The Constitution of the Great Lakes Association
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GREAT LAKES ASSOCIATION
OF THE NORTH AMERICAN BAPTIST CONFERENCE
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of the corporation shall be the Great Lakes Association of Churches (GLA) of the North American Baptist Conference (NAB). This Corporation shall hereafter be referred to as the Association.
ARTICLE II – CORE MISSIONAL VALUES
Local churches which are doctrinally sound and seeking to grow by bringing people to Christ and discipling them through the local church.
Local churches which seek to develop a strategic plan to organize and implement our core values.
ARTICLE III – LEADERSHIP TEAM MISSION
The Leadership Team exists to offer assistance which will help develop and resource spiritual leaders within our local churches, helping them network intentionally and strategically to glorify God by bringing unbelievers to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
ARTICLE IV – MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1: ADMISSION. A church that wishes to unite with the Association shall make application to the association, with written reports of its origin, development, organization, and statement of faith. The Leadership Team shall review the application and, if favorable, make a recommendation to the Association. Church Planting shall follow the same procedure. Membership in the Association shall constitute membership in the North American Baptist Conference.
SECTION 2: COVENANT COMMITMENTS. Great Lakes Association churches recognize the following commitments as part of their covenant relationship with the Association. Each church must be willing to identify with and support the Great Lakes Association and the North American Baptist Conference in the following three commitments:
(a) agree with and support the basic doctrinal statement of the Conference.
(b) send delegates to the annual Association meetings.
(c) extend financial support for the ministry and mission of our Association.
SECTION 3: DISMISSAL. The Association shall have the right to remove from its membership:
(a) Any church requesting such removal by official action of its congregation. A letter responding to this action will be sent to the church involved, the NAB International Office, and will be read at the next GLA annual meeting.
(b) Any church charged with departing from Scriptural teachings and commonly accepted Baptist principles. The pastor and church leadership will be contacted by the Regional Minister and a representative of the GLA Leadership Team to seek doctrinal reconciliation. Refusal to realign will result in immediate dismissal following a 2/3 vote of the GLA Leadership Team. A letter describing the issues, steps taken for reconciliation, and the resulting determination will be sent to the church involved, the NAB International Office, and will be read at the next GLA annual meeting.
(c) Any church failing to either send delegates or to extend financial support to the general budget of the GLA for a period of three consecutive years. The Regional Minister and a representative of the GLA Leadership Team will contact the church to ascertain the reasons behind this failure to participate. Any church not interested in active participation may be dismissed by a 2/3 vote of the GLA Leadership Team. Should a church choose to discontinue GLA participation, a letter describing the issues, steps taken for reconciliation, and the resulting determination will be sent to the church involved, the NAB International Office, and will be read at the next GLA annual meeting.
SECTION 4: REPRESENTATION. Every member church shall be entitled to three delegates for official business sessions. These would include the Senior Pastor, or, in his absence, a staff pastor, interim pastor, or key lay leader, the chairperson of the lay leadership board of the church or their representative, and the chief financial officer of the church or their representative. All delegates must be members of North American Baptist churches.
ARTICLE V – SESSIONS
The Association shall meet at least once a year. The statistical year shall run from January 1 – December 31. The fiscal year shall run from May 1 – April 30.
ARTICLE VI – REGIONAL CLUSTERS
SECTION 1: Each church shall encourage its pastor(s) to be an active participant in the regional cluster on behalf of that church. Each cluster is made up of churches in the same geographical area. Each cluster shall appoint from its active participants a representative to sit on the GLA Leadership Team.
SECTION 2: The purpose and function of these Clusters will be to:
(a) assist the Regional Minister in helping congregations through transitions in pastoral leadership.
(b) interpret ministry and budget needs of the association to the churches.
(c) seek support for fellow pastors and congregations.
(d) seek opportunities for fellowship among church families.
ARTICLE VII – LEADERSHIP TEAM
Each Cluster shall select a cluster coordinator who will serve as a representative to the GLA Leadership Team to work with the Regional Minister in matters of communication and administration between him and the churches. Cluster Leaders shall serve for a term of two years and can be reaffirmed for additional terms as desired by remaining cluster members. The Leadership Team:
(a) shall annually select a chairman and vice-chairman from among its members. The Leadership Team shall appoint a moderator, association secretary, association treasurer, and general council representative who are trusted leaders in a GLA church, but may not necessarily be a cluster leader on the Leadership Team.
(b) shall consist of a representative of each cluster, a representative from each active resource team, as well as the appointed leaders from (a) above.
(c) shall prepare an annual budget for Association approval.
(d) shall seek financial and prayer support to meet Association objectives.
(e) shall give general guidance to the Association and perform the duties pertaining to their respective offices.
(f) shall have the right of appointment to fill any vacancy that occurs in any office or committee.
(g) shall serve as the Credentialing Committee. It shall:
1. Give guidance to the local church in the ordination procedure.
2. Meet with the candidates for ordination prior to the Ordination Council in the local church.
3. Credential pastors and ministerial staff coming from non-NAB sources.
ARTICLE VIII—REGIONAL MINISTER
The GLA shall call a Regional Minister to serve the churches, pastors, and staff and be available to:
(a) offer assistance in spearheading and resourcing the particular vision of our churches through the cluster networks.
(b) offer to develop coaches and to provide resources toward the development of church help in our GLA churches.
The Regional Minister’s call will be for an indefinite period. The relationship may be terminated by the Regional Minister upon thirty days written notice. The Regional Minister may be asked to resign by three-fourths consent of the other Leadership Team members after due process should they decide the Regional Minister is disqualified in some way. An involuntary removal of the Regional Minister may occur with an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the Leadership Team. Upon the occurrence of a vacancy in the role of the Regional Minister, the Leadership Team shall initiate procedures to select a new Regional Minister. Selection of a new Regional Minister will require an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the Leadership Team.
ARTICLE IX – RESOURCE TEAMS
Based upon the desires of our local churches and the recommendations of the Leadership Team representatives, the Leadership Team shall appoint Resource Teams to actively respond to specific needs within the GLA churches. Such teams will be reaffirmed on an annual basis as long as that specific need continues. Each Resource Team shall have its leader as a member of the Leadership Team. The size of each Resource Team and the scope of its responsibilities shall be determined each year at the first meeting of the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team shall disband Resource Teams that are no longer deemed necessary for the ongoing ministry of the GLA. Resource Teams may include, but not be limited to areas such as Church Planting, Camping, Women’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, etc. The Leadership Team Chairman and the Regional Minister shall be ex-officio, voting members of all Resource Teams.
ARTICLE X – REPRESENTATIVE TO THE GENERAL COUNCIL
The Leadership Team shall appoint a representative to the General Council for a three-year term. Each term will be alternated between a pastor and a layperson. The General Council representative shall be a member of the Leadership Team.
ARTICLE XI – TERM OF OFFICE
Members may succeed themselves if affirmed by their respective cluster group or Leadership Team members at the first meeting of that group each year. Representatives shall serve a minimum two-year term to assure continuity in association leadership. Each Resource Team Chairperson shall submit an annual, written report to the Leadership Team for distribution to Association churches.
ARTICLE XII – AMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended by a 2/3 majority vote of the delegates present and voting at the annual Association business session.