Proposed By-law Amendment
PRESENT 1963 By-laws CONCERNING THE PROCESS OF DEACON ELECTION
SECTION 1 Number, Election, Terms of Service
(1) There shall be six deacons up to 150 resident members plus one for every 25 addition resident members. It shall be pertinent for the church to promote to honorary life membership any deacon who by reason of age or infirmities shall, after honorable service be no longer able to render active service.
(2) Secret ballots shall be cast for qualified brethren to fill all vacancies at a regular or called business conference. On the first ballot, if the adequate number of names to fill the vacancies receives a minimum of 25% of the votes cast, they shall be considered elected. If not, a second ballot will be taken to fill any remaining vacancies: and on the second vote the names receiving the highest number of votes will fill the vacancies. In case of death or removal or incapacity to serve, the church may elect to fill the unexpired term. There is no obligation to constitute as deacon a brother who comes to the church from another church where he has served as deacon. All new deacons who have never been ordained will be questioned the same as a minister being ordained. The questioning will be conducted by the pastor and board of deacons. The pastor shall be chairman. After the questioning, if the pastor, the deacon board, and the deacon elect are satisfied, the deacon elect will be ordained. If the pastor, deacon board, and deacon elect are not satisfied, the deacon elect will not be ordained, and another election shall be held.
(3) After serving a term of three (3) years, no deacon shall be eligible for reelection until the lapse of at least one year.
(4) A man is not eligible for the office of deacon until he has been a member of this church for at least one year.
PROPOSED AMENDMENT 2021 REGUARDING THE PROCESS OF DEACON ELECTION
There shall be six deacons up to 200 resident members plus one for every 50 addition resident members. It shall be pertinent for the church to promote to honorary life membership any deacon who by reason of age or infirmities shall, after honorable service be no longer able to render active service.
1. A list of residential members (men) of the church will be provided to the congregation two weeks before nominations are submitted.
2. Nomination by the church. The number of residential members to be nominated will be three times the number of vacancies that need filling. (ex: 4 vacancies x 3 = 12 nominations)
3. Deacons tally the nomination totals
4. The top Nominees will be contacted and asked three questions:
Will they be willing to serve, if elected?
Will they complete a questionnaire* and have an in-person interview with the deacons/staff?
Will they consent to a background check?
If the nominees answer “no” to any of the above questions they will not be considered as a deacon candidate.
*The questionnaire will be centered on biblical qualifications of a deacon
5. Nominees have a personal interview with church staff, current deacon chairman/deacon co-chair. After which, if the church staff, current deacon chairman/deacon co-chair and nominee are satisfied, they will become a candidate. If the staff, current deacon chairman/deacon co-chair and nominee are not satisfied then that nominee will not become a candidate.
6. The final list of candidates will be no less than two times the number of vacancies. These names will be provided to all church members present on the day of election. Secret ballots shall be cast for the number of vacancies that need filling. The candidates receiving the most votes shall be considered elected.
7. Ordination (If it’s a first-time deacon elected that needs ordaining)
After serving a term of three (3) years, no deacon shall be eligible for reelection until the lapse of at least one year.
A man is not eligible for the office of deacon until he has been a member of this church for at least one year.
Please take 30 days to review. Call us with any questions. Prepare to vote September 19
The easiest way to know a significant difference in the new proposal of the deacon election process is remembering that there are two separate actions and those are:
1. Nomination (Nominees) and 2. Election (Candidates)
Note some of these things not covered in the By-Laws that may be helpful:
To make any changes to a by-law, you the congregation, get to review the changes for 30 days (one month) prior to a vote to amend any by-law. The church must have two-thirds vote to pass. So, look over this and be prepared to vote on September 19 during our morning worship.
All church members regardless of age will be able to nominate and elect.
This process will not lean on a minimum % of votes, but rather, on the candidates receiving the most votes.
You can also view the proposal online at www.habcfamily.com/amendment
If you will be working or out of town we will allow you to nominate and vote early, but it must be done in the church office, sealed envelope, and left for day of nomination or Election by which it remains a secret ballot.
There will be no votes allowed to be cast after the morning of election.
We completely understand that some questions may arise as you read this change. Please call the office and our staff will be glad to explain anything with you.
FAQ (or answers that might help you with some questions)
What happens two weeks before Nomination? This will be a two week period where those who chose not to serve can have their names removed prior to Nomination Sunday. It also serves as a time for us to make corrections that may be noticed. Such as, a name that is not on the list and also a name that might need to be omitted for reasons that our office has not been made aware of.
What happens on the day of “Nominating”? Depending on the number of vacancies you will get to nominate three times that many. In other words, this year we have 4 vacancies to fill. Therefore in 2021 you will be able to nominate 12 men from the list by clearly circling their name.
What happens after the nomination Sunday? On that Sunday our deacons will count everyone who was nominated and how many “total” nominations they received. The top 12 receiving the most nominations will then become “candidates”.
What’s next after the 12 candidates are chosen? All 12 will be asked three questions by phone:
Will you be willing to serve, if elected?
Would you be willing to fill out a questionnaire in regards to deacon qualifications?
Would you consent to a background check?
Let us mention why these three questions are asked:
First, “Will you serve?” is asked because in the past, we have elected deacons. They received the rightful percentage to fill the role, however, it is only after the election is done that we learn that they do not want to serve. This has cause 2nd, and sometimes 3rd votes. By getting a confirmation (“yes”) from the candidate first (before election) we no longer have this issue.
Second, “Would you fill out a questionnaire and have an interview?” This is done in accordance with our present by-laws that we have not been following. The questionnaire is intended and designed to help candidates understand the role of deacon and the biblical application of a deacon, and collectively (staff/deacons/and candidate) be fully aware of our task to serve this church and not go into the role blindly.
Third, “Would you consent to a background check?” This is done primarily because these are difficult time’s we live in. It also is highly recommended by the Southern Baptist Convention that all churches begin this. Background checks are done on almost everyone in these times from school teachers to janitors. Why? Because it protects you, the church, and the candidate. If we run background checks on women volunteers who help us teach VBS, why would it make sense to not do this for the office of deacon? We presently partner with “Protect My Ministry” agency that also oversees the Southern Baptist Convention to run all of our background checks.
What happens on the “day of election”? This will be a ballot with the top 12 candidate’s names on it already. Since there are four vacancies to fill you will vote for only 4 of the candidates. This will be done during the service. Fold your secret ballot and turn it in. This will also remedy the issue we all have had in the past of “looking around the room” because we needed to fill in a blank in a hurry. These names will be in front of you and easy to determine what four you chose.
What happens after election? The secret ballots are counted and totaled. The 4 receiving the most votes will be considered elected. They will be contacted. They will begin service in the next month following election.
What if someone is elected that has never been a deacon before? An ordination service will be scheduled as soon as possible on a date that is good both for the church and the candidate. It will be held during a morning worship.