Adopted by the Global Independent Baptist Fellowship,
Buchanan Avenue Baptist Church, Sioux City, Iowa, September 21, 2005 WHEREAS our Lord Jesus Christ, at His ascension, vested His authority in the Church Institution;
AND WHEREAS the Lord Jesus did, in turn, commission New Testament Baptist churches to carry on and carry out the Father’s Business embodied in the Great Commission;
AND WHEREAS the Holy Scriptures clearly exhort every church to fulfill its responsibilities to the Great Commission with diligence and with discipline;
AND WHEREAS New Testament Baptist churches, from the Apostolic Age unto the present, have cooperated and fellow shipped together in an effort to achieve the objectives outlined in the Great Commission;
AND WHEREAS there exists an obligation to and a need for New Testament Baptist churches to maintain a separation from unscriptural and unholy unions while in pursuit of the purposes for their cooperation;
AND WHEREAS a common faith, a common stand, and a common philosophy have brought together scores of Independent Baptist pastors, evangelists, and missionaries who possess a common passion to fulfill a heavenly vision;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT we pastors, evangelists, and missionaries, under the authority of and in an individual relationship with our own respective churches, do hereby establish a Covenant Agreement in which we may abide all the disciplines of scripture while providing an orderly means of camaraderie and cooperation “for the furtherance of the gospel.”
of the Global Independent Baptist Fellowship
An “active” participant shall be one whose church/sending-church financially supports GIBF endeavors.
No part of this covenant shall ever, in any way, be interpreted to infringe upon or jeopardize the absolute sovereignty of any individual church. Biblically, all New Testament Baptist churches are autonomous and self-governing; therefore, the property rights, missionary policies, and practical procedures of any given church shall never, in any way, be endangered by the GIBF or its subsidiaries. Use of the GIBMissions Service Office requires agreement with, and adherence to, the voluntary contractual agreement between sending-church, missionary(ies) and GIBM (see Article VI, Sec. C).
Regular, bi-annual GIBF Meetings (February and September) shall be scheduled by, and after the approval of the Fellowship-at-large. Host pastors/churches shall, at their own discretion, promote and plan the particulars of their meeting program (speakers, music, special features, arrangements, etc.) in compliance with the GIBF National Meeting Guidelines (such Guidelines obtained from the GIBF Moderator). Any active participant pastor/church (see Article IV) may request to host GIBF meetings.
A session for the transaction of Fellowship business shall be allotted at each regularly-scheduled GIBF Meeting.
1. Qualifications and Authority
Anyone serving as an officer shall be an active participant (see Article IV) in the GIBF, and shall be in vigorous support of the GIBF-adopted Baptist Articles of Faith (see Article IX) both in principle and in practice.
No authority is extended to any GIBF officer beyond what is prescribed herein.
2. GIBF Moderator
The Moderator shall 1) chair all GIBF business meetings; shall 2) seek to accomplish Fellowship purposes through example, promotion, personal encouragement, and leadership; shall 3) serve as a member of the GIBMissions Advisory Board (see Article VI, Sec. D-4); and shall 4) serve as a liaison with local, and/or regional, and/or national Fellowships and their respective leadership in the coordination and performance of GIBF endeavors.
The Moderator shall be elected biennially (every two years), with no limit on successive terms of office.
3. GIBF Vice-Moderator
The Vice-Moderator shall 1) assist the Moderator in the operation and accomplishment of GIBF business; shall 2) chair all GIBF business meetings in absence of the Moderator; and shall 3) serve as a member of the GIBMissions Advisory Board.
The Vice-Moderator shall be elected biennially (every two years), with no limit on successive terms of office.
4. GIBF Secretary
The Secretary shall serve to record and permanently file a detailed account (minutes) of all GIBF business meetings. GIBF Business Meeting minutes shall be published, made available to all participants, and duly read at the next Business Meeting. The Secretary shall also serve as a member of the GIBMissions Advisory Board.
The Secretary shall be elected biennially (every two years), with no limit on successive terms of office.
D. Voting and Elections
All GIBF nominating, motioning, resolution submitting, and/or voting shall only be done by the participants present-and-voting in general session of the Fellowship-at-large. Some nominating and/or voting may be done within the GIBMissions Advisory Board in reference to business limited to their authority/responsibilities (see Article VI, Sec. D-4).
Unless specified otherwise, all elections and/or decision-making shall be determined by a simple majority present-and-voting.
GIBF Officer and GIBM Advisory Board nominations and elections shall be made by the Fellowship-at-large, and such nominations shall be received one GIBF Meeting prior (in May of even-numbered years) to the respective biennial election (in September of even-numbered years), allowing time for candidate assent and prayerful consideration, and so permitting the final ballot to be composed prior to the election.
(GIBMissions Advisory Board nominations and elections, when not concurrent with the GIBF Officer nomination/election process (due to three-year terms of office – see Article VI, Sec. D-4), shall be conducted in like fashion as that prescribed in the preceding paragraph.)
Special elections may be held at any regularly-scheduled GIBF Meeting to fill GIBF Officer and/or GIBMissions Advisory Board vacancies created by, for whatever reason, incomplete terms of service.
The specific organizational intent of the Global Independent Baptist Fellowship shall be the church-centered evangelization of people and nations throughout the world.
To accomplish this intent, the GIBF shall sponsor a mission service agency called Global Independent Baptist Missions. Global Independent Baptist Missions shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Texas, in the United States of America, and shall function as an arm of the Global Independent Baptist Fellowship.
The GIBM shall be an accessory service to missionary personnel and/or their sending-churches in the work of world evangelism. Churches and their related missionaries shall share in or employ GIBM services on a purely voluntary basis.
Services rendered include, but are not exclusive to, the following:
1. Provide a resource of Independent Baptist pastors, evangelists, and missionaries holding like-faith, and of a like-minded philosophy.
2. Provide assistance in the transportation and material resources to and from world mission fields.
3. Provide a recognized liaison for transactions and negotiations with foreign governments.
The GIBM Service Office shall serve at the pleasure of and for the benefit of both the sending-churches and the GIBM-endorsed missionaries. A primary, though not exclusive, function of the Service Office shall be the convenient and prudent communication of designated funds from the churches to the missionaries.
Monthly records of all monies given and received through the GIBM Service Office will be provided to the respective supporting-churches and supported missionaries. The GIBM Service Office shall be funded by designated offerings received expressly for the work of the Service Office and/or its Director and/or its Executive Assistant-Director. Any undesignated gifts or support shall be expended for items within the approved GIBM budget.
A directory of pastors, missionaries, and evangelists (and their respective churches) who participates within the GIBF and/or GIBM shall be produced every two years by the GIBM Service Office, and made available to the fellowship-at-large.
All operations, records, and bookkeeping of the GIBM Service Office shall be open-to-view for participating GIBF pastors, missionaries, or evangelists.
Services rendered by GIBM to a sending church and/or their missionary(ies) shall be by an at will, voluntary, covenant agreement. Any obligations made by those parties in regard to GIBM policies and standards shall also be considered in the same manner. Any one of the covenant parties may, of their own volition, declare the agreement void. Provisions and obligations of the covenant agreement are prescribed in Sec. F. Specific implementation shall be determined by the GIBM Director.
The discipline of, and/or the recall of any missionary(ies) shall be the right and responsibility of the sending-church; however, GIBM is a service agency strictly for separatist fundamental Baptists; therefore, a system of interview and accountability shall be employed which collectively involves the missionary(ies), sending-pastor/church, and GIBM leadership (see Sec. D-4 and Sec. F-4d).
1. Qualifications and Authority
Each person holding a Director, Executive Assistant-Director, or Advisory Board position in the GIBM shall be an active participant (see Article IV) in the GIBF; and he will be in vigorous support of the GIBF-adopted Baptist Articles of Faith (see Articles IX) both in principle and in practice.
No authority is extended to any GIBM leader beyond what is prescribed herein.
2. GIBM Director
The Director shall be appointed by the Fellowship-at-large to an indefinite term of service. Said appointment shall be reviewed by the GIBF Officers, in consultation with the GIBM Advisory Board, every five (5) years, beginning in May, 2010.
The Director shall oversee GIBM operations in concert with its Advisory Board, sending-churches, supporting-churches, and missionaries.
Because “the labourer is worthy of his hire,” the Director and the Executive Assistant-Director shall be at liberty to receive offerings and honorariums in the performance of their duties. The GIBM Advisory Board shall at a minimum of once per year, address the issue of salaries for the Director and his staff, according to the need and the availability of funds.
Travel and duty-related expenses of the Director, which are not met by individual churches, shall be paid by the GIBM Service Office, in accordance with the availability of funds.
The early stages of GIBM development may necessitate the leadership and/or staff serving with partial salary or with no salary at all. At such times, the Director and/or staff shall be at liberty to hold concurrent outside employment sufficient for their and their family’s livelihood. The latitude for such determinations and related policies is given to the Director in concert with the Advisory Board.
Offerings, honorariums, and remunerated expenses presented to the Director during his ministry among the churches will be, unless specifically designated otherwise, his to use as he determines.
Specific duties of the GIBM Director include:
a) Determine a practical and efficient location for the GIBM Service Office.
b) Manage day-to-day operations of the Service Office, and supervise its staff/personnel.
c) Communicate with the Fellowship-at-large and the Global Baptist Times newspaper for promotion of GIBM-endorsed missionaries and GIBM projects.
d) Ensure that agreed-to policies of the GIBM are implemented and conformed to by the respective participating parties.
e) Promote/advance the work of the GIBM among the churches and the GIBF.
f) Serve the mission related needs of sending churches/pastors, supporting churches/pastors, and endorsed missionaries of the GIBM.
g) Act as Chairman of the GIBM Advisory Board.
h) Present an annual report to the GIBF on the work and accomplishments of the GIBM and the GIBM Service Office.
i) Prepare an annual GIBM Service Office operating budget, and present it to the GIBM Advisory Board for review and approval.
j) Raise financial support for GIBM Service Office operations;
k) Procure an annual external review of GIBM Service Office financial records.
3. GIBM Executive Assistant-Director
The Executive Assistant-Director (EAD) shall be appointed by the GIBM Director and ratified by the GIBM Advisory Board. He shall serve under the authority of the Director and in the capacity to assist in his duties, and shall manage and/or execute Service Office operations on a daily basis. He shall also serve on the GIBM Advisory Board as Vice-Chairman.
Due to the expectations that the EAD will become a full-time GIBM position, a salary commensurate with his needs, and in accordance with the availability of funds, shall be a part of the GIBM Service Office budget.
The early stages of GIBM development may necessitate the leadership and staff serving with partial salary or with no salary at all. At such times, the EAD shall be at liberty to solicit personal outside support sufficient for his and his family’s livelihood.
Offerings, honorariums, and remunerated expenses presented to the EAD during his ministry among the churches shall be, unless specifically designated otherwise, his to use as he determines. Travel and duty-related expenses of the EAD, not met by individual churches, shall be paid by the GIBM Service Office in accordance with the availability of funds.
4. GIBM Advisory Board
The Fellowship-at-large shall nominate and elect six (6) active participants (see Article IV) to serve as advisors to the GIBM Director. The elected Advisory Board members shall be evenly divided to serve staggered three-year terms, being elected accordingly during the respective September GIBF Meeting. In this fashion, two (2) new Board members will be elected each year (see also Article V, Sec. D). Following a term of service, elected Advisory Board members may be re-elected only they have cycled-off the Board for a minimum of one-year.
The GIBM Director shall serve on the Advisory Board as Chairman.
The GIBM Executive Assistant-Director shall serve on the Advisory Board as Vice-Chairman.
The GIBF Officers (Moderator, Vice-Moderator, and Secretary) shall serve on the Advisory Board, for a total of eleven (11) voting members (6 elected Advisors + GIBM Director + EAD + 3 GIBF Officers).
The Advisory Board shall consider matters pertinent to the missionary enterprise of the GIBF, and be at liberty to recommend for adoption and/or amendment policies necessary for efficiency and accomplishment (see Sec. F-10).
Seven (7) Advisory Board members, including either the GIBM Director or Executive Assistant-Director, shall constitute a quorum for conducting Advisory Board business. Teleconference connections may be used to obtain a quorum.
Board action requires a three-fourths (¾) majority present-and-voting (or via teleconference) to make any decision(s) valid.
Emergency meetings of the Advisory Board may make decisions and/or recommendations, and take action as urgent needs demand.
The GIBM Director or Executive Assistant-Director, together with two other elected Board members shall be sufficient authority for convening an emergency meeting, and shall be considered a quorum for conducting such business. A written record (minutes), including the names of those in attendance or via teleconference, shall be taken at any emergency meeting.
The Advisory Board shall appoint its own secretary from among the six (6) elected Board members who shall keep a detailed record of all Board Meetings, including the names of all persons in attendance or via teleconference.
Attendance at any given Advisory Board Meeting is open to GIBF participating pastors, missionaries, and evangelists for the purpose of observation, and at the discretion of the Advisory Board.
E. Service Office Staff
(as needed and as determined by the GIBM Director)
The Treasurer-Bookkeeper shall assist in the accounting, receiving, and distributing of all assets and/or resources, financial or otherwise, which are processed through the GIBM Service Office.
An annual GIBM Financial Report shall be produced by the Treasurer/Bookkeeper.
The Treasurer-Bookkeeper shall be hired/appointed by, and subordinate to the GIBM Director.
2. Others (Determined and defined as need arises)
1. General Consensus
Because the scriptural and practical means of fulfilling the Great Commission constrains New Testament Baptist churches to cooperate in the endeavor, the following commitments are made in good faith by all participating parties (GIBF, GIBM, sending-churches/pastors, supporting-churches/pastors, and missionaries):
a) Commitment to the sovereignty and authority of the New Testament Church Institution, and to individual sending churches.
b) Commitment to an honest regard for the involvement and interest of the GIBM Service Office and/or leadership, and/or supporting churches/pastors.
c) Commitment to a system of accountability for the sending-churches and their respective missionaries, intending to maintain good stewardship and credibility within the collective enterprise.
2. Expectations and Accountability
Of the sending-church/pastor
A sending-church is the agency which will approve, commission, and confer authority upon her respective missionary/missionary family to “do the work of an evangelist”- planting, establishing, and training churches in the places God has called him/her/them.
The sending-church will provide a written recommendation for her missionary/missionary family to the GIBM Advisory Board for the process involved in seeking a GIBM endorsement/affiliation. The sending-church will participate in financially (and otherwise) supporting her missionary(ies).
The sending-church/pastor will maintain a vigorous support, both in principle and in practice, of the GIBF Covenant (including its Baptist Articles of Faith), and will cooperate in accord with GIBM policies, understanding that so-doing relates directly to a GIBM endorsement for a church’s respective missionary(ies).
The sending-pastor will serve to encourage, advise, help, and hold accountable his church’s missionary/missionary family. He shall be mindful of conditions in which the missionary(ies) is/are serving, the status of the work, and any notable personal needs (physical, emotional, material, and spiritual). When any or all of those same matters are pertinent to the GIBM Service Office and/or supporting-pastors/churches, such will be clearly and promptly communicated to the same.
Of the missionary(ies)
A responsible, faithful, and diligent ministry, seeking to fulfill the charges of the Great Commission (soul-winning, church-planting, and discipleship/training) is the preeminent expectation (see also Sec. F-3b).
Direct, routine accountability will be given to one’s sending church; however, there is an ethical responsibility to the interests and investments of supporting-churches/pastors. Therefore, regular reports sent from the field, and prompt responses to letters of inquiry received from sending-churches/pastors are expected. Communication concerning travel and time away from the field will be made to both the sending-church and the GIBM Service Office.
Personal financial accounts, kept in record by the GIBM Service Office, shall be open-to-view for the sending-pastor and all supporting-pastors of a given missionary/missionary couple.
3. Personal Qualifications of the Missionary
Every missionary/missionary couple must be born-again, and baptized in and holding active membership in good standing in an Independent Baptist church which is in doctrinal agreement with the GIBF-adopted Baptist Articles of Faith (see Sec. F-2a, and Article IX). He/she/they shall give testimony to having received a God-given call to the missionary ministry. He/she/they will be in vigorous support of the GIBF-adopted Baptist Articles of Faith both in principle and in practice.
A “missionary” shall be defined as: “a person called of God and commissioned by a New Testament Baptist church for the purpose(s) of establishing and/or aiding and/or assisting in the establishment of one or more New Testament Baptist churches.”
Neither spouse of a given missionary couple shall have been divorced. They must have all dependent children in subjection to their God-given authority as parents. Adolescent children should be yielded to God’s call for their parents, and to the related will of God for their family.
Single persons may be considered for endorsement on a case-by-case basis.
Attendance is required at the GIBM Deputation School for each newly-endorsed missionary/missionary couple (see Sec. F-7).
Personal finances of the missionary/missionary couple must be sound. Credit records and financial reports shall be open to review by the GIBM Advisory Board and GIBM Service Office.
Annual financial reports, including all income, assets, and expenditures, will be presented to both the sending-church and GIBM Service Office.
The GIBM-endorsement/affiliation status will not be used in any unethical way; nor will it be used in any fashion, obligate the GIBF and/or GIBM without their knowledge and approval. All such approval shall only be given, in writing, by the GIBM Director and Advisory Board.
GIBM-endorsed missionaries shall not be associated or identified with any missionary agency or servicing organization apart from their own sending-church and the GIBM.
4. Application-Identification Procedures
The application and identification process relates to a given missionary’s desire to affiliate with the GIBF collectively, and be in possession of a GIBM endorsement. Approval of the missionary’s call to ministry and call to a specific field/location of service resides in his/her sending-church.
Filing a completed missionary application form and missionary questionnaire with the GIBM Service Office are the first requirements in the process for obtaining a GIBM endorsement/affiliation. Application and questionnaire forms are available through the GIBM Service Office.
Letters recommending the missionary/missionary family for GIBM endorsement/affiliation will be sent to the GIBM Director from the sending-church pastor, and from three (3) other GIBF participating pastors, or missionaries, or evangelists.
Presentation for Endorsement
Once the preliminary paperwork is completed, the missionary/missionary couple (preferably together with his/her/their sending-church pastor) will give testimony and answer questions before the GIBM Advisory Board, which will, in turn, make a determination for or against a GIBM endorsement.
Veteran foreign missionaries who apply for GIBM endorsement while already serving abroad may be endorsed under the following provisional conditions.
1. He/she/they will have submitted all preliminary documents and forms;
2. He/she/they will have severed his/her/their affiliation with any/all other mission agencies;
3. He/she/they will be authorized by and accountable to a sending-church which supports in principle and in practice the GIBF-endorsed Baptist Articles of Faith, and which will cooperate in accord with the GIBF Covenant and GIBM policies;
4. Following such a provisional endorsement, he/she/they will meet with the GIBM Advisory Board to complete the normal endorsement procedures, immediately upon arrival home from the “field.”
5. Following a decision against endorsement, recommendations by the Advisory Board may be offered to the applicant(s) so as to permit a possible reconsideration.
Retaining an endorsement/affiliation/identification with the GIBM will require the missionary/missionary family to maintain the sanction, support, and approval of his/her/their sending-church, and to keep his/her/their agreement(s) concerning the GIBF Covenant, GIBM policy responsibilities, and the GIBF-adopted Baptist Articles of Faith (see also Sec. F-2a and F-2b).
Termination of the GIBM endorsement/affiliation status may come by way of a voluntary resignation, or by way of a GIBM withdrawal of endorsement due to violations in areas prescribed in the preceding paragraph. Termination of affiliation status shall be promptly communicated by the GIBM Service Office to the sending-church/pastor, supporting-churches/pastors, and the Fellowship-at-large.
One-hundred per cent (100%) of all support/gift monies designated for a given missionary/missionary family, sent through the GIBM Service Office, will be communicated to the missionary/missionary family in a prompt, routine, and careful fashion.
Levels of support sufficient for the livelihood of a missionary/missionary family will be determined by agreement between the missionary(ies) and, the sending-pastor.
Arrangements concerning GIBM group and/or individual insurance policies may be made through the Service Office.
7. Deputation School
A training school, operated by the GIBM Director and staffed by experienced missionaries and pastors and/or evangelists, is required for each newly-endorsed missionary/missionary couple. The school is primarily designed to provide practical, helpful preparation and instruction regarding the challenges and responsibilities during deputation and upon arrival to the mission field.
Deputation School sessions will be scheduled by the Director in consultation with the respective missionary(ies).
8. Foreign National Missionaries
The challenges and special demands of cooperating with foreign national
missionaries and foreign sending-churches/pastors (beyond U.S. and Canadian borders) are not matters the GIBM is presently prepared to assist in.
9. Mission Fields
In general, GIBM policies apply equally to home and foreign missionaries and/or projects. Whenever specific issues differentiate the two, such differences will be addressed, and/or tailored policies will be formulated.
GIBM policies may be amended at any regularly-scheduled GIBF Meeting, provided the following steps are taken:
a) Review and recommendation of any proposed amendment by the GIBM Advisory Board.
b) Announcement and reading of the proposed amendment be given during one (1) GIBF Meeting in advance of the related vote.
c) An announcement of the proposal be published in at least one (1) preceding issue of the Global Baptist Times newspaper; and
d) Final adoption of the proposed amendment be made by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Fellowship-at-large present-and-voting. ARTICLE VII – PUBLICATIONS (Deut. 32:2-4)
The name of the GIBF “news-arm” shall be the Global Baptist Times (GBT or “Newspaper”).
The Global Baptist Times shall facilitate the GIBF by providing a means of communication, challenge, and camaraderie among participating pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and their respective churches. The meetings of the GIBF shall be advertised, promoted, and reported in the Newspaper.
The Editor shall be appointed by the Fellowship-at-large to an indefinite term of service. Said appointment shall be reviewed by the GIBF Officers (see Article V, Sec. C), in consultation with the GBT Review Board, every five (5) years, beginning in May, 2010.
The Editor shall oversee GBT operations in concert with its Review Board. He shall be directly answerable to GIBF Officers, and indirectly accountable to the Fellowship-at-large.
b) Office Staff (as needed and as determined by the Editor)
c) Review Board
A Board of active participants (see Article IV; the choices and determined number nominated by the Editor and ratified by the Fellowship-at-large) shall serve indefinite terms for the purposes of consultation, critical review, and reference.
The Global Baptist Times shall be financially underwritten by support and gifts from GIBF participants, as well as by subscription rates and related fees set by the Editor.
Offerings, honorariums, and remunerated expenses presented to the Editor during his GBT-related ministry among the churches shall be, unless specifically designated otherwise, his to use as he determines. Ideally, duty-related expenses of the Editor will be a portion of the GBT annual budget.
An annual financial report shall be presented to the Fellowship, by the Editor, at each February GIBF Meeting.