Table of Contents
Blackhawk Ministries Constitution and Bylaws
Our Constitution and Bylaws are the legally required governance documents that guide our stewardship of operations at Blackhawk Ministries. These governing policies, procedures, and parameters provide clarity and definitions that compel us to operate our ministries with integrity, excellence, and accountability. These guidelines are also provided to offer protection from outside influences the enemy wants to use against Christ’s church.
The legal name of the church is Blackhawk Baptist Church, Inc. of Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana. It operates under the assumed name of “Blackhawk Ministries.”
A. ADMISSION OF MEMBERS
1. Any person who professes faith in Christ, has been baptized by immersion after conversion, supports the church’s views outlined in the document titled “Statement of Faith,” and completes the Elder interview may be received into the membership of the church.
2. Those seeking membership are requested to share their personal testimony with two or more members of the current Board of Elders or Council of Elders in a formal membership interview as to their salvation experience and baptism (or their willingness to be baptized).
3. A letter of reference may be forwarded upon request for members desiring to unite with another church.
B. DISCIPLINE OF MEMBERS
1. The Board of Elders with the Lead Pastor shall constitute the discipline team of the church.
2. In case of personal differences between members of the church, the Board of Elders shall recommend that the parties endeavor to settle their differences consistent with Biblical truth. Differences that cannot be settled between individuals may, with the agreement of both parties, request binding arbitration from the Board of Elders who will select three Elders to hear and render a judgment.
3. Matters pertaining to alleged unrepentant sin that cannot be resolved as outlined in Matthew 18:15-17 may be brought to the attention of one of the Elders or Pastors for direction and/or handling by the Board of Elders. If reconciliation and restoration cannot be obtained, the Board of Elders may by majority vote privately or publicly remove unrepentant members from the membership of the church.
4. The Board of Elders is directed to move prayerfully and promptly in the safeguarding of the purity and peace of the church when anyone is obstructing the work of the church in any way.
5. Members previously removed from membership may be restored to membership upon recommendation of the Board of Elders after such members have given to them a satisfactory explanation or acceptable evidence of honest repentance and confession.
A. CHURCH MEETINGS
1. The fiscal year of this church shall close on the last day of June.
2. The affirmation by the church of the next year’s annual budget, of Deacons already appointed by the Board of Elders, and Elders nominated to the Board of Elders shall take place at the annual meeting. The annual meeting shall be held on a Sunday thirty to fifty days prior to the close of the fiscal year. The specific Sunday is to be determined by the Board of Elders and announced to the congregation on the two preceding Sundays. New Elders assume office the first Sunday of the fiscal year.
3. Church business may be conducted at any time when the church meets. Major business (including affirmation of Deacons, Elders and annual budget) shall have previous announcement on the two preceding Sundays before the date of any meeting.
4. A quorum consisting of 100 active resident members at least 18 years of age is required to conduct business at church meetings.
B. BOARD OF ELDER MEETINGS
1. Meetings are held no less than once a month, and additional meetings may be held depending on the need to do so.
2. Only Elders who are currently serving on the Board of Elders can introduce and vote on motions.
3. Church members who wish to attend a Board of Elder meeting may do so upon request, however, they may be dismissed during discussion of confidential issues. In addition, individuals may be invited to attend and participate depending on the need.
Christ is the Head of the church and Scripture provides guidance on the various roles necessary for church organization. We believe Scripture teaches that the roles of Elder/Pastor are reserved for men within the church leadership structure (1 Timothy 3:1-16 and Titus 1:1-16). We also believe that women are gifted to lead within the church body and are free to do so under the authority of the roles of Elder/Pastor as God has designed.
Listed below are various positions currently in use with a brief summary explanation that, while not all-inclusive, will provide clarity concerning leadership at Blackhawk Ministries.
• Elder: This is a man who is vetted by the Board of Elders and affirmed by the congregation to serve on the Board of Elders and, along with the Lead Pastor, to provide oversight and protection of the church. Individuals serving on the Board of Elders may also be selected to serve as Corporation officers (see information below under Elder responsibilities for additional details). Only those serving on the Board of Elders can introduce and vote on motions pertaining to church business.
• Lead Pastor: This is a man who serves as an Elder and who is elected by the congregation to provide leadership that includes overseeing the day-to-day operational responsibilities for all ministries within the church.
• Executive Director: This is an individual who reports to the Lead Pastor and provides administrative leadership for associate pastors and other staff members under oversight by the Lead Pastor.
• Associate Pastor: This is a man who is hired or volunteers to serve for a specific area of responsibility. Typically, this position reports to the Lead Pastor or Executive Director and may oversee other staff or volunteers.
• Director, Other Staff: This is an individual who is hired or volunteers to serve in a specific area of ministry responsibility. Typically, this position reports to the Executive Director or one of the Associate Pastors or their designee and may include responsibility over other staff or volunteers.
• Deacon, Deaconess: This is an individual who is appointed by the Board of Elders to a position of responsibility for a Life Group or a specific ministry that includes the shepherding of other individuals.
• Council of Elders: This is a man who previously served on the Board of Elders who commits annually to provide direct and indirect support to the current Board of Elders.• Board of Elders Chairman:
This is an Elder currently serving on the Board of Elders who is elected annually by the Board of Elders to serve as Chairman. • Corporation Trustee/Officer (State of Indiana requirement):
This is a Pastor and/or Elder currently serving on the Board of Elders who is identified by the Lead Pastor and the Board of Elders chairman and approved by the Board of Elders based on abilities to serve in specific functions (i.e., president, treasurer, secretary, School Board Chairman, etc.). These men are responsible for their specific assignments and along with the Lead Pastor are accountable for:
– Handling of all legal and financial matters of the church as directed by the Board of Elders.
– Preparing and submitting a proposed annual budget to the congregation for affirmation as directed by the Board of Elders.
– Establishing the Board of Elders meeting agenda. Note:
All Elder positions are subject to self-examination and review by fellow Elders to ensure they meet the requirements set forth in the New Testament (I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9). The positions of Deacon, Deaconess, and other appointed leaders as well as Staff functions are subject to self-examination and review by those responsible for appointing them to ensure they meet the requirements set forth in the New Testament (Luke 22:25-26, Acts 6:1-4, and I Timothy 3:8-13).
OFFICERS OF THE CHURCH
A. BOARD OF ELDERS
2. Members of the Board of Elders shall serve as the Trustees of the church and as the Directors of the Corporation. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Elders shall be responsible for appointing the Corporation officers. The officers shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the president, treasurer, and secretary. Only men who are either Elders or staff members responsible for specific functions (i.e., financial matters) are eligible to be Corporation officers.
3. The Corporation Officers and Elders shall be responsible for the handling of all legal and financial matters of the church. They shall prepare and submit a proposed annual budget to the congregation two weeks in advance of the annual meeting. Affirmation by a simple majority of members present at the annual meeting shall be required for approval of the annual budget. Together with the Lead Pastor the Elders and Staff shall be responsible for operating the church business within the approved budget. They may, if desired, present revised budgets at any time throughout the year.
4. Affirmation by a simple majority of members present at the annual meeting shall be required for approval of the individual(s) submitted by the current Board of Elders to serve as an Elder. Their term(s) shall be three years. An Elder may serve two consecutive terms before being required to cycle off the Board of Elders for a minimum of one year. As an exception, a man who fills a partial term of one (1) year or less may serve two additional three (3) year terms. The minimum number of Elders shall be seven (including the Lead Pastor) with the maximum number determined by the Board of Elders based on church membership, attendance, and ministry requirements.
5. The Board of Elders collectively are responsible for monitoring the spiritual health of the congregation, protecting doctrinal purity, and guiding the church vision to remain connected to its mission. In addition it shall be the duty of the Board of Elders to: (1) prepare the elements and table for the Lord’s Supper and assist in serving the same; (2) assist the Pastors in administering Baptism and in the spiritual supervision of the church; (3) together with the Pastors to carefully examine all candidates for church membership, recommending such as they consider eligible for the church for membership; (4) together with the Lead Pastor have charge of all matters of discipline of members; (5) lead the church in the Pastor’s absence.
6. A quorum of one member more than half of the members of the Board of Elders is necessary to conduct business. A record of the Board of Elders meetings shall be maintained and available for review upon request of members.
7. The authorization of any non-budgeted financial transaction of $25,000 or more must be approved by the Board of Elders prior to expenditure by the Lead Pastor or his staff. Authorization of any non-budgeted expense that the Elders consider significant shall require church action.
8. At the first Board of Elders meeting following the Annual Meeting, the Elders shall choose one of the Elders to act as chairman. The chairman shall take charge of the Elders meetings in the absence of or as directed by the Lead Pastor. The chairman must be elected every year, but he may serve as many consecutive terms as his office allows.
9. The Board of Elders has final authority in all matters pertaining to church function, operation, and policy except for specific authority that remains in the active church membership as identified in this document.
10. The Board of Elders may review and act by majority vote to privately or publicly suspend or remove an Elder at any time the conduct or circumstances of an Elder is such that they cannot fulfill their responsibilities.
B. SELECTION AND AFFIRMATION OF ELDERS
1. At least 10 weeks prior to the annual meeting, the active membership of the church shall be notified that they have opportunity to submit their name or that of others to the Board of Elders Chairman or their designee to fill vacancies on the Board of Elders. Candidates must be age 21 or older, who were members as of January 1 the prior year and who have regularly attended the services of the church during the last year, meet Biblical requirements for office, and having expressed their willingness to serve if appointed to the office.
2. The current Board of Elders will review the submissions received from individuals to determine who is best qualified to serve on the Board of Elders and confirm their availability and willingness to serve. Those determined to be qualified shall be available for submission to the congregation for affirmation at the annual church business meeting. The number of names submitted for affirmation shall not be more than would make a complete complement of Elders.
3. No paid employee outside of the Lead Pastor may serve as an Elder on the Board of Elders.
4. If a vacancy occurs on the Board of Elders at any time other than the scheduled annual affirmation time, the Board may elect to fill the vacant position(s) using identified candidates previously determined to be qualified and announce the individual name(s) to the congregation at a regular church service.
5. For the sake of church unity, individuals in these positions will be required to confirm their willingness to support the views stated in the document titled “Leadership Essentials” prepared for this purpose.
C. SELECTION AND ELECTION OF THE LEAD PASTOR
1. The Lead Pastor shall be elected at a special or regular meeting of the church, public notice of such action having been given from the pulpit two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting, and 75% of the ballots cast shall be necessary for his election.
2. The Lead Pastor shall continue in office until he resigns, or until his resignation is requested by the Board of Elders following their two thirds majority vote required for such.
3. The Elders shall appoint the search committee and are responsible for all matters pertaining to selecting an individual to be presented to the congregation for election as the Lead Pastor. This committee is entrusted to ensure any candidate’s willingness to support what is stated in the documents titled “Statement of Faith” and “Leadership Essentials.”
CHURCH LEADERS, TEACHERS, AND SUBSIDIARY ORGANIZATIONS
A. CHURCH LEADERS AND TEACHERS
1. Positions responsible for leadership, shepherding, or teaching of others will be required to confirm their support for what is stated in the documents titled “Statement of Faith” and “Leadership Essentials” prepared for this purpose. Church membership is considered a requirement for such positions, although this requirement may be waived for those holding temporary positions or supporting roles.
2. Those positions not otherwise identified in this document may be filled by appointment via the various staff processes under the Lead Pastor. In addition to the specific functional requirements, the qualification of candidates is also based on Luke 22:25-26, Acts 6:1-4, and I Timothy 3:8-13. An opportunity for review by the Board of Elders is to be initiated should there be any concerns about qualifications and/or membership requirements.
B. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN SCHOOL AND OTHER SUBSIDIARY ORGANIZATIONS
1. No individual involved with Blackhawk Christian School or any other subsidiary organization of this church shall teach or promote any practice or policy contrary to what is stated in the document titled “Leadership Essentials” or any other foundational documents of the church itself and must be aligned under the Lead Pastor or one of the staff and/or management positions reporting to the Lead Pastor.
2. All regular officers of, or individuals of, subsidiary organizations shall abide by the same guidelines as church leaders and teachers.
DOCUMENT AMENDMENTS AND REVISION RECORD
This document may be amended at a regular business meeting by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present, provided notice of proposed amendment shall have been given in writing at a previous regular business meeting or in the church bulletin and announced to the congregation on the two preceding Sundays.
B. REVISION RECORDAmendment Dates:
October 1976, December 1980, February 1982, February 1984, October 1985, July 1986, November 1987, February 1988, February 1992, May 1992, May 2006, and May 2020.