We, the members of Highland Baptist Church of Hayward, California, desiring to faithfully serve the Lord Jesus Christ, to foster the spirit of harmony, to promote good order in the church in keeping with I Corinthians 14:40
“Let all things be done decently and in order,”
and to better set forth our position before the world, hereby adopt and accept the following articles to be the constitution, bylaws, and articles of faith of this church.
The name of this church shall be:
Highland Baptist Church, Inc.,
Hayward, Alameda County, California.
The purpose of this organization shall be to glorify God in the following:
- To preach the Bible as the inspired Word of God.
- To point men to the Lord Jesus Christ as their only hope for salvation.
- To present a positive message of separation for Christians.
- The edification of the saints.
- The promotion of world-wide evangelism through support of:
- G.A.R.B.C. approved missionaries.
- Other mission enterprises as approved by church membership.
- To promote unity and fellowship of true believers.
This church adopts the principles peculiar to Baptists down through the years.
- The preeminence of Christ as our divine Lord and Master.
- The right of private interpretation of the Scriptures and the competency of the individual soul in direct approach to God.
- The absolute separation of Church and state.
- The solemn obligation of majority rule, guaranteeing equal rights to all, and affording special privileges to none.
- The spiritual unity of all believers for which Christ so earnestly prayed.
Statement of Faith and Practice
- Our statement of faith and practice shall be the same as held by the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and the California Association of Regular Baptist Churches.
- This church is independent so far as related to its own affairs. It is answerable to no ecclesiastical body except by its own consent. It controls the admission, discipline, and removal of its members according to the church’s constitution.
- As to associations, this church shall maintain the New Testament ideals of democracy and absolute sovereignty of the local body and shall enter no outside organization which would impair either. Since a New Testament church cannot “join” anything outside of itself but only affiliate therewith on grounds of fellowship, this church declares itself to be in fellowship with the California Association of Regular Baptist Churches and the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, and affiliated with both the American and International Council of Christian Churches.
Present membership is defined as follows: All whose names appear upon the rolls of this church are members, but only those whose names appear upon the “active” list are considered in good and regular standing. Those whose names appear on the “inactive” list have broken fellowship, have no voting, office-holding, no constitutional rights, and may not be granted a letter of “good and regular standing”.
Qualification for membership is the profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior, evidence of a change of heart, and declaring oneself in accord with the principles, practices and doctrines of this church. These may after baptism, completion of new member’s class, and recommendation of the pastor and deacons, be received into this church.
Individuals may become members of the church in one of four ways: 1) by baptism 2) by profession of faith and testimony 3) by letter from church of like faith and practice 4) or by restoration.
All persons desiring church membership shall be required to take a period of instruction which shall be taught by the Pastor, or one appointed by him. Instruction shall include the Articles of Faith and the Church Covenant along with necessary items of church business and the responsibilities involved.
B. Candidates for Church Membership
Candidates shall appear personally before the deacons. Upon completion of the new membership class and having been recommended by Pastor and deacons, the names shall then be submitted to the church for acceptance or rejection. No person shall be recognized as a member until he/she has been voted on and has received the right hand of fellow-ship by the church.
C. Duty of Members
It will be expected that members shall respect the Pastor and officers of the church and cooperate with them to the best of their ability in every project for the advancement of work. They will be expected to abide by the constitution and bylaws of the church and to agree without mental reservation with its doctrines as presented and defined in the Articles of Faith. They will likewise be expected to refrain from all appearance of evil in speech and conduct, to live a life separated from worldly practices, and to faithfully attended the services of the church.
Dismissal of members
A. A church letter of recommendation may be granted to any member in good and regular standing who wishes to unite with any church of like faith and practice by a majority vote of those present and voting.
B. Members not in good and regular standing or those deserving to unite with a church not of our faith and order, may be given a certificate of standing to date.
Suspension of members
A. A person who persistently and willfully does not attend the services of the church is unfit spiritually to have a voice in the shaping of the business and policies of the church and to such the following shall pertain:
A. When members fail to show interest for a period of three months, in that they have not attended at least three regular services of the church, not communicated with the Pastor or deacons, in such a way as to reveal interest and sincerity, and after due effort has been made in the three months to encourage them to respond, then their names shall be placed on an Inactive List after due consideration of the Pastor and deacons.
B. If the same conditions continue for another three months, their names shall be dropped from the membership of the church by vote of the church after due consideration by the Pastor and deacons. It shall be the duty of the deacons to visit those persons on the Inactive List who reside in the area adjacent to the church. The deacons shall use every effort to restore such a one to active membership during the three-month period of broken fellowship.
Special inactive status will be given to students away at school; those members serving in military service; those temporarily working and living outside the church area; and to others unable to attend services due to sickness or special circumstances.
Exemptions to this rule are those on the Special Inactive List as deemed by the Pastor and deacons. Distance shall be no excuse, as a letter the Pastor or Board of Deacons shall be sufficient to hold membership intact.
C. Any member of this church who no longer attends here, and who has not been placed on the Special Inactive List, or been transferred to another church, shall be placed on the Inactive List. Their name continuing upon this list for more than six months shall, upon recommendation of the Pastor and deacons, be dropped from the rolls of the church and they will be so notified.
A member placed on the Inactive List according to Section 4A of this article may be restored (reinstated) to the active membership of the church after demonstration a desire to fulfill membership duties as stated in Section 2C, Article 5, and upon recommendation of the Board of Deacons.
A. The Pastor and Board of Deacons shall constitute a Committee of Discipline. In discharge of its duties, the Committee of Discipline shall always use kindness, consideration and Christian love throughout the proceeding in such case. In case of expulsion from membership, final action must be taken by the church. No member shall be expelled until every effort has been made to reclaim him for Christ and the church.
B. It is specifically directed that the Pastor and Committee of Discipline (in safe keeping the purity and peace of the church), shall move with special promptness in the case of any member who is obstructing the work or disturbing the peace of the church by disputes between brethren (Matthew 18:15-17), by open sin (1 Timothy 1:19-20, 1 Corinthians 5:4-5, 11), by teaching of false doctrines (2 John 10, 11: Galatians 5:10, 12), by rebellious behavior (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15), by a weaker brother being overtaken by sin (Romans 14:1-15, Galatians 6:1), by a sinning elder (1 Timothy 5:19-20), or by worldly behavior (2 Corinthians 6:1, 15, 17). It is recognized further that while all members have the right to private opinion on all questions, they shall not have the right to engage in secret or open propaganda, or deliberately disturb the peace and interrupt the work of the church.
C. In the case of personal differences between members of the church, the Committee of Discipline shall recommend that the parties endeavor to settle the differences scripturally in the manner laid down by our Savior in Matthew 18:15-17. If the differences cannot be settled, the persons involved shall be requested to appear before the Committee of Discipline. A full recommend a just settlement of the controversy and shall recommend to the church that those unwilling to accept the decision of the committee, shall be disciplined, suspended, or dismissed from the membership as the case may warrant.