Church Assistance Committee
A cooperative ministry of the churches within the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship
The Church Assistance Committee is established to support the efforts of Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship member churches to fulfill the constitutional exhortation to mutual cooperation in assisting fellow churches. The Committee exists, not to replace those efforts, but to augment them by helping to organize and coordinate our individual endeavors.
(Members of the Committee should clearly understand the weight of responsibility that their service necessarily places upon them. They are responsible to represent the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship to member churches, non-member churches, and individuals requesting assistance from the Fellowship. They shall be called upon by churches to wisely discern needs and wisely offer counsel to meet such needs. They may, in God’s providence, have opportunity, calling upon all the resources of the Fellowship, to lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths...lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. All these labors will require a large measure of that wisdom which is from above and of the Spirit who is the source of that wisdom to successfully carry out these duties.)
To achieve this, the Committee will assist in the following areas:
1. To provide qualified preachers to churches when pulpits are vacant
A. Upon referral from an SGBF pastor or member church, or direct contact from a church, the Committee will contact the church to gather information regarding their request for supply of their pulpit.
B. The Committee will evaluate the request and from a current list of qualified, available individuals maintained by the Committee recommend one or more suitable men to the church for their acceptance. The Committee also will discuss with the church their ability to meet the expenses of the individual(s) who would come to assist. Should the church be unable to meet the entire expense, the Committee shall determine if other financial resources may be available to supplement those of the church.
C. During any term of assistance the Committee will make regular contact with the church to verify that the needs are being adequately addressed and at the end of the term will with the church conduct an assessment of the assistance provided. The Committee shall maintain a record of all contacts made, assistance offered and
provided, and periodic and final assessments from the churches assisted. These contacts and assessments will be done in order to help ensure that all assistance being provided is effectively meeting the requests of churches.
2. To provide counsel to churches in matters of Biblical doctrine and practice
A. Counsel will be considered and offered only upon specific, formal request by a church and strictly in accordance with Items (4) and (5) of A Statement Concerning the Autonomy of the Local Church of ARTICLE III -
MEMBERSHIP of the SGBF Constitution. Churches submitting requests for counsel that are without a pastor/elders must demonstrate that such a request has been made unitedly by the body so as to avoid involving the Fellowship in any schism or division within the church.
B. A church may request counsel on a matter of doctrine, practice, or assistance with an unresolved conflict. Upon receiving a request, the matter will be communicated to all members of the Committee for consideration and the Committee shall reply to the requesting church acknowledging receipt of the request, advising them of the procedure for developing and communicating a response.
C. For any and every response to a request the Committee shall be directed and informed by the Word of God and the Fellowship’s confession of faith, constitution, and by-laws. The Committee shall not reply to any request unless it has come to a full consensus on the matter. Should the Committee be unable to reach a consensus, the request, along with the deliberations of the Committee of both the majority and minority, shall be forwarded to the Executive Committee for further consideration and, if so desired by the Executive Committee, to all member churches of the Fellowship for deliberation and response. As it is the Church alone which Christ has established as His body, of which He is the Head, and which is the pillar and ground of the truth, the Committee shall give special attention and emphasis to its efforts in assisting with the establishment of local churches. The Committee shall focus its labors exclusively upon supporting those who desire to covenant together as a sovereign grace Baptist church, i.e., those who understand, embrace, and subscribe to those doctrines expressed in historic Baptist confessions including the 1644 Confession of Faith, the 1689 Confession of Faith, the Philadelphia Confession of Faith, and the New Hampshire Confession of Faith. Further, neither the Committee corporately nor any individual member shall support or engage in any assistance for establishing local churches that would conflict with the doctrinal or constitutional statements of the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship.
3. To provide assistance to groups of believers whose desire is to constitute themselves as a Baptist Church.
A. Upon inquiry from a currently fellowshipping group of believers, or referral from a SGBF member church, the Committee shall establish contact with the group and ascertain their current condition and circumstances including their history, the circumstances and length of their association, their current organization to include the number participating, nature, time, and frequency of meetings, their current leadership, their theology, and their resources. The Committee shall meet to consider the responses and determine whether and by what means the Fellowship can be of assistance.
B. The Committee, upon determining that it is able to support the group’s efforts, shall work with the group to develop a plan of assistance leading (D.V.) to their constituting as a sovereign grace Baptist Church. The Committee will accomplish this through regular meetings with the group. Such meetings will be for the purpose
of providing instruction and counsel to the group concerning (but not limited to) the nature of a properly constituted church, the nature and meaning of covenanting and form of a church covenant, the significance of a confession of faith and the necessity of the church’s adoption of one, the development by the church of a constitution and by-laws, and the proper selection by the church of its elders and deacons. The Committee, in conjunction with the Fellowship, will assist the congregation with preparing a constituting service and assist as requested with the ordination of elder(s) and deacon(s). Upon constituting, the Committee shall encourage the church to join with the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship, uniting with us to fulfill the purposes
and goals of the Fellowship.
4. To provide information and counsel to churches interested in associating as members of the Sovereign Grace Baptist Fellowship
A. Upon contact from a church expressing interest in the Fellowship or a referral from a current Fellowship member church, a member of the Committee shall contact the church and inquire regarding their interest and current knowledge concerning the Fellowship. The committee member will recommend to the church a review of the SGBF web site, its constitution and confession of faith, and the historical information contained therein if the church has not already done so.
B. After initial contact a member of the Committee will follow up with the church to offer assistance with questions or additional information, or to further discuss the membership process. Such contacts will be regularly made until the church has either submitted an application for SGBF membership or has determined not to further pursue membership.
5. The Committee shall report monthly, or as often as requested, to the Executive Committee concerning the nature and status of all contacts received by and currently being served by the Committee, as well as the conclusion and final disposition of all such contacts. These reports shall include contact information for the individuals or groups being served and a description of the needs identified along with the counsel or assistance offered or provided.