THE CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
ARKANSAS STATE ASSOCIATION OF FREE WILL BAPTISTS, INC.
(REVISED MAY 23, 2017)
We, the members of the Free Will Baptist denomination, being baptized upon a profession of our faith in Jesus Christ and realizing the necessity of a bond of union and fellowship among us; to preserve and maintain correspondence and coordination with us; to unify the work of the various districts composing the State Association; and to devise and execute measures for the extension of the Kingdom of God in cooperation with the various districts of the Association, for that may be hereafter represented therein, do therefore ordain this Constitution for the preservation of our doctrine and denominational government.
This organization shall be known as the Arkansas State Association of Free Will Baptists, affiliated with the National Association of Free Will Baptists.
The purpose of this organization shall be to unify the work of the various districts composing the State Association and to devise and execute measures for the extension of the Kingdom of God in connection with the various districts in the Association.
The Treatise of the Faith and Practices of the National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc. shall be the doctrinal guidelines of the Arkansas State Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc.
Section 1. This association shall be composed of all ordained ministers and deacons with membership in a church in good standing with a district association, the district associational clerks, all members of state boards, and standing officers of the state association.
Note: Churches in good standing are churches that in doctrine and practice adhere to the principles and spirit of The Treatise of the Faith and Practices of the National Association of Free Will Baptists and who have paid state and national dues for that calendar year.
Section 2. Each district association shall be entitled to five (5) lay delegates at large. Each local church that holds membership in a district association affiliated with this body shall be entitled to send one lay delegate.
Section 3. Associational Delegates:
A. In the event any of the elected delegates fail to report, said vacancy may be filled by appointment of the moderator of said district or by the delegates present from said district.
B. In the event the elected delegate from a local church is not present, the Pastor of that local church shall have the authority to appoint a delegate to serve in place of the absent delegate.
Section 4. New associations desiring membership in the state association shall send messengers bearing a petitionary letter. If found orthodox upon examination by the credentials committee, they shall be received by the vote of the association and given the right hand of fellowship by the moderator.
Section 5. The State Convention shall convene annually on the Monday following the first Sunday in the month of May unless the Executive Committee recommends another time.
Because each church is autonomous, the State Association shall never exercise any authority over any church, nor shall it in any way interfere with the constitution of any church, or with exercise of its functions as the only ecclesiastical body, but will cheerfully recognize and uphold the absolute independence of the churches.
Section 1. This association shall be supported by a percentage of the Cooperative receipts as designated by the State Association and by designated gifts. Said allocations to national and state work will be determined by the State Association.
Section 2. Each district association shall send dues established by the National Association and the State Association.
Section 3. In the event any church within a local association does not pay its fee; the delegates, deacons, and ministers of that church shall not be seated.
Section 1. All offices, board members, committee members, delegates, and employees of the State Association shall be in good standing with the State Association.
Section 2. This State Association shall have the right to settle any questions of discipline, doctrine, or practice that may properly come before it from any of the districts composing said organization. If there be any question of discipline, doctrine, or practice on the part of a district body, delegates of that association shall be not seated until these questions have been settled to the satisfaction of the credentials committee.
Section 3. The decision of the credentials committee may be appealed to the State Association sitting in a committee as a whole.
Section 1. The officers of the State Association shall consist of a moderator, assistant moderator, clerk, and assistant clerk. Each of these, with exception of the executive director shall be elected annually. These shall constitute a standing Executive Committee.
Section 2. The Executive Committee shall plan the annual meeting of the State Association. A district association desiring to host the annual meeting of the State Association shall extend an invitation at least one year in advance. If an invitation is not received, the State Association will convene in the Conway area unless the Executive Committee recommends another site.
Section 3. The Executive Committee shall employ the Certified Public Accountant for all standing boards. The CPA shall be responsible to submit a financial review directly to the committee, and then to the directors and boards. Each respective board shall pay for the financial reviews.
Section 4. The Moderator shall be an ex-officio member of the Executive Board. The Executive Director shall be an ex-officio member of all standing boards and committees.
Section 5. Committee on Committees: The Executive Committee on the opening night of the association shall appoint a committee on committees. The committee on committees shall appoint all other committees. The clerk shall insure all the nominations are in good standing with the State Association and shall review the report of the committee on committees.
Section 6. The Committee on Committees at the State Convention shall appoint a credentials committee composed of five (5) members annually. The credentials committee shall examine petitions for membership from new associations and shall address questions of discipline, doctrine, or practice apart from the district body.
Duties and Rules of Standing Boards:
Section 1. All standing boards, with the exception of the Executive Board, shall be composed of six (6) members, each of whom shall serve for three years. A member may be reelected for an additional term of three years. No board member shall immediately succeed himself after having served two full three-year terms on said board. Each board shall prepare a budget of its proposed financial expenditures at the beginning of each fiscal year and shall present it for approval by the Arkansas State Association along with a financial review made by an independent Certified Public Accountant. Each board shall also present a budget to actual of the reported year to the State Association for information. The CPA’s report shall include, where applicable, a balance sheet and income statement and other schedules as may be necessary for a proper presentation of the financial condition and results of operation. Each board shall create their own by-laws that shall be subject to the approval of the State Association. The Executive Committee shall review all by-laws of all standing boards of the respective divisions of the State Association and recommend them to the State Association for approval.
Section 2. All boards of this association shall organize at their first meeting following the annual association meeting. They shall elect a chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary. Each board shall give a written report at the annual association of meetings conducted, work accomplished, monies received and expended during the year. It is suggested that each board shall meet at least on a quarterly basis.
Section 3a. The Executive Board shall be composed of six (6) members, each of whom shall serve for three years. The chairmen of the Youth Board, the Mission Board, and the Christian Education Board shall be ex officio members of the Executive Board. Regular members may be reelected for an additional term of three years. No board member shall immediately succeed himself after having served two full three-year terms on said board. Each board shall prepare a budget of its proposed financial expenditures at the beginning of each fiscal year and shall present for approval by the Arkansas State Association along with a financial review made by an independent Certified Public Accountant. Each board shall also present a budget to actual of the reported year to the State Association for information. The CPA’s report shall include, where applicable, a balance sheet and income statement and other schedules as may be necessary for a proper presentation of the financial condition and results of operation.
Section 3b. Executive Board: In any situation that would adversely affect The Arkansas State Association of Free Will Baptists, the Executive Board shall have the responsibility to resolve such matters. The Executive Board is empowered to act for the State Association between sessions of the association, provided that is shall never exercise any authority contrary to the expressed will of the State Association. When any unforeseen emergency occurs in any of the affairs of the State Association, or in any of the interests it controls, that in the judgment of the Executive Board requires action before the next session of the State Association, the Executive Board shall have full authority to take such action as may seem necessary, and all interests concerned shall be governed by such action, provided the Executive Board shall make a full report of all matters pertaining thereunto the next session of the State Association for its approval, and provided further, that nothing is this article shall be construed as giving to the Executive Board authority to execute any matters already committed by the State Association to any of its divisions or boards. This board shall have the authority to fill any irregular vacancies that may occur in any other standing board between sessions of the State Association. The Executive Committee shall fill any irregular vacancy on the Executive Board. An office may be declared vacant for any of the following reasons: if a member moves from the State; if a member fails to attend the board meetings for a period of one year without providential hindrance; or if for any reason he submits a statement of resignation.
The Executive Board shall review a record of all work accomplished, money raised, and meetings conducted, and make a full and complete report at the annual association of the State Association. The Executive Board shall receive, hold, manage, use, control, and convey property entrusted to the State Association, except as stipulated elsewhere in the constitution. No board shall buy or sell real estate, encumber the State Association beyond their current fiscal year and budget, or enter into litigation when the State Association is not in conference without the approval of the Executive Board. The chairman and secretary of the Executive Board shall sign all papers by which the State Association is to become legally responsible. In case of an emergency situation, the Executive Board shall have the authority to call the State Association in conference by notifying each district association at least ten (10) days prior to the conference.
This board shall have the authority to employ the state executive director by means of a signed contractual agreement. The executive director shall assist in coordinating the work of the various boards of the State Association and shall serve as state treasurer. He shall promote the state and national works, missionaries, mission conferences, etc. It shall be his duty to edit and publish the state paper.
He shall receive, hold, and disburse money as is made available by the State Association to the various boards. Disbursements to the various boards will be made when requested.
He shall present a written report of his work at each annual session of this association, with a financial statement of all monies received and disbursed.
Section 4. Mission Board: It shall be the duty of this board to promote an active missions program. It shall work in cooperation with the national home mission and foreign missions boards in the arranging of missionary conferences, of missionary itineraries, and shall assist in the raising of the state quota for the national missions program.
The board shall not participate in the organization of any church or mission in a town, city, or community where there is an organized Free Will Baptist Church without seeking the cooperation of said church. Neither shall this board assist in the organization of a group that is out of fellowship with an established church.
This board shall be entrusted to manage mission property owned by the State Association. It shall be the responsibility of this board to employ a State Missions Director.
Section 5. State Youth Board: It shall be the duty of the State Youth Board to sponsor activities for the youth of the state that will encourage, enlighten, and educate them in a manner that will be uplifting to Christ. This board shall sponsor retreats, conferences, activities, camps, and service oriented projects for the youth. This board shall be entrusted with the management of the camp facilities owned by the State Association. It shall be the responsibility of this board to employ a State Youth Director to manage the camp facilities, organize and coordinate youth activities, and receive and disburse designated funds as directed by this board. The State Youth Director shall promote district, state, and national programs involving the youth. The Youth Director shall be responsible for the hiring and dismissing of camp personnel under the direction of the State Youth Board.
Section 6. Christian Education Board: It shall be the duty of this board to promote Christian education throughout the state. They shall arrange activities that may include conferences, workshops, teacher training courses, and retreats to promote instruction and fellowship.
This Constitution may be amended at any regular session of the State Association by a two-thirds vote of the members present, providing proposed amendment is presented in writing to the body one day in advance.
Randall University Trustees:
The State Association shall have two trustees to Randall University. They shall give an annual report to the State Association on the progress of the college. One board trustee shall be elected annually to serve a two-year term.
This meeting of the State Association shall be governed by the rules of parliamentary law as set forth in the current addition of Robert’s Rules of Order.