from missionary societies, churches, and other religious bodies
of the Baptist denomination in various parts of the United States
met in Augusta, Georgia, May 8, 1845, for the purpose of carrying
into effect the benevolent intention of our constituents by organizing
a plan for eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of
the denomination for the propagation of the gospel and adopted
rules and fundamental principles which, as amended from time to
time, are as follows:
Article I. The Name: The
name of this body is the "Southern Baptist Convention."
II. Purpose: It is the purpose of the Convention to
provide a general organization for Baptists in the United States
and its territories for the promotion of Christian missions at
home and abroad and any other objects such as Christian education,
benevolent enterprises, and social services which it may deem
proper and advisable for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
Article III. Membership:
The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of
missionary Baptist churches cooperating with the Convention as
One (1) messenger from each church which: (1) Is in friendly
cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes
and work. Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention
are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual
behavior. And, (2) Has been a bona fide contributor to
the Convention's work during the fiscal year preceding.
2. One (1) additional messenger from each such church for every
two hundred and fifty (250) members; or for each $250.00 paid
to the work of the Convention during the fiscal year preceding
the annual meeting.
The messengers shall be appointed and certified by the churches
to the Convention, but no church may appoint more than ten (10).
4. Each messenger shall be a member of the church by which he
IV. Authority: While independent and sovereign in its
own sphere, the Convention does not claim and will never attempt
to exercise any authority over any other Baptist body, whether
church, auxiliary organizations, associations, or convention.
Article V. Officers:
The officers of the Convention shall be a president, a first
and a second vice president, a recording secretary, a registration
secretary, and a treasurer.
2. The officers shall be elected annually and shall hold office
until their successors are elected and qualified. The
term of office for the president is limited to two (2) years,
and a president shall not be eligible for re-election until
as much as one (1) year has elapsed from the time a successor
is named. The first vice president shall be voted upon and elected
after the election of the president has taken place; and the
second vice president shall be voted upon and elected after
the election of the first vice president has taken place.
3. The president shall be a member of the several boards and
of the Executive Committee.
The treasurer of the Executive Committee shall be the treasurer
of the Convention.
5. In case of death or disability of the president, the vice
presidents shall automatically succeed to the office of president
in the order of their election.
VI. The Boards, Institutions, and Commissions - Their Constitution
The general boards of the Convention shall be composed as follows,
unless otherwise provided in their charters.
(1) Twelve (12) members chosen from the city or vicinity of
the state in which the board is located, but not more
than three (3) local members elected from the same
(2) One (1) member chosen from each cooperating state; and
one (1) additional member from each state having two
hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) members, and
another additional member for each additional two
hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) members in such
(3) The members shall be divided into four (4) groups as nearly
equal as possible, and one (1) group shall be elected
each year to serve four (4) years. Board members having
served two (2) full terms of four (4) years shall
not be eligible for re-election until as much as two
(2) years have elapsed. This shall
also apply to the Executive Committee.
The trustees of institutions and directors shall be composed
The trustees or directors shall be elected in keeping with
the requirements of the charter of the entity as printed
in the 1948 Book of Reports or subsequently amended
with the prior approval of the Convention.
If the composition of the trustees or directors is not determined
by charter requirements, the body of trustees or directors
shall be composed of one (1) member chosen from each
cooperating state and eight (8) local members from the
city or vicinity in which the entity is located, but
not more than two (2) local members shall be chosen
from the same church.
(3) Unless it is contrary to the charter requirements of the
entity, the trustees or directors shall be divided
into four (4) groups as nearly equal as possible and
one (1) group shall be elected each year to serve
four (4) years. Members
having served two (2) full terms of four (4) years shall not
be eligible for re-election until as much as one (1)
year has elapsed after one has served two (2) full
(4) Regardless of charter provisions, no trustee or director
shall be eligible for re-election until as much as
two (2) years have elapsed after the trustee or director
has served two (2) full terms.
Terms of Service: No trustee of a board, institution,
or commission, or a member of the Executive Committee shall
be eligible to serve for more than two consecutive terms.
A trustee or member of the Executive Committee who has served
more than half a term shall be considered to have served a
The governing groups of the entities may elect executive, administrative,
finance, investment, and other committees if desired.
Each entity shall elect a president, a recording secretary,
a treasurer, and such other officers as may be required.
The president may be named as treasurer.
The compensation of its officers and employees shall be fixed
by each entity, but no salaried employee or officer
shall be a member of the directors of the entity.
Each entity is authorized to adopt its own bylaws.
Fifty percent of the members of the governing group shall constitute
a quorum of the entity directors for transaction of
VII. Duties of Officers of Boards, Institutions, and Commissions:
All officers shall be subject to the control and direction of
their directors in matters pertaining to the work and obligations
of the board, institution, or commission. They shall perform
such duties as commonly appertain to such officers.
The executive head of each board, institution, and commission
shall be responsible to the directors for all the work of the
entity and shall carry on the work as the directors may direct.
The recording secretary of each entity shall keep a record of
all meetings of directors, if not otherwise provided for, and
shall keep the records in fireproof safes, vaults, or files.
The treasurer of each entity shall follow approved methods of
accounting, keep the books, receipt for all monies and securities,
deposit all funds with a depository or depositories approved
by the directors, and render full statements as required to
the directors or to the Convention. The treasurer shall
not pay out money except as the directors may order and direct.
VIII. Church Membership: Officers of the Convention,
all officers and members of all boards, trustees of institutions,
directors, all committee members, and all missionaries of the
Convention appointed by its boards shall be members of Baptist
churches cooperating with this Convention.
IX. Missionaries' Qualifications: All
missionaries appointed by the Convention's boards must, previous
to their appointment, furnish evidence of piety, zeal for the
Master's kingdom, conviction of truth as held by Baptists, and
talents for missionary service.
X. Distribution of Funds: The Convention shall
have the right to designate only undesignated funds, the right
of contributors to the work of the Convention to designate the
objects to which their contributions shall be applied being fully
The Convention shall hold its meetings annually at such time
and place as it may choose.
The president may call special meetings with the concurrence
of the other officers of the Convention and of the Executive
The Executive Committee may change the time and place of meeting
if the entertaining city withdraws its invitation or is unable
to fulfill its commitments.
The Convention officers, the Executive Committee, and the executive
heads of the Convention's boards and institutions acting in
a body may, in case of grave emergency, cancel a regular meeting
or change the place of meeting.
XII. As to Conflict with State Laws: All incorporated
entities of the Convention shall be required to comply with the
letter and spirit of this Constitution, the Bylaws, and the Business
and Financial Plan insofar as they are not in conflict with the
statute law of the state in which an entity is incorporated, and
nothing herein contained shall be construed to require any such
incorporated entity to act and carry on its affairs in conflict
with the law of the state of its incorporation. In case
any action of any entity of the Convention is found to be a violation
of the law of the state of its incorporation, said action shall
be reported by that entity to the Convention for appropriate action.
Article XIII. Definition of a State: The District
of Columbia shall be regarded as a state for the purpose of this
Constitution, the Bylaws, and all actions of the Convention.
Article XIV. Amendments:
Any alterations may be made in these Articles at any annual
meeting of the Convention by a vote of two-thirds of the members
present and voting at the time the vote is taken, provided that
an amendment shall be so approved by two (2) consecutive annual
meetings of the Convention.