Our Constitution

A church is a fellowship of people who have accepted Christ as Saviour and are united by their common relation to the Holy Spirit.  A church, like a community or an individual, is always changing.  Fundamental doctrines remain the same, but methods of teaching these doctrines and of moving toward objectives must change if the mission of the church is to be accomplished.

If used as the guide to follow in carrying out the work of the church, a church constitution and bylaws document helps a church preserve democratic procedure.

Basic theology and philosophy are the foundation stones of a constitution, while policies and procedures make up the bylaws.  Bylaws change more often than a constitution.  But both constitution and bylaws should be reviewed annually by a special committee, the church council, and/or deacons.  As the program of a church changes, so must the rules of its governmental procedure.  The church should discuss and approve changes in the constitution and bylaws. 

The basic advantages of a constitution and bylaws are that they:
  1. Furnish members a written statement of their church organization, fundamental guidelines and theological beliefs. 
  2. Aid in preserving democracy and harmony since predetermined guidelines have already been established by members.
  3. Provide orderly procedures for guiding the transaction of church business.
For the more certain preservation and security of the principles of our faith and to the end that this body may be governed in an orderly manner consistent with the accepted beliefs of Southern Baptists and for the purpose of preserving the liberties inherent in each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this particular body with respect to its relation to and cooperation with other churches of the same faith and order, we do declare and establish this constitution.

This body shall be known as the Grace Baptist Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee.

The purpose of this church is to proclaim to all people everywhere the good news that Christ is the way of salvation; to magnify God through the preaching and teaching of the Word; to promote individual and collective divine worship; to provide opportunities for training, service, fellowship and Christian growth; to administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper; to care for the spiritual and physical needs of man, and to strengthen and uphold the moral fiber of its members and society in general.

All properties, real, personal, tangible, and intangible, of whatever kind or character or wherever situated will be vested in the name of Trustees duly designated and elected by the church membership.  No acquisition or disposition of any property will be made without the consent of the church membership.

The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith.  This church subscribes to the doctrinal statement of the “Baptist Faith and Message” as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.  A copy of the “Baptist Faith and Message” is attached and is considered to be a part of this constitution.

Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into the covenant with one another, as one body of Christ.

We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this Church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the Church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.

We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions, to religiously educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealing, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger, to abstain from the sale of and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Saviour.

We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in felling, and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with some other church, where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.

The government of this church is vested in the body of believers who compose it.  It is subject to the control of no other ecclesiastical body.  It does recognize and sustain the obligation of mutual counsel and cooperation with other churches of like faith and order.

This church shall be a cooperating member of the Watauga Association of Baptists, the Tennessee Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention, in carrying out the local and world mission program of Christ as expressed in the Great Commission.