As a Baptist Church we are an autonomous Christian community and take responsibility for our own governance.
As self-governing Members of the Bethany Church we choose our Pastor and decide how to worship together. We elect our officers, give guidance to the Council and Commissions, approve the annual budget, and have the final say on major decisions recommended by our Council.
We understand our church is built upon the called-out people rather than any historic building or denomination. We believe in the Priesthood of all Believers, upholding the principles of individual responsibility, soul liberty, and competency before God to interpret scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The purpose of the local church is to function as the body of Christ to advance God’s Kingdom in the world by displaying God’s glory. Therefore being aware and involved in the running of the local church is important if we want to see God’s purposes being fulfilled in our community. Please consider applying to become a Member so we, the Body, can partner in God’s mission. Becoming a Member does not mean having to put yourself forward for specific responsibilities, but it does mean you can speak into the future of the governance and stewardship supporting the ministries in the Church of God.
Members have responsibility for the governance of Bethany, therefore potential Members can only be received with the approval of the Church Council and Membership after receiving the recommendation of the Pastor and Deacons-at-Large. After being approved there are three ways a new Member may enter the Bethany community:
- by believer’s baptism; or
- by letter of transfer from another Baptist church; or
- by profession of faith before the Pastor and the Deacons-at-Large.
Members are expected to be faithful in all the spiritual duties of the Christian life and to attend church worship services and the celebration of the Communion.
Members are expected to share in the organized work of the church, attend the congregational meetings, and give regularly in support of the church and its missionary and benevolent work.
Members are eligible to vote at congregational meetings. The Members meet at least four times a year to vote on church business, elect members of the Church into official roles, and approve the annual budget.
Members also have access to the resources available at the church.
Our worship service is open to all. Persons who participate regularly in worship and church activities and support the church, but have not applied for membership are recognized as Adherents. Adherents are a very welcome and important part of our congregation, but do not have the rights and privileges of church membership and do not play a part in church governance.
The Church Officers are elected from the Membership to manage financial and other official paperwork for the church. They are the Moderator, who prepares the agendas and chairs the congregational meetings and the Church Council meetings, and the Clerk, three Trustees, the Treasurer, and the Envelope Secretary.
THE CHURCH COUNCIL
The Council provides overall coordination of the ministries and other functions of the church. It is composed of the Moderator and nine voting members called Deacons, who are elected from the Membership to assist with pastoral care, communion celebration, and general administration. Six Deacons serve on Commissions and the other three serve as Deacons-at-Large. The Pastor and Clerk are ex officio members of the Council. Any Member may attend Council meetings and speak, but not vote.
Bethany has three commissions, which oversee specific social, spiritual, material, and legal aspects of church governance. They work to improve the social and spiritual condition of the congregation and carry out the decisions of the Membership. These commissions are:
- Administrative Commission
- Christian Education, Missions, and Outreach Commission
- Congregational Life Commission
Deacons are nominated to a commission upon their election to council. Each commission has two Deacons. They serve with four Bethany Members, who are elected to a commission by the Bethany membership. Our Pastor is an ex officio member of all three commissions.
The Commissions also oversee many volunteer positions, such as nursery coordinator, audio-visual operators, and ushers. Our Pastor oversees the volunteer Pastoral Care Team. Our Volunteers are absolutely essential to maintaining the spiritual and fellowship aspects of the Bethany community and volunteering is a great way for Members to contribute to the life of our church.
Three Deacons are assigned as personal advocates for the Pastor to maintain a good relationship with the congregation and to act prudently in the best interests of the whole Bethany community. Among several other key roles, they interview and recommend new members of Bethany to the Church Council and the Membership.
Our Pastor’s task is a full-time calling to preach, teach, counsel, train, and co-ordinate the ministries exercised by all members. As well as being an ex-officio member of Bethany’s Church Council and its commissions, our Pastor is also responsible for interviewing potential new Members and making recommendations for membership.