This Church, an organization of baptized believers, was organized in the State of Louisiana on December 1, 1979 under “CYPRESS BAPTIST CHURCH OF BENTON, LOUISIANA”, a Louisiana nonprofit corporation which is a 501 (c)(3) organization for federal tax purposes which operates under and shall be known as “Cypress Baptist Church” (hereinafter referred to as the “Church”). By definition the “Church” shall include all its associated entities.
2 – STATEMENT OF FAITH
The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our faith. The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. The Bible, as the inspired and infallible Word of God, which is the final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, shall be the sole and final source of all that we believe. We, therefore, acknowledge the Bible as our authority in matters of faith and practice. Our understanding of the truth contained therein is in essential accord with the belief of other Southern Baptist Churches, as expressed in the “Baptist Faith and Message” adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention on May 9, 1963 and revised on June 14, 2000.
We are held to the following:
We believe the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God, without any error, the all-sufficient authority in matters of faith, doctrine, and Christian living.
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, and that He is true God and man. He died on the cross for our sins. He rose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father, and is now our High Priest and Advocate.
We believe that man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is therefore lost. Only through regeneration by the work of the Holy Spirit can man’s salvation and spiritual life be obtained.
We believe that eternal salvation is the free gift of God, entirely apart from man’s works, and is possessed by any and all who have faith in and receive Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
We believe in a regenerated church membership: that is, persons old enough to understand their need for Jesus Christ and, of their own free will, accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior.
We believe that baptism is by immersion and the Lord’s Supper is a memorial to His suffering and death on the cross. These are ordinances to be observed by the church in its present age. These are, however, not to be regarded as means for man’s salvation.
We believe in the personal, bodily, imminent, and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ and that His Second Coming inspires believers for dynamic and zealous life and service for Him while waiting for His return.
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, the everlasting blessedness of the saved in heaven, and the everlasting punishment and separation from God of the unsaved in hell.
We believe in the autonomy of the local church. The Church shall manage its own affairs and shall not be subject to any other religious body or organization.
3 – CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do in the presence of God, angels and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into this covenant with one another, as one body in Christ. We do, therefore, in His strength engage:
That we will exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, and faithfully warn, exhort, and admonish each other, as occasion may require;
That we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but will uphold the public worship of God, the ordinances of His house, to sustain its worship, discipline and doctrine;
That we will not omit private and family devotion at home nor neglect the great duty of religiously training our children and those under our care, for the service of Christ and enjoyment of heaven;
That as we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, we will seek divine aid to enable us to deny ungodliness and every worldly lust and win the souls of the lost;
That we would exercise restraint from anything that would easily entangle us to sin and keep us in bondage.
That we will contribute cheerfully of our property, accordingly as God has prospered us, for the maintenance of a faithful and evangelical ministry among us, for the support of the poor, and to spread the Gospel over the earth;
That we will, in all conditions, even till death, strive to live to the glory of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light;
That we will walk circumspectly in the Word; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment;
That we will be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the commands of our Savior to secure it without delay;
That we will be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior;
That we will remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech;
That we moreover pledge 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.
And may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfect in every good work, to do His will, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, forever and ever. Amen.
4 - SCRIPTURE
The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God which speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind. The Holy Scripture is the authority for all matters of faith and practice in the Church.
5 – MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
Marriage is a biblical institution established by God as clearly described in the scriptures. The Bible defines marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union and a covenant commitment for a lifetime. The Church recognizes only the biblical definition of marriage. We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity should occur outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Accordingly, because we believe the biblical teaching that marriage is between one man and one woman, this Church, its Pastors, staff, and all members will not participate in same sex unions or same sex marriages, nor shall any of its property or any resources be used for such purposes.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography, or any attempt to alter one’s gender by either surgery or appearance, are perversions of God’s created order and are sinful, offensive to God, and clearly forbidden in scripture.
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a Biblical role model to the Church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the Church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement of Marriage and Human Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly as a condition of employment or service.
We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of the Church.
6 – CHURCH PROPERTY
No Church Member, Pastor, Ministerial Staff, Support Staff, or Church employee shall have any individual ownership, title, leasehold interest, or any other interest or property rights of any nature in the Church Property, as all rights, title, and interest of any nature in the Church Property are vested and held solely by the Church.
Tangible Property includes all equipment, furniture, furnishings, computers, materials, money and other tangible property of any nature which was purchased by, donated to, willed to or procured by any other means by the Church, placed or installed on or within the Real Property or the improvements, and used as part of or in connection with the operation of the Church, including any replacements, additions, or modifications thereto.
Intangible Property includes all intangible Property owned or held by the Church including websites, phone numbers, Church member lists, trade names, logos, intellectual property rights, manuals, goodwill, assignable security deposits, computer software, internet domain names and any other intangible property.
The use of all Church property, as defined herein, for all activities shall be in keeping with biblical teaching and moral themes, character, and conduct to support the purpose of the Church and the governing documents of the Church.
The church’s facilities were provided through God’s benevolence and by the sacrificial generosity of church members. The church desires that its facilities be used for the fellowship of the Body of Christ and to bring God glory. Although the facilities are not generally open to the public, we make our facilities available to approved non-members as a witness to our faith, in a spirit of Christian charity, and as a means of demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in practice.
But facility use will not be permitted to persons or groups holding, advancing, or advocating beliefs or practices that conflict with the church’s faith or moral teachings, which are summarized in, among other places, the church’s constitution and bylaws. Nor may church facilities be used for activities that contradict, or are deemed inconsistent with, the church’s faith or moral teachings. The Pastor, or his official designee, is the final decision-maker concerning use of church facilities.
This restricted facility use policy is necessary for two important reasons. First, the church may not in good conscience materially cooperate in activities or beliefs that are contrary to its faith. Allowing its facilities to be used for purposes that contradict the church’s beliefs would be material cooperation with that activity, and would be a grave violation of the church’s faith and religious practice. (2 Cor 6:14; 1Thess 5:22.)
Second, it is very important that the church present a consistent message to the community, and that the church staff and members conscientiously maintain that message as part of their witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Allowing facilities to be used by groups or persons who express beliefs or engage in practices contrary to the church’s faith would have a severe negative impact on the message that the church strives to promote. It could also cause confusion and scandal to church members and the community because they may reasonably perceive that by allowing use of our facilities, the church agrees with the beliefs or practices of the persons or groups using its facilities.
Therefore, in no event shall persons or groups who hold, advance, or advocate beliefs, or advance, advocate, or engage in practices that contradict the church’s faith use any church facility. Nor may church facilities be used in any way that contradicts the church’s faith. This policy applies to all church facilities, regardless of whether the facilities are connected to the church’s sanctuary, because the church sees all of its property as holy and set apart to worship God. (Col 3:17.)
Approved Users and Priority of Use
The Pastor or official designee must approve all uses of church facilities. Generally, priority shall be given to church members, their immediate families, and organized groups that are part of the ministry, organization, or sponsored activities of the church. Church facilities and equipment may be made available to non-members or outside groups meeting the following qualifications:
Groups or persons requesting facility use must affirm that their beliefs and practices and planned uses of the facilities are consistent with the church’s faith and practice.
The group or person seeking facility use must submit a signed “Church Facility Reservation Request and Agreement” form.
The group or person seeking facility use must be willing to take responsibility for the facilities and equipment used and must agree to abide by the church’s rules of conduct for facility use.
7 – CHURCH MEMBERSHIP
We know that the true spiritual condition of a person’s heart is known only by God. We also know that the New Testament places responsibility on the Church to carefully consider each candidate for membership. Therefore, the membership reserves the exclusive right to determine who shall be members of this Church and the conditions of such membership.
Anyone seeking Church membership shall publicly demonstrate a desire to join the Church by conducting one of the following actions:
Profession of Faith: an individual (child or adult) who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, believing the commands and promises of scripture, following the Lord in baptism by immersion, and accepting the principles of faith and practices of the Church.
Promise of Letter: an individual who has been a member of another church of like faith and belief, as determined by the Pastor or his designee and can testify of their profession of faith.
Baptism: an individual who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and either never followed Him in believer’s baptism or was never baptized by immersion.
Statement: an individual coming from another church that does not practice transfer of church letter, as determined by the Pastor or his designee and can testify of their profession of faith and baptism by immersion.
A transferred letter to another church
A member’s written request to withdraw membership
Reasonable evidence that a member has united with another church
Involuntary separation of membership
Abide by the governing documents of the Church.
Serve under the general supervision of the Senior Pastor.
Coordinate their activity with church ministries, committees, and other entities.
Be accountable to the Church.
Elect or designate officers and other workers according to Church policies.
We will expect new members to attend our new member’s orientation when offered. This class is hosted periodically for individuals interested in Church membership or who desire to know more about our Church. Upon completion of the class and agreement with our beliefs and practices, as laid out in the governing documents, having given details of salvation/baptism experience, individuals are considered for Church membership by actions mentioned above.
Duties & Responsibilities:
When one becomes a Church member, they enter into covenant with God and the Church body. The Church Covenant outlines how we are to conduct ourselves as Christians and members of the Church.
Members who conduct their lives according to Holy Scripture and the Church covenant may participate in the ministries of the Church, vote on Church matters, and be eligible for leadership and service opportunities.
Each member covenants to first attempt to resolve any conflict with another member, Church Ministerial staff, or other Church staff in accordance with the guidance and direction of the Holy scripture prior to taking any other actions or seeking any other remedy with regard to such conflict, it being agreed that the procedures set forth in this article are in accordance with the Holy Scripture.
Separation of Membership:
If the general welfare of the Church, a Church member, or employee of the Church is jeopardized by the conduct of a “troubled member”, the Senior Pastor, the Executive Pastor, or an officer of the Deacon Body shall make an attempt to counsel or minister to a troubled member in a spirit of love and compassion but tempered with justice and the requirements of the Church. If there is no evidence of resolution or repentance, the troubled member shall be separated from the membership of the Church and their membership shall terminate upon written notice to the troubled member. Separation procedures shall be consistent with New Testament teaching as outlined in Matthew 18. However, if there is resolution and repentance made by the troubled member, their membership will remain intact.
Termination of Membership:
A church member’s membership may be terminated by:
Record of Membership:
It is the duty of the Church office to keep the records of membership up to date.
8 – CHURCH ENTITIES
All entities of the Church are to be consistent with the Church Covenant, Purpose Statement and Statement of Faith, and other governing documents. They are to be under the general supervision of the Senior Pastor, or his designated Church Ministerial Staff member. In order for an entity to be considered as a ministry of the Church, it must be under the scriptural authority of the Church so as to insure appropriate accountability, integrity and management of such entities.
As a part of overall Church discipleship, gospel presentations and biblical instructions are required in order to be obedient to the Great Commission and to facilitate personal spiritual growth. A directory of Church entities shall be maintained in the office of the Senior Pastor as well as the Church Administrator. The directory shall describe the entity name, the defined ministry objective and the staff position having responsibility for that entity. The staff person having that entity responsibility may create such organizational structure as needed with the approval of the Senior Pastor.
A Church Organizational Chart that describes the Church entity and responsible supervisory staff is to be maintained under the supervision of the Senior Pastor.
All entities shall:
* Abide by the governing documents of the Church.
* Serve under the general supervision of the Senior Pastor.
* Coordinate their activity with church ministries, committees, and other entities.
* Be accountable to the Church.
All entities shall develop their operating guidelines, including but not limited to personnel manual, procedures, and balanced budget, all of which shall be available to the Church membership. All entities shall develop their own ministry mission statement that is consistent with and in support of the Cypress Baptist Church Purpose Statement and other governing documents.
9 – INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE
Whenever these Bylaws or any other governing document or instrument or policy of the Church requires or permits an interpretation of Holy Scripture or refers to the Holy Scripture as a standard or a source of procedures, the Senior Pastor or his designee shall be empowered to make such determination, both as to the extent of the scripture thereof and the interpretation of such scripture.