BYLAWS OF AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES OF OHIO
Introductory Note: The format of the Bylaws is designed to symbolize their correlation
with the Region’s Constitution and provides for the possibility of one or more standing
rules for each Article of the Constitution: Rule 1 of the Bylaws corresponds to Article I of
the Constitution, Rule 2 to Article II, etc.
Where the word “reserved” appears in the text of the Bylaws it means that no
standing rule is currently called for regarding that section of the Constitution. The
number position for a rule is simply being reserved for possible future use.
RULE 1: NAME AND AFFILIATION
1.2.1. The Region shall pledge itself to promote the unity and efficiency
of the denomination in its efforts for the evangelization of the world, to
support the work of American Baptist Churches in the USA (hereinafter
known as ABC/USA), to consult with the General Secretary on the
credentials of its Executive Minister prior to the selection of such officer,
and to submit its budget annually to the General Board.
The Region shall implement the Denominational Functions agreed to by
ABC/USA and American Baptist Churches of Ohio. Within those
functions, the Region shall implement American Baptist Policy Statements
and Resolutions and shall design, carry out and report to the General
Board on programs and projects to implement its Denominational
1.2.2 The relationship with ABC/USA shall be recorded in the Covenant
of Relationships and the related Statements of Agreement, one of which
shall be the Common Budget Covenant. The Board of Regional Ministries
shall adopt, periodically review, and may amend the Covenant of
Relationships and Statements of Agreements.
BYLAWS OF AMERICAN BAPTIST CHURCHES OF OHIO
RULE 2: MISSION STATEMENT (Reserved)
RULE 3: CONSTITUENCY
3.2.1 A church shall be received into the Region and ABC/USA; or upon
request, into the Region solely; by recommendation of the association to
which it has applied and duly been approved. Each association shall
implement its own requirements regarding acceptance of a church into the
fellowship of its member churches with counsel from the Region’s
professional staff and with reference to ABC/USA’s “Common Criteria
for a Cooperating Church” (see Appendix B of these Bylaws.) and/or
ABC/OH’s Common Criteria for an Affiliating Church”(see Appendix C
of these Bylaws).
Rule 3.2.2. A church shall be dismissed from the Region, and thus the
denomination, by recommendation of the association of which it is a
member. Each association shall implement its own criteria for dismissal of
member churches with counsel from the Region’s professional staff and
with reference to ABC/USA’s “Common Criteria for a Cooperating
Church” (see Appendix B of these Bylaws) and/or ABC/OH’s Common
Criteria for an Affiliating Church”(see Appendix C of these Bylaws).
RULE 4: OFFICERS
4.1.1 The President shall be the chief elected corporate officer and shall
preside at all meetings of the Region, the Board of Regional Ministries,
and the Executive Committee. The President shall see that the policies
and actions of the Board are implemented by the Executive Minister, staff,
and appropriate volunteers. The President shall report to the Region and
the Board on the condition and management of the affairs of the Region.
The President shall be an ex officio member of all committees, task groups
and working teams except a nominating committee. An annual report
shall be compiled and published in a timely manner by the President for
his/her presidential year. The President shall be assigned to the
Administrative Ministries Team.
4.1.2 The Vice-President shall assume the duties of the President when
the President is absent. The Vice-President shall hold responsibility for
informally reviewing the Bylaws annually, monitoring the Region’s Goals
and Objectives, and shall have powers and be charged with such duties as
the Board of Regional Ministries or as the President may delegate. The
Vice-President shall be assigned to the United Ministries Team.
4.1.3 The immediate Past President shall serve on the Board of Regional
Ministries and shall provide continuity within the Region. The Past
President shall be assigned to the Local Church Ministries Team. (See
4.1.4 The Secretary shall have the responsibility for maintaining the
official non-financial records of the Region, the Board of Regional
Ministries, and its Executive Committee, and shall perform all other duties
usually pertaining to such office. The Secretary shall be assigned to the
Local Church Ministries Team.
4.1.5 The Treasurer, under the direction of the Board of Regional
Ministries, shall review the financial affairs of the Region. The Treasurer
shall see that accurate records are kept of the funds of the Region and shall
present a written financial report at each annual meeting and to the Board
of Regional Ministries at such times as the Board may direct. The
Treasurer shall give bond satisfactory to the Board. The Treasurer shall be
assigned to the Administrative Ministries Team.
4.1.6 All officers of ABC/OH shall be members of ABC/USA
RULE 5: BOARD OF REGIONAL MINISTRIES
5.1 The Board shall reflect the diversity in the Region with respect to
age, sex, ethnic and language groups and desirable skills.
126.96.36.199 Clergy shall be defined as an ordained or licensed professional
church leader or certified lay pastor.
188.8.131.52 Under extenuating circumstances, an association may petition the
Board for a change in the rotation category.
184.108.40.206 The alternate’s term shall be limited to that of the person he/she
succeeds. Fulfillment of an unexpired term shall count as a full term with
regards to re-election.
220.127.116.11 If any Board member shall become an officer, her/his term on the
Board shall be completed by the elected alternate.
Rule 5.5 (Reserved)
Rule 5.6 (Reserved)
5.7 A vacancy in the position of association representative on the
Board shall be filled in consultation with the officers of the association.
5.9 The Bylaws of the Region may be amended or revised by a two-
thirds vote of the members of the Board present at any duly called meeting
of the Board, except for provisions relating to the Region’s affiliation and
relationship with ABC/USA, where a vote of two-thirds of the members of
the Board belonging to churches affiliated with ABC/USA would be
necessary, provided the amendment or revision has been recommended by
the Executive Committee and a copy of any proposed amendment or
revision has been sent to all members of the Board at least two weeks prior
to the meeting.
5.10.1 There shall be an Executive committee of the Board empowered to
act on behalf of the Board between meetings in all matters except where
such action is contrary to established Board policy. The Committee shall
be accountable to the Board, and all actions shall be reported to the Board
at its next meeting.
5.10.2 The Executive Committee shall give assistance to and supervise
the work and ministry of the Executive Minister.
5.10.3 The Executive Committee shall serve as the coordinating and
integrating committee for the total work of the Region to assure that there
is a Region of the whole rather than a Region of its parts.
5.10.4 All matters pertaining to implementation of policy shall be cleared
through the Executive Committee. Where differences may exist between
groups within the Region organization, the Executive committee shall be
empowered to render decisions, subject to the Board.
5.10.5 The Executive Committee shall be composed of twelve persons:
five Officers, three Team Chairpersons, three Team members elected by
the respective Team, and the Executive Minister who shall be the
responsible staff person.
5.10.6 Except when in Executive Session, which may be called by the
President, the Executive Minister, or requested by the Executive
Committee, the Professional staff shall attend meetings of the Executive
Committee. Their role shall be that of resource.
5.10.7 The Executive Committee shall meet at least two times a year or at
the call of the President or the Executive Minister.
5.10.8 A majority of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum.
5.10.9 The Executive Committee shall evaluate the work of the Executive
Minister every four (4) years in consultation with the General Secretary,
5.10.10 The Constitution and Bylaws shall be reviewed every five years
by a committee appointed by the Executive Committee for that purpose.
5.10.11 The Executive Committee shall appoint a parliamentarian from
the Board to interpret the Constitution and Bylaws.
5.10.12 The Executive Committee shall be responsible for insuring that
guidelines and purchases approved by the Teams are consistent with the
specific mission statement of that Team, as well as, the Mission statement
for ABC/OHIO. The Executive Committee may overturn any guideline
previously approved by one of the Teams that is determined to be
inconsistent with one of the appropriate mission statements. Such a
decision may be appealed to the Board for final resolution.
Rule 5.11.1 The structure of the Board shall consist of three Teams:
a. United Ministries Team shall be responsible for overseeing and
communicating the shared ministries of the Region, such as new
church development, outdoor ministries, campus ministry,
neighborhood action programs, the state advisory committee on
b. Local Church Ministries Team shall be responsible for enabling
ministries within the member churches such as Christian education,
stewardship, Watchcare, etc.
c. Administrative Ministries Team shall be responsible for
management of the Region’s organizational structure and resources
enabling accomplishment of the Region’s ministries.
5.11.2 The Teams are primarily working groups rather than policy-
making groups. Each Team, however, may establish guidelines necessary
to carry out its mission as defined in section 5.11.1. Such guidelines must
be consistent with their mission statement and the mission statement of
ABC/OHIO and shall be reported to the Executive Committee for review.
5.11.3 Each Team also is responsible for insuring that guidelines and
purchases approved by their related committees and task forces are
consistent with the specific mission statement of that group as well as the
mission statement for ABC/OHIO. A Team may overturn any guideline
previously approved by one of its related committees or task forces that is
determined to be inconsistent with one of the appropriate mission
statements. Such a decision may be appealed to the Board’s Executive
Committee for final resolution.
5.11.4 The Board or a Team in consultation with the President and
Executive Minister may appoint standing committees, committees, and
task groups as needed to accomplish its goals, except the nominating
committee. Such appointments shall be approved by the corresponding
Team and/or the Board. Any group requiring funding must have its
funding source approved by the Administrative Team. Each committee,
task group, etc., shall be directly accountable to the appointing body and
thus to the Board. Task groups shall be appointed for specific tasks for a
specific period of time and then disbanded.
5.11.5 Appointment shall be on a rotating basis to provide continuity of
leadership insofar as this does not conflict with other provisions of the
Constitution or these Bylaws. Except as otherwise provided for in the
Constitution or these Bylaws, all members of committees, task groups, etc.
shall be appointed for terms of no more than three years. Persons shall
serve no more than six years as a member of any committee, task group,
5.11.6 The Board shall be represented on each committee, task group, etc.
5.11.7 One half of the members of a committee, task group, etc., shall
constitute a quorum.
5.11.8 Every committee and task force shall be responsible for:
a. Carrying out ministries in accordance with the mission statement for
its particular ministry. (Specific mission statements for all committees
and task forces shall be on file in the Region office)
b. Setting guidelines directly related to its mission statement. Such
guidelines must be consistent with its mission statement and the
mission statement of ABC/OHIO and shall be reported to the
appropriate Team for review.
c. Making financial decisions in accordance with its mission statement
and the mission statement of ABC/OHIO. All such financial decisions
must fall within the most recently approved ABC/OHIO annual
Any proposed action that falls outside of the parameters listed in rule
5.11.8 b & c must be approved by the Board after being approved by the
5.11.9 The committees are:
The Outdoor Ministries Commission reporting to the United
The New Church Development Commission reporting to the United
The State Advisory Committee on Ordination reporting to the United
The Annual Meeting Program Committee reporting to the
Administrative Ministries Team.
The Lay Pastors Training Committee reporting to the Local Church
The Nominating Committee reporting to the Delegates in Annual
The Personnel Committee reporting financial decisions to the
Administrative Ministries Team and personnel issues to the Executive
5.11.10 All committee members must be members of an ABC/USA
5.12.1 The Board shall appoint a Search Committee to recommend a
qualified person to fill the office of the Executive Minister when a
vacancy occurs. The Committee shall be comprised of a Past President,
five members-at-large elected by the Board, and the President. The Past
President shall convene the committee which shall elect its own
chairperson. The presidents of the auxiliary organizations may serve as ex
officio members. The credentials of all persons to be considered for the
office of Executive Minister shall be approved by the General Secretary of
ABC/USA. The personnel of the Search Committee as originally
comprised shall continue as members of the Committee until the office of
Executive Minister has been filled.
5.12.2 All Search Committee members for Executive Minister and staff
must be members of an ABC/USA Cooperating Church.
5.14 Teams of the Board shall submit budget or funding requests for
ministry projects to the Administrative Team by July 1st of each year for
consideration in the following year’s budget. Any new or special
ministries projects requiring region funding must be referred to the
Administrative Team for identification of funding source, and then voted
upon by the Board.
5.16 In the interest of effective participation of Board members and of
faithful stewardship of the Region’s funds, it is expected that all members
will attend all meetings of the Board and committees to which they are
assigned, unless prevented by unavoidable reasons, and that they will
arrive at all meetings on time and remain until adjournment of each
meeting. A position will be considered vacant after three (3) consecutive
unexcused absences. Authority to grant excuses shall be vested in the
RULE 6: PROFESSIONAL STAFF
6.1 In addition to the duties defined in the Constitution, the Executive
Minister shall be responsible for relating the ministry and mission of the
Region to ABC/USA, and the ministry and mission of ABC/USA to the
Region; shall represent the Region on the General Executive Council and
such other boards and committees as may be requested (within the
limitation of time and responsibility for the total ministry of the Region)
and shall serve as chief negotiator between the Region and ABC/USA in
matters of mutual concern and contract, such as finances and program
commitments. In exercising these responsibilities, the Executive Minister
shall always be subject to the policies and priorities established by the
Region through its Board.
6.2 It shall be the responsibility of the Executive Minister and the
professional staff to assist and undergird local churches and associations in
the fulfillment of their ministries relating them to the work and mission of
the Region and the world mission of ABC/USA. Responsibilities also
include the pastoral needs of the Region’s professional church leadership.
6.3 Professional staff shall be assigned a resourcing responsibility for
one of the Teams. Adjunct staff shall submit an annual written report in
December to the appropriate Team.
RULE 7: ANNUAL MEETINGS
7.1.1 Registration fees established by the Board shall be assessed for
delegates and visitors to the annual meetings of the Region. All persons
who attend the annual meetings must register as delegates or as visitors
except when invited as a special guest through the office of the Executive
Minister, or providing that particular portions of the program are open
sessions. Voting delegates shall submit registration forms duly authorized
by the church, association, or organization they represent.
7.1.2 Minutes of an annual meeting and of special meetings of the
Region shall be referred to the Board for approval, subject to correction at
the next meeting of the Region.
7.1.3 There shall be a standing Program Committee to plan for the
annual meetings of the Region. The committee shall be comprised of the
following persons: American Baptist Churches of Ohio President,
American Baptist Churches of Ohio Vice-President, President American
Baptist church of Ohio Ministers Council, President American Baptist
Men, President American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and the
Conference Facilitation Team.
Rule 7.2 No written document such as a resolution or statement of concern
shall be introduced at any annual meeting session unless permission is first
granted by the delegates in business session. Permission requires a two-
thirds vote in favor.
A statement of concern shall not be acted on by delegates but may
be presented at any annual meeting session by the Board.
7.4.1 Only Voting delegates from ABC/USA affiliated churches may vote
on matters concerning the Region’s affiliation and relationship with
7.5.1 The elected General Board representatives shall serve as the
Nominating Committee. The Nominating committee shall elect its own
7.5.2 The Board shall reflect the diversity in the Region with respect to
age, sex, ethnic and language groups and desirable skills.
RULE 8: FINANCES
8.1.1 Real property held by the Region shall be entrusted to the Baptist
Foundation Inc., and shall be subject to its Constitution and Code of
8.1.2 The Region shall cooperate with ABC/USA in the collection of
mission contributions for the denomination in the Region.
8.1.3 The Board shall be responsible for the management of the
Endowment Fund, and shall make an annual report to the Region.
Rule 8.2 (Reserved)
Rule 8.3 (Reserved)
Rule 8.4 (Reserved)
Rule 8.5 (Reserved)
Rule 8.6 (Reserved)
RULE 9: AUXILIARY ORGANIZATIONS
9.1 A group shall submit a written request to the President on behalf of
the Board to apply to become a recognized auxiliary organization. Such
request shall include the organization’s statement of purpose, a current
budget, and plans to carry out the common criteria for a region auxiliary
(see Rule 9.1.1 of these Bylaws.) The Board shall respond to the request.
9.1.1 The common criteria for a region auxiliary are as follows:
Publicize a purpose statement compatible with the purpose
statement of American Baptist church in the USA (ABC/USA.)
(See Appendix A.)
Support the Region (ABC/OHIO) mission, help promote the
Region goals, and educate the auxiliary’s constituency about
American Baptist ministries.
Participate regularly in the programs and ministries of the Region
and its member associations.
Use Region program resources appropriate for the auxiliary’s
needs and offer auxiliary resources to the Region for the good of
Provide timely reports to the Region Board (see Rule 9.2 of the
Enhance the relationship of the auxiliary’s members with
ABC/OHIO and ABC/USA.
9.2 Each auxiliary organization shall annually submit a written report
of program to the Board, and an audited financial report to the
9.3 The executive Committee shall review the status of each region
auxiliary organization at least every six years relative to the “Common
Criteria for a Region Auxiliary” (see Rule 9.1.1 of these Bylaws.)
RULE 10: DISSOLUTION OF ORGANIZATION
RULE 11: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
RULE 12: AMENDMENTS
APPENDIX A – Statement of Purpose of ABC/USA
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., as a manifestation of the church universal,
bears witness to God’s intention to bring redemption and wholeness to all creation.
American Baptists believe that God’s intention can be sought and followed in local
congregations and other gatherings of Christians and in associational, regional, national
and world bodies as they receive from one another mutual counsel and correction. Since
Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, each body of Christians, seeking to order its life in
accordance with the scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has a proper
responsibility under God for maintaining its life of worship, witness, and ministry.
In every area of their common life American Baptists, acknowledging the
importance of creative diversity, seek such a balance of freedom and order as will keep
all parts of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. open to the guidance of the Holy
Spirit and at the same time enable them to work responsibly to carry out the common task
of mission and ministry in our time.
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. acknowledges that it shares a common
faith in Christ with churches which may be quite different from it in history, polity and
practice. Consequently, it seeks to share with them a common ministry and to express it
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. acknowledges that God’s will is also
manifested in movements outside the formal structures of Christ’s church, and that,
therefore, it must respond faithfully to such disclosures.
American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. further acknowledges and confirms its
commitment to the objects stated in its Act of Incorporation as follows: “to give
expression to the opinions of its constituency upon moral, religious and denominational
matters and to promote denominational unity and efficiency in efforts for the
evangelization of the world.”
In the light of this affirmation, American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. intends
the following statement of purpose to implement and not to alter the objects stated in its
Act of Incorporation:
To bear witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the world and to lead persons
To seek the mind of Christ on moral, spiritual, political, economic, social,
denominational and ecumenical matters, and to express to the rest of society on
behalf of American Baptists, their convictions as to the mind of Christ in these
To guide, unify, and assist American Baptists in their witness in the world, in
preparing members for the work of ministry, and in serving both those within
and outside the fellowship of Christ; and
To promote closer relations among American Baptist Churches and groups,
within the whole Body of Christ and to promote understanding with other
(By vote of the Annual Convention at Seattle, Washington, May 16, 1969.)
APPENDIX B – Common Criteria for a Cooperating Church
The following “common criteria” shall serve as the minimal qualifications for a
Accept and publicize the purpose statement of American Baptist Churches in the
USA (ABC/USA) and of the regional mission organization in which the church is
Participate regularly in programs and the ministries of ABC/USA at both the
national and regional levels.
Utilize ABC/USA resources appropriate to the congregation’s needs.
Support the mission of ABC/USA by contributing a fair share of the
congregation’s income (exclusive of building payments) to American Baptist
Provide reports on the forms supplied by the regional mission organization and/or
From Standing Rules of ABC/USA: Rule 5.1 – Qualifications
(Voted by the General Board, December 1986)
APPENDIX C – ABC/OH’s Common Criteria for an Affiliating Church
The following “common criteria” shall serve as the minimal qualifications for an
Accept and publicize the purpose statement of the American Baptist Churches of
Ohio (ABC/OH) and of the association in which the church is located.
Participate regularly in the programs and the ministries of ABC/OH at both the
regional and association levels.
Utilize ABC/OH resources appropriate to the congregation’s needs.
Support the mission of ABC/OH by contributing a fair share of the congregation’s
income (exclusive of building payments) to American Baptist Mission Support or
in other appropriate ways.
Provide reports on the forms supplied by the ABC/OH.
08/07/90 – Approved by P.R.A.Y. Committee
09/13/90 – Approved by Executive Committee
10/26/90 – Approved by Board
12/12/92 – Revision: Rule 7.5.1
12/11/97 – Revision approved by the Board
05/20/99 – Revision approved by the Board
10/19/02 – Revision approved by the Board
09/18/08 – Revision approved by the Board
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