the areas of evangelism, church planting, church and community ministries, and partnerships. Program leaders may be elected in these areas and when elected, become a part of this Leadership Team.
b) The Church Health Leadership Team shall coordinate the work of the Association in the areas of Christian education, discipleship, men’s ministry and women’s ministry, student ministry, Christian life issues, and leadership training. Program leaders may be elected in these areas and when elected, become a part of this Leadership Team.
c) The Association Operations Team shall coordinate the work of the Association as it relates to the annual and semi-annual meetings. They shall present a nominations report at the semi-annual meeting. They shall present a credentials report and a memorial report at the annual meeting. They shall oversee the enrollment of messengers and shall present a time, place and preacher report at both the annual and semi-annual meetings. They may present resolutions received at the annual meeting or the semi-annual meeting as they deem appropriate.

Section 3 – Administrative Council
The Association shall have an Administrative Council composed of the following leaders: Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, Leadership Team Chairpersons, and the Director. The Administrative Council will function in the following areas: budget and finance, calendar, personnel, property management and prayer strategy. The Administrative Council will also coordinate the work of the Leadership Teams. If a vacancy occurs on a leadership team, the Administrative Council may appoint a person to fill that position until the next semi-annual meeting. The Administrative Council may appoint additional ministry leaders if deemed beneficial.

Section 4 – Elections
Officers shall be elected from the floor at the annual meeting. Leadership teams and any program leaders deemed appropriate shall be elected at the semi-annual meeting upon nomination by the Association Operations Team. Terms of office shall be for one year following the annual meeting unless otherwise provided for by the Association. The moderator and vice-moderator shall not be eligible to serve more than two consecutive terms. The treasurer shall not be eligible to serve more than 3 consecutive terms. Lay participation shall be sought and encouraged for the above responsibilities.

Section 5 – Duties
The duties shall be those usually incumbent upon the officers and elected leadership, e.g., faithful attendance and participation in assigned duties.

Section 6 – Incorporation
The Association shall be incorporated as a non-profit organization according to the laws of the State of Vermont. The officers of the Association shall function as the trustees of the corporation.

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ARTICLE VIII – Authority

The Association is an autonomous body and therefore reserves the right to determine its own policies and direct its own business. It may refuse to seat messengers whose churches are not in fellowship or doctrinal agreement with the body. The Association will stand ready to lend any assistance or counsel to any church. However, this body shall never exercise any authority over any church affiliated with it.

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ARTICLE IX – Staff

The Association may employ a Director for the Association and other such staff as it deems necessary. Unless otherwise provided by the Association, the staff shall be elected upon nomination by the officers of the Association. The staff shall be given a description of positions and responsibilities and a copy of the official employee policies and guidelines for the GMBA as approved by the Administrative Council.

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ARTICLE X – Amendment

Proposed amendments to the constitution shall be submitted to the Administrative Council for review.  Following a recommendation by the Administrative Council, copies of proposed amendments shall be mailed to member churches at least 60 days prior to a regular or duly called meeting. A two-thirds majority vote of the messengers present shall be required to amend the constitution.

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BY-LAWS

I. In parliamentary procedure the body shall be governed by the latest edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, unless ¾ of those present vote to suspend the Rules for a compelling reason.

II. The Fiscal Year of the Association shall be from January 1 through December 31 inclusive, and reports to the Association shall cover this same period. The ministry and membership reports to the Association shall cover from September 1 through August 31 inclusive.

III. The annual meeting of the Association shall be in the month of October. The semi-annual meeting shall be in the month of April or May. The exact days and place shall be recommended by the Association Operations Team.  The Administrative Council shall meet as often as is necessary to insure the effective implementation of the vision, values and mission of the Association and shall have authority to make adjustments as necessary.

IV. All officers, leadership team members, and ministry leaders of the Association must be members in good standing of churches within the Association.

V. Leadership teams, and ministries will be established as needed and will report to the Administrative Council and the semi-annual and annual meetings.

VI. Messengers to an Association meeting shall be accorded equal rights and privileges of the floor, provided the messenger who desires to speak shall rise, address the moderator, and be recognized before he/she begins to speak. No messenger shall be entitled to speak on any one subject more than twice until other messengers desiring to speak have been heard. Upon consent of the body a visitor may speak during a discussion.

VII. Proposed amendments to the by-laws shall be submitted to the Administrative Council for review.  Following a recommendation by the Administrative Council, copies of proposed amendments shall be mailed to member churches at least 60 days prior to a regular or duly called meeting.  A two-thirds majority vote of the messengers present shall be required to amend the by-laws.

VIII. The Director shall be an ex-officio member of all Associational Leadership Teams and committees.  The Director may delegate another missionary to serve on specific teams or committees in his place.

IX. Annual and semi-annual meetings of the Association shall include at least the following on the agenda:

Bible reading, prayer and worship
Organization of the body with messengers present and those duly appointed who shall arrive later
Recognition of visitors
Presentation and adoption of the order of business
A sermon
Report from the Administrative Council
Presentation of the work of the organizations, Leadership Teams, and committees of the Association
Petitions from new churches requesting affiliation
Appropriate addresses
Miscellaneous business

The order of business shall be adopted with such changes as may become necessary as recommended by the Association Operations Team.

X. At the annual meeting the four associational officers will be elected from the floor.  The nominations report from the Associational Operations Team will occur at the semi-annual meeting only.

XI. At the semi-annual meeting the Associational Operations Team will present the nominations for the Leadership Teams.

This Constitution and By-Laws was adopted at the first annual meeting of the Green Mountain Baptist Association on October 16, 1982, at Springfield, Vermont. This Constitution and By-Laws was revised at the annual meeting of the Green Mountain Baptist Association on October 21, 1995, at East Peacham Baptist Church, East Peacham, Vermont, and revised again at the annual meeting on October 16, 1999, at Washington Baptist Church, Washington, Vermont, and revised again at the annual meeting on October 20, 2012, at Faith Community Church, Barre, VT.

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