CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS, VIRGINIA ASSOCIATION OF FREE WILL BAPTISTS
ARTICLE I: Name, Purpose, and Affiliation
ARTICLE II: Statement of Faith
ARTICLE III: Membership and Representation
ARTICLE IV: Officers, Boards, and Committees
ARTICLE V: Meetings
ARTICLE VI: Idemnification
ARTICLE VII: Tax Exempt Provisions
ARTICLE VIII: Designated Contributions
ARTICLE IX: Binding Arbitration
ARTICLE X: Amendments
ARTICLE XI: Standing Rules
We, the Free Will Baptist Churches and Local Associations of the State of Virginia, being saved by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, submitting to the total authority of the Bible as God's Word, and realizing the necessity of a bond of fellowship among us, do, therefore, adopt this Constitution to the glory and honor of God and for the advancement of His Kingdom on earth.
ARTICLE I. Name, Purpose, and Affiliation
Section A. This association shall be known as the Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc.
Section B. This association is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, and educational purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law). Such purposes include, but are not limited to the establishment and maintenance of religious worship, and the building, maintenance and operation or churches, schools, chapel, radio stations, television stations, rescue missions, print shops, day-care centers, camps, and nursing homes.
Section C. This association shall voluntarily affiliate with the National Association of Free Will Baptists according to the provisions in its treatise and shall support all phases of the denomination's work as much as possible. This being a voluntary affiliation, this association submits to no veto or dictatorial power, and this affiliation can be discontinued at any time.
Section D. This association may correspond by letter or otherwise with other Bible believing bodies.
ARTICLE II. Statement of Faith
Section A. The Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists has adopted A Treatise of Faith and Practices of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.
Section B. Human Sexuality
1. 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 all forms of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God's gift of sex. Any officer or employee of the association becoming pregnant or causing pregnancy as a result of consensual intercourse, outside of the marriage relationship, shall be terminated from their position. We will not knowingly commission, license, ordain, hire, or countenance any of these lifestyles or practices. Any member association condoning or promoting such practices as stated above will be dismissed from this body (Genesis 2:24; Genesis 19:5,13; Genesis 26:8,9; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; Hebrews 13:4).
2. We believe that the only legitimate marriage is the joining of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Romans 7:2; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Ephesians 5:22-23).
3. We believe that men and women are spiritually equal in position before God but that God has ordained distinct and separate spiritual functions for men and women in the home and the church. The husband is to be the leader of the home and men are to be the leaders (all ministers and deacons) of the church (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 3:4,5,12).
Section C. Authority Of Statement Of Faith
The Statement of Faith as recorded in A Treatise of the Faith and Practices of Free Will Baptists or in this document does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Bible itself is the sole and final source of all that we believe. We do believe, however, that the foregoing statement of faith and this document accurately represents the teaching of the Bible and, therefore, is binding upon all members.
ARTICLE III. Membership and Representation
Section A. Membership
1. The membership of this association shall be composed of properly organized and received Local Associations (yearly or district).
2. Any Local Association (yearly or district) desiring membership in this association must accept Free Will Baptist doctrine, practices, and system of church government as outlined in the most recent publication of A Treatise of the Faith and Practices of Free Will Baptists and must be in total agreement with the declarations of this Constitution.
3. Any organized Free Will Baptist Local Association (yearly or district) desiring to unite with this association, maintaining gospel order and agreeing with the position stated herein concerning doctrine and church government, and which is in favor of our evangelistic enterprises as stated in the final two paragraphs of our Free Will Baptist Church Covenant, may be received into this Virginia State Association in accordance with the procedure set forth in A Treatise of the Faith and Practices of the Free Will Baptists from the National Association of Free Will Baptists, Part IV, Chapter III, Section V, A3, D, & E. Upon completion of this process, any Local Association may become a member after having been received by majority vote by this association.
Section B. Delegates
1. All ordained ministers and deacons who are in good standing with a Local Association belonging to the Virginia State Association, and duly elected officers and members of boards and standing committees shall, upon registration, constitute the standing delegates.
2. Each Local Association in good standing with this body shall be entitled to five (5) delegates to be chosen from the laity and two (2) additional delegates for each district meeting (if divided into districts) to be chosen by the respective district meeting.
3. Each local church affiliated with a Local Association in good standing shall be allowed one (1) delegate to this body.
Section C. Duties of members
1. It shall be the duty of each Local Association belonging to this association to send a letter on the proper form with the required fees to each meeting of this association, reporting in the same its statistics and benevolent work.
2. Any Local Association not corresponding by letter and appropriate fees shall not be seated with its delegates until the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the body.
Section D. Discipline of a member
1. The Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists shall have the right to settle any question of discipline, doctrine, or usage that may properly come before it from any association, district meeting or church composing this association or act upon any appeal that may be made by anybody belonging to this association. Such appeals are to come before the body after having been appealed from the lower body to the next higher body.
2. This State Association shall have the authority to withdraw fellowship from any Local Association for practices contrary to the Constitution of this association by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of all members present.
3. An official attempt by the Executive Board toward restoration of fellowship must be made prior to exclusion of any member association.
4. Any charge or accusation against any member association, its churches, or its ministers shall be properly presented in writing to the Executive Board for consideration before being discussed on the floor.
ARTICLE IV. Officers, Boards, and Committees
Section A. Election Procedure
1. The Nominating Committee shall select a nominee for each office that is vacant and present the list to the Moderator
2. The Moderator shall read the name that is nominated for each office, and declare the floor open for additional nominations.
3. Each office shall be filled by a majority vote of the body at the close of each regular session.
Section B. Terms of Office
1. The officers of this association shall consist of Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Clerk, Assistant Clerk, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer, and all boards and committees as elected by the body.
2. All officers and committees shall serve for a term of one (1) year except for the following:
a. Clerk and Assistant Clerk-four (4) years, to be elected on leap year.
b. Executive Board-five (5) years staggered.
c. Mission board-five (5) years staggered.
d. State Promotional Secretary-If a volunteer, he will be voted in annually. If salaried, he will be employed by the State Association and elected every two (2) years.
e. The assistant treasurer (Home Missions treasurer)-at the will of the Home Missions Board.
Section C. Duties of Officers
a. It shall be the duty of the moderator to call each session to order for the business and to preside over all business sessions of this State Association.
b. He shall appoint a Nomination Committee and a Credentials Committee prior to the beginning of each session, each consisting of at least three (3) members.
c. He is to see that all business is conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order Revised (current edition).
d. He is to maintain proper Christian order and not allow discussions when not carried on in a Christian spirit or when he thinks it will cause discord or division.
e. He is to preside over any special called meeting between sessions whether called by himself or the Executive Board.
f. He shall seat the delegates in a designated section of the assembly room at the beginning of each business session.
g. He is to promote the work of the Virginia State Association.
h. He is to meet with the Executive Board to plan the Bible Conference and the State Association programs.
2. Assistant Moderator:
a. It shall be the duty of the Assistant Moderator to assist the Moderator whenever called upon, and assume the chair in the absence of the Moderator.
b. He is to meet with the Executive Board to plan the Bible Conference and the State Association programs.
a. It shall be the duty of the clerk to keep clear, concise, accurate records of all proceedings of this body whether in special session or regular session.
b. The clerk shall be responsible for the printing and distribution to the Local Associations of the minutes of each annual session.
c. The clerk is to compile the letters sent from member Local Associations into the proper form to be sent to the to National Association of Free Will Baptists.
d. The clerk is to keep all rulings of this body in order and ready for easy reference.
e. The clerk is to mail each individual church clerk, pastor, and association clerk a notice of the State Association meeting dates at least one month in advance noting that each local church is allowed one (1) delegate at the State Association meeting. This will include any special or called meetings.
f. The clerk will meet as part of the Executive Board to plan the Bible Conference and State Meeting programs and will keep records of these meetings, being able to report to the body.
4. Assistant Clerk:
a. It shall be the duty of the Assistant Clerk to assist in recording the minutes of the State Association and the keeping of complete records of all business transactions.
b. It shall be the duty of the Assistant Clerk to assist the Clerk in the printing of the minutes of each Virginia State Association meeting.
c. It shall be the responsibility of the Assistant Clerk to fill the Clerk's place should the office be vacant or the Clerk unable to attend.
5. Treasurer: It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive, deposit, and disburse all funds at the discretion of this association. The Treasurer will meet as part of the Executive Board to plan the Bible Conference and State Association programs.
6. Assistant Treasurer: It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive, deposit, and disburse all funds at the discretion of this association. The Treasurer will meet as part of the Executive Board to plan the Bible Conference and State Association programs.
7. Promotional Director (2015)
a. The State Association can have at its discretion a Promotional Director (2015).
b. He will perform his duties under contract of employment (2015) at the direction of and in cooperation with the Executive Board.
c. The Promotional director (2015) will generally promote the work of the Virginia State Association.
d. The promotional director shall represent the Virginia State Association, Inc. as the General Board Member of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc. Note: This in no means affects the Standing Rule #14 concerning the General Board Member to the National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc.
e. The promotional Director shall serve on all State Boards in an advisory role.
8. Board Member for Family Ministries (Greeneville, Tennessee):
a. It shall be the duty of the one elected to serve as a full member of the Family Ministries Official Board.
b. He/She (2015) shall at all times represent the interests of Virginia in the overall ministry.
c. He/She (2015) shall serve for a period of six (6) years.
9. Board Member for Harvest Child Care Ministries (Sticklyville, Virginia): (2015)
a. It shall be the duty of the one elected to serve as a full member of the Harvest Official Board.
b. He/She shall at all times represent the interests of Virginia in the overall ministry.
c. He/She shall serve for a period of six (6) years.
Section D. Boards and Committees
1. Executive Board
a. The Executive Board shall consist of the Moderator, Assistant Moderator, Clerk, Treasurer, and five (5) members elected by the association on a five year rotating basis.
b. This Board shall have the power to act in behalf of and for the State Association form one regular session to another. It shall have the power to elect such officers as may be necessary for its own government, and to carry out the plans and undertakings of the State Association.
c. This board shall have power to fill vacancies that may occur in any area of the work.
d. It shall be the duty of this board to make written reports of all its work to the next regular session of the State Association.
e. This board shall consider whatever business is placed upon it, or referred to it by this association or its membership.
f. This board shall promote the work of the Virginia State Association.
g. This board shall plan each Bible Conference and State Association.
h. This board shall set the place for the State CTS competition each year when needed.
i. The Executive Board will oversee the office of the State Promotional Secretary.
j. This board shall each year develop a reasonable budget for the work of the State Association and the disbursement of its funds. It shall present this budget to the body in its regular session. It shall have authority to disburse funds as approved in the association budget.
k. This board shall provide an audit of the financial records annually and report to the body at regular session.
l. All State Boards and Committees shall be accountable to and shall report to the Executive Board at its annual planning meeting. (ref. 2012)
2. State Home Mission Board
a. The State Home Missions Board shall consist of seven (7) members elected by this association on a five year rotating basis, and shall be responsible for carrying out the desires of this association in establishing and supporting mission churches in needed areas under the direction of the Virginia State Association. It shall report annually to this association.
b. The treasurer of the Home Mission Board shall come from the membership of the Board. He will serve as the Assistant Treasurer of the State Association and serve at the will of the Home Missions Board.
c. This board will have its own Constitution detailing its own responsibilities under the direction and authority of the Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists.
d. This board shall have authority to make decisions, on location, personnel, and finance. Upon approval of this association or the Executive Board, it shall be authorized to deal with real estate property and mortgages as needed for the advancement of the work of missions.
3. Nominating Committee:
a. The Nominating Committee shall consist of at least three (3) members.
b. The Nominating Committee shall choose a nominee for each vacant office prior to the regular session making written report to the Moderator for report to the body.
c. Each nominee should be contacted prior to being presented to the body to be sure that he is willing and able to perform the duties incumbent to the office.
d. No one should be nominated who is not in good standing with his church, his Local Association, and this body.
4. Credentials Committee
a. The Credentials Committee shall consist of at least three (3) members.
b. The Credentials Committee is to examine all letters to the State Association and the credentials of the various delegates.
c. The committee shall make recommendations to the State Association in session concerning the seating of delegates.
5. Other Committees: Committees as necessary shall be appointed by the chair unless otherwise provided for, and shall hold office until work is completed or until their successors are elected and installed.
ARTICLE V. Meetings
Section A. Time of Meetings
1. The Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists shall hold its regular meetings annually.
2. The State Association shall meet beginning at 7:00 p.m. (2015) on the Thursday before the third (3rd ) Sunday in June each year, and shall continue in session until its work is completed.
3. Special sessions may be called by the Moderator or the Executive Board when conditions demand.
4. This State Association will sponsor a Bible Conference on the Thursday of the General Session beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Section B. Procedure of Annual General Session
1. Each session will begin with prayer and congregational singing.
2. The Clerk shall take charge of the devotional service.
3. The Clerk shall then introduce the officers, concluding with the Moderator.
4. The Moderator shall declare the session to be in order for business and remind the association of its responsibility to do work for the Lord.
5. The quorum consists of those who attend the meeting, provided it is either a stated meeting or one that has been properly called.
6. If a quorum is present, he shall then proceed with the business.
7. The minutes of the previous sessions will be made available in writing and are to be read only if asked for by a majority vote. The minutes of the present session will be made available to the Moderator at the first possible opportunity. He will assist the Clerk in any needed corrections.
8. This body will be governed as stipulated in the most current edition of The Treatise of the Faith and Practices of Free Will Baptists unless otherwise plainly stated in this document.
9. The rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order Revised (current edition) shall govern the body in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with this document.
ARTICLE VI. Indemnification
Section A. Actions Subject to Indemnification
The association may indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, including all appeals (other than an action by or in the right of the association) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a moderator, assistant moderator, officer, employee, or agent of the association, against expenses, including attorneys' fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding; and if that person acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the association and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, conviction, or on a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the association and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.
Section B. Expenses Subject To Indemnification
To the extent that a moderator, assistant moderator, officer, employee, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in this Article, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in that action, suit, or proceeding, he or she may be indemnified against expenses, including attorneys' fees, actually and reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.
Section C. Limitations of Indemnification
Any indemnification made under this Article, may be made by the association only as authorized in the specific case of a determination that indemnification of the moderator, assistant moderator, officer, employee, or agent is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Section A of this Article. The determination shall be made (a) by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of the members of Executive Board who were not and are not parties to, or threatened with, the action, suit, or proceeding; (b) if the described quorum is not obtainable, or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested Executive Board members so directs, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion; or (c) by a majority vote of the members of the association.
Section D. Timing of Indemnification
Expenses of each person seeking indemnification under this Article, may be paid by the association as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the Executive Board in the specific case, on receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the moderator, assistant moderator, officer, employee, or agent to repay the amount if it is ultimately determined that he or she is not qualified to be indemnified by the association.
Section E. Extent of Indemnification
The indemnification provided by this Article shall be deemed to be discretionary unless otherwise required as a matter of law or under any agreement or provided by insurance purchased by the association, both as to action of each person seeking indemnification under the Article in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding that office, and may continue as to a person who has ceased to be a moderator, assistant moderator, officer, employee, or agent and may inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person.
Section F. Insurance
The association may purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a moderator, assistant moderator, officer, employee, or agent of the association against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in that capacity, or arising out of his status in that capacity, whether or not the association would have the power to indemnify him against liability under the provisions of this article. Such insurance will be purchased when deemed necessary by the body.
ARTICLE VII. Tax Exempt Provisions
Section A. Private Inurnment
No part of the net earnings of the association shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to, its members, officers, or other private persons, except that the association shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for the services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article I, Section B hereof.
Section B. Political Involvement
No substantial part of the activities of this association shall be the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation. This association shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
Section C. Dissolution
In the event of the dissolution of the Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists, any assets of the organization then remaining shall be conveyed to such organizations then existent dedicated to similar objectives to those of this organization, selected by the Executive Board at the time of dissolution. This organization must be exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Revenue Law) as amended or under successor provisions of the Code as may be in effect at the time of dissolution.
Section D. Racial Nondiscrimination
This association shall have a racially nondiscriminatory policy and therefore shall not discriminate against members, applicants, students, and others on the basis of race, color, or national or ethnic origin.
Section E. Limitation Of Activities
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution the association shall not, except to an insubstantial degree, engage in any activities or exercise any powers that are not in furtherance of the purposes stated in Article I, Section B.
ARTICLE VIII. Designated Contributions
From time to time the association, in the exercise of its religious, educational, and charitable purposes, may establish various funds to accomplish specific goals. Contributors rnay suggest uses for their contributions but all suggestions shall be deemed advisory rather than mandatory in nature. All contributions made to specific funds or otherwise designated shall remain subject to the exclusive control and discretion of this association. No fiduciary obligation shall be created by any designated contribution for the general furtherance of any private persons.
ARTICLE IX. Binding Arbitration
Section A. Submission to Arbitration
Believing that lawsuits between believers are prohibited by Scripture, all members of this association agree to submit to binding arbitration for the resolution of any matters which cannot otherwise be resolved, and agree to expressly waive any and all rights in law and equity to bringing any civil disagreement before a court of law, except that judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitrator may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
Section B. Notice Of Arbitration
In the event of any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement arising out of or relating to this Constitution or any other associational matter, the parties shall use their best efforts to settle such disputes, claims, questions, or disagreement as befits Christians. To this effect, they shall consult and negotiate with each other in good faith and, recognizing their mutual interests not disgrace the name of Christ, seek to reach a just and equitable solution. If they do not reach such solution within a period of sixty (60) days, then upon notice by either party to the other, disputes, claims, questions, or differences shall be finally settled by arbitration as described in Section 1,
above, and such Procedures for Arbitration as are adopted pursuant to the following two sections.
Section C. Limitations On Arbitration Decisions
Should any dispute involve matters of associational discipline, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures for associational discipline as outlined under this Constitution were followed. Should any dispute involve the removal from office of any association officer, the arbitrators shall be limited to determining whether the procedures set forth in this
Constitution were followed.
Section D. Arbitration Procedures
The procedures for arbitration shall be as adopted by the Executive Board.
ARTICLE X. Amendments
The Constitution of the Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists may be altered or amended at any regular session by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of members present, providing the change has been submitted in writing and tabled from the previous annual session.
ARTICLE XI. Standing Rules
1. Everything will be done decently and in order. (I Corinthians 14:40)
2. The State Association will pay the Moderator, Clerk, and Treasurer $100.00 per year
3. The Executive Board shall determine the amount of honorarium that is to be given to speakers.
4. Representatives on the National Boards are to be active at the state level.
5. No person shall be allowed to nominate more than one member of any committee.
6. Anyone desiring to speak shall rise to his feet and address the Moderator by the appellation, "Brother Moderator," but not speak further until recognized by the Moderator.
7. No member of this association will be allowed to speak more than ten minutes, nor twice on the same subject without permission of the moderator.
8. Reports shall be limited to ten (10) minutes unless ordered by a majority vote of the body.
9. The Moderator cannot succeed himself more than two times.
10. The State Association will pay the fee for the youth contestants to participate in the National competition.
11. The annual State Association meeting will rotate around the state, alternating between east, north, and west as much as practical. Location is to be decided by vote at each preceding session.
12. Office vacancies are to be filled from those who attend the State Association meetings regularly.
13. Each Local Association (yearly or district) is to send $200 per member church to this body for National dues, plus an offering to help defray the expenses of the State Meeting and the printing of the minutes. (2012)
14. The State's recommendation for the person to serve as its General Board member will be made and sent with the State Association's report to the National Association on the even calendar years.
15. To maintain continuity between the Virginia State Association and the National Association of the Free Will Baptists, the King James Version of the Bible shall be the official version of the Virginia State Association, to be used in all meetings, preaching, teaching, and other activities of the Association.
16. A certificate of honor suitable for framing will be delivered to the surviving spouse of any deceased minister of the Virginia State Association.
17. The Moderator shall be an ex-officio member of all state boards and committees.
18. These Standing Rules can be changed by a majority vote at any regular session.
This Constitution was adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting at a scheduled meeting of the Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists in which a quorum was present. This Constitution supersedes any previous constitution, rulings, customs, or practices of the Virginia State Association of Free Will Baptists.
Adopted: June 14, 2003
Moderator: Rev. Dr. Dave Nobles, Executive Board Member
Clerk: Rev. Virgil A. Maness, Executive Board Member