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Church Membership & Ministries Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) represents a broad array of concerns of the membership of the Convention. Where the Convention has established formal policy or position on the subject, that response is provided.  However, there are many questions posed by the membership for which the Convention has no formal policy or position, and in those cases informal guidance is provided.  Informal guidance is not to be interpreted as formal Convention policy or position, but is offered in the form of general guidance or resources to enable the local congregation to develop their own policies and procedures.
Christian Education: What is the BTU?
Baptist Training Union. Baptist Training Union has been a part of the African American Baptist Church since its early beginnings. It was a part of Christian education designed to instruct all church members in basic bible beliefs, Baptist doctrine, church membership, discipline, policy and procedures. It was traditionally held in most Baptist Churches on Sunday evenings, prior to evening worship. It began as a training ground for young people. Consequently, the predecessor of Baptist Training Union was the Baptist Young People's Union (BYPU). In June of 1984, President Theodore Judson Jemison of the National Baptist Convention, USA discontinued the Baptist Training Union Board, giving its responsibilities to the Sunday School Publishing Board. As a result of this move, the SSPB formed the "Nurture for Baptist Churches (NBC). It is interesting to note that in 2003, the SSPB decided that the NBC had not worked and is now in the process of re-constituting the BTU. For more information and resources about BTU, visit the Sunday School Publishing Board Contact info for the SSPB: Business Hours: 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time) By Telephone: Tel: (615) 256-2480 Toll Free: (800) 359-9398 By Fax: Customer Care Fax: (615) 242-4929 Publishing Fax: (615) 242-6305 E-mail: By Mail: Sunday School Publishing Board 330 Charlotte Avenue Nashville, TN 37201
Christian Education: Does the Convention have any resources for a Young Matron's curriculum?
Here are a few online resources that may help you in designing a curriculum for Young Matrons: Sunday School Publishing Board: Gifted for Leadership, an online resource especially for women in ministry (website, blog, Email Newsletter, support groups, etc.) sponsored by You may visit their website at this address: Women’s Ministry Network: Assemblies of God has a website for support for female ministers: American Baptist Churches website: American Baptist Women In Ministry: Christianity Today: RH Boyd Publishing: Judson Press:
Christian Education: How can my church school be accredited by the NBC?
A church can certify a school to be held at the church through the Sunday School Publishing Board (SSPB). Visit for more information.
Ministries and Missions: What is the difference between a ministry and an auxiliary?
There isn’t a standard definition, so the terms may be used interchangeably. At the National Baptist Convention, an Auxiliary is a function (department) within the organizational structure that is named in our Constitution and By-laws. Ministries within the Convention are not mentioned specifically in the Constitution and consequently may be more fluidly organized based on the current needs of the Convention and its constituency. In the purest sense, all auxiliaries are ministries. In the structural work of the church they may vary slightly. An auxiliary is usually an "in house" service agency organized to carry out perpetual Church functions, such as the choir or ushers. They are also usually responsible for raising their own budget and contributing to the overall church budget. A ministry may focus more on outreach and purpose fulfilling functions. These foundational functions will usually be funded by the church, even if they're unable to raise their own budget. Again, the two terms are not mutually exclusive. For example, the choir may be an auxiliary of the church but they are also responsible for the music ministry.
Ministries & Missions: Where can I find resources for new member ministries?
A: A few good resources to consider include: 1. "New Member Training" by Reverend Charles Powell 2. "Huntley's Manual for Every Baptist" by Thomas Elliott Huntley. Both of these books are published by the National Baptist Sunday School Publishing Board. 3. "A New Baptist Church Manual" published by Judson Press. Contact info for the SSPB: Business Hours: 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time) By Telephone: Tel: (615) 256-2480 Toll Free: (800) 359-9398 By Fax: Customer Care Fax: (615) 242-4929 Publishing Fax: (615) 242-6305 E-mail: By Mail: Sunday School Publishing Board 330 Charlotte Avenue Nashville, TN 37201
Ministries & Missions: Where can I find information about how to form a new missionary society?
The Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. has published a book entitled, "The Missionary Workers Manual" that details the philosophy, structure and scope of mission work. It is published by our own Sunday School Publishing Board. This book is quite comprehensive and will be a great help to any Church seeking help in organizing and structuring a mission program. Contact info for the SSPB: Business Hours: 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. CST (Central Standard Time) By Telephone: Tel: (615) 256-2480 Toll Free: (800) 359-9398 By Fax: Customer Care Fax: (615) 242-4929 Publishing Fax: (615) 242-6305 E-mail: By Mail: Sunday School Publishing Board 330 Charlotte Avenue Nashville, TN 37201
Ministries & Missions: How do I become a foreign missionary in the Baptist Church?
In order to become a Missionary, under the Foreign Mission Board, NBC, USA, Inc., the criteria is as follows: • Complete Application, with references [one must be from your Pastor] and resume`. • Complete, at least two interviews with Executive Committee members. • If accepted, complete a Psychological Assessment [at the expense of the Foreign Mission Board]; and statement of physical condition, from your personal physician. • General Orientation: Assignment will be given with start date • Contract will be signed. • Special Orientation: Geared specifically toward the country to be assigned. • The applicant must: a. Provide a Statement of Faith, indicating your acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. b. Have earned at least a Bachelor's Degree c. Make a three-year commitment as a long term missionary, the time commitment will vary for short term missionaries [depending upon need] d. Be willing to participate in the aforementioned application process e. Be willing to travel to foreign mission fields {of the FMB's choosing} Contact the Foreign Mission Board for more information: 866.494.7140
Ministries and Missions: What are the role and qualifications of the Mother of the church?
This is an honorary position in the church. The qualifications and responsibilities will vary based on the church’s interpretation and ministry needs. 1. This position can be lifetime once the person is either elected by the church membership or appointed by the pastor. If elected, the church may reaffirm the appointments during the annual church meeting. 2. There may be multiple Mothers in the church. 3. The criterion for appointment or election is established by the church in keeping with sound Christian doctrine, and varies by church. Mothers are often widows or older unmarried women, but this is not necessarily a requirement. 4. Often, a Mother's Club or Ministry is formed that may do any or all of the following things: a. Assist in the nurturing of members, especially young teens and youth. b. Engage in special ministry projects of a missionary nature c. Visit the sick d. Assist in the kitchen during the time of funerals as well as carry flowers from the sanctuary to the funeral cars e. Prepare Thanksgiving and/or Christmas meals for the home-bound or at the church f. Engage in whatever duties are assigned and deemed appropriate for Mothers of the Church.
Legal Issues: What guidance can you provide on how to handle registered sex offenders in the church?
There are good resources for you to check out on the website of Church Mutual Insurance Company. There are about 5 or 6 documents concerning Sexual Abuse and Background checks on these pages of their website: Sex Offenders: Background Checks:
Membership: What is "Watch Care?" Can I be an active member in a church on a temporary basis while maintaining membership in my home church?
Individuals may hold membership in one church at a time. “Watch Care” is a service a church provides to watch over individuals who are temporarily unable to attend the church where they hold membership. Typically, people under watch care are college students or people with jobs or other circumstances that require them to travel to other locations for an extended period of time. The person under watch care maintains their official membership with their home church, while being welcomed to participate in the worship services and ministries of a local church on a temporary basis. Since they are not "official" members of the church receiving them under watch care, they generally can participate in activities and services but not hold office or participate in church voting.
Membership: What is the content that goes into a Letter of Membership when a person is moving their membership from one Baptist Church to another by letter? AND, What are some basic guidelines on how the receiving Pastor should process such a letter?
An example of such a letter might read: Miss, Mrs. Or Mr. __________________________________has informed us of a decision to join your church. We are delighted to recommend (______person________) to you from the (__name of former church and address). (Said person) has left in good and regular standing and was a valuable member of our church. I trust and pray (she or he) will add to your ministry as (she or he) did ours through the utilization of his or her giftings of the Holy Spirit. Please let us know when (said person) has officially become a member of your church so we can make the adjustment in our official membership directory. The blessings of Jesus Christ upon you. Respectfully, ___________________________Chairman of the Deacon Board __________________________ _Membership Clerk ____________________________Pastor Date
Membership: What should a church receiving a letter of membership do?
• The Pastor will have the Chairman of the Deacon Board or the Church’s Membership Clerk send a letter to the former church indicating receipt of the letter of transfer. • The Pastor will have the letter from the former church read at the Deacon Board meeting. • If the former church has had a problem with the member requesting membership in the new church, the church may or may not share the nature of the problem with the new church. This usually does not happen even if there was a problem with the member. • The Deacon Board will vote on accepting the new member and share the name during the regular service or at a church business meeting. In some instances, the name of the person requesting membership, upon approval by the Deacon Board will present the name on a Sunday (usually Communion Sunday) with a motion for acceptance as a member to the new congregation. The congregation then votes approval of the membership. • Either on the last Sunday or the first Sunday of the month, the newly approved members will be asked to come forward and receive a right hand of fellowship from a select group of officers on behalf of the church or the entire church with the Pastor leading the way.
Membership: By what means can a church excommunicate (dismiss) a member?
Technically, Baptists do not excommunicate. We do, however, have the right (or responsibility) to dismiss members. Baptist doctrine provides two ways of dismissal. First is by Letter. This is when a member transfers their membership and asks for a letter. The second is by "Expulsion" or "Exclusion." This may be done when any member refuses to adhere to the Bible, Baptist Doctrine or the Rules and Regulations of that particular Church. In all cases, the disciplinary prescription laid out in Matthew chapter 18 must be followed.