Revising Bylaws and Church Polity

This post is especially for my readers who attend Wilkesboro Baptist Church. Earlier this year I preached through 1 Timothy. For me, and I believe for our church, it was a fruitful enterprise. Paul described necessity of godly character and doctrinal fidelity in order for a church to be healthy. Those sermons allowed me to share some thoughts on what the Bible teaches regarding church polity and structure. Out of those sermons and simultaneous conversations with church leadership, we have become convinced that a local congregation should be led by a plurality of pastors or elders. I have previously written on this topic from the perspectives of polity, church health, shepherding, accountability, and leadership.

About 3 months ago, I asked our spiritual emphasis committee (Lee Bentley, Wade McInnis, and Jon Snider) along with our deacon chairman, Steve Melton, and our deacon secretary, James Sullivan, to assist me in revising our Bylaws at WBC to reflect what a plurality of elders would look like in our local church context.

Our work together has been fruitful and encouraging. The product of our work has been the Fifth Amended and Restated Bylaws of Wilkesboro Baptist Church. One comment in particular during one of our meetings highlights the godly leadership present at WBC for decades. “We don’t have people fighting for power or position at WBC.” That is so true. In my almost seven years leading WBC as pastor, we have not conflicts with staff, deacons, or other church leaders for direction and power. We have worked together in our attempts to fulfill our mission of leading our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus. This Bylaw revision process is another example of working together to help WBC to remain faithful in doctrine and in mission.

At the deacon’s meeting on Tuesday, July 12, the deacons unanimously approved Fifth Amended and Restated Bylaws of WBC that reflects a structural and organizational shift to a plurality of elders.

Church Bylaws are intended to guide how the church operates in organization and structure. I believe church Bylaws should be reviewed and revised regularly. This most recent revision is an attempt to be biblical in structure while recognizing the very helpful framework that is already in place. While these Bylaws guide us, they are not our ultimate authority. God through His Word is our authority.

These Bylaws do not go into affect unless the membership at WBC approves them. So, as a member of WBC, you have every right to access, read, and review this set of Bylaws. There are a number of ways you can access this bylaw revision.

  1. In the Beacon (week of July 17) we will provide the url address to a page on our website that will include 3 downloadable documents. The first document will be a copy of the current Bylaws revised in 2011. The second document will be a copy of the revised Bylaws for your review. The third document will be a side-by-side of both sets of Bylaws so you can easily compare the sections that have been revised.
  2. We will email those three documents to our email distribution list.
  3. If you do not have computer access, we will print you a copy of the proposed Bylaw revision. Please come by the church office and our administrative staff will be happy to print a copy of the revised Bylaws for you.

For a Bylaw revision to be approved, the membership at WBC must be notified of the revision thirty (30) days in advance of a vote.

There are several ways we are going to provide opportunity for questions and interactions regarding these Bylaw revisions.

  1. First, if you have any specific questions or concerns about any Article, Section, or Paragraph, please call the church office and set up an appointment with me. I will make myself available to answer your questions.
  2. Second, we’re going to make our Bylaw revision committee available to visit your Sunday school class per request between now and the end of August to answer any questions you may have regarding the Bylaw revisions.
  3. Third, we will have a Town Hall discussion opportunity on Wednesday evening August 17 to discuss these Bylaw revisions and how they will affect our church structure and polity. During that discussion time, I will highlight several of the recommended revisions and take questions from the floor.
  4. Fourth, we will present the recommendation to approve these Bylaw revisions at our church conference on Wednesday evening August 24.

Please reach out if you have any questions about our process or the Bylaw revision. May God continue to bless the mission and ministry of Wilkesboro Baptist Church.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s