Welcome to Crockenhill Baptist Church. This local church is one part of a much wider body of people who are the church of God, made up of people that recognise Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and who are united to Him by the Holy Spirit.
We exist to worship God, to strengthen believers, and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all.
We come together as a group of people to help one another - as individuals and as a church - to grow in our Christian faith and to share this with other people: to enjoy being in God’s presence and worshipping Him together, to share teaching from the Bible and personal stories of the amazing things Jesus has done, to encourage one another as we try and live out Jesus’ teaching, and to show and tell other people who Jesus is.
When we meet together we learn more about God and Jesus through the Bible; pray together for people, our Church, our local community and the world; provide care and friendship to one another; and reach out to people who do not know Jesus or the importance of recognising who He is (Acts 2:42, Matthew 28:20, Mark 16:15.).
2. Legal structure
The legal structure of our Church is a ‘charitable incorporated organisation’ (a “CIO”). We have a Church Constitution which deals with the legal requirements we have to meet as a CIO. Any changes to our Constitution must be registered by the Charity Commission before they come into effect.
Our Constitution was adopted on 29th May 2022 and registered by the Charity Commission on 29th July 2022.
This document is our Church Handbook. It sets out the internal workings of our Church and is based on our understanding of the Bible. It sits alongside our Constitution, and both documents should be read together to understand how the Church operates. This Church Handbook must always be consistent with our Constitution – if it is inconsistent, the Constitution takes precedence.
If there is anything you are unsure about, please speak to the Pastor or one of the Elders/Deacons.
3. Our basis of faith
Our Basis of Faith sets out the core truths of the Gospel which we believe every true Christian should agree with. Under our Constitution, the charitable purposes of our Church and the activities we carry out must be consistent with our Basis of Faith.
Appendix A contains our Basis of Faith.
4. Doctrinal distinctives
Our Church has another statement of beliefs called ‘Doctrinal Distinctives’. These set out our Church’s position and teaching on certain specific matters, as we recognise that genuine Christian believers may take different views.
Appendix B contains our Doctrinal Distinctives.
5. Ethical statements
These statements set out our Church’s teaching on ethical matters and explain how our Basis of Faith is worked out practically in day-to-day life.
Appendix C contains our Ethical Statements.
6. Becoming a member of our church
If you are a Christian and you think of Crockenhill Baptist Church as your ‘spiritual home’ then we hope you will demonstrate this formally by becoming a Church Member.
This is a way of showing to other people that you are committed to using your gifts and time to serve in our Church, to being served by other Church Members, and to serving together with them to show Jesus’ love to others.
We ask people to confirm that they agree with our Basis of Faith before they can become a Church Member.
We ask people to confirm that they accept our Doctrinal Distinctives as our Church’s teaching on these matters. Church Members may hold and discuss a different personal view but are asked not to insist on their own view or to seek to override the Church’s teaching on these matters.
Church Members are to live in a way that is consistent with our Ethical Statements.
Appendix D explains how you can become a Church Member.
7. Being a church member
Church Members have a particular role in decision-making within our Church, including electing/appointing Elders/Deacons, agreeing the ways the Church should carry out its mission and its activities and priorities, deciding to create new staff roles and/or appoint staff, and identifying ways of using the Church’s resources to further the Kingdom of God.
Appendix D explains more about what being a Church Member looks like in practice and how Church Membership may come to an end.
8. Leadership of our church
Jesus Christ Himself is the leader of our Church. Through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, we are guided by Jesus’ teaching – both by His words and the insight we are given into how He lived and treated people.
The Lord Jesus also gives us leaders, referred to in this local Church as Elders and Deacons. As they themselves seek to follow Jesus they provide an example for others to follow, and the Bible encourages us to imitate the faith that they have (Hebrews 13:7).
As our leaders watch over our Church, and are accountable to God, the Apostle Paul tells us to submit to the authority God has given them “so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (Hebrews 13:17).
As Baptists, the Church believes in the priesthood of all believers: that God is equally accessible to all who accept Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour, and that every Christian has equal potential to minister for God (1 Peter 2:9). Whilst some are specifically called to teach and preach, we believe that all members have been given gifts that can be used in the service of the Church. All members have equal decision-making authority through a members’ meeting, whilst being guided by those called to leadership within the Church, so that they can serve our Church with joy (Hebrews 13:7 and 17).
The Church’s Constitution states that the individuals who hold the following Church Officer roles are the charity trustees of our Church: Pastor, Elders, Deacons.
As charity trustees, these individuals have certain legal duties and responsibilities under the law in England and Wales.
Appendix E explains how these Church Officers are appointed and how their roles may come to an end. It also explains the other Church Officer roles we have in our Church, in addition to the roles of the Charity Trustees.
9. Church discipline
As a Church, we are part of the family of God. As with any family, the members of this Church may disagree with one another, or fall into a pattern of behaviour that does not reflect how Jesus has taught us to live. We recognise that we are all sinners and make mistakes and are grateful for God’s forgiveness when we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:8-9).
However, we also recognise that sometimes Church Members may refuse to be reconciled to each other when disputes arise, or to persist in behaviour that is dishonouring to God and the Bible’s teaching. In these circumstances, we may sadly have to take the step of removing them from formal Church Membership. This is because such behaviour and lack of repentance may indicate that they are not truly part of the family of God. It can also tempt other Church Members and attendees to follow their example, particularly if their behaviour is left ’unchecked’ by the leadership (Matthew 18:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 5).
Removing someone from Church Membership is not a decision that is taken lightly, but with the hope that it will prompt the individual to recognise their sin and turn back to Jesus, so that we can welcome them back into our Church with open arms.
Appendix F explains how church discipline is carried out.
#10. Church members’ meetings
All Church Members are encouraged to attend Church Members’ meetings whenever possible. These are valuable opportunities to share together the work of our Church and other organisations our Church supports, to discuss and take decisions about new activities and ideas, and to pray and praise God together.
Appendix G explains how often Church Members’ Meetings are held and how decisions are made.
#11. Other provisions relating to the day to day running of the Church
Appendix H covers other matters relevant to how we run our Church on a day to day basis, that are not covered anywhere else in this Church Handbook. This includes:
The Lord’s Supper
Applications for baptism
Church safeguarding and other policies
#12. Changing this church handbook
Appendix I sets out how this Church Handbook can be amended.
#Appendix A – Basis of Faith
There is one God, who exists eternally in three distinct but equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is unchangeable in his holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator; Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to his sovereign will for his own glory.
##2. The Bible
God has revealed himself in the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments alone. Every word was inspired by God through human authors, so that the Bible as originally given is in its entirety the Word of God, without error and fully reliable in fact and doctrine. The Bible alone speaks with final authority and is always sufficient for all matters of belief and practice.
##3. The Human Race
All men and women, being created male and female in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. As a result of the fall of our first parents, every aspect of human nature has been corrupted and all men and women are without spiritual life, guilty sinners and hostile to God. Every person is therefore under the just condemnation of God and needs to be born again, forgiven and reconciled to God in order to know and please him.
##4. The Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life in obedience to the Father. He taught with authority and all his words are true. On the cross he died in the place of sinners, bearing God’s punishment for their sin, redeeming them by his blood. He rose from the dead and in his resurrection body ascended into heaven where he is exalted as Lord of all. He intercedes for his people in the presence of the Father.
Salvation is entirely a work of God’s grace and cannot be earned or deserved. It has been accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ and is offered to all in the gospel. God in his love forgives sinners whom he calls, granting them repentance and faith. All who believe in Christ are justified by faith alone, adopted into the family of God and receive eternal life.
##6. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has been sent from heaven to glorify Christ and to apply his work of salvation. He convicts sinners, imparts spiritual life and gives a true understanding of the Scriptures. He indwells all believers, brings assurance of salvation and produces increasing likeness to Christ. He builds up the Church and empowers its members for worship, service and mission.
##7. The Church
The universal Church is the body of which Christ is the head and to which all who are saved belong. It is made visible in local churches, which are congregations of believers who are committed to each other for the worship of God, the preaching of the Word, the administering of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; for pastoral care and discipline, and for evangelism. The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.
##8. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism and the Lord’s Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and entry into His Church but does not impart spiritual life. The Lord’s Supper is a commemoration of Christ’s sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.
Sexual intimacy is a gift from God and is to be enjoyed exclusively within the context of marriage. Marriage is, by definition, heterosexual and between one man and one woman. Marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and His Church.
##10. The Future
The Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. He will raise the dead and judge the world in righteousness. The wicked will be sent to eternal punishment and the righteous will be welcomed into a life of eternal joy in fellowship with God. God will make all things new and will be glorified forever.
#Appendix B – Doctrinal Distinctives
Baptism is a command of the Lord Jesus Christ to all those who believe in Him (Matthew 28:19). This Church teaches, preaches and practises believers’ baptism. The normal mode of baptism is full immersion in water, but the Elders/Deacons may agree an alternative where appropriate.
##The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper (or Communion) is a symbolic meal of thanksgiving established by the Lord Jesus in which we:
Regularly remember His atoning work on the cross
Acknowledge our sharing in the benefits of His death
Have fellowship with the Lord Jesus and each other
Are reminded of His love for us, which is to guide our relationships as the body of Christ
Are spiritually fed
Proclaim His death until His return.
Our Basis of Faith sets out that the Bible is the final authority for all matters of belief and practice. The Church upholds that the teaching of the Bible is that marriage is between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6, Ephesians 5:31-33) and that all sexual practices outside of marriage between a man and a woman are sinful and wrong. This includes homosexual practices (Romans 1:24-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) regardless of whether or not homosexual marriage is permitted by the laws of England and Wales.
As a member of the FIEC, this Church holds to the Doctrinal Distinctives on Same-Sex Marriage adopted by the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) on this issue. This is available on the FIEC website.
##Women in Ministry
This Church’s position is that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life and church leadership. Although men and women are of equal status and have a variety of useful roles and ministries within the church, the Bible teaches that certain offices within the church are reserved for men.
This Church holds to the Doctrinal Distinctives on Women in Ministry adopted by (FIEC) in their Statement on this issue. This is available on the FIEC website.
As a member of the FIEC, this Church holds to the Doctrinal Distinctives on Gospel Unity adopted by the FIEC in their Statement on this issue. This explains how our commitment to the gospel means we are unable to express Christian fellowship with those who cannot affirm the fundamental truths of the faith.
#Appendix C – Ethical Statements
In line with our Basis of Faith and Doctrinal Distinctives, it is important that the Church and Church Members in no way condone, promote, assist or encourage adulterous or extra-marital sexual practices among Christians, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
In accordance with our Doctrinal Distinctives and the FIEC Statement on Women in Ministry, we recognise that God created us male and female and calls us to live according to our biological sex.
#Appendix D – Church Membership
This appendix sets out the provisions for Church Membership that are referred to in the Constitution.
##1. Eligibility for Church Membership
Membership of this local Church is open to all those who:
Publicly profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and are seeking to live as one of His disciples.
Are in full agreement with the Church’s Basis of Faith (in Appendix A).
Are prepared to accept the Doctrinal Distinctives of the Church (in Appendix B).
Are committed to living in accordance with the Ethical Statements of the Church (in Appendix C).
Have been baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Commit themselves to serve Christ with the other members of the Church.
Agree to recognise the leadership and authority of the Elders/Deacons of the Church, in so far as those leaders are acting in accordance with scripture and the established practices of the church.
Fully accept the responsibilities and obligations of Church Membership (outlined in paragraph 3 below).
##2. Privileges and responsibilities of Church Members
2.1 Being a Church Member brings both privileges and responsibilities. The privileges include being identified as part of this local Church of God, being able to take part in discussing and agreeing the way in which the Church should move forward and benefitting from the pastoral care of the Church leaders and other members.
2.2 We ask all Church Members to show their commitment to actively serving Christ as part of our Church, including by:
a. Seeking to live a life that is consistent with the faith we profess in our Lord Jesus Christ and with the Bible’s teaching (Philippians 3:16; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
b. Taking part in Sunday worship, participating in the Lord’s Supper and joining together for corporate prayer, as individual circumstances allow. (Acts 20:7, Hebrews 10:24-25, Acts 2:42, 20:7).
c. Regular private prayer, including for Church Members and the work and ministry of our Church, and personal Bible study (2 Timothy 3:15-17, Philippians 4:6).
d. Sharing in the work of our Church, according to the individual calling, gifts and opportunities God has given you. (1 Corinthians 12-14).
e. Using opportunities to witness to non-Christians by what you say and the way you live. (Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 15:58).
f. Praying for the Pastor, Elders/Deacons in their commitments and as they work together to build up the church of God, both locally and worldwide (1 Thessalonians 5:12-18).
g. Regular financial giving to our Church and the Lord’s work in general, including for mission, in accordance with your means (Malachi 3:10, 1 Corinthians 16:2, 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
h. Showing Christian love and concern both to others in the church and for the wider community (John 13:35, 1 Thessalonians 3:12).
i. Attending and participating in Church ‘business’ meetings. Sharing views respectfully and openly and engaging in constructive discussion on matters raised at church meetings with the aim of reaching a common mind and unity of purpose. (1 Timothy 4:12, Philippians 2:1-2).
2.3 Each Member also has a legal duty, which is stated in our Constitution as follows:
“It is the duty of each member of the Church to exercise his or her powers as a Member of the Church in the way he or she decides in good faith would be most likely to further the purposes of the Church.”
##3 Applying to become a Church Member
The first Church Members are the people who agreed to approve the original version of the Constitution together with the original version of this Church Handbook. (The fact that the first Members voted to approve the Constitution and Church Handbook, including the Basis of Faith means that no further written declaration from them is needed).
3.1 Anyone meeting the eligibility criteria outlined in paragraph 1 above is encouraged to become a Church Member. The procedure for applying for membership is as follows:
a. Anyone interested in applying for membership of the Church should firstly speak to one of the Pastors/Elders.
b. They will then be asked to fill in a short application form.
c. Where a person applying for membership was previously a member of another church, the Pastor/Elders are likely to request a reference from the leaders of that church regarding the applicant’s suitability for membership.
d. The Pastor/Elders will then consider whether the applicant is eligible for membership. This will normally involve arranging to meet with the applicant to discuss their application and any queries they may have. This includes to discuss:
How the applicant became a Christian, and if and when they were baptised.
How the applicant’s life has changed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, since becoming a Christian.
How the applicant sees themselves becoming involved at the Church.
If the applicant agrees with the Church’s Basis of Faith and is willing to accept the Doctrinal Distinctives and to live in accordance with the Church’s Ethical Statements.
If the applicant is willing to comply with the Church Constitution and this Church Handbook, including the duty of members.
e. Where the Pastor/Elders agree that an applicant meets the criteria for membership, the applicant will be informed that their name will be put forward to a Church Members’ meeting.
f. The application shall be approved if agreed by at least two thirds of Church Members attending and voting at a Church Members’ meeting. If approved, the individual will be accepted into membership at that Church Members’ meeting and formally welcomed into Church Membership at the next convenient Sunday service at which the church shares the Lord’s Supper.
3.2 New Members of the Church will be encouraged to attend all Church Members’ meetings after being admitted to membership and Members will be entitled to vote on any matter.
3.3 The Pastor [and his wife] shall become [a] Member[s] on taking up his appointment provided the eligibility criteria in paragraph 1 is met.
3.4 The Administrator will maintain a written register of all Members.
##4 Resigning or transferring Church Membership
4.1 A Church Member may resign voluntarily by submitting a written letter or email to the Pastor/Elders.
4.2 A Church Member will cease to be a member when he/she dies.
4.3 If a Church Member wishes to transfer their membership to another church, then they should inform the Pastor/Elders. The Administrator will usually write to the church to provide a reference on behalf of the Pastor/Elders if requested.
##5 Removing an individual from Church Membership
5.1 A Church Member may be treated as having resigned from membership of the Church if they have not taken part in the Lord’s Supper at the Church without good reason for a period of one year and have been notified in writing by the Pastor/Elders that they will be removed from membership before the change is made. Anyone who has been removed from the register of members under this provision may re-apply for membership in the normal way and will be welcomed back into Church membership if their application is approved. This provision does not apply to a Church Member who is serving as a mission worker in another country.
5.2 A Church Member will be treated as having resigned from membership of the Church if they become a full member of another church.
5.3 If a Church Member moves out of the geographical area served by this Church, it will be assumed that they resign their membership.
5.4 A Church Member may be removed from membership by the application of the disciplinary procedure set out in Appendix F.
#Appendix E - Appointment of Church Officers
This appendix sets out how the different Church Officer roles and other positions in our Church are appointed and how they may come to an end.
##1. Charity Trustees
1.1. The Constitution sets out which of the Church Officers are the Charity Trustees of our Church and the names of the first Charity Trustees.
1.2. The Pastor/Elders/Deacons must fully subscribe to our Church’s Constitution and Church Handbook, the Basis of Faith and our Doctrinal Distinctives and live in accordance with our Ethical Statements.
##2. The Pastor[s]
2.1. The Church may appoint a Pastor or Pastors, who is/are set apart for the teaching and preaching of the Bible and the pastoral leadership of our Church. They may already be a Church Member or may become a Church Member when they take up the role of Pastor.
2.2. The decision to invite an individual to serve as a Pastor in our Church is made by the Church Members, on the recommendation of the Elders/Deacons. A Church Meeting will be called for this purpose and at least two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote must vote in favour for the individual to be appointed.
2.3. The Pastor[s] is an/are Elder[s] of our Church and references in this Church Handbook to Elders includes the Pastor(s). The Pastor or one of the other Elders will usually Chair meetings of Elders/Deacons and Church Members providing they do not have a conflict of interest in an item to be discussed.
2.4. The Pastor will be a paid office holder of the Church with a memorandum of understanding.
2.5. The Pastor may resign from employment by giving notice in writing in accordance with his contract of employment.
2.6. The Elders/Deacons or Members may seek authority at a Church Meeting to terminate the appointment of a Pastor, subject to the requirements of employment law and the Constitution. Two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote must vote in favour in order for the authority to be granted. Where such authority is granted, the Elders/Deacons must still act in accordance with the requirements of employment law and the Constitution.
3.1. The Elders are responsible for the spiritual and pastoral oversight of our Church. Elders are men who the Holy Spirit has qualified to serve in this role, and who demonstrate the gifting, character and conduct described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and 1 Peter 5:2-3.
3.2. Members may suggest to the Pastor/Elders the name of an individual they consider to be gifted and suitable for eldership. Elders are nominated for appointment or re-appointment by the other Elders and appointed by the Church Members. Two thirds of Church Members present and voting must vote in favour for the individual to be appointed.
3.3. An Elder will serve for a term of 3 years and may then be re-appointed.
3.4. An Elder may resign from office by giving notice in writing to the other Elders.
3.5. If an Elder no longer displays the qualities required of an Elder and/or one or more of the reasons for church discipline contained in this Church Handbook apply, then the other Elders/Deacons or Members may propose to a Church Meeting that the appointment of the Elder be terminated. Two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote must vote in favour in order for the decision to be carried.
4.1. The Deacons have key leadership responsibilities for both the practical affairs and regular activities of our Church. These include areas of administration, care and outreach. Deacons are individuals who the Holy Spirit has qualified to serve in this role, and who demonstrate the gifting, character and conduct described in Acts 6:3 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
4.2. Members may suggest to the Pastor/Elders the name of an individual they consider to be gifted and suitable for the office of Deacon. Deacons are nominated for election or re-election by the Elders/other Deacons and elected by Church Members. Two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote must vote in favour in order for a Deacon to be elected.
4.3. A Deacon will serve for a term of 3 years and may be re-elected.
4.4. A Deacon may resign from office by giving notice in writing to the Elders/other Deacons.
4.5. If a Deacon no longer displays the qualities required of a Deacon and/or one or more of the reasons for church discipline contained in this Church Handbook apply, then the Elders/other Deacons or Members may propose to a Church Meeting that the appointment of the Deacon be terminated. Two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote must vote in favour in order for the decision to be carried.
##5. Church Administrator and Church Treasurer
5.1. The Church Members shall elect from the membership a Church Administrator and a Church Treasurer.
5.2. The Church Administrator is responsible for overseeing the administration and ‘corporate’ governance of our Church. This includes the arrangements for Church Meetings (including preparing and sending notices, and taking minutes), making sure that the provisions of the Constitution and Church Handbook are followed, and managing the documentation relating to employment of staff and/or paid office holders. The Church Administrator also maintains the register of members, which we must do under the terms of our Constitution.
5.3. The Church Treasurer is responsible for overseeing the financial governance of the Church. This includes maintaining the accounts of the Church and supporting records and ensuring that the Charity Trustees have implemented suitable financial controls.
##6. Other Church Officers
6.1 The Church Members may appoint individuals to other Church Officer roles within the Church. Only those individuals appointed to the Church Officer roles specified in the Constitution will be charity trustees.
6.2 Other than the Charity Trustees, those individuals who held Church Officer roles immediately before the transfer of assets and liabilities from the charitable unincorporated association to the CIO shall continue in office in the CIO with no requirement for re-appointment. This is unless the Church Members have agreed that they should not continue in office when this Church Handbook is first adopted, or the individuals resign from office or their appointment otherwise comes to an end in accordance with this Church Handbook.
##7. Church staff
The Elders/Deacons may appoint Church staff as employees and/or paid office holders. The appointment of staff must be approved by two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote at a Church Meeting.
#Appendix F – Church discipline
This appendix explains the reasons that our Church may need to exercise discipline and the procedure we will follow, which is based on the Bible’s teaching.
##1. Who church discipline applies to
1.1 Clause 9.4 of the Constitution sets out certain steps that must be followed if a Church Member will be removed from membership as a result of church discipline and who is involved in the decision.
1.2 The provisions of Appendix F apply to all Church Members.
1.3 There may be individuals who regularly attend and take part in the life of our Church but who are not Church Members. The procedures set out below provide a guide to dealing with issues and disputes that may arise with individuals who are not Church Members.
##2. Reasons for church discipline
A Church Member may be subject to church discipline for any of the following reasons:
2.1. They err in doctrine so that they no longer affirm the Basis of Faith of the Church (see Appendix A).
2.2. They are no longer willing to accept the practices and doctrinal positions that are set out in the Church’s Doctrinal Distinctives (see Appendix B).
2.3. They err in conduct by committing open sin which brings the Lord Jesus, His Gospel and/or the Church into disrepute.
2.4. They have consistently failed to fulfil the responsibilities and obligations of a member of the Church.
2.5. They refuse to repent of sin committed against another person or Church Member which has been drawn to their attention.
2.6. They have made false and malicious allegations against another person or Church Member.
2.7. They are causing unreasonable and persistent division or dissension in the Church.
2.8. They are no longer willing to recognise the leadership and authority of the Elders/Deacons of the Church, in so far as those leaders are acting in accordance with scripture and the established practices of the church.
##3. Process for church discipline
3.1. The Elders/Deacons must be informed as soon as possible where it is believed that any of the reasons set out in paragraph 2 above apply to a Church Member. Where a member of the Church believes they have been sinned against, they should normally raise the issue first with the person concerned if it is safe and appropriate to do so. They should only report it to the Elders/Deacons if the two members concerned are unable to resolve the matter between themselves. Safeguarding issues should be reported to the Safeguarding Coordinator.
3.2. Where the Elders/Deacons are informed, or they themselves believe that any of the reasons set out in paragraph 2 above apply to a Church Member, at least two of the Elders/Deacons will meet informally with the Church Member to discuss the matter and seek to resolve it, in line with Biblical principles.
3.3. The Elders/Deacons looking into the matter will report back to the Elders/Deacons to decide whether it is necessary to hold a formal disciplinary meeting and what additional steps they should take, if any.
3.4. During the process of looking into such a matter, the Elders/Deacons may decide that it is appropriate to temporarily limit the Church Member’s involvement in church activities, while the issue is being reviewed and a clear conclusion reached. The Church Member concerned will be notified if this is the case, with clear reasons given and an explanation of what will happen next. The Church Member may continue to attend and vote at Church Members’ meetings but may not be permitted to participate in the Lord’s Supper.
##4. Process for removal from Church Membership
4.1. Before the Elders/Deacons propose removing someone from Church Membership they must carry out the following process:
4.1.1. The Elders/Deacons will have made all reasonable efforts to address the issue, as outlined in paragraph 3 above, so that the Church Member can continue in membership, if possible.
4.1.2. If the Elders/Deacons are formally considering whether or not to remove the Church Member from membership, they will write to the Church Member to explain why they are considering removing their membership.
4.1.3. The Elders/Deacons will give the Church Member 21 clear days’ notice of a meeting at which they will formally consider whether to propose that the Church Member be removed from membership. The Church Member will be invited to make representations either at the meeting or in writing before the meeting. They can either make such representations themselves or ask a representative to do this for them.
4.1.4. The Elders/Deacons must take into account those representations when deciding whether to propose removal of the Church Member from membership.
4.2. The Elders/Deacons may propose to a Church Meeting that a Church Member be removed from membership. The Church Member will be entitled to a reasonable amount of time during the Church Meeting to make representations before a vote is taken but must leave the room before the vote. Two thirds of Church Members present and entitled to vote must vote in favour in order for Church Membership to be removed.
4.3. The Church Member will be informed of the decision of the Church Members by the Church Administrator and the register of Members will be amended, if required.
4.4. Anyone who has been removed as a Church Member may re-apply for membership in the normal way and will be welcomed back into Church Membership if their application is approved.
##5. Additional disciplinary measures
5.1. Even in cases where there has been genuine repentance, the Elders/Deacons may still be required to report certain issues to the relevant secular authorities. In such cases, the Elders/Deacons will give the individual concerned all the pastoral and practical support that is appropriate for someone who is genuinely repentant (whether or not they are still a Church Member).
5.2. If someone is removed from Church Membership, the Elders/Deacons may also impose any of the following additional measures:
5.2.1. A restriction from attending or taking part in any or all of the meetings of the Church, including meetings or activities that are normally open to the public.
Any of these measures may be altered or removed later by the Elders/Deacons.
#Appendix G - Church Members’ Meetings
This appendix explains when and how Church Members’ Meetings will take place. In our Constitution these are called “General meetings of Members” and this means the same thing as “Church Members’ Meetings”.
##1. Arrangements for Church Members’ Meetings
1.1 The Constitution sets out the arrangements our Church must follow for Church Members’ Meetings, under the headings “Members’ Decisions” and “General meetings of members” (clauses 10 and 11). These are summarised here but the provisions of the Constitution must be followed.
1.2 All Church Members will be given at least 14 clear days’ advanced notice of Church Members’ Meetings, in writing. Clause 11.3.3 of the Constitution sets out the information that we have to provide in the notice of a Church Members’ Meeting. Copies of the agenda and minutes of the last Church Members’ Meeting will be made available to Church Members by the Church Administrator.
1.3 If Church Members want to suggest an item to be discussed under ‘any other business’ they should inform the Church Administrator at least 7 days before the meeting, so that it can be considered.
2.1 Under our Constitution we must have an Annual General Meeting (AGM) each year and there is certain ‘business’ which has to be undertaken in that meeting, such as receiving our Church’s annual accounts for the year before.
2.2 Our Church usually holds three other Church Members’ Meetings during the year in addition to the AGM, so that there is one each quarter.
3.1 In order to make decisions at a Church Members’ Meeting there have to be enough Church Members there to form a ‘quorum’. Our Constitution says that our quorum is 40% of all current Church Members or 5 Church Members, whichever is higher. This means that a sufficient number of Church Members must be present in person (see 4.4 below).
3.2 If there are not enough Church Members present to form a quorum then the meeting will either be postponed or can go ahead, but if it goes ahead no decisions can be made. The Constitution sets out what happens if a reconvened meeting that was postponed still does not have a quorum.
##4. Voting for decisions
4.1 Most decisions at a Church Members’ Meeting can be made by a simple majority of Church Members present and voting (ie. 51% or more) and each Church Member has one vote. In these cases, votes will normally be made by a show of hands and no proxy or postal/email votes will be allowed.
4.2 There are some more significant decisions where the number of Church Members voting in favour must be higher; for example, for changes to the Constitution. These are set out in paragraph 5 below.
4.3 If a decision is significant or might be contentious, the Elders/Deacons may decide that voting will take place by a secret ballot. A secret ballot can also be requested by 10% of the Church Members present at the meeting.
4.4 The Constitution provides more detail about voting at Church Members meetings.
##5. Voting requirements for specific decisions
5.1 The table below shows the decisions that must be approved by Church Members at a Church Members’ Meeting, including where a majority is required that is more than a simple majority. It also says what majority is required and where this is stated in the Constitution or Church Handbook. These are listed as “Type A decisions” in the table.
5.2 There are other decisions that Church Members must approve at a Church Members’ meeting even though this is not required under the Constitution or by other provisions in this Church Handbook. These are listed as “Type B decisions” in the table.
Type A decisions
Type B decisions
#Appendix H – Other provisions relating to the day to day running of our Church
##The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is normally celebrated twice a month at morning or evening Sunday services. All who truly believe in the Lord Jesus and know Him as their personal Saviour are encouraged to take part.
##Applications for baptism
Anyone interested in being baptised should first speak to one of the Pastor/Elders.
The decision whether to baptise an individual will be taken by the Pastor/Elders.
##Church safeguarding and other policies
The Pastor/Elders/Deacons shall operate a Church safeguarding policy and shall ensure that activities involving children and adults at risk are carried out in accordance with that policy. A copy of the Church’s safeguarding policy is available from the Church Administrator or Safeguarding Co-ordinator or on the church website.
Each person overseeing Church activities involving children or adults at risk and every Elder/Deacon shall provide to the Safeguarding Co-ordinator a current Disclosure and Barring Service certificate.
The Church also maintains a number of other policies, including a GDPR data protection policy, which are available on the church website or from the Church Administrator.
#Appendix I – Amendments to the Church Handbook
The Church Handbook can be changed if the proposed amendment is approved by the Church Members at a Church Members’ Meeting. This is provided the proposed amendment would not cause the Church to lose its charitable status or make the Church Handbook inconsistent with our Constitution.
A majority of 75% of those Church Members present and voting at a Church Members meeting is needed to approve an amendment to the Church Handbook.
Notice will be given to Church Members in advance if any changes are proposed to the Church Handbook. This will provide details of the proposed changes including the specific wording of the amendment(s).
Any changes to our Constitution must be made in accordance with clause 27 of the Constitution.
This is the Church Handbook adopted by the members of Crockenhill Baptist Church at a meeting of the members held on the 29th May 2022.