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CHURCH WEDDING POLICY / BYLAWS
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   Church Bylaws  

Copyright 2013, WLF.  All rights reserved. 

MODEL CHURCH POLICY ON MARRIAGE

Prepared for the Missouri Baptist Convention

Southern Baptist churches around the country are considering ways to re-affirm God’s unchanging Word regarding Christian marriage, while some politicians are embracing an “evolving” legal redefinition. Religious liberty advocates are encouraging churches to practice “preventive law” by clearly defining the biblical basis for their marriage policies and by placing such policies in their important governing documents. Such a policy may become important evidence of the deeply held religious beliefs of the church concerning marriage and sexuality, should such issues arise in a legal context in the future. Legal counsel for the Missouri Baptist Convention has drafted the following model policy for informational and educational purposes. [1]

The policy may be adopted at a church business meeting as an amendment to the Articles of Incorporation, or the church constitution, or bylaws, and/or in a stand-alone wedding policy. [2]

                                                                                                                                                                   

MARRIAGE POLICY.  Our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message (2000), expresses our fundamental biblical conviction that Christian marriage is, by definition, the spiritual and physical uniting of one man and one woman in an exclusive covenant commitment for their joint lifetime.   Christian marriage is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His Church. As such, this local church believes that wedding ceremonies on church property are spiritual observances of worship of God who created this divine institution. As worship services, weddings on church property shall be officiated by one or more ordained ministers of the gospel. The church may decline to make its facilities or ministers available for any wedding if it is determined that one or both of the parties are not biblically and/or legally qualified to marry. Such determinations may be made by the [pastor, church council, or wedding committee, etc.], subject to the direction of the church.  

No minister [or employee] of the church shall officiate at any marriage ceremony unless such marriage is consistent with this policy.  



[1] MBC cannot give legal advice to a local church or its members. This memo is not a substitute for individual legal counsel. Consult a qualified non-profit attorney for advice about the law and your church’s circumstances. Different procedures are required, depending upon whether the church is incorporated under Chapter 352 or Chapter 355 of Missouri Non-Profit Corporation law. 

[2]  For advice on other policies regarding membership, church discipline, employees, volunteers, and facilities use, a church may contact MBC’s general counsel, the Whitehead Law Firm, LLC,  or another qualified non-profit attorney of the church’s choice.  

Copyright 2013, WLF.  All rights reserved. 

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