More About Teddington Baptist Church
Like most Baptist Churches, Teddington Baptist Church (TBC) is an
independent Church governed by consensus of the local Church members and
financed through their giving. It is a registered charity no: 233543. It was founded in 1881 (see
Our Multimedia History).
The set of rules which govern the normal operation of the Church
is called its Constitution and these are set out below.
Although we are independent, we belong to the
London Baptist Association (LBA), the
Baptist Union of Great Britain, the
Evangelical Alliance UK, and play a full
part locally in Churches Together in Teddington,
and also in the Thames Valley District of Baptist
Churches (part of the LBA).
TBC is governed by the Church Meeting which is composed of all
Church Members and meets at least six times a year.
The TBC Church Meeting seeks to determine prayerfully and by consensus
of the gathered Church the will of the Lord concerning Church policy and
strategy. The Church Meeting elects and appoints the central Leadership Team.
To become a Church Member you must be committed to the Lord as your
personal Saviour, have been baptized as a believer by total immersion, and
be prepared to commit yourself to serve the Lord through the fellowship.
If you are interested in baptism or Church Membership please speak to any
member of the Leadership Team.
The Leadership Team consists of Minister(s) and other Leaders appointed annually
by the Church Meeting by means of an election using a secret ballot.
The Leadership Team has the responsibility under the Church Meeting for the overall
spiritual and practical leadership of the Church.
TBC is entirely financed by the giving of people in the fellowship. Each
year about 30% of the TBC budget is devoted to mission and training
support. We do not normally take up offerings during worship services.
Gifts can be placed in the Treasury Boxes in the Church. Many Church
members tithe, give regularly by envelopes or bankers order, and covenant
their gifts so tax can be reclaimed.
Constitution and Statements of Faith
What We Believe
(a) Baptist Union Basis of Faith and Practice
(b) Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith
2. Church Meetings
3. The Leadership Team
5. The Appointment of Leaders
6. The Constitution
Annex to the Constitution: What We Believe
Baptist Union Declaration of Principle
Teddington Baptist Church is a member of the Baptist Union, and supports its Declaration of Principle, which is:
"1. That our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh, is the sole and absolute authority in all matters relating to faith and practice, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and that each church has the liberty, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to interpret and administer His Laws.
2. That Christian Baptism is the immersion in water into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the 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".
3. 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."
Evangelical Alliance Basis of Faith
The Church is also affiliated to the Evangelical Alliance and supports its Basis of Baith, which is:
"That we believe in:
1. The one true God who lives eternally in three persons - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
2. The love, grace and sovereignty of God in creating, sustaining, ruling, redeeming and judging the world.
3. The divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God - fully trustworthy for faith and conduct.
4. The dignity of all people, made male and female in God’s image to love, be holy and care for creation, yet corrupted by sin, which incurs divine wrath and judgement.
5. The incarnation of God’s eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ - born of the virgin Mary; truly divine and truly human, yet without sin.
6. The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross: dying in our place, paying the price of sin and defeating evil, so reconciling us with God.
7. The bodily resurrection of Christ, the first fruits of our resurrection; his ascension to the Father, and his reign and mediation as the only Saviour of the world.
8. The justification of sinners solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ.
9. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit, who leads us to repentance, unites us with Christ through new birth, empowers our discipleship and enables our witness.
10. The Church, the body of Christ both local and universal, the priesthood of all believers - given life by the Spirit and endowed with the Spirit’s gifts to worship God and proclaim the gospel, promoting justice and love.
11. The personal and visible return of Jesus Christ to fulfil the purposes of God, who will raise all people to judgement, bring eternal life to the redeemed and eternal condemnation to the lost, and establish a new heaven and new earth."
It is a defining characteristic of a Baptist Church that it is a ’gathered community’. It is a group of people who commit themselves to one another as part of their commitment to the Lord, recognising the privilege of membership and sharing responsibility under God for all the decisions affecting the life of the Church.
1.1 Teddington Baptist Church (TBC) aims to have members who:
a) desire to live their life consistent with the Christian faith;
b) love and serve God, love their neighbours and love one another as Christ loved his disciples;
c) recognise that they are part of the fellowship of the Church at TBC, in the community and throughout the world and are witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth
d) are committed to that part of God’s Church which meets at TBC by attending regularly the Church Meeting and relevant Church gatherings for worship, communion, fellowship, prayer and study whenever possible;
e) read the Scriptures and share in the ministry of prayer both privately and corporately;
f) use their gifts and talents in service of God at TBC and elsewhere and help to enable the Lord’s work at home and overseas by cheerfully giving financial support.
1.2 Membership of the Church shall be open to all who have professed repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; who have confessed their faith by submitting to believers baptism, and who by the help of the Holy Spirit, are seeking to live their lives according to their Christian profession. In the case of application for Membership where there is a physical disability, which precludes baptism, if the applicant confesses faith in Jesus Christ and accepts the truth of believers’ baptism, this shall be deemed sufficient for Church Membership.
1.3 Application for Membership shall be made to the Leadership Team. Such applicants shall be interviewed by two Church Members, appointed by the Leadership Team. Subject to a satisfactory report, the application shall be brought to the Church Meeting for decision.
1.4 Members who have absented themselves for twelve consecutive months without reasonable cause may, after due notice, be removed from the roll of Membership by the Church Meeting.
1.5 In cases of discipline the Church Meeting shall accept the recommendations of the Leadership Team, without requiring detailed explanation or discussion.
Whilst we would encourage church membership, people who regularly worship with us but are not members are valued and welcomed as part of the church community. Membership is not a requirement of being an active participant within the Church but a requirement of those taking on significant responsibilities is that they should be in sympathy with the Evangelical Alliance ’Basis of Faith’.
2. Church Meetings
The Church Meeting is the body which seeks to determine prayerfully and by consensus of the gathered Church Members the will of the Lord concerning Church policy and strategy. All those engaged in leadership are ultimately responsible to the Lord but are also accountable to the Church Meeting for the way in which they exercise their leadership.
2.1 Church Meetings shall be held periodically, at least six times each year, and shall include an Annual General Church Meeting, which shall normally be held during March each year. At least two weeks’ notice shall be given of each Church Meeting.
2.2 Except at the discretion of the Chair, business may only be discussed at a Church Meeting if it has previously been discussed by the Leadership Team, or if notice of motion has been given at a previous Church Meeting.
2.3 Special Church Meetings may be called at any time by the Leadership Team giving at least two weeks notice, and shall also be called on the same notice within one month of the receipt by the Leadership Team of a written request signed by at least twenty Church Members which gives notice of the motion(s) to be discussed.
2.4 The quorum for all Church Meetings (including Special Church Meetings and the Annual General Church Meeting) shall be 25% of the Membership but not less than twenty Church Members. Only Church Members may take part in the voting at these meetings but non-Members may, at the discretion of the Chair, attend and contribute to the discussion.
2.5 Voting at a Church Meeting shall normally be confined to those Church Members present at the meeting. However, at the discretion of the Leadership Team, special provision shall be made for Church Members to take part in ballots by "postal vote" on important issues if they are generally regular in their fellowship but unable to attend the particular meeting at which a ballot is to be held.
3. The Leadership Team
Since a Leader is entrusted with God’s work, each must demonstrate a clear love for God and His people. The Leader should be a man or woman with a clear grasp of the Christian faith, and a growing Christian maturity made manifest in their personal, working, social, family and Church lives. Timothy and Titus make it clear that their wholehearted devotion to Christ should affect their behaviour and encourage those in contact with them.
3.1 The Leadership Team of the Church shall consist of Minister(s) and a maximum of 8 Church Members recognised as Leaders by the vote of the Church Meeting. In addition, other members of Church staff may be part of the Leadership Team, with the initial approval of the Church Meeting.
3.2 Leaders will demonstrate a personal commitment to the life and activity of the Church and their faith, whatever their age, should normally be of at least five years’ standing.
3.3 Leaders will normally serve for a limited number of successive years on the Leadership Team as set out in Section 5, but this limitation will not apply to Ministers or other members of Church staff.
3.4 The Leadership Team shall have the responsibility, under the Church Meeting, for the leadership of the Church. They will demonstrate their belief in shared leadership and support of one another. At the same time, they will seek to identify and nurture the gifts of all members of the fellowship, working positively to encourage and involve others. They will have overall responsibility for Church Meetings and all Church organisations and societies in matters of policy, programme and leadership. At the most, 3 elected members of the Team will have a General responsibility and the other elected members will have a named responsibility for an area of Church life. Corporately, the Team will have oversight of the Church, including worship, prayer, strategy and planning, teaching, youth work, pastoral care and counselling, membership, discipline, evangelism, mission, administration, finance, property, stewarding, catering, welfare and legal matters.
3.5 The Leadership Team shall meet at least six times a year.
3.6 The annual Budget shall be agreed by the Church Meeting each year. Subsequently all financial matters concerning the ordinary work of the Church and not involving special expenditure, shall be determined under the responsibility of the Leadership Team, in accordance with the general provisions of the Budget.
3.7 All Church organisations and societies and those who lead them, shall be recognised by the Church Meeting, on the recommendation of the Leadership Team.
3.8 No special collections shall be made at or after Sunday services, unless sanctioned by the Leadership Team.
3.9 Meetings and services on Church premises may only be held with the permission of the Leadership Team and upon such conditions as it may decide.
3.10 All property held by the Church, its organisations, and societies shall be deemed to be the property of the Church and shall be held in trust by the Leadership Team.
3.11 The Charity Commissioners require charities to identify those who have day-to-day responsibility for the management of the trust (the Management Trustees). The members of the Leadership Team not in receipt of payment from Teddington Baptist Church will be the Management Trustees.
It is customary for a Baptist Church to invite ("issue a Call to") one or more suitably gifted, trained and qualified persons to take up responsibilities as Ministers in the Church. As members of staff, Ministers have a key role to play in the leadership and life of the Church. This will normally involve teaching and preaching and also what the Bible describes as "to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Ephesians 4: 12).
4.1 Ministers shall demonstrate the qualifications and character of a Leader as described above.
4.2 In the event of the death, resignation or removal of a Minister, or should an additional staff member be deemed necessary, the Leadership Team shall bring to the Church Meeting a proposal which will include a draft job description for the post and the method of recruitment.
4.3 A nomination for appointment as a Minister of the Church shall only be considered by a Church Meeting if it has the support of the Leadership Team. For a nomination to be confirmed as a Call it must be endorsed by at least 75% of the Members voting in a secret ballot at a Special Church Meeting convened for the purpose. Such an appointment shall be for as long as the Lord may will.
4.4 A Minister shall be removed from office (other than by death or resignation) if at a Special Church Meeting convened for the purpose at least 75% of the Members voting in a secret ballot support a motion requiring the individual to be removed from office. Such removal shall only be effective after nine months notice.
4.5 A Minister may resign from office but shall give three months notice.
5. The Appointment of Leaders
The Baptist tradition is one that gives Church Members the corporate trust and responsibility to discern the will of God. In respect of Leadership, this means the public recognition and affirmation of gifting and calling, not simply the election to office. This process is intended to allow the Church together to recognise and affirm its Leaders in a way that honours God and results in the right people in the role, balancing openness with the protection of individual sensibilities, and giving space for people to reflect and respond as well as to vote.
5.1 The Church will be given clear biblical teaching about the character, role and responsibilities of a Leader. Teaching will also given on the nature and complexity of the life of the Church. The process for appointment will be clearly publicised, including the date of the Church Meeting when the election will take place, which will normally be once every two years at the Annual General Church Meeting.
5.2 Before each Leadership Team election, the current Leadership Team will recommend to the Church Meeting the posts for election and their terms of office which shall be for a maximum period of three years.
5.3 Church Members will be invited to suggest, after prayerful consideration, privately in writing to any member of the current Leadership Team, the names of any Church Members other than themselves whom they consider suitable to be Leaders and the post or posts for which they are suggesting the Church Member. Each suggestion slip should be signed by at least two Church Members before being presented to the Leadership Team. At least two weeks will be allowed for suggestions.
5.4 The Leadership Team will engage in prayerful consideration and discussion with each Member suggested, and each of them will be entitled to know how many different people have suggested their name. Members will normally be ineligible to stand if they are currently serving on the Leadership Team and their current term would, if completed, take them to six or more successive years on the Leadership Team. But otherwise each Member suggested may stand if they wish to do so, provided they confirm in writing (by a date which the Leadership Team will designate) both that they accept the statement "What We Believe" annexed to this Constitution and that they are willing to stand. At least two weeks will be allowed for this discussion phase of the electoral process.
5.5 Following this period of discussion and at least two weeks before the Church Meeting at which the election will be held, the Leadership Team will post, in an accessible position on the Church premises, the list of Leadership candidates whose names will appear on the ballot paper, identifying the post for which each candidate is standing.
5.6 At the Church Meeting voting will take place by a secret ballot in which Members will be able to vote on whether they consider each candidate suitable to be a Leader. Available places on the Leadership Team will be taken by those candidates securing most votes provided they are supported by at least 66% of the Members voting. In the event of a tie between candidates for a place on the Leadership Team, the tie shall be determined by a further secret ballot at the same or a subsequent Church Meeting the form of which shall be determined by the Chairman of the Church Meeting at which the tie breaking ballot is held.
5.7 The Church Meeting shall appoint Scrutineers to oversee the ballot for the election of Leaders. After the election the Scrutineers shall submit a report to the Chairman of the Church Meeting at which the ballot is held who shall ensure that each candidate is informed of the total number of ballot papers returned and the votes cast in support of their candidacy. The names of those elected shall be posted in an accessible position on the Church premises.
5.8 If at any time the number of Leaders is fewer than the maximum permitted, a special election may be called by the Leadership Team or by the Church Meeting passing a resolution calling for one.
5.9 If, in the view of the Leadership Team, it is desirable that any Leader should vary their responsibilities during their term of office, the change in responsibilities must be ratified at the next Church Meeting.
5.10 A Leader shall be removed from office if at a Church Meeting at least 66% of the Members voting in a secret ballot support a motion requiring the individual to be removed from office.
6. The Constitution
The Constitution, this document, is the set of rules agreed by the Church Meeting to govern the way the Church operates.
6.1 The Church shall be called "Teddington Baptist Church"
6.2 This Church Constitution may only be altered at a Special Church Meeting convened for the purpose. Proposed alterations shall be posted in an accessible position on the Church premises at least two weeks before the date of the special meeting. Before any alteration can be made at least 66% of the Members voting must be in favour.
6.3 When those regularly worshipping at the church apply to become a Church Member they shall be given a copy of this Church Constitution.
6.4 At least every four years the Leadership Team shall initiate a review of the leadership structure and method of election, which shall be reported to a Church Meeting.
Adopted at the Special Church Meeting of 24 March 1999
Amended at the Special Church Meeting of 12 December 2001
Effective from 1 January 2002.
Amended at the Special Church Meeting of 21 November 2007
Effective from 1 January 2008
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