Church Membership Guidelines
(A printed copy of this document is available from the Church Office)
Wymondham Baptist Church is a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Eastern Baptist Association and as such we will follow the guidance issued by the Baptist Union.
Legally we are a charitable unincorporated association.
Our purpose is to advance the Christian faith according to the principles of the Baptist denomination.
We are committed and bound to the rules in our Church Constitution. This document is available to Church Members and to every applicant for membership.
For guidance toward our practices and the way we run the church on a daily basis, we offer these rules. All other legal and statutory guidance still applies. For further information on the running of this church we encourage members to refer to our Constitution.
The Church means members of WYMONDHAM BAPTIST CHURCH
The principal purpose of the Church is the advancement of the Christian faith according to the principles of the Baptist denomination
What do we believe?
That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters pertaining to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each Church has liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer his laws.
That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost, of those who have professed repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ who ‘died for our sins according to the Scriptures; was buried, and rose again on the third day’.
That it is the duty of every disciple to bear personal witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to take part in the evangelisation of the world.
What do we do?
We meet regularly for:-
All individuals, organisations, groups and committees are accountable to the Charity Trustees.
To what or to whom are we affiliated?
The Church is affiliated to the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Eastern Baptist Association. The church supports the work of the wider Baptist church through prayer and financial contributions.
Church member responsibilities
As a church member you are expected to:-
prayer, Bible study, preaching and teaching;
The Communion of the Lord’s Supper which shall normally be observed at least once a month
Baptism, as defined in the Union’s declaration of Principle
Evangelism and mission, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
The teaching, encouragement, welcome and inclusion of young people
Nurture and growth of Christian disciples
Education and training for Christian and community service
Giving and encouraging pastoral care
Supporting and encouraging charitable social action in the UK and abroad
Encouraging relationships with and supporting Baptist and other Christians.
How do I become a church member?
Baptism by immersion upon profession of faith is the normal means of entry into the membership of a Baptist Church.
At Wymondham Baptist Church we have an open membership.
Church Membership is open to those who :
Attend worship regularly and participate in church activities.
Engage in personal prayer and Bible Study
Participate in the Communion of the Lord’s Supper as a privilege and a priority
Help the church wherever possible by using gifts and abilities to advance the purpose of the church and support the vision and mission strategies of the church.
Attend and participate in Church Members Meetings
Give regular financial support to the Church in proportion to personal resources and circumstances
Uphold Christian values
Accept the Beliefs of the Church
Meet the church’s qualification on Baptism
Commit themselves to serving Christ within the Church and beyond;
Participate in and abide by the decisions of the Church Members’ Meeting;
acknowledge their responsibilities as Church Members
Have their membership application accepted by the Church Members Meeting
A person wishing to become a Church Member should apply to the minister, having attended the church for a minimum of six months, so that we can both get to know each other. The leadership team will arrange for a visit to be made to the individual(s) to learn more about them and to ensure that they meet the above requirements. A report will be presented to the Church meeting who will vote on the application for membership. The minimum age for church membership is 16.
A membership list will be maintained in the Church Office. All data will be held securely in line with the church’s Data Protection Policy for the purpose of pastoral support.
In exceptional circumstances when the conduct of a Member is considered to be contrary to the Purposes and Beliefs of the Church and/or disruptive to the relationships between Members, then the Charity Trustees may recommend to a Church Members’ Meeting that the membership of that person be reviewed. The Church Members may, after considering the facts, terminate the membership of that person. The Church Member may be allowed to hear what is said at the Church Members’ Meeting, to correct any errors of fact and offer any explanation of the circumstances or reasons for their actions before withdrawing from the meeting so that the Church members may prayerfully and carefully consider whether they should resolve to remove that person’s name from the list of members.
Church Members Meetings
All church members have a responsibility to attend the church business meetings as often as they are able. The expectation would be that members attend at least two meetings a year. As members we meet under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern the mind of God in the affairs of the Church. Church meetings will be held at least four times a year. One of these meetings will be the Annual General Meeting when reports of all activities will be presented to the Church. An agenda for each meeting will be circulated prior to the meeting. Non members may attend church meetings but may not vote. A quorum of 33% of members is required for each church members meeting. The Church meeting has the authority to appoint Charity Trustees. At all times they must comply with all legal or other requirements. Minutes of church meetings will be taken. It is the member’s responsibility to ensure that these minutes are recorded correctly and the membership’s acceptance of the minutes is indicated by the chairman signing these minutes at the next meeting.
A Special Church meeting may be called to discuss matters of extraordinary importance. A special church meeting will be held to appoint or remove a Minister. Notice will be given two weeks prior to this meeting and details of the item to be discussed.
Wymondham Baptist Church leadership team comprises of the minister, 2 elders (appointed by the minister) and 6 deacons. The Church appoints a Church Secretary and Church Treasurer from amongst the members of the leadership team. The church members are responsible for the appointment of the minister and the deacons. For the election of deacons, church members are asked to nominate those from amongst the membership who they consider God is calling to be part of the leadership of the church. These individuals must agree to their nomination going forward. Nominations must be submitted in writing, with supporting signatures (proposer and seconder) to the minister three Sundays prior to the church meeting. Voting is by secret ballot, each member is able to vote for as many nominees as there are vacancies. Each candidate must receive at least 66% of the vote or in the case of more nominations than vacancies those receiving the most votes and at least 66% of the votes will be elected. If too few Charity Trustees are elected or effective church management, the church and minister may from its membership, excluding any candidates who nominations were unsuccessful, appoint a number of placeholder Trustees for an agreed period, to be followed by an additional Church vote.
Church Trustees are responsible for the leadership and administration of the church. They will meet regularly and each meeting will include worship, reading the Scripture and prayer. For matters requiring a decision, the Charity Trustees shall as far as possible, seek consensus on all matters considered at their meetings. Where this is not possible a vote shall be taken and the outcome recorded as the resolution of the Charity Trustees. Minutes will be taken of all Trustees meetings and these minutes will be held confidentially.
The minister, elders and deacons are the Church Trustees. All leadership roles take the biblical mandate from 1 Timothy 3:1-14. Though all leadership is called to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12) there are distinct roles within the leadership structure.
The role of an Elder
An elder is called to directly support the minister with the spiritual oversight of the church, though this is not limited to the elders it is core to their role. He/She is more inclined to support the church in the pastoral care of the fellowship.
The role of a Deacon
A deacon is called to help support the ministry of the fellowship both spiritually and in the practical outworking of its mission and its organisational structures. He/She will use his/her gifting to help in the day to day functioning of the church.
Appointment of Minster
The Church may have one or more Ministers or no Minister. Where a Minister is appointed, he/she is expected to be a member of Wymondham Baptist Church.
When the Church is seeking to appoint a Minister it will normally consult the appropriate staff within the Association before commencing any appointment process and follow, as far as practicable, the BU’s procedures and recommended terms for the settlement of Ministers.
A Minister will be appointed or removed by a resolution of the Church Members at a Special Church Members’ Meeting at any time.
The Minister or Ministers appointed by the Church will be entitled to be paid an agreed and reasonable remuneration or stipend out of the funds of the Church.
Currently the church facilities are used for church activities and other linked activities (e.g. Guides). The Trustees will consider other applications for use of the premises in line with the church vision.
Church keys will be issued to Staff, Trustees and selected persons. A register of keyholders is kept. The register will be reviewed annually.
We do not permit alcohol or drugs on the premises for any group.
We welcome the opportunity to show Christ’s love, however we do not tolerate aggressive or dangerous behaviour, for the protection of our teams as well as others with us. We reserve the right to ask anyone to leave, at any time.
Each church members is responsible for the financial upkeep of the premises and the stipend of the pastor.
At the Annual General Church members meeting the Charity Trustees will present a budget of subsequent years’ projected income and expenditure.
The Church’s annual financial year shall run from 1 January to 31 December.
Financial statements of all Church organisations that form part of the Activities shall be presented to the Charity Trustees and incorporated into the Church’s financial statements.
A statement of the Church Annual Accounts (audited or independently examined as required by law) shall be received at the Annual Church Members’ Meeting.
Church outreach activities remain under the authority of the church. Outreach groups may be led by an individual member with authority to make most decisions, within their activity but reference must be made to the Charity Trustees.
All volunteers working within any church activity must complete the appropriate training and should not put the church at any risk. It is the responsibility of the Trustees to ensure that adequate training is provided.
Financial records for outreach groups may be kept separately for clarity, but all assets and finance ultimately remain the property of Wymondham Baptist Church.
A appointed Church Trustee should have an oversite responsibility for each activity or group that operates within the life of the church.
Each outreach activity should report to the Church meeting so that the church can prayerfully support and grow the church mission and work together.
As a member of Wymondham Baptist Church you are encouraged to join and be an active member of a home group. Home Groups are overseen by the Leadership team. More information is available from the Church Office.
We are committed to the safety and well-being of all who meet with us or in premises. Our Safeguarding Officers are currently Emma Smith and Ramona Chenery. Our Safeguarding Policy is reviewed annually and presented to the Annual Church Meeting for approval.
Selection of youth leaders is through a set process of interview and reference collection. All leaders and Trustees are required to undergo a DBS check.
Health and Safety
One of the Church Trustees is responsible for Health and Safety, all church members are encouraged to report any Health and Safety issues to that Trustee. Details of all roles and responsibilities are displayed at the Church. Risk assessments are available in the Church Office.
Wymondham Baptist Church is covered by Employers Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance – certificates displayed in the Church Office.