Our History

How it all began…….. The first two years…….. Planting the seed…..

Jan. 23, 1958 – Missionary Philip Claar challenged Pastor C. William Sloat of West End
Community Baptist Church, Oneonta, NY, to investigate the possibility of starting an independent Baptist church in Bellefonte, PA. The next week the Sloats came to Bellefonte and met in the home of John Hall and also made contact with First Baptist Church of Lock Haven. The Lock Haven church took on financial support of the Sloats to assist in the birthing of our church.
March 6, 1958 – The Sloats moved to Bellefonte.
March 16, 1958 – The first service was held in “Hoag’s Dairy Restaurant” on E. High
Street with 18 people present.
April 15, 1958 – Land was purchased on E. Howard St. (present sight of Crest Side
Apartments) and Ground Breaking was held at 11:00 AM. Three men by faith offered their homes as collateral to secure the mortgage to buy the property.
July 6, 1958 – 44 people met for the first service in the unfinished “A-Frame”.
October 26, 1958 – The “A-Frame” was dedicated to the glory of God.
January 28, 1959 – The first Missionary Conference began with 5 mission boards and 6 mission fields represented. They included Robert Eisele (Argentina),
Jack Manly (New Guinea), and Elizabeth Sheetz (Venezuela).
June 7, 1959 – First “Drive-In Church Services” held at the Star Light Drive In

Years of continuing growth

1968, December – Sunday School Annexes to the A-Frame were dedicated
(Mortgage burned, December 1973)
1976, October – Jacksonville Road building was dedicated to the glory of God.
(Mortgage burned in March 1987)
1990, July – Additional land purchased bringing our total to 18.42 acres
1992, Upper field graded and prepared for use
1994, Pavilion constructed and dedicated to the glory of God
1996, January – Educational/Administration addition dedicated to the glory of God.

The Pastors of our church from 1958 to the present

Pastor C. William Sloat, 1958-1960

Pastor George H. Keith, 1960-1963

Pastor Arthur Bowser, 1964-1968

Pastor Marvin D. Apple, 1969-1984

Pastor Brett Reider, 1980-1984 (Associate in Youth & C.E.)

Pastor Ronald S. Berrus, 1985 – 2004

Pastor Douglas N. Packard, 1987-1996 (Associate in Youth and C.E.)

Pastor Ray Goss, 1994-2000 (Associate in Evangelism and Discipleship)

Pastor Gerry Horton, 1997-2010 (Associate in CE & Youth)

Pastor Bill Wessel, 2002-2005 (Associate in Evangelism and Adult Ministries)

Pastor Rick L. Wilson, 2007-2009

Pastor Greg Shipe, 2011-Present

Pastor Aaron Hoffman, 2013-Present (Assistant)

Declaration of Faith / Doctrinal Statement

1. We believe in the verbal inspiration, inerrancy and absolute and final authority of the Scriptures as originally given. We believe God has preserved His Word through all generations and that His Word remains pure and inerrant yet today in those 66 books of the Old and New Testament, and that they are the completed revelation of God for us today (Luke 24:27, 44; II Tim. 3:16-17; II Peter 1:19-21).

2. We believe in the Trinity of the Godhead; that God exists eternally in three divine Persons: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:26; Matt. 28:18-19; II Cor. 13:14).

3. We believe in the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1, 2, 14), in His virgin birth (Matt. 1:18-21; Luke 1:26-28), His perfect and sinless humanity (Phil. 2:6-8; II Cor. 5:21), His vicarious death through the shedding of His blood for the remission of sins (Eph. 1:7), His bodily resurrection and ascension (I Cor. 15:3-4; Acts 1:11), His present high priestly ministry (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16), and in the imminence of His literal pretribulational, and premillennial return (Matt. 25:31-46; I Thess. 4:13-18).

4. We believe in the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17, 26; John 16:13; Romans 8: 26-27).

5. We believe in the reality and personality of Satan (Isa. 14:12-15; I Peter 5:8; Rev. 12:9-11).

6. We believe in the fall of man through the sin of Adam (Gen. 3:1-6), and in the consequent necessity of the New Birth through Jesus Christ (John 1:12, 3:3-7).

7. We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the virtue of His redemptive work on the Cross, and that neither baptism, the Lord’s Supper, nor any other rite, ceremony, nor work can avail one whit for the sinner’s salvation. Christ alone saves (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

8. We believe that the invisible church, or Body of Christ, includes all regenerated persons from Pentecost to the Rapture of the Church, and that her supreme mission is her world-wide commission as set forth by Christ and His Apostles (Acts 2:42-47; I Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:20-23).

9. We believe that a visible or local church is composed only of Scripturally baptized believers, meeting together as Scripture so commands, with New Testament officers and order (Acts 2:41-42; I Cor. 11:2; Heb. 10:25).

10. We believe that every human being has direct relations with God and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith (Matt. 10:28; 23:10); that each church is independent and autonomous and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority (Matt. 22:21), and that church and state must be kept separate as having functions each fulfilling its duties free from dictation or patronage of the other (Titus 3:1; Rom. 13:1-7).

11. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in express obedience to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 18:8).

12. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was established as a means of showing forth in symbol Christ’s death for us until He comes again and that the Lord’s Table should be open to all regenerated persons living in fellowship with, and obedience to the clear commands of Jesus Christ (Luke 22:19-20; I Cor. 11:23-32).

13. We believe in the literal resurrection of the body (John 5:28-29), in the eternal salvation of the regenerate (John 10:28-29; Rom. 8:38-39), in the eternal condemnation of the unregenerate (Rev. 20:11-15), in the endless bliss of the believers (II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23, 3:21) and the endless suffering of unbelievers (Rev. 21:8).

14. We believe in the administration of spiritual gifts through the operation of the Holy Spirit; and, that the gifts of evangelists, pastors and teachers are sufficient for the perfecting of the saints today; and, that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles gradually ceased as the New Testament Scriptures were completed and their authority became established. But God, being sovereign in the bestowment of all His gifts, does hear and answer the prayer of faith, in accord with His own will, for the sick and afflicted (John 15:7; I Cor. 12:4-11, 13:8-10, 14:21-22; Eph. 4:11-12; I John 5:14-15).

15. We believe in the sanctity of marriage which being sanctioned and defined by God in Scripture joins one man and one woman in a single, permanent, exclusive union (Genesis 2:18-25); Mark 10:6-9; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:1-17). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other, and that all sexual intimacy outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is sin (Hebrews 13:4).

We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex is sinful and offensive to God (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:20-22; I Corinthians 6:9-11). Accordingly, this Church, its pastors, staff and members will not participate in nor condone same sex unions or same sex marriages or anything contrary to our Biblical stance on marriage previously stated, nor shall its property or resources be used for such purposes.

16. We believe the Bible clearly teaches those truths commonly expressed among us as Baptist Distinctives, which are . . .


Biblical Authority – II Tim. 3:16-17; John 17:17 (That the Bible is our only

authority for all matters of belief and behavior.)

Autonomy of the Local Church – Eph. 1:22; Acts 6, 13, 15 (That each local assembly is

self-governing, under the headship of Jesus Christ alone, without outside hierarchy or convention.)

Priesthood of every believer – I Peter 2:9-10; I John 1:9; I John 2:1-2; I Tim. 2:5

(That every believer has direct access to God through Jesus Christ alone.)

Two Ordinances – Acts 2:41-42; I Cor. 11; Acts 8:38 (Baptism of believers by immersion

and the Lord’s Supper – memorial, not sacramental.)

Individual Soul Liberty – I John 2:27; Rom. 14:4-5; John 16:13 (That every person

has the right to worship according to conscience without coercion.)

Saved Church Membership – Acts 2:41-47; I Cor. 12:13-27 (Church membership is

for those who have been saved and biblically immersed upon repentance and

confession of faith.)

Two Officers – I Tim. 3:1-16; Titus 1; Eph. 4:11-16 (That the Lord has established

Bishops/Elders/Pastors and Deacons to minister to His flock in this age.)

Separation of Church and State – Matt. 22:21; Romans 13; Titus 3:1 (That the Lord

has established the state to administer civil, secular government, and the church to minister to man’s spiritual needs, and that the two are separate entities never to be mixed or intertwined in authority or enforcement.)

(All who would join with us in membership and Christian Service must unreservedly agree to this declaration of faith.)


1. Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ (John 6:35-45; Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-47; Ephesians 4:1-16; I Corinthians 12; Colossians 3:15-16).

2. We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations (Ephesians 5:1-2; Colossians 2; I Peter; I Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:25).

3. We also engage to maintain family and secret devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; and to walk circumspectly in the world (Deuteronomy 5-8; Romans 9:1-5; Romans 10:1-17; Ephesians 5:15-21; Romans 14).

4. We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay (Ephesians 4-5).

5. We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will, as soon as possible, unite with a church, where we can carry out the articles of this confession and the spirit of this covenant (Acts 2:41-47; Acts 8:4).




Section A: The incorporated name of this association shall be FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF BELLEFONTE.


Section A: The principal office of the corporation is in Bellefonte, Spring Township,

Centre County, Pennsylvania.



FBC exists for the purpose of bringing glory to God through obedience to His commands revealed in Scripture.

To be Obedient in Character – to live our lives separated unto God – distinctively godly, loving, joyful – i.e. Christ-like (I Cor. 6:19-20).

To be Obedient in Conduct – to live our lives yielded unto God – distinctively humble, honest, pure, generous, kind – i.e. Christ-like (Galatians 5:16-26).

To be Obedient in Commission – to live our lives serving God by constantly and creatively seeking to win the lost to faith in Christ by making the message of salvation by faith in Christ alone known everywhere, by personal and corporate witness and by prayer and financial support of missionaries world-wide (Matt. 28:18-20).

Our mission is to make disciples – i.e. to win the lost and to equip believers to do the same by word and deed, and to incorporate them into this local church or one of like faith wherever possible (Matt. 28:18-20 and Acts 2:41-47).


Section A: Church: The term church as used in these Bylaws shall mean the corporation.

Section B: Majority: The term majority as used in these Bylaws means a simple majority unless otherwise specified by these Bylaws or an Act of Assembly.


Section A: Reception of Members: (Acts 2:41-47)

1. By Baptism: Any person professing faith in Jesus Christ, as His personal Savior, and who (1) gives evidence of conversion to Jesus Christ, and (2) accepts the Bible in its entirety as the Word of God and the final authority of faith and practice for this church, and (3) is of good character, may, upon Baptism by immersion, be received into its membership. In order to determine whether or not such person gives evidence of such conversion, has accepted the Bible as indicated, and is of good character, any candidate for baptism shall be examined first by the Pastor and/or Deacons and if his character, evidence of conversion, and belief in the Bible be deemed by them satisfactory, he shall be recommended to the church for baptism and membership.

Those recommended for baptism and membership shall be baptized and received upon the approval of the members present at a regular business meeting or at any regular church service, upon profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

2. By Letter: A believer who is already a member of another church holding the same or substantially the same articles of faith as this church, and who (1) has been baptized by immersion following conversion, and (2) appeared before the Pastor and/or Deacons and been recommended by them for church membership, shall upon the approval of the members present be received into church membership at any regular church service. A letter of notification requesting recommendation and dismissing from such other church shall be sent.

3. By Experience: A believer who, though not a member of another church, requests church membership and has been baptized by immersion following conversion may (1) upon examination by and recommendation of the Pastor and Board of Deacons, and (2) upon his profession of faith in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior before the church at one of its regular services, be received at such regular service of the church into the church membership upon the approval of the members present.

4. By Restoration: Dismissed members may be received into membership, upon the examination and recommendation of the Pastor and Board of Deacons, at a regular church service, upon approval of the members present.

Section B: Duties of Members: (Ephesians 4:1-16)

1. To Personal Character and Growth in Grace: It is the duty of each member of the church to study the Bible and to acquire as much knowledge of the Scriptures as he can so that he will progress in spiritual matters, manifest in his life and conduct a consistent Christian testimony and control any unholy temper.

2. To the Pastors and Other Church Officers: It is the duty of each member to honor, respect and love the Pastors; to pray for them fervently and daily; to respect them for their works sake; to manifest a tender regard for their reputation; and to contribute toward their financial support in proportion to his ability. Each member shall also respect the other officers of the church and shall aid and encourage them in the performance of their duties (Heb. 13:16-17).

3. To Those Outside the Church: It is the duty of each member to so conduct himself in all walks of life — social, domestic, business, political and otherwise that he exemplifies the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ in such a manner as to commend Him as Lord and Savior to all who will accept Him (Eph. 4:17- 5:13).

4. To the Other Members of the Church: Each member shall cultivate, cherish and show brotherly love for all other members of the Church, and shall use all proper measures to encourage and promote their spiritual growth (I Thess. 3:11-13).

5. To the Work of the Church: It is the duty of each member to keep himself intelligently informed of the work and aims of the Church, and to give freely of his time, energy and abilities for the ongoing of the work. All members shall faithfully attend the services of the church and give to the financial support of the church, according to their ability (Eph.4:11-16).

Section C: Regulations Relating to Members

1. Active and inactive membership rolls: There shall be two membership rolls (a) active, and (b) inactive. All members shall be considered active unless placed on the inactive Membership Roll in accordance with the following procedure: The Pastors and Deacons shall review the roll of the church membership annually and members who have not attended church or expressed any interest in the church to the Pastor or to one or more of the Deacons during the prior year shall be contacted by the Pastor and/or one of the Deacons. If, after such contact and report thereof to the Board of Deacons, it is decided by a majority vote of the Board that such member does not have an active interest in the church, such person’s name shall be dropped from the active membership roll and placed upon an INACTIVE Membership Roll. Persons on this Inactive Roll shall not have voting privileges. If an individual again becomes active in attendance within three years, they shall be returned to the active roll. If they demonstrate no interest by either attendance or communication with the church for more than three years, they shall be removed from the membership roll. This does not apply to those who are unable to attend for logistical reasons, including the elderly, the infirm, those in the military or missionary service, and college students.

2. Discipline of Members: When a member is accused of conduct unbecoming to a Christian, the Board of Deacons shall appoint two members who, with the Pastor will constitute a Discipline Committee for the occasion. Said committee will question the accused in keeping with the spirit of Matthew 18:16-18 and Galatians 6:1. This committee will make its recommendations to the Board of Deacons, and if said recommendation be to pursue the matter further, the accused will be given opportunity to be heard by the Board. It shall ever be the responsibility of the committee and Board to be of spiritual assistance to the member in question. If, however, the evidence and the attitude of the accused is such that the possibility of their being of assistance to the accused is deemed precluded, or if the circumstances are such that the Board of Deacons believes the testimony of the church is jeopardized, the matter shall be taken to the congregation at a special meeting, for which two (2) weeks notice has been given to the accused and the other members.

Every member against whom a charge of misconduct is preferred shall have the privilege of speaking in his own defense before the church. Written testimony of any person may be admitted in such cases, except that no oral testimony will be received from any person who is not connected with this church or some church of like faith and order.

If the congregation deems the accused to be guilty by a three-fourth (3/4) majority vote, his name shall be stricken from the membership rolls of the church. Failure on the part of the accused to present himself at a congregational meeting or meeting of the Board of Deacons shall not prevent action being taken to dismiss him from membership. Any action to dismiss shall be accompanied by the prayers of the congregation for the accused, and the congregation to the best of its ability shall endeavor by its future attitude and actions to encourage the restoration of the accused to full fellowship with the Lord and His people.

3. Termination of Membership: The membership of any member of this church shall terminate (1) upon the written request of such member, submitted to the Pastor or the Board of Deacons, (2) upon the death of the member, (3) upon the written request of a member for a letter of transfer to the membership of another church. Upon the approval of the Board of Deacons for the letter of transfer, the Pastor shall direct the church secretary to grant such member a letter of transfer, or (4) upon dismissal for cause as stated in Section C (2) Discipline of Members.

4. Divorce, Remarriage and Service: Whereas we are living in a day of tremendous breakdowns in the family and in morality in general, and because the “church” has moved right along with the world in its condoning of what God forbids in our character and conduct, and because the true “body of Christ” needs to maintain a public stand for Christ in all areas, especially those areas that deal with the basic and primary unit of society, the family, and because God specifically states in Malachi 2:6 that “He hates divorce” and that it was only allowed under Moses because of the “hardness of hearts” according to Matthew 19:8, and that remarriage after divorce constitutes “adultery” in God’s sight according to Luke 16:18, we do here plainly state that divorce is never the will of God, nor is remarriage after divorce to be considered right in the sight of God and His Word.

Whereas the family is the first and most important institution of God, and because it pictures the eternal faithfulness of Christ to His church, we uphold the standard of “till death do us part” in the marriage relationship. We do not wish to be overly harsh, nor overly lax in our position, so as to maintain our walk with God, our testimony to the world, to our own members, and our young people in particular.

Whereas the Scripture only restricts the offices of Pastor and Deacon to strictest qualifications as to character and marital status in life, these offices alone shall not be occupied by one who is separated, divorced, or married to a divorced person. (I Tim. 3:2 and 3:12)

Section D: Interpretation:

The Pastor and the Deacons shall define, construe and interpret the meaning of any and all words and provisions contained in this Article V (except the words “church” and “majority” which are defined in Article IV), from time to time, as, when and if any questions concerning the same or any part thereof arises, and the opinion of the majority thereof shall be conclusive upon all persons.


Section A: Services

1. The regular services of the church shall consist of the morning and evening worship services to be held each Sunday, and the mid-week prayer meeting. In addition to the regular church services, a weekly Sunday School shall be held on Sunday and a Missionary Conference shall be held annually. The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper shall be observed monthly on the first Sunday of the month when possible and at such times as the Pastor and Deacons may deem advisable. Additional meetings for worship – Evangelism, Children, Youth, etc., may be authorized by the Pastor and Board of Deacons. All other services held in the church, such as weddings, funerals, rallies, etc., shall also be under the jurisdiction of and by permission of the Pastor and Board of Deacons and/ or Board of Trustees, (see facility use policy).

2. The KJV, NKJV, NASB, ASV and ESV are approved translations for the preaching and teaching ministries of the church.

Section B: Business Meetings

1. Annual: The annual business meeting of the members of the church shall be held on the fourth Wednesday of January. Each meeting and the time and place thereof shall be publicly announced at all regular church services held on two (2) Sundays preceding it. The business to be transacted at such meeting shall be the giving of all Ministry Reports and Financial Reports, the distribution of the printed Annual Report, and any unresolved business of the church not herein otherwise provided for, for which there is reasonable time.

2. Election of Officers and Budget Meeting: A meeting shall be held on the second Wednesday of December for the purpose of holding election of church officers and to vote on the proposed annual budget.¹ The time and place of such meetings shall be publicly announced at all regular church services held on the two (2) Sundays preceding them.

3. Quarterly: A quarterly business meeting of the members shall be held on the fourth Wednesday in April, July and October of each year. The time and place of such meetings shall be publicly announced at all regular church services held on the two (2) Sundays preceding them.

4. Special: Special business meetings of the general membership may be called by the Pastor at such time as he may deem necessary; or upon written request signed by a majority of the Board of Deacons or Trustees; or upon the written request signed by at least six (6) members of the church. The time, place and purpose of all special meetings shall be publicly announced at all regular church services on the Sunday preceding them.

The members present at any business meeting called in accordance with the requirements of these Bylaws shall be considered a quorum for the transaction of business, regardless of the number of members present.

¹These changes are to bring the Constitution & Bylaws into compliance with a vote taken at the April 1997 Quarterly Meeting

Section C: Quorum

The members present at any business meeting called in accordance with

the requirements of these Bylaws shall be considered a quorum for the

transaction of business, regardless of the number of members present.

Section D: Presiding Officers – Order of Business

1. Business meetings of the membership shall be presided over by the Pastor, or if he is not present, by the Chairman of the Board of Deacons or, if neither the Pastor or the Chairman of the Board of Deacons is present, by the chairman to be chosen by a majority of the members present. The Church Clerk, or in his absence, the Financial Secretary, shall act as secretary of every such meeting, but if neither the Secretary or Financial secretary is present, the presiding officer shall appoint a member present to act as secretary of the meeting.

2. The Order of Business

Call of meeting to order by prayer

Reading of minutes of last business meeting

Report of officers, if any

Report of committees, if any

Necessary elections


Section E: Conduct of Business

1. The Chairman shall call to order any member who uses discourteous language or whose remarks are adapted to injure the reputation or feelings of any member.

2. No member shall speak more than twice upon the same subject, if objection is expressed by a majority of the members present.

3. A member who is present may appeal the ruling upon any point of order by the Chairman to the other members present, who shall thereupon decide the matter by majority vote.

Section F: Voting

1. At every business meeting of members, each active member who is at least thirteen (13) years of age shall have the right to vote on all church business. EXCEPT THAT no active member under the age of twenty-one (21) years shall have the right to vote on any question involving the sale, acquisition, or encumbering of real estate.

2. A majority of those members present and entitled to vote shall be required to render final decisions on all church business except that (a) a plurality of the votes cast shall elect Deacons or Trustees, and (b) a three-fourth (3/4) majority of the members present must vote in favor thereof in the election of a Pastor, the dismissal of the Pastor, the dismissal of a disciplined member, the granting of a license to preach, and the amending of the Bylaws.

Section G: List of Members

A complete list of members of the church entitled to vote, (and a statement of their birth date, if under the age of twenty-one (21) years) arranged in alphabetical order, and showing the address of each member shall be prepared and kept up to date by the Church Clerk, and shall be subject to inspection by any member at any reasonable time. Absence of such list shall not affect the validity of any action taken at such meeting of members.


Section A: Giving

Forasmuch as contributing regularly, systematically and proportionately to the Lord’s work is the New Testament pattern for giving, all money received by this church shall be on a free-will offering basis only, and in no instance shall there be any other means utilized for the raising of funds to finance the work of the church.


Section A: Number

1. The officers of the church shall be the President, who shall be the Senior Pastor; Associate Pastors; the Boards of Deacons and Trustees; the Church Clerk; the Financial Secretary; the Missions Financial Secretary; the Treasurer; the Missions Treasurer; and the Superintendent of the Sunday School.

2. Any person may hold two (2) offices simultaneously, except that of President and Church Clerk. Exclusive of the Pastor, only persons who have been active members of the church for at least a year shall be eligible to hold office unless the congregation, by vote, approves.

Section B: Term of Office

All officers except the Pastor shall be chosen by the members at the December Business Meeting. Officers not specifically named in the Article may be elected from time to time. Each officer shall serve until his successor shall have been chosen and qualified or until his death, resignation or removal. The Church Clerk and Sunday School Superintendent shall not be eligible to the office for the next succeeding term after having held office for three (3) consecutive years unless the congregation, by vote, allows. The Treasurer shall be eligible to serve for one (1) year consecutive terms so long as the Church hires an external financial institution to conduct annual financial reviews and submits the report to the Pastor, Trustees, and Deacons for review, thus resulting in the removal of “Auditing Committee” from Article X, Section A and B.

Section C: Vacancies

Any vacancy in an office for any cause shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term by the affirmative vote of a majority of the members entitled to vote and present at a special business meeting called for the purpose.

Section D: Nominations

Nominations to the office when they fall due or are vacated shall be made and presented by the Nominating Committee at the appropriate business meeting.

Section E: Officers and their Duties

1. The President (Pastor)

a. Qualifications: A pastor must, in accordance with I Timothy 3:1-7 and I Peter 5:1-4 be: (1) blameless, (2) husband of one wife, (3) vigilant, (4) sober, (5) of good behavior, (6) given to hospitality, (7) apt to teach, (8) non-user of intoxicating beverages, (9) no striker, (10) not greedy of money, (11) patient, (12) not a brawler, (13) not covetous, (14) one that rules well his own household and children, (15) experienced, (16) must have a good reputation even among unbelievers.

In addition, the Pastor must not (1) use at any time or in any form narcotics or tobacco, (2) belong to any secret or oath-bound society or Lodge, (3) have brought disrepute upon his Christian Life and ministry through worldly practices and associations.

Further, the Pastor must (1) have accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior and given evidence thereof to the Pulpit Committee by a signed written statement as to his beliefs and a willingness to preach and teach the tenets contained in the church’s Doctrinal Statement, and (2) that he will conduct the affairs of the church in accordance with such Statement and these Bylaws.

Lastly, since it is the Pastor’s responsibility to expound faithfully the Word of God from the pulpit, it shall also be required of him that he possess a reasonable training in the Word of God by means of formal schooling. However, no one shall be refused the Pastorate solely because he has not had the privilege of a high degree of academic training or attainment.

No person shall be considered as a candidate for the pastorate unless he possesses the foregoing qualifications contained in this section.

b. Calling a Pastor: Upon the death, resignation or dismissal of the Senior Pastor, a Pulpit Committee shall be formed, comprised of the members of the Board of Deacons and the active Pastoral staff. The members of the Pulpit Committee shall meet as soon as it is convenient after such vacancy occurs in the pastorate, and shall proceed to discharge its responsibilities, which consist of the following:

1) Arrange for the pulpit to be supplied with a suitable speaker until a successor to the office of Pastor has been elected;

2) Interview all prospective candidates seriously considered by the committee for the Pastorate;

3) Require all candidates for the office of Pastor to preach at least two (2) sermons at the regular services of the church;

4) Present to the members for consideration at a duly called special business meeting of the membership the name of the person they consider to be best qualified for the pastorate, and so on from time to time as required until a Pastor is actually elected. Notice of each such special business meeting shall be given in at least three (3) regular services of the church immediately prior to such meeting, and the purpose of the meeting shall be announced as one concerned with the election of a Pastor.

The church may elect such person whose name is thus presented by the committee at such meeting or any other person who has (1) preached at least twice at the regular services of the church, (2) been interviewed by the Pulpit Committee, and (3) fulfills the qualifications of this Section E of the Bylaws. After an eligible candidate for the pastorate has received a three-fourth (3/4) affirmative vote of those present and voting at such special business meeting, notice of his election shall be officially given to such person by the Church Clerk.

c. Resignation and Dismissal of the Pastor

1) Resignation of the Pastor: The Pastor shall be free to resign as he feels led of the Holy Spirit and shall be required to give a written notice of at least ninety (90) days to the Church. However, termination of his pastorate in less than ninety (90) days may be arranged with the mutual consent of the Pastor and the Board of Deacons.

2) Dismissal of the Pastor: Should dismissal proceedings be launched against the Pastor, a written list of the charges shall be prepared by the Board of Deacons and presented to the Pastor. The Pastor shall have reasonable opportunity to give answer to the charges before the joint Boards of Deacons and Trustees.

After full discussion, the joint Board shall vote as to what disposition shall be made of the charges, whether they be dropped, or to place the charges before the church at a special business meeting of members.

If the Pastor is charged before the church, the charges shall be in order, and the church will set a time for the Pastor to speak and for the representative of the joint Board to speak. Time shall be delegated to each equally. If at any time debate is extended, the Pastor shall be accorded equal time to that consumed in preferring charges or presenting evidence.

After the period of limited debate is exhausted, the vote of the church shall be called for, and this vote shall be final.

If charges of heresy, sexual immorality or dishonesty are proven against the Pastor resulting in his dismissal, he shall be paid salary for thirty (30) days and the pulpit declared vacant immediately. If he is dismissed for any other reason, including among other things, ill health, he shall be paid salary for ninety (90) days and the pulpit declared vacant immediately.

d. Duties of the Pastor (President) The Pastor (President) shall:

1) preside at all meetings of the members unless physically unable to do so because of ill-health or absence;

2) have general supervision of the spiritual affairs and services of the church;

3) administer the ordinances of the church;

4) shall be ex-officio member of all board and committee meetings of the church and any of its organizations;

5) shall sign or countersign all certificates, contracts or other instruments, except checks, of the church authorized by the members, Board of Deacons or Board of Trustees;

6) consider and decide together with the Board of Deacons upon all persons to supply the pulpit and special pulpit features;

7) control the music and broadcasting of the church services, subject to the approval of the Board of Deacons; and

8) shall perform such other duties as are incident to his office or are reasonably required of him.

2. Associate Pastors

a. Associate Pastors shall work under the supervision of and in cooperation with the Senior Pastor. Their duties shall be defined in a written Job Description to be provided during the application process.

b. A Search Committee shall be comprised of two members from each board and committee as follows: Deacon Board, Trustee Board, Christian Education Committee, Youth Sponsors and Missions Committee. The other members of the active pastoral staff shall also be members of the search committee. The senior pastor shall chair the search committee.

c. Procedures for the Search Committee

1) Secure names of possible candidates.

2) General Questionnaire to be filled out by potential candidates.

3) Contact the prospect by letter, telephone, or in person.

4) Secure recommendations.

5) Have the applicant visit the church and meet with the Pastors, search committee, and the congregation, and to speak at one (1) or both of the Sunday services.

6). Present to the members for consideration, at a specially called Congregational Meeting, the candidate recommended by the Search Committee.

7) The candidate must receive three-fourth (3/4) affirmative vote of those present and voting at such a special business meeting.

8) All the financial and personal matters and duties will be covered by the committee with the candidate.

d) The Resignation and Dismissal of Associate Pastors will follow the same procedures as the Resignation and Dismissal of the Pastor.

3. The Church Clerk

The Church Clerk shall attend all business meetings of the members and act as clerk thereof; and shall record all votes and minutes of all proceedings in a book to be kept for that purpose; shall see that proper notice of all business meetings of the members is given; and shall perform such other duties as are incident to his office or are reasonably required of him by the Board of Deacons or are assigned to him by these Bylaws. The Financial Secretary shall, in the absence of the Church Clerk, perform the duties and exercise the powers of the Church Clerk. The Church Clerk shall be the custodian of the corporate seal and all of the books and records of this church, except as may be otherwise provided by the Board of Deacons.

4. The Church Treasurer

The Treasurer shall receive notice of all bank-deposited funds of the church from the counters and trustees. The Treasurer shall draw checks against these bank funds as directed in warrants with proper documentation signed by a minimum of two duly elected Trustees, with the exception of the Deacon Fund which is solely under the direction of the Board of Deacons.

There shall be kept a monthly ledger showing the amount of all funds and a balance taken at the close of each month and also a financial statement showing the true status of the various funds in this account, to be approved by the Trustees.

The Treasurer shall also prepare a financial statement showing the true status of all funds for the fiscal year of the church, for presentation at the annual business meeting of the church membership, a copy of which will be distributed to all members. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for maintaining documentation of all expenditures, all reconciled bank statements and payroll records.

If a payroll service is not designated by the Board of Trustees, the Treasurer shall be responsible for paying authorized salaries, W-2 forms and 1099 forms issuing and the quarterly and annual reporting to the federal, state, and local taxing authorities. Financial records shall be retained at church for seven years.

If an accounting service is not designated by the Board of Trustees, the Treasurer shall without special order pay the authorized salaries and utility bills. All other bills of the church shall be paid only after they have been approved by the Board of Trustees. In the event the Treasurer is unable to perform these duties, or there is a vacancy in the office, the duties of the Treasurer shall be taken care of by any person authorized by the Trustees until action is taken by the church in electing a substitute.

5. The Missionary Treasurer

The Missionary Treasurer shall keep a written record of all receipts and expenditures and shall make a full report at the Quarterly Business Meetings of the members as well as at the Annual Business Meeting of members.

6. Financial Secretaries

General Fund Financial Secretary and Missionary Financial Secretary: They shall maintain accurate records of all giving receipts through numbered church envelopes. At the end of each year they shall present to those individuals who used the giving envelopes, a sum total of their annual giving as required for IRS charitable deductions. They shall arrange for the distribution of the numbered church offering envelopes prior to the end of each year. Their records shall be retained for 7 years.

7. The Sunday School Superintendent

He shall have the general supervision of the Sunday School in the absence of an Associate Pastor of C.E., and shall serve on the Board of Christian Education. When an Associate Pastor of C.E. is present, the duties of the Sunday School Superintendent shall be assigned by the Associate Pastor and the Board of C.E.

8. The Ushers

They shall be appointed yearly by the Board of Trustees who shall assign their duties.

9. The Counters

They shall be appointed yearly by the Board of Trustees who shall assign their duties.

10. The Sound Room Personnel

They shall be appointed yearly by the Board of Trustees who shall assign their duties.

11. The Librarian(s)

They shall be appointed yearly by the Board of Trustees who shall assign their duties.

12. The Supervisor(s) of the Nursery

She/They shall be appointed yearly by the Board of Trustees who shall assign their duties. She shall be a female member(s) of the church. She shall have the general supervision of the Nursery and shall direct it with accountability to the Senior Pastor and the Board of Trustees.


Section A: Board of Deacons and Board of Trustees

1. Qualifications, Number, Term, Quorum and Vacancies

a. The spiritual welfare of the church shall be the responsibility of the Pastors and the Board of Deacons and they shall faithfully perform all duties designated by these By-laws pertaining to their office. They shall endeavor by God’s grace to live and serve in full conformity to the Word of God (I Timothy 3:8-13).

b. The property and financial affairs of the church shall be managed by a Board of Trustees. They shall endeavor by God’s grace to live and serve in full conformity with the standards set forth in this Constitution for their particular office, and especially as found in the Word of God (I Timothy 5:17-21).

c. Election: Deacons and Trustees shall be elected at the Annual Elections Meeting of the members and each of them shall serve for three (3) years and until his successor shall be elected and qualify. No Deacon or Trustee shall hold consecutive terms of office.

d. Number: The number of Deacons and Trustees may be increased or decreased, provided that the number of Deacons shall never be less than four (4) and the number of Trustees shall never be less than four (4).

Any increased number of Deacons or Trustees shall be elected by the members at the next regular Annual Business Meeting or at a special meeting called for that purpose. At present, the Board of Trustees is comprised of six (6) members and the Board of Deacons is comprised of nine (9) members.

e. Limitation: Deacons and Trustees must be male members of the church.

f. Quorum: A majority of the Deacons in office shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of their business. Likewise, a majority of Trustees in office shall be necessary to constitute a quorum for the transaction of their business. If at any meeting of either Board there shall be less than a quorum present, a majority of those present may adjourn the meeting, without further notice, from time to time, until a quorum shall have been obtained.

2. Meetings: Meetings of the Board of Deacons and Trustees shall be held monthly, when possible. Special meetings may be held at any time upon call of the Chairman of either Board or the Pastor by phone or mail at least three (3) days prior to the day of the meetings. A meeting of either Board may be held without notice immediately following the Annual Meeting of the members. Notice need not be given of regular or adjourned meetings of either Board. Meetings may be held at any time without notice if all the members of the Board are present or if, before the meeting, those not present waive such notice. Notice of a meeting need not state the purpose of, nor the business to be transacted at, such meeting.

3. Compensation: Deacons and Trustees shall serve without compensation.

4. Committees: Any Board may appoint whatever special committees it may deem appropriate. Each committee shall have and may exercise such powers as shall be conferred or authorized by the resolution appointing it. A majority of any such committee may determine its action and may fix the time and place of its meetings, unless provided otherwise by the appointing Board. The appointing Board shall have the power at any time to fill vacancies, to change the size or membership of, and to discharge any such committee. Each such committee shall keep written records as requested by the appointing Board.

The above specifications shall in no way apply to the Committees already

named in Article X.

5. Duties of the Board of Deacons: The Deacons shall:

a. Exercise spiritual care over the members of the Congregation.

b. Assist in the administering of the ordinances of the church and shall make necessary provisions for the same;

c. Be expected to visit the sick and the sorrowing members;

d. Investigate delinquents and endeavor to remedy any spiritual weakness in the lives of the members;

e. Act as the pulpit committee in the case of vacancy in the senior pastoral office;

f. Shall, with the Pastors, have the responsibility of spiritual oversight over all the Boards, Committees and Ministries of the church and give such counsel, advice or admonishment as scripture warrants;

g. Receive any proposed amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws together with the Pastor and the Board of Trustees.

6. Duties of the Board of Trustees: The Trustees shall:

a. Act in behalf of the church in the purchase, maintenance, encumbering and disposal of all real estate and personal property of the church, provided however, that they shall not purchase or dispose of any such property or incur financial obligations, involving more than five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), except by express authority conferred upon them by two-thirds (2/3) of the members present entitled to vote thereon at a business meeting of the members called pursuant to these Bylaws. Upon such authorization by the membership, the Board of Trustees may proceed in the matter. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees or, in his absence, the Pastor, and the Church Clerk shall have the authority to execute and affix the corporate seal to any agreements, deeds, or other instruments in writing necessary to consummate the authorized transaction.

b. Be responsible for the maintenance of all facilities and grounds.

c. Select, discharge, and fix the compensation and duties of a church janitor, groundskeeper, secretaries, and subordinate staff.

d. Oversee all budgets of the church and its ministries relating to finances and facilities.

e. Prepare the Annual Budget of the church to be presented at the December Election and Budget Meeting.

f. Appoint individuals for the following Ministry Positions annually and assign their duties: Ushers, Counters, Sound Room Personnel, Librarian, and Nursery Supervisor.

g. The Board of Trustees shall have the option to designate a payroll and tax service.

Section B: The Board of Missions

1. Number, Term and Purpose

a. Number: The Board of Missions shall consist of two (2) Deacons appointed by the Deacon Board, the Missionary Treasurer, Leader(s) of the Ladies Missionary Fellowship, two (2) men from the Men for Missions Steering Committee, the Pastor, and six (6) members at large from the membership elected to serve for three years. No member at large may be reelected to succeed him/herself.

b. Term and Purpose; This Board shall be constituted yearly soon after the Annual Election Meeting and shall be responsible for the missionary ministry of the church. This Board shall appoint annually the following leadership and assign and oversee their duties: Men for Missions Steering Committee, the Ladies Missionary Fellowship Leaders, Supervisors of the Missionary Closets, Coordinator for Rope Holder Ministry, and any other missions’ ministry leadership as they deem appropriate.

2. Duties of the Board of Missions

a. The Board of Missions will be responsible for the promotion of the missionary interests of the church. Under the leadership of the Pastor this Board shall plan for an Annual Missionary Conference in the church to which missionary speakers representing sound and reputable missions will be invited to speak.

b. The Board of Missions will prepare an annual missionary budget for the church for acceptance into the General Fund budget, and submit the same to the Board of Trustees for review before being placed before the congregation at the Annual Election Meeting for adoption.

c. This Board, with the Pastor, will be responsible to correspond with the missionaries represented by the budgetary interests of the church. The Board of Missions will be responsible for the allocation of all mission funds of the church and not the individual organizations of the church. All organizations of the church will counsel with the Board of Missions in planning missionary budgets or the expansion of the same inasmuch as the Board of Missions is responsible for unification of missionary interests to as great a degree as possible.

d. All missionaries to be supported in part or in whole by the church shall be interviewed by the Board of Missions, if possible. If not, satisfactory correspondence shall be conducted to determine the exact state of need and the worthiness of the missionary to be supported.

e. The Board of Missions will offer counsel to the youth of the First Baptist Church of Bellefonte in matters of missions so as to guide them in the pursuit of the will of God for their lives.

f. The Board of Missions is responsible for the dissemination of sound and worthy missionary literature throughout the church and all its organizations. Said Board shall make timely recommendation to Librarian for the purchase of missions’ books for the Library of the church, to be covered by the undesignated missions’ funds or by funds otherwise available.

Section C: The Board of Christian Education

1. Number, Term and Purpose

a. Number and Term: The Board of Christian Education shall consist of seven (7) persons all of whom shall be active members of the church. The Sunday School Superintendent and five (5) others elected by the church shall compose the Board and shall meet together with the Christian Education Pastor who shall act as chairman. The five (5) members at large shall be elected to hold office for three (3) years and no member may be re-elected to succeed himself, except the Sunday School Superintendent who shall be elected annually by the church but may not serve continuously for more than three (3) years.

b. Purpose: The Board of Christian Education is responsible for programming the total educational life of the church. Thus, the Board shall have oversight of the Sunday School, the Youth Ministry, Leadership Training, Adult Bible Study groups, Children’s classes, the Daily Vacation Bible School, etc. However, in the matters of spiritual oversight the Board of Christian Education shall be accountable to the Pastor and the Board of Deacons and in matters involving the budget, to the Board of Trustees.

2. Duties of the Board of Christian Education

a. The Board of Christian Education shall be responsible for the proper conduct of the Sunday School, appointment of teachers, purchase of supplies, setting standards, arranging classes and equipment. Apart from the Superintendent, all other officers of the Sunday School shall be appointed by the Board. All officers and head teachers of the Sunday School shall be regular members of the church.

b. The Board of Christian Education shall select all curriculum and literature, have general oversight of the ministry to the youth of the church and will appoint other officers as needed.


Section A: Listing: The Committees of this church shall be comprised of the nominating, worship, pulpit, search and any others that the Pastor and Board of Deacons or Board of Trustees shall see fit to appoint or create.

Section B: Number, Selection, and Duties:

1. Nominating committee shall consist of the Senior Pastor and retiring members of the Board of Deacons and Board of Trustees. Together they shall nominate enough members of the church to fill the offices of the different departments of the church. The list of nominees shall be posted not later than two weeks before the Annual election. No person shall be posted as a nominee without the consent of that person. The committee shall prepare a ballot with additional space for names to be added by the members of the church at the time of the election. Only persons whose names are on the active roll may be elected to office.

2. Worship committee shall consist of the church organists, pianists, choir, orchestra, sound room and drama directors. This committee shall be responsible for the ministry of public worship. The worship committee shall work closely with the Pastor, who shall direct it, and shall be responsible to him and the Board of Deacons for the public worship of the church. The committee shall be careful to select music and drama that glorifies God and proclaims His truth.


Section A: Licensing: Any member who in the judgment of the church gives evidence by his piety, zeal and aptness to teach, that he is called of God to the work of the ministry may (after preaching in the hearing of the church) be licensed to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the members present at any regular meeting is needed to grant such a preaching license.

Section B: Ordaining: If ¾ (75%) of the members present at a special business meeting of the church called for the purpose, decide that any of its licensed preachers possess the Scriptural qualifications for ordination by the church, the members shall appoint an Ordination Council for the purpose of examining such person or persons so qualified. The Ordination Council shall determine its own procedure.


Section A: Adoption: These Bylaws shall be adopted by at least a three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the members of the congregation present and voting at a special or regular business meeting of the church. Said meeting shall be announced two (2) weeks prior to the time of the meeting.

Section B: Amendments: These Bylaws shall not be altered or amended except by the three-fourths (3/4) majority vote of the members of the congregation present and voting at a special or regular business meeting of the church. Said meeting shall be announced two (2) weeks prior to the time of the meeting. Prior to such meeting, the proposed amendment shall be presented in writing by not less than six (6) adult members to the Boards of Deacons and Trustees and the Pastor. They shall convene in joint session, and acting in an advisory capacity shall make a recommendation to the church. This procedure shall be followed in all matters of amendment, whether the amendment is initiated by the congregation, any Board of the church, or the Pastor(s).

The church shall take such action as it deems wise after due consideration of the recommendation of the joint advisory session. Notwithstanding anything herein contained to the contrary,

Section C hereof is irrevocable, and can never be amended.

Section C: Dissolution: No part of the net earning of this corporation shall ever inure to the benefit of any donor, member, director or officer of the corporation or any private individual shall be entitled to share in the distribution of the assets of this corporation ever. Upon dissolution, any assets of this corporation must be distributed to (in this order of preference):

1. To Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, if it then exists and is exempt from Federal Income Tax; or if such Bob Jones University does not then exist or is not exempt from Federal Income Tax, then to:

2. Baptist Bible College, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, if it then exists and is exempt from Federal Income Tax, or if such Baptist Bible College does not exist or is not exempt from Federal Income Tax, then to:

3. Fellowship of Baptists for Home Missions, Box 455, Elyria, Ohio, if it then exists and is exempt from Federal Income Tax; or if such Fellowship of Baptists for Home Missions does not then exist or is not exempt from Federal Income Tax, then to:

4. The Centre Community Hospital (as of 2004 it is known as Mount Nittany Medical Center), State College, Pennsylvania, if it then exists and is exempt from Federal Income Tax.

If none of the foregoing four donees is then in existence and exempt from Federal Income Tax, then to:

5. One or more organizations recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as an organization exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes.

This Section C is irrevocable and can never be amended.

(This amended Constitution was ratified by the congregation in 2013, and replaces any earlier versions of the Constitution and Bylaws of the First Baptist Church of Bellefonte, PA.)